Notes From The Flip Side: 02.29.2004
"I really thought I'd be something by now."
Three Cheers For Captain Obvious And The Asshole Parade.
This winter just doesn't seem to end. It's snowing again tonight, it's well past midnight and I'm sitting in the office with "Cheap Trinkets" to keep me company. Over the past couple of days, Kelly Willis, Neko Case and Jenny Lewis have spent a fair bit of time rubbing shoulders in my headphones and, for whatever reason, I've been turning to pop songs lately for solace. It really doesn't matter so much what those songs are - Kelly Willis' neo-country suits me just fine, just as an example - as it does that they must say something to me about my life at this moment, that they must provide insight. These songs must turn to me as if to start a conversation by saying, "Hey, you know what your real problem is?" and waiting for a response.
I would, naturally, be stunned by their impertinence, but I'll usually give any damn fool at least one shot at getting it right and so I would listen nonetheless, and I suspect that they would all tell me the same thing using different words and that is this - at the moment, I have settled. I have settled for elements of a life which are like things that could sustain an existence but are not actually those things. I have settled for a language that I never cared to learn and still have no interest in speaking. I have settled for stagnation and decay. And, in truth, I have been feeling under the weather lately.
I wake up hacking a deathly dry and unproductive cough at odd times during the evening, surely the sort of sound that Doc Holliday must have made, and yet I still feel congested. I am expecting results from the coughs that ail me, and yet those expectations of expectoration are fruitless. Instead, I merely cough, knowing that something lingers still in my chest and lungs; that it abides and I have not yet found something that will loosen it.
Perhaps that is an appropriate metaphor for my sentiments lately; that there is something poisonous and dark inside, something which must come out before too much more time passes. But the songs don't tell me that. My body does. That's just a symptom of what the songs say to me ... purely as my friends, you understand. And having issued forth their diagnosis of what ails me, the songs sit back smugly and wait for my response.
Off The Top Of My Head ...
- I'm too tired right now to do anything but head off to bed and wait for the work week to start.
Kelly Willis. Rilo Kiley. The Sleepy Jackson. Grabass Charlestons. The Beltones. Neko Case. Crooked Fingers. Aesop Rock. Radiohead. Iron & Wine. Mr. Lif. The Haunted. The High Llamas. Year Future. Ted Leo. The One A.M. Radio. The Weakerthans. Richard And Linda Thompson. Tobin Sprout. Shadows Fall. God Forbid. Tom Waits. Rocket From The Crypt. Sunshine. The Starvations. TRS-80. Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros.
"Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," "American Wedding"
Daniel Wallace, "The Watermelon King"
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"