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3/20/2006

Croak or Hoot Under the Influence of Pan

It's somewhat crushing, prophetic, helpful, painful that I start reading Frank Kogan's Real Punks Don't Wear Black on the fourth night after seeing Silver Jews three shows in a row. On the back flap, Chuck Eddy has some quote about how Kogan's triumph is proposing the challenge to not think about one's own life when listening to music knowing that the challenge is impossible; Kogan's essay on the Kingston Trio makes his attempts at non-identificatory listening abundantly clear. Almost.

Silver Jews were the easiest band in the world to fall in love with because we shared all kinds of qualities, either real or desired (at 17, maybe 21, can't remember): quietly self-effacing, observant, relaxed, bittersweet. Unrealistic. Mopey. Take solace in small moments; small as big. Kogan says that he only took acid twice because it turned him into an aesthete, and god forbid; it's a fate I've been trying to escape for as long as I could crane to navelgaze.

Why, I'm not exactly sure. I think I'm having a voice crisis; how do you balance presenting a conversation about music and still be critical? Do I like things I don't like as I kneel down to open-mindedness? Where do I splinter? In a sense, the more I challenge the way I think, the better I know myself; what I know is a mass of questions and neurotic second-guessings.

Not at Silver Jews, which again, is a good and a bad thing. It's not a matter of policing one's self, really, but rather being honest with your powers to reason. Which lately, has gotten me far away from just about everything; funny that David Berman finally got the nerve to play "Pretty Eyes": "Everybody wants perspective from a hill / But everybody's wants can't make it past the window sill." Which is why I can manage to write this now and not sound like a Charles Ives song, two marching bands passing each other on a New England street.

When I try to hear my voice, I never know what I'll find; when I read the words on the page they never seem like mine. And for some theoretical once-you-surrender-to-the-written-word-you-are-another-animal excuse, but a real banshee-on-the-lecturn issue. All the sudden I'm in the audience. Call out in a cave and see if it's really an echo; you might figure out what's confusing me. You might just think I'm crazy, too; I guess it's possible?

EDIT: PBW attains record speeds chasing its own tail.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ian said...

Keep going, though - it's both interesting (from the outside) and important (arguably).

3:55 PM  
Blogger bryan said...

the conflict excedes the subject matter...in short, croak. to hoot would overextend on the inevitability of berman, himself a glorious croaker.

again, thoughtful reckoning. wonderful.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Sophie T. Mishap said...

Definitely hoot. I loved this entry!

9:58 AM  

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