Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Lonely Ghost Eats Toast

Bands in Basements/the Hungry Ghost
Some months are an endless adventure and some are a continuous parade of degradations. I woke up this morning feeling like a piece of tissue, not exactly the right place to start a fascinating column about the trials and tribulations of this human’s existence. Got a temperature and a scratchy throat and a general negative feeling towards life that does not bode well for your future reading pleasures. There were many good times and random adventures over the past month, sick basement shows and excursions outta this town to new places. I quit one job, that was becoming a mild source of stress, got another at City Lights books, which so far is eternally dreamy... yes you see isn’t this a fascinating time to be a human being, reading all about the various existential crisis that each one of us endures in our quest for uh continued existence. Another punk complained that I was too negative, that all I did was complain, well, those are the true fax and the insaniax. I got a list of shit I don’t like and a voice with which to expel said info. That said, here is a list of things I do not like right now:
Business Punks
Whenever I get into an argument with a business punk they try and turn my coordinatorship of this magazine round at me, “But MRR profits from the scene and is a business so it’s totally cool for me too as well, lady.” Nope. All I have to say is that the kids don’t care, to paraphrase Blitz. MRR has not made a profit in years, every penny this magazine makes pays for its continued existence. Rent. Bills. Mailing out subscriptions. There is no profit involved. No one gets paid, and no one is making a killing from punk at MRR HQ. When the magazine did make money all of that went into things like opening Gilman and helping other punk endeavors. So. I hate business punk ideology, punk is for kicks not for dollars and change, for the love of it, for the continued perpetration of the punk idea, (DIY or DIE), not for what it can do for you in terms of your bank balance. The idea of something that exists just to perpetrate itself and to spread the DIY ideal and the destructive sound that assists in the achievement of that goal, plus you know, community... Something exists for reasons other than paying your bills and making sure you get the latest limited edition sneaks and plane tickets to the exciting fest on the other side of the country. Punk is not for sale, and you can’t buy it either. This isn’t some fantasy life in which there are not bills to be paid and so on, there are bills to be paid, but as soon as punk is the thing that is doing that, it’s no longer punk, it’s some other part of the capitalist existence we find ourselves trapped in or around. I don’t mean someone running a record label, that for the most part is not a profitable endeavor, in terms of dollar signs etc, but “punk” PR agents?! Those that profit from our culture but don’t participate in the exchange. Let’s make punk the same as corporate music culture, but on a smaller scale! Use the internet to find that punky chips ahoy commercial to see an example of a business punk just doing its thing. Why not have the thing I love be the thing that pays my bills, why not turn a profit from The Kids so to speak? Do they owe me a living and so forth and so forth? Let’s just make our own version of the mainstream, but with our “punky” values. Consume! Blah blah blah. The world’s a tomb.
Like eating slugs. The texture. Such sorrow.
Fake Oi.
Weird civil war reenactors from around the world put on your Fred Perrys and your Sta-Prest, jam out those terrible “alright matey down the pub” cliché chords and sing about Never Walking Alone FC. Even though the Bow Bells have never tolled in your presence, let along in the country that you live in (Germany, the US, Sweden), evoke the cheeky cockney Dick Van Dyke reality of fake oi. Please. You made the list. Cartoon reality, same clichés in every song, costume punx invoking a constructed world of fake Britain that never existed.
“Good” Small Businesses.
Maybe you work for one. The owners voted for Obama, and only use organic produce in the kitchen, but everyone makes minimum wage and no one sees any of the profits that enable said owners to drive round town in their fleet of Priuses and buy fair trade pea shoots at the farmer’s market whilst floating around in $400 organic silk tunics. Because changing the world is all about buying a different set of stuff to those other people who do not want to change the world. It’s all rooted in capitalism. Not how you treat your workers, but how many customers feel good, like they are really making a difference whilst forking over their dough. “All you have to do to change the world is change the channel.”
Veteran Punker Dudes Writing for Vice.
Barf. So many of them. What we do is secret. Vice is not just a magazine, it’s also a “cool hunter” resource for corporations such as that car company that is currently throwing money at various aspects of the underground scene. Cool Schmool!

Bands in basements
1-Hysterics show at 17th and Capp. Weird ski lodge ambience. “Hipster” invasion (see Esmerelda from Noh Mercy’s pithy take down of the Valencia St “hipster” in the Deaf Club article in this issue. Truth). Raging all girl hardcore, best all girl hardcore band since the Wrecks!! Some overheard dude said it reminded him of the first Agnostic Front 7”. Also most exciting local band award goes to the first band on the bill, Displeasure, who were so fucking good, weird Rudimentary Peni vibes with reverbed out lady vocals...
2-iceage. Blogrocker scene! The audience was all People Who Read Online Tastemakers and Follow Their Instructions attempting to “mosh” and “stagedive.” It made for some pretty comedic moments, but you cannot write off the frantic teenage sounds of Denmark with your pithy online opinions, they were great, excellent humans, a sound that makes even the squarest wanna smash cop car windows.
3-KRS is no more. This label soundtracked my teenage years, the Frumpies, Huggy Bear, UOA, Bikini Kill, Unwound, Godheadsilo, Bratmobile, Comet Gain, Born Against, Excuse 17, so many more... Mika Miko! New Bloods! But the last uh, ten years have been pretty dire, mostly tranquil music for blogrockers and the inbetween section of NPR shows. A business set up in opposition to that world attempts to becomes part of it and fails. Not sure exactly what’s happening, but word on the street is that it’s the end. I was in a record store and saw that Gravity had some new releases in other soundtracks of teenagerhood news...
4-Petals show. Petals is Jess from Brilliant Colors, Seth from Hunx and his Punx and Eric from Jump Off a Building. They play music that probably is not reviewable in these pages, Seth sings in a different style to usual, sort of reminded me of a weird Edwin Collins/Calvin Johnson thing! Every other band at this show had a lady drummer (Dunes, Cold Showers, Grass Widow).
5-Generation Suicida tape. So so so so good.... check the demo section for full report. or layla at