Music Montag: Bon Iver

by James Glazebrook

Bon Iver
Tomorrow, Bon Iver play Berlin.

I’ve loved Bon Iver ever since Justin Vernon holed up in a cabin in remote Wisconsin to record the breakup of a relationship and his band, and came in from the cold clutching For Emma, Forever Ago. A lot has happened since then for the non-folkie’s favourite folk act, not least the release of the eponymous follow-up earlier this year. Bon Iver was both praised and derided for sounding like Peter Gabriel, which came as no surprise to anyone who picked up the split single on which Gabriel and Bon Iver covered each other’s tracks, back in 2010.

So here is: one of my favourite artists covering (probably) my all-time favourite artist. Click here to listen to Bon Iver cover “Come Talk to Me” on simfy.

For the completists among you, Stereogum have curated this collection of covers performed  by Bon Iver, including songs originally by Bob Dylan, Björk…and Dolly Parton! Wonder what they have in store for us tomorrow night?

Up in the air

by James Glazebrook

“Leave behind old attachments”

“Let’s Go”

The electronic billboards at Heathrow seem scripted. Trite little visual devices to underline our motivation.

Looking up at the glass ceiling, I see myself reflected back against the black sky, surrounded by half of my worldly possessions: two suitcases, one wife.

This feels like looking at a screen, like watching a twee indie flick in which our protagonists go on a journey that somehow serves as metaphor for their new life together. In my head, Bon Iver scores the scene.

On the plane, my wife remarks that she can’t look directly at the sun, as if all that is out there in front of us is too bright for her to visualise. I have no such problem, staring straight ahead until blankness fills my eyes. When I look away tiny trails of light remain, little paths back to my past.

Outside, everything seems otherworldly. The rolling fog looks like the surface of the sea, the sun peeking out from a hot pink horizon. Half an hour later, crisp white light cuts across a cloudscape that resembles snowdrifts on a glacier.

I believe that we are doing this in the same way you believe in the plot of a film for 90 minutes or so, only to pick it apart afterwards. We are immersed in this experience, but it’s hard to convince ourselves that this is our life, and that it will last indefinitely.

Seatbacks upright – we are now beginning our descent into Berlin.

View from our airplane window

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.