A name seems to be a random thing. I can’t remember even a fraction of the names of people I meet. What was his name again? Dick? Bart? I forget. But there are a couple of names which I have learned to be wary of.
Andrew isn’t a good one; it reminds me of of a few bug-eyed goofs and my boarding school days at St. Andrew’s College, where I learned the misery of life.
But the worst name, by far, would have to be Tony. I’ve had the misfortune of knowing a litany of Tonys, none of them decent.I knew Tony when he was a student teacher, never doing what he said, sneaking out to smoke in his car at recess. I remember Tony the teacher, smiling thinly, never saying what he believed, acquiescing to further his career. I remember Tony the foreman, acting crazy, never listening, yelling and spreading vitriol to suit his ends. And I remember Tony just before he retired, never reflecting on anything, lashing out, as he went alone to nowhere: “Stop trying to walk me around the pond!” I still don’t know what that means.
Guided by Voices, featuring Robert Pollard on lead vocals, have a full-on sound, murky and raw, a straight shot of indulgence and jolly vice, like nothing else.
The band has been around for over 30 years and, despite never cracking into a major market, has maintained a loyal following known for their chant of the faithful, “GBV!” The show is made up of some 65-80 songs – 10-14 songs in the encores alone, almost all of which – like the above Alex and the Omegas – are barely 2 minutes in length, all replete with power chords, chants and leg kicks.They are not a traditional band, although oddly enough that is exactly what they seem, a case of beer on stage, bottles of Jack Daniels and plenty of smokes to go around…yes, even today.
They have split up and got back together numerous times. The last CD – Motivational Jumpsuit – was to be the last, but now there’s another coming in a month – Cool Planet. This, their final reunion tour, is returning to New York this summer and will play The Stone Pony, which according to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame is “one of the greatest rock clubs of all time.” An intriguing combination to be sure.
As true and fine this arc of life may appear, there is no avoiding the suffering and isolation in the end. The world is rotten. That’s our curse to bear.I think of when I was young and didn’t know like I know now, but still had that sense, the darkness looming, that what was coming was a dreadful thing, sudden and terrible. Life was a burning house, everything eventually consumed, down to the last timber.
Maybe that’s why I like to hide in the bathroom downstairs.
I am not a writer. I am not a teacher. These are my chosen disguises. I walk down the hall, sure-footed, professionally dressed, and see my reflection in the fish tank, dark with purple-black rocks, and wonder who that might actually be. He vanishes like a wave and I listen to my steps down the next hall. I think of being something else, a truck driver, a goaltender, an emperor, a porn star. I think of myself in these modes where I might not hold my thoughts so tight, not be so worried about others laughing at my stupidity. I wonder about choosing again, being another me. I look at those around – these nincompoops in nincompoop hats – and cringe. I forge on, alone, less of anything, but less a marionette, a sitcom bit player, stumbling in for my laugh. I have to be happy with that. And tell myself that again and again.
It is impossible to define what makes beauty. We tend to think it is in the face. The nose can’t be too big, nor the ears, eyes, teeth, lips; the skin cannot have a scar, a mark of any kind.Most important of all is in the jaw, the line from neck to chin, defined, curved, a strength of line upon which all else sits.
The look must be full and indifferent, demanding, subsumed, terrified, trapped, raw, all at the same time, a performer desperately nervous for her debut.
It’s a lot to ask.