Sunday, February 22, 2009

Living in the past pt. 1: "You can swallow all my priiiiiiide"

Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax -- YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I LIVE IN THE PAST!

One of my favorite things to do when downing pints with friends, or even after a couple glasses of grape juice with the mrs., is to think back to the old days, times spent and laughs shared, lives bent and carafes bared, to remember and relive the seasons, the reasons, for getting together once again. The cynical amongst us might whine and cry about not living in the now, not loving each day as anew, not creating a future even worth reminiscing about. A pox on them, I say.

I've been recently getting back into some of the music I loved from another time (Avail, Propaghandi, Operation Ivy). And yes I dig it for what it is/was, but I can't deny that part of the appeal is traveling back to a particular time and place, bringing back all the feelings and memories of a youth well spent. To wit, I love eating In'N'Out burgers, mostly because of the taste, but part of the joy now is the opportunity to, subconsciously I think (though not anymore), replay beautiful afternoons rolling down Van Nuys Blvd after school without a care in the world, or having been away from LA for a while and going straight from Burbank airport to get all animal styled on the way home. Nostalgia's an important part of real-time experience, past actions and emotions and context inform and affect the present, I say.

I recently met up with some very old and good friends that I rarely see these days. Long story short, we innocently finagled our way into the 3-story penthouse of the heirs to a European money printing operation. And got kicked out of the place for really no reason, basically the victims of intra-family strife, the manifestation of years of whitewashing problems with feigned indifference and real discontent, throwing piles of money as an extinguisher upon fundamental issues. After getting the hell out of that situation, my fellow cohorts expressed feelings ranging from outrage to disgust to embarrassment, what have you, but I just couldn't stop smiling. A contrarian 'til I die, I was so happy, knowing that years from now every time I'd see those guys we'd have something to talk about, laugh about, reminisce and rehash. To me, there was so much utility, fun at the time and allowing for even more fun in the future, in what happened. The future's a beautiful house built upon bricks of the past.


This is a little video I've made for the old and somewhat rarely played Via Violenta song, Cleo. I basically started the process to try and learn how to use the software, and totally not because I'm living in the past and painfully missing playing music in between hanging out with friends and cracking jokes while drinking Polish beers and smoking trees. Somewhere along the way, I realized not only was the studio recording not actually finished (I've got to assume that the guitars were merely scratch tracks to get the drums and bass down and that we would go back and re-record them, at least I really hope so), and not only was there no mixing done, but there's probably a reason this one was rarely played. Nevertheless, it still holds a nice place in my heart. And there was no way I was scrapping it and starting anew with a different song. The intro is a nice example of Freddie's antics-inducing laughter, complete with Hari's desperation and my hyena-on-nitrous-like cackling. Joel's a pro as usual (more likely eating a sandwich in between takes). I hope this brings back as good memories for some as it does for me. This goes out to all the bandmates, you too Inder, and the friends that came to the shows and shared drinks and laughs and everything else.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

photo 10, the return

What was once a clever self-motivational technique to take more pictures has become a lazy excuse to re-trot out one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite books on one of my favorite topics. (I had no idea I had previously excerpted this very same passage in photo 4, but it's just so good, and judging by the paucity of comments, it's not going to kill anyone to have to read it again, and maybe the more relevant picture will help). Here's absolutely brilliant stuff from Malcom Lowry's much-referenced-by-me Under the Volcano:
And at the next moment, though not before there had passed between himself and the doctor a barely perceptible exchange of signals, a tiny symbolic mouthward flick of the wrist on the Consul's side as he glanced up at his bungalow, and upon Vigil's a slight flapping movement of the arms extended apparently in the act of stretching, which meant (in the obscure language known only to major adepts in the Great Brotherhood of Alcohol), "Come up and have a spot when you've finished," "I shouldn't, for if I do I shall be 'flying,' but on second thoughts perhaps I will" - it seemed he was back drinking from his bottle of tequila. And, the moment after, that he was drifting slowly and powerfully through the sunlight back toward the bungalow itself. Accompanied by Mr. Quincey's cat, who was following an insect of some sort along his path, the Consul floated in an amber glow. Beyond the house, where now the problems awaiting him seemed already on the point of energetic solution, the day before him stretched out like an illimitable rolling wonderful desert in which one was going, though in a delightful way, to be lost: lost, but not so completley he would be unable to find the few necessary water-holes, or the scattered tequila oases where witty legionnaires of damnation who couldn't understand a word he said, would waive him on, replenished, into that glorious Parian wilderness where man never went thirsty, and where now he was drawn on beautifully by the dissolving mirages past the skeletons like frozen wire and the wandering dreaming lions towards ineluctable personal disaster, always in a delightful way of course; the disaster might even be found at the end to contain a certain element of triumph.