Sunday, October 23, 2005

You Want To Talk About Parallels?

Just found out that MM is headed off to India. What? And my dad just landed in Spain, by the way. And A went to England a while back. Even GJ is out there, buried in British Columbia. Hey, New Delhi, Barcelona, London, Abbotsford? Say hello to more people who are not me. Then, Saturday night, S took his girlfriend and looked up Magneta Lane opening for controller.controller. And Saturday night, C saw Cuff The Duke and the Stand Up Firs. And also Saturday night, little G took in Sweatshop Union. Face it, me. You're jealous. Because, parce que au samedi, everywhere was somewhere else to everyone but you. And now you're slipping in a puddle of spilt milk, yes, yes, it's disgusting. And what are you going to do about it? Building bitter shells of envy always ends up boring you. Dammit then, me, let's get vicarious. But fake vicarious, cause that's better.

JSS: Heyo, S. You're not here right now, but that's no problem. Imaginary question for an imaginary conversation. How was controller.controller? Horrible, right?
S: Heck, no! They played that song that mentions vampires. Yes! Like sleeping in a warm cave, and it's dark and winter outside, but the big brown bears out there are buzzing and jumping out of the trees, turning the whole world into a carnivorous blood-red summer.
JSS: That's stupid, You're insane. Don't tell me anymore.
S: [nods] You're jealous. Nevermind, Magneta Lane opened, and they were also solid. Remember how you missed them last time?
JSS: Jealous? Serves me right, talking to my own id. I'm leaving.

Be warned. The whole post probably trails along like this. What can you expect from the gratuitous envy of a sometime hipster? Business is bitter when the stakes are small. I have nothing to comfort me now but self-loathing. And what a very small blanket that is.

JSS: Right, so, Cuff The Duke. Nobody likes them.
C: [hesitates] Well—
JSS: No way!
C: It's okay, honey, I don't really know them. I just saw them cause I knew the guys who opened for them.
JSS: My girlfriend has become a hipster!
C: Well, but The Stand Up Firs are really quite good. I like them.
JSS: [firmly] I'm going to burn all your Roxy shirts.

The argument got quite "heated" after that. Right, so I'm kidding. C also is not here right now, so I just made up that entire exchange. I am a little peeved at myself (yes, peeved) for missing CTD, though, since they were part of the Three Gut stable. I'm telling you right now, if Royal City stumbles into this town, I'm not even taking a washroom break until I'm assured of a spot in the same room as "Bring My Father A Gift". That's right. Let the work of the hospital be known to all.

G: Wow, you should come down to the Plant and see Sweatshop Union, Jay Double Ess.
JSS: Anyways, that sure isn't my style.
G: Yeah, but you're forgetting, they're good.
JSS: Dammit, yes. Yes, they are. I should go.
G: Are you? Will you?
JSS: No, I can't.
G: Oh, wow, I'm never talking to you again. The most happening night in the most happening city, and you're letting your soul rot away in that little town to the north? Good-bye.

Good-bye, little G. I will never know your like on this tangled earth again. Well, so that was my week-end, folks. Oh, the weather was nice, and I won the lottery—wait, no, I didn't—and I drove on a lot of highways and wandered across unfamiliar floors. I worked here, and I worked there, and did a little bit of this homework, and a little bit of that homework. Hey, I ate a yam, too! But I feel I missed out. God, I hate that feeling.

Reading: This book is a bitter little pill, both satire and truth at once. Which is easily seen in the frankly-blasphemous epigram alone—

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not money, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not money, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not money, it profiteth me nothing. Money suffereth long, and is kind; money envieth not; money vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things . . . . And now abideth faith, hope, money, these three; but the greatest of these is money.

I Corinthians xiii (adapted)

George Orwell is a hammer writing this book. The satire is broad and doesn't mess around. But the end of the book is a bit of a surprise, theme-wise. Because what about responsibility? What about kindliness and care? What about love? The world is harsh, and uses money to destroy its souls, this is true. The hero of this novel resents this chain of being. But the end of the novel resents his resentment. Are there not other mouths to feed besides the mouth of the hero? Money, then, besides being the force of the Giant Despair, can also be a force for responsibilty and maturity. Both of these themes, contrasts, paradoxes, what-have-you, are well-highlighted in George Orwell's brilliant and bitter Keep The Aspidistra Flying + George Orwell.

Listening: I was listening to OK Go again, and it struck me how well their maybe-biggest single fits in with the Orwell novel I've been talking about. Just imagine the singer is the despairing hero, resenting his neediness, yearning for the bright house of money—"Oh, you've a million ways to be cruel," he croons. Indeed. "A Million Ways" + OK Go.

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