Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Checkout Time at The Tower

Been thinking about the Tower this week - in more than one form. Someone started a discussion of the song on the Nomeansno Forum, mostly focusing on the coolness of the music (much as my fellow Nomeansno fans are a savvier bunch than, say, the Nickelback crew, literary and religious allusions are not their strong suit; no one even commented when I pointed out the allusion to Yeats in "Rags and Bones." Rob Wright is a big fan of Irish literature, especially James Joyce; the fact that anyone can read Ulysses stuns me. I have tried; it defeats me, time and again, and I somehow don't think his suggestion that I take a shot of whiskey before reading each page will help). Anyhow, I always thought the song on Wrong was one of Nomeansno's most successful ventures; it combines clear references to the above card ("from a burning building/a man leaps to his death") with a seeming awe/horror at sheer throbbing thrust of phallocentric industry, inner fascism, POWER... The song is one big erect cock, sticking out there for all to see. The conventional meaning of the card is well-explained on this site, if you scan through the card names on the left; phallocentric lust is not the main theme explored, but the card resonates with me, much like the Three of Wands was doing awhile back. I don't give a damn for divination but Tarot can be a useful tool for focusing. Creating the soul, doesn't Jod say? From the aforementioned site:

When you believe material objects are more powerful than spirit and mind, you
start building up a Tower of falsehoods on a very unstable foundation. If, by
some miracle of engineering, it does not collapse under its own weight, you will
eventually push it over yourself. The Tower falls not because Fate says so but
because something within can no longer endure the strain it must bear. Sooner or
later it will give out. This is a humbling experience because its lesson is that
no one is invincible. The problem for most people is that they concentrate on
the negatives and ignore the great opportunity that has been given to them.

Anyhow: my own personal tower is startin' to become apparent. I overindulge in film, music, literature, shopping, and food to comfort and entertain myself and distract myself from my own problems - including an expanding waistline, a substantial debt, and a growing sense that I'd like to do something other than my current job (ESL was always intended as a stopgap measure, a way to get some sense of control in my life, in contrast to the sinking murk, fear, and rather more destructive overindulgences of my 20's; and tho' as jobs go I don't mind it, it ain't much of a challenge anymore). Writing is perhaps a productive way to some other occupation, but it can also be a dangerous way of creating "false order" in my life - organizing ideas and thoughts about things OTHER than my own dilemma, which could use some dealing with. Been trying to slow down a bit, to find my own ass so I can pull my head out; as fun as writing is, on some level, it feels a bit of a distraction. Glorified Free Cell. Order for its own sake.

Anyhow, I haven't been writing so much lately on this blog. I DO have a ton of things coming out in the December/January Nerve Magazine and Discorder, though:

- My monthly Discorder column, focusing on some pretty dark and unhappy films to balance out the false cheer of the holidays.

- An interview with punk novelist Chris Walter, in Discorder (I loved his East Van and "just liked" his more recent Welfare Wednesdays; I've been poking around his Winnipeg memoir, I was a Punk before You were a Punk, and it seems to have more energetic prose than either of those. The plan is to interview Chris Walter for Razorcake, at some point).

- An interview with various people about the Portland Hotel Society and the Black Crow Project, again in Discorder (local artists supporting community-building efforts in the DTES, mostly focusing on social housing).

- an interview with Tony Bardach of the Pointed Sticks will also be appearing in the December/January Nerve. (Neither Discorder nor Nerve publish in the first month of the New Year, so I had to get this finished a lot faster than I expected - I just found out last week that the band will be playing at Richards on Richards on January 6th, as the follow up to their Japanese reunion tour. If you don't know about that, I'd suggest checking out Razorcake #36, due out in January.

Alas, none of this is going to help me lose weight, get a new job, or pay off my debts. In fact, since writing such things takes up a fair chunk of my time, it could be said to INTERFERE with the above - unless, of course, somehow this becomes lucrative. I doubt it will; the people who publish the stuff I want to write generally don't pay, and the people who pay generally don't want to publish what I want to write.

In the meantime, to return to the topic of Towers, I was reading this great little Howard Zinn article on the current state of the US vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and stumbled on what's got to be the quotable quote of the month:

Don’t people join Alcoholics Anonymous so that they can stand up and be honest about themselves? Maybe we ought to have an organization called Imperialists Anonymous, you know, and have the leaders of the country get up there on national television and say, “Well, it’s time, you know -- time to tell the truth.” It would be -- I don’t expect it to happen, but it would be refreshing.

Thought I would share. It may be a little while before I post again, so enjoy the snow...

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