Angry Robot

Autodidacticism, The Internet Way, Wave, Waters of March

Have you ever talked to an autodidact? That’s someone who is self-taught. If you have a lot of knowledge on a subject, that you acquired through institutional educational means, and you talk to someone about it who has simply gobbled up whatever they could find in an undirected manner, you will find a lot of passion, obviously, but you will also find huge gaps in their knowledge. They will have assigned special significance to insignificant events, and completely missed hugely significant ones.

That autodidact? That’s me with most things. On the internet, rampaging through chains of links, gobbling up data, blowing past important doors, not going into them, not even noticing them. It’s probably all of us; it’s built into the medium. It’s a web, but you can’t follow every strand. You choose one, then another, then another, mistaking the path you took for The Only Way.

I love bossa nova. When I went to university I took some of my parents’ records with me and one was Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim. I used to take naps to that motherfucker – it’s total elevator music; I have literally heard it playing in the supermarket – but it’s also beautiful, beautiful, rhythmic, symphonic. I have listened to many more bossa albums since then, and much more Brazilian music, but only today, in a Spotify web-strand-tugging escapade, do I find this song, considered “the all-time best Brazilian song” –

It’s written by Jobim; he did an English translation himself, and there are subtle and fascinating differences between the Portuguese and English versions, in part because rain in March means such difference things in the northern and southern hemispheres.

In summary: don’t take Brazilian music lessons from me, but here’s a beautiful song. And Happy March.