My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Boy Is It Ever Monday!

Amanda, you ruin me.
I read your blog and marvel at the detail with which you recall your thought processes, your detailed memories. Your monkey mind all splayed out in glorious million-pixel clarity for me to enjoy. And then I am rendered silent.
Now I sit with slight sniffles, stirring coffee with a pen. New music flows in (maybe that's what clogs up my nose) and I am thinking about going to down to look at a new place. Lingering traces of a dream in which I was dying. I cried and bid farewell to people, and it was not at all pleasant. The runner mug sits with me and I think it is absolutely time for some Wolf Parade.
I've been trying to decode the signs and portents of the new year. Keywords are splattered on the whiteboard and my men are working around the clock to make heads or tails of them. (Slow down on that coffee, mate; once it's gone, it's gone).
I'll soon have to say goodbye to Ditty Bops springing up from cabbage patches, and welcome February, and with it, FAWM. That's right. Here we go again. I have a concept album in mind, but you'll have to wait and hear for yourself. I think it will be good.
What is this year? Left and right I hear about people flaking on their friends (guilty) and wanting to shave away all excess. All utility, all necessity. I am for this. We move together and right now we are moving towards simplicity and self-improvement, however masturbatory it may seem to Brad Pitt.
Speaking of masturbation, it seems to be another facet of life's synchronicity that everyone has split up or is splitting up or will, as of reading this, shortly be splitting up with their Other. Now let's assume that you're like me: Alone, looking out the steamed-up window of a Stumptown coffee shop as the display letters fall and break from too much moisture and manipulation, and you watch the people walking by on the street. You watch them walk by and we both agree that they resemble one another more than a little bit. They all seem too perfect, too obviously coupled, to be real. You inevitably begin to muse, for the umpteenth time, on just how many people in this heartbroken town are paired off, and really, where do these people find each other? I feel inclined to run out into the cold air with a notepad and pen, à la Annie Hall, and ask each passing pair for their secret, for the history of their origins. To study this strange beast.
I asked a friend: where are the good, non-attached women? She asked me: where are the good, non-attached, men (read: not boys)? The ones who have something to say, who like to read books and lounge about in their underwear with red wine in hand and trade off Homestar Runner quotes or geek out with Babylon 5 marathons? Where are these people?
Alas, they're probably doing just what we do most of the time: staying at home. Or working. Who wants to make an effort to meet people? It feels forced, rarely pays off, and costs a lot of money. At least the popular haunts seem to. Bars are out of the question. Work is too small a family. And, as Tom Waits said, you don't meet nice girls in coffee shops. What hope do shy romantics like us have to ever meet someone worth our time?
So it is in the face of this irrefutable dilemma that we segue back to our original discussion: what do to in the meantime. Nay, what to do instead of bothering with such trifles as companionship, friendship, and other ships. We have time. We are unencumbered. This presents us with an opportunity. To illustrate:
I will very rarely clean my room unless someone is coming over. when the public comes crashing into my life, I put on the presentation of relatively cleanliness and functionality, and this seems absurd. We put the comforts of others above our own, when we have to live with ourselves every second. S put it well: how can we expect to love and support anyone else in any sort of relationship when we don't attend to and care for ourselves in an equally loving manner?
How indeed?
This applies across the board. Whether you don't feed yourself properly, maintain room-cleanliness, or just get yourself off to internet porn when you could be cultivating your sensitivity and practicing separating orgasm from ejaculation (that's just for you, boys), it's all the same thing. Rather than using our solitude to learn to better care for ourselves, we continue to take the easy out and the quick fix. To borrow a phrase from another excellent blog: instead of taking the time to prepare a fine meal for ourselves, most of the time we just reach for a cheeseburger.
So we have taken this and run with it, grabbing the new year by its diapers and declared it the year of Masturbatory Solitude. Of becoming stronger. Of self-acceptance. No longer will we sit amidst a room of acquaintances and ask: what am I doing here? I like my own company just fine, thank you.
Guard your time. Use it. Don't fritter it away just because you're lonely or horny. You're not the only one, and this is the year of taking matters into your own hands. Put on the Flaming Lips, or DeVotchKa, or Greg Dulli. Stand up and say yes, chef! There'll be no break in your obligations, your trials. They keep coming. The only way is up. The only word left is onwards.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

They Don't Write 'Em Like That Anymore

I'm sipping some Papio and grinning as Jay Brannan sings through my speakers. I've been orbiting around a few records this past week, and the Shortbus soundtrack is the favorite of the moment. Scott Matthew's songs take my breath away. I can't wait until he releases a proper record.
The other disc is called The Ideal Home Music Library, Vol. 1: Show Songs, which, if the liner notes are to be believed, is made up of old show tunes unearthed from the Rare Book Room at the American Institute of Musicology, reinterpreted by Portland's own Michael Johnson and a few other locals. I don't know if I believe the bit about these songs really being written between the '30s and '50s (one dating all the way back to 1901) but either way the sound is unmistakably that of the classic show tunes, and the modern day Portland artists do a marvelous job of paying homage to these songs, wherever they come from.
Maybe I'm a bit old fashioned, but for my money there's nothing like the simple pleasure of a good tune (and old tunes - I'm talkin' Cole Porter here - are the best of the lot for this) to put a skip in your step and make you glad to be alive.
Here is one such song, with guest vocals by none other than Colin Meloy. And some Shortbus tracks thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

Reclinerland - The Lady from Riems
Jay Brannan - Soda Shop
Scott Matthew - Language