Monday, 18 April 1994 6:00pm-3:55am

August 11, 2009 8:02 AM

Robert Shields, a retired minister of Dayton, Washington kept a diary from 1972 until 1997, logging every five minutes of his life. Over the next few days I will be posting all nine tracks from my adaptation of his entries from the spring of 1994.

Listen now, as Robert prepares dinner, replaces a light bulb, watches TV, goes to the bathroom, takes his heart medication, and takes a nap.

Because abc123xyzinfinity asked for it.

posted by man vs sun (4 comments total)

It's so bizarre that this is so good. How long did it take you to come up with the background music for this? I know you work inhumanly fast within fruityloops, but what actually drove your choices for textures, instrumentation, etc.?

Obviously, your lifelong hard-on for minimalism (not that there's anything wrong with that) shines through, which may be why this all works so well--minimalism in contrast to the most intricate, minute, detailed, specific thing evar.

I'm looking forward to hearing the rest.

He has so many different euphamisms for pissing--it's a bit disturbing.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 11:34 PM on August 11, 2009

The origin of this project is innocent enough: I stumbled across this C64 plugin and started messing around with it. The rest of the instrumentation grew from there. Then a few days later I decided to read Robert Shields' diary entries over it.

Essentially, the way the piece develops in real time is similar to how it was composed.

He has so many different euphemisms for pissing--it's a bit disturbing.
That's one of the most endearing things about these diary entries. He sort of matter-of-factly details out the events that unfold throughout the day, but his most colorful language is reserved for potty-time.
posted by man vs sun at 6:23 AM on August 12, 2009

What I kept asking myself was...why???? I don't mean why you've embarked on this (it's an interesting idea), but why this geezer wrote down all this.....mundanity. I suppose this is what's called art (cue a majorly hurrumph). It's not exactly Samuel Pepys or Rev Kilvert is it? Or even Mr Pooter. I assume it was actually published? Perhaps I should read some of it before piquant observations though...

I've actually toyed with the idea of preparing an album of poems (Larkin, Yeats etc) set to music - but it feels a bit like farting in church.......
posted by MajorDundee at 1:23 PM on August 12, 2009

That 'why????' is precisely what I found so fascinating about this character.

So far as I can tell, this guy was just extremely anal-retentive. He had 5 IBM Wheelwriters in his study and typed up stacks of these pages every week. They haven't been published - the entire 37+ million-word diary was donated to Washington State University in 1999 and won't be released until 2057.

The upshot of it, I suppose: if he was ever questioned in a court of law regarding where he was and what he was doing on the evening of Monday, 18 April 1994 between 9:45 and 9:50 pm, he could unequivocally respond,
"I was at the keyboard of the IBM Wheelwriter making entries for the diary."

posted by man vs sun at 1:43 PM on August 12, 2009

« Older Schizolujah (Producer's Cut)   |   It is evening and your heart may rest Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments