Sheesh. While the job took a lot of the time, as it’s been 60 to 75 hours per week at the bookstore, as opposed to the more normal 50 per week at the lab, the real reason why i took the break was because i was just spending too much time on the computer. Music has also been weeded out of my life by sheer accident, but it’s beginning to creep back in.
Friday Stereolab came on KLSU, and it made me think of how long it has been since i’ve put that band on intentionally, instead of the usual happy accident of running across their music. We were on campus while i waited in the truck, and it became clear how collegiate that music is for me. It’s probably obvious to many that it’s academic, even a wee bit pretentious in its intellectualism, i forgot all that. The first time i was exposed to the band made me excited of the possibilities of rock. Yeah, it wasn’t even that new to me…. Damien had been in some mad phase of playing Brasil ’66 at the time, a cycle unrelated to music fashion, as he redigests his records at some alien pace that ususually remains out of step with current trends. I was ignorant of that side of Krautrock, as i only knew Amon Duul 2 and Can intimately, and nothing i understood about those bands at that time pointed to Stereolab until later. It still sticks in my mind as the music of students though. It’s portal music, guiding a listener to other stuff, rather than being an end unto itself. It’s homework to be deciphered and digested before moving on. Listening to Stereolab for me is like going through old biology and chemistry noterbooks. It’s useful for shining up mnemonic devices and sweet nostalgia, but i still don’t plan on throwing on a Stereolab album just for fun.
But new stuff….
I’ve been handing out CDs to my coworkers, Velvet Underground and Belle & Sebastian to one, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (by his request) and the Liars (at my insistence) to another. People are already seeming to become jealous that i’m handing out CDs at random to people, almost as gifts to select favorite employees. It’s really that I’m passing out music to those i’ll know who will appreciate it, and not let the discs gather dust on someone who just likes freebies. I’m a little surprised that neither of these guys have any knowledge of any of the websites that i regularly read, even though they know the music, styles, and artists.
Oh, i meant to write about new stuff. I haven’t found anything. I’ve realized that i’ve become so gluttonous that i’ve lost sight of what i loved most…. whatever that is. In talking to these guys at work, i figure out that i know far, far more than they do…. and it doesn’t make me feel superior in the least. I’ve drained out all of the joy of discovery by fufilling every whim immediately. Even bands that i am less than familiar with that one guy brought up, i already owned the music, having it squirreled away in various cubbyholes for future dry spells. It feels like the only way out of this whole is to do penance, sharing what i already have with those without the overwhelming urge for instant musical gratification.
The only thing i have left right now seems to be to react to what others write….
The Freaky Trigger Pop Focus is the first thing that pops to mind. (and yeah, it bugs me that most of these songs are quite old in terms of pop. My few responses were abandoned on that PalmPilot many months ago…. why is this thing so late?) It still has lots of nice little pithy comments, some insightful, but some scores that just baffle me. Only the write-in votes explain the weird skew…. with people who’d give 10s to Sloan and the New Romantics (both bands i like, but….) and then Cake and Phantom Planet (what the fuck?!) seemingly poisoning the well….. anyway…. my surprises…
- Mystikal is way too low.
- Sopie Ellis-Bextor is way too high.
- While i can understand Josh’s hatred for the White Stripes, i missed all prior manifestations of it. It’s kinda funny. I wish that he’d unleash it more.
- Tom’s simultaneous affection for Nickelback and hatred for the Hives is absolutely baffling. Nickelback is dullest of the dull, and even though i now feel that i’m over the Hives, that single is still the backing component for “Lisa’s Got the Hives”
- the Wilco “War on War” write-in is misguided, but it certainly is funny.
- More people should have been forced to write about Eminem. He must miss the attention. Poor bastard.
- I didn’t realize that Pink was that unpopular. I’ve gone off “Get This Party Started” a bit too, but there seems to be an age bias thing going on there, and if one wants to listen to lots of pop, then age bias gets one nowhere.
- Comparing No Doubt’s “Hey Baby” to the Soup Dragons tickled me for some reason. It’s better than the rating it received though.
- The guy who mentioned Babasonicos on a write-in has perked my interest with his comparison to the SFA, but i’m still undecided as to whether i like it myself. Part of me wants to slag it, even though i hear the SFA references as well…. it might actually be too funky for me. (The AMG entry references Depeche Mode, which is a bad thing to me, but Ned wrote it, so it’s a less disturbing reference somehow.)
- It’s a relief to see Will Young at the bottom. At least i can demonstrate to Lou that my download of it was a true experiment, and show that it actually was on the ballot. Her inspections of my music downloads tripled after she found that on the harddrive, worried that i downloaded it without any prompting whatsoever.
- It’s also nice to see Ashanti at the bottom.
That Coupland book. I finished that a couple of weeks ago. It was good enough, in its way. While lately i feel betrayed by overly downbeat endings, the nearly ecstatic happy ending in this one was a bit much. He still writes in that same smartass voice, with clever little one-liners that no normal person would be able to throw out so readily, particularly most of his protagonists, one of whom is supposed to be a housewife with a largely unfufilled life. It still bothers me that he hasn’t found a way to make on voice different from another, as they all reach that same level of detached irony.
Summerland was an easy read, but work hindered the flow. It may be a kid’s adventure story, with dreams realized and a dreamworld unfolded, but the vocabulary is not toned down at all. The blending of old Germanic myth with Native American, all of it steeped in baseball, was a bit unique. The problem? I don’t give a damn about watching baseball. The whole conceit of baseball being a meditation of the pace of a summer day is a most pretty one, but i’d rather spend my time watching clouds drift by than swatting around a ball with a bat.
Now reading the O. Henry Prize 2002 collection, and am appalled by the number one prize winner, because while the editor mentions something about it evoking the voice of Ray Bradbury, it’s done like a bad Bradbury ripoff, thus i’m not sure if i want to finish this book.
Politics. I’m disgusted right now. For awhile, despite abandoning this webpage, i was still writing Congress members, about one issue or another. The rush to war had me burned up in righteous opposition…. and nothing happened. The best voice we had in the Senate against this absurd war on Iraq is an ex-Klansman! (and he might not even be an ex-member….. just lower profile than he was.) The best hope now is that the United Nations refuses to approve the attack, and that’s only a moral victory, not a concrete one.
I’m truly expecting the draft to be reinstituted in the coming year.
Incidentally, the radiation lab is still pestering me. I had a phone call today from my former supervisor, asking for some paper that i was supposed to sign before i left that job, but took with me instead. Some i actually should sign, but most of them are nonsense…. agreements to absolve them of all responsibility in any kind of lawsuit that might arise from them giving me bad references or anything else they damned well please. Considering that they abused my rights at every opportunity that presents itself, there’s no way that i’m not signing anything other than the standard release from insurance.