Saturday, April 14, 2012

Things go better with a little bit of Razzmatazz

The band Pulp has been part of my consciousness since that fateful afternoon in Bouton Hall when my friend Ama and I were chatting and she said "Listen to this." I can't tell you how many times in my life a friend or family member will say those words to me and my life alters in an instant. Granted, this happened a lot more between the  years 1994-2000, but those were formative years for me anyway. I've never been able to adequately describe music with words (a strange and noble pursuit, btw) but this is how the conversation between the album "Different Class" and me went down, all those very long years ago:

Jarvis Cocker: Well, hello there. This is what my life is like.
Me: I am beatified.

Needless to reiterate, I. Love. Pulp. When I heard they were doing a show, the first in 14 years in NYC, I jumped up and down. I assure you that is 100% true. When was the last time you jumped up and down out of elation? If it has been awhile, you need to go out right now and find something that will make you do such a thing.
They played everything I wanted to hear apart from one song (Pink Glove), which is not something I'm going to dwell on because frankly, I would have been happy to see them if they played a set composed of entirely songs by Nickelback. The energy of the band, the in between songs banter (Cocker peppered the conversation with facts about April 11, including quotations by Kurt Vonnegut), the stage and lighting design, the timeless timeliness of the music has not changed. Too often, when older bands reunite, they teeter too close to the edge of being hokey or even depressing. None of that happened. It was perfect. It was like reliving my early 20s but with all the knowledge and experience of my 30s. A few weeks ago I made fun of a reunion tour of Aerosmith and Cheap Trick but I take it all back. If you feel that way about those bands or any band that reunites, enjoy it. REVEL in it. It is the only way to go back while staying here.

It would  not have been a show without weirdness going on in the crowd. First of all, I was on the younger side of the crowd. This never, ever happens lately so that was awesome. Secondly, the guy who sat next to my sister smelled and he came equipped with a clipboard. To "impress" us he showed us the set list for the night. I didn't look because I don't need to know every goddamn thing before it happens (this has GOT to be a culture shift...we are a culture of spoilers) and when my sister asked how he got it he simply said "I got it." Loserly, he also told her that Axl Rose "emailed" him to tell him he wasn't going to participate in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Two things:

1) Who the hell cares?
2) No he didn't.

The man then proceeded to sit, stock still, in his seat for the length of the show, exhibiting not one ounce of excitement at anything happening on stage. The girl who sat next to me asked me "how long" I'd been a fan. Geez. Are we still doing that? Rating each other's true fandom by how long we've been made aware of something's existence? Anyway, I told her since about the early 90s. She looked to be about 17 so I kind of enjoyed it when she seemed surprised. Also, when did young people start dressing like the 90s again? I still have some slip dresses somewhere...

Earlier on the day of the show I got to meet up with Morven and her daughter Ramona since they are vacationing in town from Scotland. Some highlights:
  • Meeting them at the bookstore in the village where I worked as a bookseller THIRTEEN years ago, omfg. The store has not changed one iota. This is a comfort
  • Chatting over coffee about their adventures in Florida and their all too familiar odyssey from Newark airport to midtown Manhattan.
  • Catching up with Spiro and walking around the Village and Chinatown.
  • Eating this:  
Doughnut Plant's Coconut Cream
  •  Meeting up with Nancy, Tim and Spiro for dinner at 7A, which weirdly has a bunch of fingers drawn everywhere. Fingers.
  • Being on vacation by proxy, hence all the eating and walking aimlessly around. 
  •  Naturally, spending actual time with friends that I feel like I speak to everyday but really don't.

I had an uncharacteristically significant amount of time off this week. This is likely the reason for my buoyed mood, despite the fact that I work this weekend, not that I did anything productive whatsoever with my time off. I think perhaps I need two full days of doing nothing in order to become productive. This poses a problem for someone who never has two full days off in a row. I've planned a Memorial Day trip to Chicago with Lauren. Chicago always puts me in a good mood, especially so now, what with the dearth of any major travel for me in 2012.

Completely unrelated: I just helped a woman at the library with the most amazing arms I've ever seen. I wanted to compliment her on them but that may have seemed weird. But seriously, I want guns like that, muscular but not manly. She must be a yogi.

So, in summation:
1) Ama, if you are reading this I thank you for introducing me to Pulp. It has been a joy of my life ever since.
2) Pulp, forever.
3) Don't attend concerts with clipboards, unshowered and bearing fake stories about washed up rock stars emailing you.
4) Facebook is nice to keep in touch with people but nothing beats face to face hanging out.
5) Go to Doughnut Plant, even if you only go once.
6) Only go to Doughnut Plant once if you want nice arms.

I'm really nothing if not concise.


  1. I love your writing all the time.

  2. Ahhh the Bouton regarding killer arms....i think yoga for sure. Wish I had the money for it ;-)