Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Another Night at the Opera



A scant ten minutes drive through from the tree lined, feather pillow i call home is the hood, of course ten minutes doesn't sound that far geographically but in reality it is more like fucking light years, you can almost tell by the shininess of the police cars that the affluence is dwindling the closer you get, it's a pie-ZAHN neighborhood but also swiftly becoming the Burgh's new Tijuana complete with street side taco stands and a Mexican grocery, a place that i venture to now and then when i need some grit, the threat of violence, the aroma of the neighborhood betties all dolled up for a trip into tahn, it's Brook-line not Brook-lyn and for that i love it... and so i stopped by the bodega run by the ever present Pakistani immigrants who besides selling lottery tickets, cigs and soda also have a rather nice selection of hookahs, bongs, pipes (both for grass and rock) and even a vaporizer, you see the old deer antler i had purchased from some friendly Native Americans at a half assed amusement park two summers back had become so clogged that even i, an expert in the cleaning of paraphernalia had given up on it and so for a mere ten bucks i acquired myself a new little piece, i didn't have to say a word, just stood by the cabinet and the old Paki woman strolled out, pointed to which side of the case i wanted opened and then wordlessly i selected, we walked back to the counter and i handed her 10 bucks (no tax) for a new glass piece that will serve my needs nicely, you see the selling of these articles is technically still taboo in my fair commonwealth, this is the place where our former half-assed Fed prosecutor sent up Tommy Chong so this money wasn't about to be taxed, hell it was like it didn't exist as it was rung in on a second register, we city dwellers past and present know how this works...

And so i hopped in the auto and headed down to see Crazy Kenny, a resident of this wonderful neighborhood and was greeted at the door with a bong and a beer, his young co-worker hammered from happy hour and slouched on the couch, frosted tipped hair and all, his Infiniti parked in the drive and i took a rip from the binger and cracked my fine American brew and sat down... Crazy Kenny is a former co-worker from the Big World Bank Machine, a guy with multiple masters degrees and completely off his fucking head most of the time, i sat and listened to his co-worker pine away for his days spent at university, myself laughing and realizing this kid must have been out of college for all of two years maybe and telling him that he's right, life only begins to suck left hind tit even more and that if i were him i'd go back as i slugged my beer and packed up the new peace pipe, i don't think he realized i was fucking laughing the whole time and taking the piss but i realize he was young and wanted to get laid and kept going on and on about the beauty from the office that he just had to fuck, i wanted to ask if she had any taste in men cuz if she did he defo had no chance but i'm not that cruel anymore and who am i to crush the hopes and dreams of young stockbrokers... and so Frosted Tips sobered up enough to drive his precision auto home and CK and i headed up the bully as they say here and to the bar...

Brook-line is not Brook-lyn, it is not inundated with hipsters and artists, it's home to a brand new makeover by some ambitious local pol, the sidewalks redone and widened to give it that family friendly feel, of course off the beaten path away from the bully and it's streetlights and nothing but steep hills and narrow brick-lined streets, it's dark back alleys used for meeting the dealer and mugging, in winter it's damn near impossible to navigate, as we wound our way towards the bully aka boulevard, CK began listing all the bars that he was currently banned from which from my count was most of them, we settled on my favorite place, a place with cheap imports all day Friday then ambled in and found a table cuz the bar was full, Ally the bartender immediately asked if i wanted a Guinness but i smiled and told her in summer i tend to go a bit lighter, the fact she remembered my drink after my not having stepped foot in the place for damn near a year is the sign of a top quality bartender in my book, she's also an attractive woman but smart enough to stay clear of the charmers which in this hood is pretty much every other Guido who walks through the door, by now CK is scouting the bar for the local purveyors of powder and badgering me to get a package but i tell him that i gave up skiing years ago and have no desire to return to the slopes, he quickly spies a supplier but judging by the look of him he decides to leave him alone, it's the usual two sides of the coke dealer coin, they are either euphoric and laughing and having a ball or (as this one was) sweating and muttering curses and looking as if they are ready to shoot someone, after a few beers and mindless chatter where CK, now well on his way, repeats the same three stories over and over, my favorite of which is about his new girl, a black girl from the hood whose brothers told him in no uncertain terms they'd like to shoot him... after a few beers i pointed at the clock, asked if CK needed a ride home and then headed to the exit..

In the car and the stereo is playing the above song and i can do nothing but laugh at how less than a decade ago i would have been well on my way to scoring that package, chasing cocaine and the loose women that come with it until all hours of the morning, those late nights spent in shitty after hours clubs or at the lock-in at the local, pouring my own beer as i stood behind the bar grinding my teeth, chain smoking cuz ciggies and blow is like chocolate and peanut butter, and now here i was, laughing at the absurdity of it all, driving slowly through the hood and watching all the action taking place on those brand new sidewalks, turning towards what i refer to as the buffer, that urban suburb that separates the hood from the lily white where i now reside, the window down and the music playing, driving like a grand-daddy to avoid any unwanted attention from the boys in blue, those days of not so long ago like some surreal dream, part nightmare part beautiful fantasy, me sitting on the other side of it, heading towards a quiet tree-lined street well before midnight so i can sit and watch the highlights with a bowl of Rice Crispies, the man still needs to wander now and then but it's not like some mission he's on, not like in his youth, now it's more to remind and refresh, odd how it still feels like home but at the same time it feels like being a tourist, like another night at the opera, let us waste the days away....

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cleaning out the Closet



Another sunday night alone in the cave, the neighborhood sleeping, the humidity rising, the cat sneezing, you know even the unemployed have the weekend comedown, waiting for the Monday morning grind, thinking about that first cup of coffee and an afternoon spent ogling milfs poolside, trying to read a book but having to many thoughts crammed into the head, thoughts of lust and movies and dollars and sense and drugs and lust and ice cream sandwiches, the smell of sun tan lotion, popcorn and dusty baseball fields, all the useless things that occupy the mental garage, the derelict daydreams that come slipping in the unlocked screen door at the back of the house, always at the most inopportune moments, catching me completely off-guard like the uncontrollable boners of my wayward youth, like slapping yourself in the face, and yes i stole that last bit but blah de bliggety blah, the words constantly tossed in my direction, the self importance of the self important always trying to work on my self-improvement, when really lets face it, there's nothing left to improve or more correctly nothing left to prove, the making of a well made pancake between the hours of 9am and noon will forever interest me more than the corralling of greenbacks 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 days every week, and it comes back to Sunday night and it's almost murderous quiet, interrupted occasionally by the bark of a dog or the sigh of a ghost, and like Mr. Owens i just don't understand, with all these hamsters running to and fro, with all the egos and ids and super-kids, with an endless news cycle and all the entertainment that the first world can afford, that this world keeps goin' nowhere, so that lap steel will convey more meaning, that trumpet have more feeling, than all the words and numbers, than all the words and numbers, and i just won't understand, i just can't understand.... another Sunday night, alone in the cave...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Let us stab the lazy right outta me, like that man on the cross, let's give up on this struggle and fucking surrender, like a certain boho afro'd white man of times past let's just say that i'm not here, i'm gone, i'm not here nor there nor anywhere, i've have drowned the ego and brought him back to life in some vain attempt to destroy the monster... and yet it was the monster who whispered let it go, it's all ebbs and flows and shadows and light and what does it fucking matter, it doesn't matter, the point is not to ponder the praise of the flower lily but to get on with the weeding, one can only hopscotch from one addiction to the next, from vice to vice, for so long before one becomes bored and tired of the ritual, no sense lighting candles to the filthy saints, do not genuflect to the past words of the long gone self, do not worry about the outcome or the market or the morality, just do, just listen to Li Po laugh, wait for the horn section to kick in, avoid the back of the garage, keep the hand out of familiar and strange pants alike, wipe the blood from the fingers, suck the blood off the teeth, the only noble savage is the honest savage and this savage is sharpening his spear and angling for honest nobility, granted from a plastic sword by the boy-king in all his wonder, just do, that was the message, found in the fortune cookie, found scribbled in black sharpie on the derelict bathroom wall, found scrawled on a note in the pocket of some blue jeans not worn for years, found staring blue-eyed back in the mirror each morning, found curling from the smoke as it rises from the pipe, just do motherfucker, just do...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Instant Disassembly



Long live the lounge... the lounge is dead... long live the lounge... the lounge is dead... long live the lounge... the lounge is dead... long live the lounge... the lounge is dead... mamacita, long live the lounge... the lounge is dead...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nick Disaster - 5 year edition

 
This is Nick doing the Joey, as in Buttafucco, rocking the Adidas track suit at the ice cream stand, since October of 2012 this kid and i have been hanging out on a daily basis and i can honestly state it's been some of the best days of my life, he's the second son of the son of a second son and though his daddio wasn't a second son he was a second kid, what does that have to do with anything? jack shit.  These days he's scoring goals for the local futbol team and he spent the winter on the ice playing hockey, he's a thinker and sometimes he doesn't say much but when he does he makes it count, that is of course when he's not talking like a sailor cuz he spends to much time with his old man, next September he starts school and his old man will be sad that first day knowing that it'll never be like this again, i'm fucking getting misty-eyed now just thinking about it, but i know how it works and don't worry kids, his old man will be alright... the other day he spent the day playing with my friends daughter, he'd been playing with a little girl down the street recently as well and when his big brother tried giving him the business about having two girlfriends ND just smiled, his big bro was like, "you can't have two girlfriends" and ND shot back "yes i can" and big bro said, "no, you can only have one" and ND just grinned and said, "I can have two, you just don't tell them about each other", all his old man could do was shake his head and smile.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

That song i heard one night while laying on the floor




You know in that last post i mentioned this song, the song written by the guy who now owns that record store, and after a little digging i found this one and only version on the interwebz, this might be one of my favorite songs ever put to tape, you see this song reminds me of this kid i knew, a big kid with a wild head of knotted hair who lived on the third floor of a three story walk-up, where he had no bed until he discovered that the beat-up leather couch against the wall was a sleeper sofa and he pulled off that thin mattress and tossed it onto the floor, bought a couple of foam egg-shells mattress pads and called it a bed, in that apartment with the hole in the ceiling where every time it snowed outside it snowed in the kitchen, right in front of the fridge, an old beaten kitchen table in the corner of his room, his radio atop it that seemed to never be turned off, an old manual typewriter, piles of books, French doors and a balcony with an old bar that overlooked the scenic monstrosity that was North Oakland, his favorite bars dirty sign visible in a piss yellow light, the room where he caught that break and could catch two elbows on the cuff to supplement the income and the drinking and drugging, handing his old-ex best friend a cut for doing nothing more than answering the door and grabbing beers now and then, back then it seemed as if that kid could feel and taste and see every breath he took, an absolutely beautiful existence with no net or plan or idea of what might happen next, living off thieving from the Bagel Joints cooler and hustling dollars bills into his pocket from the special the place ran, 4 bagels for a buck- no tax- 3 coupon limit, on a busy lunch you might grab close to twenty bucks and with the contraband meat and cheese you had dinner and a head start on the boozer, he bought Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain with that stolen money, a one block radius that contained the universe, a supermarket - 4 bars- liquor store- breakfast joint- laundromat- pharmacy- pizza joint- strip bar, there was no need to leave, and it was there on that block, in that third floor walk-up that this kid heard this song one night, laying on the floor as the sound of the late night streets came drifting in and a little white kitten lay next to him purring, feeling the breeze come in through the crack in the French doors, those lyrics made a lot of fucking sense, rudderless, grasping at any wisp of hair that he could fall in love with, whether he meant it or not, the arrogant and beautiful pain of the young existentialist wrapped up in the fine art of living, looking back he wasn't such a bad kid, yeah he may have caused a few headaches for those that loved him and those that attempted to, but deep down he didn't have any bad intentions, as a matter of fact quite the opposite, and don't worry he's doing alright these days, oh it's been years but you'd still recognize him, i catch glimpses of him every now and then... and when i do it always makes me smile...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vinyl Fetish



Yes i know, you're thinking that right about now i'm dressed head to toe in a tight vinyl suit, the kind the Gimp wore in Pulp Fiction, zipper over my mouth and eyes and crammed into some trunk waiting for my dominatrix to come in and spank my bare ass because as we all know any vinyl suit worth it's salt comes with a flap so that the good master can unzip and expose some bare flesh for her cat o' nine tails and hell on some days you might not be to far off but today this here post is about something else entirely...

Yesterday was like x-mas for all us vinyl nerds, it was Record Store Day and on that day we get up early and stand in line and then cram into our favorite record stores so that we can get our hands on some rare vinyl, of course the line is populated by a bunch of sad and lonely dipshits like myself but i like to think that i'm the coolest of the sad and lonely dipshits and besides it's for a good fucking cause man, you see like most of modern society the advent of digital music has taken the independent record store and put it on the proverbial rack, between the big box chains and I-tunes these places were disappearing faster than blow at a stripper party but somewhere along the line vinyl began to get fashionable again or maybe kids just wanted something that wasn't fucking zeroes and ones and had art on the cover and sounded really fucking good as they sat around pulling tubes... and of course those are all good reasons but besides that the record store is like a good pub, sometimes you can learn shit or be turned on to new things and hell dare i say it can broaden ones horizons, world view et al...

And so i rose early on Saturday and drove to my old hood and stood in line, and of course with every good intention there comes the bad ones, you see RSD was started to help these little indy places, you can't find this shit at Best Buy but an hour after the first stores open you can find it on Ebay for about 5 times what you could have gotten it in the store for but that's commerce for you and if there is a buck to be made someone will be trying to make it, yet it really pisses off the cats like me who actually get into it for the music and the art work and what have you and that's not to say i haven't flipped a few records in my day cuz i have i just don't make it my primary reason for getting up that early and standing in line and battling crowds...

My favorite joint is a little place near my old house and i've been going to it for 19 years now, it's changed owners but other than 1 asshole clerk who thankfully took his math rock band and fucked off to Chi-town it's always been owned and staffed by some great people, mainly guys in bands or old heads and the current owner was in this local band that i heard when i was sleeping on the floor way back in 1993 and the full electric version of the song made me think this guy must be some arrogant prick but in reality is one of the nicest fucking guys you'll ever want to meet, a soft spoken and down to earth guy with a wife and kids and still playing music but understanding he'll never be a darling over at Pitchfork though when you hear the guys records i for the life of me can't understand why he was never the biggest fucking thing in indie rawk...

And for the most part everyone at this place is cool, you can call out if you're looking for something and chances are someone will pass it to you people are civil and polite and it's the exact fucking opposite of black friday at Wal-Mart, of course there are some tools and this one guy just annoys the living fuck out of me as he frets and shakes and pops Xanax for his anxiety all due to trying to grab all the coveted vinyl on his list, and hey it's nice to get all the shit you're hoping for but just like X-mas when you was a kid you may not and hell if you got the dosh or the patience or sometimes both you can always find it on the interwebz, sometimes you just have to wait for the price to drop a bit but as Jimmy Cliff once said, you can get it if you really want it, and so i'm sure you're all wondering what the hell did i get out of bed so early for? Well i'm sucker for colored vinyl and the record up yonder was re-mastered and re-issued on some swirling pink, grey, black and white vinyl and man does it sound good, if you don't know my love of the Velvets you must be new around here but that's okay cuz just like the record store we cool...

Now what else? There was the Joy Division's Ideal for Living EP, re-mastered off the original tape or some such shit but without all the Teutonic cover art that adorned the original, there was a copy of Drive By Truckers Dragon Pants EP on 10" vinyl and if you haven't heard their new album i highly recommend it, there was a Parquet Courts 7" (for those who like the might Fall or Pavement), and then there was my two most coveted records, a 7" picture disc of the beloved Harry Dean Stanton complete with a full size poster of his documentary Partly Fiction and a box set of Dinosaur Jr. 7"s with the original artwork of their first four singles and new one of the boys covering the Cure and the Byrds, and as we also know J. Mascis is very popular guy around here, fuck that band from Seattle, Dinosaur Jr. put them to shame and though  Kurt was a decent guitarist J. is a fucking virtuoso, when you hear something J. plays on you know it immediately cuz he's that distinct and i could go on and on about him but i wont' cuz i feel like blazing up and listening to some records... I'm a nerd you know.