Friday, July 10, 2020

Present, Past And Future

So we finally got the release date! No, not Shadowlands. Who cares about that? I'm talking about something much more exciting!

When I saw the news (on Pitchfork, not Stereogum, which I don't even follow, so I have no idea why I linked to them first) my immediate response was to go to Amazon and pre-order. Assuming they were doing pre-orders, of course.

Which they were. Despite what she was hoping back in December last year, it turns out Lana isn't going to bind all the copies herself and hand-deliver them to local bookshops. That would have been both indisputably magnificent and extremely annoying all at the same time.

Even so, it's not as simple as just ordering a book. Why would it be?

There is a book. A hardback featuring original typescripts and photographs by the author. It won't be available until 29 September but it's coming.

There's also an eBook, naturally. That's available on the same day. Simultaneous publication, I think we used to call it, back when publishers thought things like that mattered.

The end of September feels a long way off, sure, but I'll just have to wait, won't I? It's not like I have a choice.

Except, oh, wait! Yes I do!

At the end of this month, 28 July, Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass pops into existence as an audiobook, Lana reading her poems over music composed by Jack Antonoff, who collaborated with her to such devestating effect on Norman Fucking Rockwell

That sounds even better than a hardback collection. I love Lana doing spoken word. A whole album of her reading her own work would be sublime. There's absolutely no question. I'm going to buy that...

Only there's yet another option. In fact, two. And on different dates again.

The album, audio-book, call it what you will, comes out in vinyl format on 28 August and on CD on 2 October. Why? I don't fricken know! Why does everything have to be so complicated?

What to do? I had a pre-order for the CD in my Amazon basket before all of this registered, when I thought it was going to be easy. I had to put that on hold, force myself to take a deep breath and think.

I want the book, that's a given. I can't have it until the end of September but I work for a bookshop so as soon as it's available I can get it for half price, always assuming I'm back at work by then and haven't been made redundant. It makes no sense to pre-order it from Amazon at full price only to get it at exactly the same time. I'll just wait and buy it in the shop when it comes in.

I also want the CD. I listen to all my music on my iPod Touch or Kindle but I still like to own the physical object. There's a tactility there that I'm trained to expect and I haven't yet been able to evolve past it.

The CD is the very last version to appear, though. I don't have the self-discipline to wait for that! And I am definitely not buying bloody vinyl just to get my hands on the prize a month sooner. I thought we'd seen the back of that filthy stuff years back and good riddance.

The Audiobook it is, then.

Except the only source for that I can find is Audible. I don't have an Audible subscription and I don't want one. Amazon constantly try to tempt me with free trials and "three months for 99p" offers, all of which I have strongly resisted so far. I am certain I would never find the time to listen to audiobooks so why even start?

Except, this isn't quite an audiobook in the usual sense, is it? It's a spoken word album. A spoken word album by Lana Del Rey. And in that context I definitely will listen to it, and again, and often.

Not to mention that if I take the Audible free 30-day trial I can have "Violet" for nothing. And keep it, even if I cancel the trial and never subscribe.

So, I could start the trial on the 28th of this month, listen to the audiobook as many times as I like, cancel at the end of August and keep it forever, all without paying a penny. That seems like a deal.

Then come September I'll buy the hardback for half price, using my staff discount. I'll put the CD on my wishlist and in November or December, with a bit of a hint here and there, someone will give it me as a present.

That way, I'll get Lana's first poetry collection in three different formats but I'll only pay for half of one.

It doesn't seem right, somehow.

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