Monday, October 18, 2010

Don't Think Too Hard

I was writing about vampires, but that's pushed back to Friday. Here's why. It was moving, but not quickly. I ended up putting that down and do other things. I read two pieces over dinner by students about a) there were no stores that sold music in the American form and b) a girl who really, really needed her cell phone.

It made me shake my head and I felt that I had to write something in response. 45 minutes later, I got this.
Rome is Rome, and if I'm going to enjoy it, I can't be thinking about ways to abscond back to the U.S. for other things, I'll miss what's cool about Rome, and post-facto, make the trip worthwhile. Vampires pushed back to Friday.

I'll admit it: It is killing me being in Rome.

Long Island hardcore cultists Crime In Stereo are breaking up and I'm not gonna be at either of their last shows. Planes Mistaken For Stars, a bawdy, feral aphrodisiac of a band, is reuniting for two shows, one of 'em in Chicago. Envy, a transcendent, colossal screamo band that tours America about as often as we elect presidents is coming through with a support bill of three bands, each one good enough to upstage their Japanese benefactors every night.

Batman and Robin, the best Batman comic in 30 years, (think this: the stakes of the Dark Knight, neon-colored in terms of hue and mentality, written by the industry's resident mystic, with art from artists that have long since priced themselves out of anything but covers) is being published right now and there's not a power in the world that can get my hands on those issues. I am living in the middle of a period that will be cited in 20 years using words like historic, game-changing and mind-blowing.

And I'll admit it: I shouldn't be giving a damn about any of it.

This is not why I came to Rome and even if it was, I'd be missing the point. I will miss these things, and if I am to make sure that missing them was worth something, I must act as though I have already missed them and fling myself into the Roman culture headlong. Not that I'm advocating for complete mental transition, mind you. November 10, Bane (the house band of my heart) is rolling through and nothing short of actionable evidence of a chemical attack on Rome's center will keep me from the venue.

I am here, and therefore, not there. In return, I have gotten to go to the Coliseum, the Forum, a lounge based on the one from A Clockwork Orange, seen Rome at 3 a.m. from a well lit bridge, ate gelato meters from the Vatican remarking, yes, this is the dolce vita, slipped into one of Rome's oldest neighborhoods for a drink and god knows that I'm forgetting. (Though, if I do have to give a favorite experience, listening to Slayer in St. Peter's would climb embarrassingly high on the list.)

I haven't yet been robbed or roofied, either, so Rome retains its charm.

The point is this: All the things I miss I will be able to find when I get back. Odds are good both the Crime In Stereo and Planes gigs will be on the internet by the time I return to the troubled stateside, there's already a full set from Envy in NYC uploaded to youtube and I can be certain of an entire day back in the Windy City just catching up with a fellow comic nerd getting me up to speed with the happenings in that hard luck town, Gotham.

And, all those things I've done? They've more or less been in a guidebook. Now that I'm sort of comfortable with the city, who knows what I'm going to find next. Anyway, until I have to go back to my creature comforts and obtuse rock bands, I'll see you on the 990.

I'll admit another thing: I slept on Astronautalis. Hard. I missed him perform at my fucking college coffee house, because I was beefing with the radio station that brought him through. I didn't listen until 2009 when I heard Handmade Handgun on P.O.S.' Never Better. It's a hidden track on the disc, and has some of the best lines on the record. Case in point: "I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't, and be damned if I end up playing Job with God's loving hand on my throat."

Anyway, what's past is prologue. What's now is a mashup of his greatest hits to "top of the pops" kind of stuff and the first track on it (Do You Believe In Life After Thugs) is a full new set of verses, blistering and ready to strip paint. "Rappers miss the subtle stuff, like reading braille with bandaged hands…Baby it's a farce, the indie artsy fable, Warner owns us all, Google ADA label."

Yes, turn this up.

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