This is a big week for Metric singer Emily Haines. She is releasing her second EP with the band Soft Skeleton, What is Free to a Good Home? as well as a book: a collection of writings from her father, Paul Haines, who died suddenly in 2003. Haines, who was very close to her father and credits him as a major influence on her own music and Metric’s, was driven to create a book of his work in her grief after his death, The Globe and Mail reports.
Secret Carnival Workers is the first collection of writings by this gregarious, elusive man, whom jazz critic Stuart Broomer (who edited the book) aptly calls a “verbal musician.” Its launch this week coincides with a new EP of songs by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton, including one song adapted from a short poem called Sprig. It’s the first time she has made music with her father’s words, though, in a more general sense, he’s in everything she has done.
She also wrote an essay for The Toronto Star, which included this interesting anecdote and insight into her reasons for creating the book.
The day Paul died all the appliances in the house stopped working, confirming at once my suspicions that the man was a conductor of electricity. In his absence I often feel like a tired machine myself. I hope that by releasing What is Free to a Good Home? and Secret Carnival Workers together this summer some aspect of Paul’s presence – ideally his sense of humour! – will send a jolt to the living.
Haines self-published the book with a company called H. Pal, but it is printed and distributed by Coach House Books.