(did I already use that? oh well.)
Sometimes this shit happens to me. I was supposed to write today at least a little bit--you know, proper writing for proper publication and whatnot. But instead all i could do was love people and dig music. First I hung out with a guy who's a new editor of mine and who has a perfect and beautiful little tiny baby. Holding her was like candy. I can't describe to you the feeling. When I hold a baby, I feel like I'm alive. I feel a secret hunger being sated with yummy cream puffs. Sometimes you don't even know you're hungry until you are fed. Then you realize you've been starved.
At the airport in San Francisco the other day, a woman going through security needed someone to hold her perfect chubby creamy-coffee baby. I said, "I'll hold the baby! I'll hold the baby!" The baby's skin was softer than all softness, and cool.
After the baby today I went to Amoeba to buy CDs to compile a mix tape for my beloved Jim. On Saturday he's driving from Minneapolis to California, to live here for a year and go to Stanford.
I tried to make a tape about California, my California. It had a darkness at the center that I just couldn't avoid, because California has a darkness at its center you just can't avoid. The section at the middle was really about poverty and Los Angeles, and involved early Beck, early X, Jane's Addiction. There was also some Doors. In the context of X and Jane's Addiction, the Doors felt right, for once. The Doors that I can relate to is not the Doors of Jim Ladd and the baby-boomer people, but the Doors that fed and inspired X, and gave Jane's Addiction something to work off of. The Doors that were proto-punks. The one thing they all had in common was a definite, all-pervasive grief, and a desire, anyway, to turn despair into poetry.
In a way, they all have a kind of pretentiousness, too. As an Angeleno I kind of love/sympathize with that pretense, because I see right through it, and I see the true desire to be understood right beneath it. It's a need to be "cool." I get it; and I don't mind. It's really no more pretentious than the coolness of the Velvet Underground.
Obviously the melancholy was evident in the Beach Boys stuff I played. It's an entire genre built upon grief. You know: Hopeful grief, which really deserves its own name. Yet another word we need in English. Ideas?
The charming surprise was that the Beach Boys influence on the tape was most evident, for the first time ever-ever, in the Chili Peppers, of all bands (you know--their new record). It didn't have to happen; it would have been fine if it hadn't. But it did and it feels like some kind of homecoming. In Minnesota terms, imagine if Prince came out about loving Bob Dylan.
After the Chili Peppers song ("Midnight") I played "631" by my GF Tracy Spuehler, about the house on McCadden where she grew up. It wasn't intentional, but the harmonies on both songs complemented each other and both spoke, somehow, of L.A. blood. Tracy grew up in the same general area as those guys, coincidentally, and near the house of my editor where I was today. (Actually, as I was driving from his house to Amoeba, I passed Flea's old school, Bancroft, and smiled!)
All day I made this tape. Then I went to a certain restaurant to inquire with some servers about a story I want to write about it. There were some cops hanging out in the parking lot, and I approached them to just chat about any funny anecdotes they might have to share. (Sorry I'm being evasive.)
One cop was sweet, but his partner regarded me with a kind of cruel arrogance that was so corrosive, my instinct told me to get away from him as quickly as possible. I didn't feel like my body was in danger, but my magical forcefield was seriously threatened.
It's not too often that I meet deeply toxic people, but I'm grateful for the instincts to smell them right off the bat. This was a truly toxic and really dangerous person. When you meet people like this, the thing to do is not to go, What the fuck is your problem? They are beyond reason, and will only hurt you if you try to help them. You have to protect yourself, that's all, and get the fuck away.
Well, that's what I do, anyway.
Can you imagine being so brainwashed by your job that you could get into a position where you are miserable and cruel--and you think you have have to do it?
Cops complain that nobody else understands what it's like to be a cop, and therefore, we shouldn't criticize them for violence, surliness, whatever (see the letters to the editor in last week's New Times). That's fucking bullshit, and here's why. I've met and had really great interactions with wonderful, open-hearted cops who were working in some pretty shitty areas. I've met funny cops. Non-condescending cops. Sympathetic and even merciful cops. And the sort of robotic ones who are cold yet fair.
If a cop treats good people unkindly, he's an asshole and he needs to deal with it.
Nobody has the right to treat me like an asshole.
Anyway, everything turned out great, because then I went to a really wonderful little place I'm going to be writing about soon, and met up with Tracy Spuehler. It was a country-honk night and all the guys had beery B.O. Unspeakably attractive. Not.
But my new goddess Lucinda Williams showed up and drank and hung out.
I kept waiting for her to get up and sing, but she just kept talking to some Graham Parsons-wannabe type-guy at the bar. I just like her so much, it was just nice to have her good vibes in the room, and to think of a deep friend of mine and the special song we share, a Lucinda song. It was funny, they played Tracy's song "Hummingbird" on the jukebox. Then they played the Strokes, and then Jimmy Eat World.
When you think of Lucinda Williams, you don't think of her exisitng in a world where the Strokes and Jimmy Eat World exist. But she does. She's in this world, flesh and everything, tied to the time-space continuum just like you and me.
And not, just like you and me.
I'm going to sleep now.