thestillcity on The UMS. tobi-san on The UMS.
In all my two weeks as a photographer, I’ve taken a lot of photos. And as any good photographer will tell you, what you aim to capture in a photograph is what is essential in, or that which is the essence of, the thing photographed. It is a rare occurrence; you might spend your whole life trying and yet never capture, as Heidegger would put it, the thingness of the thing.
It must have been about 4:30 p.m. when this photo was taken. We drove to Jeff’s house, upon which he greeted us wearing only calf-length nylon shorts, and those slippers your grandma’s always wearing, all while holding what appears to be one of those plastic triangles you take to elementary school, but never really end up using.
When he realized I was photographing him, he started to run for cover. And thus, this photo was born–but not born really, for in a sense, this photo has always existed as a part of Jeff himself, but was simply waiting to be committed to film.
Also, Hipstamatic Iphone app, makes your photos look like they were taken by a real live hipster (hipsta?).
On Friday of last week, I had just finished with a week of work at what is easily The Worst Job Ever (TWJE). I would tell you what it is but the fine folks at TWJE made me sign a non-disclosure agreement—it’s that bad—and having The Worst Job Ever is better than having The Not-Having A Job, Job (TNHAJJ). Of course, TNHAJJ is actually a misnomer, because it isn’t actually a job.
So by Friday evening, I’m a wreck. All is lost. All is the emptiness of being. Etc.
But then, after riding my bike down to the UMS through the foggy haze of ennui, my weekend went: The Centennial, Natural Selection, Dust on The Breakers, Nathan and Stephen, The Rouge, Eolian, The Pirate Signal, Air Dubai–plus maybe 13 of those Heinekens that are as big as a small wombat (right)–and everything was suddenly and irrevocably changed.
It was a lot like having twenty five or thirty of your massively talented friends all get invited to play a music festival put on by the Denver Post on South Broadway. And then just completely owning it. Or like those times when your face starts to hurt because you’ve been laughing and smiling so much.
And then, there was our set. Because I was so excited that so many people showed up, I threw my voice at the beginning of it, and by the last song, it was mostly gone. What is incredible is that it didn’t matter, because there were enough people there who knew the words and sang along. Whatever feeling is the opposite of the one I have while elbow-deep in The Worst Job Ever, that is what I felt at that moment. We can define success purely in terms of that phenomenological state.
There’s this rule in songwriting that you not write songs about songwriting. Every song I’ve ever written wherein I violated that rule was terrible, and yet here I am, about to blog about blogging (I hate the word “blog” by the way; it sounds like something that sticks to you).
The problem is that for the past couple of weeks, as opposed to posting anything, I’ve been trying to figure out what this thing is about. I want not to write things like “our show last night was great!” (For some reason, as I wrote that, I imagined the word ‘great’ spoken in the voice of Tony the Tiger). Such proclamations seem empty, or like they’re not really about anything.
And while it is surely only the narcissistic that are concerned with seeming narcissistic, I have a hard time talking about myself even to good friends. In any case, if you’re at all like me, you already have enough online friends intent on idealizing their own lives, and producing for the online world the image of a life well-lived. I have nothing more to add in that regard.
So, I imagine that, from here on out, this blog will be about the band (stunning, I know). And I imagine I’ll post some photos of our exploits (I’m a terrible photographer, so that should be fun), but I want more than anything to draw a true picture of the things that I think are important in this mess. In general, I believe they are few, but they are deep.
Holy crap, SXSW was awesome.
I could give you the blow-by-blow (which would include, I might add, being accosted at 3a.m. in the parking lot of a motel in Lampasas, TX by a naked man who introduced himself as ‘Chile Con Carne,’ and which would also include what was probably the greatest show I’ve ever seen—Matt Pond, PA, followed by Casiokids at the Galaxy room).
Or I could tell you how well represented was our fair city, and pontificate on the nature of our scene and just how goddam valuable it is.
But blow-by-blows always read like recipe books and insofar as I am steadfast in my resolve to update more often, pontification should be the norm.
So for now, I’ll just say this: there were, throughout this past weekend at SXSW, these tiny instants of self-reflection—one on the dance floor at the galaxy room, another unable to sleep on the floor underneath a friend’s kitchen table, a third crammed tight in the back of a car, drunk, and rocketing down the interstate—where you recognize just how fucking happy you are.
Now whether this is endemic to SXSW, or is just a function of some particularly good luck we had finding the right people to be with at the right places at the right time, I don’t know, but next year you should come with when I try to find out.