Sunday, June 29, 2003

Quality Control

Hmmmm, this one song entry a day has become a little untenable. I had been expecting to write, oh, about a paragraph or so for each entry, but as you can see, the entries have been rather on the long side. I've spent about 4 hours total. Live and learn. I'll continue to write about songs, but maybe one every other day instead of daily.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

"Horrorhead" by Curve

Maybe this entry should be subtitled "How Toni Halliday Has Sabatoged Marty Stark's Love Life."

I'm having trouble beginning this entry. I could begin with how Curve is one of those bands that was three years ahead of its time -- Butch Vig, the founder of Garbage, had wanted to produce Curve's third album. That never happened. Instead Garbage released its first album in 1995 to much radio play and success. Curve released its first album, Doppleganger, in 1992 to almost no radio play, no promotion and very little success -- the band would be dropped or entangled in legal troubles with its various record companies for the next decade. Yet if you compare Curve's Doppleganger to Garbage's self-titled album, you would've thought Curve ripped Garbage off if you didn't know Curve put out its album 3 years before Garbage. In fact, when Curve released its third album, Come Clean, in 1998, a lot of the uneducated masses thought Curve was just a Garbage ripoff.

See, I could begin with the whole Curve / Garbage thing, but that's not relevant to why I've spent an inordinate amount of time and money hunting down import EPs and remixes of a band that's only put out four albums in ten years. I guess why I've listed "Horrorhead" is because of sex.

Before you get the wrong idea, this is not a "Marty Stark's First Time" entry. It's more of a "Why Marty Stark Is The Way He Is" entry.

Anyway, so, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Curve. So you might have an idea of what Curve sounds like since I mentioned Garbage. But Shirley Manson is to Curve as jacking off is to having sex.

So in 1992, I was a sophomore at Duke. One of the local record stores had a row of CD players for customers to preview CDs, which was a bit deal back in 1992 when tapes were still neck and neck with compact discs. I had heard a Curve song, "Galaxy", on a friend of a friend's mix tape. It sounded different enough that the name stuck and I decided to preview Doppleganger when I saw it in the store.

I put on the headphones, and the first track "Already Yours" blew me away. I was hit with a layer upon layer of noise and guitars and beats, all ridden like a surfer on a wave by Toni Halliday's voice, a sexy breathy definitely female voice. When she sang "Voices of angels are in our blood," with her voice agained double layered over that chorus and singing "La da da" in a child-like voice, you felt like you were flying.

However, the second track, "Horror Head", is the one I had on repeat in my headphones. Despite the title, the song isn't a gothic downer at all. It's breezy, it's noisy, it's goddamn sensual and sexy. The song starts with four cooing, petulant, teasing "Hhheeeeeeeeey," and before each "hhheeeeeey," there's a sharp intake of breath. With headphones on, you can almost feel Toni whispering in your ear. Then the guitars and the noise kick in, imitating the "Hhhheeeeeeeey". When Toni starts singing "Fireworks, red and green . . .", she's accompanied by her own voice again, a light "bum bah bah bah bah." The "Hhheeeeeeeeey's" kick back in. When Toni sings, "There's horror in my head When the blanket is gone," she's growling it, she's purring it with a mad hunger.

I fell in love with that voice. See, what Toni can do that Shirley cannot is go from a child-like breathy petulance to a sexy low animalistic growl in a heartbeat. Shirley can't do the petulance, and Butch Vig's clean production leaves Shirley's attempt at sexiness very clinical and formulaic. It's a model's catwalk down the runway instead of a slow seduction.

Since Doppleganger, I've spent hours upon hours searching for everything that Curve has ever released. I bought two of Garbage's album just like a smackhead goes on methadone when he can't get his horse fix. I haven't found any band that's an adequate substitute for Curve - that wall of noise and that sometimes smokey sometimes cooing voice.

So how has Toni Halliday sabatoged my love life? Because what I want in a relationship is something densely layered so I find something new with every meeting, that seduction, that cooing, and I haven't found it yet. When folks do try to set me up, it's with Shirley -- a relationship that almost everyone else is perfectly happy with. I've gone out with a lot of Shirley's on my own as well. And maybe if I didn't know Toni existed, I'd be settled down by now.

Stupid Curve.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Where is my Mind?
You're smart, shy, and often nonsensical. You have dreams of being famous, and you're quirky enough that you just might pull them off. Some would call you a genius, others would call you insane, but in reality you're pretty well-adjusted. Take a vacation once in a while- it'll help take your mind off of your troubles.
Which Pixies song are you?

"Monkey Gone To Heaven" by the Pixies

Despite the fact that I was a music junkie since 1985 when my dad decided to put his old stereo in my bedroom, despite the fact that I had been interested in the lower end of the Weekly Top 40 and that I was listening to "alternative" bands like Depeche Mode and New Order in 1986, my first choice for the "Song That Changed My Life" is from an album that came out in 1989, four years and thousands of hours of staying up to watch 120 Minutes and listening to crap pop stations (because they only had crap pop stations back then, alternative wouldn't become a viable commercial option until the early nineties) for the one New Order song later.

I was a senior in a Pittsburgh high school in 1989. There was a great alternative station when I moved to Pittsburgh two years prior, and about half the kids in high school listened to it. Unfortunately, Gen X teenagers were living in a recession at the time, so they didn't have the same disposable income as their Gen Y younger siblings would have in the nineties. With the lack of ad revenue coming in (who wants to advertise on a station whose listeners had no money?), the station eventually went to a Top 40 format in 1988 (unsuccessfully I might add) and then to a "Greatest Mix of the 60s, 70s and 80s" station by the time I left for college.

The only source for alternative music other than the one-hour dance program that played intermittently on Sundays at 7pm was a weird little half-hour video show on, of all channels, the local PBS affiliate. Weirder still, one of the hosts was Scott Paulsen, a morning DJ on WDVE, a power rock station that all the guys with mullets listened to regularly for their Whitesnake and Poison fix. Kind of a strange choice for someone to host a video show of European shoegazer synth bands.

Anyway, my family must have been watching CNN or something downstairs because I was relegated to watching the ten-inch screen TV in the 'rents bedroom. I was waiting to get my Echo/DM/New Order fix, and the weird PBS video show was the only place to get it. For some reason, I'd been more interested in alternative music ever since I started listening to music -- maybe (at the risk of sounding like a precocious music snob) it was because I never really fit in with everyone else and my preference in alternative music was a manifestation of that ambivalence I had towards everyone -- shunning the mainstream yet wanting to be accepted somewhere. Or maybe pop music in the 80s was just utter crap.

I can't remember what season it was, or what I was doing other than watching this weird PBS video show. I do know that one of the videos was from this supposedly influential prog-electronica band, Wire. By influential, I guess they mean really annoying - the video was this random skinny chiqua wandering around some anonymous Brit city, and the song was blips and bleeps with an annoying falsetto voice singing what sounded like "Cheese Cloth" over and over again. The hosts were one the same wavelength as I, they started singing "Cheese Cloth" in a falsetto voice after the video.

I wasn't paying attention when they introduced the next video. I just heard this guitar and bass playing the same deep chords, and then this guy's voice almost half asleep intoning "There was a guy, an underwater guy who controlled the sea . . ." The bass was at the forefront for most of the song, playing the same notes over and over only to be broken up by jarring dissonant guitar chords. This guy's voice was a sleepy monotone for most of the song, accompanied by a equally sleepy female voice for the main chorus of "This Monkey's Gone To Heaven." The lyrics were surreal, though not in a bad depressed twelfth-grade goth girl writing poems for the high school lit journal way. More like in a Dali-esque limp watch sort of way. Soon, the sleepy voice started building up and worked into a frenzy, screaming "if the devil is six, then GOD IS SEVEN, THEN GOD IS SEVEN . . ."

The song didn't hit me right away. I dismissed it like I dismissed the crap cheese cloth song from Wire. Yet for the next week, I had that bass line in my head, and that female voice crooning "this monkey's gone to heaven," and that wild ass screaming of "THEN GOD IS SEVEN." The weird PBS video show played it again the very next week (though it never played the cheese cloth video), and that's when I learned about The Pixies. I bought the album from which "Monkey Gone to Heaven" came, Doolittle, and put it on repeat in my crap cd player (to be fair to my parents who bought me the CD player, all CD players were crap back then).

Even if the local alternative station survived, it would've never played the Pixies. Hell, even alternative stations now like KROQ don't play the Pixies. Yet, I would learn later after I started reading music mags in college, the Pixies had a devout following among other bands. Members of Nirvana would say that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" sounded for all the world like a Pixies song.

Now how did "Monkey Gone To Heaven" change my life? New Order, Depeche Mode and all the alternative bands I'd listening to up that point had satisfied a need for something different, a soundtrack to my life that wasn't part of the normal high school football popular rah rah rah life that everyone else seemed to be leading. Yet when I heard "Monkey Gone To Heaven" and Doolittle, I realized that I wasn't completely satisfied. New Order, Depeche Mode, and the rest of the Brit bands heavy on the synthesizers? They were different, but they were safe (don't get me wrong, I still listen to New Order, sometimes safe is what you need in a hectic world). They had legions of fans and radio stations that would play them. Hell, even now, the 00's version of the crappy "mix of the last 3 decade" stations my high school friends hated now played New Order and Depeche Mode on an hourly basis.

On the other hand, the Pixies weren't safe. Without "Monkey Gone to Heaven," my music tastes wouldn't be as open and ecletic as it is. On a more fundamental note (because "I would've had less CDs is not a huge life change), they opened my eyes to a different path. None of my high school friends and none of my friends now ever listened to them (though strangely, a couple of women I've dated listen to them, I don't know if that should be a red flag for my chosen lifestyle). Radio stations don't play them. Yet that doesn't change the fact that they still kicked ass, and that probably every alt rock band in the nineties folks listened to (e.g. Nirvana) listened to the Pixies. They followed a different path.

Maybe I'm about to stretch this path analogy too far, but it feels right to me. New Order, Depeche Mode? As I mentioned before, flip on any 80s radio station, you'll hear at least one song by them within a couple of hours. And the folks who tend to listen to these stations are well-educated white collar folk. Then there's the pop stuff on the radio, and the unfortunate nu-metal rap-metal crap-metal stuff on the alternative stations - those folks who listen to these stations are the blue collar folk. (Maybe an overgeneralization to be sure, but I never saw a Brittany Spears CD in a lawyer's office, well, not an unspoiled one anyways.) Sure, New Order is different from Brittany and Limp Sum Staind Bizket, but it's still a nine-to-five path their respective listeners lead.

You won't hear the Pixies on any of the aforementioned stations (except for maybe "Here Comes Your Man," a song Black Francis refused to play for a while because he felt it was too pop). But that doesn't change the fact that they were influential and they rocked. They showed that there is a path outside the nine-to-five path. It's not too far of a stretch to say that, without the Pixies, I might be still stuck in a career I hated because I couldn't see any other alternative, or even worse, see alternatives but not have the guts to take them.

Dancing to Architecture

File this under "Put It Out There So You'll Have To Do This" - I've been toying with an idea for the last couple of weeks. The novel tentatively entitled "Angry Yellow" is taking a musical bent. The Chinkies are going to be running storyline, so I best be able to write about music. I had fun writing the June 3rd entry (OK, maybe I'll figure out how to link that, but for now, you'll just have to get there manually). In the meantime, I've also been finishing up Nick Hornby's Songbook, haven't blogged as much as I wanted to, and been suffering from insane writers block.

Anyway, while halfway through Songbook, I thought about writing little entries on songs that inspired me, that were pivotal in my life, or that I just can't get out of my head. (And if you're thinking, "Hey, ripoff!" Ppphhht, you're talking to a guy who had the second highest grade in his Intellectual Property class and who defended a copyright infringement case -- you can't copyright a concept, only the expression of that concept). Most of the titles to my blog entries are lyrics from songs anyway. I thought maybe writing at least one entry a day about a song will kill a murder of crows with one stone - I'll improve my ability to write about music, I'll write more on the blog and I'll hopefully get through this writer's block. So, given that I'm bored on a Friday night, why not start now. This will last until I run out of songs, paying stuff happens, or, well, I just get sick of it. Here we go . . . (Umm, given this reverse chron Memento-like setup, the first song entry is above this, heh heh)

This is what you get when you mess with us . . .

I found out today that the associate who started the same day I gave notice left Phuqued Firm. Last week, she sent an e-mail to Phuqued Firm saying that she had a family emergency and wouldn't be in the office. Apparently, sometime this week, she sent another e-mail saying she wasn't coming back.

I hope everything is OK with the associate -- she seemed like good folk. But I have to admit there was a little bit, OK, a lot of glee learning that she left Phuqued Firm. For those of you that aren't counting, that's four associates in two months that have left what was a twelve-person firm when I was there. The Take The Moral High Road part of me feels kinda guilty about finding happiness in this, but the Kicked In The Balls For Eleven Months part of me has a nice warm fuzzy feeling and is currently blowing cigar smoke in the Take The Moral High Road's face.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

He took to the woods and wandered in it . . .

See, this is the drawback to not blogging regularly. It goes from "Yay, I'm going out" to "Yawn, I'm going out." So the third date with Liberal Chick? I get the "I don't view you romantically," which frankly was a relief. Hmmm, maybe a further rewind is in order.

Second date with Liberal Chick was at this club, and I was expecting dancing. No dancing was to be had that night. The DJ was boring and the hip hop was ho hum. So we buzz outta there and grab a couple of drinks at this sports bar. In the yellow lighting of the pool hall, I looked over at her and realized that I didn't find her attractive.

So why the third date then? I'm ashamed to admit it was because it was something to do, and she probably felt the same way. Also, I gave her the benefit of the doubt for the lack of spark from the second date. Maybe she was having a tough week. We had fun tonight at a poetry jam (hey, it is more fun than it sounds), and I walked her back to her car. Despite the fact that I really didn't feel like kissing her, I asked if I could. That's when she gave me the "I don't view you romantically" line. I know that sounds rather passive-aggressive of me, but hell, if she said yes I could kiss her I would've. That's the male part of me.

I don't feel too bad about this. The lesson I learned from Bees Knees is that I don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with me. At the very least, I'm reminded that I can have a prolonged conversation with a woman I don't know, make her laugh, and not be a complete freako.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

All I Wanted Was A Diet Pepsi

I know I should let go of the anger, let it flow out of my system so that it puddles in limpid pools upon the ground and evaporates leaving rainbows of happiness and iridescent mists of therapeutic adjustment. Ppppphhhhht.

I had lunch with yet another associate leaving Phuqued Firm. She informed me that Phuqued Firm was very unhappy with the quality of work of the two associates they had brought in to replace us. It reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer cocks up his position as sanitation commissioner, and Springfield votes the former commissioner, Ray Patterson voiced by Steve Martin, back in. Upon hearing the result, Ray says, "Oh gosh. You know, I'm not much on speeches, but, it's so gratifying to leave you wallowing in the mess you've made. You're screwed. Thank you. Good bye."

And ah, when you work out where to draw the line . . .

Snippet of a Month-and-a-Half Old Conversation - "Well, at least I have a job."

Unspoken Response: "Hey, you have a job, we're all proud of you, Golden Boy. You've also broke the time record for putting on Golden Handcuffs. I mean, within your first six months working at Phuqued Firm, you buy a car whose monthly payment is about three-fourths of my rent, you get engaged to a woman you had been sleeping around on at least a month into your engagement and who has made it very clear she wants two kids and a house within a year after the marriage, and that's on top of student loan payments and all the asundry bills you had before you started working. And let's not forget that Phuqued Firm pays you half as much for twice the work you'd be doing at a second-tier firm. Good for you, Golden Boy."

Thursday, June 19, 2003

My My My My My Boogie Shoes

So theory number 3 is temporarily out.

Liberal Chick and I are meeting at the Zanzibar, the club which replaced the dearly departed West End (may it rest in peace in Flair Heaven), Saturday night, which is the dance music residency. Hmmm, I guess that's all I have to say about that. Well, plus I've had the stupid "Boogie Shoes" song in my head since we've confirmed the date.

Monday, June 16, 2003

This Is How I End Up Getting Sucked In

The traveling dreams are back.

My waking dream started out as a live video game. I was with a group of about twenty men in full combat gear, lined up at the entrance to an aircraft carrier. We were only allowed two weapons, a small pistol and an semi-automatic assault rifle. We had only one clip of ammo for both, but we could pick up additional ammo as well as switch to different weapons once the game began. I was debating whether or not to get rid of the pistol and pick up an rpg if I could find one, but decided to stick with the weapons I had - I figured that most of the time would be spent in the narrow corridors of the carrier where maneuverability was at a premium and an rpg could end up blowing you to bits as well as the nasties that you'd be fighting. The buzzer rang to indicate the game would begin. Our job was to exterminate spectral presences in the aircraft carrier.

Instead of rushing through the entrance, I decided to pick up additional ammo that was laying around the floor - it was dangerous to run out of ammo in mid-fire fight. Stairs led up from the entrance to the exterior of the carrier. I looked over the side to see a gray ocean that was slowly beginning to freeze over.

The game no longer existed. I was a passenger on the aircraft carrier that had been converted into a transport ship. Everyone else was in the process of getting acquianted with the layout of the ship and the activities that would be made available to the passengers. Me, I had been lugging heavy baggage for what seemed like forever. I looked out at the ocean for a little while longer, but then slowly began to feel nauseous. I checked the map of the carrier to find my room, which was on the starboard side in the fore of the ship. I wanted to settle in as my payment for transport wasn't money but services - I was to mediate any military disputes that would arise.

In the dream I had the night before, I was trying to leave a hotel up in the Nevada mountains. Snow capped the black, jagged peaks, and it was freezing despite the fact it was June.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Whatever Happened To My Rock N Roll [Punk Song]

What up, 24 Hour Party People. Yeah, I know, it's been four days since the date with Liberal Chick and nary a peep from me in the Blogosphere. Most of my unplugged friends know the 411 and have given me their various thoughts ranging from "She's protecting herself from getting hurt" to "She's tellin' you you're not the one." OK, so we don't do the non-chronological Memento thing, let's rewind a bit.

Thursday night, the bar of the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Lighting is dark, furniture is all old wood with black varnish. There's a guy crooning away at the grand piano belting out the good ol' tunes -- Bobby Darin, Chairman of the Board. So in she walks and she looks just a tad older than her pic, but no biggie, she has a nice smile and great gams. We order mojitos and for the next two and a half hours, we just sit talking and laughing. Our music tastes are so similar it's on the verge of "Get outta my head, now!" (Her photo on was taken while a compilation from Hed Kandi records was playing, a compilation I have - I only know two women who've heard of Hed Kandi, one of them is in London and one is in Florida). She laughed at almost everything I said, not just a petite tight-lipped smile chuckle, but the type that laughs that makes you squeeze your eyes, open your mouth and lean forward trying to catch your breath type of laughs.

So I'm thinking this isn't a bad first date at all. Then, out of nowhere, Liberal Chick says, "So, I think you're a great guy, we share the same tastes in music and you've made me laugh. I know someone I can see live music with. Who knows where this will lead, you might fall in love with one of my friends or find someone else. I don't know where this will lead, I might find someone on and so might you. We've just met, so I don't know. Let's just take this a step at a time."

Ummmmmmmmm, OK. I was weirded out because, hell, I thought all of the above was the unspoken default on first dates. My weirded out state must have shown, cuz she looked concerned.

I told her that frankly, I was in shock because, well, I thought what she said was understood already.

In my head, I thought, crap, if she was actually interested in pursuing this further, there'd be no reason to bring this all up.

I said, "Hmmm, is this a 'nice guy but . . .' speach, or a 'let's take it slow' speech?"

She said, "I'm very honest, and my friends say I don't have much tact. I'm saying how I feel, and I'm telling you we just met so I don't know where this is going to lead." (Errr, again, I'm thinking, yeah, isn't that the case with all first dates though?) "Um, I'm kinda new at this." I didn't press that last comment.

Anyway, I got the check shortly thereafter (parking garage closes at 11 so I needed to leave lest I be stuck in Beverly Hills). I walked her to her car and gave her a hug. She said, "So, find out what bands are playing around the area in the next couple of weeks." I said, "Sure, I'll call or e-mail you soon."

I e-mailed her the next day just in case she may have felt embarrassed by her little weird outburst, let her know I had a wonderful time and I'll be checking the live music scene to find a gig to catch. The same day, she e-mailed me back and said she had a nice time too and would also be checking the local band scene. I guess the fact she e-mailed me the same date instead of not responding shows some interest.

So the theories:

1. "[T]hat she was saying that outloud more for herself than for you. [S]he was having a great time with you and suddenly realized that since it was a first date, who knows what would happen to protect herself in case you didn't want to see her again, she said that stuff."

2. "She had a fun time, but it was the first date. She didn't want to give you the impression that it wasn't anything more than a first date."

3. "She had a fun time, but she didn't think of pursuing it romantically. She probably shouldn't have said what she said."

Anyway, I have found a musician who's playing locally in the next couple of weeks. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Three Strange Days . . .

In the last 72 hours, I've:

1. Done my best to be a stand up and righteous guy;

2. Fucked up one of the tires of the Starkmobile right after I paid it off;

3. Written enough for two chapters, but not for the novel - it was worth it (see first point);

4. Rediscovered something that kept me sane during my years in BigLaw;

5. Been told I rock and that I'm a good man by couple of folks I respect (see first point);

6. Going through alternate moods of giddiness and terror (terrodness? giddirror?) as I prepare to meet Liberal Chick tomorrow; and

7. Wished I could've spent my legal career helping out people I respect instead of being a hired gun / cog in the machine for mulit-milliion dollar pissing contests (see first point).

Sunday, June 08, 2003

. . . I Feel The Safest Of All

Whoo hoo! I paid off the car and finally got the title.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

I Feel It Closing In

This is the fourth (or is it fifth) straight day straight of June gloom. I know I shouldn't be complaining because, hell, I was still able to wear shorts in January while my East Coast friends were trudging through slush. But you know, you get spoiled, and this minor cloudiness is making me feel all depressed and maudlin. I can't get Joy Division songs out of my head and I can't get motivated to write the goddamn novel. I get all paranoid, then pissed at myself for getting paranoid, about liberal chick not writing me back even though I know she's uber busy and has always written back before (and even if she is blowing me off, so what, it's LA, this is cute chiqua central).

Anyway, here I go on a random tangent. Ian Curtis - has a wife, a kid, a mortgage and a band about to go on an American tour. You may hate Joy Division's music (it's so bleak, it's so repetitive), but you'll have to admit, it makes you feel something, and that's where he succeeded brilliantly. After listening to Joy Division, you will think of "Love Will Tear It Apart" anytime it rains, or you go through a massive breakup. That's why everyone, including yours truly, thinks he's a genius. Right on the edge of success, he goes home and hangs himself. Jeff Buckley - puts out one incredible album, the type of album that's in every major bands CD player, in every music critics top-10 list. While recording his second album, he waded out into the Memphis River and drowned. So what the hell is it that drives these guys to self-annihilation right before success? (Don't worry, this is not a cry for help. This comes out of watching 24 Hour Party People and the dead-on portrayal of Ian Curtis). Sigh.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Day In, Day Out

Hmmm, no more blogging sessions at 2 in the morning. Today I was almost totally useless. I scrapped all but the first two sentences of the three pages I wrote yesterday. At least I did character sketches for Angry Yellow. Anyway, creativity is a violent, painful process, much like birth blah blah blah. OK, now that I got the pseudo-deepness out of the way, this is tough going. At least when I was writing a motion, the law was already set out. It was almost a matter of filling in the blanks (OK, it wasn't as easy as filling in the blanks, you had to make the motion persuasive as well as informative, but at least you had some building blocks). With the novel, I'm starting with almost a blank slate. Hmmmm, maybe a bunch of dots to connect into a coherent picture is a better analogy. I have all these random bits that I do want in the novel, but a novel also has to have momentum and a theme.

Also, today reminded me that writing is an iterative process. When I was drafting the background of the main character, Josh Chang, something in his past, a throw away detail, sounded interesting enough to have a novel in and of itself. Josh started a punk band in college called "The Chinkies" - an all Asian band started as a joke and a protest against the campus Asian student association. They kicked him out because all he could play was the keyboards, and no punk band has keyboards. He wanted to play guitar, but his parents never let him because "guitar" wasn't a serious instrument, it was either piano or violin. Now, the novel was mainly going to be about Josh in his early thirties, dealing with the whole, "Caught between two culture" thing with a "I'm thirty-three and life is passing me by" light though piquant subtheme. But if I make The Chinkies a major part, that's going to require a reworking. Phhht.

Dance Dance Dance To The Radio

OK, this is what 6 Shiner Bock's and watching 24 Hour Party People gets ya, it gets ya a random list of covers, songs and remixes that are never to be. Here we go in no particular order:

Joy Division's cover of the Doors "Rider on the Storm" - Done in 1981 after Joy Division returns from their American tour. Rumor has it that Ian Curtis was inspired after hanging out with Ray Manzarek and doing some peyote at the Whisky A-Go-Go. Truth is much simpler. There's something about Jim Morrison's death that makes Ian scared and sad, the contrast between the LA sun and the Mancunian grayness, that makes Ian want to record it, to make "Rider" in the Mancunian image. NME labels Joy Division a sell-out, Rolling Stone savages the "Blue Monday" album from which the single comes. The single makes Joy Division an international hit and Ian a sex symbol. He is assasinated in Paris in 1992 by a crazed Morrison fan from Seattle.

Massive Attack's remix of Radiohead's "OK Computer" - Although making an album together nearly drives 3D, Mushroom and Daddy G apart, working on a full album of songs not of their creation brings them back together. Working with a full album that's already there and exploring the variations of the themes waiting to be discovered, it reinvigorates Massive Attack. A year later, Massive Attack releases "Memory and Dream Storage" - lush orchestral arrangements filled with dark dread and hope, Shirley Manson, Horace Andy and Beth Gibbons on vocals.

Garbage's first album "Dirty" - Although Butch Vig asked Shirley Manson to be the lead, she decided to stay with her little known band Angelfish. Luckily, Toni Halliday of Curve, of which Butch Vig is a huge fan and a major inspiration for Vig to cross the window from producer to band member, decides to give up on Dean Garcia as a musical collaborator. The ability of Toni to switch from a child-like breathy petulance to a sexy panther-like growl in the space of three heartbeats propels the first single, "As Heaven Is Wide," up the alternative charts. Portions of five tracks from "Dirty" make it on to Nike and Victoria's Secrets commercials. Garbage is able to get Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys to do guest vocals on "Push It" from Garbage's second album, "Cherry." Garbage does the them to the James Bond flick "Die Another Day," with Toni in a minor role as a villainess. Toni is listed at People's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1999.

Jeff Buckley's second album "New Year's Prayer" - In a 1999 EW interview after Jeff won his first Grammy and the week before his first movie role (about a singer trying to leave the shadow of his deceased folk-singer father -- film directed by Curtis Hanson entitled "Mystery White Boy"), Jeff chuckles about the panic he created after he waded into the Memphis river, and dismisses any idea that Tom Verlaine and he hate each other after Jeff decided to scrap the material he recorded with Tom. In a sidebar article, Tom agrees that, after listening to "New Year's Prayer," Jeff was right.

My Bloody Valentine's second album "Want More, Need Less."

Monday, June 02, 2003

In A Seaside Town . . .

So the June Gloom has hit Lalaland. Gray overcast skies that also bring a cool breeze through my dining area window. The gray makes me mopey, the breeze makes me nostalgic. If I'm not careful, I'll end up listening to The Smiths and Joy Division all day while being a miserable sod (OK, a more miserable than usual sod).

Anyway, so today was the first day of writing the novel. Ummm, I'm viewing today as a "Well, you know it's gonna take a while to get your sea legs back" day. The plan was to write about 5000 words a day. Sigh. I have maybe a page and a half of good stuff mixed with another page and a half of stuff that smacks of effort. I know where I want to go with the chapter, but what I've written sounds forced. Plus it doesn't help that my mind still wants to be distracted.

10:00am - Listen to recruiter tell me about contract gig. Find out that contract gig is in the same building as Phuqued Firm. Tell him, "Yeah, I think I'll pass on this one."

10:15am-11:15am - Surf web, write back to PhD chick, still waiting to hear from liberal chick. Try to quash the feeling that this will all end with crappy ABC aftershool special moral of "He could have had two, now he has none." Wonder where Peter Billingsley, star of crappy ABC afterschool special about rich kid with no friends trying to win the girl by being cool only to win the girl by being himself, is these days. Sure he won the girl in the end - he was rich.

11:15am - 1:00pm. - Read Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Forgot what it was like to read a novel. Thinking "Wow, this is well written, but what makes it well-written."

1:00pm - 2:00pm - Wrote the first two pages! Whoo hoo!

2:01pm - Hmmm, trying not to force creativity. Force creativity, you get crap.

2:02pm - 3:00pm - Forced creativity. Got crap.

3:01pm - Try not to get distracted.

3:02pm - Cat curls up on bed. Hey, let's play with the cat!

3:04pm - Finish putting bandaids on arm.

3:05pm - 3:30pm - Trying to figure out where to go from what I've written.

3:30pm - 4:00pm - Go back online. No e-mail from liberal chick. Realizes that she looks like high school girlfriend. IM for a while with friend in Pittsburgh.

4:01 pm - Check number of words written.

4:02 pm - Get really depressed.

4:03pm-5:00pm - Write some dialogue. Can't tell if it is crap yet.

5:00pm - Screw it. Deal with this tomorrow.

Sigh. Hopefully, now that I've gotten some writing done, it'll be a little bit easier tomorrow.

Sunday, June 01, 2003


I think my muse just kicked me in the ass. Gotta write this down before I forget -- OK, I may think it's crap later but you have to write every friggin' day:

I hate tradition.

It's because of tradition that, at this thirtieth Thanksgiving dinner halfway through the thirty-third year of my life, I was sitting at a rickety card table covered by Sesame Street paper napkins, plastic plates of half-eaten dim sum and turkey, paper cups with orange High-C and RC Cola and a lone Tsingtao beer. My two-year-old nephew, sitting next to yours truly, had spit up on my khakis while a six-year-old technically a cousin (Kevin Bacon and I have less degrees of separation than the wisenheimer punching my arm) was shouting "Uncle Josh is a drunk! Uncle Josh is red!" over and over again.

Hmmm, I think I have a rough draft for the beginning of the second novel.