2017: 40: 6
What have you been doing?
I’ve been listening to music. Trying to read the Qu’ran. Assembling outdoor furniture. Watching All New Graham Norton. You know, all that shit that makes modern life so bizarrely eclectic and unlike life for human beings at any other time in history.
As I was assembling the outdoor furniture with an Allen key my fingers began to hurt and I reflected, not for the first time, that when Aotearoa is taken over by a right wing hate group modelling itself off the Khmer Rouge I am totally doomed. Glasses. A teacher. Hands as soft as a baby’s bottom. Year Zero will be my final year.
Have you ever tried to read the Qu’ran? I’m doing quite well as I am now up to Surah Four. It’s like it was constructed by someone interested in Dada cut up techniques. This book, in case you don’t now, organises itself by the length of its sections. The longest section is first in the book, then the next longest, until we get to the the shortest sections at the end. Which is intriguing (did Eleanor Catton do the same thing?), but unhelpful with chronology and narrative.
Also, I think I might be developing feelings for Ryan Gosling.
Am I movin’ back in time?
Just standin’ still?
Pain, The War on Drugs
Sometimes when I listen to A Deeper Understanding I feel like I shouldn’t like it. Sometimes it seems to shoot very close to the line of being boring. It didn’t help when Cathy said he sounded like Bryan Adams. All the while I had been thinking he sounded like Bob Dylan but, yeah, he does sound like Bryan Adams. Still, Bryan has a great voice. He’s kind of like Rod Stewart. Another great voice with a bunch of regrettable material and some good moments.
Springsteen, Dylan, Tom Petty, and Neil Young all made songs between 1983 and 1988 that sounded something like the War on Drugs.
A deeper understanding of what? It’s the name of the album, and the line is in the song Pain. He says, “give me a deeper understanding of who I am”. Good luck. If only that could be found through pleasure.
Because of The War on Drugs I listened to Jokerman, but then decided that Tight Connection To My Heart was probably the first Bob Dylan song I knew. If you were a kid of the 80s that song was how you learned who this dude called Dylan was. Like thinking that Bowie was about Let’s Dance and being scorned by people ten years older than you for the rest of your life. “That’s not real Bowie.” Well, it’s real Bowie to me. And Tight Connection is Dylan too. “Who’s Bob Dylan? Yeah, he’s that guy who did Tight Connection to my Heart, right?” [older person rolls their eyes].
Listening to Infidels feels a bit like attending a Trump rally at times. After his pro-Israel song Neighbourhood Bully, comes his MAGA song, Union Sundown. They’re
pretty very didactic songs. Much more can be learned in the confusing tumble of Biblical references in Jokerman, or the ambiguity of the relationship the narrator describes in Tight Connection.
I’m gonna get my coat,
I feel the breath of a storm.
There’s something I’ve got to do tonight,
You go inside and stay warm.
i used to. LCD Soundsystem.
I used to dance alone of my own volition
I used to wait all night for the rock transmissions
I lived at Kew Grove in Raumati Beach when I was a teenager. Kew Grove was about as far from the beach as you could get in Raumati Beach. Anyway, my mother left early for work, and came home late. Perfect for me to turn up the stereo and dance alone of my own volition. And then, of course, in the years before streaming (pay attention children) you had to listen to what some other prick chose and put on the radio and it was beautiful and frustrating and, yes, I used to wait all night for the rock transmissions.
The crushing weight of having to listening to Kylie Minogue followed by Mel and Kim followed by Rick Astley (all fronts for the dreaded Stock, Aitken and Waterman), and then the heady thrill when they played The Sun Always Shines on TV.
Seriously though, the lyrics on American Dream by LCD Soundsystem are really, really good.
And all the hits are saying the same thing
There’s only tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight
Then life is finite
But shit, it feels like forever
It feels like forever
But you can’t have two songs by the same person (it’s a rule I made up).
There was a band called Quicksand who were in the grunge scene in the 90s and I never heard of them. Good story. Their latest single I like a lot.
You can be the beautiful one
Shine a light
Of broken sounds
Between language and thought
“broken sounds between language and thought.” That kind of line is exactly why I liked grunge so much more than the G’n’R rock it replaced. It’s also why all the grunge stars are dead, and all the rockers are doing reunion tours. Internalised emotional pain versus externalised emotional pain. Taking it out on yourself leads to suicide, taking it out on others leads to jail time or rehab or bicycle shorts.
Fucking bicycle shorts.
No Man Is Big Enough for My Arms. Ibeyi.
Fucking bicycle shorts. And six packs. Fast foooooooooood. Las Vegas. Pokies. Good ole boys. Bump stocks. Semi-automatic death, automatic death, manual. Confederate flags over Civil War heroes. This Land is our Land.
It’s Thanksgiving soon. Go take pumpkin pie down to the reservation.
You can’t get No Man is Big Enough for My Arms on Youtube. Therefore Nina from her album Pastel Blues.