09 May 2008

Brooklyn Blogfest '08

Heidi and I went to the Blogtron last night at the The Lyceum. We had vegan cupcakes and beer; an interesting combo. I ran into my Uncle there. We're a blogging family.

The main thing I got out of last night was that bloggers are bloggers for a reason. Bloggers are not public speakers - that much is certain. But it was cool and run well by Louise Crawford. So cheers to her and everyone involved. The Lyceum is a wonderful space.

Bob from The Gowanus Lounge said more neighbourhoods need to be represented in the blogosphere and I agree. Some girl behind us yelped "Bay Ridge!". Heidi turned around to give her a nod but before she could the squealing drunk twat said something like "What are you looking at?!". Heidi just smirked like "nigga please". Later we saw this same drunken mouse upstairs hovering over the last of the cupcakes and beer. A real class act. Some bloggers should be read and not seen I suppose.


Gersh “broadsheet” Kuntzman from The Brooklyn Paper made a good point (however unpopular it may have been) although not everyone is trying to change the world with their blog and though I wouldn't dare speak for anyone but myself I don't think we're looking for that sort of responsibility. I'd rather Plead the Fifth, act evasive like Dylan and hide behind “Dude, it's a blog. It's a glorified online diary. It's not the Dead Sea scrolls” when asked about my blog too deeply. It's not something I want to get too philosophical about. I write shit down, some people read it, the rent is due on the first. That's it.

Gersh spoke about how sardonic commenters can be and for better or for worse the anonymity of the Internet most definitely lends itself to witty sarcasm and acerbity. I think that's healthy and I find it entertaining and above all: REAL. I'd MUCH rather the crude cynicism and juvenile barbs than feigned compassion and simulated empathy.

Blog comments are like the transcripts of sitting down to watch the 11 o'clock local news with your wife after a long day. I know my living room, feet up on the coffee table commentary is usually quite similar to the anonymous comments I read here and there.

I don't blog for anything but myself and my need to purge these thoughts from my head. For that same reason I have a home studio. One day I'll wake up with an idea for a eurodance song and the next day I'll have an idea for a folk song. One day I'll write an "article" about a union labor dispute and the next day I'll write about how I happened to notice Fabian Basabe looks a lot like David Wright. I need these outlets to stay reasonably sane.

I'll aggregate the news, links, photos and stories I find interesting instead of just reading articles I find in the morning and keeping them to myself. I'll link you to these stories so if you care you can follow along. It's really that simple. Like one of those talking books when you were a kid and when the record went 'GONG' you'd have to turn the page.

My “blog” is more of a “monoblogue”. I'm writing to evacuate my mind not to market myself in any way. I started this blog because I had downtime at work, that and I have a manic need to write. I'm constantly writing – whether its verbose, exhaustively researched emails and texts to friends or just short notes to myself, ideas for things, lyrics, melodies, whatever.

I figured a blog was as good an outlet as any. Pop culture commentary was never my thing. I suck at storytelling but I'm pretty good at writing them down so I guess I hoped this blog would get my writing noticed by more people and it has, surely it has, but I'm not sure where I want to go with it now and after last night even less sure.

My output is manic. I've averaged about 200 entries a month and that's all me and my mind. No one else is contributing here. Just the tiny elves working overtime in my skull. Sounds like a Swans song, yea?

I know I want to write a book, if not a few books, but we'll start with one. I have enough ideas and stories to fill looms upon looms of paper. I've been all over the world with my mind as the film. I have stories to tell and I have the gift of gab. I'm confident I could write non-fiction and have it read like fiction. Most of my life has unraveled as such.

I take pride in the written word. I'm fascinated by etymology. Ever since I was a kid I've loved alliteration, mnemonic devices and, above all, word play. I remember when I first realised cereal and serial sounded exactly alike but meant two different things. I was floored by these things I know now as homophones. I thought I was so fucking clever saying I was a “cereal killer” when I was 8 or 9. I remember coming up with the phrase “You might make dollars, but I make sense” and thinking it couldn't get better than that nugget of youthful brilliance.

To this day whenever I see a word I instantly read it backwards. It's funny what you'll learn doing that. I've always thought the words used themselves should become part of the subject of the work. Puns, phonetic mix-ups, spoonerisms, obscure words and meanings, clever rhetorical excursions, oddly formed sentences, and so on. It just flows from me. I'm like an open faucet with this stuff with nowhere to pour it. Like the great Biggie once so eloquently said: “I got techniques drippin' out my buttcheeks / Sleep on my stomach so I don't fuck up my sheets”.

I will tirelessly research spellings, contexts and references for simple emails and text messages. Again, I'm manic; I know it and I love it. My mind works faster than a the central nervous system of a squirrel. My mind is always racing. The cursor forever blinking. Often my brain works faster than my fingers. I'll wanna search something on Google. I'll open up a new IE page and type in "Goog" before my finger instantly slams enter. I need to be there now. Already gone. Back again. Jumping out of my skin when an idea hits. Inconsolable. Searching for a pen or a tape recorder or someone to tell it to, hoping they can remember for me.

The other night I texted my girl that I was making dinner and to call me when she got home. She texted back and asked what I was making. Next thing I know I'm rummaging through a New York magazine on my coffee table and texting her back referencing all these random things from the restaurant review section. I told her I was making a blood orange and duck ravioli with a Robiola cheese brûlée and side of seared Turbot in a cream morrel mushroom sauce. In fact I was microwaving two veggie burgers and slicing off some Jarlsberg Swiss, switching between CNBC and Howard TV with my dog named after my favourite sweet smelling herb.

My mind automatically goes to these things. Just like my brain sends the message to my fingers to move, my mind relates stuff to this or that - always songs, lyrics and songs, characters in a movie, whatever. References. My life is all references and trying to make people be there; trying to paint a picture for people by referencing things I think they'd know.

I think what I'm trying to say is: we don't need to live longer, we need to live better. See the paper for the pulp. See the paint for the bristles of the brush in each stroke. Hear the words before they come out your mouth. The cadence. The inflection. Say the word like it should be said. Try to describe it simply with your pronunciation of it. Listen to the last of those tired and rusty November leaves crunch under your feet. Pick up on the rhythm of your leather soles as the scuff the porous sidewalk. Rewind the tape a hundred times if you must in order to hear what the bass player quietly says to the drummer before the song starts in that song. Surely the band left it in there for a reason and for people like you and I.

Have you ever been listening to a band and it almost frustrates you? It's almost too good? So good you wish you had created it yourself or at least been a part of it? That happens when I listen to Siouxsie's "Juju". I guess it happened this morning too when I was reading DeLillo's "Great Jones Street" for the fifth time. I mean how many times can you read or hear something and say "I can do that!" and really know it before it drives you insane? How many fucking books can I buy before I freak out knowing I should have my own pile in the new releases non-fiction at Barnes and Noble? I have a story to tell. I want to see my words settled into the pulp.

I'm a musician, a bouncer, a banker, a dealer, a stealer, a traffic reporter in a helicopter, a song writer, a lyricist, an only son who lost his father, a poet, a lover, a gambler, a control freak, a voice over artist, a traveler, a hopeless romantic and an agoraphobic friend always searching for a calm, a peace, a balance in my life. I've been true to my astrological sign, Libra, the only symbol of the zodiac that is inanimate, not represented by an animal or person.

I can be cooperative, diplomatic, open-minded, playful, urbane and fair. I'm an easy-going, even-tempered, strong, classy, refined, balanced, conflict avoider. I'm a graceful, artistic, flexible, sensual, idealistic, sociable leader. I'm a home-body and a hermit. I can be charming and debating. I can be very romantic, idealistic and equalitarian.

I can just as easily be deterred, indecisive and lazy. I'm oft changeable, vain, and easily influenced. I can be flirtatious, conceited and aloof in my pursuit of perfection. I can be vengeful and quarrelsome, over-serious and cold. I can be self-indulgent, jealous, and at times violent and cruel. And sometimes I just can't say 'no' .

I've written albums and albums of hardcore/punk/metal songs. I've written volumes of folk songs, tons of IDM/darkwave songs. I can't sit still. I don't know what to do with my hands. If I turn on my laptop when I get home to check my email, the few seconds it takes for the ol' PC to warm up I'll grab my acoustic and start playing. My mind simply cannot sit idle, theres restlessness and impulsivity, there is never nothing.

I spent over a decade of my life in a state of arrested development where I learned more than I ever I would have in a college class and became a man. I've slept on the hardest floors and stayed in 5 star hotels where the faucets poured Codorníu semi-seco Cava and French doors. I negotiated record contracts, merchandising deals, dealt with promoters, managers, booking agents, publicists. I've had to problem solve in just about every country in Europe, across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. We were on our own. We weren't just the band, we were the road managers and the roadies. It was a circus of 5, sometimes 6 with me at the epicenter in all my manic moodiness, despondency and surges of frenzied energy and pure joy. I think they call it hypomania.

As always Dylan has said it before and said it better:

“Well, I wake in the morning,
Fold my hands and pray for rain.
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin' me insane.”
Perhaps instead of going to The Lyceum last night I should've asked Heidi to drop me off at a the Manhattan Psychiatric Center?

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