I browse Amazon a lot. It is never my intent to spend the next hour in the online equivalent of window shopping, but I do find it a strenuous exercise in targeted marketing. I go to look at one thing, and the wonderful wizards at Amazon immediately crop up with “Customers who bought this item also bought….” And so I proceed to add it to my ever-growing virtual shopping cart – the contents of which I will probably never, ever purchase. I think my running total is up to something like four hundred and eighty-seven dollars. Anyway, I was browsing through the Lou Reed catalogue, wondering whether I should finally buy Berlin or just leave it in my cart for another lap around the imaginary store. I clicked on Metal Machine Music, which is Reed’s most, ahem, “experimental” album, that is, consisting of just noise. Really. Lo and behold, what is the ONLY thing purchasers of MMM also buy? Why arguably the world’s first postmodern novel, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne. Huh. Wow. Life is so surprisingly perfect sometimes. So ironic in the sense that it is entirely devoid of irony when irony is what we usually expect. I could elaborate on how I have come to that conclusion, but I think it would rather betray the artistic purpose of each work.