Stephin Merritt Is Very Good at Words With Friends


Apparently Brooklyn writer Emma Straub (who we interviewed about her fantastic debut short story collection, Other People We Married, here) has been working for the Magnetic Fields for the past 10 years. We had no idea! The indie pop group’s Tour at the Bottom of the Sea kicked off earlier this month, and she’s currently blogging about life on the road with them in a new weekly feature over on The Paris Review.

“Stephin Merritt (vocals, harmonium, melodica, kazoo) and I play (with each other and with people not sitting two feet away, such as my mother, who beats us both) nonstop, and I have yet to lose a game by less than one hundred points,” Straub writes in the first installment, which focuses on the Magnetic Fields’ recent voyage to Austin for SXSW. “Here are a few of Stephin’s highest-scoring words of the last few games: ax/xi/di (53 points), swindle/eyes (93 points).”

Also of interest, her list of what various bandmembers are reading: “John Woo (guitar) is reading Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero , and Sam just finished Steven Kurtz’s Like a Rolling Stone: The Strange Life of a Tribute Band , about Rolling Stones’ tribute band Sticky Fingers. Claudia Gonson (piano, vocals, management) was with her seventeen-month-old daughter and read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt aloud several times. Stephin is reading Ed Sanders’ memoir, Fug You , on his Nook. Shirley Simms (vocals, ukulele) is reading some Lovecraft stories and listening to Shane Nicholson.”

On a side note, we’re curious: Who would you put your money on in a Words With Friends battle between Merritt and Alec Baldwin?