Morning Listening Diary zine

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Morning Listening Diary
January 16th to September 28th, 2021

text:  Phil Elverum
illustrations:  Agathe Elverum

36 pages / orange foil stamped wraparound softcover

A zine of domestic listening from a few years ago, just now published. 
Printed by Container Corps in Portland, Ore., edition of 500. 


In early 2021 I kept a pad of paper and a pen on the table where we ate breakfast. It was just me and my daughter, Agathe, age 5, turning 6. The pandemic was fully happening. Her kindergarten was on/off, occasionally in session in person and then closing back down to quarantine for a few weeks if there was a positive case in the cohort. We had a homeschool schedule in place (mostly joke subjects like “blast beats and screaming” and “stamp collecting”) which we only barely glanced at each morning. It had been almost a year of this shrunk-down unambitious routine and we were settled into a kind of surrender. Like prisoners, we added little tasks to our days to mark time and create meaning. And as a parent, sneaking “education” into our daily time-fillers was habitual and fun. 

Sometime in there, my old friends Lois and Eric from Olympia sent a copy of a zine they’d made. It was seemingly a New Year’s resolution beginning Jan. 1st, 2017 that said “listen to more music”, followed by short daily entries of what record they’d put on that morning and an anecdotal blip about it, an observation, a memory, a note about the day’s plans. Perfect! I took the idea and we started our own morning listening diary. I chose a record, or let the radio play, and I wrote quickly what thoughts occurred. Agathe drew.

It’s a time capsule of a nine month period made for personal use with no intended audience beyond our own breakfast table. It starts strong and regular and gradually spaces out as life crept in and eroded the novelty of our enclosed little routine. The vaccine was opening the world back up in those days, and summer opened our door further. The project begins in January with snows and homeschool quarantine lockdowns, drifts for a while, then ends abruptly with late summer/early fall reminiscing in moth twilight. A moment.

Will anyone else find sweetness or connection in these extremely personal insider notes about some often esoteric record choices? Or in the recurring weirdness of the Hawai’ian music radio show coming from the college station in Bellingham, pancake smoke hanging in the kitchen, snow out the window? (Hawai’i recurs surprisingly often for some reason.) 

This is a record of an omnivorous listening habit by two people in an unhurried time, letting the music and its associated reflections come in and go out freely, passing time and growing together, in morning light.

                -Phil Elverum
                  June 4th, 2024


when I was about 6 years old I had already made a lot of art. In this zine I just thout it would be a little thing were I would draw and my dad would write … but it turns out its not. In this zine there will be a lot of random drawings with no explenaiton . Hopfully this zine gives you ideas for what to listen to. 

                  9 years old.