Wednesday, December 6 2000
I dreamed last night that my workplace was in a tall office building (it isn't actually, but my last several months at CollegeClub.com were in a tall building in downtown San Diego). While at work one day, the building was being gradually lifted from below so it could be moved and set atop something else. Mind you, there is no technology anywhere on Earth for doing this sort of thing, but in my dream it was treated by my co-workers as a routine thing. As the building was lifted and I saw the ground gradually dropping away out the window, my stomach began to swim. This was partly because the whole building was rocking nauseatingly as it proceeded upward. I was so happy to wake up and find it was just a dream.
I surf over to Feed.com and see they have a new batch of articles published, so, since I'm about to dash off to the company crapper, I have to make a quick decision about what I want to read. I decide on the article about the essential musical building block Elvis Presley discovered on his way to being crowned the eternal King of Rock and Roll. Why do I decide to read this article and not some other article about, say, the state of modern horror films? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that tonight I intend to go to the Silverlake Lounge to see Moth (featuring my old Charlottesville chum Nikolai) as well as some sort of post-Sebadoh ensemble fronted by none other than Lou Barlow himself. My housemate John saw Sebadoh once and has this to say: "Lou Barlow is an asshole." But he still intends to come. For my part, I'd been to a lackluster Sebadoh show once in Charlottesville and hadn't noticed anything much about the attitudes of the performers on stage.
Being a schoolteacher and needing to get up early for some sort of meeting, John was almost defeated by a case of the second thoughts. But he'd already invited his friend Chun, and when she called back and said she was definitely coming, he could no longer back out. Meanwhile Linda, who also had plans of coming, was involved in some sort of dispute with her boyfriend Julian and was no longer planning on seeing a movie with him and his mother. This meant she could meet us at the Silverlake Lounge early.
While all this was going on, John's sister Maria was hanging out with us and John was cooking another one of his all-vegetable meals, this one comprised of my two least-favorite vegetables: potatoes and beets. But I was a good sport and ate what he prepared for me anyway, reasoning that my dislike of these vegetables is just as irrational as my dislike for broccoli and asparagus used to be (I love both those vegetables now). I was also kind of interested in the effect the beets would have on my feces. Hold on a second, I have a tangent I want to pursue.
Approximate Years at which my dietary behaviors shifted
- 1968 - Gus is born. He likes various forms of milk.
- August, 1968 - I refuse the breast and demand to drink milk other ways
- before 1973 - develop aversions to eggs and pork
- before 1973 - start liking raw peas (I still dislike cooked peas)
- before 1973 - start liking spinach
- before 1973 - start liking corn
- before 1973 - start liking raw carrots (I still dislike cooked carrots)
- before 1973 - start liking celery
- before 1973 - start liking lettuce
- 1974 - my parents stop buying white bread and most highly-processed foods
- 1975 - start liking low concentrations of onion
- 1978 - start liking radishes
- 1978 - start liking mushrooms
- 1980 - start liking most species of beans
- 1980 - start liking green peppers
- 1982 - I almost entirely stop drinking milk.
- 1982 - start liking green beans
- 1983 - start liking lima beans
- 1983 - start liking cauliflower
- 1984 - start liking tomatoes
- 1985 - start liking watercress
- 1986 - Oberlin College: first exposed to genuine vegetarianism and tofu. I immediately like tofu.
- 1988 - I gradually lose my cravings for all sweet food, with the exception of icecream and pumpkin pie
- 1990 - start liking broccoli
- 1996 - start liking asparagus
- 1996 - first time I eat genuine sushi (with Jen Fariello)
- 1998 - start liking cabbage (the move to California and Rubio's fish burritos forced this issue)
- Vegetables I still dislike: most forms of potato, sweet potato, squash, beets, kale, cooked carrots, cooked peas. Meats I still dislike: large pieces of pork, with the exception of ham. I still have a psychological aversion to all forms of visible egg products in food.
A little before 9pm, John and I set out for Silverlake, stopping on the way at the Chun's Beverly Hills Apartment to pick her up. John showed me around the place, pointing out the painting he'd done. It was strictly house painting work, but it was done in a subtle and imaginative way, with almost imperceptible differences in hue on various walls to increase the apparent depth of small rooms. "Increase the apparent depth of small rooms." I like that phrase.
As we were parking near the Silverlake Lounge, John asked almost rhetorically what indie rockers look like. "Oh you know, Buddy Holly glasses, sideburns, fashionably scruffy, that sort of thing," Chun and I responded.
We got in the door of the Silverlake Lounge and found it to be a fairly small venue, set up in your typical long, narrow bar pattern. A couple decidedly non-indie middle-aged guys worked the bar and their attention was very easy to get. The place was pretty well stocked with people and Moth was already onstage playing. They were, in effect, a whole band wrapped around the Nikolai sound I remember from three years ago in Charlottesville. It still has an infinitely tiny trace of that Dave Sickman singer-songwriter sound (which, in a town as small as Charlottesville, probably owes a small debt to Dave Matthews), but for the most part is was loud, emotionally-charged guitar rock in the same spirit as Bob Mould and Guided by Voices. In other words, it was exactly my kind of music. One important feature Nikolai's backup band added to his loud guitar was a variety of electronic noises generated by a couple vintage synthesizers. These often served as drones, filling in for the tape hiss so important for setting the hazy primordial mood natural to studio lofi music.
It was clear to me that Nikolai had finally found his place here among the indie rockers of Silverlake. He'd always had the lofi sensibility, the sideburns and the Buddy Holly glasses. Now he was playing in front of a whole room of people either having or having the capacity to understand those things. There might have been a scene like this in Charlottesville, but it was small and ephemeral.
I'd paid the cover charge for my chums, so John bought a round of whiskeys. Moth only went on for about two songs after we arrived. As they broke down their equipment, I went up to the front and gave Nikolai a hearty "you rocked." And he took a sip of my whiskey. I wasn't the only one who liked his show; indeed, it was clear that Nikolai has become something of a minor rock star since moving to the City of Angels.
Linda had arrived by the time I returned to my table.
The next band was similar to Moth in overall sound, but they were fronted by somebody who looked like he just got off a Greyhound from West Virginia. It's always hard to tell with these indie guys whether their look is being affected or if they really are this way and have finally found their home in Silverlake. That was always one of the big questions about Beck being asked by the people who could never understand why someone wouldn't want to look stylish and clean.
John and Chun had to split, so they left me in the tender mercies of Linda. It was refill time so I went and got us another round of drinks, margaritas. That's when I encountered Ween from Lumirova at the bar talking to a spunky blond girlfriend of hers I've seen before. Ween didn't say anything, she just looked in my eyes. Twice. That chick is the kind people write songs about without ever exchanging a word. I'm really glad girls like this still exist.
For the rest of the evening at the Silverlake Lounge, Linda and I enjoyed a form of discretely tangible affection. As I pointed out later as she drove me home, I've been sort of affection-starved of late and these days I crave things I'm embarrassed to be craving.
The last act of the evening was Lou Barlow and his rag-tag back-up band. I don't know what's happened to this once-mighty hero of indie rock, but it was clear to me tonight that he's pretty firmly in the washed-up post-sensational phase of his career. Tonight he insisted on playing acoustically through his entire set. The audience took advantage of the quiet to converse with one another, a din that could be heard rising over the music. Lou didn't seem to care too much and didn't, as might have been expected, lash out or rebuke the audience. He just stood there like the martyr all indie rockers want to be and did his thing. Nikolai came over to our table and I complained something to the effect of, "Lou needs to relearn how to rock!" Then I made an observation that reflected how much faster everything happens now in the post-retro-pre-modern age. "For being a godfather of indie rock, Lou is looking pretty good. He doesn't look much older than me." "Actually, " said Linda, "He looks younger than you." Oh well, I guess I'm just getting old.
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