Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

POWlist: Strange Times

Just a little excerpt from the latest POWlist. Not on the list? Sign up at the bottom of the page.

These are strange times, my friends.

Today I’m listening to R.E.M. sing “Cuyahoga” as it digitally streams into my computer. The whole album, Life’s Rich Pageant, is filling my hard drive now, thanks to my sweetie Heather, who bought me an iTunes Gift Certificate. Digital money that buys digital music. None of it really exists. None of it you can hold in your hand.

The last time a woman gave me this album, I was in Junior High, 1986, and a girl who’s name I can’t even remember was astounded that I’d never heard R.E.M. and insisted I copy her tapes. I wrote the song names on the inserts, taking care not to smudge. I’d never met a girl like her. She was one of Claremont’s old guard, who still had hippie parents and lived in the village. She seemed infinitely older and wiser than me. She was in High School.

Two women I’ve loved, 17 years apart, giving me the gift of music. Swan Swan Hummingbird.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.