Thursday, February 26, 2009

But I'd trade it all for just a little bit of piece of mind

So here I am, Thursday night, watching Criminal Minds, a semla in my stomach and a smile on my lips. A shitload of things to say, but no real peace of mind to say it.

It's not that I am in a bad place, I'm actually feeling pretty good, but I can't seem to be able to structure what I want to say. There are some things that I feel I need to get out, but they will just have to wait.

For now, a short list of wohoos!

- Faith No More is reuniting. One of my all-time fave bands is playing in Europe again this summer, after a ten year hiatus. Apart from dead bands and The Tea Party, they're the band I thought least likely I would ever get to see again. Wohoo!
- I've bought a new laptop. A Lenovo Ideapad 10-inch. A pretty sweet little machine. Wohoo!
- Tomorrow I'm hopefully getting a load of DVDs from Amazon in the mail, to go with the package already waiting at the post office. We're mostly looking forward to seeing The Escapist. Wohoo!
- I'm currently reading Starbucked, about the rise of Starbucks. Excellent stuff. Wohoo!
- Tomorrow night a bunch of people from work are going out to down ridiculous drinks and get Jakob, who is leaving to go to a small web development company, drunk beyond relief. Wohoo!

What are your wohoos right now?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The most important thing is the element of chance that is built into a live performance

This weekend has been all about rest and recharging my mental batteries. I've had three Saturdays in a row, and tomorrow, Monday, is Sunday. And we've gone through six movies so far, aiming for nine. Sweet!

Only two months into 2009, and already it looks like this will be a superb year when it comes to live music. Currently on the calendar, I have Wintersleep on March 7th, 36 Crazyfists and Poison the Well on the 30th, Woven Hand in May and the Arvika Festival in July, with Depeche Mode headlining, and I Are Droid, Burst, Thåström, my friend Magnus' band Engel and a shitload of other bands playing as well.

Really, the prospect of a good live show is something that can elevate my spirits almost infinitely, and I know both Woven Hand and Depeche Mode will be mindblowing. So I have decided that 2009 will be a good year, musically.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The purpose of art is the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity

If you haven't lived under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you're bound to have seen or read something about a certain kind of creek that Sweden's premier art school is up without a paddle.

The question has been, can an artist break the law and get it away with calling it art?

I think this question is phrased incorrectly. You can get away with calling anything art, if you call yourself an artist. Doesn't mean I have to like it or acknowledge it or even care, but you can still call it art. However, doing something criminal under the guise of art is not OK. In fact, it's downright despicable. And the fact that it's done while studying at a school receiving funds from the government pisses me off to no end.

I agree with people saying that all students at that place shouldn't be punished because of the missteps of a few, but the school needs to take the matter seriously, and demand more of their students. “Break the law and you're out. Break the law and we'll report you.”

My view on art (and I'm leaving music out here), and understanding of art, is fairly low-grade. I couldn't tell you who did what painting (apart from the really known ones and a few I really like) and I know jack about different periods or schools of art. Really, no idea. I want art to blow my mind, open my third eye, catapult my mind off in unexpected directions.

Most art, to me, is pretentious crap. Complete and utter crap. And many artists I have met are, as well. Pretentious crap, that is. Up on a high horse, in a headspace I can't even begin to fathom. Yes, I am also on a high horse occasionally (like now) but that doesn't mean that I look with disdain at those that can't understand what I try to achieve creatively. Something I feel that many artists do. If I don't get it, I'm a lesser person.

Well, fuck that. I consider myself a better person since I know the difference between yours and mine, between vandalism and art. Yes, I get the point of using art as a provocation, as means to start a discussion. But that still doesn't make it OK to break the law or take up the time of law enforcement or the health care system. Learn some respect, and grow the fuck up.

I will probably be upset about this quite a long time. Too long, probably, but that's how I'm wired. And I needed to get this out of my system. Next I'll probably write a short story about some artist that suffers a horrible fate. Vent, vent, vent.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry

I twisted my foot yesterday. At an Excel course I was taking. I won't hold it against you for thinking I went loco on Excel's ass. Maybe some table or formula wouldn't do my bidding?

Didn't seem like a big thing at the time, twisting it. It hurt like a mofo, but I elevated it and cooled it down and figured I would be able to get around under my own power without a problem. This morning it was a whole new ball game. As in I had a swelling the size of a tennis ball on the side of my foot.

So I went to the emergency room, reluctantly, since hospitals are Hell incarnate to me. Really, I become physically nauseous just walking into one.

Today I found out there are two emergency rooms at the hospital closest to our apartment. The first one is the regular ER, where traffic accident victims and stab victims and the dying go. I spent hours at one of those ERs a couple of years ago. Not a pleasant experience. The second one turned out to be drab and dull, but very uneventful. A crying child and a construction worker with broken fingers were the height of drama.

Finally they X-rayed my foot. Over and over and over. Twisted and turned my sore, swollen ankle. Well done, really.

The foot, dumbasses. Not the face. The foot.

In typical Swedish health care fashion I had several waiting periods, and also long walks down horribly brown and gray corridors, shuffling along as best I could, supported by a crutch. Hours passed from when I got there until I got the results of the X-rays. So I got hungry.

I'm not very pleasant to be around when I'm hungry. I get cranky and it shows. The only reason I didn't skewer someone with a random medical device is that no one was around. Maybe they were having lunch, the bastards.

They had to restrain me once my blood sugar dropped.
Things could have gotten nasty.

Nothing major, it turns out, just a sprained ankle. Supportive bandages and a crutch for a couple of weeks, at most. Annoying, but doable. And I got a lot of material for a story about hospitals out of it. Friends think I should claim a bear mauled my foot. No one's gonna buy that. I'll go with rhinoceros.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary

Today is spent on the couch, hungover, from a formidable evening out yesterday. We started with Eritrean food, with a couple of beers to wash it down. My hands still smell of sauce and injera. Then off to Strand for drinks. Then off to Mosebacke for more drinks. Spoke about beards and music and life. Watched two bands play, one was great, the other...not so much. Though I didn't really pay attention at that point.

Recently I haven't been paying much attention to music at all, save for one band. I bought an armful of CDs a few weeks back, and even though I was efficient enough to transfer them to my iPod right away, I haven't listened to two of them at all.

I've been too occupied with Wintersleep's third release, “Welcome to the Night Sky”. It's...I can't really describe it. Rock? Indie? I reserve a particular loathing for that last word, but it might be the only one that applies. I can hear traces of The Cure, QOTSA and Pearl Jam in what Wintersleep does, but without them actually sounding like those bands at all.

Some of their songs bring tears to my eyes if I'm in the wrong mood. Some of their songs plaster a big stupid grin across my face. Some of their songs should be five minutes longer than they are, so they could just keep going.

I don't think I've been this fascinated by a band since the mid 90s...

I have a list of bands I haven't seen but want to see. It's fairly short now, since I've managed to see most of my fave bands over the years. A part of that list is dedicated to bands that I won't ever get to see. They might be dead, they might have just quit, or, as is the case with Wintersleep, they never play anywhere closer than the UK.

So I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't get to see them live, ever. March 7th they're playing in Stockholm. I will be there when they open, hanging on the door handle. All fan boy, all the time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man

Picking up the piano was fine. Getting the piano into the trailer was fine. Getting it out was fine. Getting it up the stairs was not. I have pathetically weak thigh muscles.

The two friends I had Shanghai:ed to help me managed to wrestle the thing up one flight of stairs. Two to go. Two curving flights of stairs. So we took a break. A long break. Then we called what could only be described as a lean, mean carrying machine, and voila! Problem sorted.

Drinking of beer, eating of tacos and laughing ensued. A good time was had. And the piano was finally home.

As a side note: I misunderstood the reference. 'twas not the Hummer Fucker Crusher. 'twas the Hummer Fucker. The Hummer Fucker Crusher is the big-ass Hummer that crushes the Hummer Fucker for having a sticker across the back window that says...wait for it...Hummer Fucker.

Still a long story. Still won't go into it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I like to move it, move it

Today is about increasing my karma account. Some friends and I are moving a freakin' piano across Stockholm. In what can only be described as a freight container on wheels, currently being pulled by the Hummer Fucker Crusher. Long story. Won't go into it now.

So we're doing a good deed. It feels pretty good. So far it has involved rain, being lost, a friend howling like a dog and being answered from somewhere in the apartment building pictured above, kick-ass burgers, Ministry and Tool. Lots and lots of Tool. So far a good day.

That may change with the three flights of stairs that await us though...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Who watches the watchmen?

I watch the Watchmen. Countdown.

I'm trying to feel more well adjusted than I really am, which is, I guess, the human condition

A creeping sense of unease always settles on me as soon as I arrive in my old home town. It gradually increases until it becomes relentless, unbridled angst around day five, and I feel like an animal in a cage.

I walked through the center of town at four in the morning, on my way from a Super Bowl party to a piece of shit bed in a piece of shit hotel. Some things have stayed the same. Others have changed. Still others attempt to change, not understanding that a certain doom awaits them just beyond the horizon. Leaving sharpens a clarity of vision that staying can negate completely.

There's still a huge red rewind sign on the library for some reason. The Greek restaurant has been replaced by a Vietnamese place. Empty store fronts interspersed with the places that have always been there, and some new hopefuls. They'll be gone the next time. Doom, doom, doom.

It was a cold night. Or is four o'clock morning? Or some non-hour, inhabitated only by insomniacs and ghosts? Besides myself and a car from a security company, nothing moved. Stars above. Snow crunched underfoot. Sleep deprivation and the mother of all sugar rushes spiralled my mind off in unexpected directions.

I understand why people stay, and even go back after leaving, but I can't see any of those things applied to myself. It's as if the town exists completely apart from me, a tableau viewed from without even when I'm within. A ghost town. And something I can no longer connect to. It felt like walking through a set piece for some bizarrely depressing play.

There are people there, and a few places, that still resonate with the warmth of home, but home as a physical location shifted several years ago. And maybe, through that shift, the disconnect is inevitable.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Size does matter

Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm watching the game on 100 plus projected inches of glorious hi def. Oh the joy.