I find myself continually posting these things late in the night, when no one will see them. I think I’m rebelling. I’m rebelling against years of articles and websites and apps advising the best times to post. Something about that just pisses me off.
I used to hunt down authors and musicians and directors that I loved, sometimes waiting years to find the obscure crevices of their careers. Now it seems like everybody has a window and if they don’t pop up for us in that window, we forget about them.
The first time I heard Joanna Newsom, she opened for Björk. I was half drunk on saccharine Captain Morgan cocktails out three foot tubes. I was on the lawn and I couldn’t see the stage. All I heard was a weird squeaky voice and a harp. I don’t like it at all.
Several months later, I was forced by a friend who had better seats to listen to Newsom’s first album The Milk-Eyed Mender. Three songs in, I realized “this chick, is incredible!”
Years later I was in a record store (remember those?) and I saw her name on a new album called Have One On Me . It was three CDs. I bought it instantly. It was expensive and I didn’t care. I’d never heard a single song off of it and didn’t care. I didn’t care because I liked her. That’s all that mattered. It was Joanna Newsom and I was a fan.
So, was it any good? It was incredible.
But that wouldn’t have mattered. I love David Bowie and he had some pretty shitty albums. I own them. It doesn’t matter, they’re Bowie. The still matter. I watched the Last Temptation of Christ and the The Hunger just because he was in them.
But that Joanna Newsom album came out in 2010 and she didn’t put out another album for 5 years. In those five years I stopped buying CDs, and started spending more and more time online. I discovered hundreds of musicians and thousands of songs. I’d find them on bit torrent, and then buy them on iTunes and then stream them on Rdio. I lost my head, like the rest of us, online. I totally forgot about Joanna Newsom and I forgot that album.
It’s really that easy. You can record an incredible album that someone plays till it’s warped, but if you don’t inject yourself into their eyes every few days, you disappear from their mind like a fart on linoleum.
I think that’s why I love lists; why I’m obsessed with them; why they’re littered throughout all my notebooks—because lists are a record, not of what I think about something but a note that just says “remember.” And when I run across these lists I can’t always remember why I wrote the items down, so I have to go find the albums and books and movies. I have to experience them again to remember why they mattered.
So, yeah, I may bemoan the state of things—perhaps all too often—yet here I am, late at night, posting journals to sleeping laptops. Why?
Maybe it’s the memory of finding things that no one else that I knew was looking for; things like Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Red Dwarf, & the books of a James Wood. Maybe I remember that feeling of finding something and clasping it close to keep from forgetting it. Maybe I’m hoping one person finds these during a bit of insomnia.
Some are shit. Some are so-so or boring. But maybe there are few that make them want to read through. Maybe they’ll dig up a sentence and sparks a thought that light a small fire. Like I used to find buried in interviews, and library shelves, and late night cable.
I think everything I make is for that young version of myself, digging for something to fill the holes in himself; to make up for the loneliness and anger and frailty…