A friend asked me if I wanted to listen to his favorite music today. I turned him down, but for all the wrong reasons. For a long time I’ve been burned by top 40 music, for many reasons. I don’t like the fact that so many artists are defined wholly by their image. I don’t find any personal interest in music that isn’t music, but is just a backdrop for some modern-day beat poetry. I also don’t respect musicians who make repetitive gestures and expect them to be taken up as life’s blood. (I don’t mean repetitive action can’t be musical — take drum circles and their ancestry for example — but a 16-note undeveloped sequence on some 1970s vintage analog symthesizer is not a song.)
So I have this extreme prejudice that shows up when people ask me to listen to “popular music.” There’s definitely top-40 stuff I like (Garbage comes to mind) but it’s rare. Friends come to my abode and look through my record collection, hoping to spy something they recognize to put on the stereo. Usually they fail, unless they know folk, jazz, older rock (yay Elvis Costello!) or the truly bizarre like The Bobs or Donald Harrison’s Mardi Gras Indians.
A lot of people rail against “the system” just to be different. They buy independent records to prevent fuelling the recording industry’s payola system. They refuse to “sell out” by shopping at large food chains because they exploit various farm workers. They run Linux because Microsoft is bad.
Personally, I am a vegetarian because my body can’t digest meat very well (I get awful cramps for days.) I don’t listen to top 40 because I don’t enjoy it. If jazz fusion or folk became popular again, of course I’d listen to top 40! And I’d spend more time in front of the mass media if I liked their message at all. As it stands, it doesn’t usually tell me anything I feel enriches my life. I’m even contemplating not running cable or satellite to my new abode, though there are informational channels I want (pilots MUST HAVE the weather channel…)
I’ve never really felt that I was required to live a normal life. Those of you who know me intimately know I speak the truth. But I have felt increased pressure recently to not outright reject popular culture on the grounds that it’s just popular culture. I’ll be sure not to do that now, but it doesn’t mean I am all of a sudden going to replace my record collection with Top 40 hits and watch Friends. (Yuck.)
I am here, after 18 gruelling hours. Mercy’s not online yet because she doesn’t have a wired ethernet card for her laptop, nor does the place she’s staying in seem to have a working DHCP server. Those of you looking for her will have to wait about 24 hours.
The room’s nice, about the size of a small single room with its own bathroom, but at least it has a double bed. More on the city and where I’m staying tomorrow. I gotta crash. love you all! <warm smile>
So I’m off to Canada on Monday, and the movers are about to come and pack all my stuff — so this is probably the last or next-to-last posting I make from Japan. I am really gonna miss this place, but mostly, the wonderful friends I’ve met here. Jim, Jaimy, Chibi, Zahara, Matty, Jon, Yui, all the original Spike clan, Tomo, all the Tokyo Comedy Store people (yes, all of them), those I’ve forgotten to mention in my sleep-deprived state, and of course Mercy — you all made my stay in Japan not only worthwhile, but incredibly satisfying. May you all find what you seek in life, and be happy doing so.
For those of you meeting up with me in Boston, the info is: Mary Chung’s, Kendall Square across from the McDonalds, 7PM. Bill, I’ll call you as soon as I get to Toronto so we can meet up and all that. The rest of you, be there!
I’ve realized that I’ve moved literally every year since 1991. Perhaps it’s time to finally pick one place (not city, but actual domicile) and live there for a few years at least. What do you think?
Thank you everyone who’s helped me through the last few weeks. Moving on with my life seems a certainty now, what with everything disassembled and boxed around me. I’m ready to be single again, live on my own again, find love again…and start all over again.
I had some thought about the year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., but someone else said it better than I could first.
Please read them.
No, really, I mean it.
Ah, cleaning up the place, I find bottles of wine that were SO YUMMY:
Clos de Tart 1995 (mmmmmmm!!!!!!!! Well worth the price (5 figures…in yen))
Clos du Val 1997
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon
Terra Andina 1996 Merlot
Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras 1997
Getting scary. Lots to clean up. A few fun friends-only posts, for those of you not on LJ, you want an account? I have a few free accounts to give away :) Get them now while they’re hot! :P
Way behind on what I’ll miss from Japan. Will try and get a list posted tomorrow.
Click for a closeup. This is political commentary at its finest. Go “subculture!” And thanks marcus…
Woke up late today, around 2:30 PM. I got some produtive work in, packing my suitcases for the big move . . . but as soon as I decided I was about ready to go out for the evening, major rain showed up and put a damper on the evening. And tomorrow’s supposed to be the Tokyo & Gay Lesbian Parade, but if it’s like this I won’t go parading! :( And even with the clothing packed, there’s just so much junk lying around the house that I need to deal with that I feel really overwhelmed with everything that needs to be sorted through. It’s really starting to pile up.
Everything feels wrong this weekend. Everything.
When you go to a strip club, and you run out of cash, don’t just swipe your credit card between the girl’s buttcheeks.
It just pisses her off.
Things are still a bit hairy at times but I think I’m stabilizing from everything that’s happened. I can sort of get back to my Chopin waltz practicing (Op. 64, No. 1), packing the apartment, reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and making nummy mixed drinks (NOT to get drunk, just to be a bit buzzed, and to get rid of ALL THIS ALCOHOL before I move).
Tomorrow, 175kph. More on that later. :)