Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Fridge Full of Condiments and No Food

I want to rock.

Somewhere in the vast abyss that is my mother’s house lies a dusty videotape of me clad in black lace and sequins. I am dancing around the couch emulating Madonna’s “Lucky Star” video. I was only two years old, but already had that wild-eyed look of endless possibilities. Even though back then my hopes for the future didn’t extend beyond my next cookie, I yearned for that performance high. I wanted to be the center of attention and found it effortless—toddlers are impervious to recognizing budding narcissism. All I cared about was living in that four-minute-three-second moment of synthesized pop bliss. The shaky camcorder eventually goes fuzzy and dark, and it was time I started growing up.

Throughout school I relentlessly attempted to achieve that same sense of creative urgency. I was Rushmore before Jason Schwartzman was cool. I took ballet lessons, learned the clarinet, joined choir, studied jazz, signed up for acting classes, and started a rock band all in the span of ten years. I practiced tirelessly and sacrificed sleep all for a few hours in the community spotlight beaming from a small auditorium populated by peers and family members. My band Action Figure may not have been signed to Sub Pop, but at least my junior year gym teacher was introduced to Radiohead.

In the end, I didn’t quite make it onstage—thus beginning my quest to live vicariously through my idols using words and envious sighs. I became a staff member of my university newspaper and radio station and was hired at my local record store. I wanted to know what made these Gods of Rebellion tick. Since my guitar skills weren’t on par with Jonny Greenwood, I would instead become Rob Gordon or William Miller—the Everymen of the Obscure and underachieving protagonists of cinematic fiction. If I couldn’t beat them, I would make snarky comments in underappreciated band t-shirts.

So here I am—nearing thirty and no closer to rocking than a sorority girl at a Kings of Leon concert. I am ready for some substance; a lifestyle less creatively comatose and more vibrant with possibility. I’ve been trapped under a pile of uninspired rubble and I’m starting to realize it isn’t all a hopeless blob of mediocrity, but in fact a rather easy life decision to change everything. That spirited toddler is still around; I just needed Him to guide her out (this time with more dancing in the dark).

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Meanwhile, in the UK:

I'm not American. I never will be. Whatever happens, even if one day I get citizenship (that's more funny that it is scary, to me. I pledge allegiance to lolcats), I will always think of myself as English. That's not a political statement; English rather than British, or a UK Citizen. I just grew up understanding that the country I lived in was called England, and the language I spoke was English. Seemed pretty logical. ANYWAY.

English. So I didn't do anything for Thanksgiving today, as it's just a regular Thursday. Cold as balls, but pretty ordinary.

Thanksgiving is a strange holiday. The reasoning behind it doesn't seem particularly American (being thankful for what you have instead of the endless pursuit of the Almighty More? What is this? Socialism?), though the history and gluttony fit the bill pretty well.

Regardless of the actual history; the whitewashed, school-play history and the corporate monolith that the long weekend has become, the idea that a day should be set aside for being thankful (or grateful, for the non-grammatically-challenged, I guess) for those things in life we normally take for granted is a fundamentally good one. And surprising, considering its North American origins (you're not escaping my backhanded compliments here, Canada).

So. I am currently grateful for:

- The new Girl Talk album being available to download for free, and the great mood it put me in on my way to work this morning.

- Coffee

- A brother with more musical instruments than he has room for in London. Yay overspill!

- Charles Bukowski

- A comb. You know, it's the little things that you'll miss when they're gone.

- The magic of instantaneous transatlantic communication

- The small American girl with whom I communicate. This one I am most grateful for. I ain't gonna go into that whole "I don't know what I'd do without her" schtick, because I do, in fact, know exactly what my life would be like without her. I would be sitting right here, doing exactly this, except I'd probably be drunk for no good reason, and wondering how, in all honesty, it is possible for people to live like this for fifty years at a time.

I was going to say something along the lines of her having given me new life, but there's strange Freudian connotations about women giving you life that I'm not sure I want to get into.

So that's it. Mostly, I'm grateful for the eternal and beautiful Her.