Audiophilia, Thoughts

Toronto Fragments

Matthew Good at REBEL Toronto on 3-16-18
Matthew Good at REBEL Toronto on 3-16-18

The drums that open the set like warning shots.  Matt strolling out to his guitar in camo & playing the opening chords with the economy & force of a salute.

Stood still and my memory quit . . . so don’t stop moving. Scream, clap, stamp, dance as much as the crowd allows. Lights strobing across my closed eyelids like a signal to pray & I do: thank you, thank you for the chance to be here. Both in the crowd & under those lights, every word ascends & unfurls like smoke against a mirror, both places at once & permeating the press of people, intoxicating & shocking us with the new setting for familiar words.

Breathe; scream There’s holes up in the sky; breath; scream And no one’s seen your son in days; breathe; scream Goddaaamn!; clap.  Dizziness comes & with it the thought: don’t let me fall, yes, please let me fall.  The split-second faith that nothing will go wrong surrounded by half-drunk strangers in a small space all fixated at one point in front of them.  The quiet break of unseen violins where all the lights go out except of a line of spots that trace a route over our heads & we all wait in expectation of being found.

My husband sheds a few tears quietly but I miss it, waiting for the next note, the next line to find a permanent line to my heart.  I turn toward him & sing Ivory green into his red eyes as if it means everything in the world.

Matt curves his arm against himself & sings Dream of something effortless.  I think of all the small factors that led to this moment: not just finding the club in a strange city or driving to a post office in the middle of nowhere to turn in the passport application, but his failed suicide attempt, my hospitalization, the station in Goldvein that played a bad redirected satellite feed of MuchMusic, his drug cocktail, the nights I couldn’t (& still can’t) sleep wondering why my heart is beating, the fog that lifts before the day breaks, the hospital that became a park, the parent that cared, the parent that didn’t, & the insidious tide of will that keeps us moving forward into life even when we want to quit.

Over it all, snow falls down onto the city with a secret message: Yes, this is the best dream & its yours.

All of us on the floor in the crowd are coming out of our lives & our heads to grasp these words that promised us so much.  We hold each other & sing gleefully despite the irony We’re stuck inside out own machines.  No boats, no lonely sailors, just the ocean crashing forward onto the stage, begging the earth to fall back with us.  During the violins of the last song, as the drummer & the other guitarists throw their picks & sticks into the crowd, Matt stays onstage & sings into our waves Here by my side, it’s heaven over & over again until the playback stops & he braves the pull of our screams before walking away in the dark.

Later, in the hotel room, I will itch for alcohol, my husband will cry again as I play him another song, & we will stare at Matt’s Instagram newly updated with a picture of his cut open finger.  We all know we are not the same & we walk forward with that knowledge.

Be well, Matt. Rest, heal, create another day.

Audiophilia, Thoughts

Finding the Same Wavelength

I’ve listened to Matthew Good since high school & this spring, I’m hoping I can live out a dream I’ve had since that time then to see him perform.  He’s been posting more frequently on his Instagram lately, especially in the last few weeks where he admitted he had had a near-brush with death again in September of this year.  Since I’m dealing with my own mental health issues at the moment, I’ve been inspired by his self-awareness & determination.  The following post that I’m reblogging below stood out to me.  I’ve reread it a few times, reminding myself again & again that my creativity is my redemption, not my shame.

Knowing who you are is difficult. There are many that spend their whole lives looking. In such cases they tend to be more running from what they’ve never wanted to confront, meaning they’ll spend their lives using whatever is at their disposal to deflect from that reality. There is a marked difference in life between honestly growing and learning and employing the act of it as subterfuge to ensure you don’t have to go into certain rooms in your own proverbial house. In truth, one can run from it for only as long as they can maintain the perception that they’re not running. In my life I’ve grown and faced numerous truths. The growing has been difficult, facing truths has been difficult. It is for everyone. I possess both bad and good traits, like everyone else, but seeing them, acknowledging them, is the key. In that, I have been enormously fortunate because since the age of 11 or 12 I have always turned to the arts to express, and therefore deal, with things. I wrote my grandmother’s eulogy at 14, something I had to do given we were so close and her passing devastated me. I channeled everything into literature, painting, and finally music. Over the last 30 years I have lived with one absolute gift that I’ve been fortunate enough to become my profession. That through art I must succumb to growth – be it ugly, beautiful, or otherwise. Through it my entire life is mirrored, through it my thoughts, my anxieties, my joys, and my many faults have been captured for all time. It’s a unique, nerve racking, yet fulfilling thing, because you simply cannot run from that which is eternally captured and digested by others – out there forever unalterable. In my life I have lived with those who have been one thing at one time and, six months later, something else. It’s not something I can imagine the horror of enduring because I have never had to. But like anything, one must be empathetic to those who cannot go into certain proverbial rooms. I cannot imagine running, because I’ve never had to. Through mistakes and triumphs I have always had the same ground beneath my feet. In that, I know I am overwhelmingly fortunate. I can be alone only because it is always with me. A gift.

A post shared by Matthew Good (@matthewgoodgram) on

Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Wicked and the Divine, vol. #3

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial SuicideThe Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A collection of stories that give a little more insight into the Pantheon & slowly develop Anake’s fatal plans for her charges. Readers see Morrigan imprisoned for Baphomet’s carelessness, Woden explaining his part in this whole intrigue, Ameratsu & Cass fight-bonding in Japan & Tara giving her story before killing herself.

Commercial Suicide is much like the interstitial stories from a series like Sandman: the creators get more of a chance to explore their characters & let other artists play with their interpretations. The differing art can be a fun exercise, but also, for me, changes the dynamic of the book. McKelvie’s art for previous stories was specifically locked to the text to reveal twists that had actually been in the background the entire time. These issues with guest artists aren’t as visually dense but can still be interesting takes.

My personal favorites were the stories for Morrigan & Baphomet as well as Ameratsu. Morri & Bap because I love them & Ammy because the artist did a lot of work to convey the different qualities of light & shadow–as befits the goddess of the sun. (Also, the antagonism between Ameratsu & the Norn(s) is great drama.) Tara & Sakhmet’s stories are the weakest but again the respective issue artists do a fantastic job conveying a myriad of emotions with a glimpse or simple gesture from the Pantheon member they’re focused on. Woden’s story is probably the most visually interesting here–unsurprisingly this is one put together by Gillen & McKelvie from assorted previous images of the earlier issues. Other than that, the issue also gives readers a first glimpse into the deeper conspiratorial workings & is packed with clues.

Final takeaway: these one shots will let readers indulge in fanning over their favorite Pantheon member, p.s. the gods were once fans themselves, Anake is playing the really long con aaaaaand give it up for my girl Kore Persephone Hekate back in da hooouuuuusssse! At least I hope so–I have my fingers crossed so hard.

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Fight CLub #2, issue 7

Fight Club 2 #7Fight Club 2 #7 by Chuck Palahniuk

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sebastian’s struggle to remain in control continues as Dr. Wrong tries to tell him about earlier times Tyler has been active and Tyler returns to his original mission statement from Fight Club. Marla & Chloe continue to search for Junior through data-mining & eventually find him at Tyler’s secret chalet. The issue is bookended with the reappearance of Robert Paulson & the Write Klub house where Mr. Palahniuk hangs.

Palahniuk gives us a wink & a grin as he acknowledges that ‘fictional characters can survive their readers’. Tyler embraces the ‘ideas breed us’ idea that our author puts forth and returns to his former self as if trying to convince us readers that the old Tyler that they used to know is still around & that we should totally still be with him. But really, from here on out I think we’ll be seeing more meta-fictions & this story will become more about Palahniuk trying to reconcile with his own characters rather than any modern-day updating of Tyler’s philosophy. I wish we had gotten to this point sooner, because this is much more interesting to me–an author struggling with the unintended consequences of his writing & how those reinterpreted ideas have “bred” new perspectives. 3 issues to go; let’s see what happens next, shall we?

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Wicked and the Divine, vol. #2

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium (The Wicked + The Divine, #2)The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura mourns Eleanor Rigby (AKA Lucifer) & has a secret meeting with Inanna, who has discovered that the two would-be assassins Lucifer killed were obsessed fans. Intrigued, Laura infiltrates Ragnarock, a Pantheon con, as a speaker & learns about the Prometheus Gambit, as well as some of the more hidden workings of the Pantheon. Baphomet & the Morrigan meet up with Laura again & they join the rest of the Pantheon at Dionysus’s rave. Ananke gives Mr. None-More-Goth a few wrong ideas, Cassandra becomes the Norns, and. . . Laura is special, you guys, she just doesn’t get to live.

This collection ups the ante of the previous issues. Not only is the original mystery expanded upon & new gods introduced, the double whammy of Cassandra’s ascension & Laura’s uncovered identity will leave readers stunned. I feel like I should have seen the latter surprise coming, since the series had played pretty blatantly with the over & underworld aspects of the gods. (Lucifer is the fallen Morningstar, Tara’s unclear status as either a god or a demon, Woden as sky-god who descended into the underworld for his wisdom–even Inanna mentions her rule over night & day.) Hindsight is 20/20, until all sorts of fiery death goes down. Smart moving giving us a few black pages afterward to decompress.

While I’m left wondering how the story will move forward without Laura, I know that Bap & Morrig are going to totally break my heart. He’s clearly bad at making decisions, but he’s not totally evil. And she’s just a big softie underneath & it’s going to completely undo her. It’s like watching The Thornbirds–you know misfortune will strike but you’re rooting for them anyway. I’m fascinated, I’m in love, and I can’t hardly wait for the next issue.

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