We didn’t know it then, but at least we still had the glinty white sunlight of the 90’s to fall back on. I was 22, and it had been a while, a bit more than a year since I’d dropped out of college. I’d left to work at a stock footage archive. It was a cool job. Interesting. Fun. And my desk was tucked in amongst the rows of ¾ video cassettes and old timey film canisters. It was all mine too. I didn’t have to share it with anyone. But now I was quitting that gig. Quitting to move back in with my mother. I was leaving NYC, going to rural Massachusetts to get off drugs. Going to the tiny house I’d grown up in, in a small town north of Boston, because I could no longer keep it together. It was January and I was about to go cold turkey. I was about to try and kick my first real dope habit.
I was reading an article about the Stooges, specifically about the wonderful Stooges documentary, “Gimmie Danger” by Jim Jarmusch. As you are reading this blog, you probably know the Stooges – in their first incarnation – made two amazing records in the years from 1968 to 1971 where they basically invented punk. That statement is simplistic and only partly true, but whatever, it sounds cool. Three of the four members also became junkies. Those albums didn’t sell all that well and by the end of 1971 the band broke up. In the article there’s a quote from Stooges drummer Scott Asheton who says, “I guess I realize the band’s over when I’m sleeping on the floor of some people’s house, and I had no money and I sold my drum set to get bus tickets home to my mom.”
It got me thinking about how tough it is to be young, particularly so when you’re young and hooked on drugs. And how thankful I am for my own mother, who stood by me when I was behaving like a complete shithead. Mom was always there to pick up the pieces. Or at least she tried to.
How the fuck did Vietnam War happen? How were we (America) that fucking stupid? The whole thing – why we fought, who we fought, how we fought – all of it just makes no kind of fucking sense! It’s only that much more incredible when you consider how recent it all was. How insane is it that a whole segment of our population – a huge percentage of our working class youth – just went off and did their “duty?” Why didn’t they riot in the streets instead? Oh wait, they did, it just took a while and the war was basically over by the time they did. It’s important to remember media was slow back then; it was also exclusive, controlled by the forces sympathetic to the government. The people had no way to question authority, to demand an explanation for what was being asked of them. “God and country,” our leaders said, “it’s up to you (young person) to stop communism. Off you go.” Continue reading “The Vietnam War In My Head”
It actually feels like a year has gone by – maybe even longer – but I figure that’s what you are supposed to write in year in review posts right? Time flies, it’s crazy!
I’ll try and keep this short and sweet. I mostly gave up reading the New Yorker so fastidiously, which really upped my book learning this year. I also got pretty hardcore about listening to books as opposed to podcasts (for the most part) when I’m in the car and at the gym. The result was I was able to complete 44 books this year. That’s versus 24 last year. Yay. I have not, however, managed to cut out the newspaper reading and I’m not sure if I want to. I hope to get at least 52 books next year (on account of that’s how many weeks in a year there are!).
I’ve also kept pretty rigorous account of what I thought of all those books. Here I’ll list a few of my favorites. The ones I gave a 10 out of 10 rating.
My favorite book of the year, bar none, was “Eilleen” by Ottessa Moshfegh.
Have you heard of Hypernormalisation? This is the question I ask everyone I come across these days. I’m a bit obsessed.
Also, like a lot of Americans (almost 66 million of us) I’ve been pretty depressed since the election. I’d tell you why, but listing the things I personally find abhorrent about Trump would take too long. The list grows longer by the minute. Trump is a disgusting human being.
All of this is just a long-winded wind-up to the idea that I’ve been in a cynical mind-set of late…
Apparently, if you are lucky enough to attain a certain age, things that existed in your youth come to appear absurd in the cold light of the present. Such is the case with me, and the phenomenon of skinheads in the Boston hardcore “scene.” It sounds strange to say, but in the mid 80’s, for those of us of a certain temperament, skinheads were a problem, like a real personal safety-style problem. Back in those days in Boston (and New York and D.C.) there was a very real danger of getting your ass kicked by skinheads for myriad offenses, things like having “stupid hair.”
Last week I found out an old friend of mine, a woman I have known since high school died from an accidental drug overdose. She had relapsed after 7 years sobriety. I felt compelled to write about her, as she was an extraordinary person. Rest in peace, dear friend.
Thanks to John Ross Bowie, I’m on a(nother) Ramones kick. Last week I went and saw a pre-opening performance of the play he wrote about the Ramones, called “Four Chords and A Gun.” It’s a fictionalized account of the time the band spent recording their “End of the Century” album with producer Phil Spector.
If you are in LA and somehow read this before July 31stand it’s not sold out, I highly recommend you go see it.
I’m no theater aficionado, but I really enjoyed it…
Short Answer: I impulsively buy url’s that I think are funny or stupid or stand-alone non-sequiturs. For example, I have owned vipsheepskins.com, (along with a lot of other stupid url’s) for many years now. I hope to eventually make use of them.
That is unless you want to buy vipsheepskins.com – In which case email me. Joke (not a joke).
I have owned whydontyoulikeme.com for maybe 10 years and I wanted to use it for something
Slightly Longer Answer: When I started this blog – 3 or 4 years ago now – the idea of somebody asking that question, “Why don’t you like me?” seemed appropriate for someone who is shouting into the darkness (that is the internet), talking about stuff that nobody (seems to) care about; drugs, petty crime, punk rock. So I put the url to work.
More importantly probably, “Why Don’t You Like Me,” is a song lyric…
In 1994 Kurt Cobain faked his own suicide. 22 years later he’s come back to “get” Dave Grohl.
This is the 8th and final part of an ongoing serial fiction. Part 1 can be found here.
It probably shouldn’t have surprised me how low Dave Grohl would go, but it does.
Seeing the bearded, middle-aged man devolve into a quivering mass of tears, self-loathing and regret in the presence of what he thought was Kurt Cobain’s ghost is kind of. . . well, it’s fucked up. The dude is a mess!
The lights come back on. Sonny comes running into the room. Dave doesn’t even try to hide his tear-streaked face from us.
“Kurt was here man! He came back to give me a message. Just ask this dude,” Dave says nodding in my direction.