coldfront III

So the day of Soundwave I was sick and had a major fever, but I still didn’t want to miss it because it was such a unique event. I definitely should have dressed warmer, and if you know me…you know that I already wear very warm clothes as it is. Anyway, security wouldn’t let me bring in my bottle of ibuprofen of all things, but I managed to sneak a few pills in anyway. Anyway, it was classic anarcho-tyranny at the door.

One thing I’ve been noticing over the last couple of years is that kids and teenagers are starting to dress the way people dressed in the future as depicted in Back To The Future 2; Wild colors with crazy patterns, inside out appearing clothing, funky hats, elaborate tattoos, and gauges that essentially amount to bionic implants. I guess it’s not all that surprising as 2015 is less than four years away.

Almost every young girl that’s not of the dominant counterculture(or what’s left of it) now looks like a Juicy Couture employee… ultra tan with some sort of text on the butt of her pajama pants and sporting all sorts of fake H&M style jewelry and gemz. Not a bad look to be sure, but still.

I never was much into current or contemporary things in my adolescence. I was always in a another world. For a few years after high school though, it I felt like the younger kids right below me would be the ones who “got it” and with whom I would be able to identify with more than my own generation. They seemed to appreciate the things that I would appreciate(old movies, vintage, forgotten ideas, classic novels, obscure books, tape recorders, history etc.) That was a brief period of frozen time though, which thawed quickly. As I looked around at the thousands of peeps gyrating to remixes of other people’s music and cheering on a dude standing behind a laptop pushing buttons, I realized I have little to no connection to these kids. I cannot identify with them at all. They seem to live completely in the moment, totally immersed in today’s commercial world. They buy into every marketing tactic, fall for every gimmick, appear to have zero knowledge of any history that predates the 1980’s, have absolutely no patience or attention span, and communicate with one another at about a 3rd grade level. One could say that every generation feels this way about the younger crowd. They’d be right to a degree. But these kids, through no fault of their own, are living in a world without context. Because they have no context, they are content with whatever platter is served to them on recreated wheels. Since they lack curiosity they will never know the difference. A handful will grow out of it, escape and find their own individualism..perhaps stumbling onto a copy of The Wizard of Oz as Sean Connery’s character did in Zardoz.

Not that I have a problem with electronic music DJ’s or anything. They’re great, and I like dancing to music that goes “bloop bloop bloop bleep bleep bleep” and grinding up on hoes as much as the next guy. But why would anyone be excited about a specific person standing behind a laptop playing nondescript music that has no words or meaning? To see the crowd going crazy, it’s like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or something.

What else is there to say but that “These are strange times my friend…” as Thallo so eloquently put it in Clash of the Titans (1981 version.)

Salon.com Interview with Whit Stillman(Related)

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Return to the Forbidden City

So I bought this “Planet of the Apes” #10 comic book (dated march 1991) from East Side Records. I didn’t actually purchase it though…When I walked up to the counter to ask how much it was the owner of the store just gave it to me. He was like “Just take it, give it a good home. It’s been sitting on the shelves for years.” And so here I am, reading it this lovely afternoon.

It’s quite good actually, and stays true to the series. My favorite part though is not the comic but the author’s bizarre little intro on the inside cover:

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Some days I absolutely hate Planet of the Apes. Contrary to what
some people may think , it’s a tough job putting together a monthly comic book(please please put away the violins and the kleenex.) Some days I plod through a story like an explorer slogging through quicksand. It’s utter hell I tell you, utter hell.

But there are other days, sitting in my office behind my Mac SE, that I can feel the grass beneath my feet, the wind rushing through my hair. All around me, I see Apes chatting away, sharing stories, telling secrets. A grand drama unfolds before me, and I’m a part of it.

Charles Marshall, December 1990

And so it is, that’s almost exactly how I feel. One minute I’m walking through the Target parking lot all set to buy some goldfish crackers…the next moment I’m wandering through a post apocalyptic wasteland. There’s very little difference between imagination and reality depending how you can perceive things. Sure, you could say we don’t live in a post apocalyptic world…but that’s because it’s been gradual so most people don’t notice. But take someone like George McFly’s 1955 self from Back to The Future….and plop him smack dab in the middle of Tempe Marketplace in 21st century Phoenix Arizona…and my guess is his reaction would be similar to that of Michael J Fox as Marty McFly arriving in the alternate 1985 in Back to the Future 2 where Biff owns a Casino and is married to Marty’s mom whom he purchased breast implants for and mostly treats like shit.

I must say, I was never really a comic book kid. I went through phases for sure, but mainly I used to read MAD books(and the magazine.) However, one thing I love about old comic books are the ads…for stuff like sea monkeys, 80’s saturday morning cartoons and various, painfully dated, long forgotten relics.

And sure enough this issue has an ad…for another comic: “Alien Nation, The Skin Trade.” I almost forgot all about that whole Alien Nation thing. Something else for me to waste my time with.

You mean you have to use your hands?

It’s depressing…
Many moons ago when I moved here I used to listen to kool 94.5, which was the valley’s premier oldies station(and a damn good one!) To me, what constitutes “oldies” is the music from the period of the 50’s and 60’s, but slowly over the last few years I started noticing the so called “oldies station” playing newer and newer stuff right up into the new wave jams of the 80’s. Now I understand their rationale of course…since the 70’s and 80s are now a long time ago, it is now considered old music. It is much like that scene in Back to the Future II(featuring a young pre-pubescent Elijah Wood!) where the Nintendo game Wild Gunman has become an antique in the year 2015. “You mean you have to use your hands?! That’s like a baby’s toy!” Also many of the people in the age demographic nostalgic for songs from the 50’s and 60’s are aging and have been dying off. There is just less of an ad market for that crowd. Supply and demand etc etc.
Basically kool 94.5 at this point plays mostly 70’s rock and some 80’s.
So I started exploring the dial a bit and for the last 2 years have been listening to AM 1440 Arizona Gold, which was a terrific little AM oldies station until a couple months ago when out of nowhere the format changed to sports talk radio in the evening and cooking shows in the afternoon(they still have some oldies dispersed unpredictably throughout the day.) Virtually the same thing happened with AM 1480, which was the only other station I liked. It played lounge music form Dean Martin, Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt etc.
until it was up and replaced without warning when “liberal talk radio” returned to the station. I actually began listening to sports talk radio show, and learned quite a bit about a lot of stuff I’m not interested in, and I even sat through some of liberal talk radio to see if I was missing any variables in my equations which I inevitably am….but I enjoy oldies music and always have. When I was 16 and got my first Ford stationwagon, I only listened to the oldies station(which I attribute to both the influence of my reading of “Stephen King’s Christine” my freshman year of High School, and also the effect of listening to many 60’s cassette tapes with my mom on the way to my many Catholic grade school basketball games.)

You might be reading this and thinking “Why not just get an MP3 player or Ipod, dock it in your car and listen to whatever goddamn music you want?”

Fair enough, but one of the great things about the radio was the unpredictability of what song was going to be played and the romanticism of a song coming on at just the right moment, setting off the endorphins in your brain. There was also that by patiently suffering through a few songs you weren’t fond of, that you might actually discover a new song. These days people have little patience, and will change the channel in two seconds something doesn’t grab their attention instantly. It reminds me of that book The Closing of the American Mind for it is only by forcing yourself to sort through some things you may not like, that you can discover new things that you will. Most people these days seem to lack that sort of discipline. In fact, self discipline and tedious lonely work, are simply no longer valued in today’s society. If one has doesn’t have to ever encounter anything but what confirms they are looking for, why should they bother having to be be bothered by unpleasantness, which brings us to another book, “Brave New World”

I guess I wasn’t trying to make that much of a statement here other than just to say that in a city as large as Phoenix, where there are like 18 stations playing Mexican Mariachi music, a bunch of right wing talk demagogue stations(and even a liberal station… two liberal stations if you count NPR, a plethora of sports stations, a boatload of ghetto hip hop and r and b stations, a couple of 70’s 80’s working class rock stations, and the generic mainstream modern pop stations that play that song “somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend…etc” and other computer generated market researched music….

can’t we have one station in a city this big that plays Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” or the Dovell’s “The kids in Bristol are sharp as a pistol when they do the Bristol stomp?”

I guess I will start listening to some other stations and see what they might have to offer. Maybe I will actually learn to enjoy listening to golf on the radio, or soccer moms talking about recipes for crowned rack of lamb.