Reading Samantha Geimers grand jury testimony about how Roman Polanski raped her is heartbreakingly sad in several ways. It is a heartbreaking artifact of the dark ages of rape prosecutions--what you wore and prior sexual history and a room full of adult men asking if you know what climax and semen is or how she knew his penis was inside her. Even sadder is how it's presented in that terrible movie made to vindicate him, presented so selectively, as if she was indecisive or didn't know what she was saying. I am also angry that a few film critics who I respect, directors I love (Woody--sure, repping for his own predatorial auteur kind, but Almodovar? DUDE! You are a fucking feminist! Wong Kar-wai are you really supporting a raper?!)--are behind him. I am also mad that people keep saying "he had sex with" because technically, that was the plea he got convicted on/with, and that is how it is to be reported. But the sex was illegal, the sex was rape. He asked a 13 yr old girl if she was on the pill WHILE he was raping her, and when she said no, stuck it in her ass--for that alone, he should have to spend the rest of his life in whatever shitty American jail has an open bunk, not on house arrest in a chalet.
I think today might be the first time I have felt normal in a month. It feels momentous. Or maybe it's more like 10 weeks? After one thing passes, I think "oh after this, then things will be "normal" but there keeps being an AND THEN lately. I know it's a myth, that the "and then" is stoppable--it's all AND THEN. When I was about 25, I had this idea that if I did certain things perfect, or got my life "arranged" it would become slower and predictable and manageable and then there wouldn't be some much AND THEN AND THEN and I could be on a peaceful mountaintop of life and just spend my time painting pictures of dogs or catching up on old New Yorkers and no one would die or move away or be sick or I would have money and no one would be on crack or mad at me. I thought you could do things to prevent the AND THEN barrage.
I am expecting a promo copy of Andy Williams autobiography in the mail. I want to know his secrets of life management. I want to know what weird existence myth he chased at 25. I want to know what it is like to be the man who did the definitive version of "Moon River" and what he does when he's not doing 2 shows at a day at his theatre in Branson. I imagine he rides around on a golf cart and espouses a theory on the positive health effects of hi-balls.
I made a birthday song for Morgan and a birthday song for Alan this weekend and recorded them. I played them for Matt and he said "You are like a one woman Ween." In my creating dreams, I was more going for Micachu, but after seeing Micachu this weekend, we realized she's really like, way more CRASS then whatever no-fi UK dance wave ppl are roping her into--I am not crafting Penis Envy here, and so maybe Ween is my fate. I cannot help it that my favorite functions of GarageBand is the "Chipmunk" vocal effect and the one that makes you sound like a man?
Laura Oldfield Ford's radical art. She also does a zine about London, Savage Messiah, which you can order through her site.
Kerry Davis, formerly of The Red Aunts, has a raaaaadical newish band, Two Tears, which I am really into.
MirrorMirror's video for "Eugene", via Matt Kessler.
I can stomach the post-Baltimore neon "wacky banality" aesthetic (rotating hat, leather couch, rainbows, pizza, turgid pacing) because of the homo-gaze and THE REALLY GREAT KREEPY KLOWN. The nails. The clown is perfect in every terrible way.
Someone very young is riding a plastic wheeled kid vehicle past the house, singing "E-I-E-I-O!" and "neeeeigh!" with their dad. It is funny to think that at one time, all of us had voices as high as a bird and feet that were only like 2 inches long.
I am sick and hibernating. I am at that point of sick where I tired of watching movies but am too medicated to read a book without falling asleep. I keep trying Huck Finn but I am not used to the weird dialogue yet and am not soldiering on like I should. I know yr supposed to read Huck Finn in school, like jr. high, but I went to a Montessori school until 8th grade where everything revolved around ice cream buckets full of wooden blocks and painting self portraits. I missed out on regular jr. high school business.
Pens are going to be my album of the year at this rate. Kind of my magical dream-cross band between No Age and Huggybear and delicious. they have a fun blog and a myspace area and more importantly, a record out stateside this week. The bio compares them to Waaavvvvesnore and VivGirls and some other bands w/o songs, but please, lets ignore those references, and think about something older than last fucking month in music history. I was thinking about Pens this morning and thinking they are really one of those FUN bands that functions like an ad for being in a band, as a hobby, though they are obviously much cooler than whatever band you might start as a result of their inspiration, they sure make it sound like nothing more fun has ever been existed when it comes to a fun time.
PLEASE SOMEONE BRING THEM TO THE MIDDLE OF AMERICA. ON TOUR. OR AS A FAVOR. TO ME, PERSONALLY.
I saw Pavement live through a window of a bar on their first tour and then I saw them a couple other times past that. I didn't really like much past the cut yr hair 7" because I was into Liz Phair and hardcore. I don't care they are reuniting. And for what? Tertiary headlining slot at Lollapalooza maybe? HITTING THE SNOOZE BUTTON NOW.
In light of the acceleration of culture, the impossible pace by which we are expected to process, enjoy, stay on top of, microblog blah etc. and with the gluttony of datastream of life: 2010--I wonder--is reunion fever and the nostalgia for the immediate past (as boom industry and sentiment) really just a signal of "stop the world, i wanna get off"? A slow up gesture that is just "about" Pavement this time through, with Pitchfork-effect rolling the rock away from the tomb cave, and now, they have risen, money and prospect making all impossibles now possible. The time we loved Pavement, well, that was a time we didn't have to worry about money, we were safe in our parents homes, our dorms, Clinton's arms, employed. Blot the Bad Now with....the infinity of the nineties! Feel it!
Bought a stool on Hollywood Blvd the day he left / it felt sad
Young livers frolic in the surf
Ladies of the canyon
New York City and Brooklyn friends.
While I am here, I am doing "Literary Death Match--Music Writing Edition"
8pm - 9:30pm
The Bowery Poetry Club
it is all ages but drinks are served and I cannot vouch for the appropriateness of the reading for kids, but teenagers are probs fine. It is $10. Franklin Bruno is going to play some songs before we start. I am battling Christopher Weingarten, Courtney Gillette and the guy that did the Lena Horne book. Come if you can or want.
JJ's sister is also known as JJ, "big" JJ, she is. Big JJ asked me to speak, but I didn't know I was going to. I could of talked for two or three hours. I think I talked for about 5 minutes. I do not ever want to eulogize anyone I love ever again. The giant pictures up everywhere, blownup xeroxes of her, it looked like maybe we were giving a seminar on her life. We were I suppose. 250 people. As her mom said, JJ would of loved it, she loved a good turn out. The room was heavy with folks that should of been dead by now, but they were tough motherfucking junkies then, and they made it out. They have kids and families and lives worth preserving and many years sober, against all odds and luck and everything that exists beyond luck. All I could think is that we shouldn't of all have outlived JJ. But we did. And it's a stupid fucking shame, but we did; we are outliving.
The short bio on Cyril Connolly in the Writers Almanac (starting the day with a poem is nice!) felt familiar:
"As a young man, he described himself as, "dirty, inky, miserable, untidy … a coward at games, lazy at work, unpopular with my masters and superiors, anxious to curry favour and yet to bully whom I dared." He said that he drifted into being a literary critic through unemployability."
I keep having dreams more/other people are dying. Friends. Shapeshifting deer-men whom I killed with my bare handlets. I have a little bag with the amethyst the twins gave me hung on the bed to help stave off bad dreams. Maybe I need to dig a hole in my pillow and put the rocks in there.
Good shows tonight and tomo--Lukey Dragons and DJ/rupture and also Katie Stelmanis (returning champion) and Ty Segall. Chicago explodes with options in the fall. I am ready for the long fall. I want to bake pies and read Huck Finn, ride around wearing a shawl. I want to be someone enjoying fall in a movie, a girl with hair that curls up or under at the bottom. Curls exactly. Like Peter O'Toole's daughter in the final scene in My Favorite Year. Pedaling off to my tawny school in a cardigan, unawares, shrouded in a mist, while my absentee father watches, cowering in his limo. But in my version Peter O'Toole is played by Jesus perhaps.
This is what happens when your dad gets you dressed, Clementine--pockets and ruffles down yr back and suddenly then yr stuck like a baby snausage.
Trying to write about Buckner. STUCK. It's kind of like trying to write about Lungfish, about PJ. Well, some people can write about Lungfish, but it's hard, there is so much particular to the lyrics and grain of Higgs, that raspy, sonorous glimpse-of-death voice that makes explaining worthless. Buckner too, there is something that escapes as soon as you try and touch it. He stops short of where you want, where his voice needs to go--or rather YOU need it to, what he needs to repeat to soothe, to tell the entire story. Big Star and pre-or even-intoDarkness Springsteen both have the same thing. A certain unwillingness to give into the hook or bloom their brilliance, that brilliance that is there, and just holds up with this little shim of coldness. You know? "Candy's Room" barely wants to give up what it's got, all that gallop into...twinkling and a key change denoting TRIUMPH?! It could give a fuck about yr needs. The Live 75-85 version is I think, one of the most satisfying things in his catalog, the one that matters.
PJ... well, no one can write about PJ and capture anything, you just get tangled. We imprint so much on what the fuckever she is doing, we imprint feminism and come hither and try and decipher why is she in the water (always!) on the cover, why is she wet and naked, and it all comes out like some rookie P4k 9.7 kinda lather, tangled in the underpants of our minds. The great myth of rock criticism is that you can write about Peej without sounding like a class A overintellectualizing moron. Why do you think her 33.3 book is workshopped speculative fiction and not a critical undeviling of the mercies of Rid Of Me? IT CAN'T BE DONE! I AM TELLING YOU!
Came across this in a Richard Buckner interview today:
"That felt really good, just burning all of my old writing. Going through there and reading all that stuff, it's so embarrassing what you wrote as a young man or you're going through some writing process where you wanted to be. You're like, "I would need to die in a car wreck if someone actually sees this." [Laughs.] I was trying to do some writing for a book of short stories … and I started to write, and I realized I wasn't a writer. I have thousands of stories in my head from the traveling I've been doing and all the stuff I've witnessed and thought about over the years. I went through and read what I had written about, and I thought, "This is ridiculous. I have to get rid of this. It's just confusing me." So I had to burn everything. It cleaned the palette. I may have over-cleaned, but I think ultimately in a year I'll be able to start over again and start writing. It will be really good for me to not have that old personal detritus. I'll be able to not think about it again. I have no options. It's all burned now."
- On Maxwells "Little Wings", on the chorus, he sings the lead "wangs" and then in the harmony/back up/chorus he/they sing "wings" rather crisply. "Little Wangs" is not so much a hitmaking slogan.
- Grief as a default setting, something that I can click into now. Easier or maybe different with age? When you are young, death is the impossible, not the inevitable. Over the weekend, I thought about the death of everything and everyone. Not as morbid as it sounds. More like, practical thought, what would that mean, what would that mourning be like. The cats on up to some sort of pestilence taking the city whole, a sort of The Road type of scenario.
- For this week, I would like my job to be painting a superhuge mural of Wyatt and Monkee, instead of writing about music.
- My memory is stuck in one spot, smearing around there. I found an old journal, from 24-25, the era of the smeary spot, in with stuff we were moving and removing last night. I could barely stand to read it, but I was touched by pages and pages of my own eager sort of willful stupidity; amidst months of meaningless in-depth about an especially lame boyfriend (it would eventually span years), my own burgeoning spiritual ecstasy blotting out the encroaching obvious. There is also a two page bit of off the dome poesy on Lungfish and capitalism --TWICE!--I must have been working on something. It's tempting to burn a slim volume that reminds you how much time you wasted being warped by some lackluster living right smack in the middle of your youth, but the reminder of it might have more value. Maybe I should wear it around my neck like an albatross. Read a page every morning to inspire fruitful projects, make up for all that idling. Shaw was right that youth is wasted on the young, but grievous regrets at 33 and three days is a waste as well. I don't think of regret as a totem.
- Just finished Herzog's Conquest of the Useless this morning and wish I had an epic diary about the madness of the jungle, the punishing eroticism of bird cries and local Peruvian chieftans offering to kill Klaus Kinski for me as an unsolicited favor.
When you love someone who has a problem with drugs and also a problem with living there is a call you expect to get. One day. Eventually. And then time passes and you do not get the call.
I didn't think JJ would live forever, but when she was alive, she was alivest. And to see her high was crushing, she was muddled, extinguished as anyone.
We were best friends but after about a year took to introducing each other as "my wife". It confused people, but best friends didn't convey the sense of partnership, of eternal pledges of got-yr-back, the idea that everyone else was secondary to each other. "I always thought of her as yr other half," Matt said.
Then there was the wilderness of everything after. I never screamed at and cried over anyone like I did her. I called a friend who understood and she said "Just do whatever you need to do now, try everything you can, so that later on you don't regret it." Later on meant "when she dies". Everything I could do took about a year and a half. I tracked Barry down to Canada last night, he had heard last night. "We tried," he said. "We all tried."
The last time I saw her, she came to my show. She was sober. Her and her boyfriend got in a fight and she couldn't stay. She was apologetic. There was too much to say. I didn't want to imagine her life during the long drop out in between.
Calling around, being the death news phonetree, several people knew, if it was me calling and it had been this long it meant JJ is dead. Lot of people left it at fights, explosive last band practice, running into her downtown when she was not well.
It was not unexpected. It's the nature of the disease. You get out or you die.
And now my head is heavy and fatted with the ghost of JJ past.
Better place and all that.
Rest in Peace, old friend. You were already missed.
1. Even upon learning the sad circumstances of his sad circumstances, knowledge of the death of Jaco Pastorius, hasn't made Joni's Hejira palatable still. That broad-toned brummm brummm bup bup bruuuuummm of fretless jazz bass is just something I cannot deal with, it is like someone is smoothing animal feces over a cake and trying to pass it as frosting.
2. This new Nick Cave book, the Bunny Munro book is like a temple of tribute to Bukowski. It's like, 79% obsession with getting a panting glimpse of a ladies underpants or whats contained within them. The rest is people talking. If it was Bukowski, though he'd be talking about how much he hated the lady and loved her vagina, or maybe hated both and himself. Yeah, the latter. The erotic imagination and deprivations of middle aged men are the dominant paradigm of post war American fiction. Roth did everyone in. It is the swaggering Stones-lick of literature, methinks. It has a certain appeal, which lies large in a certain warm familiarity--exes, books you liked when you were a certain age. It's like the supermarket bodice-ripper genre for those who feel a wee bit guilty for their role in the patriarchy. Whats the inverse of a bodice ripper? A panty ripper? I have to get further into Bunny Munro to know for sure whether it is a panty ripper or no. (I really hate the word "panties", but "Panty"--singular--not so bad.)
3. For a more refreshing read, erotic imagination paradigm flip, obsession still present, gender reversed: Maggie Nelson's lyrical essay/poems/obsession-as-autobiography is a STUNNING work. I finished it and then started it again, then went and ordered her other books. Magnificent, on all counts. A real must-have for the feminist/poetry fan of any stripe. If I had yr number, I would just call you and read it to you.
4. I think the perfect tape for the car would maybe only have "Thunder Road" and "Candy's Room" on one side--maybe the live versions from that 88 Boss recording. The other side would have "Benny and the Jets", and the slow songs off Best of Elton and maybe 1 Doobie Brothers song of yr choosing.
5. I am scared of the indications of third wave emo nostalgia. Like the Nostalgia of those who did not live through it, who will discover Brand New after the fact and support their reunion tours because it's the music they grew up on, or the music their parents played around the house. My parents generation music that is meaningful to me, I like it's smoothness, freedom, curious excess, Jesus-y vibes, it's golden tones of innocence--all the pre-Reagany feelgood. Will emo's sour pout still hold 26 years out? Will people like it because it reminds them of the pathos of their baby years?
6. The neighbor across the hall who just moved in was spotted with a Ninja Turtles towel thrown over his shoulder, a stretched out hoodie on and scraggly everything. We have nicknamed him Waaves.
It's been a long summer of being disconnected from writing. Writing with actual thought about it, writing that isn't about my work, my writing, my book. My life, I know, for a while, maybe an extended while, will be the care and feeding of the thing I made. To wrest away from that feels nessecary and strange. I have barely read, barely taken in, mostly just presented and talked and arranged and hustled. I am home, a little broke, medium tired, missing the entire part of the summer that is the part where you vacate and do nothing. Where you read. Look at stuff and hatch plans that are not terribly ambitious. Like "makin' a pie" or strip mining the massive pile in yr room known as "Clothes Mountain".
It's an absorbing orbit, of sorts, all the touring--it's easy to think it this other life, removed, ambitous and fast, running on a concentric track around home life, around domestic apartment life, remembering-to-call-yr-mom-back life; it is the same though. It's one big, ones not an interruption of the other. Maybe my regular life is just the thing that is riding on the back of tour life, like when the spaceshuttle gets a ride home on the back of the plane. Or vice versa.
I am 33 entire years old this weekend. I am marginally employed. I have some books now 3 months over due and taxes yet to be filed. I, currently, barely, have any clothes not in need of laundering and have not unpacked my last two suitcases and cartrunks full of trips.