rough notes

Rainy Day Nostalgia #12 & 35

with one comment

[mental meta: should i dispose of the numbered titles?  part of me likes it, but they’re a bit annoying to read after the entry has been spidered.]

It’s Hali, late June, nearly July.  It’s 15 degrees outside.  It’s raining (and therefore overcast), and we won’t see the sun for a couple days.  but i’m taking it all in stride, due to the itunes going on in the room right now.  the used airport card for grampy imac arrived earlier this week, so i installed it the other night, and this morning have rejigged our home network in order to bring the imac and the print server into the office as opposed to their former living spaces in the living room and bedroom.  the best thing about this setup is the fact that i can now listen to my own itunes database through the imac’s speakers rather than through the notebook’s little dudes, and my-oh-my did i forget how great music sounds when you can hear it through something built to listen to as opposed to simply “hear from.”

anyway,  i was going to rip U2’s Zooropa into the itunes DB, since it is definitely one of the best pieces of high-pop-art of the last 20 years.  I’ve neglected to play it for the past while since I’ve lately been doing my pomo introspection by way of Brian Eno, but this past week I’ve felt that it is about time to return to the hollow sounds of the metropolitan night on this particular disc.  But I digress.  Although Zooropa is ripping as we speak, my pop-music tastes for the day have taken a sudden detour toward sentimental-bloke-rock.  In the process of picking up Zooropa, my attention was caught by the spine of Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head from 2002, which we all loved to hate by 2005.  In spite of Chris Martin’s overbearing melodrama and pathos, this remains a damn fine album, and it fits these rainy Hali days all too well, so it definitely required a spin on the hard drive..

Back in “aught-two and aught-three”, i intentionally searched for, and reveled in some mental dark places, and this Coldplay album, along with the fine cry-baby tunes put out by Travis (whose two albums sounds EXACTLY ALIKE and that’s how we like’m), really helped me to be affected by overbearing emotional weights and feel them in ways people often try to avoid.  I think that’s why we sometimes hate coldplay.  The dude and his music is in many ways “too overbearing”.  But the thing is that listening to the album should force us to confront our dark spaces (wherein we would fall in love with Chris Martin for showing them to us).  More often than not, however we realize that those dark spaces would in fact appear if we were to actually tune in to the show, so we reject the band and the album outright in an attempt to stop the pending punch in the stomach from ever landing.  Rather than confronting our dark spaces, we just say that “Chris Martin sucks” and “he thinks he can cry for all of us.”  But often I want that punch to land, with brute force, squarely in the stomach.  I want to be reminded of how shitty things can be at times, because pretending that things aren’t sometimes a little bit shitty isn’t a healthy way to live.  That’s a life of artifice, and we have enough of that around us already.

(As I read this a second time to fill in all the prepositions and nouns i neglect to use when I draft things, I realize how my recurring punch-in-the-stomach metaphor follows some of the major themes in Palahniuk‘s Fight Club.  I want you to hit me as hard as you can.  Is that what Jack/Tyler wanted?  Jack/Tyler wanted a punch in the face because he wanted to feel things again.  Jack/Tyler was one of any number of educated 30-somethings who had come to the realization that he might have to face a life time of photocopied accident reports and middle management career opportunities, and Jack/Tyler snapped.  Jack/Tyler, and Palahniuk, is in some ways (but not all ways) like Dostoevsky‘s Underground Man in Notes from Underground.  Underground Man wrote a 75-pages rambling, sneering essay against the Man of Action in the novel, yet he felt so inferior to him and his kind the entire text.  Although Dostoevsky’s Man of Action/Man of Thought dichotomy doesn’t confront his own time period’s social struggle with modernism the same way that Palahniuk does with postmodern consumer culture a hundred years later, there exists in both an underlying narrative thread about wanting to have a better emotional sense of the world.  I’m not suggesting we should all form Fight Clubs and beat the shit out of each other – that would turn all of us into Underground Men I think, which is not to be desired..  But perhaps from time to time we should take Jack/Tyler’s internal penguin’s advice and just “slide”.)

(note.  forgive me for my inaccurate interpretations.  I haven’t read these texts in years, and it’s been just as long since i watched any screen adaptations of the works, either.  A great present-day rendering of NfU starring Henry Czerny exists, by the way. Underground Man works in a planning office in Los Angeles, I believe.  It’s available at Video Difference, too. )

PS it’s the Euro Final today.  I’m cheering for Spain, in spite of my undying love for german engineering, film, and culture.  Achtung, baby.

One Response

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  1. FYI: I put a link to this post at

    Ted Sutcliffe

    June 29, 2008 at 1:23 pm

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