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


love & rockets said...

hi layla,

juts read your new article.

really interesting question the one about mp3s, internet et all. yep, these days you almost can find anything on the website and just searching a little bit, you can get absolutely obscure gems easily and as quick as a download. but, is it bad? is it good? in my point of view, it's turning the music into an absolute democratic sphere. nowadays almost everybody -he who has internet- can get access to it and enjoy it. and i really love this concept!
but on the other hand, getting it so easily and quick -just doing a click while you are seated in front of the computer at home; without having to wait like three weeks to receive the record; withouth having to get in touch with bands/record labels/distros/whatever; and MOST IMPORTANT without having to write letters-, it makes to lose fond of the music you like.
as for mp3s blogs, well, i prefer their existance rather than their nonexistance. with them you are able to find absolute new kinds and new worlds of music. and this is always a good thing, really. i absolutely prefer as many blogs as possible, because they reflect diversity. furthermore, i consider them a pure diy way of expression.
but again, these days you can download soooooo many things that there's a point where you only listen to a song once and don't pay attention anymore because of you have so many tons of things to listen to. i guess the problem is the amount of music that we are able to get access.
like it or not, these are the times we have to live, where everything is so easily and fast to get...

take care,

ps: as for the spanish band you mention, could you believe me if i tell you i hadn't hear of them before? ha, it's funny you mention vulpess, the first allgirl punk band in spain -although their music, lyrics and attitude are quite cliché for my taste. i recomend you to check out for i.e. kangrena demos or antidogmatikks stuff in blogs ;)

jessalyn said...

what record store did you work at in OC? i hope it was NOISE NOISE NOISE

Anonymous said...

not to be rude or overly negative, but dude, its called getting old. get in the queue.