For the “Journeys” issue of Topic, Anna Holmes shares a reprint of a 1996 New York Times Magazine piece by Darcy Frey originally titled, “Something’s Got to Give.” The piece is a wild, frenetic look at the fragile fraternity of air traffic controllers minding the busiest airspace in the United States. “Every hour around here is 59 minutes of boredom and 1 of sheer terror.”
Given its outsize musical ambitions and unabashed theatricality, the Arcade Fire could have filled a three-ring recording studio. The place it ultimately found to record “Neon Bible,” the band’s follow-up to its successful and surprisingly poised 2004 debut album, “Funeral,” was a 19th-century redbrick church in a small farm town an hour outside of Montreal. The church already had a stage in front, a hundred-foot ceiling that returned rich, live-sounding reverberations and a rear balcony that could be turned into a glassed-in sound booth.