Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bleeding Arts

If there is anyone out there who noticed the gap, it is not lack of desire or urgency but simply a crippling malwaritis of the keyboard which is not just annoying and hesitant but manifests itself like some form of Gutenberg Tourette's. Of course the $52 royalty check last month wasn't quite enough for a new machine, so even though it is a little funny and Masson-esque, and who would sue an anonymous blogger for a misstatement or obscenity... I was in self-imposed exile.

That said, a month of unexpressed mental entries have stained my brain like dark espresso and I am ornery as an old scribe with no ink. This is the sound of one finger typing. Several times on each key.

For Christmas, my next-door neighbors (our apartments are unfortunately contiguous along the entire length so there is little escape) have bought their pubescent Eric Clapton (Clapped-on?) only-child an entire drum kit with which to enhance his in-house little music heaven. All mothers know teen passions are oh-so-brief so I'm giving the little dork a month in which to disrespect his parents by rejecting the whole music thing altogether. I can even hear that it is one of those Best-Buy specials, not something you actually select at a percussion store. It sounds cheap and designed for cover-music only. The mother has given me a few sympathetic head-tilts in the mailroom, somewhere between apology and revenge, and I contain the urge to blurt out--- "It is nothing compared to your husband's rendition of Miles' All Blues---" over and over on their digital piano. Any seasoned musician prefers the sound of garbage trucks and sirens to the practice sessions of someone who has no musical aptitude whatsoever and even less ability to perceive this.
Guitar Center makes a major fortune from this population which is massive, daunting, and some are of course on the airwaves, banking piles, winning American Idol, Grammies, etc.

To cap it off, a 'painting' has been hung in my hallway, opposite the elevator, so there is no way to avoid seeing it when the door opens. It is actually a large square canvas slathered with shades of blue and green which would be otherwise inoffensive but something about the 'composition' and the technique... well, it makes the Miles Davis man seem almost talented.

I have finally put my finger on what really bothers me about Beyonce. I was in the gym, watching a screen of one of her group-dance videos, without the headphones--- and it was like these Amazon Victoria's Secret models--- but in overdrive. Sped up, jerking like they were poked. Remember the shimmy? That subtle thing Marilyn did, That little sexy move the Raylettes had--- Tina Turner was awesome, but she did move like she was on crack. Beyonce, though, takes it to another level. It's not a move, it's like a weapon. She's a pretty girl-- but it's all just so over-the-top, it makes me yawn. Absolutely zero on the sensuality for all the pelvic thrusts and booty-shakes. It's some crazy wonder-woman cartoon for Tae-bo, a calorie-burnfest, or the thing they put astronauts through before the launch....but no sex. Did you ever sleep with one of those guys who think women like a warrior-thrust in double-time on top of them? Go for it, JayZee.

Last night we had yet another 10-year old music prodigy sitting in, making the Stevie face, stringing the licks together in a 12-bar E blues, the parents cellphoning footage (I'd like to keep a face-bag on stage for these occasions), the tourists getting autographs from the little guys...while we on stage just plod along, trying to scrape some dignity from the beer-stained stage carpet which has borne its share of volume without complaint, unlike myself. These kids--- like the Idol contestants-- could fill a stadium--- 1000 stadiums. And their parents could fill another 5,000.

I remember a Christmas in the 1960's when I bought myself a Candy-Apple-red strat with my babysitting money--- $150. And my mother found it under my bed and made me take it back. 'This is for boys', she said, in that tone which you didn't mess with. It's my money, I wanted to say. I'm going to have a band and I'm going to be someone. I'm going to pierce my nose and get a tattoo and wear 1/4-inch black liner on my eyes and tight black pants to school. But I took the thing back and contented myself with the classical guitar and the flute and the Chopin and the new pink toeshoes and Hendrix on my little plastic record player. I burned and bled. Do I remind her that guitar now sells for $35,000? I do not.

What will happen to these kids and their stage parents, their wanted-to-be-Clapton fathers and wanted-to-be-Mrs.Clapton mothers? Will their kids learn to bleed and burn, not that it helps, not that it feels good to be middle-aged with 300 songs in some kind of tin can and one review from some UK paper saying it was brilliant? How pathetic am I, sitting in Starbucks with my tattered Roberto Bolano and listening to my indie-horror music, and the one finger ticking away precious minutes, wondering how I will ever find the means to help my dead friend's daughter make her fake-blood film, how I will ever record my blood and coffee-stained songs, how I will even e-mail-ask how much I can get in bartered studio time with a broken keyboard?

Jimi, you picked a good time to die. Dime store artists and musicians are as plentiful as tweets; the real ones are misplaced, overdosing, shivering...dying of dread. Bleeding. While the whole bloody culture eats itself to death here...doughnuts and Beyonce, burgers and fries, Michael Buble and the X Factor. Sarah Mclaughlin selling animal pathos while people beat their kids to death, disappointed TV contestants getting more public sympathy than a million earthquake victims.... Wall Street is rocking, bonuses are flowing like American sewage water.

Welcome to the future... the hangover of 2011.

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