Hey, your 'Music Lovers' post still gets hits from time to time.
It does, doesn't it? :) I'm so happy about that. I'm also happy that other people read the responses too. I'm conflicted about whether or not I should post to that thread anymore with my little chitchatty replies, but I'm glad so many people participated and seemed to have enjoyed it; I certainly did. Probably my most successful thread idea at Elliquiy, and one that I didn't even plan -- the way it turned out was mostly accidental. I had no idea that people would respond to the thread as a kind of survey, although I'm glad it worked out that way. Before that thread, I didn't know survey-type questions are so popular with people. I still don't completely understand why so many people seem to like participating in such things, and seemingly even if nobody replies to anything they've written.
I think one of the comments I saw that puts it best is: 'Love in the Age of War' is like meeting up with an old friend you haven't seen in 25 years, and picking up right where you left off.
Safety Dance is, of course, the song everyone remembers from them, with a possible second being 'Pop Goes the World', which got a bit of rotation when MTV still played music. To the best of my knowledge, they haven't had a studio album since 'Pop Goes the World', so it's hard to say if that's really a 'long' career. Of course, Boston did the same sort of thing (to the record company's dismay). Amazingly, Ivan's voice hasn't really changed all that much over time - despite having seen current pictures of him on the album art, I can listen to the songs and 'see' him in Safety Dance. He doesn't do the high peaks as often, but when he does, he still does them well.
I heard about the new album from a Canadian DJ friend of mine (had to be a Canadian, right?), who posted The Girl With the Silicon Eyes on his feed, prompting a quick and clandestine trip to the local music store - which as of last week still couldn't order it, and tried to tell me it probably wouldn't be out for 6 more months. Thank you Amazon. I was able to wave my non-imported copy in front of the FYE guy.
From the opening track 'Devil Come Round', you're back when New Wave was shiny, and keyboards were still called 'synthesizers'. The lyrics have matured a bit, though. 'Head Above Water' could be about a parent letting a teenaged child out into the world, or about a couple breaking up in a 'wish it could have worked, but it didn't - good luck' sort of way. 'Close to the Sun' is another 'I still care about you, even if we have to part' song. 'Your Beautiful Heart' is the sort of song that wraps you up and keeps you going without being saccharine. 'This War' - if this song doesn't have the audiences joining in on the chorus, I'll eat my (non-existent ) hat. 'Live and Learn' is a song that I can see being put into a movie soundtrack where the lead is taking on the task that everyone says is impossible. They haven't gone too serious, though. 'Love's Epiphany' calls to mind all those silly love poems that Lennon and McCartney were so fond of: 'I wrote you this poem/ by the light of the moon/ Roses are red/ and remind me of you.'
In short, the album is a good time packed into a 5" disk, and I'm now watching the nearby venues for any tour news.
What amuses me most about all of that is the fact that, as with those scientific comments you made somewhere, whenever you choose to speak at length about stuff, it becomes very obvious that you know a hell of a lot about whatever you're talking about, even though you don't go out of your way to show off your intelligence. :) You write about pop music as if you could do record reviews. Feel free to correct me any time you catch me saying something ignorant about pop stuff that you know about.
The way you describe that album makes it sound interesting indeed, and I'll keep an eye out for it in my record store visits (although those are admittedly less and less frequent ... I've got too many purchased-but-unheard CDs that I plan to get to someday).
The fact you mentioned FYE and their incompetence amused me to no end. Long long ago, I made the mistake of giving several years of my life over to working for that piece-of-shit company that treated me terribly. :) I mean I worked with wonderful people and had lots of fun, but the company sucks balls and cares nothing about music whatsoever, or about treating employees well. Can you tell I've got a wee chip on my shoulder? Yeah, they underpaid me by thousands of fucking dollars, pulled the wool right over my eyes ... Bastards! hehehe
There's more bloggery below but you shouldn't feel any obligation to read any of it, necessarily. :) Of course you're always welcome to, though.
More about audiences ... Why blog? ... Writing as self-discovery ... Self-loathing and -recriminations ... Dreading an upcoming conversation
I suppose it's really difficult for me to write anything without
thinking about how others will respond to reading it. I have a general obsession with attending to the feelings and needs of people around me, far moreso than is healthy for any person to do, so maybe this is just another manifestation of that.
I keep trying to figure out why I'm doing this blog at all, because I don't think it's for the reasons that most people do blogs. Why do most people do blogs? Do I know? Let me think about that for a sec .... They do blogs to share their private thoughts with strangers in the public, people they don't interact with in real (offline) life. Why would they want to do that? They must think it will benefit either the author or the audience in certain ways, for example, maybe the author likes the idea of people reading his or her private thoughts. I don't think that motivation applies to me because I feel embarrassed, mortified, and terrified when I think of people reading my private thoughts -- the ones that are most important to me, at least. Maybe the author thinks the audience can learn something useful from reading his or her thoughts. Me, I figure it's much more likely that the audience will be bored or irritated rather than educated or helped in any way.
Maybe the author thinks it's a healthy thing to do, exposing his or her thoughts to others, perhaps because the author has an unhealthy tendency to withdraw or hide from others in real life. Maybe that one applies to me some, but I don't imagine that for others, that motivation outweighs the others I mentioned before. Is that the only reason I'm doing this?
Here's a definite reason: the process of writing helps me to organize my thoughts and understand them in ways I wouldn't be able to otherwise. Not only that, but it goes so far for me that oftentimes I can only identify what I think or feel about something when I try to write about it. I often look back on things I've written with some astonishment, because it feels like I really nailed something down that I couldn't grasp before. For me, writing is a way of discovering who I am, a way to get to know myself. I think that probably happens to some other people too, not too many though.
Here's an example of something I'm learning about myself: I seem to have the beginnings of lots of ideas and thoughts, but that's sufficient for me, to just have the beginning. The rest of the idea or thought is suggested at least by the way it starts. For some reason I drop it at that point, as if the beginning were the whole thing, when it's obviously not. A lot of blog entries I write never get past their introductions, because I lose interest after that. Is that weird? Does it make me extra-smart or extra-dumb? I could argue for either.
How effing stupid does this sound: I actually believe that I've made sense out of life. Not just "my" life, mind you, but life
. Life in general; life for everybody; the universe, the secret of life, the point of being. In our current age, and with abundant
good reasons, it is considered the height
of vanity and presumption for any person to even suggest that they know a little bit about life, about the nature and purpose of being, much less that they have a real grasp on the whole damn thing, that they can see the entire picture. What sort of an ass says such a thing? heh. My
sort of an ass, I guess. Yech. (The way to get away with saying anything broadly about life in our present day and age is to emphasize that you don't think anything you say applies to anyone but you, at the end of the day. To believe otherwise flies in the face of the subjective, relativistic ethos prized by almost all thoughtful, intelligent, sensible, educated people.)
If I could, I would put a bold, blinking disclaimer on this blog, like one of those crawls that goes across the bottom of a TV screen; it would say: "I don't think I'm smarter than you. I don't think I'm better than you. I think it's very likely that you're both smarter and better than me, at least most of the time, and with regard to most things ... including
all the things I talk about in this blog."
See? Preoccupation with audience. Some strange compulsion or something, and all the more ironic and absurd considering how few if any people read any of these blogs, as far as I can tell. Yes, I still believe it's mostly searchbots, but that's more or less okay with me. :) Actually, honestly, I fear that anyone at Elliquiy who reads more than one or two sentences of this blog will want nothing to do with me ever again after that, and that would kinda suck, because the main reason I use Elliquiy is for "adult" roleplaying, and one needs partners for that. I worry sometimes that I alienate potential RP partners by spouting off about so much other unrelated shit. It's not something I do in the RPs themselves, of course.
Another for the screen crawl: "Don't worry, if you read one paragraph, you've read 'em all. It's just the same shit over and over again. Move along, move along ..."
My first instinct tells me to delete everything above; too negative, too repetitive, too boring, too everything. Awful reading, plain awful, pick your reason. Then I get a different instinct to post it anyway. I suppose that must be what it's like to be one of those scary old dudes who walk around naked under their raincoats and flash total strangers until they get arrested for it. Does that really happen? I've never seen anything remotely like that actually happen in real life, but it's a familiar trope anyway. Wonder why? Probably because it's funny, and sad, and true. Mebbe.
Tomorrow -- oops, today I mean -- I'm having breakfast with a very old (long-term) and dear friend, and if the right opportunity presents itself -- if nothing more important comes up, and the mood feels appropriate -- I hope to talk to her about my religious beliefs. Not because I want her to necessarily agree with them, but because I desperately want her to simply know what it is that I believe, because my beliefs are so hugely important to me, and because they're the last thing on earth that I ever talk to her about, and that's kinda fucked; I want my closest loved ones to know about the things I care most about, simply as part of knowing me, being close to each other.
This breakfast is somewhat stressful for me in terms of anticipating what to say. Here I'm going to run down what I hope to say. I won't get even half of this out, I assume, but whatever.
My friend doesn't share my religious beliefs, by the way, and that's a huge source of grief for me, although I wouldn't want her to know that or think that. If my beliefs are what I believe them to be, which is, the truth for everyone, not just me, then I would love for everyone to know and share my beliefs, and above all, I desperately want all the people I care about to share my beliefs. This is only natural, I think, if one is as convinced as I am about the stuff I believe being the genuine universal truth. But at the same time, the last thing I would want is for anyone (including especially anyone I cared about) to adopt or pretend to adopt certain beliefs simply because they knew that would be to my liking. It's very important to me not to put pressure on anyone to agree with me, but my problem is that I've gone so far in that direction that I've refused to even be open with my loved ones about what it is that I believe. I've been afraid that no matter what I say, they will feel that I'm pressuring them to agree with me, even if I tell them I would never want to do that. It's something of a Catch-22, one that most Christians solve by shutting the hell up in public about their beliefs, except when they're surrounded by people who claim to share them already. I don't want to be like that any more; I want to be open without being an asshole about it. I don't even know if that's possible to do. It has to be possible, doesn't it?
What I want my friend to know about my beliefs: I'm a Christian (she knows that already). I consider myself a "devout" Christian, even though that may seem like fanaticism to many or most people (she knows that too, I think). Those aren't too awful things to believe, right? I don't think I'm smarter or better than anybody, in fact I think I'm inferior and worse than lots of people, maybe most of them. That's not too awful of a confession either, I think.
Then we get to the awful stuff. I reject the validity of any version of Christianity that does not claim to contain the universal and absolute truth about life, meaning that its claims apply to everyone, not just whoever says they believe it. Actually I think my friend believes the opposite -- like many other self-proclaimed Christians, she has very strong religious impulses and personal ethics and attends church sometimes, but she would probably consider it disrespectful and uncharitable and inappropriate for any
person to claim that another person's beliefs were not valid for them
. I sympathize very strongly with that perspective, but I reject that perspective as completely wrongheaded, and I go so far as to believe that such a stance does not constitute actual Christianity. Kind of an awful and rude and offensive thing to think or say, huh? How does a person say that openly to another person without upsetting them? Hell if I know, but I guess I'm going to try anyway.
What else is there? Okay, the other big thing is that in my opinion, Christianity is a life-transforming faith that requires total devotion from its adherents, and any Christian who doesn't live their life with Christianity at the center of it is making a huge, awful mistake. That would apply to most people who claim to be Christians. I don't think that compartmentalizing one's religion and limiting its influence over one's everyday life makes a person a non-Christian, necessarily, although I suppose it might indicate a lack of genuine belief, but I hope I would never
presume to question the sincerity
of any person who claimed to believe anything. I would consider that severely disrespectful, to question another person's sincerity about their beliefs.
I guess I just want my friend to understand that even though I almost never talk about it, Christianity is really the only thing that matters to me, in a sense; it's that
important to me, and I think it ought to be that important to everyone, because that's what life is about; that's all
that life is about. All the other parts of any person's life get re-prioritized far underneath one's faith, if the faith is real, and that's how things ought to be; that's the only way that any of us can be happy and fulfilled. It doesn't mean that one discards everything else, but any relationship or activity that isn't compatible with one's faith needs to eventually be discarded. It's a complicated and gradual process, but it ought to be a real priority and something at the front of any Christian's mind on a daily basis; that's what the faith is about.
... and happily so, in fact. Because I have a mental illness (depression, which my friend knows I have), it's easy for me to emphasize the sacrifices and challenges of being a Christian, but I don't experience it that way at all; while there are huge and frequent difficulties in my life, I've also never been happier or more fulfilled, and the bounds of that fulfillment keep expanding in ways I never dreamed were even possible. It's all good
news, even if it doesn't sound that way at first to some folks: the total life-transforming devotion is the best thing anyone can have, and something everyone ought to have, because it's that good. These are the things I believe.
Hmm, anything else? I want my friend to know (although I hope she already does know) that even though I believe all that stuff, I also believe that I can treat non-Christians with respect and even huge affection, I can and do feel close to them. Anything that I do or say that communicates disrespect to my friend or to anyone else is something that I would want to apologize for and stop doing if possible. But, the hard part is that the very things that I believe are themselves considered rude and offensive by most people who really look carefully at them, and that sort of offensiveness is not something I can change, nor is it something I close my eyes to; I understand it all too well, I think. It is what it is ... I don't get to decide to discard the parts that upset people, or even the parts that upset me.
And, once more, having written all that shit down, I'm inclined to discard all of it, because really, who gives a shit? Besides me, I mean.
What the fucking hell am I doing writing about all this stuff at Elliquiy, of all places? Why tell any of this shit to anybody else, but especially not to a bunch of nice people who probably either disagree strongly with my perspective or simply don't care about it? Why risk upsetting anyone or boring anyone?
Fucking hell, I honestly don't know. I'm an exhibitionist? I'm a nutcase? Guilty on both charges, I guess. :)
Here's another question, though, and maybe an even better one: if you read some or all of this, why on earth did you bother? Were you reading along because I said stuff that pissed you off -- out of some kind of masochistic impulse? Were you reading along because you're interested in anything I said? Why would you be? I honestly don't know the answers to these things. It's another reason why I'm so interested in hearing responses from others to this blog, even if the responses are just negative ("I read it, sounded like bullshit, waste of my time"). Of course one would hope the responses wouldn't be wholly negative. (Pissing people off is not fun for me and isn't my goal for this blog at all.)
Thanks for reading, though, if you did; I hope you don't regret the time or effort it took, regardless of your reasons. :) Bye now!