Thursday, January 31, 2008

for third degree burns

1- Disneyland it's my favorite place/ Black Flag tapes/ Closed down record stores.
I spent this weekend in Orange County, victim of a failed family reunion, the only silver lining was the fact I was going to go record shopping... But the record store at which I got Dicks-Kill From The Heart, Fire Engines-Lubricate your Living Room, Archie Shepp-Fire Music etc etc etc is now a mortgage company. The best thrift store is now a (specially made for gated communities) furniture store... The Goodwill store was just full of 90s Target clothing and old video rentals. It made me wonder about how I managed to live in Anaheim for close to two years and managed only to lose it a little, obviously thanks to a combination of the above factors. Thrift stores and record shops and being given a Disneyland annual pass for Xmas one time… getting there by bus, after a day of working at Revelation selling shitty post-emo SXE to indifferent record store clerks. Walking round listening to the First Four Years on my walkman watching families live their dreams while I lived in total isolation. Something about riding the Snow White ride with Fix Me as the soundtrack.
Other historic faux teenage times; hanging out at a shitty all night diner with Golnar talking about our His Hero is Gone experiences. (Seeing them play once, mind totally blown, then making my best friend hitchhike with me for the rest of their UK tour, bear in mind our favorite bands were The Frumpies and Huggy Bear at that point...) Both of us (Golnar and I that is) had to bike frantically to our respective homes so we could listen to Monuments to Thieves, which unlike most 90s hardcore records still totally holds up. So fucking good! The whole evening made me think about how when you are a teenager you’re so trapped by circumstance, and about how much fun you have anyway.
Now I wouldn’t ever hitchhike to follow some hardcore band; maybe living in America has made me pretty complacent, I guess getting older does that too. I still have experiences with music where I am transported in that way by shows and records, totally consumed and transformed... but true independence from parental control does something to the way you see the world. I like teenage style activity, hanging out for hours directionless in some random diner. I hate how everyone just does the directionless hang out in bars when they get old. Well I guess it isn't that directionless, because people just wanna get laid/fucked up etc. I just like goofy good times, things that aren't weighed down by what you are going to get out of a situation. Bars spell doom to me somehow and it makes me sad that that is all people want to do. Sitting and rotting.
Me and Helen (aforementioned best friend) used to walk around Brighton listening to the Rites of Spring LP simultaneously on our walkmans. We would go see anyone who came through town, we were so bored, from Palatka to Carol to The Locust. Anyone. Now we both live across the ocean in separate American towns. She is together and teaches/works at Harvard and Boston U and is astro-nautical, and I work at a bookstore and do shitwork at MRR. Brighton was so dreamy and boring, the greenness of the hills and how you can walk out of town to the downs and be in typische English countryside, or get wind blown at the piers and the sea. The way the sea gulls are lit up by the lights of the palace and look like flying bird shaped torches, how they congregate so creepily around the West Pier and it looks like some 50s British noir film, just swarms of them in one big unit of bird swooping.

2-I don't need a diary to know there's nothing to do.

It's been hard times around these parts recently- everyone I know seems to be freaking out, breaking up, fucking up or just existing in a weird paranoid doomy haze. I am sure it's linked to the Nor Cal Winter crushing spirits and freezing humans in the style of the Amoebix krust-classic WINTERRRRRRRR. The sense of impending doom that's affecting actions and behavior and ideas and plans would seem to indicate a future of total collapse and dismay. I am being purposefully vague. In the face of fear and negativity it's hard to actually make things happen and not just allow things to happen that are going to anyway when you can't shake this feeling of total horror.
I know I have felt the past few months have been spent just getting by; waking up on time and getting to work late anyway amongst pointless acts. Going home, and that's about it. I hate it but am unable to make things different somehow, trapped by routine and boredom. The internet is the new evening lost to bad television and lost possibilities... I had this stupid conversation with a boy I was crazy about a while back about how he doesn’t like mosh parts. Apparently the whole song should be a mosh part not just 5 seconds of a song surrounded by filler non-mosh parts. For some reason that idea made me really sad, and connected a million melancholic thought dots, like is growing old just accepting your pathetic lot in life/settling for 5 second mosh parts and lots of filler? When you are younger things are hurtling so fast but it actually feels like dragged feet slowwwwwww and your enthusiasms consume you and it's hard to imagine ever existing in a world where all people wanna do is get wasted and be comfortable and coy rather than have random adventures and make music and go on random bike rides.
Usually I am content just walking around epic style; over Twin Peaks and out to the ocean, headphones on, total disconnection from the world in this weather. I don't understand people that can't be by themselves without wanting to end it all, but then at the same time right now I feel like a ten yr old on a rainy day stuck in a self constructed prison of boredom and drudgery when by myself. so... Contradictory girl. I am constantly getting unnecessarily nervous about people moving to different parts of the world and abandoning San Francisco, which as my friend Charity puts it can feel like a pile of shit disguised as a wedding cake sometimes. Beautiful on top but totally rotten throughout. Dreamy and boring. But I think everywhere is kind of like that sometimes... When you move to a city expecting to leave behind the things that made you so miserable in another city, the one you abandoned, turns out it's not possible bc it wasn't the city it was you that created the shittiness. Somehow we have to learn how to relax into ourselves... like not always running away from anything that could spring a trap or could provide refuge. Right now it’s easy to feel like California has been reduced to one cliche, the end of the world. There's nothing to go towards, just flotsam and jetsam, slums and gated communities, credit cards and craft projects, mountains and graveyards. I would feel doomed but I feel like that's not even an option in this state. Have a nice day tho.

3-"Have You Got 10p?"
See you down the social getting your dole
You're a real scrounger, you're a real arsehole
See you in the city down the Marquee
Going up to people, now you're coming up to me

"Have you got 10p?"
"Have you got 10p?"
"Have you got 10p?"
"No, not me!"

Blond spikey hair, bondage strides
You got no class.
You ain't got no pride.
See you in the city standing with a mate.
10p a person. It's the going rate.

4- Good things about the internet include the fact that you can ask for someone to upload MP3s of the Mecht Mensch/Tar Babies split tape and they will just do it. I like that I am able to walk to work listening to Die in the Classroom; Mecht Mensch adequately preparing me for confronting endless yuppie oblivion. Obviously easy access raises the eternal question of the new kids 'earning' the right to listen to the Betong Hysteria 7" since they didn't find it in a gluebag in the alleyway behind Martin Sorrondeguy's apartment but instead on some nerd's MP3 blog. I remember one of the first times I met Martin, whilst following Los Crudos around the hottest part of America during the hottest part of the summer and feeling totally alienated after an epic all night mostly dude based conversation about Finnish hardcore... I think I was 18, and I had no idea what anyone was talking about and was just bored and thus retained none of the information imparted. If that same conversation happened now I would just go to some website, maybe Kill From the Heart, investigate some of the bands mentioned, and discover at age 18 that Finnish hardcore rules rather than finding it out at age 28 or whatever via doing the MRR radio show. Though I guess if I had not been too uncomfortable and irritated as a teenage to care, I would have taken the info in and used it to obtain 7"s, which probably cost a lot less then than they do now. MP3 blogs make life as an obsessive circa 81 hardcore fan a lot easier than having to hang out in gross dude's rooms while they make tapes for your dumb ass.

5-The Silla Electrica Demo- you need to figure out how to get this! It's like the perfect combination of ye olde Danish and Spanish punk, like a crazy mix of um Lost Kids and Vulpess? It’s totally wild sounding and frantic with the most insane and great girl vocals since Mai of Gorilla Angreb blew out your heart. I think they are based in Madrid and hopefully someone will put out a record soon because they were born for the 7" format for sure. It's actually exciting to listen to you know? There haven't been that many new bands recently that have been worth caring about, let alone worth losing yr shit over, this is some seriously fierce and classic sounding Spanish punk.

6-Golnar's Permanent Birthday Section. When Gnars lived here we used to joke that it was always almost her birthday, because she talked about it so much. 'I'm going to have Crim Dam/Limp Wrist play SF on my birthday...' etc etc, and well it never actually happened, and still Criminal Damage have failed to play the Bay Area in an unprecedented display of lameness. But Limp Wrist are playing here in February, which I believe is Golnar's birthday month (who knows though! Like I said, could be anytime! Maybe it's actually her birthday everyday?) as are Pierced Arrows (the new Fred and Toody band) and Gnars is going to be here for both of these events. I guess she had to leave SF in order to raise the possibility of her mass birthday punk fest actually happening. Maybe Crim Dam will play too? Also in Gnars related news, WTF is up with her not writing a column anymore? Too busy hanging out at Lower East Side hot spots with the hipsters to write about how life changing Alien Kulture and the Petticoats are? It seems like whenever people move to NYC punk starts being a collection of ephemera and humorous past life anecdotes rather than experienced culture. Happens to the best of us. My only request- please don't start thinkin yr still punk bc of your collection old Ripper zines and having PBR sponsor your ironic art openings?

7-Last week I went to see Juno with my aunt who generally likes family movies featuring Whoopie Goldberg and Ashley Judd, in a mall cinema full of Orange County teenagers. I am sure you have heard about this movie, it has been promoted exhaustively as a female counterpart to the current wave of awkward teenage boy comedies like Superbad, which made me curious to see it. I like jokes! And teen movies! Watching Juno however was like watching a three hour-long episode of the Gilmour Girls. So many pop cultural references crammed into every surface, every conversation, it was almost too exhausting to absorb or care about any of it. The dialog was contrived and phony, like a weird combination of Dawson's Creek, old Sassy Magazines and an after school special from a post-Simpsons world. What was really depressing however was the basic plot; the lead protagonist, Juno, gets pregnant at 16, and is unable to have an abortion after being told outside of the abortion clinic that her fetus already has fingernails by a cartoony stereotyped cypher of an asian teen pro-life classmate. The abortion clinic itself is full of self absorbed goth chicks and sweaty unpleasant looking people, and it seemed like straight up pro-life propaganda aimed at girls who shop at Hot Topic and like the Ramones. Her pregnancy is bathed in this cute indie rock craft-fair glaze, with Kimya Dawson's cutesy infantile vocals endlessly cooing in the background. She gives up the child for adoption of course, because that's always super easy to do and the movie ends with her and her boyfriend singing the same horrible Kimya Dawson song that has been playing endlessly throughout the movie to each other in a particularly effective act of aural terrorism. Obviously being a feminist is about making choices on your own terms, but for most 16 year old girls having a child is a difficult non-indie-rock soundtracked situation and it was frustrating to see a movie that basically made being a pregnant teenage girl seem like a twee adventure.
Juno made me think of the creepy way that 50th wave hipster feminists have taken on and 'radicalized' or rather made chic the so called domestic arts (ie the craft revolution, see my first ever column for a rant on that) defending patriarchal constructions of femininity and traditional roles as valid choices for women… The whole movie felt so underhand and lame the more I thought about it, the ultimate theft of underground culture for nefarious purposes.
I did not identify with the lead character at all, she seemed like the construction of a lonely thirty year old man trying to spew out as many ‘now’ pop cultural references as possible. Though as my aunt kept telling me it was actually written by a 30 year old SEX WORKER LADY which I guess is what they’re promoting to keep the movie edgy or something so people don’t notice it's plastic veneer? Juno seemed like it was written in the early 90s, in the post grunge slacker boom, really dated with the same air as something like Reality Bites. Another failed attempt at a subcultural moment that ends up making the characters not seem like actual people but representations of the writer's fantasy of youth and rebellion. The fact that this was vaguely marketed as the female answer to the Judd Apatow movies and yet it wasn't even funny was also a bummer. It seemed more like the teenage Garden State, so consumed with it's own 'quirkiness' and so fey it was kind of unbearable. Also how lame; the dudes in Superbad were on a quest to lose their virginity whereas Juno instantly gets pregnant as soon as she loses hers. No epic quest for her! Long ass digression to note that I just got back from seeing Persepolis, a movie based on a graphic novel about a Iranian girl coming of age during the revolution, which was so much radder than fuckin Juno. Marjane, the main character in Persepolis actually seemed like a real girl rather than a drawing of one even though she was in fact a drawing! So much more real and relatable than Juno even though her life experiences were so much more distant from mine.
9-The Nurse 7”

10-Agnostic Front-Fascist Attitudes

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

when I see the monorail in the stupid parking lot

1-MRR needs a truck. The one they have that someone donated three thousand years ago died... If you have one you don’t need you could get some kind of tax deduction situation happening. Intense. Or if you are a reclusive millionaire who is desperately thinking of how you could reconnect with your true punk self, start by donating a truck! Or a working Xerox machine that isn’t a piece of shit! I mean it’s tax deducdable! What’s stoppin ya.
2-Cleveland’s Screaming is a documentary about early 80s Cleveland (and Akron) hardcore. I was talking about it with Carl (who handed in his MRR keys this month; I guess the Japanese Oi comp CD he had to review this month was the nail in the coffin for his epic years of shitwork) .. and his first question was “How much Pagans footage?” to which I would say: not much! And while Pagans footage is always a positive I think this documentary is refreshing and awesome for a number of other reasons. Firstly it’s about a small group of kids, mostly working class who made their own scene in the decaying post industrial landscape that was Cleveland in the late 70s/early 80s. Kids who’s parents were laid off from closed down auto plants rather than the children of diplomats and professors, which makes it more compelling for me at least. It’s definitely footage from a world that hasn’t been documented and written into the ground, buried by footage of old men reliving their teen years (which seems to be what some of them do for a living) and ending with the assertion that punk/hardcore died as soon as they stopped caring about it. Seriously I think this is the first document I have seen on early 80s Hardcore than doesn’t have anyone dismissing what happened after they got cynical and jumped ship. The other best thing about this was the fact that all the shows happened in the backroom of a local tavern that resembles a rec room, you know wood panelling, no stage etc... So every band that plays looks like they are playing the same show, also: amazing Dicks footage! Just for like one minute (bc they were defs not a Clevo band) but it’s so fucking intense and proves that they were the greatest. Dicks hate police.... Anyway my favorite band discovered was the Urban Mutants, totally raging hardcore with a girl singer.

Danielle is more in the style of Tobia/Look Back and Laugh than um Spitboy (totally can’t think of girl fronted hardcore bands right now) which means: totally dreamy and raging! Also when they talked about how there wasn’t a stage so they would climb up on top of the door jam to stage dive... Sometimes watching documents of times past can turn into one long boring parade of self satisfied talking heads cleansing their bloated egos, and reaffirming what mythic warriors they were in the pit/in the van/on the streets. I liked this one because the participants seemed like genuine freaks who were saved by hardcore, who were able to create their own lives and good times because of the discovery of the underground. The kids in the audience were obviously just as important to the scene as the kids on the ‘stage’, which to me is what separates punk and hardcore from whatever else, fuckin indie rock grown folks music. People talked about how kids from San Diego/Southern California would move to Cleveland and expect the pit to be a total jock fest and act accordingly, and how Jimi from Zero Defex would school them on Clevo pit ettiquette. (Which was really different in the early 80s to say an Integrity show circa 94-mixed genders, aggressive but not violent, actual slam dancing not windmill/rice pickin aggro-jazzercize sausage party style) I really liked watching the punk girls in the pit because they either had crazy 80s Farah Fawcett mall hair, or mohawks/skinheads-nothing in between. See I am deep like that. Anyway, tons of crazy footage of Zero Defex, Spike in Vein (my favorite band from this era) The Guns, Urban Mutants, Agitated, tons of bands... More from the New Hope comp era than the Pagans era you know? Cissie said that you can download a tape of Urban Mutants stuff from the internet but I was unable to actually make this happen, so if anyone manages to do this mail me a CDR and I will make you a killer mix. Interestingly the only person in the entire doc who claims that punk died is my room mate and Zero Defex guitar hero Tommy Strange who wanted me to ask of you two things 1: if you know where Danielle of Urban Mutants is currently at he would like to get back in touch with her 2: He is currently putting on bi-monthly benefits for an organization that raises money for refugees of the Iraqi war. I can’t find his email and this column is so late already but if you write him c/o the MRR address I will pass on any correspondence to him.
Also Martin is trying to organize a screening of the Chicago punk doc, You Weren’t there, so if that goes well maybe we can do a MRR sponsered screening of Cleveland’s Screaming. The dude who made it has a blogspot: and there’s a bunch of rad footage on you tube too. I think he’s still looking for distribution so if you are into that you should contact him. Brad (the guy that made the movie) not Tommy that is.
3- Outraged are my favorite live band right now. There actually haven’t been that many shows recently, I think I wrote about the last show I went to in my last column. (also featuring Outraged, and a Martin band, the one at this show was N.N. who Hubb’s likes better than Needles, the Martin band from last column’s Martin band/Outraged show. I am on the fence. Both rule and need to play more shows.) I did not go see the Naked Raygun reunion. Not sure exactly why, but sometimes I like bands to stay the way they are on record and in my head instead of ‘imposters on reunion tours’ to quote the Monorchid’s ‘A Was for Anarchy” not that Naked Raygun are imposters. But. The endless debate: is punk a museum object/aging relative to be cooed at and paid endless respect to or something we need to take back and make our own. Fifty words or less. Sometimes I don’t want to see legends recreating something I missed out on for my consumption. That was one of the things I liked about the Clevo doc, it was kids making music for themselves, reaffirming what punk is and will always be and why it will never die. There will always be some band like Outraged who bring raging hardcore to their cental valley farm community and made their own scene instead of just waiting for touring bands to pass thru town.
4-we have mice and they will perish
5-Also: The box o reagan memerobilia that was on the floor of MRR last time I was there. Collected over a period of many years in preperation for his demise! Newspaper clippings about his scum bag antics in Central America, the Middle East and in the fuckin Midwest factory towns like Cleveland. The 80s calendar of him zombie like, iconic and hollow eyed, astride a horse at his ranch; whoever put that little masterwork together wrote a simpering essay about how Reagan’s Ranch was in fact AMERICA and how it was somehow more important that any presidential library. Got me to thinking that that was pretty much true, the image of Reagan had more weight than any of his amoral policies to most of America, a symbol of a mythical idea. Plus: Rich People Are America! And why read a book when you can gaze lovingly at a wax work of a human being melting in the California sun onto a horse that has been underneath him since his B Movie days and is probably still there now rotting in the rivers of blood and genocide that his reign helped perpetrate.
6-Punk and credit cards and how the last person you would suspect of it has entire tours and record collections paid for via never paid off plastic. It’s strange to think that the entire American economy is built on and rests so precariously on credit. I am attempting to get out of debt right now, as it really freaks me out that people (including myself) maintain a lifestyle that they can’t actually afford because of credit. I mean I work a job that pays just over minimum wage and live in one of the most expensive cities on earth, so theoretically I should not have bought that Effigies “We’re Da Machine” I saw for 12 bucks yesterday because I know by the end of the week I will have to pay for my groceries with a credit card. I remember a friend putting out numerous records with his credit card, in the mid 90s, DC no wave stuff like Cranium and Ayler’s Angels and how it totally blew my mind that he was $10,000 dollars in debt yet still he spent. I mean I am nowhere neear that, but I kind of want to be able to continue to live the lazy non careerist lifestyle I am living without the shadow of owing money to shitty financial insitutions hovering over my brains. Not very interesting true, but on my mind nonetheless.
7-I need the Shop Assistants LP. Anyone?
8-Why does The Wards’ song Weapon Factory continuously get stuck in my head?
9-Per my last column, in which I casually dismiss Charles Bronson of being worthy of inclusion in the new book by the Fucked up and Photocopied dude... (it’s titled Punk is Dead, Punk is Everything, and yes at the reading in SF the author/compiler declared that punk was in fact dead so... hmm. Old dudes! Get over it! Just because you don’t know about things anymore doesn’t mean they don’t exist.) I got called on this assumption in the place online in which I put these columns after they are published in the magazine ( because a certain someone claims that Charles Bronson were in fact more worthy of inclusion in the above mentioned tome, than say Scratch Acid because they created art out of boredom in a positive way, whereas Scratch Acid just created boredom out of boredom. (Directly quoted from the mouth or fingers I guess, of Ethan Swan: ‘Scratch Acid is people drowning in their own boredom and Charles Bronson is people overturning their boredom and being radical about it.’) Firstly, musical taste is personal, and political screamo to me does not match the burnt taste in the mouth Scratch Acid offers. Yes I am irritatingly PC in a lot of ways probably, but this doesn’t mean I like bands just bc they are ‘wimmin’ or don’t like bands because their values do not match mine. I tried really hard to like Spitboy when I was 14 but found myself entirely unable to do so. Their music is resoundingly horrendous. But I am sure we shared similar values in regards to feminism etc etc
Tommy Strange and I had a conversation in the kitchen just now about how he was at Negative Approach and the Necros first shows ever, in thee ancient olden days, and how though he liked the music he could never get that into them because they wouldn’t dismiss their huge skinhead following. For me, though context is important, e.g. I am not one of those people that hearts the first Slrewdriver record or anything, BUT I do like music that was created by people that I would probably not enjoy hanging out with/having a conversation with about their politics/ morals/ love lives etc etc, Intent is important but music that means nothing to me cannot be saved by shared values.
Case in point: I completely dismiss the entire genre of Anarcho punk/Peace Punk (ie Anarcho Pie, c.f Oi Polloi) because I hate Crass. Their music irritates me so much I am unable to take seriously any of their followers. I think the scene they created is rad and inspiring etc, though it is a bummer that ultimately they were responsible for the gross hippie rave scene that took over the UK and destroyed any possibility of a punk underground existing in the same way it does in Europe or the US because all the ex punks are too busy takin E and dancing in fields and warehouses. (Not to say the punk underground doesn’t exist, just that it’s no way close to the same level as it is here and I blame Crass and Ravers both for this situation.) The only band of this genre I can get behind is Rudimentary Peni, their music is disturbing and fucked up and wrong in ways I like and can identify with. Also bear in mind I have not actually heard most anarcho bands, even legendary ones like Golnar’s favorites Zounds, but whatevers. I don’t like listening to the ABC of moral values for hippies in different smellier outfits and have not much interest in investigating further when there are three billion types of music that do interest me that I don’t know enough about. So. I happen to like and think Scratch Acid are more worthy of inclusion in washed up old punk’s art books than The Locust or Charles Bronson. I mean c’mon.
10-now is the time. When is the truth.
Oh and Scott Moore esq. wanted never to be mentioned in this column again. ‘Bitch Please!”
Also: Cani- Guai a Voi 7”.
If you wanna write me write c/o mrr I seriously don’t even write my friends back though. Ugh. I am probably more likely to respond to comments on the stupid blog of my old columns I mentioned: But maybe I will make myself a dutiful penpal. Sorry dudes.