Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The other day we talked about Damaged by Black Flag, and you told me you “didn't get it”. In this, I respect your honesty. Almost every other “hardcore” jerkoff would just smile and pretend, afraid to say what they really thought. Because, well, you don't fuck with the Flag, man. Or something.
I was 15 years old when I first heard Damaged, and to this day I still associate the record with myself back then – pissed at the world, without a clue as to why. In Damaged I was tipped to the universality of teen angst stemming from nothing. I realised there were more confused and pissed off fuck-ups out there than just me. And I mean, these people were fuck-ups – poorly recorded chords thrown over basic drumbeats and bad vocals. “The Stooges, man”. At the time I was spending my weekends hanging out with boy racers and getting handjobs of skanks drunk on Bernadino Spumante. To me, Damaged means revelation. It means that any pissed off shithead can start a band, and this fact alone changed my life. In this it is a signifier to something more. But, maybe to everyone else it's just a collection of songs played by Rollins, Ginn, Cadena, Dukowski and Valverde, and in this case, there's not really any such thing as “not getting it”. You just don't like the music! My only suggestion is that listening to Police Story drink at 4am might bring the sort of shitty-vibes- overload cathartic experience which means you truly do “get it”.
There are poppies in the back yard at Dave's house. They appeared from nowhere, unplanned, yet totally befitting the glass-strewn courtyard. Some days as the sun went down we would sit in the back yard drinking Carter Larger and finding fault in everything, from radio singles, to girls we knew, to Hobbes' Leviathon. These poppies in the back yard weren't the sort that bleed opium when the stems get pierced, which we knew from experience. But, this fact didn't seem to stop emaciated space-heads scaling the fence on a regular basis and hauling away armfuls of whatever they could pull from between the cracks of concrete. This started a few weeks after the poppies first appeared, and show no signs of stopping.
This is Flanders! screamed Dave. This is Kandahar, and we're going to war for these fucking poppies. War against ugly rusted bastard needles sticking from ruined arms. We're going to war against modern life in the name of these poppies.
And so we sat in the top window at night, air rifle loaded. Every lank-haired face we saw rising over the back fence meant a readied trigger finger, and every arm and leg meant a rush of compressed air, and a .177 pellet striking human flesh. To address these people like this was to take back a little of what they took from us. It wasn't the act of stealing itself which was a problem, but the loss we felt. Sometimes we shoot junkies to deal with loss.