Terpsichore, You Punk-Ass Bitch
Now Playing: a ringing in my ears (see below), thankfully on its last legs
I arrived home yesterday, after posting "Deluge of Peas", after what I described as a "Happy Hour Meltdown", with the full intention of passing out. The Dirtbombs were playing the Blind Pig, and I had planned to go see "So Long, Differently Thinking Persons" at the Dreamland Theater. I hated to miss either, but I have rarely felt as done in as I did yesterday evening at about seven. Eight to nine saw a little nap at my house, and I woke, figured "what the hell?" and went to see the Dirtbombs.
This town can obviously grow tiresome, but strolling about, watching people on a Friday night, is usually very enjoyable, at least for me. Before going to the Pig, I also indulged in a favorite pre-show pastime, wandering the dimly-lit streets of the Old West Side, safeguarded from the industrial urban horrors of downtown Ann Arbor only by a ribbon-thin set of railway track. You never can tell what's going on in those pretty little houses, some of them, as on the rather secluded "Murray Avenue"--if that is its real
name--painted all in different colors. The mind runs riot, especially on dark, humid summer nights. Former sixties radicals, aching for righteous vengeance, breeding colossal killer marmots bred for combat and fed on human flesh, exacting bloody payment for the ecological damage our species has wrought on our fragile little planet? I doubt it, but it would certainly break the monotony.
The Scars and 25 Suaves (from Adrian! I don't know what that means, but apparently it's important!) opened for the Dirtbombs. I arrived in the middle of the Scars' set, and eventually found Brandon and Annie seated towards the front, where I'd never been. In a weird coincidence, I'd run into each of them separately earlier in the day, walking along Liberty Street (and found that I'd actually seen Annie--very good, too--in a short play at the Blackbird Theatre about a woman with a creepy painting and creepier former uncle). The scene had many familiar features--lots of people in straw cowboy hats, and the drunk girl who occasionally asks me what I'm reading*. It happened this time in the hallway connecting the upstairs with the 8-Ball, where she loudly asked a nearby reader of The Ann Arbor Paper
for her horoscope--Cancer, in case you were curious.
The Scars were pretty good, of the late-sixties influenced school that shows up so often at the Pig, and to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the hilariously abusive 25 Suaves ("I can't fucking heeeear
you! I mean, you may have forked over ten bucks to hear one band, and we're not it, and as a result, you may think you deserve a certain amount of deference from us, but I don't fucking caaaaaare
!!!"). By their third song, though, I moved into the middle of the floor and started dancing. It seemed to happen gradually, although I don't think it looked that way to others. I'd gotten down a little the last time the Avatars played, but this was different. I was never a headbanger, not in high school or college, but... it just felt right
, and I continued to thrash my merry way through the Dirtbombs' set, where I ended up in the "primo" tympanum-shredding corner next to Brandon and Annie. The Dirtbombs were magnificent, particularly during a cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and my personal favorite, "Motor City Baby." It felt fantastic, and I haven't danced so hard since... hell, probably since Baton Rouge, and that was almost six years ago. My joints are pretty sore this morning, my head hurts (and not from booze), but it was so
This morning was quite something, too. I lay awake for about an hour listening to the rain with the windows open, and then came the thunder, during which I made my way to the library. I felt a weird feeling of exhilaration pass over me, as did the rolling thunder, varying its pattern from orthodox booms to sudden clumps that sounded like movie versions of shellblasts during the First World War. Watching the lightning in the distance made me feel alive yet curiously placid in a way I've never felt before.
*John Le Carre, The Honourable Schoolboy
(1977). The second volume in the "Smiley Trilogy," this follows Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
(1974), and sees George Smiley try to repair British intelligence and get revenge on Karla, his Soviet counterpart, after the discovery of the high-placed "mole in the ministry" (now I can't separate John Le Carre from the Dukes of Stratosphear) at the conclusion of Tinker
. It's pretty good so far, and I'm becoming quite the Le Carre devotee. People have mentioned elsewhere how his novels really aren't "spy novels" as such but cutting class analyses of an empire in decline. I fucking love
those. This one's set largely in Hong Kong, and it's going very well so far. Smiley's one of my favorite literary characters, a successful attempt to recreate the "faceless bureaucrat" as a novelistic hero. If given the chance, check out Alec Guinness' rendition of Smiley in the 1978 British miniseries (it must have been a breath of fresh air for him, coming right after Star Wars
--and no, I haven't seen the new one yet).