05 November 2006

When Saturday Comes

Up before the crack of dawn today to watch the match between Fulham and Everton, something which, were I still in London, I'd be doing in person and at a much more sensible time of day. I was going to watch it with Kendra K, which I reckoned should be interesting, as she - for reasons inexplicable apart from a possible Northern fetish - is an Everton supporter. Since Everton have been riding high in the Premiership this season - I fully expected Fulham to lose (an essential part of being a Fulham supporter is always expecting to lose), so I was a little iffy about sitting next to Kendra, especially at such an ungodly hour, while she racously exulted over another Toffee triumph. But since she has the technology hookup (something about hijacking Chinese ESPN over the internet) and I don't, I figured we'd have to make the best of it.

A bit reticent about knocking on someone's door at 7 am - especially since the Kendrak household showed no signs of life - I decided I'd better call first. I hate waking people up from a sound sleep, don't you? Which is, of course, exactly what I proceeded to do. I wasn't clear whether she had just overslept or had forgotten about the whole business, but after a moment of stunned silence, she mumbled, "Can I call you back?"

I sat down to wait, figuring I'd give it about 15 more minutes before concluding that she'd gone back to sleep, which I was about 95% sure she was about to do. But, miraculously enough, no more than five minutes later my phone rang, and there she was, wide awake and perky as ever. Which was even more surprising, considering the message she had to deliver: "Congratulations on your three points." Turns out that the Fulham-Everton match had been a lunchtime kickoff, i.e., at 12:45 UK time, or 4:45 am on the West Coast.

Kendra was taking the Everton defeat a lot better than I would have been had the situation been reversed. I know, you're asking why hearing that Fulham had lost would bother me if I had been expecting it anyway? Well, that's just the way it works. Anticipating, even savoring the misery in advance does nothing to diminish its sting. Considering Kendra's seemingly effervescent spirits, I reckoned it would be safe to come in and watch the Liverpool-Reading match with her. It turned out to be a not-too-exceptional 2-0 win for the Scousers. I had mixed feelings, on one hand wanting Liverpool to lose because I always want the big teams to lose, and on the other, wanting Reading to lose because they've been inhabiting more or less the same area of the standings as Fulham. Sadly - and I hope this doesn't mark me out as a bad sport - I watch all too many matches in which the ideal result would be for both teams to lose. Despite all the tinkerings and adjustments the Football Association keeps coming up with, so far nobody seems to have devised a way to make this possible.

The match being rather uneventful, we had plenty of time to chat. I learned about the previous night's art opening for Bella Bigsby, to which nobody had invited me, and what might have been Thee Kendrak Attack's penultimate show, to which I was similarly uninvited, though in the latter case, given my delicate foot-type situation, it might have been for the best. Aparently there was a bout of fairly uproarious candy throwing, something I tend not to appreciate even at the best of times. I also learned - and apologies in advance to Kendra if she gets in trouble for passing this tidbit on - about fomer vegan Pepito Pea devouring a 49-ounce steak (at just over 3 pounds or 1.4 kilos, I reckon that at about 2.5% of Pepito's entire body mass) as part of the bizarre initiation process to some highly exclusive internet message board. Which, I no doubt superfluously point out, I have also not been invited to join.

When football was over, we spent some time watching Robojoe play a computer game - I think it was called Bully, but this is not an area where I have a lot - I mean any - expertise, and drifted into a conversation, sparked by news of Rancid losing their drummer, about the whole idea of making a living from music. I was surprised to hear both Kendra and Robojoe defending the old school punk principle that there was something dubious or at least less than desirable of making a job or career out of playing music. It reminded me of arguments I used to have 20 years ago with MRR co-founder Tim Yohannan and which similarly never reached a satisfactory conclusion. I contended that a musician playing large venues or signing to a major label was the same as a baseball player leaving his hometown team to play for the Yankees. In both cases, his original fans would be disappointed and his hometown scene/team would lose a vital component, but was this sufficient reason for the musician/athlete to deliberately place limits on his potential audience or income?

Robojoe argued that music was "different," that because it was an art form, it occupied a special position and couldn't be evaluated on the same terms as baseball or, for that matter, nuclear physics. I argued back that an athlete who had devoted his life to mastering the art of baseball, the distinction would be nebulous at best, but it was clear there was going to be no meeting of the minds here. Tim Yohannan had the same idea. You could - and should - do any old thing for a living (he himself worked for the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, an odd choice considering his radical leftism and anti-militarism) but the minute you started earning money from music, you became suspect, and were very likely in danger of being kicked out of the scene.

Fair disclosure: there was a time when I was every bit as unyielding on the subject as Yohannan, something I've been awkwardly reminded of by this week's re-reading of my old MRR columns. The alacrity with which I denounced people for being "sellouts" or betrayers of the scene could at times have put Joe McCarthy to shame. A band need do nothing more than have their new record reviewed in the "wrong" sort of magazine before I was on my soapbox demanding an inquiry about this "dangerous" undermining of our precious little cynosure.

Frankly, I'm surprised that I didn't get beaten up on a regular basis, especially since some of those I denounced most rabidly were noted tough guys from East Coast hardcore bands, or the rather burly and athletic Henry Rollins. I think I harbored the delusion that the targets of my criticism would not see it, since I preferred to believe that only right-thinking individuals like myself read my MRR column. Considering, however, what a punk scene focal point MRR was in those days, I realize now that it's very likely my insult-barrages were read and noted. I can only guess that Rollins and others I attacked had a much better sense of humor than I gave them credit for. Either that or they recognized that I was clearly off my trolley and hardly worth the effort of squashing like the irritating insect I must have seemed to them.

That being said, and though it's many years ago, I feel an apology is in order, to Henry Rollins in particular, but to any number of other musicians, writers and scenesters who I used to excoriate as if they were Nazi war criminals for doing nothing more than espousing a style of music or a line of thinking that didn't quite agree with my own. What can I say? I was a jerk. Still can be at times. If I can bring myself to trawl through the last year or so of blog posts, I'll probably have a whole new set of apologies to make. But that will have to wait for at least another day or two. Right now I'm off to bed.


kendra said...

two words: fucking redshite.

at least everton are still 7th, the redshite are 8th, and fulham's 9th.

and wenger saw is arse.

as for selling out, i need the security of knowing what to do with my days. that's just me though. it's never too soon to plan your retirement.

JAB Seattle said...

"and wenger saw is arse"

I'll have the last laugh as Everton grasps for the final UEFA (yes UEFA) cup spot and falls short. Still, it will save your lot from being embarased in Europe again.

Wenger had a go, apparently Moys taught that cunt Pardew how to gell time.

pepito said...

regarding the analogy between local bands and home town athletic heroes who "sign major" or "go pro."

arguably, music and sports can be characterized as "artistic endeavors."

consequently, once both artists choose to entertain a lucrative career, they become just that: entertainers and cease being pure artists.