Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Random Stuff Except the Absolutely Vital Part

I've been combing the web for my old friends, catching up with a few that have turned up via email. I also just noticed a comment from a previous post that I hadn't seen before. The Coolest Cousin in the World responded to my blog!

He asked about Shane MacGowan, and yes, indeed, that bastard appears to be still alive. That Wikipedia article is nicely done, by the way, with all the gory details and photos that we love. Here's an excellent site that is critical of Wikipedia and all it stands for, and you know what? The author makes many good points; I look upon the wiki phenomenon now with new eyes. While we're on the topic of useful information tech, here's a site that I encourage everyone to use and pass on to the appropriate idiots.

Okay, back to some topic or other I may have addressed a minute ago. I really dug my cousin's response, both the sentiment and the respectful quote, and it reminds me of how powerful those seemingly little moments can be, even just listening to a song. Often we remember a whole scene of our lives, triggered by some music, the way the sun hits the street, a scent of perfume... I'd like to relate now how Cousin Dave was integral to a Pivotal Moment in my Life.

Los Angeles, circa 1987. I was on vacation, visiting My Favorite Aunt, and The Coolest Cousin in the World was the guy I always looked up to (when I was at a tender age, he introduced me to the irreverent humor of Mad Magazine). In L.A., he had got a drink served to me in a hotel bar, with the only instructions I had to follow: "Sit up straight." He bought U2's Joshua Tree and an independent band I can't remember in a CD store before I knew any of that was cool. And cruising the streets of L.A., seeing Sunset Strip, the Capitol Records building, all from the passenger seat of his mustard-yellow mildly-aged car. Cousin Dave popped in a tape, and it was the strangest music I ever heard: Irish folk ballads with punk attitude, followed by sad and sweet pub tunes from the Emerald Isle, and a crazy, possibly political tragedy called "The Body of an American." It was the first time I heard the Pogues and the wonderfully indecipherable slurred lyrics of Shane MacGowan. It was a revelation. Cousin Dave thought it was cool to listen to this, bang the steering wheel to the beat, play music at such a volume to make conversation impossible... this was cruising, and we were rocking. I knew that I would have to bring this attitude home and adapt it to my means, re-booting my adolescent nice boy mantra with this new feeling of what it really means to be a teenager. I would never be the same way again.

I'm going to throw in one more piece of memorabilia here because I just discovered it last night. And it has a lot to do with the old friends I was seeking out. One can well say that my new attitude, fostered and explored over the next six years, was poured into the creation of this little puppy. I'll write more about that later.


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