Notes From The Flip Side: 02.09.2004
Drink Coffee. Smoke Cigarettes. Repeat.
I love every last one of my friends and appreciate the hell out of all of them, especially when they're far away. If absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, then I must be the most sentimental motherfucker in the Midwest by now. But every once in a while, one of my friends does something which requires such courage and strength of character that it reminds me how privileged I am to know them all over again. As some of you know, Philip left Portland and moved to Seattle where he's now writing for the Seattle Weekly. He recently wrote a cover story that floored me when I read the rough draft and leveled me when I saw it in print. It's about the best article I've ever read that falls under the auspices of journalism. It breaks all the rules. It doesn't pull punches. And it's about the most visceral writing I'm likely to read this year. Kindly read it.
Hours Seemed Like Days.
When the right album is on the headphones, time stops. I suddenly don't care so much that it's 2 a.m., the world outside is silent and covered in snow, and my eyes are telling me I should be asleep ... in fact, I should have dozed off a while ago. Statistics is getting the job done right now, but it was Sworn In before that and I can't tell you what it will be tomorrow. How in the hell can anyone get bored when there's all this great stuff out there to be discovered, when - at least in my small corner of the world which consists of two-minute pop songs blasting on the headphones at 2:07 a.m. - everything is awesome and totally rules? Fuck being sick. Fuck being sad. Fuck everything but waking up on another snowy Sunday morning with sunlight streaming through a wintry window while I doze my way into the day.
I Might As Well Have A LiveJournal.
And even with all that said, it's still Sunday night and I'm still listening to Ryan Adams, fresh off a bath with Nick Hornby's "Songbook" for a sort of company. I'm still listening to terribly mature and adult music, the sort of thing that I'm supposed to like as I get older and that, quite honestly, I do like. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to completely flip my lid to the latest Most Precious Blood album.
I'm just having one of those evenings - the ones which encompass the realization that I'm in my 30s and haven't yet set the world on fire and, not to be too blunt here, am unlikely to do so at any time in the foreseeable future.
I'd be just as happy if these evenings didn't exist, if I didn't, at some level, feel compelled to take hot baths and listen to the sort of songs that I and my coworkers can agree are tasteful and appropriate for our age while feeling unappreciated.
But they do.
And I seem entirely unable to give myself enough and sufficiently rousing pep talks to get out of this.
And so instead of putting on a coat and walking across the street to a bar to finish off the evening with something likely to take the edge off the day, I'm being mature and staying home. After all, I have to work tomorrow. I will get up early. I will make my breakfast, shave and shower, get dressed, scrape ice off of the windshield and drive to the office. I will go to meetings. I will come home to more obligations assigned in my absence, more responsibilities which require my attention.
And is it any wonder that in these few hours of time left before work resumes, I'm taking baths and reading, tearing through my record collection to find something to lift my mood?
Off The Top Of My Head ...
- Is it wrong to celebrate when a band finally decides to stop embarrassing itself and call it a day? The last decent face to face record came out in 1996; it was a good record, maybe even better than the debut ... but they haven't released anything to match it since. Instead, each successive record has sucked more wildly than its predecessor. Now that they've finally decided to hang up their guitars, I can breathe a bit easier, secure in the knowledge that, finally, they're done.
- Bridge 9 is apparently releasing Give Up The Ghost's "Year One" this month. In case you haven't figured out that I'm an unabashed fan of this band, that makes me very excited. In other semi-GUTG-related news, the new Some Girls disc is unrelentingly awesome - tough as hell, fierce, brutal, pulverizing, chaotic hardcore. Sure, it includes the first two EPs. It also includes a fair bit of stuff you'll never have heard before unless you've seen them live. And if you have, I don't want to hear about it because I'll just get jealous.
- I'm a little pissed that I didn't hear Sworn In until now. Sure, I had heard of them, had heard people whose judgment and taste I respect raving about them, but I hadn't actually heard them. I've corrected that oversight now and I'm a better person for it.
Gunmoll. The Exploding Hearts. Statistics. Aesop Rock. The Pernice Brothers. Arch Enemy. X. The Ramones. The Album Leaf. Sworn In. Some Girls. Ryan Adams. Blind Boys Of Alabama. Tobin Sprout. Neko Case. American Heartbreak. Most Precious Blood. The Sleepy Jackson. Crooked Fingers.
Daniel Wallace, "Big Fish"; Nick Hornby, "Songbook"
Paul Avrich, "Anarchist Portraits"; Bertrand Russell, "Why I Am Not A Christian"; Umberto Eco, "Island Of The Day Before"; Alan Lomax, "The Land Where The Blues Began"; Peter Guralnick, "Lost Highway" and "Sweet Soul Music"; Thomas Wolfe, "You Can't Go Home Again"; Steven Heller, "Graphic Design History" (edited with Georgette Ballance); Gunnar Swanson, ed., "Graphic Design And Reading"; Daniel Guerin, "No Gods No Masters"