I feel like writing out the lyrics to the RAMONES ‘I don’t wanna grow up’ and have that be my column this month. Not because I want to be a child but because I don’t want to be a lame adult. My co-worker is reading a book about a woman who tried to live for a year without buying anything. Just to contextualize, before her great experiment she already owned a house in Vermont and an apartment in Manhattan, and had decided that going to the movies and fine wine were not things she would be able to live without so somehow these things didn’t count in her great strike against consumerism. Also: Skiing didn’t count because hey, she already had a place in Vermont so… well you know. Just to contextualize my own uh involvement in said matter, I did not read this book. Just observed a lot of outraged and bemused grunts from said co-worker and got to listen to a lot of pompous excerpts from said masterwork. It made me think about how out of touch liberal America is, and how somehow this lady adding to the endless glut of crappy post-Bush jnr literature and blogs and shallow media world existences was somehow not part of the problem she was attempting to address. It’s like Liberal Outrage™ as a lifestyle choice; just watch that Al Gore movie about the enironment, buy a Prius, or put a Buck Fush sticker on yr vintage Volvo and uh, there you go all the way to the expensive organic food mart. As you recycle your huge stack of New Yorkers and sip yr Soy Latte, your delicate furrowed brow and Working Assets credit card are doing all they can to save us from doom.
I am not an eager college graduate ready to take on the world with enthusiasm and vigour
and yet I get asked ‘what are you doing with your life’ increasingly often as I age by the Concerned Adults in my life. I work at a rad independent bookstore, making a buck or so over minimum wage, and live in a rent controlled apartment in the most expensive city in America. I am much happier than when I lived in the Other Most Expensive City in America but somehow had a more parent acceptable existence working for the Time Warner Corporation making sure that people got paid for allowing New Line Cinema to use their music in movies such as Next Friday and the trailer for Lord of the Rings. That was 5 yrs ago and to my parents I believe it was the pinnacle of my achievement, a proper grown up job! 401k! Benefits! I only lasted a year as a fast paced adult style yuppie drone, and one of the reasons I am not currently clawing my way viciously up the ladder in Movie Exec powerland is that I didn’t care. There were other more personal reasons that led to the collapse of my potential yuppie scum lifestyle but probably the fact that I did not actually want a corner office on the 57th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper, that would be the main light switch/HELL NO moment. I didn’t enjoy cubicle life, but who does right? But at the same time I didn’t want to be my boss, the Snr VP of Music and Business, who had the Seinfeld theme as his Screen Saver, so every time he left his office we got to hear that awesomely teeth gratingly non- sweet slap bass refrain and who also fervently listened to Yanni and who’s claim to fame was that he’d written a made for TV movie for Kirstie Alley. NO THANKS! I’LL PASS!
One of the perils of getting older and staying punk is watching people abandon ship and start to roll their eyes or smile vacantly at the things that used to mean something to them. I mean seriously, insert a whole boatload of SXE warrior betrayal lyrics here because they all apply. Plus some earnest yet strident fingerpointing please. I don’t think my goal is to stay emotionally and developmentally backwards and just be a perpetual useless adolescent. Uh, I guess punk is essentially an extended adolescence to all intents and purposes, and first world living means lots of time to sit around and be the most self involved creature you can be. I also didn’t mean this to be a lame-o emo finding your inner colorful parachute spiel. But as I get older and find myself doing the things that I could have done pretty much at any age without a BA and also find myself a lot more content and happy than I was when on the path to Great Acheivements in Corporate Adulthood I find myself thinking about boring shit like this ALL THE TIME.
I do not want my own office or business cards. I am sure I will regret this decision when I am a bitter old jerk who hates life and has no money as opposed to a bitter old jerk who hates life with a pension plan and a 2nd house in Vermont. But right now when I skate down the street listening to “I don’t wanna be a rich” by The Guilty Razors (who have a Myspace! Huh??) that world doesn’t make sense to me. I know this seems really juvenile and 15 yr old kid in 711 carpark sneering sell out at anyone with an ounce of direction or responsibility, and I understand the priviledge inherant in all of this naval gazing. I grew up in England when it was still possible to get a university education on the tax payers dime, and I could be a white collar worker. The possibility exists if I wasn’t such a fuck up. I like things on my own terms, and I really do not want to exist on a dinner party conversation planet where I don’t see the irony in thinking about consumption as I ski down a virgin slope far from the welfare lines and housing projects where Buy Nothing Day isn’t a lifestyle choice but a fact of life.
I would welcome correspondence on this subject! And I am sorry I am so rotten at writing back.
write me c/o MRR.
1- Britton saying that my wanting to see the reunited Stimulators, Harley Flanagan 06 version was in direct contradiction to my last column 2- Jess saying that she likes it when it rains because it means everyone suddenly has the same problem and you kind of know what people are thinking about. 3-when you name things you damn them to the graveyard of ‘not gonna happen’, RIP Productive Summer 06. You could have been. But weren’t. 4-Mika Miko. SO much better at the falling apart calamitous house show than at the uptight women’s studies major from expensive liberal arts college club show. But I am going to continue to name check that band until they truly leave my realm by only playing stadiums and coliseums. SO GOOD. Seeing them play is like yr birthday everyday.5-Lebenden Toten Discog CD. Seriously. This Band. Next Level Rad. 6-Martin talking about organizing a mass heckle of that stupid American Hardcore book dude if he comes to town. 7-Minutemen-working men are pissed. and the liner notes to the American Youth Report comp 8-Rocking out to the Uzbek and Kazakhstan compilations with the Gnar. 9-Calvary LP. The best combination of Post Punk and revolution summer ever. Totally missed this band when they wwere around but I think it’s the only true successful demonstration of a Rites of Spring influence ever. 10-The clip for that Chicago punk film You Weren’t There. It’s on the internet. http://regressivefilms.com How much better than American Hardcore does this look? I think all girls at punk shows should do that one girl’s crazy vibration dance. And all punk bands should just be THE EFFIGIES.