Election Day Malise

It probably comes as little surprise to my faithful readers that I am not feeling this election. The older and older I get, the less and less luster this whole process holds for me. After all, at this point in my life, I have accepted that I have a fringe outlook on the world and that my ideas, while not wholey radical, aggressive, subversive or even that interesting are not in line with those of my general peers. Here goes another cycle where we pit one person with such a vauge political ideology against another to effectively “lead” this country into territories unknown as the global world seems to get more and more bleak. Fantastic!

Some people I know are gonna ask why I even bother. I don’t have a good answer to that to be honest. I am voting, I think my choice is pretty obvious and I don’t think much of it. Frankly I don’t really have much confidence in my choice and I don’t beleive he is a man any greater then any other that applies for this job and then begs the public for lots and lots of money to advertise himself and his pseudo list of qualifications. I am skeptical of anyone who wants to be a leader. So rarely are they qualified, honest and abel to actually lead people.

I also find it hard as an athiest to vote for someone who is so willing to give money to faith based groups. This has been the point of contention I have grappled with the most since I decided to vote. I don’t beleive in a higher patriarchal order. To me submission to the idea is a shunning of personal responsibility, an illogical conclussion and the purchase into a carnival of repression, hatered, violence, bigotry, racism, sexism, torture and murder. I can’t willingly think anyone who believes ghost stories is correct minded.

On the flip side, the appeal of having the first ever non-white male president in my life time is something very tempting. Lets face it, our representation througout our history when seen from an uneducated eye would pretty much make anyone think we are some sort of weird biological breed of white male pod creatures that fuck ourselves for reprodcution. The “otherness” finally being represented, even in it’s meager, scary shell is appealing to me. Would I perfer a queer identified, pink haired human that listens to Crass records and can play “Cocaine Blues” on the guitar? Fuck Yea. But that I know will not happen in my lifetime. It’s hard not to think of this as a step in the right direction, even if it’s for a man who has a vastly different philosophy on life then I do.

Like many others, these times are scaring the shit out of me. The future is so much more uncertain for me personally then it ever has been. The responsibility, and the means to manage that is a juggling act I am not exactly enjoying. I don’t see much in the way of politics that can really save that, but I don’t think our politicians have ever done anything for us. I don’t think that will change too much, no matter what color, race, gender, sexuality or hair color they have. I will not be watching the election news on Tuesday night. I won’t really care too much when it is announced on Wedensday morning what state is still in contention. I will cast my ballot with the drones for the man with the big ears from the crooked town of Chicago in my oh so heavily contested state. I will sleep just as unsoundly that evening. It will all continue to be the same for me.

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The World Inferno Friendship Society

So here are a few things I learned in life. 1. I am older then most people that listen to the music I listen to. This makes me really sad because The World/Inferno Friendship Society are fucking amazing. 2. If you get kicked in the back of the knee enough times, not only does it hurt real bad, it’s really hard to move. 3. Live music is better then sitting on yr couch and watching TV all day. I should do it more often again. 4. Always, Always Always remember the speed of the film you are using and remember the digital parts of the camera you’ve never used before know this much better then yr own stupid memory. 5. The kids to day are rambunctious. I never saw stage diving at the Black Cat before this show. Maybe at Avail in like 1996. And I think Frodus too. But honestly not that many people have successfully jumped off that stage. I hope The World/Inferno Friendship Society are invited back.

You can check out more altered photos from this show at this link.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/goodgovernor/

Not sure what I will shoot next or when. Everything is kinda of bleak and gray. Life is feeling like that Joy Division cover again. Oh well. Listen to Bloc Party, The World Inferno Friendship Society, Sonic Youth. Read books. Eat food.

Economics and the Future of Music

Hello folks. This weekend I am coming at you with a spinner of a topic I think. I’m not even supposed to be here right now, but well life kinda just ripped it for me. Part of that is because of personal issues, but part of it is because I spend my days working in a financial institution and this whole stock market, economy bullshit is really fucking with what little chi that I have. It’s also really making me wonder what the future holds for life. We are seeing an economic freak out of massive proportion. Everyone is scared it seems and even as gas prices temporarily fall, the decline is in line with just about everything else, with the exception of the price of commodities which is what most people in this country are really concerned with in terms of their wallets.

I was thinking about all of this last night when I came home and found my package of Cd’s from Matador on my doorstep. I still buy Cd’s. It is my format of choice and always will be. But the reality is, I don’t know if I will really be able to buy Cd’s any more. See I could have spent $16 dollars on the new Mogwai album and the new opus by Fucked Up. Matador offers these gems for $8 a piece on their web site as MP3 downloads. I could have had them instantly. But instead I spent an extra $11 for the Cd’s to be shipped to me in brown packaging and a bunch of plastic and it took a week to get here. I could have picked up another album for that price from them and still had two dollars left over. But I love the CD. However buying Cd’s anymore has become a chore. The fact that I am forced to order these albums is an indication of our declining economy as much as it is about the prevalence and advances of technology in our lives. Despite being located in a major metropolitan suburb, there are no independent or small chain record stores that in the past were more likely to carry releases by smaller labels. People who loved and followed music often worked at these places and they would order music that was interesting to them or that was hyped by word of mouth. And while it’s true we’ve replaced that hype with the internet and most of those people are probably now jockeying blogs like this, the fact is there is no longer money to be made from these people in a retail store. $11 anymore is a big difference. Not just in terms of the products it can buy, but it’s value elsewhere in the economy as well. After all, I’m looking to move to a new city, start a new life. That $11 could have bought me a lot more then two pieces of plastic that I mostly just upload to my computer and slap on my ipod, not bothering to touch ever again. Trust me the silliness of this does not escape me. But like all creatures, I have habits.

Speaking of Fucked Up, and I kind of want to at length, but probably not here in this post, I have also begun to think about the future of the touring band. I am wondering that if resources become more scarce, money becomes tighter and the public in turn gets tighter with their entertainment dollar if the rise of regional bands and regional radio will return. Part of me is very excited about this. I kind of hope the new economy forces a lot of the lazy people out of music. I hope in turn this helps bands grow the way they did when I was young, playing a lot locally, getting an audience in their home town and then trying to break out in the world. It seems to me that now you get a myspace page and a van and suddenly your on tour. As the hype of Fucked Up’s grows with the release of their new record, I wonder soon if bands like this willa ctually get bigger because they are essentially willing to go for it all and just keep hammering at it. I also hope that regionality of music occurs again. There is something to be said about where you live, and if we start spending more time in one place, growing our own communities again, perhaps we will see new musical styles emerge from different parts of the world again. The “DC Sound” used to mean something, it was a stamp of approval. Now I can’t remember the last time I read that phrase in a review.

The American dollar is getting tighter, it’s going to force us all to get more creative in our daily lives and hopefully that creativity will be directed into art as well as community, as well as sustainability. It is my hope that as a country we beging to re-evaluate what is truly important to us as people. That where we live is important and how we live is even more important. What we value and how we value it tells a lot about our society. In many ways I think our values are a bit screwed up. The future is going to be interesting, there will be a lot of opportunity for inginuity and those that have drive and are willing to make sacrifices are the ones that are going to succeed. Perhaps we will create more community based cultures where our local bands, our municipal sporting teams, our libraries, community centers and businesses will be what thrives. Maybe the homogeny that seemed so ready to crush us all will dwindle and fade and maybe we can hang on to the creativity and individuality that makes being human so unique and wonderful. Maybe yr favorite bands will be yr next door neighbors.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Play List

Okay, I know very very well that this movie was not made for men in their early thirties to go see. I think though I have what was a reasonable amount of curiosity to justify my travels last night to my local suburban theater where I sat amongst several hundred teenagers (and a fucking cop at each door of the theater through out the whole fucking thing) to intake the latest offering in teen dramedy from our fair city of Hollywood.

I had first heard about the book Nick and Norah’s Infinite Play List while doing some internet surfing of no substance. The story was originally a book, marketed at teenagers, about this guy and this girl and this funny way they hook up and oh buy the way the kid plays in a “queercore” band. So it’s that word, “queercore” that you don’t really hear to often outside the circles of punk rock. After all the height of what people referred to as queercore happened about ten years ago when Pansy Division opened up a slew of dates for Green Day. I think you would be hard pressed to find any band that identifies as queer calling themselves queercore today. I could be wrong, I don’t really want to speak for the larger queer identifying society since my ties to it as an otherwise straight white male are highly debatable, but I have not heard the term used in quite sometime. So it was this in mind that I set out to see this movie.

The casting of Micheal Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad) and Kat Dennings (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Charlie Bartlet) didn’t really hurt either. I’ve dug both their work that I have seen and was curious if they could carry a whole movie together. So I set out for this tale of a love lorn young man hot on a mix cd making frenzy for his ex being some yung girl’s boyfriend for “five minutes” and the wacky adventure they go on. Drunken friends, cute gay boys in a van, secret shows, hasidic jewish anarcho-rock band creepy guy, Electric Ladyland and two really inappropriate and uncomfortable scenes of teenagers getting sexy latter, you get a nice romantic ending. Not quite what I hoped for, not quite what I expected.

I feel like over all the ingredients for a good movie were there. You have quality actors, a plot line that moves the story along, exploration of teenage sexuality and gender politics. I mean this movie really should have been up my alley. But it seems to have missed the point completly. It’s awkwardness had more to do with a bad script not getting the charechters any where then the fact that it was a movie about awkward 18 year old highschool kids. But what the movie makers wanted to do was make another Juno and they failed to do that.

I am glad that for the most part there was mostly positive, and almost not sterotypical portrayals of teh gey boys in the film. With the exception of the ending where one of the boys head butts a kid (which was actually cool to see a gay character act in a normalized masculine manner – it’s just not something you see in your typical gay character on the big screen) and then does that little goofy “I am gay and I hurt myself doing something physical” whine that apparently all gay men do when they do anything remotely masculine really kind of sucked. And as uncomfrtable as it is now for me to see teenagers doing anything remotely sexual (which is really odd and I am not sure where this discomfort comes from) there was a little bit of positivity and tenderness to it. But I guess when Micheal Cera is delivering the goods to the ladies it’s hard not to see it as tender and loving. That is why he gets put in these movies.

Mostly though, I am dissapointed that there wasn’t a lot of talk about music. After all this seems to be what Nick and Norah are supposed to bond over and create a real realationship about. As an utter music geek, this is still what I dream of the most, finding a person I can actually talk to about music at great length (you know if I could ever shut up about the subject) and make kissy faces with. This fim, it just makes you assume that somwhere off camera they really start talking about music while driving around Manhattan.

So if you have ten dollars to spare on movie tickets, stay at home for this one my friends. It’ll be out on DVD probably in February I am sure and maybe their will be a directors cut (I really wish more bad movies would get directors cuts because I feel like sometimes footage cut out of theatrical releases may have been vital to making the movie better. See Grind as an example). Maybe it won’t be that bad. Maybe they’ll pull it off in the end.