I have been in the throes of an extremely passionate affair with the television show Dr. Who. Yes, yes. It's true. I have accepted the nerdery and the addiction, which is the first step right? Ok, so I've been watching Dr. Who everyday all day for about the last few weeks, and I am having a very real and visceral reaction to the storyline. Mainly I am having an emotional reaction in my loins regarding my love for David Tennant (Hello, Scotsman. Delicious accent.), and the sadness I feel for his incarnation of The Doctor. Before I really got into this series, I'd only seen a few random episodes, and recognized David as Barty Crouch Jr.
from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Polyjuice, Mad-Eye, Dark Mark and the lot of it. Squirrly, skinny, David.), also, he played Hamlet onstage in London, and then reprised his role for a BBC film version. Hamlet is one of my least favorite Shakespeare plays because I think Hamlet is a whiny twat, but, upon listening to his soliloquy, and hearing him suck in and exhale every single word so magnificently, I became so infatuated with this person, that I literally cannot stop looking at him. I cannot stop listening to him, cannot stop internally fainting whenever he smiles that crooked toothed smile and I cannot stop thinking about Dr. Who, and how sad it is that he is who he is. The Doctor I mean. I've bounced back and forth through the seasons, and while I do enjoy David Eccleston (Season 1 of the rebooted series), David's Doctor is able to convey all of the darkness the Doctor carries with him. All 903 years of war, and darkness, and companions who he can never really be with because he is able to regenerate, thus granting him eternal life, and because eventually, they will die. He can never have a proper life because he is the Lord of all time and space, a warrior consumed by his obsession and devotion for keep everything safe, he is brilliant and destructive, a living god sailing through infinite galaxies transforming every person he meets by simply taking their hand and leading them to understand they were meant for so much more. I feel such sadness for the Doctor that I wish I could save him. We all do. Anyone who has watched and who has felt any obsessive connection to the show will say the same. The Doctor may be a foppish, snarky, bastard, but he has seen and lost nearly everything in his life, and with the exception of his love of Rose and River, he has lived an extrordinarily long and lonely life. He is all alone in an infinite blackness, travelling...forever. I think about The Doctor, and I think about his sad life, and I feel a genuine pain in my chest, my heartbeat quickening with every episode hoping that just this once, The Doctor can be happy, that he will live forever, happily with Rose...but he can't. He can never be anything more than a lonesome man, a solitary child and protector of the universe. Maybe it is David's face that I'm drawn to, I mean of course it is, but when I look into his sad eyes at the end of any episode where he has lost a companion, or anything, my heart burns for him. I tore myself away from the tele and The Doctor today for about two hours, and in that time, (and yes, I realize what I am about to say is VERY dramatic), I felt as if I had been ripped away from my child, or from the love of my life, and I thought about how much I was affected by this silly little television program. A few months ago, a similar thing happened when I started watching Breaking Bad. I couldn't stop watching, I couldn't stop thinking about the show, what was going to happen with the plot, and what was going to happen to the characters who I had become so attached to. It was like I was a part of something, but I couldn't do anything to help anyone. I feel so connected to these characters that I can't bear to think about what it will be like when they are no longer in my life. Why haven't I finished or caught up with Breaking Bad? I can't think about what will happen to Jesse and Walt. I can't handle my emotions regarding who is going to die or live and what the consequences will be. I have two episodes left of Season 4 of Dr. Who but I'm stalling, because these will be my last few moments with David as The Doctor...as my Doctor. It is as if he is dying, and there is nothing I can do. I just want to keep as many moments with this person as I can. I want to keep him in my memory, in my present and not my past. I never want to let him go, but this is the way it must be. This is always the way. This is the only way.
Clocks tick on, sleep cycles begin and end, moons wax and wane, and the earth spins on forever. My love for this Doctor and for this television program, is perhaps the most complete and absolute love I have ever had for something on the TV. When his time is over, and when he regenerates into Matt Smith, I will feel as if I am being left behind as the Doctor travels on to his next greatest adventure. Acceptance of loss is letting go, and while the Dutchman must always have a captain, my incarnation of the Doctor will remain safely stored in my memory...forever...travelling through the infinite possibilities within my brain, leading me to my next story, my next confessional of my love for television, or my love for David Tennant, of sad soliloquies, or of being a flippant youth. Quite right. Allons-y! [WHIRRING TARDIS]
A few months ago, I wrote some semblance of a treatise on what it was
like for me to turn 30. For what it was worth, I produced an
extrememely emotional and sickeningly twee version of what really
happened. It was all smoke and mirrors ya'll. I'd been inspired
artisically before I wrote it, by a documentary about Keith Haring
entitled "The Universe of Keith Haring," Woody Allen's Midnight in
Paris, Albert Camus' The Stranger, And Patti Smith's book Just Kids.
It sounds great, and I was able to access some of my unhappiness, and
the unsettling nature of what it is to turn 30. The real story was
that I wanted to spend my birthday alone crying in my room listening
to Joni Mitchell's Blue on a loop. I wanted to squeeze my cat and cry
about everything I forgot to cry about when I was in my 20s. Oh no, I
was not "mourning the death of my 20s," although that seems much more
dramatic and just my style. I have nothing that happened in my 20s to
mourn. I suppose I was mourning the fact that I thought I was or
would have been smarter about my choices. I thought I knew who I
wanted to be by now, and I thought that by the time I was 30 things
would have been much different. Of course, we never turn out the way
we thought we would, and that is more than fine. I would rather spend
a lifetime enjoying each new moment and adventure as a new experience
I can learn something from, or meet some interesting stranger, than be
bored with the life I forced myself to live because it is what I think
When I was 16, 30 was a million years away, and I couldn't have given
less of a fuck about what it was going to be like. I was too busy
imagining what it would have been like to be with Jack Kerouac ( I
think when I was a teenager, I had a VERY different idea of what
"being with someone" meant, and that is to say, I never thought about
having sex with someone, only the fact that when I was 16, all I
wanted to was to get away from where I was and become someone else).
I imagined that I would be living in San Francisco, preferably above
City Lights bookstore, although I know I said I would want to live
above a Starbucks( 16 year old brand whore!). I didn't have a clear
career in mind, but I knew I wanted to be some kind of artist. Either
a writer, actress, painter, photographer, or most likely a combination
of all of those things. I would have a fabulous apartment, with a
turret that faced out onto the street. I would live in North Beach, I
would probably have some excruciatingly handsome artist boyfriend
person, and then I would be living my dream. Instead I went to
college for a hundred things before I decided that yes, I am an
artist, and I want to live in Chicago and be an artist. Which I did,
and here we are.
I hated this birthday more than anything I have ever hated in my
life, and I didn't hate it because I think I am old. I don't think I
am old. I don't feel old, and feeling old is totally relative. Your
age is seriously just a number, and really, what the fuck is a number
anyway? What is age? What happens when you die? Is there a God?
what is God? Who invented language? Is Santa Claus real? Seriously.
Stop worrying about it because ultimately none of it matters. Every
year you get older, numbers ascend towards something, and whatever
that something is, is all you buddy. Turning 30 was horrible because
I just felt like I would have had so many more random things done by
now. For example, I would be famous for being a fashionable "It"
girl, or an amazing documentary photographer. I would be an
intellectual lecturing all over the world about Francis Bacon, or I
would be winning an Oscar for some sweet gorey makeup or something.
Never did I think that I would be sad because I was alone. I love
being alone. I love doing everything alone, and most things I would
prefer to do alone. However, 30 is closer to 40 which is closer to
spinster which is closer to dead( Married is not a thing I aspire to
be, but seeking companionship is something I do desire. Seeking a
friend for the end of the world indeed). I didn't ever think that I
wanted anything from anyone, but what I found was I wanted everything
from everyone, and that all of the flakey ass drunk idiots I called my
friends when I was 20, were nowhere to be found. I never thought
that I would want to puke back every drink I had ever because my
parents got me books on how to make "gourmet jello shots." Basically,
turning 30 made me feel like an epic loser, which, of course I am not,
but you see where this is going. Epic turnaround.
Turning 30 has made me feel like a failure and a fucking genius. I'm
not in my 20s anymore. Praise. I am now in an elite club of people
who are also not in their 20s. We're better, faster, stronger, we
remember history better, we remember life without the internet, we
remember taping songs off of the radio onto a cassette tape, we
remember fanny packs and Reagan. We pioneered looks in the 90s that
American Apparel wishes they could replicate, and our generation
produced more bizarro children's programming than Sid And Marty Croft
could have ever dreamt of. We realize that all the idiots we were
once "friends" with are still selfish idiots and the fact that they
look at us and can only talk about shit we did when we were drunk 8
years ago is because we were never really friends. Our friends have
been with us forever, and will be with us forever. They are the good
ones from high school, college, and our formative years when we moved
to Chicago when we were 20, and didn't know our asses from our elbows.
We can FINALLY talk about how we don't understand things the "kids
these days" are doing( 4Chan. SrslypplWTF?)
In my previous entry, I romanticized the passing of time, the ticking
of clocks, the Stranger, indifference to time and life and people. I
wanted to make it cute and avant garde for you. I wanted to put on a
cute dress, red lipstick, black pumps, and pretend we were in some
hazy French student film, all vaseline on the lens and 16mm. I wanted
to dress it up to make it less serious. I wanted you to feel
something fuzzy and warm with me, and I wanted you to fall in love
with me, but what I really wanted was to tell you that I was real real
sad for my entire birthday month because time is passing, and clocks
are ticking out of control, and I didn't know what to do. I wanted to
cover my turning 30 with glossy metaphors and close up magic.
Somewhere between feeling like some sad sewer asshole, and now, I
realized, fuck it man. Aging is all part of the process and some
things are made for certain times, and then you graduate. I read the
Stranger because I don't want to be bored like Mersault. I want to
live and live and live for everything. I live and die for modern and
contemporary art because it bleeds like I do. Your 20s are to Jackson
Pollack what your 30s are to Donald Judd. Pared down, perfect slices
of your modern life. You are still a person. You just don't need all
the ejaculatory paint splatter every which way. You know who you are
now, and it is much simpler to explain.
My motto from now until the end of all of my time here is, in the
words of a very early Youtube viral video goddess Kelly, "I'm gonna
get what I want!" Why? Because I'm 30, and I can.
Today's show is about memories. We've dug into my summer jam dancey alongy fun and sad bastards of the great white north, thus, the natural next step is, "Songs I used to play over and over again while drinking Ketel One and tonic and getting ready to go to Berlin for the 5th night in a row with all of my nearest and dearest." aka "My pantyhose are always dirty because I've been climbing onto the stage all night and wading through a mixture of booze and god know what else is caked on that floor."
The year is 2006. I am in my senior year at Columbia, I am an Art History major, I work at H&M, I am 24, I live in a ghettoplex in Boystown, my apartment houses 2 relatively comfortably, but is known affectionately as the "HOMO-tel" due to the high volume of crashers and live-ins. The year is 2006, and I just got a hot pink Motorola Razr phone(RIP). I fucking LOVE SNAKE!!!
Almost every night of the week, I would come home from work, pick up a 30 pack of PBR from the Gold Crown Liquors, or sometimes a bottle of liquor, sometimes liquor and a few bottles of Boones for Steve, we'd drink most of the beers and/or liquor, and then we'd roll out to Berlin where we could still smoke casually and dance until the sun was blazing in the sky. Sometimes we would stand in the middle of the dancefloor smoking because we were in protest of the horrible song that was playing. Sometimes our jam would blast on and we would shimmy for our lives while accidentally(sometimes) burning neighboring randoms with our lit cigarettes. We'd stumble on out onto the street, and then I'd stumble on home to bed. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
These were the days when we just could not be bothered to give a dern (Laura Dern! J/K, I love her. Jurassic Park 3-D 2013!). Our lives centered around being fabulous sparkling diamonds, and we didn't care if we woke up the next day, and went to work in the same clothes. Our lives were incredible, and we owned every precious minute. There are times when I think about 2006, and sometimes I think, "Jesus and Mary chain! I used to be so much more fabulous! I used to wear the same blue dress with white flowers, white patent heels, and a sailor hat almost every night I went out. What happened to my swag mon?"
When you're 24, just graduating college, (yes, I took my time), and me, the future is not real. The concept of time doesn't loom overhead like a great ugly ogre. All we wanted to do was drink pretty cocktails, get photographed for the Scene papers, and dance to incredible beats. All goals were accomplished.
I used to feel bad about looking back on a great time because I felt like it was keeping me in the soft focused, floral nostalgia of the past. Today, however, and to be honest, after last Thursday night, after I dissolved into a complete puddle of "girl cries over boy into the arms of another boy she's met twice," aka "Major BONER KILLER" aka "DRUNK HAWK DOWN!!!" I decided that I don't need to be afraid of my feelings, nor do I need to be afraid of the past or future. Living in the small moments and remembering the grea times we used to have s a forever picture album in my memory. No, of course I won't ever be like that again (It takes me two days to recover from a horrible hangover now.), and we're all in different places mentally and physically now, but for the sake of this process, and the sake of keeping the memory of our youth alive, let's remember the jams.
Here are my top five "Ready for the Floor" jams of 2006. May you be a light in dark places.
#5 Hot Chip "Over and Over"
Cutest gang of hipster boyfranz ever!
#4 Mariah Carey "Emotions"
You got me feelin' em ya'll.
#3 Ladytron "Destroy Everything You Touch"
I had all of those haircuts.
#2 Bloc Party "Helicopter(Weird Science remix)(Feat. Peaches)
We used to LIVE AND DIE for this one.
#1 Goldfrapp "Number 1"
Every day every night always and forever. I love this jam.
You're my favorite moment. You're my Saturday.
December 12, 2011 " Escape the trappings of your epic narcissism and come with me into the great white unknown"
In the summertime, the songs we gravitate towards are the ones dealing with getting wasted and non-stop totally tubuloso parties, dancing til dawn, getting wasted AND dancing til dawn, or some kind of generic ballad/club cut in the style of "summer lovin," that takes place after we've gotten wasted and danced until dawn. We can stay out all night and soak up summer's warm embrace because it's one million degrees and we're sweating all over each other, so why not right? Summer is for making plans and taking road trips and getting into buckets of hilarious fun with everyone because we're all, like, totally best friends for ever right? Right.
I love the summer, but summer's fleeting love can never hold me like the sharp darkness of winter. Everyone pretends they hate winter, because they feel like they have to. Cold equals discomfort which is supposed to equal bad, but I love it. I love it because it reminds me of when I moved here. It reminds me of standing on the train platform waiting forever in the snow for the damn red line. It reminds me of sitting in my apartment downtown smoking cloves and listening to Jimmy Eat World. It reminds me of walking to the Fireside drinking Old Style out of a coffee mug. It reminds me of running through the streets on New Years yelling at every cab to please take me home. Mostly, it reminds me of being in Michigan, and of driving around town late at night, thinking about my future, pining for a closeness with some person I would never be close with, longing for a hopeless romance with someone who will most likely never speak to me again, desperately clinging to a romantic loneliness that only being 20 years old can harbor.
Happy jams are not for the winter. These are my "sad bastard jams." Oh yes. Tears in your beers, sad Keanu eating a sangwich on a park bench sad. I love these jams, not because I am sad and they speak to my lonliness, although, at times that has been true. I love these jams because they feel as cold as i feel when i walk outside and around my parent's house. They remove me to a place built in my imagination, and with each song, a new memory appears, gently clasps my frostbitten hands, and transports me to a deep emotional place where, I just want to be alone man.
In honor of my favorite season of movie montage worthy lonliness, here are my go-to jams for when you just need a minute.
Born in the frozen tundra that is the entire state of wisconsin, this man speaks to me because he is in pain. At least he was. At least it seems like he was. When you're alone, driving around Escanaba at midnight, this song understands your problems and your trepidation about your life. It holds you and warms you with what you can only recognize as desperation due to isolation.
If I could be alone with Sufjan for one hour, we would be instantly in love and live out the rest of our days in a cabin on the shores of Lake Superior, where we would play music and sing with each other until the day we died in each other's arms as the sun filtered through the Autumn foliage. The. End.
Ben Gibbard made some recordings between work with Death cab using broken and out of tune instruments. The result is something that will haunt you all the way to your feelings zone. This album throws me into a time machine and hurls me back to being 21. It reminds me of college and of being with a million people all of the time, but feeling like no-one knew me at all. The best and worst of times indeed.
Jimmy Eat World- Really, any song from Clarity, but I guess I need to pick, so I pick "Goodbye Sky Harbor"
Can you still feel the butterflies? Oh I can. The other day, I was dusting all my tchotchkes on my vanity (I am Miss Havisham in training), and I listened to this entire album. I still knew all of the words, I still remembered writing for hours and hours in my journal about one particular person, and playing out scenes in my mind where I would get exactly what I wanted from him, and my life, at that moment, would play out exactly like any song from Clarity. I used to get drunk, and put this album on in the bathroom so I could pass out on the cold floor listening to it, which, makes absolutely no sense, but I was 22, and I romanticized being a hot mess every single day of my life.
Joni Mitchell - "Both Sides Now"
Joni Mitchell was something like 23 or younger when she wrote this song. I could listen to this sad masterpiece for the rest of my life, through every up and down, back and forth, right and definitely wrong, and it would fit. It is immaculate. Her voice is immaculate. She is one of those most incredible musicians I wish I could say I knew, and her ferocity and simultaneous vulnerability will forever be the truth for me.
The harmonies in the song are tight, the changes are simple, the lyrics cut deep into my psyche, and I appreciate that more than I can really express. "To be lonely is a habit, like smoking, or taking drugs, and I've quit them both, but man was it rough." That's enough for me.
This song is a mystery. I like to pretend that I am well versed in Sunny Day Real Estate, and their, "We fuckin' invented the phrase, 'SAD BASTARD!" demeanor, but really, this is the only song I know well, and I think I tripped over it by accident a decade ago, when I was looking for something else on Napster. It is so obscure and beautiful, and I kind of love that it is the only song of theirs I know because that way, I won't have to worry about being disappointed because the rest of their songs sound totally different.
Sigur Ros- "Saeglopur"
Layer up piano, vocal distortions, tiny keyboards, chimes, and the rolling consonants skipping through the Icelandic language, add driving by yourself on a dark and winding Upper Michigan back road, and you will feel as if you've finished wondering. A clearing appears ahead and a white light splits the sky apart. You're done here. Time to sail away to the Grey Havens.
Elliot Smith- I can't pick one song, so I pick the entire album XO.
Every song kills me, and makes me think of walking around London when I was 19. The first time I heard this album, I felt like I had just been born. I didn't understand his voice, and he seemed like the grand master of this poetic sadness that I felt like I related to even though I had no idea what he was talking about most of the time. I wanted to be a part of those emotions, but the closest I can get is being able to sing the same words.
I could pick every song, but I pick this one because the lyrics are so perfect. Basically, I took up with this person who was everything, that turned out to be a superbly wrong turn, I drank my way through it, until I could finally find the exit. This has been a reality for all of us, and when you're driving on the 405, it all makes sense. Southern Califonia's freeway system is fucking confusing!
"Company Calls Epilogue" is a very immediate second. This is what I live and die for. Some person who was so crazy craze for me, that they show up at my wedding fucking tanked out of their skull, all slurring their words, and accidentally pouring champagne on all the kids faces, but never confessing to me that is should have been them. We may both know the fucked up truth, but we just leave it as, "the white routine, to be ingested inaccurately."
It is 100% ok to take a three or so minutes to be sad about things. The world is a mostly beautiful place, filled with mostly beautiful and interesting people. However, there are equally as many monsters and nightmares. Nothing in this life will ever be as perfect as you are led to think it will, so you should hug your feelings as they shift and change because it will make you less of a robot. We process being alone as something that shouldn't be desired, and that being alone makes you an anti-social weirdo. Nothing is more weird than trying to deny your tendencies to feel something other than happiness all of the time. You are so much more to me than some cold, robotic being a la Siri. Feel it all, or you've squandered this existence, and don't deserve another chance.