< Don't Go To London, It's A Social Construction
Richie Yan >

[Comments] (2) Mind The Arbitrarily Placed Gap: I tripped over a curb that shouldn't have been there and landed hard on my hands--nothing's broken, or even sprained, but my arms sure do hurt. Really cut into my Tate Modern time what with the PAIN. So I'm spending the weekend in a hotel room wearing tube-sock bondage gear on my arms. After some confusion regarding the British names for drugs I've now got Panadol, aka paracetamol, aka acetaminophen, aka Tylenol.

Since I just rattled off a bunch of drug names, and because these bondage socks make it look like I'm wearing long underwear under my shirt, let's talk a little more about Kurt Cobain. I've been thinking about what I wrote in the previous entry, about imagining Cobain as "still alive, sober, and washed-up". When I was in high school, after Cobain's suicide, there were a whole lot of poorly-written tribute poems and songs. In fact one of my better songs[0] started out as one of these awful songs, and I wasn't the only one in my school who tried his hand.

The songs are awful because what do you say? Cobain, like David Foster Wallace, was a bright guy whose very brightness and success fed into his personal demons, and in the end he wasn't strong enough to fight them off. No matter how good an idea you think you have of this dynamic, if you're around to write a song about it you've probably got only a fuzzy idea. So maybe the key is to write what you do know: life with its disappointments and ARM PAIN.

[0] The song is Vertigo (here's an MP3). The story is that an artist named Sandow Birk did an oil painting called "The Death of Kurt Cobain", which you can find if you search for it but I gotta warn you it's a gruesome painting. Also I remember the perspective being different, more of a 3/4 view from above, but the Internet proves me wrong, and also tells me that Sandow Birk did "In Smog and Thunder". Anyway, I saw this painting in an art book when I was seventeen and the detail I couldn't get out of my head was that Cobain's teeth are scattered all over the floor. Or something that looks like teeth--I never look too closely, because like I said, gruesome.

That detail made it into a song, but even then I knew that tribute songs/paintings were cheesy and in bad taste, so I made up a fictional character and told a story about her. I've been coy about "Vertigo" on this site before, but this is the real dope. Brought to you by ARM PAIN.

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Comments:

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Sat Oct 25 2008 17:35

I used to always wonder why brits call the sidewalk the "pavement". After all, it's poured concrete, right? Not paved!

My first week in London, after I tripped on the sixth or seventh uneven paving stone, I began to understand.

Posted by jacob at Sun Oct 26 2008 01:34

i love this song. "her papers were anomalous".


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