Against Bob Dylan as Poet Laureate of Minnesota
Hollis Brown and The Monochord on the Radio

The Celestial Monochord now an "author blog"

A pidgeon contemplates St. Paul history atop the Victoria Cafe


I've always puzzled over how — and whether — to present my research into Frank Cloutier and Victoria Cafe here at the The Celestial Monochord.

My goal has always been to understand "the complete circumstances" surrounding the recording of the "Moonshiner's Dance" in 1927, knowing that "the complete circumstances" surrounding anything are ultimately unknowable. They're sure-as-hell too complicated to fit within the here's-what-I'm-thinking-today format of the blogosphere.

Well, after thousands of long hours of research, the picture I've uncovered is so sprawling, complex, and transformative that it's outgrown my ability to post it sensibly at The Monochord.

So here's my plan: I'm working toward a book to be published by somebody like the Minnesota Historical Society, Indiana University, or even myself. There may also have to be an article, or series of articles, for Minnesota History, or Minnesota Monthly, or Ramsey County History, or The Old Time Herald, or Sing Out, or your publication (contact me!).

I understand, by the way, that there is probably zero money to be made as the author of a book about an 80-year-old polka record.

Nonetheless, The Celestial Monochord is now officially an "author blog" — at least with respect to my history research. This might resolve some of my uncertainty about what to post here, what not to, and how often. And it gives me a genre of bloggery to work in, providing some models for how to proceed.

This could result in MORE of my research being posted, not less. I'll feel less of a need to be "complete" and "authoritative" when, in fact, that is a long quest I'm working on elsewhere.

And needless to say, I'll also continue posting other stuff too, about Dylan, Waits, Prine, banjos, symposiums, fulgurite, kittens, nickles, etc., etc., etc.



Lucy Kemnitzer

I am so looking forward to this. The Victoria Cafe stuff is what I read the Celestial Monochord for most of all.

Private Beach

I never came across the word "bloggery" before, though a Google search turns up quite a few examples. I'm wondering who coined the word - it sounds like some obscure form of perversion. can't find a definition for it, so it asked me whether I'm looking for "blogger" or "buggery". I think I'll pass on the second of those!

Anyway, thanks for your Dylan coverage, which is what brought me to your blog.

Editor's note: Thanks, PB! Yeah, I think I made up "bloggery," knowing that it had to have been made up a number of times before. It's an inevitable thing. I thought about "bloggetry," but "blog" is such an ugly word to begin with, it doesn't need more hard consonants.

There will be more Dylan eventually, of course ... I sure have a big pile of notes from the symposium ...


Can't wait to see what you've dug up. Good luck with publication.
One! Two! Three! Four!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)