It Hardly Matters

Friday, March 24, 2006

Mates of Awesome, or, Prenostalgia

The one thing that is getting me through these first bleak days of spring is the new Mates of State record, Bring It Back. Most of you know that I'm a huge fan. If I had written a year-end Top 10 Best Things Ever 2005, Mates would be number 2, behind Clyde.

Although I've now claimed the band as my own (as I imagine lots of other indie kids have, which is cute and nice and the way it should be), I have Massey to thank for introducing them to me. He is one to thank, as he also inspired me to start this lovely little weblog. Massey is a ball of creative energy wrapped in smarty pants and silliness, and I will miss him when he goes to Vegas then Jersey to become the full-on superstar that he is destined to be. Anyway, that said, Mates will always remind me of him, and of Askur & Embla. See, last year, a dovetail effect occurred, where the music and the people I was hanging out with all made sense in this perfectly prenostalgic way. You know when you are experiencing something, and as it happens, you know that you will think of it always and miss it forever? Well, that's what I mean. (Embla, is there a better word for this? If not, please add to OED. Thanks.)

When Massey, Askur, and I started hanging out at work, we recognized each other as members of the same karass. We got each other through the day-to-day, discussing our frustrations and dreams at lunch amongst the pleated pants in Bryant Park. We did prat falls in the office, danced through the aisles at Staples, threw stuff at each other--acts of insanity to keep sane. We made plans to get out. New jobs, school, whatever, just out. We all ran home after work and did more work, our own work. We wrote and designed and built and recorded.

One Wednesday, we decided to take a break and see the Mates of State at Bowery Ballroom. Embla joined us. We drank beer and bitched about work until they started playing. Lights down, then spotlights up, illuminating blond girl hair and boy drum kit chrome--and WHOOOAH OH OH WOOOOAH OAH OAH there they fucking went. We leapt in the air, closed our eyes, and sang out. We smiled so much our teeth were dry. Beer was spilled, we embraced, we acted like teenagers and bounced off the walls. We were victorious! For that hour, we had won. Incredible.

The next day, and for the next several months, it was back to work, of course. But things were about to kick in to high gear with applications, interviews, sick days, trips on trains, letters of intent, words of encouragement, the soundtrack for which was the Mates' back catalogue: Team Boo, All Day, My Solo Project, and Our Constant Concern. Songs with lyrics like "it's all in your head" and "I color the sky with you./I let you choose the blue." Smile.

Bring It Back is another rapturous, thoughtful, ass-shake. And it couldn't have come at a better time. The boys are gone (Askur to new fabulous job and Massey to school) and I am left. I think of their bright futures and I am so proud of them and happy for them and all good things for them. But I'm prenostalgic at heart, I think, and just want to bring it all back.

This Just In

I haven't been posting much, or doing much of anything, because I've been watching too much American Idol. Evidence.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Just A Spell

Whether you live here and commute every day, or have visited your crazy sister in Brooklyn for a weekend, I'm sure you've seen some strange shit somewhere along the 660 miles of New York City's subway system. Hell, if you've ever seen Seinfeld you know what I'm talking about. Examples: 10-year-old breakdancers freestyling during rush hour, rainbow-paletted ads for Dr. Z's skin peels, a guy on a makeshift burro in full-on vaquero gear singing "La Cucaracha" at top volume, fistfights. These everyday occurrences may elicit delight and/or terror in the average straphanger, depending on whether or not said straphanger is seated or is forced to actually grip some type of strap.

I thought I had seen it all. Well, if not it all, than most of it. Not the case. This morning, on the uptown Q train, the following note was Scotch-taped to one of the doors:



(718) [phone number omitted]

Brown skin, light skin and yellow
skin females are the most promiscuous

This 4 x 6 missive was posted at eye-level, if you happen to be about 5' 5''. Although the handwriting (all caps, black ink) was a bit crude, the paper itself was cut straight along each edge, revealing premeditation. And promiscuous was spelled correctly each time, which made the whole thing even more intensely bizarre. Was this a painfully shy Internet connection-less single looking for love in the big city? A bizarre social experiment? A cruel joke? Performance art?

In each case, a visual of the other end of the 718 phone number materializes: the 50-year old living with his mother in Queens, sitting by the wall-mounted rotary phone. Eggshell white. Shag carpeting. A group of long-haired Ph.D. candidates amalgamating then analyzing responses to the note based on Caller Anger Level. PowerPoint CAL index charts. The 15-year-old kids, jeans low, Starter caps bright, cackling every time their buddy's phone rings. The frustrated actress/artist with a shaved head and a bag full of mildly offensive notes that she surreptitiously tapes to train car doors and scaffolding. Stirring the melting pot.

Whatever the scenario, I think the note-writer's/poster's main purpose was achieved. Because as with all signs, notes, missives, advertisements, instructions, and villanelles, their point is to be read.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Two minutes late isn't a crime. The crime is how comfortable I feel sitting here, alone, a vodka tonic burning on this small wooden table, my pen out, its tip meeting its own reflection on the semi-glossy pages of my daily planner. I already went through the errands, crossed some things off my list. There's nothing left to do but write.

It's just before 9 PM on Saturday night in the Lower East Side. I'm meeting four girls. Four lovely, funny, hot bitches. Our plan is to get together and drink. Maybe discuss our menstrual cycles. You know, the usual.

It's just before March. March could be quite a month. It could either break my heart or open doors to what I've always thought was my future: me, hunched at a desk, pencil in mouth, hair up, typing fast, a cigarette burning in a tiny ashtray on my desk. And that's all I do. That's it.

The DJs show up, carrying bins full of vinyl and rectangular metal cases. One is a true LES-dweller with shaggy hair and a gaze fixed on a point just out of his focal range. The other is a Japanese kid wearing a winter white crocheted beanie and a matching bomber jacket. Goggles of some sort. He's the one who does the flyers, catalogs the records, and worries about surge protectors. His buddy is just for show. They plop their gear on the floor near me and ask the hot French bartendress if she needs anything. I gather they are foraging for dinner. You know it's a party when the DJs show up.

OK, 16 minutes is criminal. When you're waiting for four people and they're all late, it kind of feels like a conspiracy. I picture my girls, two doors down, heads back in laughter, earrings glittering in the candlelight. They're saying things like "I'd never made out with anyone with a tongue stud before" and "Who wants a shot?" and they're giggling and flickering and beautiful and alive.

Maybe I'm in the right place after all.