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Monday, January 31, 2005

What came first, the music or the misery?

I became world-weary at such a young age. Way too early. I didn’t ever want to live life as an adult, i.e. have responsibilities. My freshman year of high school, especially, all I remember doing when I wasn’t at school, was walking around the house in sweatpants, sweatshirt, and slippers, hoping my homework would finish itself, then go back to school and hand itself in. For the first time, really, I felt the weight of having a schedule and tasks to do, and that there was TERRIBLE consequences if I didn’t do it all in an acceptable fashion. Looking back now, I can clearly see that that paradigm is bullsh-t. I envy my friends who cut the crap and got their GEDs.

In relating to people with words during my first few years of high school, I hated, really was uncomfortable with the use of abbreviations or contractions. I’ve never understood that. Words like “can’t” or “Mr.” reminded me of white countertops with coffee grounds, or spilled syrup on them. Using non-abbreviated words like “cannot” and “Mister” was like wiping the counter clean. Using those contracted words made me feel somewhat vulgar or out-of-control or something. I still can’t quite get my head around that.

By my sophomore year (93-94), I had a better sense of myself and was able to take care of myself a little better. That’s when I grew my hair longish, and started dying it strange colors. By my senior year, I had no faith in the adult world and tried to avoid involvement by not even thinking about college. Fairly shortsighted, I guess. Here I am, a 27 year old, barely beginning my junior year at the U.

What really helped me survive the misery of high school, though, was the music. The music that I listened to was really an escape. When I got a new cd or tape, I would put on headphones, light some incense, candles, and Christmas lights in my room, then lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling. Then again, the music might have encouraged/prolonged the misery. My top albums from my high school years:

1. Morrissey – Vauxhall and I
2. Smashing Pumpkins – Gish
3. Pixies – Doolittle/Come On Pilgrim/Bossanova
4. U2 – Achtung Baby
5. The Smiths – Louder than Bombs
6. The House of Love - The House of Love [1990]
7. The Stone Roses – Turns into Stone
8. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
9. Nirvana – Nevermind
10. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

Some of these, obviously, are comfort music, whilst others are angry, others are dirges. Maybe I’d listen to Gish to get riled up, and pissed at my family and God and the cruelness of fate, then Morrissey would tell me I’m not alone, then Brian Wilson would tell me that things could get better. (Of course, not in the case of Caroline, No.) Yeah, it’s not really the most enthusiastically upbeat group of songs, but what is?

And, for what it’s worth, the first day of my freshman year, the music I listened to while getting ready for school, was The House of Love “The House of Love”, specifically tracks 1 and 2 – “Hannah” and “Shine On”.

So that’s what’s in ol’ Duder’s head right now. Not too funny, I know. Lo siento. Do I plan to blog more funnier words later in the week? Yes. Does it bother me that I answer my own questions? No. Will I stop doing it now? Yes.

3 comments:

jonny ragel said...

gosh.

achtung baby? vauxhall and I? nevermind? gish? doolittle?

that is the purest stuff of emotional enlightenment. no wonder you filled out so nicely--errr- have such a nice vocabulary.

you could even construct an emotional composite of those records thusly:

I'm ready
I will be in the bar
with the lights out
no one can hear when you drown
this monkies gone to heaven

Anonymous said...

FADE IN:

INT. ROB'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

STEREO

Not a minisystem, not a matching set, but coveted audiophile clutter of McIntosh and Nakamichi, each component from a different era, bought piece by piece in various nanoseconds of being flush.

ROB (V.O.)
"What came first? The music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns and watching violent videos, we're scared that some sort of culture of violence is taking them over."

RECORDS

Big thin LPs. Fields of them. We move across them, slowly...they seem to come to rest in an end of a few books... but then the CD's start, and go on, faster and faster, forever then the singles, then the tapes...

ROB (V.O.) (CONT.)
"But nobody worries about kids listening to thousands — literally thousands — of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss."

It seems the records, tapes, and CD's will never end until...we come to ROB -- always a hair out of place, a face that grows on you. He sits in an oversized beanbag chair and addresses us, the wall of music behind him.

ROB
"Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

(Ed.'s note) Interestingly, did you know that the Joan Cusak fan site is called "Joan Us Or Die"?

BonikaStJames said...

I can totaly relate to this. However I was lost between middle-school and my Senior year when it came to music in the haze of over-spirtuallity. I remember the first time I listened to real music after that period and it was like really feeling for the first time.

I still feel a little lost in the "growing up" area. I guess I'm waiting for that safe feeling of friends and future to come back that I would get in highschool. Alas, I don't think that happens.