Today’s theme: all things Irish. This morning we managed to again swing some tickets to see The Pogues (Shane apparently will live see another one, I hope) and lined up a rogues gallery to go which includes the elusive red-flanneled Helmeckius. I was talking to an Irish co-worker about it, and she used the word “minging”, and mentioned that when she was home for Christmas, she saw Shane interviewed by Podge and Rodge on RTE (they’re after my time, but they seem so RTE). There was some talk about my time in Ireland here in the comments. And then, the evening consisted of slightly too many beers at Johnny D’s with Trixie and the Villain, and then the walk home for some tea, which felt a lot like the days of meeting up with friends after class at the student pub at UCD and getting chased home when it closed at 11 (“have youse no homes to go to?”), and then having tea back at the flat.
As I am with everything else, I’m about 20 years late to the party in discovering Felt. I can’t stop listening to the song “My Darkest Light Will Shine”.
My mother has had a pen pal in Northern Ireland since she was in 2nd grade, and at some point they began exchanging Christmas presents for each others’ kids. They have yet to stop, though the youngest of each set of kids is well into adulthood. This year, I got a long, narrow calendar with scenes of Northern Ireland, with the days listed vertically: a number and then a horizontal line for every day. I’ve been writing a short description of a couple of things that happened every day, and have only missed a few days so far. It’s remarkable how 10 words or less can keep the days from falling anonymously into the void.
So, Terri tagged me with some whole 6 weird things about me meme, and I’m finding it hard to pass up the topic. I think the most illuminating thing about it might be finding out what I think is weird.
- The first one is not really news to many of you, but it’s a pretty formative, central weirdness not of my choosing. I grew up on a small farm about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, with my four siblings, my parents, my grandparents, and my great grandparents, in kind of a creaky old early 1800′s farmhouse. Once I went to school, I got the idea that it was a slightly weird living setup. To this day, I have never quite gotten over the sense that I’m living in the modern world, and I don’t think most people have that awareness since they never felt like they didn’t live in the modern world.
- I wanted to get one “weird” in that was weird in the sense of definition 1: “Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural.” When I was 3 or 4, my grandparents went on vacation to Busch Gardens, Florida, with my grandmother’s Aunt Elnore (who was her age: my great grandmother was the oldest of 10 kids) and Uncle John. About a year later, my father won a trip to Disneyworld through work, and he and my mom and my brother and sister April, who was still a baby, went to Florida and met up with my great-grandparents (who spent the winters in Florida). We also went to Busch Gardens. Now, the weird thing is that everyone tells me we were not all there at the same time. But, to this day, I have memories of my grandparents’ trip, which I theoretically was not on. I distinctly remember walking with them past this little stage where there were belly dancers, and Uncle John being obnoxious and whistling and hooting, and Aunt Elnore whacking him with her purse, and saying “Oh, John”. It’s so in character, and it’s not something I could/would have made up when I was 4, but my neither of my grandparents remembered that event specifically. I first remembered this when I was 8 or 9, and when I asked around about when we were all there together, all the adults in the family swore that I was not there at the same time as my grandparents, ever. It became sort of a family joke (“who else was with us at Busch Gardens, Ezra?”), and a couple of times the fact that nobody believed me got me mad to the point of tears.
- There weren’t a lot of kids around when I was really little, except for my brother Simon and sister April, so we did a lot, a lot, of make-believe together. When we started going to church when I was 5 or so, it was actually really exciting fodder for our make-believe, in the same way that I think that biblical situations inspired the imaginations of people in previous generations. So, this weird thing is that one of our favorite things to pretend was “Exodus”. I always got to be Moses, because I was oldest, and Simon was Aaron, and April was Miriam. We’d put scarves on our heads, wear our dad’s shirts as robes, pack all our toys into these big plastic Mickey Mouse bags (that we got on that trip to Disneyworld, incidentally), and drag them all over the house.
- I went to the same small liberal arts college that my grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather went to. It’s also all-male.
- I went out from my last job Beatles-style with a rooftop concert. Except when I climbed out on the roof of the building, I played 80′s hits on the accordion (I specifically recall “Flashdance”, “Panic”, and “Call Me”).
- I got help from Terri for the last one. My fingers can do this:
Last weekend when we were in Portsmouth, I picked up a copy of the new David Lynch book from RiverRun. It seemed vaguely inspirational, and I just sucked up the fact that proceeds go toward his foundation that encourages the teaching of Transcendental Meditation in schools.
The book is about a lot of things, and while it is primarily about Lynch’s experience with TM, and there is no small amount of proselytizing, I still didn’t feel like it was a hard sell. I mean, with sentences like “I call that depression and anger the Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit of Negativity,” we’re safely out of Deepak Chopra territory. At first blush, it doesn’t make sense that the same guy who made Wild at Heart meditates. He actually addresses the incongruity of the violence of his films and all the peace and bliss talk of TM, though I don’t totally buy the explanation.
But really, the TM actually makes Lynch make a lot of sense. I don’t know a ton about TM, besides that it’s something of a pay-per-enlightenment cult. But I know that part of the schtick is that it’s about meditating to get in touch with this deep well of ideas inside you, and to let them ideas bubble up, and the content of them is actually not so important*. I think this goes a long way to account for his filmmaking style, which is often very rich, evocative, original, fecund, though the actual content is somewhat inscrutable.
*Buy me a beer sometime and I’ll tell you about how I know anything about TM
PS: I think Wild at Heart is the suckiest of his movies that I’ve seen.
Things have been somewhat low-key lately, and I have not had much energy for blogging or printing, though I hear the call of the metal from the basement; it is saying “press me into paper”. Soon. Soon. (Speaking of which, does anybody have a good recommendation on where to get high quality papers in the Boston area (besides Bob Slate and Paper Source; I already know them and what they have)?)
We had an OK long weekend, but I feel like I’ve little to show for it, except for finally taking down all our Christmas decorations. The tree that we bought from the boy scouts in Arlington really lasted, though it smelled strangely like urine from the moment we got it home.
We did have a nice little relaxing and romantic day trip to Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon, and found a nice antiques store where they had this huge square dining room table which really inspired me to get a really huge square dining room table. I keep thinking about it. We haven’t been to Portsmouth since probably last summer when we went with Trixie and The Villain, and there’s a surprising amount of building that’s done. RiverRun books moved to Congress St, and in their old location is SecondRun, for their used books.
We finished reading (aloud) Popism, the gossipy book by Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett about Warhol’s 60′s scene. The story ends badly, with a big “the party’s over” thud, but it’s overall a fun read. It was a good choice for a Terri & Ezra read-aloud, because it’s written in a very oral style– I’m guessing it was dictated by Andy to Pat Hackett. Maybe more on it later.
As suspected, it was a Dresden Dolls show interrupted by bits of sort-of-theater. Next time, I’m just going to an actual Dresden Dolls show.
I had a litany of complaints about how bad some of the theater bits were, but who wants to read that? Especially since I got the sense that some of the people involved knew how bad it was, and were doing what they could with the material. I sympathize. I’ve been there. (I’m thinking “Andy”, Marco. At least people didn’t pay to see that (did they?)). And at least there was a cash bar open through the performance. I suspect Amanda agrees, too.
So, the music was great at least. (Yeah, I’ve never gotten around to seeing them live before, shame on me. The albums sound so close to live, though, and do I really want to wade through a sea of sensitive arty suburban teenagers in pancake makeup just to get the live experience? Not especially.) Amanda’s voice sounded shot at times. They also seemed to be trying to see if they could throw each other off. Sometimes, unfortunately, it worked, and someone would crack up, or yell at the other one. But a lot of times it created a really great tension, like where they’d really stretch out the empty spaces (one of the reasons they’re great musicians is that they really know how to play with the empty spaces). I was not too surprised to read in todays DD email to hear that they’re taking a “band break” and Brian now has his own MySpace page (Amanda has had hers for a while). Oh, oh.
- I finally wrote about the Bazaar Bizarre at the Rainy Planet Press Blog, and have started a Rainy Planet Etsy store, and have some pictures of some of the stuff that we were selling.
- The excellent Weekly Dig is losing its editor-in-chief. There are two even better write-ups of it in the excellent Boston Globe (yes, I just used those three words in that order) Brainiac blog (the blog for the Sunday Ideas section) here and here. The second of those mentions Jeff Lawrence, the owner and cofounder who I met at the Bazaar Bizarre (you already read about that in the Rainy Planet blog entry, though, didn’t you?); it was a highlight of the Bazaar to get to tell him in person what a dismal, boring waste of trees the Phoenix is, and to thank him for the Dig. It felt good. Readers of this blog will attest that I have been ranting about this at every opportunity and wasn’t just kissing up. And if I needed further vindication, the week following the Bazaar, the Phoenix ran a big picture of Jim Fucking Morrison on the cover. Jim Morrison! I can’t make that up.
- Tomorrow night we’re going to the Onion Cellar at the ART. From the reviews, I get the idea that it’s not great theater; more like the “Mamma Mia” of the Dresden Dolls, except if ABBA were actually in “Mamma Mia”, so I guess it’s like the Billy Joel musical that he apparently was actually in. At any rate, I’m hoping it’s not an atrocity like the Bob Dylan musical. (Warning, you may have to take a shower if you actually watch this video).