That's Just The Booze Talking

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Shut Up, Shut Up, I Beg of You, Shut Up

New York has no shortage of self-absorbed conceptual artists (read: douchebags) who spend more time talking about what their next “project” is going to look like than, you know, actually creating anything. This morning, as the N train trundled through the steamy bowels of the city, we got an earful of a conversation between a dude who could only be described as the Über-douche and his long-suffering female companion, who we can only hope was not actually humping this fucking guy. Here's a relevant snippet:

Über-Douche: “So it's going really well. I mean, this next thing, it'll, it'll … let's just say that this one's going to put me over the top.”

Long-Suffering Female Companion: “And it's what again? I know you don't really like to tal-”

Ü-D: “No, no, no, no, no: This time, I can definitely talk about it. It's going to blow your mind. Get this…” [At this point, he actually glances around the subway car to see if anyone's listening. We are, naturally, but we've got the earbuds in and look for all the world like we're reading this week's dog dick-dull issue of The New Yorker.] “… So what I'm doing is a project called '25 Sheep.'” [Pause for dramatic effect.]

L-SFC: “ … ”

Ü-D: “OK, so what I'm doing is, I'm going to get 25 sheep and I'm going to let them stay in the gallery overnight. They might shed fur [ed note: it's called wool] or piss and shit everywhere, who knows? The idea is for them to leave a very physical manifestation of their presence. Then, in the morning, I'll remove the sheep and leave the mess. And when people come into the gallery, all they see will be the fur [wool!] and the shit and there'll be a big sign that says, 'Last night, there were 25 sheep in this room.' Period. End of story.”

L-SFC: “ … ”

Ü-D: “What? Nothing? I mean--”

L-SFC: “No, it's just … it takes some time to absorb some of your stuff.”

Ü-D: “Well, it's not supposed to be something you get right away, you know?”

L-SFC: “Um, yeah. But I was just trying to think where you were going to get 25 sheep?”

Ü-D: “This is New York. You can get anything if you know where to look.”

L-SFC: “Soooooo, where you gonna look?”

Ü-D: [snorts contemptuously] “Oh, I have my sources.”

Long story short(ish), the guy gets off the train at Canal St, upon which our own prickly curiosity gets the better of us. We yank out the earbuds, fold the magazine back into our bag, and set our eyes on the L-SFC. Before we can even begin to construct our first question, she picks up on the vibe. (While we cannot see our own face at the moment, we believe it was probably composed in such a manner as to suggest that we had just smelled rotting meat.)

“That guy gets me so mad,” she says. “ The next time I see him, I'm just going to go, 'Baa!' right in his face.”

Us: “Baa?”

Her: “Yeah. Baa! Baa! Baa, motherfucker. Baa!”

She gets out at Prince, and just for a moment, our faith in humanity is restored.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

There's a Fine Line Between Clever and Stupid

Looks like we've found the first contestant for our Drunk Or Retarded? game show, as Oasis knobhead Liam Gallagher is under the impression that This is Spinal Tap is a fookin' documentary.

Brother Noel tells the Guardian: "Yeah, he thought they were real people. We went to see them play in Carnegie Hall. Before they played, they came on as three folk singers from the film A Mighty Wind. We were laughing and he said: 'This is shit.' We said: 'No, those three are in Spinal Tap. You do know they are American actors?' 'They're not even a real band?' 'They're not even English! One of them is married to Jamie Lee Curtis.' 'I'm not fuckin' 'avin that,' he says, and walks off right up the middle of Carnegie Hall. He's never watched Spinal Tap since. He'd seen the film and loved it and thought they were a real band."

Jesus. This explains why Blur so handily won the feud a decade ago. That, and the fact that Damon Albarn & Co. never released a song called “Magic Pie.” Plus, for all their preoccupation with class, Blur were just a lot more fun … and funnier. In the road doc Starshaped, released for the first time here in America, guitarist Graham Coxson has this to say about Stonehenge:

"It's a bit like going to see Morrissey. Not quite as big as you thought, know what I mean?"

The band is full of these sorts of observations, perhaps because unlike their Manc rivals, Blur have actually cracked open a book or two. Also in their favor: The louche Alex James, who's a veritable Bartlett's Book of Quotations, should that reference work's editors ever decide to jettison all subject matter other than booze, cheese and getting tossed out of The Groucho:

"Drunk and ridiculous - that's how I wanted to spend my 20s. But it's not so elegant when you get older and start looking like a potato."

More Jamesian musings can be found here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Two Buck Chuck

We've been all literary the past few weeks, devouring this on TMFTML's recommendation, as well as this and this and this, which if you haven't read it yet, run don't walk to your nearest bookseller, as it's pretty much the funniest thing we've ever read, outside of maybe Catch-22 and A Confederacy of Dunces. We've also enjoyed Chuck Klosterman's latest book, although we're not going to link to it because a) he has a book contract and we don't and b) it's high time you people started to learn how to use the Inter-Web properly.

Anyway, one of the things we particularly enjoy about Klosterman's writing is that he makes all sorts of blanket generalizations and gospel truth assertions and somehow makes you buy into them, regardless of how far-fetched they appear at first blush. Por ejemplo, about half-way through the book, Klosterman makes a fairly compelling argument that Thom Yorke somehow predicted the events of September 11 with the album Kid A. As strongly constructed an argument as he puts together, the theory falls apart in light of a counter theory we devised the other night after the landlord came by with some of that Indo. Essentially, after listening to the record three times in a row and partaking in a little sticky bud-fueled analysis, we discovered that Kid A is in fact a document of Thom Yorke predicting that the Syracuse Orangemen would win the NCAA men's basketball title in 2003.

No, we know what you're probably thinking right now. You're sitting there at your desk, hands a-tremble, muttering something about how they don't even HAVE basketball in the U.K. This is not entirely true. While the Brits certainly aren't any good at basketball, they indeed have some form of it over there, only they call it jai alai. And Thom Yorke happens to be a huge fan of the sport.

Now then, time for a little lyrical analysis. The opening track, “Everything in its Right Place,” draws the curtain open on a typical day in the snowy outpost that is Syracuse, NY. Indeed, everything is in its right place: Nature has whipped up an unforgiving impasto of snow and ice--the chilly soundtrack attests to this--while yesterday the narrator, who functions as a kind of Central New York Everyman, “woke up sucking on lemon.” Anyone who's ever had the misfortune to wake up in Syracuse or spent any sentient time whatsoever in its environs understands that the place sucks all sorts of things, including donkey dick, monkey ass and some of the more common citrus fruits. In short, the album opens on a winter day prior to the moment when Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim convinced Oak Hill Academy forward Carmelo Anthony to play ball in the stifling confines of the Carrier Dome. Anthony therefore functions as the titular Kid A.

As the album progresses, Carmelo leads the Orangemen to victory after victory, which the dour populace at first is loathe to believe. (See “How to Disappear Completely,” which contains the lyrical fragment, “ I'm not here … This isn't happening.”) Having been conditioned in loss and regret, this mode of thinking is more or less standard up there. But as the wins pile up, and the team begins to gel, Syracusans actually begin to enjoy themselves (viz “Optimistic” and “Idioteque,” with its admission that the team's success makes Yorke “Laugh until [his] head comes off”). Then there's a musical interlude meant to convey the team's march to the Final Four--all epic stories benefit from montage--as well as an evocation of Kansas coach Roy Williams' teary departure to UNC following his defeat (“Rats and children follow me out of town,” as heard in the title track. N.B.: This fragment could also be applied to Anthony himself, who left Syracuse for the riches of the NBA shortly after hoisting the National Championship trophy.)

The final song, “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” sums up the hedonism of the team's followers as they use the word “party” as a verb down in New Orleans (“Red wine and sleeping pills … Cheap sex and sad films”--the “sad films” bit refers to the clips of Keith Smart's baseline jumper that buried the Orangemen's hopes for their first championship back in 1987), until victory is in hand and a sort of parallel Kübler-Ross process is effected: Disbelief (“I think you're crazy”) gives way to ultimate acceptance and joy until finally SU fans experience something very much like The Rapture (“I will see you in the next life”).

Or maybe it's about sad robots. Fuck do we know.