Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

I’ve been tapping myself on my own shoulder for a while now, whispering with a casual wave at my office door, “You know, whenever you get a minute…if we could talk about a couple of things- nothing big - that would be great.”

This meeting has been put off for weeks now. Probably months. And now I’m mad at Me and am threatening to quit if I don’t get a few minutes, for chrissake, in the conference room.

And you see what happens? I don’t take my urgings for a meeting seriously and the whole thing blows up in my face like a tired office analogy gone awry.


And I don’t think that’s the only analogy I’ll be using today.

I haven’t written in a while and what I’ve come to discover is just what a equalizer of my own sanity it is. I do a lot of talking to myself. A lot. My friend CP once remarked that in my head is where I live for the most part. Getting outside of it is something of a feat, one that writing helps me accomplish. I can see the words on the page or screen…I can convert whatever weirdo thing I think into something concrete, that I can see with my own two eyes.

When I ignore it or take it for granted, my brain spins around on itself and goes on a cubicle shooting spree.


For those of you longtime readers, (and those, too, who know me personally) you might be aware of the fact that this last year has been a season of remarkable change in my circumstances, calling into question pretty much everything I do, and why I do it.

A year. A whole year. I can look back at my calendar and see what I was doing every day…and remember it with staggering clarity. With any big change, I suppose, there is a sense that eventually it will end, that the feelings of renewal or anguish (or renguish) will subside. Transformation complete. Resolution reached. Roll credits. Drop your 3D glasses in the bin on the way out.

The thing is, everyone has filed out of the theater and I’m still sitting here. I hesitate to go out into the real world. The movie was exciting…I don’t want to leave the theatre to discover that I’ve left my car windows rolled down in a rain storm and I got a parking ticket.

The change itself is a kind of escape, a Get Out of Jail Free card for getting behind on work or not keeping up with friends. Now that the year is over, I find myself in a weird state of trying to play like everything is fine. All better now. Please, the movie wasn’t that scary.

No. I’m not all better now. However, it is important to note that I am not quite so spectacularly out of my wits as I was. It’s just The Year After The Year of the Big Change.

I’m still having weird reactions to things, crazy bouts of sadness and uncertainty, difficulty contacting friends and family, realizing too late that, when budgeting, Food should also be an item on the list.


Considering the trip to Abyss National Park I took last year, I’m doing okay.

I just have to get over the thought that somehow, I’m going to reach a denouement that turns me into that Beautiful Butterfly of Self-Actualization. Jeez. How insufferable.


On Sunday, Notnits got a text from a friend offering up Wilco tickets for the following night. Both of us thought it would be a great idea, so we accepted.

I’m not a huge Wilco fan. I realize, of course, that Jeff Tweedy and company speak to a wide generation of hipsters, indie nerds, and alt-country junkies. And with good reason. The songs are fun, occasionally lovey dovey, and authentic. This is a rarity these days when, in a Twittery second, any indie band can go from underground darlings to Alt-rRock Gods to Sell Out Hacks in a matter of a few hours. Wilco has its root deep in Alt-folk-country-rockabilly and has been around for years.

Some of the lyrics are fun and sweet. Others howl about addiction and depression. At one point I think I posted one Song for a Crappy Tuesday from “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.” Jeff Tweedy is no stranger to self destructive behavior and he is able to translate that into sincere lyrics that reach an audience drenched in cologne d'Irony.

The concert itself was fine. Tortoise opened up for them and (forgive me fusion jazz lovers) I was praying for them to get off the stage. Perhaps in a smaller venue, where the drums and bass would not overwhelm any melodic nuance, I’d appreciate them more. But here it was just a bunch of banging by musicians who didn’t appear too interested in engaging the audience. I found it interesting that their most melodic piece was met with the greatest response.

At last, Wilco took the stage and in a frenzy of Bay City Rollers haircuts and country twang Tweedy and the band ended the North American leg of their tour.

A headache set in and, after standing for nearly three hours, Notnits and I left. I felt a little guilty for leaving before the concert was over, but my headache stopped me from enjoying the 12 minute long dissonant experiment Wilc chose to end with.

I have a weird tug in may heart about Wilco. I don’t want to like them. Back in the day, I was a bigger fan of the band Uncle Tupelo, formed by Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy. Part of me had always been more partial to Farrar’s voice and lyric style. (I also have a big problem with flighty “genius” types.) His band Son Volt never made it to the upper echelons of fame, but I still give him a casual listen.

Uncle Tupelo’s last album Anodyne, is a monument to the eroding relationship Tweedy and Farrar shared. Neither really play on each other’s songs and they each wrote blistering indictments of one another into their lyrics. Fifteen Keys is just such a song. It's hard to tell it on this track (this is a live version and Farrar sounds tired) but the melody contains a lovley twang in the guitar. Farrar's lyrics holler out about the end at hand with grim resignation. It's one of my favorites.


joe g said...

I was at the show last night. I "appreciate" Tortoise, though I think they could have had a better, less bass-assault mix...I agree with you about the venue; they're better on record. IMHO they kinda do what Wilco and Radiohead do experimentally/sonically without wrapping those experiments and sonics around any actual songs. Given what I do musically that's not a judgment but an analysis.

I had a conversation today with a co-worker who is also in the Farrar camp, as he puts it, and who -after Uncle Tupelo split- preferred the first few Son Volt records to the first Wilco offerings. He said, though, that as Tweedy has grown, the Wilco records have gotten better, but that Farrar seems to have stagnated...so he's kinda switched camps.

I don't have a vote; I came late to all this. I enjoyed the show, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot stayed in my car stereo for a year solid. Beyond that...

Anyway, hope to see you sometime soon.

Crazypants said...

uummmmm, you rock. and you know when you wax all pained and deep and troubled i think it's really fucking hot. so we should make a phone date. then rendezvous and do some shrooms.

Add to Technorati Favorites