Thursday, April 09, 2009

It’s all for you!

Because my niña likes to see updates, I’m updating. Things have been a bit slow ‘round these parts, due primarily to work being the opposite of slow and things being balled up at the head office. (Name the movie.) Subsequently, I neglect the blogthing and other questionable pursuits.

Nevertheless: the show must go on, despite the lack of readers. There is at least one reader and she (you) is (are) the most important of them all. So let’s make her (you) happy with a new post, which is officially set on random (hola, niñis!).


I went out last night and had drinks with the only people from NU that I can be around for an extended period of time. Though we discussed some mild political issues and debated the merits of every president from Obama back to Teddy Roosevelt, and also addressed the pressing question of whether or not the 2016 Olympics ought to be held here in Chicago (which, of course, they shouldn’t), the conversation drifted to the subject of poetry. It was with a sigh that I met this discussion. I try to stay away from talking (or blogging) about writing, as it is too easy to yap yap yap about being a writer and not actually write. But there was hardly a moment that struck me as obnoxious and everything my cohorts had to say was free from pretension and I found the talk engaging and relevant to more than our fucking egos. Now I remember why I like these guys.

We collectively decided that the term “poet” is loaded with too much and that the community of poets might be doing something of a disservice to themselves by being a somewhat insular group. I cannot understand how anyone would want to only write poetry (or prose) or, for that matter, only read it (or the other). 3 beers and 2 tamales deep, I felt happy with the world and less concerned about the job, the possibility of never utilizing my degree, the nagging issues that flood and drown my relentlessly ticking gray matter.

Riding home courtesy of one of the lads, I heard the song “Shout” by Tears For Fears on the radio. I have never liked this song. The lyrics annoy me. I heard the song several times in Mexico, as the American pop radio stations are stuck, it seems, in the ‘80s, though they did toss in this horrible song by Katy Perry that makes me skin crawl (you know the one). Other songs I (we) heard too often while riding in a car in Mexico:

“What’s Up?” (aka “What’s Going On?”) – 4 Non Blondes
“Young Turks” – Rod Stewart
“Personal Jesus” and “Policy of Truth” – Depeche Mode
A weird new bastardization of “Personal Jesus” by some girl pop singer who changed the refrain to: “Reach out, touch me!” Ugh.
“The Final Countdown” – Europe
“Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio
“Careless Whisper” – Wham
“My Humps” – Black Eyed Peas

Thankfully, I did hear “Matador” by Los Fabulousos Cadillacs, which is great song by the popular Argentine outfit. That was one of the only songs in Spanish I managed to hear. I recall the first trip to Mexico when I arrived at the bed & breakfast and heard “Hey Ya” by Outkast. Hegemony, I thought, though is it really any different than my interest in Manu Chao or any other foreign music? (It is, but that’s the subject of a longer post.)

On my way to the bar last night, I encountered not 1 but 5 women pushing strollers on Damen Ave. A good 6 joggers passed me on the sidewalk, their iPods rendering them oblivious to potentially life saving street noise. I saw boutiques and kitchy looking eateries, salons and gourmet/organic grocers. None of this is surprising, but I got to thinking about the Bucktown/Wicker Park area and how it was once a low life part of town. I work with an attorney who laments to death of Wicker Park as the heroin capitol of Chicago, which is how I sort of remember it. I know it started to turn in the ‘90s and I blame Liz Phair for a lot of that. (Did I ever tell you that I hate Liz Phair and her music? Indie witch!) I’m not going to say that I was there, I saw it all; I’ve never lived in the Wicker Park area, but I do remember going there when I was in high school. It, along with Humbolt Park, was grimy and dangerous. Like in that movie about a serial killer.

I don’t mention all of this for any real reason—I don’t really care if Wicker Park becomes the next Lincoln Park—but I must admit it made me a little depressed walking among all those mothers and joggers and soon-to-be closed shops. I started thinking about all the things that have changed in the years since I’ve been a northsider—not to mention the things that have changed since I’ve been a kid in the nearby burbs—and all the things I’ll never see. The Union Stockyards, for example, closed the year I was born. I wish I could’ve seen them. I can’t imagine the stink. The Chicago Stadium. The United Center is certainly no Madhouse on Madison. Things chance. Sigh.

All sad bastard thoughts went away when I arrived at the Charleston, which is a nice little neighborhood bar. Thankfully they didn’t have live music last night, though they often do. I cannot bear live music anymore. It takes a lot to get me to go to a concert, even to see my favorite bands. The Melvins are coming yet again. Will I go see them?

I think I’m bummed about iTunes and subconsciously (not anymore, since I realize it) rebelling by ignoring music. I still buy CDs and will truly be sad when it all goes digital. It’s not the bands’ fault, I know, so I ought to be going to shows still and keeping up with the so-called scene, but what do I care? I’m getting to the age where I couldn’t care less about anything other than the artists I knew about 10 years ago. Shit, it took me 5 years to realize that Pavement was an important band. I’m so behind.

Okay then, enough rambling? I think I covered a lot of nothing— perfect for the medium. That’ll do until I get something substantial between my teeth. Until then, be well, mi amor. Te quiero.