Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Thoughts on a Quarter Century

My favorite place to eat in Los Angeles is this little retro diner about three blocks from my house.  There is weird artwork on the walls, sixties green and orange booths and neo-retro light fixtures hang from the ceiling.  They serve good coffee and good food and they have a big real-wood counter that I usually sit at with my book.  The diner is three blocks away from my house, so I can walk there, but the best part is that they play good music.

On Saturday afternoon, I found myself in Fred 62 (my diner), eating their awesome granola and drinking coffee.  I had just bought Miss Lonelyhearts/The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West and was reading different parts of the book (I have literary ADD and can’t just read a book from the start, but have to skip around and look at the chapters, the introduction, the afterword, etc), in the background, music from my adolscence came through the speakers.  I knew all the words to every song that played as I sat there.

In the afterword of the Nathaniel West novels an old friend of West’s talks about West as a writer, though in his first paragraph he owns up to the fact that he and West had a falling out years before West died, and he brushes off the fickle nature of grudges and percieved betrayal.  As I sat there in the diner, listening to the music of my past and reading of a dissolved friendship a kind of melancholy washed over me.

I’m young, coming up on my 26th birthday, but I’m not that young.  I’m to a point in life where I’ve actually lived a little bit.  This week, I will add, was also the 25th birthday of my best friend, who, I realized, I’ve known for a decade now.

What I realized while sitting in that hipster diner and listening to my past, was that I felt comfortable with having a past.  There was a comfort that came along with knowing someone for a decade, or knowing all the words to The Goo Goo Dolls, Pearl Jam, The Gin Blossoms, etc.  There was a comfort to knowing I didn’t have a grudge against anyone, I hadn’t cut anyone out of my life because of some perceived hurt.

I mean, sure, I miss music videos, and other comforts from my younger life, but there is a kind of calm that happens with the familiarity of sitting at a counter, drinking good coffee and listening to the good old days.  It warms me low in my belly to know that I’ve experienced a chunk of the world.

I guess this all started coming up as the 1989, 20 year anniversary celebrations started.  The 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake (which I certainly remember), the 20th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall, the 20th anniversary of the Exxon spill.  All vivid memories of mine the solidly placed my life in the context of global events.  And I find comfort in that.  I find comfort in comparing myself to the span of history, to my own little experience, cut out of the largess of human experience in general.

Peace, Love, and Comfort,


November 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reality Killed the Video Star

I miss music videos. There was a good five year period where I feel like my whole life revolved around watching music videos. I remember days home from school where I’d order pizza and watch MTV for hours, the same rotation of music videos over and over again. I’m fairly certain this is where my love of movies came from; one can’t watch the Spike Jonze video for Sabotage as many times as I have and not have an innate appreciation for cinema. In fact, there are certain songs that I remember specifically by the music video and every time I hear those songs, the video flashes in my head. I can’t even remember the song that goes along with the mentos/foo fighters video, but I certainly remember the video. About a year ago someone showed me the single ladies music video on youtube and something started niggling at the back of my mind. I’m admittedly very bad with new and popular music (I’ve never had much of a tolerance for popular music, with the exception of Nirvana), instead I have some ridiculous penchant for finding music that was popular approximately 20-30 years ago, or for music that not many people like. So when I saw the Beyonce video, not only had I never heard the song (which I will admit I like) but I found it completely ridiculous that I was forced to watch it on a 3″ screen with crappy resolution. Really, what this seemingly innocuous occurrence did was made me realize how ridiculous the music video market has become. I don’t want to sound like one of those twentysomethings who talks incessantly about how much better things were when I was a kid because I don’t actually believe that they were wholly better, but I have to say, there was something awesome about the music videos of the early 90s. For huge chunks of time throughout the day you could watch/listen to non-stop music. There were whole shows dedicated to certain genres of this music (Yo! MTV Raps for instance) and of course when I got home from school everyday there was Total Request Live. As I said before, I’ve never been that in to popular music, and honestly there were times during TRL that I had to change the channel because I hated the music so much, but the truth of the matter was that no matter how much I hated it, I knew the music. I knew the songs that were out, what was popular, what the country was listening to. And maybe that’s an unintentional metaphor for our current fractured state of being or maybe that’s just an odd coincidence. I don’t even have cable television any more so I don’t quite know why it bothers me so much that I can’t watch music videos on MTV, but it does. I can’t stand the thought that people watching MTV and VH1 are watching it for the reality programming more than for the music. As the music industry continues to teeter on the brink of annihilation, it seems like a dark tragedy that it’s former outlets have given up on it completely. And I miss the music video. The first video ever played on MTV was Video Killed the Radio Star, who knew that something could come along and kill the video star too? Peace, Love, and Music, Julia

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment