Originally by Leonard Cohen. Covered by Concrete Blonde for the soundtrack of Pump Up the Volume.
I'm sitting in yet another coffee shop as I write this. Once again it's my birthday and I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life and where I'm going. I've just turned 42 which, as Douglas Adams would have it means I now have the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Or I am the answer. Or something like that. I don't even know what I'm having for dinner tonight, let alone know what life is or is for so I'm probably not the best person to ask.
No, I'm not going to post a link to the video for Birthday this time, though it would be appropriate. I figured I'd give something else a try for once.
Looking back I don't feel noticeably different since last time. I've got less hair on my head these days because most of it's migrated to my ear canals. The hair that I still have is steadily turning silver and it's the first thing I see every time I look in the mirror. I don't particularly think that I need to take better care of my joints but it never hurts, right? Mostly it's my perception of Time that's changing. Days seem to go by a little faster regardless of whether I'm actively doing something or just screwing around. Weeks certainly seem to fly by these days. I still don't know what happened to the holiday season of 2019.ev, and the last HOPE seems just as close as the one coming up this summer. Things happen, and then they don't, and then something else happens. I still don't know how I feel about that.
I've been reading in the car less and looking around more. I'm not sure why.
Folks I've known for multiple decades aren't just married anymore, their kids are growing up and doing cute things (as children are wont to do). Somewhere in between the two events, in the blink of an eye, children were born.
Fixtures of my life - favorite coffee shops, conventions, book stores - are steadily going away. Most of them aren't being replaced with anything new, they're staying closed, silent, slowly decaying. I've been looking elsewhere for things.
Pictures taken from the front of the theatre at the Willie Nelson concert on 13 December 2018.
I'm still alive. No, I didn't party too much on my birthday. Just about all of last week consisted of twelve hour days of nothing but meetings with several times the number of people I'm accustomed to handling simultaneously. Additionally, I was working on a music review for Vampire Step-Dad, which required a pair of studio grade noise-cancelling headphones and listening to tracks repeatedly. I seem to have given myself a case of sensory overload, because now I feel numb all over... I also attended Pantheacon last weekend, which did a number on me. I realize that I could (and should) have holed up in my hotel room with a pair of earplugs in to recuperate, and there was no shortage of signs on Saturday morning that I should have done so. Signs, I hasten to add, that I disregarded in a perhaps inadvisable attempt to push my capabilities a bit farther than normal.
Minor repairs are required for parts of my exocortex as a result of pushing myself too far.
I have a timed post or two set to go up this week, but I'll be spending as much time as I can offline to recuperate.
I've mentioned in the past that I've been bumping around on the edges of the synthwave community for a couple of years now in various ways. A couple of weeks ago I got a ping on Twitter from an artist performing under the handle Vampire Step-Dad. During the course of conversation he mentioned that he'd put together an EP called A Night In the Life of..., and would I be interested in giving it a listen?
I'm always down for some new music, and said that I'd write a review of his work from a synaesthete's perspective.
So, here we go.
What's it like not having synaesthesia?
That sounds like a flippant answer, but it's quite the truth. I can't remember a time when I didn't experience sounds (music, in particular) in a deep, visceral way that involved more than just my sense of hearing. For the longest time I thought everybody's experience of life was like mine. I thought everybody cried when they heard violin music. I thought everybody felt waves of cold and prickles when they heard sounds made up of square waves (yeah, I'm dating myself, aren't I?) Didn't everybody shiver and see starbursts of pink and purple light when they heard a particular chord progression on the radio (strangely, the original Also Sprach Zarathustra doesn't have that effect on me - must be the pedals Andy Summers used in the studio)? Didn't everybody feel... pain... when they just heard something shrieking or screaming, like bus brakes or the scream of a dentist's drill (note: video of actual drill-and-fill; feel free to not click on it)?
To answer my (rhetorical) question another way, everybody seems to be synaesthetic to some degree. Take a look at this image.
Now, tell me: Of what you see in that image file, which one is Kiki and which one is Bouba?
Merry Christmas and a joyous Yule, everybody around the world.
20161228: The DNA has started a Patreon account to accept donations!
20161222: It seems that the DNA Lounge is coming up with contingency plans, and they need our help!
JWZ bought the space that is now the DNA roughly 17 years ago and during that time it's become one of the premiere hotspots of SF nightlife. Just about any kind of event you can imagine has been thrown here, from a local motorcycle club renting it out while their primary clubhouse was undergoing repairs to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's silver anniversary, and raves a-plenty over the years. Many have come to see a burlesque show or two at the DNA, or catch an up-and-coming band in a new and strange genre of music, or even come for a slice of pizza and a glass of beer while hoping to be tapped for the stage show of Point Break Live once upon a time. I don't think anybody can easily count the number of concerts the DNA's hosted over the years (though I've no doubt that JWZ would probably know off the top of his head). Long time readers are probably aware that I usually haunt Death Guild, the country's longest running gothic/industrial club night as well as Turbo Drive, the only synthwave dance night I've found anywhere in the country.
In the last two years attendance has dropped off noticeably, and it's hurt the DNA Lounge in a real way. JWZ says that he can't afford to subsidize it anymore, and it might have to go out of business for good.
All I can ask of any of you, gentlebeings, is this:
Please re-share this post far and wide, so that as many people can see it. If you'll be in the Bay Area for any length of time, please visit the DNA Lounge. Go on a night of the week and pay the club a visit, it's not expensive to get in and the people there are genuinely cool folks; treat them well and they'll treat you well. Give the music on that night a fair listen that night. You might like it, you might not, but either way you'll be exposed to something new. If you can't make a concert or a club night (or the night's really not your thing), visit DNA Pizza next door and pick up breakfast, get lunch, or maybe have a slice or two and a cold one after work. DNA Pizza's open 24x7 and they have some of the best pizza in SF. Hell, if you're on the other side of the country and there's no way you'll make it to California in time, consider buying something from the online store?
The DNA Lounge is a fixture in the community of San Francisco. You can see just about any kind of live act, hear styles of music you've never heard before, and dance until your legs are sore. This club means a lot to many of us and we don't want to see one of the few places that we can be ourselves go away. Please, if you can, help JWZ out and keep the DNA Lounge alive.