Monday, January 11, 2016

The River is a Bitch and a Blessing

Ah, yes, this is familiar. Cue the Tangerine Dream. The hallowed halls of The Hardworlders. Grand splendor…though tragically silent. Cold. Baudelaire’s “Parisian Dream.” Behold the busts lining great hall! Austere men of ignoble lineage. Silence. White eyes; no eyeballs. Every face a map and a tale. Broad foreheads. Expansive, penetrating eyes! The Names: Stanfield. Graybill. Wirtala. Jacob…George…

Yes, ancestors to our own selves in this broken accordion that we call space and time. What were these bumbling Titans up to, way back then, six ridge lines over to the left? Play the song, goddamnit, make the monkey dance! Seoul? Tokyo? New York City? While not exactly young, they were far-flung. Grizzled, existential road warriors, made hard by the Night. It’s a creaky sort of instrument, the accordion. It produces a weird, haunting sound. 

Fuck it, I want a moon taco! But wait. The moon taco must wait. It’s early, but the early hours mustn’t make us heavy. They cannot weigh us down with the grim specter of the realities of the forthcoming day…or the deliciously weird stylings of the otherworldly taco down the street.  Oh no, Hardworlders. We must drink. We must fly. But right now, there is but two of us, so Jeff, my friend, take what I give to thee: I know, I know: EARLY. Yes, perhaps, but see how your reluctance recedes? (shaking drink) Welcome to my home. Yes, I live in Austin now. Cherrywood district, if you must know. But enough of setting the setting: Do you feel the power, my good compadre? Yes, I know you do. This is a fancy cocktail, all the rage at the moment. It’s the Last Word. Equal parts Chartreuse, gin and Luxardo with…some other shit. Don’t you worry about that. Just drink it. No, drink. None of this flimsy feigning! This hollow refusal! Such gestures are for the Chumps! Not our gang. Stop throwing your hand in the air! Yes, I know that you’re a father now. “Responsibilities, blahblahblah!”  But hey, Be a Lemmy sort of dad. He just died, you know. So what? So what? Be a real role model, Daug. Yes, thats right. Now you’re beginning to see the light. Now you’re ready for the fight. Theeeeere you go. You see? Myself? Oh, I’m just having a beer. Mundane for moi, maximum class for thee. That’s how we’re gonna get this leaky boat out on to the river. Our vessel: The HMS Hardworlder, navigating the river of time. Bullshit behind us, bends and nooks aplenty ahead, but, at the moment, right here, right the fuck now. Huh. Now is then. Whatever, fuck it all- let’s launch this rickety-ramshackle iron clad into the dangerous drink! 

Yes. Now we’re going. Gotta abandon this stoner sort of analysis. Action requires killing. Wait! Let’s ease off the throttle a bit, Wirtala! Get out of your head and get on that river! To where? Well Daug, I don’t know. Time is tricky. The river is elusive. Too many goddamn sloughs! Off shoots that get us nowhere. Let’s turn around and look at where we’ve been, aight? Let’s get out bearings here. Where, exactly, back there, did we launch this thing? 2010? When did our holy sloop hit the bank? Also 2010. Holy shit! How can a year look so simultaneously futuristic and yet feel so goddamned old? There it is though, behind us all the same. Who…well, let’s just throw some more wood in here and get the steam up. Kurtz is around here somewhere. Maybe, if we’re lucky, old Werner will bring his camera and his keen eye and make this all more memorable. But we’ll see about that- he is, after-all, getting kind of old. Rickety old Kraut, he is set to join Lemmy sometime soon. Until then, The Big Party beyond the river will just have to be poorly documented. 

Yes, Jeff. The recording. Our soul is in peril without one. Where’s Herzog? Where is his iPad? Frozen in time. But even recordings fade.. or, they used to. Now, things are getting weird. The recordings are going toe to toe with actual experience. More real than real. They’re quicker. They’re customized. They’re dictated. But shit. That’s a hell of a slough to go down. Too much, man, too much. Yes. Let us continue down the river. 

2010…darling, let’s turn back the years. Where the fuck were we? Here, on the 9th day of the newborn 2016, that is a considerable chunk of river, in human terms. Six years of bullshit. Myself, I was in New York, odd notions of a musical career, but mainly shooting sideways- wonderfully, albeit- but largely running fast and loose around that cruel, marvelous city with a blinding bit of new found freedom, romping around Williamsburg without a plan and generally waking up red eyed on Josh Wright’s Ikea couch every morning to the cold gray dawn as my benefactor hopped over me on his way out the door to work. (The Ikea, couch, you understand, is a low to the floor foldout piece of furniture.) It was an interesting intersection of hedonism, weird, nebulous ambition and good ol’ fashioned Good Times Gang hanging out. 

At bottom, it’s always hanging out. 

But it was an important time for me. 

And Daug, you were embedded in a true foreign land, our own personal Marco Polo to the East, were you not? A brand ambassador of cool to those who knew it not. How could those tender little Korean kinders have known anything, otherwise? What, were they going to just acquire an early knowledge of Norwegian black metal all on their own? No. Absolutely not. Whatever the Satanic theologians may say, that sort of thing is just not a priori. Education is required. A true, died-in black-hero had to turn up on that scene, and that hero was you. I look forward to the cultural output of South Korea in 2025! Once the Stanfield Generation hits the scene, shit is gonna get  dark and tight. And, fortunately for all music lovers, the world will probably look the part for the fully formed Korean black metal scene. Dead oceans, besotted air and beautiful, bare expanses of scorched earth. I just hope they know and understand the gift we’re leaving them. But I guess we’ll try to tell them, what, with all the free time we’ll have hunkering under the earth’s surface. Because the free tribes will be digging. Believe it.

Odds are, even then, they won’t. By that I mean the understanding, the appreciation from The Youth. The digging will just be a fact of life. Rock and roll never dies.  We never appreciate the gifts given down from on High. Particularly when we’re young. Let’s just say it now, then, with the humility of a true saint: Future, you are welcome. Underground, the kids will be into overground music. Predictably, they’ll call it Uberground. Anything to carve a niche, right? We just can’t deny the kids their right to fight. If we just gave it to them, then it would be a sad party. 

Now, back to the Now. Austin, Texas. Here in this enviable city, within its Limits. Humps and hurdles amid the nouveau Riche, toiling like a unconvinced maggot within its commodified corpse. After all that seasonal fare, all those years, I have been trying to make an honest man of myself. Indeed- acquire an honest service industry job, put in my thirty to forty hours a week, establish a healthy, reasonable regimen. In short, learn to love a limited life. It hasn’t been that easy…it takes a while. But yeah. A lot of the blame starts and ends with yours truly. I can’t consider this line of work -servitude- a proper calling. The Industry wants respect, it wants dignity,  and therefore, demands your passion. It’s not enough to just maneuver your body and your brain. No, not in laid back Austin. They want your precious soul. You got be passionate about sustenance. 

So, yeah, there is that nauseating hurdle to flop over. Grackles know no hurdles, however, so thus I power on. Learn from the indigenous population.

 Acquire the power of the grackle, Wirtala.

Within this bullshit snow globe, I have labored. Theatre’s of menial toil, often where boredom becomes pure pain. Dormant on a rock, in the middle of the raging river. The work itself: just a bunch of flopping around. But hey, Mr. Stanfield, that is another entry. I’ll document the flopping on the deck of the work boat. It’s around here on the river. Never very far. That would be the infamous HMS Motherfucker. It is a black, partially submerged, ugly beast. Primitive, yes… but potent. But I have to save that vitriol for another nook on this fiendish river. 

Not to be negligent of the good in the good things in my life: I have a goddamn gorgeous, fiercely intelligent lady, a job that’s ridiculously easy on my nerves- hell, even a bit lucrative- and I live in a slice of this dead city that might as well hoist itself onto the top of a mountain, raise a flag and let loose on a bugle to proclaim Itself as the sacred destination to the Third World. “This is what your fighting for!” Civilization, reasonable prosperity, babies everywhere. I live in the bosom the American Dream. But even here, in the dream…the grackles. 

But Christ. A testament to my lack of passion: Daug, I see that your glass is bare to the bone. No more! Put. That. Hand. Down. Your feeble protests do not register with me. Shush! Hands down goddammit. We’re just getting going here. Here. Trust me. Just sniff this. Well, it’s more along the lines of a long nasal suck. Don’t look at me like that. You need this. Alright. See? You feel better. And here’s your beverage. It’s something called a Vegas bomb. I don’t know…just drink the fucker. I know what I’m doing here. 

Better, right? Right. Yeh, I can see the difference. Hold on. Snooooooooort. Jesus! I love Austin!

Right now, I should be at the gym. I should be enjoying the benefits of The Routine. Fitness. Strange, latent childhood ambition. Racquetball, back from the dead. Haunting my dreams for too long. But no…it’s unfortunately time to go the other direction. It’s time to go to this  coffee house, drink 8% beer and hammer away at my imbecilic discontent. (hours later) And it is also time to sit at the bar, hashing out this entry.

They say that one has to commit, and lo, Jeff, I have committed. I just can’t sell Austin short before i give it the real test…the proper odyssey. On foot. I guess that is what I just goddamn did. Graveyards were walked through. I turned at the fading light to reflect upon the fading out of Gangs of New York…and I pontificated. I pontificated hard. In Anchorage crosstown treks were the norm. Not so much here. This is unfortunate. One does not really, truly know a town until one walks it. The silent spaces, unmolested by advertisement and human endeavor. Quietude, in a word. When you drive, it’s really about you. You are getting to where you are going! The You Show is going on all cylinders. But, when you slow it down and traverse a landscape, a cityscape, etc…you become peripheral. It’s better like that. It’s healthier like that. 

But the routine, the great cycle. “Jamaican Gold” is done. That means it’s two o’clock on a Sunday. That means I have to work in an hour. I have to open up Wonderland. it’s tough, the routine. In theory, I mean. It is both our captor and our benefactor. Vacation is a lovely thing. Aberration is divine…but it all hinges on the structure. 

These bloody posts are kind of like riding a bull. The bull always wins. But The Ride is what counts. Temporality is in the matrix of the enterprise. This blog is gonna be a sort of a poor man’s Proustian affair. I think others will join in. I know more than a few prousts with potential. Everybody has an accordion locked up somewhere. But for this moment, this note of the chord, Jeff, ’tis just me and you. Let’s liven up this fucking hall. I’m pouring you wine into the skull of Townes Van Zandt. Drink up, good buddy.

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