The Old Ceremony, the orchestral-pop quintet Django Haskins has led since 2004, just released its fifth album, Fairy Tales And Other Forms Of Suicide. The band’s first LP for Yep Roc is also its first to receive a vinyl pressing, as well as its first to be released in Europe. In other words, it’s the perfect time for a provocative album title. Like many of the reinvented and rejuvenated performers the band now calls label mates (such as Robyn Hitchcock, Nick Lowe, John Doe and Paul Weller), the Old Ceremony makes music unencumbered by the ever-shifting demands of new and now. Haskins will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Old Ceremony feature.
Haskins: We all know the old saw about Eskimo languages having 50 words for snow. The ways that languages reveal our attitudes, fears or preoccupations fascinates me. For instance, the Chinese has no word for “privacy,” in the way we mean it. Having lived in mainland China, this makes sense to me. But even though I was an English major in college, I never quite appreciated until recently just how much one particular man enriched our language. And he did so in ways that help us understand ourselves, not just as English speakers, but as humans. It floats to the surface in commonplace references to something rotten in the state of Denmark, a lady who protests too much or someone mad but north by northwest, to name a few just from Hamlet. When Keith Richards talks about his songwriting process as sticking a finger up into the atmosphere and occasionally grabbing some divine inspiration, it makes me think that Shakespeare must have spent his entire adult life hanging from a church spire, conducting lightning bolts.
Video after the jump.