That's Just The Booze Talking

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging

We are wounded, banged up, after having spent the better part of the weekend engaged in an activity that we aren’t any good at and then trying to make up for our maladroit flailings by way of speed and bourbon. And no, in this case “speed” does not refer to the less than judicious consumption of Amphetamines, but instead is meant to impart a sense of velocity, physical movement, that sort of thing.

Skiing always seemed to be one of the more pointless pursuits, as a day’s worth of runs is little more than a gigantic game of Chutes And Ladders, with the lift standing in for the latter and the swift and slippery trip back down serving as the punitive slide into ignominy. (The board game was useful inasmuch as it offered a keen lesson in how one’s journey through Life is beset by sudden reversals of fortune that are wholly disproportionate to the activity immediately preceding a fall––ride your bike no-handed and you break your arm and lose two rows of progress; eat too many apples and it’s stomachache, hospital and a 15-space deficit. Someone should really think about making a version for adults. Fuck a co-worker … spend $10 every day on bottled water because she sits near the cooler and you can’t go anywhere near there any more. Forgo the condom because you can’t be bothered to run down to the bodega … listen in abject, burning discomfort as your G.P. air guitars Zappa’s “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” by way of diagnosis.) This trip would prove to be no different.

Long and short of it: We pulled a Sonny Bono, only without the benefit of actually being dead. Something is not at all right with our shoulder, and the right ankle, the one with the bone spur that’s wearing away at a somewhat important tendon like Jimmy Page going at his double-neck Gibson SG with a violin bow in that Song Remains The Same segment where he’s a spooky wizard that casts spells by way of writing terrible songs about Dungeons & Dragons, is now making ominous clicking sounds whenever we even think about walking on it.

But the absolute worst part of the weekend by far was our friend’s husband and his insistence on playing the new Liars album all the way up to Vermont. While we actually sort of likes the Gang of Four ripoff “Mr. You’re On Fire, Mr.,” this album, Drum’s Not Dead, is quite possibly the worst thing we have ever heard in our entire lives. First of all, it’s a concept record, an idea that should have been shelved for good after The Wall introduced the world to Roger Waters’ Daddy Issues, only to be co-opted by every “difficult” band on this spinning orb of dung that we call Earth. (As soon as some brave soul steps up and points out that The Flaming Lips were better when they were playing “She Don’t Use Jelly” at The Peach Pit After Dark than they are now that they keep rewriting The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway for the trucker hat and ironic facial hair set, the better off we’ll all be.)

Here’s how the band describes the Drum concept in their official press release: “The album’s title and several track names refer to two fictional characters: Drum and Mount Heart Attack. For the band they are like Yin and Yang, each a state of being. Drum is assertive and productive, the spirit of creative confidence. With two drum kits integral to many of these percussive, propulsive, highly rhythmic convulsions, Drum came to be acknowledged as a fourth member of the band. Conversely, Mount Heart Attack is the reaction to Drum’s action, the embodiment of stress and self-doubt. Both became key elements in the creative process.”

Pretension and stupidity make for disastrous bed partners, like when you book [Re]Peter North and Dakota Fanning in a single twin at a Motel 6 outside of Barstow and then complain about not being able to get the blood stains out of the curtains.


At any rate, the friend’s husband’s iPod repeated the entire 12-song cycle no less than four times as we made our way north; if not for the twin distractions of some high-resin strain of what can be characterized succinctly as Ironside Weed––smoke too much and you’re paralyzed––and a contentious game of Travel Scrabble with a woman who is either going to become our first ex-wife or our one-way ticket to the land of orange jumpsuits, toilet bowl hooch and non-consensual sodomy (could go either way), we’d have become much more aggro w/r/t expressing our discontent.

To sum up, in haiku form:

If Liars played in
our own backyard, we wouldn’t
open a window.

Fuck. Terrible. To be avoided.

One good thing came of the trip, however, as we hit on an idea for a commercial that will make us rich. The setup is simple: You have a sort of endearingly unkempt dude in his mid-20s, kind of pumping out the Ruffalo vibe, folding his laundry next to a girl who’s far too attractive to take notice of him but this is TV so she keeps giving him sidelong glances out of the corners of her eyes like he’s a bologna sandwich and she’s Mama Cass. Or something. So the guy notices that the girl has these unflattering Granny panties mixed in with all her frilly, lacey stuff, and she blushes a little and says something about “B-Team undergarments” and so the guy, in order to make the girl less self-conscious about owning Bad Underwear, whips out a pair of his own B-Team gear, a ragged pair of tighty whities with the elastic all stretched out of shape. And so at first the girl laughs and smiles because she knows what the guy is trying to do with his demonstration of Bad Underwear, but just as the guy does a somewhat comical flourish of the shorts, like he’s a matador flapping his cape at the bull, the music, which up until now has been some kind of bright, effervescent pop, like “Fill Me Up Buttercup” or something along those lines, all of the sudden comes to a screeching, scratch-the-needle-on-the-vinyl type stop, as the woman takes another look at the guy’s drawers and realizes that THEY ARE LITERALLY CAKED WITH SHIT. It looks like someone used the guy’s briefs to frost a birthday cake, the shit is so thick. And so whatever progress the guy has made up until now has totally been shot to hell, and the girl just sort of hurriedly dumps all of her clothes into her basket without even making a pretense of folding them, and zoom, she’s out the door. And so the guy is all dejected and he stares down into the mucky cotton panel and there in the middle of the shit smear, appears the face of TV funnyman Rip Taylor, who advises him to use Detergent X. (He also tosses tiny specks of confetti at the guy, which is a little weird because he’s just a disembodied head and all, but close observers will be too distracted by the fact that much of the confetti is actually pretty brown come to think of it, suggesting that even Rip Taylor can’t keep his props clean in the face of this kind of (almost literal) shit storm.) And so we do a time wipe, and it’s a few weeks later, and it’s the same guy doing his laundry in the same place although now he’s a little less rumpled, nothing you can really put your finger on or anything, but there’s definitely been a general tidying up in the guy’s life, you can just tell, and so another girl is at his elbow, and she’s even more attractive that the one that was scared off by his shit-caked tighty whities, and they basically go through the same roundelet of flirtation and laundry semiotics, only this time his backup drawers are not befouled by his own intestinal leavings, and so the girl finishes folding her clothes and decides to stick around and help the guy fold his, and is so overtaken with the fresh, Spring Morning scent of Detergent X that she brings the now-pristine underpants to her face and just buries her nose in them––TiVo viewers will notice that her nose is exactly in the same position where Rip Taylor’s disembodied head had appeared––which actually sort of makes the guy a little uncomfortable. And as a capper, right behind the guy stands Rip Taylor, only now he’s actual size, and he makes a face like he just processed a bad smell, but then shrugs and tosses the confetti at the guy, the girl and the underwear, which has been digitally manipulated so that it literally looks shiny. And then there’s another time wipe, and now the guy and the girl are walking out of a church and people are throwing rice at them because they’ve just gotten married, and while you might think that Rip Taylor might be in the wedding party––after all, he did bring these kids together, sort of, and what better venue is there for a guy who likes to toss confetti around than a wedding––except Rip Taylor doesn’t get invited to the wedding because the girl’s parents are like serious hard-ass Methodists and they don’t particularly cotton to gays, so he’s definitely persona non grata as far as the nuptials are concerned, although when the newlyweds’ car pulls away, we can see that in lieu of tin cans or whatever, someone has tied a bunch of underpants to the bumper, and in the crotch of each dragging pair, a mischievous and eye-twinkling Rip Taylor can be seen, which even the crabby Methodist father of the bride has to admit is kind of funny, so he smiles wanly and gives the tiny Rip Taylor heads the thumbs up, and Rip Taylor’s eye twinkles morph into the twinkling of almost fetishistically clean undergarments … and fade to white.