did the usual 9am-5pm shift at Comet. I took the opportunity to scan lots of images and do much frame capture from video. Check out a page I created of photos from my recent Oberlin trip.
I snuck out to Plan 9 and bought a couple of used CDs from a special collection of deeply discounted but scuffed-up discs. These were:
Copper Blue, which I also have on an audio tape recorded while at Rippy's place during an October 1995 trip to Oberlin, is one of my favourite albums of all time. Almost every song on this CD is exceptional. The lyrics are especially good, and now I have a lyric sheet, which takes away somewhat from the fun. Lyrics are always best when you have to puzzle them out and occasionally make them up to suit yourself. I'm really too familiar with this album to say anything else about it.
Lyrics are always best when you have to puzzle them out and occasionally make them up to suit yourself.
I was surprised to find that King Missile's Happy Hour contains mostly "conventionally sung" music (more of that familiar punk-influenced-pop that I so like). You see, on college radio, the only King Missile one ever hears is the "spoken" (as opposed to "sung") songs. In these, the vocalist uses spoken prose (over various styles of background instrumentation) to narrate preposterous scenarios or cut to the essential truth of various aspects of the Great American Lie. The most famous spoken song on this album is "Detachable Penis" in which we are told about the adventures of a man who loses and then finds his John Thomas which, for whatever reason, is detachable. I rather like the "sung" music too, which occasionally reminds me (yet again) of the Byrds for some reason. I have no idea why all the contemporary "alternative" music that I've been buying lately has been reminding me of that particular late-60s classic rock band. King Missile is populated with good musicians, which can't possibly help their punk rock credentials.
Somery pleasantly reminds me of riding around in Matthew Hart's car back in the days of Big Fun. His Descendents tapes (as well as a sleeping bag, some tee shirts and pillows) are being enjoyed by the Mexicans now. This compilation has it all: two songs less than five seconds in length, sappy pop-punk love ballads (I've always especially loved "Silly Girl" which I sing as "City Girl"), annoyingly gritty non-pop, and irritatingly teenage male fart humour. I think the this CD sounds considerably better when it is played into overdriven car speakers than it is when played through high-fidelity earphones.
ack at my house after work, Monster Boy and I were drinking white Rhine wine leftover in the box from last night when Matthew Hart appeared the instant I spoke of him. Wertland Street has a mystical power that allows one to conjour up Charlottesville personalities at will.
We were going to hang out on the front porch but then we saw Toni Dirtbag's wormy little mutt, BN, coming up the street, intently following a scent trail no doubt leading to something unspeakably disgusting. We saw this as an eerie warning that the gutter punks were not far behind. It's like when spiders and bugs start climbing up your house in anticipation of an impending flood. But in the end the gutter punks never arrived. Apparently BN is now allowed to roam around working on his own projects and adventures.
It's like when spiders and bugs start climbing up your house in anticipation of an impending flood.
Another Bn also arrived, my human co-worker, the principle Mac Tech support guy at Comet. He's just landed a new job in Norfolk and will be moving there soon. The staff at Comet grows ever more rarified.
Matthew drove Monster Boy and me up to Fresh Fields on 29 North to pick up Leah and maybe get some expensive beer at an under-the-table "my wife works here" discount. That didn't work out, but Matthew did get a case of Schlitz from somewhere else. We sat around drinking it back at my house, playing mostly music on Monster Boy's CD player (which wasn't stolen from Space Party II after all).
At a certain point Cecelia and Leticia the Brazilian Girls and Deya turned up.
organ Anarchy, in his usual drunken condition, suddenly arrived. I was hoping he'd just go away because I didn't want to have to tell him to leave (which is the new Dynashack rule). He did eventually go, only to come back later with news of a party. While he may not be welcome in the Dynashack, he's always welcome to tell me when a party is kicking.
You see, tonight was Prom Night for much of Charlottesville, and in many places the youths of today mingled with the leaders of tomorrow to tap some kegs and celebrate the end of childhood. Somewhere off in the distance, one group of revelers could even be heard launching high-powered fireworks. Morgan was going to one such party with Toni Dirtbag and a couple of skinheads whom he, despite his anti-skinhead rhetoric, appears to have befriended.
One of the skinheads is named Dean; he's a fat ugly guy with a pock-marked face, blond mohawk, patch-covered cut-off jean jacket and big black boots.
The other is named Colin. Colin has been a member of the Charlottesville youth scene for years. He once attended Tandem Friends School with Matthew Hart and, in those days, was an intelligent, gentle, unassuming kid. But now he's changed. His craving for acceptance has become so desperate that he's shaved his head and he now hangs out with a group of thugs (including 14 year old Chaz) who delight in bullying and harassing people whom they deem weaker than themselves. To call these thugs "skinheads" is to credit them with too much organization. But I'm sure racial pride plays a role in their community. When you're an ignorant belligerent anglo-saxon loser who's been picked on all your life, the only pride remaining is that you're a member of the race that succeeded in displacing non-Caucasians from most of the world's temperate zones. The thinking goes something along the lines of "I may be poor, I may have a lousey job, I may not know much stuff, I may not have a girlfriend, but god damn it, I have white skin!" The irony here is that Colin's poor self esteem is almost certainly the result of a rare skin condition that permanently gives his face the beet-red hue of a severe sunburn.
When you're an ignorant belligerent anglo-saxon loser who's been picked on all your life, the only pride remaining is that you're a member of the race that succeeded in displacing non-Caucasians from most of the world's temperate zones.
Tonight Colin was dressed up as if he'd had a date for the prom. But no date was in sight.
Morgan invited us to follow Colin's car to the Prom Party. Deya drove us all in her car. The following people rode with her in her car: Cecelia and Leticia the Brazilian Girls, Monster Boy, Leah, Matthew Hart and myself.
he party, which was at an apartment complex many blocks to the north of the Corner, was pretty lame. The skinny high school boys running it were charging $3 for cups, and none of us had any intention of paying anything. We went directly to the keg and filled whatever handy containers we had with beer from the keg. I was drinking out of a Schlitz can. Continually the high school boys could be heard muttering "make sure everybody drinks only from cups and that everybody pays." I avoided any confrontation. When Matthew Hart was confronted, he insisted that he had in fact paid someone. When the high school boys said there were only two people collecting money and he hadn't paid either of them, he was indigant, saying, "What, so you mean we've both been robbed?"
Dean the mohawked skinhead had initiated some sort of game of quarters involving an ice tray. Deya, Matthew Hart and I were playing it with him, but Matthew Hart was playing so well that Dean was forced to change the rules several times. Like most belligerant skinheads (and like many MEN I know), Dean insists on being the best at whatever he's doing, even if he obviously isn't. It seemed to me he had taken a shine to Deya and was trying to impress her.
The high school boys running the party were becoming increasingly irritating as they tried to collect their money or else kick us out. They were fairly easy to ignore, especially considering they were always willing to settle arguments about anything with an agreement to let the arguing parties have "just one more beer."
I went next door where some betties were seemingly throwing a party to see if we could crash it. They were friendly, but they insisted they had no alcohol.
It was embarrassing rhetorical garbage clearly aimed to provoke an incident.
hen I noticed that some sort of conflict seemed to be brewing in the parking lot between skinhead Dean and our very own Monster Boy. A logo on Monster Boy's black shirt, a white skull with short mostly obscured crossbones had caught Dean's attention. The logo symbolizes the band Death in June, a sort of post-punk goth band with white supremacist predilections (Monster Boy didn't know this until recently, but he still wears the shirt). Dean was using this as an opportunity to harrass Monster Boy, pointing to the symbol and saying "White Power" and then, as Monster Boy responded, cutting him off and saying all kinds of rudely-terse canned-nonsequiturs. Every other word was "cunt" or "bitch." It was embarrassing rhetorical garbage clearly aimed to provoke an incident. If there was anything resembling a motive behind Dean's harrassment, it was probably that Monster Boy was a faggy goth boy who didn't deserve to be sporting a glorious white power logo.
I walked up and stood there interjecting my own comments so as to provide support for Monster Boy as well as discover what exactly is up with these horrible skinheads. Dean didn't really want to deal with me and told me (almost politely at first) that he was having a conversation with Monster Boy and that I should just stay out of it. I noted, however, that, coiled around Dean's right hand, was a chain with a padlock on it. Such a device is called a "smiley" and it can be an effective and dangerous weapon. I asked if that was the smiley that had been used on Ben Kulo at Space Party II. Dean said it was. I said I thought that Chaz's thuglike behaviour that night was a horrible and cowardly thing. I went on to mention the theft of my CDs. Both Colin and Dean denied that Chaz had stolen CDs and stuck up for the little beast's violence, saying that Ben Kulo "had it [being beaten in the head with a smiley] coming" for "talking shit." Dean added, "if you want to get Chaz you're going to have to come through me." I responded defiantly that young Chaz was most definitely on my hit list. Colin said something tough in response to this, and, alluding to the days when he was a nice punk rocker, I asked him derisively, "so you're a tough guy now?"
Colin said something tough in response to this, and, alluding to the days when he was a nice punk rocker, I asked him derisively, "so you're a tough guy now?"
At this point we'd attracted the anxious attention of the high school boys running the party. They stood to my left, yammering at us that we had to leave. They also tried to tell me that the issues I was raising with the skinhead were "not worth it." I turned to the most vocal of the high school boys and said, "why don't you be quiet, you're a fuckin' dork." This caught him off gaurd; even his friends started snickering.
Matters escalated rapidly. Dean's uncouth and unwarranted behaviour had me so disgusted that I mocked him. I said that he had to rely on his smiley to win his fights. That's when he exploded. He turned almost as red as Colin, his eyes narrowed to slits, and he came at me with his fists at the ready. Two dorky high school guys grabbed him on either side and held him back while he trembled and spat in rage. He looked like he was about to cry. Those of us who came in Deya's car all jumped back in and we started to leave. I rolled down the window and taunted the idiotic skinhead, "Look at the nazi skinhead! Look at the nazi skinhead!" He was straining against the firm grip of the dorky high school boys, a human dog on a leash, a greedy little five year old throwing a tantrem in the store for the extra sweetened name brand breakfast cereal. The drive to beat me up was such a insatiable urge that he lost the last of his trace of humanity. It's difficult imagining that I share any chromosomal similarity to a creature so utterly unfamiliar in behaviour.
The drive to beat me up was such a insatiable urge that he lost the last of his trace of humanity.
As we pulled out of the driveway, a spectral black man mysteriously appeared in front of us, blocking us like the student protestor did the line of tanks in Tianamin Square. But then he stood aside and we zoomed off.
Deya was obviously nervous, and she almost careened through a red light into an oncoming police cruiser. The cop blinked his lights and quickly asked, "you've been drinking right?" "No!" she lied (not that she'd drunk very much; the energy of the moment had far more influence on her driving than any beers could have). He shrugged and told her to drive carefully on. That was a near miss. We could have all ended up in jail.
e weren't back at my house long before the Dean the skinhead was at the door, kicking over the barbecue setup and emitting animal roars. His reptilian brain commanded the entire operation. I locked the door and called 911. I don't have time for idiotic hooligans. Maybe if I was jobless and homeless, I'd have the time and resolve to battle nazis hand-to-hand. But it's easier just having the cops take 'em away.
I have to say, Charlottesville cops respond quickly to a 911 call. The excitement left me ignorant about the best course of action and open to suggestion. Everything I'd done this night was a mosaic of different ideas, completely without organization, many working at cross purposes. I went outside and mocked the skinhead one more time while the cops searched him for weapons and removed his smiley. The cops also shouted at me and told me to shut up; they didn't want me provoking the nazi any more than he already was. I was instantly sorry for my taunting, but then I told the cops that Dean was a dangerous nazi skinhead, that he uses his smiley to bludgeon people. The cops objected to my use of the term "nazi skinhead." One woman cop even said that people have a right to dress differently and live different life styles if they choose to. On that score, she was singing to the choir. But you see, cops never know the half of the story. If they did, we'd all be in jail, and charming Dean would be in the electrical chair. He's the strongest case I've personally seen for pre-emptive capital punishment.
He's the strongest case I've personally seen for pre-emptive capital punishment.
I saw Colin across the street and I asked him why he hung out with nazi skinheads like Dean. Defensively, he said he was trying to calm him down. "Grow some hair!" I advised.
Those idiotic Brazilian Girls, oh so punk rock in their dislike for the cops, were now saying that I shouldn't have called the police.
Back in my house, I had to deal with lots of carping about what I had done. Everybody suddenly was criticizing me. Those idiotic Brazilian Girls, oh so punk rock in their dislike for the cops, were now saying that I shouldn't have called the police. Great, so what should I have done, stabbed the nazi like Persad had stabbed the Huffanator? That might have been a pretty cool thing to do in the eyes of many of my friends, but Cecelia had been disgusted with Persad for his having actually resorted to violence. I was beyond stressed-out and could be heard clearly snarling about the stupidity of "the fucking Brazilian Girls."
The most infuriating thing that happened, though, was when Elizabeth asked me if I had a place to sleep tonight. Hear I went and defended the honour of the Dynashack in front of the very nazis who had sacked it, and now she's implying I have to leave. I glared at her and told her "I HATE YOU!" I did.
I had an existential moment on the couch, feeling hatred towards absolutely everyone. My friends weren't being supportive, the cops were acting impartial in the warty face of evil, and I had an irate nazi out for my blood. There seemed to be no justice in the Universe. So I went to bed and locked the door.
View an index of links concerning skinheads and skinhead violence in Charlottesville.