23 May 2006

I Go To The Pub And Talk Too Much

Down to Soho tonight, to a once obscure but now trendy and packed pub called the Glasshouse Stores to meet with two of the Zatopeks, Sebby and Sammie while they're on hiatus from their UK tour. Actually, their tour is all but over; they're just hanging around waiting to play two shows this weekend at Liverpool's Cavern Club. I realised on the way home that I never got around to asking them how the past week's shows went, and then realised in turn that I had spent an inordinate amount of the evening talking about myself.

I hate it when I do that. I could make the excuse that Sammie kept asking me questions about Lookout Records and some of the old East Bay bands (and was even kind enough to compliment my band), but just because someone asks doesn't mean you have to tell them everything you know in voluminous detail. At times I felt more like was appearing on a chat show - the cute little leather couches heightened the impression - than having a conversation with friends.

It's not that I don't think I have some interesting stories to tell. It would be hard to live as long as I have and not have a few. But I never wanted to become one of those characters who's forever banging on about, "Back in my day, sonny..." Maybe that's why I lost interest in my memoir, which is about 500 pages of just such stories and has been sitting in a box under my bed for the past year. A couple of times I've thought about digging it out from the dust and old socks and reworking it in a more novelised format (or alternatively, depositing in the shiny new recycling bins they've installed at the end of our block), but I always end up deciding, "Naw, too much effort."

In the back of my mind, I guess I'm thinking it's a bit grandiose of me to assume people, at least apart from a few fanatical pop punk fans, would be that interested in the minutiae of my somewhat muddled life, and another part of me keeps suggesting that it's too soon to be spending so much time looking back at the past. But then on the other hand, I argue, isn't it my job as a historian of sorts to set down, while I still have a reasonably accurate memory of it, some account of my meanderings through the underbelly of American culture? I guess what spooks me is that way too many baby boomers have already done just that, even if I'd like to believe that very few of them have seen what I've seen and are still coherent enough to talk about it. But hey, we all like to think that our experiences our special and different, don't we, while literary scholars claim that all of human existence can be winnowed down to a handful of essential themes and stories, and biologists not only claim, but can prove, that humankind's breathtaking diversity really amounts to little more than minor variations on a genetic pattern only slightly more complex than the handful of notes and scales that provide the world with all its songs and symphonies.

Um, yes, what was I saying? That I wish I'd talked a little less and listened a lot more at the pub tonight. Yet another lesson for a lifetime.


ted said...

I'm hoping that your memoir becomes another one of your resonating artistic gifts to the world. Countless times, I have read your columns on the newsstand and they casted perspective on the themes and issues which surrounded life & work at that moment.

Jenna Alive said...

What he said.

(Slurp slurp?)