The Rhi-Post – Edition 2

Thank you for returning to The Rhi-Post! We have  a variety of contributors with a variety of topics, which is what The Rhi-Post is all about.

Sit back, enjoy, have a drink or two, and follow the links from our writers.

Cheers!

– Rhian

In this issue:

Heartagrams: “ I did a bad, bad thing….”
by Andrea Costanzo aka @TheJunkenstein

Well, ignoring my recently saddened financial situation, lately i decided top act like an irresponsible 18 year old and bnuy a tiocket for a big, costly concert. In this case, it’s the italian “One date only” (as it seems, a lot of recent shows are, in Italy) stop of The Big Four, namely Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. So not only its a show, its a Metal Show.

Read More….

Learning How to Let Go
by Lushrain

It took me a long time to learn to let things go and even longer to actually let them go. Even now I still hold on to things.  For me being able to let small things slide and not hold on to hurt feelings has made me a much happier person.

Read More…

Sexual Health and Chronic Pain
by Jules from whatthejules.com

I remember the first time I heard the line “not tonight, I have a headache”. I was too young to have any idea what it meant. Everyone around me laughed, so I laughed too. It wasn’t until much later, when I understood what it meant, that it made even less sense to me. I wished from that moment on I could go back to not knowing what that lame line meant.

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Rebel Without A Pause– s1e5: This Isn’t Happening?
by BrotherDarkness AKA Butch Rosser

You can imagine I was pleasantly stunned when I found out my last column had earned me a fan who asked the justifiable question “What in the world possibly goes on in (my) brain?” (italics and parenthesis mine)  Somebody who cared asked and as usual I feel compelled to answer honestly.

I’m awake.  It’s almost 9:30 am.

It’s too early for me.

And I am goddamned hungover.

Read More…

LUBE “RHI” CATION
by Blondeinred

With Blondeinred the naughty Aussie with her finger on…. The pulse of the adult novelty industry.

I’m the Blondeinred – KATG devotee (more about devoteeism in a later addition) and adult store worker here in Brisbane Australia. Each edition I will bring you a toy review and some cheeky ways that you can spice up your “self love” or raise the temperature of your partner play. My ethos behind toys is that every toy you invest your hard earned cash in should have at least three ways of using it, so as to get more bang for your buck, yank for your yen or pounding for your pound. So lets rock this out lets Lube-RHI-cated.

Read more…

Inspiration
by Rhian, Editor

Everyone has someone that has impacted them in some way. I used to run in fairly high-profile circles, and people of celebrity or such status never phased me. We are all just people. As long as you aren’t a jackass for the sake of being a jackass or hiding the true you to harm others, we’ll probably get along. At least I will go in with the intent to like you. Cross me though, no matter who you are, we are done.

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The Method
by Dean from Australia

Every now and then, there are certain books, films and/or music, which I have always enjoyed, that I return to whenever I am feeling in an emotional trough. I often hit these troughs…perhaps more so lately because, as I approach my middle 30’s I find myself feeling less sure of myself than ever. I can’t explain what it is…well…perhaps I can. There have been a number of critical incidences in my life that I can relate that have surely shaped me into the person I am now. It is the books, the movies and the music that I have grown up with that serve me well as a therapy. They lift me up or, alternatively, they allow me to wallow for a time in my sadness or otherwise. Even sadness can be therapeutic…to a point.

Read More….

Rebel Without A Pause– s1e5: This Isn’t Happening?

by BrotherDarkness AKA Butch Rosser

You can imagine I was pleasantly stunned when I found out my last column had earned me a fan who asked the justifiable question “What in the world possibly goes on in (my) brain?” (italics and parenthesis mine)  Somebody who cared asked and as usual I feel compelled to answer honestly.

I’m awake.  It’s almost 9:30 am.

It’s too early for me.

And I am goddamned hungover.

If I hadn’t remembered I was hungover, I would know it now, because there’s a facsimile Lincoln hat on my nightstand which is shining a little bit in the early morning sunlight and holding two bags of chips I got at a party last night.  You see, last night somebody I barely knew who didn’t remember the time we met last year was having her birthday party at a hot new club in town.  I spent yesterday doing not much, while things got done: business e-mails for the future, hot tracks I want to play in the club &/or in my personal life, recovering from heartbreak, wondering if I knew the next girl, backtabbing where I’m going to move to later, et al.

But none of those things were my focus yesterday.  They were merely planets orbiting the sun of my main thought: do I go to this birthday party at a hot new club in town where somebody I barely know probably isn’t going to remember the time we met last year?  A Costanzian dystopia spit out innumerable reactions and mudslides of personal humiliation, professional embarrassment, social awkwardness, and acute discomfort in anything from the possibly of badly made drinks made by bartenders new to me to running into an ex-girlfriend or some sort of single-serving friend I’d bumped uglies with a time or six.

In addition to THAT, I knew for a fact that I would be having happy hour two blocks away far before the party and that I would have actual friends at a little dive bar where my friend was singing some jazz standards a block away from this party and would be highly likely to show up at that event at some point in the evening as well.

The thought still centered about do I go to this particular party or not, and you know what choice I ended up making.  But let’s follow that answer with Occam’s Question: why?

The answer to Occam’s Question centers around part of the reason why I’ve been up for mere moments, groaning lowly the whole time, rueing the effect of all the free drinks I downed almost as much as the fact I’m in this bed alone and it occurs to me that while I’m not the only person going through some form of this mindset right now that the only person who really understands me at this moment is James Murphy.

The name isn’t familiar except to music cognoscenti like me, so let me see if I can get more eyeballs into this tent–James Murphy is the founder and lead singer and multi-armed instrumentalist behind LCD Soundsystem.  For the past five years his lyrics have become less things that pass through my ears and more things that’ve wrapped themselves around my heart and brain.  And now, of course, he’s leaving to go on to the next thing in his life.  Maybe a new band, despite all his clucking to the contrary, or maybe just settling back into position in his leadership role guiding DFA Records and the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Hot Chip, maybe dropping a dope remix banger here or there.  This isn’t going to be a hipster diatribe about James moving on with his life and leaving me in the lurch to sip champagne out of the asses of supermodels on 56-foot yachts; this is going to be a weird, small piece about how he exposed me to a new life before I even got into it, is the soundtrack for it, taught me all sorts of major and minor truths, and now that he’s gone…who’s going to do it?

You see, at first I was just a guy who was borderline obsessive about music (to the absolute surprise of everyone reading this, I’m sure) who admired DJs and went to clubs.  But while I knew top 40 stuff, that wasn’t my world.  Old school hip hop was my world.  Maybe classic rock.  Maybe stuff I didn’t know & knew I couldn’t do, some ineffable sound of the future yet to be realized.

And then somebody dropped Losing My Edge on me, a hilarious seven-and-a-half minute Bizarro World version of Sympathy For The Devil in which the protagonist, voiced by Murphy over beats I could’ve made on a Casio when I was 5 can’t focus on the fact he’s virtually introduced Nico to Lou Reed or Fab Five Freddy to Deborah Harry or started kicking Daft Punk tracks at gigs in the deserted, uncool part of town known as Brooklyn.  I’m losing my edge, he complains.  The cool kids are coming up from behind.  I’m losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.

This would’ve been a moment to bail on this oddball paranoia until he added the cruelest of poison-tipped knives in the heart with the next line: And they’re actually…really, really nice.

It took me a few listens of Losing My Edge to figure that he wasn’t making fun of the scene he was in or loved it to realize he was doing both, and throwing in some jabs at a mirror, too.  The sloppy Kraftwerkian funk that was propelling the track was intentional, the namedrop binge was as well, the lyrics that inverted and flipped on themselves was all part of the plan, and after I listened to Losing My Edge a few times I realized that the author, whoever they were and whatever fears they had in their head, was far from realizing the title.  I loved the style and lack thereof, was amused by the lyrics, and figured I would never hear from them again.

You know, something along the lines of the same train of thought I had after I heard Yellow for the first time.  Whatever happened to that sleepy-eyed Thom Yorke wannabe, anyhow?

And while LCD Soundsystem proceeded to blow up off of the also-funny but way more funky Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, it was the more inward Tribulations that won the honors on the self-titled debut for me, and explains why I am cursing the light and wishing for the darkness: downtempo as shit and full of wry frustration directed at SOMEBODY (muse?  lover?  ex?  producer?  friend? some mix-and-match combo of the aforelisted?) about mistakes that seem to keep on sticking, the way mistakes can haunt the soul as a ghost, and the seminal line for me off the song and album:

But it feels alright as long as something’s happening.

This hit me between jobs and off a breakup caused in part by being between jobs.  As I was starting to leave the conventional world and starting to build playlists.  As DJing friends would make me their bathroom break at the club and let me get on, a song here, two songs there, a small 15 minutes there while they lit up in the back alley or had their cupcake on the moment spit-polish their theme park in the bathroom.  But I kept the crowd going.  I swallowed down a continent’s worth of nerves and got competent.  I started going out more and watching more DJs.  I played some more here and there and stretched my hard drive to the breaking point with mp3s through all these trials and tribulations and started getting one-off payments from the nation.  I floated through day jobs as a hint of a cypher, but like Wheelchair Jimmy would do with less panache down the road I came alive in the nighttime to see the best DJs in the world, to drop a track here or there, to make other people lose themselves in the sound–well, not exactly the way I got lost in the sound because that way lays madness of psychotics, geniuses, and psychotic geniuses–but that they too would hear something, or something unexpected, and they could leave behind the ex and the bullshit day job and the mounting pressures of bills and the weird mixture of joy and envy that follows engagements, all of that.

I could turn up the soundsystem a little more and let them drop their infernal internal Rube Goldberg Mobius strips like bags on the stoop after a long vacation.

James was right: it always feels alright as long as something’s happening.  This is why I creep the streets at night more often than not, because I know what happens in the darkness of my mind and heart in my own residence–at some point, I have to face the fact I’m alone and 38 in white people years and I may have just blown it again.  No matter what awesome projects beckon in the future, no matter what interesting mashups I work on, no matter what friends reach out to me at the end of it you look into a monitor long enough and all you can see is your face sometimes.  So gimme some mirth!  Let me go out into the streets I’ve been in a thousand times that’ve changed 900 times, let me hobnob people barely a step up from virtual strangers, let me sip horribly overpriced cocktails at a rooftop in a place I hate but I’ll go when I can get in for free because my friend is on the decks, let me make a serious of possibly funny bon mots that lead to me crowning myself “the KING of 19th century assassination jokes” and look at my bedstand in momentary confusion the next day because Something’s Happening.

When I first started listening to LCD?  It feels like 13 lives ago.  That iteration of me bears a resemblance, but that’s all external.  Inside, I feel much different, like I’ve played Face/Off with myself in both roles using the past and the present and the future as the character archtypes. When Sound Of Silver came out as the second release from Murphy & Co. it was feted with the usual rave reviews from all the tastemakers, who pointed to the buyoant fun of the “Daft Punk”-esque North American Scum that was also touched upon in the title track and the epic that closed the album, New York, I Love You, But I’m Bringing You Down.  Those are some of my favorite tracks for all the reasons most people give, but it’s not my favorite track on the album, my favorite LCD song of all the times.

And I’m sure you’ll be unbelievably shocked to find that my favorite LCD song is the one song in the past five years that has made me cry.  In fact, almost nothing has made me cry in the past five years through some really shitstormy times and I can’t think of a counterargument to that.  But this song did it.  Every once in a great while, it still does.

All My Friends is Losing My Edge with every trace of the humor removed to the point where it, too, comes in at about seven and a half minutes, and it described what when I first heard it was Murphy’s average night in New York City, a night that begins around 11, maybe 10:30 since the city never sleeps.  (Oh, those lucky bastards who don’t have to close down at 1:30!  To quote a Hollywood friend of mine, San Diego will never be New Orleans.  Mostly because we see the ocean instead of get choked to death by it.)  But the thing about All My Friends that makes me cry is I feel that in it’s totality it best describes what my life is and has become, for better and for worse.  THIS life.  Not the one I was living when I first heard Edge, but life as I live it this moment down to the annoyingly loud clack that comes from my hitting keystroke to keyboard.  In fact, it’s playing in the background because I haven’t heard it in days, and despite the fact most of my life is looking up and it’s a brilliant day outside now I’m still fighting off tears a bit.

I cannot understate this: everyone would understand me better if they listened to this song.

It begins with going somewhere that isn’t your home to see how people — some of whom are probably your friends or have at least acted that way to your face in the recent past — have ranked you in a list, and then spinning a reaction to their reactions.  It ends with the plaintive hope that probably isn’t coming true of If I could see all my friends tonight. In the middle, it talks about the awkwardness of aging, the 21st century attempt to control fate known as the five-year plan, and the possibility all the fun you’re cramming in now becomes “this is tired” two hours from now, or less–in fact, it’s the underhanging fulcrum the entirety of the song/my life swings upon.

It should be noted: some times I go out and it is excellent.  It’s not a P. Diddy video, but it’s a tremendously good time.  It’s like the dinner scene in Goodfellas where Pesci tells the waiter to fuck his mother.  If I were to replay my memories in stillshot or video form the next day, it would be full of weird and interesting conversations, pretty women, drinks flowing (most of which I didn’t pay full price for), good music, broad smiles, no hassles at the door, a possible tumble in a bed (though this has gotten somewhat increasingly unnecessary as time goes on to me), a 24-hour Mexican food place to refuel, the sunrise being the last thing I see as I close my eyes.  You’re probably my friend on Facebook.  You’ve seen that photostream.

When it’s going badly, however, it’s going badly.  I don’t even mean the one time I got a drink thrown in my face (deserved, by the way), I mean the death by a thousand paper cuts where the hype emperor has no clothes.  Things’re just off, egos bruised, EDM, and being so fed up with the scene and your place in it you ditch the scene in media res only to get home and find out, oh, by the way, you’re not happy here either and there you sit in the dark being a vampire.

Being a vampire.

I have new slang to reflect my new life now.

The term “being a vampire” in my eyes when LCD first dropped was really just a synonym for what’s known as goth.  Now, that’s not the term I mean.  When I say being a vampire, it means leading a lifestyle based on being in some way part of the scene.  Photogs, DJs, writers, bartenders, go-go dancers, security guys, ad infinitum.  The people who keep the pulse going at the cost of being connected to a large part of most of the civilized world, all the freaks who come out at night.  All of my friends at nights.   If you’re more reachable at 10 pm than 10 am, if your alarm’s set for the crack of noon, if you look at people in general admission lines and chortle inwardly or outwardly, if you’ve ever had the Serato v. Vinyl discussion for consecutive seconds, VAMPYR!  But again, that’s a vampire in my eyes.  Most people?  Most people are civilians.  And now I’m beginning to refer to them as such, which raises an interesting question: since most people are civilians, most of my friends would have to be civilians, too, wouldn’t they?

And they are.

It’s taking a bit of a psychic toll, honestly.  I want to hang out with my long-time friends.  I want the messy interior of their lives and how they keep marriages going and children alive.  (I want to look at that from the outside, mind you.  Unless you’re ScarJo you probably shouldn’t expect me to be ready for all of that anytime soon.)  I want to remember all the stuff we talked about 13, 21, 45 lives ago and make old, familiar jokes about those times.

The problem is I love being a vampire too much at the end of the day, bad times and self-flagellation aside.  In the choice between the future and the past I am opting for door #1 — not without regret, but firmly nonetheless.  And more times than not, I don’t see all of my friends, or for that matter many of them, at least not with the frequency that I used to.  And it does get frustrating to be awesome in a vacuum and not have a familiar face of a “normie” you call friend lighting up back at you.

It can be punishingly lonely.  But when it’s not — when things, and in my case sometimes myself — when things are on it’s tiger blood wrapped in Adonis DNA dipped in cocaine served off of Scarlett Johansson it’s so good.  Like every other junkie in the history of mankind you chase the hit for the times where all the mental self-laceration and world worry just falls to the wayside and you feel like King Awesome Of Awesomestan decreeing that the Royal Card was BUILT for times like these, serf, and put some more grog on there for me and all the knights and princesses of my realm.

The best LCD Soundsystem lyrics reflect both of these sides of the coin, sometimes in the same song, sometimes in the same line.  Because James Murphy lived it, when he writes about it it’s not surprising it seems to reflect the darkest (or lightest) reaches of my head.

When Drunk Girls came out last year, it got torn apart so fast you would’ve thought it was attached to James Franco’s shoulder in 127 Hours.  I was, and remain highly amused by this.  Of course people focused on the part where DRUNK GIRLS! or DRUNK BOYS! was repeated, the same way everybody ignored the drug use and oral sex in the verses of Semi-Charmed Life so they could doot-doot-doot along to the chorus and the same way people looked at the Genie In A Bottle video and thought “What a cute young woman!” instead of listening to the words and thinking “I could probably anally fistfuck this chick by the fourth date” the way history has proven the larger truths.  Of course they did.  They’re people.  Civilians.  But for a dork like me?  A creature of the night?  A pulse-setter who takes the one of his own emotions every waking moment and most sleeping ones?  I got the undertones, the fulcrum.  As much as I liked the analogy of love being akin an astronaut who comes back but they’re never the same, about 100 seconds in Murphy wrote what’re IMSNHO his best lyrics in his entire discography, lyrics that may’ve made me cry if I’d encountered them earlier in life but now just seem to be an autobiography written by him about someone he’s never met distilled to 8 lines quoted here in entirety:

Just ’cause I’m shallow doesn’t mean that I’m heartless
Just ’cause I’m heartless doesn’t mean that I’m mean
Sometimes love gives us too many options
Just ’cause you’re hungry doesn’t mean that you’re lean
I’ve heard lies that could curdle your heartstrings
A couple of truths maybe burn out your eyes
But drunk boys, drunk boys leave their irons in the fireplace
‘Cause drunk girls give them too many tries

If I wasn’t such a pussy and was built like the Rock I would get this tattooed on my person as a constant reminder of who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m trying to go to and what to avoid in the new realm.  Especially that last one.  James Murphy’s last album starts with the song Dance Yrself Clean, and leads into this.  The songs Somebody’s Calling Me & Home are also consecutive tracks, and if you think that’s a coincidence the cubicle is cutting off circulation to your brain.  A man singing I can change if it helps you fall in love just gets it, and pretty soon his band is going to knock out four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and apparently, that will be the end of them.  I really wish it wasn’t.  His insights have been the bridge I’ve been walking over for a better part of a decade, and now that my own career is starting to go up the stratosphere he’s willingly coming back down to Earth?  I suppose that’s just the way these things go, I guess.

But I owe Murphy more than I can state, or maybe will ever fully realize.

So I sit, and listen to the piano, continue to comb the lyrics and the sound like Temperance Brennan, and wonder who will step in and be my bridge into the next life or four.

And that, in part, should be a horribly detailed answer to the question “What in the world possibly goes on in my brain?”

The Rhi-Post – Edition 1

Welcome to the first edition of  The Rhi-Post! This will be a collection of editorials from my friends, who I have come to know very well and are from a wide and varied background. I hope that you will enjoy a peek into their lives as I do and I am excited to share their thoughts, editorials and expertise.
If you have questions for our contribitors please send to therhipost@gmail.com and follow me @Rhian73.

Please be free to follow on twitter and/or facebook, or other social media if our authors shared their links. Thank you for being a part of The Rhi-Post!

-Rhian


In this Issue:

Tales from My Shame-Ber : Why I like the Twilight Saga
by Lushrain

This will be a  recurring column highlighting the items in my Shame-ber. If you are not familiar with a Shame-ber* it is a room with no windows in which you can enjoy your deepest darkest guiltiest pleasures.   Each time I will let you learn about the things I love that I shouldn’t love but are oh-so-awesome.

Read More….

 

About bitheadturnedtrader
by bitheadturnedtrader

I’m an Information Technology (I.T.) Director for the Canadian division of an international business process outsourcing company. Essentially I’m responsible for everything technical in Canada – networks, desktops, servers, software, and programming – to support the day-to-day operations and future growth of the business. I’m the interface between business and technology.
Read More…

 

Lament for the Loss of my Big, Fat Camera
by Shaughnessy

Like a favourite traveling buddy, my 38 – 105 mm Samsung zoom camera accompanied me on treks across North America, China, Hong Kong, Spain and Ireland. It, or its earlier versions, were always at hand for generations of family events, occasions and just for nothing moments. It documented my nature walks, adventures and trips to find beauty in unexpected places.

Read More…

 

Heartagrams
by  Andrea Costanzo aka @TheJunkenstiein

In troubled times, when black waves of depression are hidden behing every corner, daily, one needs to keep his emotions alive. And my personal and addictive emotion inducing drug is music. Its the direct language of the heart and soul, translating the bursts of adrenaline, tears, passion and laughter that made the grey routine less desperate into a sound that can move with you and wrap you in its comforting blanket of vibes.

Read More…

 

Handmade Revolution
by Kataish

Hi. My name is Kata, I’m 28 and I’m a craft addict. Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been obsessed with making things and “crafting”. It all started with drawing and taking art classes, and through the years turned into sculpting, pottery, beading, doll-making, crocheting, and then knitting. Currently my main hobby/obsession is knitting.

Read More…

 

Photography by Uncast


Rebel Without A Pause
by BrotherDarkness AKA Butch Rosser

s1c3: You Can Lead A Club To Culture, AND You Can Make Them Think (A Costanza’s Goodbye)
Dear Planet Earth,
If you’re reading this, I hope somebody has had the decency to cut me down from the ceiling fan this note was placed under.  It should be noted per previous discourse that everyone get their crying out at the wake and that Christine has her choice of who to sleep with at the afterparty.

Read More…

Rebel Without A Pause- s1c3: You Can Lead A Club To Culture, AND You Can Make Them Think (A Costanza’s Goodbye)

by BrotherDarkness AKA Butch Rosser

Dear Planet Earth,
If you’re reading this, I hope somebody has had the decency to cut me down from the ceiling fan this note was placed under.  It should be noted per previous discourse that everyone get their crying out at the wake and that Christine has her choice of who to sleep with at the afterparty.
But after years and years of debating what was the point of it all, I just couldn’t see one after the following appeared in my timeline:
1) Train, “Hey Soul Sister”
2) Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls”
It was just too hard living in a world that seemed not only to disagree with me, but take up ridiculous positions just to be in opposition to mine (see also: Beck, popularity of Glenn, Uggs, Glee, Avatar, no reruns of NewsRadio, etc.).  I mean, it was bad enough the Klan sent Waka Flocka Flame to destroy the fragmenting Black culture such as it was, but that 1-2 punch was like coming home from early to find your house beginning to catch fire only to find out the reason that it was catching fire was that your fiancee was too busy getting double-teamed by your father and grandfather for them to notice that flames were beginning to erupt.
When that came up as the most popular 1-2 punch for the year 2010, I knew my time on this earth was short.  I suppose at the end of the day it simply comes down to this: trying to slog through top 40 radio for me the past few years is like trying to swim in the Gulf Of Mexico — at this point, the difference between that and swallowing 47 pills or doing a chin check with a loaded .45 or taunting the police and making threatening motions towards them with a harpoon is just all aesthetic.
I suppose that I am the one to blame here, as like with one of the oldest axioms in my history a cynic is really a romantic that’s just gotten burned too many times.  My friend Daniel had an awesome term to describe a Grumpy Young Man — a Costanza.  And before, where the radio was one of my best friends and a gateway into a more in-depth and nuanced world it had just bogged down into indescipherable lexicon and posturing.  This isn’t to say that those things are bad, but as with an all fried-food diet if that’s all your body is taking in at some point it will revolt by doing something whimsical like exploding your heart or the blood deciding staying in place is better than running to your cererbral cortex.
I became a Costanza gradually, of course.  But the thing of it was, I didn’t want to become one, and I sure as shit couldn’t imagine a future where it was who I was as a human being.  (I also didn’t imagine a future with auto-tune, so I suppose in a way this is all Cher’s fault.)
In reading a series of reviews of classic #1 hits of the late seventies and into the eighties, I remembered vividly listening to the top 40 songs.  It went farther beyond a catchy chorus for me, and it definitely had something to do with my youth.  It made me think.  I started extrapolating wildly, as kids do.  But I think what seperated me from a lot of my contemporaries was that hearing these same songs as an adult didn’t give me a sheepish grin at the bar or a headshake over my former wayward ways; I not only felt even more enmeshed with the songs in question but looked back on young me surprised that for an absolute lack of context (relatively speaking, as per direct inverted proposition to life experience) that while I’d only been able to form sentences for a few short years then I still somehow found the “soul” of a song, or at least one possible soul.
It’s in this moment I’m thinking of one of my first radio friends, George, and hoping he’s not too disappointed in me for not hanging in there (what a horribly bad choice of words).  George was the first British guy I ever met, and even for a kid I could see he was dealing with Adult Problems.  The first words he ever said to me were questions–
Do you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?
It turned out George was also the first gay British man I’d ever met (in a really bitter irony, by the time I got done with the elementary school we’d first made acquaintance in he wouldn’t even be my favorite gay British George who sang about his problems on the radio all day), and his relationship–jeez!  No wonder people around me were divorcing left, right, and center.  While I merely worried about where the next cupcake was coming from this girlfriend or wife of his was clearly driving him to a breaking point in every depth of his being.
(Sidenote: I did realize after the fact he was a gay man but that was quite a few years away.  At the outset, there was no such thing as gay, not even as an insult–hell, I wasn’t even allowed to play with the “big kids” in the other six grades same as the rest of my class, so I drew my own context based around what was around me and what I’d seen on TV.)
WIthin 3 minutes of meeting me, a kid and complete stranger, George was just fed up to his eyebrows with the whole damn thing.  IF it was love that was wanted from him, then take it away!  I would’ve thought that was simple enough, but in the next breath he sternly intoned that everything wasn’t what it seemed.
Why would he do this to himself?, I would think, occassionally getting lost in my own head while snacking on Fun Dip.  He doesn’t like this person, he can’t possibly.  Either they want to hurt him and/or make him cry.  He was offering his love, which they seemed to be lukewarm on at best — whoever this skirt was that was putting him through the Double Dare of Love, she was no Clair Huxtable.  And yet everything wasn’t what it seemed.
George gave me a lot to think about in those four minutes.
And when I heard him again, it seemed weird.  He was still in the relationship with this woman, but not only did she come and go, she strung along (something I’d suspected but was good to hear come out of George’s own mouth).
So here’s what it’s like being a sandbox genius: not knowing that the leader of Culture Club is gay despite video evidence to the contrary, but at the same time has enough mental synapses firing to assume that in this relationship the karma chameleon is some sort of pet barometer that points to the entire relationship at large, since you are too young to have heard the word metaphor yet.
Loving WOULD be easy, warned George, except the scenario he had painted for himself in his head wasn’t reflecting what was actually happening.  You know, you bump it forward 25 years and scrap George and toss Regina in instead, find a couple of affable-looking brunettes, and you have arguably the best scene in (500) Days Of Summer.
Expectations.
Reality.
And every day is like survival.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is some inescapable shit about life.  It doesn’t recede into the background like wanting to be an astronaut or a Big Wheel or Growing Pains, it merely gets stronger and comes into life with more focus and clarity the older you get–it’s kind of the way the likes of Miss Bliss and Minkus fall prey to the Zack Morrisses and Corey Matthewses (Matthewsi?) over days and months.  At one moment you can be off the show like that.  Of course you can!  What is it — and for that matter — what is all art except an exploration of everyday interaction in human relationships?
And sometimes your lover IS your rival.
When I went back to look at top 40 radio’s biggest hits of my nascent youth when I was still a cherubic golden boy, I thought maybe I’d just blown George out of proportion.  He was the Outlier, the anamoly, and while his pop confection had stuck to my teeth about two decades longer than it did in the mouth of a normal human being, there was some sort of top secret Culture Club blind spot that I’d festered and the cavity had nobody to blame but its wayward owner.
Within 45 seconds, I could see that that wasn’t the case at all.
I am astounded the Human League didn’t win Nobel Prizes for the three of them in 1981, as they seemed to describe accurately every failing relationship in the history of mankind, which was most of them: people meet, fall in love together, sure, that much is true.  But then there’s a power inequity and the person with the upper hand looks around and in their next fell swoop moves for the exit, out the door, and it’s not even a moment of victory or ultimate joy if the alleged singing in the second verse was any indication.  I guess I never really got over the fact that the female aspect of the League didn’t have a rejoinder to my rejoinder of “If you love me so much, then why are you leaving?”  Even as an adult, sometimes that question was too much to bear in the situation where I had to be the girls!  But when women are right, they’re right: sometimes it’s just something that you must do.
HA!  Tell that to the roughly 585 kazillion people who’ve sung this ever since!  It’s like all this heartache and pain and self-doubt never even happened, because they can sing the chorus.  They built something for five years and now it’s all going down the shitter, and people are treating it like it’s freaking Piano Man or something!  They’re all singing along!
I guess I shouldn’t be amazed by people’s willingness to sing along to something that was really a gigantic cry of pain, though.  Sting was stalking his ex-wife, and despite the fact that I didn’t know the words stalk, ex-wife, or for that matter Sting the first hundred times I heard Every Breath You Take I nominated it for Creepiest Song I’ve Ever Heard In My Life.  And to be honest, it’d probably still be in the discussion.   He can’t sleep at night, he can only see her face, so he watches every move she wakes?  And they let this man TEACH!?  It sounded to me like the reverse of my parent’s marriage, which it was–but what was crazy was in the depth of this despair, the complete totality of this guy’s crazy mind being distilled into a 240-second essence, I knew he was going through a divorce.  If the opposite of light is dark, then the opposite of love and marriage is apparently Follow Somebody All The Time and Divorce, right?
The kids in New Edition looked the most like me and were responsible for my first cassette purchase, but it only took about 10 minutes for their lives to get ruined the same way George’s was: they take a taste of the Candy Girl, all their friends tell them to Cool It Now, except they’re waylaid by the awesome feeling of that first taste and in their desperate attempts to recapture it they’re left complaining–alone–to Mr. Telephone Man.  It suddenly occurs to me that that sort of thing happened in the urban community in the eighties a lot and it explains crack exploding.  One minute you have a girl who’s your own personal peanut butter cup and the next the guy from AT&T can’t even get back to you to tell you he got your message?  I’d throw it all away for a piece of rock, too, boys.  Those girls are poison.
But there were all sorts of these tiny lessons to be learned and thought over, and it was tragically all the relationshippy ones that went through.  I mean, it was nice that this Olivia woman wanted me to get a certificate from the President for physical fitness and the Men at Work had formed some sort of Australian Board of Tourism singing group, but at the end of the day (around 9, maybe 8:30 if I was tuckered out) it wasn’t their words that I was worried over–all I saw was a world of maneaters with Bette Davis Eyes, a bunch of Billie Jeans after you just because some little kid had eyes like yours.  It was a real head scratcher to put next to how to remember to seperate out primary colors from secondary.
I felt bad for all involved, obviously.  But I was only a kid!  I couldn’t help them.  That said, they gave me something to think about.  And the something they gave me to think about became the axis around which not only my world revolved but seemingly the planet at large.  When Foreigner or Nu Shooz would talk about the joy they’d found, the Winwoodian Higher Love, I always wondered in the back of my head if it was going to end up worth it.  I ended up sharing Tina’s distaste of love, and it didn’t take Ike swinging at me for 15 years to get there.  I was still trying to figure out the hows and whys, but the big stuff I got down: you could end up like Sting, or even worse, in a relationship where you were always kinda-sorta halfway out the door–say this for the estrogen soaked second verse of Don’t You Want Me, but when they broke they BROKE.  How were you supposed to see your way through growing up under these clouds of stuff like blue and orange and purple when in your heart you kept seeing red, gold, and green?  Who could put those in their proper places of primary and secondary when your brainstem was getting worn down like that?
The radio was giving me life homework, and truth be told I was always a fan of thinking about things.  I was learning more, which could only be good.  The More You Know, y’know.  But over time that sort of sensation of being mentally challenged by the words I was allowing in my ears went from almost total in scope to almost obsolete.  I couldn’t even get out of the nineties without a hailstorm of ballistics cutting down the two men who had challenged me with their worldviews the most.  Holes opened up in the universe of popular music, and Chris and Kurt made way for Ja and Issac and Taylor and Zachary (my apologies to the latter three).   I supposed once that sort of thing began to happen, spiritually I was already set to pull a Hutchense; Katy & the boys were just kind enough to hold the chair for me.  In this brave new world, success has been so easy for them.
I understand that listening to Tears In Heaven, Blue Monday, Nothing Compares 2 U, or the Boys Of Summer (especially considering my relationship with that last track, which has passed its silver anniversary and yet is the only song I can find that changes feeling based on my own) doesn’t put one in the mindframe of recovering three seconds later to reflect on what purchases will improve their life, but once the radio got in the one set of hands they pretty much managed to anesthesize the way that we feel.  Which is totally their right as a corporation, and I suppose my wish for them to provide a playlist that reflects a majority of my sensibilities is akin to 1984 me wondering if the girl hurting George so bad was somebody famous or just somebody local to him.  I suppose this is just another story of another failed relationship, only top 40 has broken up with me in my mind.  It’s let me down, given me up, and I no longer have any faith in the sound, so the amount of good things that I’ve got is now none.
Makes sense to me.
I do not do this for the purposes of martyrdom; I do this simply because once a man opened up the world for me with a mere two questions, and I fell in love with the world as a result.  And that world and this world might as well be Earth-1 and Earth-2.  I can answer the questions, George: I didn’t, to you.
But the radio did to me.
And this is something I must do.
You want this world of Grey Anatomy background music, of faux-soul and misspelled girls, you all are more than welcome to it.
It suddenly occurs to me that all you precious people might tell me that this is a step too far.
And yet.
Butch

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