Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Another Year

Monday, October 29th, 2012

I think it’s approaching time to get back into the blogging thing in some capacity. First though, this probably means a complete overhaul of this site. Bring it up to speed with, I don’t know, some kind of magic. I’m still a little fuzzy. But it’s in my own best interest, from a career perspective as much as anything, to start defining my digital persona.

2012 will be yet another lost year as far as this goes, but maybe we can get some big things happening in 2013. Not to say that this hasn’t been a significant year in every other respect — took a great gig at 360i, getting up to speed on the world of plastic surgery prices and promos for BuildMyBod. Things are moving along — they just haven’t been here.

The ’00s in Music: 2001

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Well, this is my first post of 2010, which means I am continuing to set a terrible example for bloggers everywhere. I have been legitimately busy — I moved to Brooklyn in February and now commute to the Ogilvy office in Manhattan — but that’s still no excuse for no posts at all. How much effort would it have taken to throw up some miniscule political update, or SEO tidbit, or talking dog video? It’s just laziness. I’ve said it before, and it’s always been a lie, but I will do my best to rectify this.

Last September I wrote a post about the year 2000 in music and what it meant for me personally. It was pretty extensive, and at this rate I’m not going to be able to cover the entire ‘00s decade (whatever we’re supposed to call it) until it’s time to start looking back on the ‘10s. But that said, 2001 was a major year for me and it’s probably worth digging into a little bit, even if I never get around to writing about the other eight years. So I’ll give it a shot and we’ll just see how it goes.

It’s difficult to know where to start with 2001. Once, that year had strictly futuristic, sci-fi connotations. Even more than “the year 2000,” a phrase which had been well overused by the time the actual (rather ho-hum) year came around, 2001 sounded like something bold and new. It was a strong and foreign looking number, no less novel than 2000 but somehow more serious, and more unknowable.

Starting the year off with George W. Bush’s inauguration brought 2001 back down to Earth, and fast. Now he is remembered mostly for the absurd amount of damage he caused to the world and to his country during his interminable reign, but prior to September 11th he was just kind of a joke. The image of awkward, bumbling incompetence is one he was never able to shake, but in early 2001 that was his only image. Remember That’s My Bush? He was a sit-com character, a charmingly inept doofus who had the presidency handed to him. John Ashcroft as Attorney General? It was laughable. Not that many didn’t recognize how dangerous the situation was, but it just didn’t seem possible that this administration would have a chance to do too much irreversible damage.

Of course, it did, and the only association with 2001 that matters now in this country could not be further from A Space Odyssey. But this post is supposed to be about the music, and about me. So where was I? Still in high school, getting my driver’s license, spending time with my girlfriend. I was on the upswing from the worst of my experiences with depression. I was engaging with people more, relaxing more, and just generally doing more. Musically, I was more confident than ever — my Bob’s Discount Furniture gig (and I’m not knocking it — that was a great high school job) allowed me to spend more on CDs than I’m sure I should have, and as a result I was starting to explore some of the depths of rock music that I’d never gotten to before. It must have been 2001 when I discovered XTC and bought their entire catalogue, a couple pieces at a time. And I must have bought music by Neil Young, and Television, and The Stone Roses, and Love, and Big Star — still all physical copies, though my pre-iPod MP3 library was beginning to get serious.

My personal memories of 2001 are really very positive. I’m sure I had meltdowns, and panic attacks about my future, and made stupid mistakes. But looking back, the pieces were coming together a little bit, and I think you can see that in the music I was listening to. It wasn’t all just broody and introspective anymore — I was opening up. If you had asked me at the time I wouldn’t have told you I felt dramatically better or different from a year prior, and I really would have meant it. But I didn’t have perspective.

So how to reconcile the 2001 I experienced personally with the 2001 we all wish we could forget ever happened? Let’s take a look at the contemporary music I was listening to at the time, and see if it helps to make any sense of it.

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The ’00s in Music: Introduction (Origins of Insufferableness)

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I can be pretty insufferable with my musical opinions. My inclinations were validated at too early an age, and too frequently. I knew what I liked before I was aware enough to take any outside factors or opinions into consideration – except for those of my father, an avid consumer of music, novels, films, periodicals, television. Much of our bonding, now as much as when I was a child, has extended from our shared fascination by (and addiction to) the phenomenon of human creative expression. I learned very young the joys of burying myself in art at the expense of learning practical life and social skills. I am certain I was predisposed to be that way, but those genes were undoubtedly only encouraged by a childhood home filled with music and the excitement of regular trips to the record store. (more…)

An excerpt from DIRGE, an unfinished draft

Monday, April 21st, 2008

“We see too many ‘noble deaths’; we see the degradation – the epic little charges of cavalry. And thus for this our spirit becomes low, tough like a boar, unbreakable – we die to the sound of the trumpet, as surely as the bees pollinate, the ants build; as surely as the storms swaling low over the South China port and into the brothels, where the women stood up in smoke; all of life is lived in moments, and each one dies in return; who is to say that our death is anything but another regular link? The trumpet stops as the musician’s throat is pierced by an arrow.” — Casimir Hieronym, 2006

Adam Szychowski

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Three days later and I’m still not sure this one’s really sunk in yet. Adam was a good friend to me in high school, but I hadn’t spoken to him much in the last couple of years. He emailed me last winter to express his sympathies after hearing about my mother, and what he wrote was strikingly eloquent and deeply felt. And that was Adam. I don’t want to get trite here, because that was something he was always able to avoid and to do so would be a disservice to his memory. Maybe I’ll come up with something meaningful enough to post later on. In the meantime, all I can say is this is crushing.