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February 28, 1997, Friday

Odd way to view things today: sperm and eggs run championships and promote very few of their members to incredibly wasteful but successful large forms to get from one generation to the next.

Ah Friday...

I'm always pleasantly surprised to hear contemporary issues addressed and 90s levels of profanity deployed in a CD that sounds so very much like a leftover from the 60s.
I had to work an extra hour at Comet because Andria wasn't coming to work today. It was easy enough to do except for the relentlessness of the telephone.

I'd been so thoroughly stressed by my morning at Comet that I figured I should buy some new music to comfort my nerves. So at Plan 9, I bought a new CD. Yes, new. It was the Guided by Voices I am a Scientist EP for about $7. Especially good on this four-song wonder (which came out in 1994) is "Do the Earth." The rework of the song from which the EP is named, "I am a Scientist," actually sounds more chaotic than the original. Sometimes I feel like I'm buying Steve Keene paintings when I buy GBV albums: they cost about the same and appear to have a similar lack of deliberation evident in their composition. The thing I like most about GBV is the timelessness of the music. I'm always pleasantly surprised to hear contemporary issues addressed and 90s levels of profanity deployed in a CD that sounds so very much like a leftover from the 60s. Such anachronism seems to be pleasing me more and more each day. That's why I like the goths so much; they are simultaneously post-industrial and medieval.

I fear I am developing arthritis in the first joint of my right hand's ring finger. The joint has been getting progressively worse over the past few days. Maybe I need to eat vitamins.

I played some with my keyboard before bed. I figure I will be able to make some very interesting music if I combine my guitar and piano styles, which are completely different. Originally I'd been opposed to using a keyboard as anything but a rhythm source...but now I like what I can do with it melodicly.

After I woke up I ran the keyboard through effects and got some nice rich industrial sounds. I also did an obligatory disassembly of the keyboard to see how it might be modified. One thing I want to do is separate the accompaniment from the principle sound source and have them come off in two separate jacks so I can apply effects to them separately.

While I was doing these things the goths came by to begin the Friday night fun. All kinds of crazy stuff happened, but you'll have to wait until the resulting hangover wears off to hear the details.

Details of the Evening

Okay, the goths who suddenly arrived were Cecelia and Leticia the Brazilian Girls, Theresa, Monster Boy and the boy Jesse. They came bearing some vino, which I immediately set about to drinking. We hung out in the Dynashack living room with Katherine Degood and her wonderful and occasionally spirited Alsatian Dog, Deeohji, watching a videotape of the Simpsons.

Theresa said something about how Taco Bell was what we were destined to be puking tonight.
The plan was, as usual, Theresa's: "let's get a bottle of vodka." First, however, at 7pm Leticia needed to be dropped off at the C&O so she could wash dishes. To accomplish all of our missions, I drove the Dodge Dart, in which all of us could fit quite comfortably. After dropping off Leticia, we continued on the the ABC store on Pantops Mountain and one of us who is capable of such things purchased a large plastic bottle of cheap vodka along with a small hip flask of Wild Turkey Bourbon. Those who had money to contribute were virtually nonexistant with the exception of myself. We immediately began passing around and drinking the bourbon, even before we got to the Taco Bell. Theresa said something about how Taco Bell was what we were destined to be puking tonight.

The night was an unnaturally warm one for February (temperatures were somewhere in the fifties Farenheit), so outdoor adventures were inevitable. Today's field trip was to prove incredibly evocative.

There are lots of interesting places in Charlottesville that appeal to gothic sensibilities. I was just about to discover yet another one: an abandoned factory beyond the southeastmost end of Market Street. First, per Jesse's instructions, I drove to the last whimpering stretch of Market Street, where it dies out in a working class white neighborhood dominated by the relict shell of a strange concrete building standing across the street from a row of gothic-revival houses. We were soon befriended by a pregnant yellow cat who decided we were a cool gang to hang out with on this Friday evening. In the gutted concrete structure, we stood around and smoked pot and Cecelia cradled the yellow cat in her arms. As Cecelia pointed out later, it's a rare pregnant cat that will permit being held by anyone, let alone a stranger.

I wondered to myself if all the "devil worshipper" hysteria that swept the nation in the middle 80s was connected directly to the emergence of the goth subculture.
We climbed a bank up to the nearby railroad grade and were observed from his porch by a white man resplendent in a flannel shirt. I referred to this observing individual as "the Concerned Citizen" for the rest of the evening, especially in discussions with Monster Boy. As a result of smoking some especially powerful marijuana, I was already feeling paranoid. The appearance of the "Concerned Citizen" only heightened my paranoia. I wondered to Monster Boy if it was likely that by the time we returned the "Concerned Citizen" would have raised a small posse to extinguish us, on the assumption that we were devil worshippers off to sacrifice little babies. Monster Boy said that a wave of "human sacrifice" rumours would no doubt sweep Charlottesville from this one "Concerned Citizen" observation. I wondered to myself if all the "devil worshipper" hysteria that swept the nation in the middle 80s was connected directly to the emergence of the goth subculture.

To get to where we needed to be, "the Factory," we needed to walk on the railroad grade and cross the Rivanna River on a railroad tressle. This quite naturally fueled my paranoia; I'd seen the movies where drunken teenagers are caught on the tressle as the train bears down upon them. This seemed to be a scene from such a movie, and I wanted no part in it. I turned back a quarter of the way across the tressle, but Monster Boy and Ceclia convinced me to continue.

I knew right away why the goths so loved this place, this temple of post-Industrial society.
Then there was the factory. How can I describe what a sublime and beautiful thing this factory was? Here it was, an enormous factory-shaped building (big by building standards, small by modern factory standards), sitting there on the Rivanna floodplain, comforted on all sides by trees that had sprung up all around in the years since its workers had been laid off and the turbines forever silenced. Above it all, a huge smokestack interfaced with the clouds. This smokestack seemed more impressive to me than the Washington Monument, mostly because, despite its stately nature, it was an utterly orphaned object, forgotten by its creators and all who had settled in the area since. I certainly had never seen the smokestack before, but here I was, finding it moving in a profound and somewhat disturbing way. Of course, it looked exactly like a penis, and that in and of itself was interesting; it conferred upon the place a feeling of arrogant Arian potency. But more interesting still was that it was dead, a lithified relic of a bygone but surely fully-lived age. It was beautiful in the way an unfamiliar animal skull is beautiful, in the way a thunderstorm is beautiful. I knew right away why the goths so loved this place, this temple of post-Industrial society.

But Monster Boy held back from approaching the factory directly. He was concerned that quite possibly a gang of ruthless homeless people were squatting in the building and might take offense at out vampiresque presence. He and I sat on a concrete ledge by the railway track and discussed this possiblity while the others approached the Factory. The scene looked so primitive down there among the Factory ruins, like a stone age cliff dwelling. This was related to the fact that there were no lights burning in the structure while the City of Charlottesville glowed warmly across the river beyond. But of course, this was no stone age structure; it was a relic of our modern Industrial Age. The possibility that homeless people, (who could be viewed in this context as stone age people somehow coexisting with the modern world that surrounds them) might live in such ruins was a marvelously anachronistic concept. But it was also a frightening idea, especially in the state I was in.

But no screams could be heard from those who had gone before us, and so Monster Boy and I eventually joined them there. I sat by the front door and imagined the workers who every day came to this very building to toil away to earn their daily bread. It was as though I could feel their now seemingly irrelevant presence. It was like wallowing in multiple levels of death at once: the ultimate gothic experience.

I was so messed up from bourbon and marijuana that I was feeling about as weird as the time I took tussin in Philadelphia. That's weird; the only other experience that may rival these two is the time I took mushrooms for the first (and more or less only) time, in the Spring of 1987.

It seemed unlikely, yet another form of sublimely tragic death, to have created magnificent things and still to die unknown to history.
We continued along the railroad tracks, but Monster Boy, Cecelia and I refused to cross yet another train tressle. That seemed to be tempting our generally bad luck just a little too much. We sat and watched the streaming traffic on the bridges of Interstate 64 crossing the Rivanna River. I wondered aloud to the others how the American Indians would have reacted had they woken up one morning and seen the Interstate Bridges (in and of themselves remarkable human creations) with their teaming gleaming streaming guests. The Indians would have thought that the aliens had invaded! Imagine if we woke up one morning and found a huge and marvelously exotic structure and been run through our cities. Yes: the Indians really were invaded by aliens. It was such a strange concept to grasp, and it was deeply moving. I also wondered if the designers of the Factory or the Interstate Bridges had received any credit for their creations, which to me seemed now like magnificent art. Especially the great abstract concrete angels upon whose back the burdens of the bridges were carried. Would I ever see this designer mentioned in an art history book? It seemed unlikely; yet another form of sublimely tragic death: to have created magnificent things and still to die unknown to history. You can see how very in tune I was to sheer gothicness of this warm February night.

There was no way I could imagine driving in the state I was in both at the Factory and the Interstate Bridges. But by the time we'd made it back to my Dart, I was feeling capable of driving. The alternative was having Theresa drive, and (knowing what her Monte Carlo looks like these days) that seemed like a bad idea. As it was I had to strongly caution Theresa not to claw or otherwise molest me such that I could drive undistracted.

Theresa had me drive to the Eastern Standard (now known as "the Escafé") on the west end of the Downtown Mall so she could reassure her jealous boyfriend Persad, who was washing dishes there. Once Persad had been reassured, we continued on.

We went back to Goth Central and listened to music and drank lots and lots of booze. The evening quickly becomes unclear in my mind. I recall snatches of things vividly, but their connections to one another are uncertain.

We smoked some pot (that I supplied) at my house, and went back and forth between Goth Central and my house on several occasions. There was a mission at one point to the Corner Market to purchase orange juice and cranberry juice (Monster Boy said he couldn't drink orange juice). Of course, being rich, I was paying for everything. We also went to my house specifically to listen to Sepultura's Roots. This was encouraged by Theresa, who was making a show of wanting to listen to especially hard Industrial Music. After Sepultura, we played Pantera. To broaden their horizons, I also played some ridiculously hard Sebadoh that I happen to be in possesion of (the first track of Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock). The next day, of course, I found my CDs all over the place, but with barely a single finger print on any of them!

Monster Boy was in a good mood, and Theresa proclaimed to us all that this was because Jessika had finally gotten around to calling him last night. Even if this was the case, Monster Boy certainly didn't want Theresa saying so. We both told her to "shut the fuck up."

I was powerless to defend myself and so suggested that she just kiss me instead.
I don't know where we went next. We just went somewhere in cars, one driven by Theresa's non-goth friend Hobi, and the other driven by Monster Boy. It had become just a little too cold for me without my black The Gap trench coat, so I found myself in the back of Hobi's car, shivering. I was joined by Theresa, who proceeded to maul me as she likes to do, using her finger nails. I was powerless to defend myself and so suggested that she just kiss me instead (I was seeking any form of affection that was less punishing). But the kiss that followed, in addition to being witnessed by all my scandal-mongering friends, wasn't a particularly pleasureable experience. Soon thereafter I could be seen vomitting out of Hobi's window. The last thing I remember is Hobi complaining about me throwing up on his car and Theresa repeatedly saying how I needed to go home to masturbate.

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