"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
It’s that exciting time of year when adolescent girls across the nation go in search of the essentials for starting off the school year
prepared and ready to learn as a hot new ‘tween: pink, padded bras, T-shirts with slogans declaring their total lack of smarts (“I Left My Brain in My Locker”) and, perhaps, a Juicy Couture gym bag made especially for prepubescents, announcing “Juicy and Happy.”
So reports Slate’s Emily Yoffe from the back-to-school shopping battlefield. Yoffe braved the mall with her 11-year-old daughter and discovered that “scanty panties for girls are standard” and no more are the days when girls would stuff their bras with tissue paper — now Limited Too (which targets girls ages 7-12) has a line of “padded, underwire push-up bras for girls with nothing of their own to pad or push up.” ‘Tweens are expected to account for $13 billion in clothing sales this year, and retailers are none too proud to resort to selling sex to the girls in this desirable demographic.
This isn’t a new trend, of course. Abercrombie & Fitch stirred up quite a storm when it targeted young girls with a line of thongs with coquettish catchphrases. But flash forward a few years, and it’s more remarkable to find a major clothing company that isn’t targeting ‘tweens with flirtatious, peek-a-boo panties. Back in my preteen days — just over a decade ago — I’m not sure I even knew what a thong was.
There is a middle ground for those wary of joining the Bratz pack but creeped out by modesty campaigns like Pure Fashion. Amid the trash, Yoffe was able to find a few items that were “trendy but not trampy.” Naturally, mother and daughter don’t always agree on what’s trendy and, of course, ‘tweens will be ‘tweens; when Yoffe held up a pair of modest pants from Talbots Kids, her daughter responded: “Mom, I’m 11! I’m not Harriet Miers!” (You gotta love sassy Washingtonian ‘tweens.)
Back-to-school shopping has and always will be a battle — it’s kids’ job to push the limits of age-appropriate dress and it’s parents’ job to try to reasonably enforce them. But, parents, be warned: Your preteens have reinforcements.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)