21 October, 2013

Criticism Advocate




presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry





Criticism Advocate
10.21.13



You know what sucks about not working? Not working. I like to believe that I'm not a lazy person. I'm probably in the light to moderate range of laziness. I think most people are. I'm sure you've found a reason not to wash a dish or take out the trash once or twice. But I want to work very, very badly. Not only for the money, which would be nice to stop seeing the parenthesis surrounding my bank balance, but also for the sense of purpose. Sure, sitting around the house or heading out with no clear destination sounds like a nice way to live, until you have to live it. Goddamn it's boring. And it really makes you feel like part of the problem. Like I'm really earning my twenty thousand dollar share of the national debt. That's how much each citizen owes of you divide the national debt evenly among everyone, by the way. $20,000 Yeah. Stop reading this shit and get to work.

Another thing not working does is give you time to think. Thinking should be a good thing. It usually is, but unfortunately, it's a thing that has probably maintained the popularity of the Charleston dance or saying things like, "That doll's gams ankled her over to the speakeasy for some high hooch after she dusted her pan." Man, I wish people still talked like that. People don't think, is what I'm saying. But if you think too much, you eventually bump into a minotaur. (See, minotaurs guard the labyrinth, which is a complicated maze and... Never mind.) That happens to me quite a bit, and when I start wandering through the caverns of my empty skull, I tend to spend way too much time on bullshit of little or no consequence, and subsequently arrive at a manufactured rage at the thing that started as being of little or no consequence. Or maybe I'm just crazy and have anger problems. (Side note 1: A. Robert Basile is crazy and has anger problems.)

So then I go back to the instance where I lost my shit and I think about the thinking. What was I thinking, why was I thinking it, and does the thing I was thinking about actually have the value and power to manipulate my mood as much as it has. And then a glass of Yoohoo. Makes everything better. I'll tell you about a recent occurrence about thinking a thing that made me angry and then thinking about the thinking of the thing that made me angry.

You know I'm in a band that has been reforming and in rehearsals for about four months now. My singer and I hired some kids to play, chose the program, worked hard on the concepts, blah, blah, blah. All the boring band shit that people don't realize they have to do when they start a band. It's a cover band because we want to make money, and the team we've assembled is a good one. The guitar player's spot, however, has been a chore. We were going through guitar players like shit through a goose. You'd think that finding a guitar player would be the easiest, but it's not. So our agent flashed us onto this cat who has been in the scene for a hundred years and can play and whatever. Side note 2: if you've been in the scene for a longer time than the other cats in your band, do everyone a favor and try not to let them know that every five fucking seconds. Don't discredit my six years in because you're twelve years in. It's really asshole behavior and I seem to be attracted to those types. Just be happy that a younger cat is giving your old ass another shot in a scene that is IN NO WAY THE SAME AS IT WAS when you had the bulk of your success. It's like a forty year old designated hitter who used to be a great first baseman telling his twenty-two year old first baseman teammate how things were when he played. Just be glad the shitty DH rule has given you more career than you probably ought have had. Of course, there's some tutelage and education that is valuable from the grandpa to the young buck, but be smart about it; choose your words wisely.

Ok. That rant is done. Back to the story. Before the last band of mine broke up and this new band formed, we had a wedding gig booked. Two actually. So we played the first with this new guitar player who has a hundred years of experience. I've done my share of weddings. I know how it works. I'm there first, as usual, in the gear I wear for weddings. Black shirt, black tie, black vest, black slacks. My slacks were a little ratty at the bottom, and I had Converse sneakers on. Side note 3: I don't ever wear pants unless I am going to a wedding or a funeral. I wear shorts all year 'round. Pants are heavy on my hips and it adds to my leg pain from the SB to have the extra fabric. But I have pants on at the wedding gig. Also, I don't take my hat off (a black Phillies' ballcap), and I chose my everyday cane to use. I have about nine canes, and my everyday cane has seen more miles than my car. It's a bit beat up, but it is the perfect height and has learned the perfect curve from my leaning. A big part of my aesthetic here at this wedding is that I want to look nice enough. I'm a bass player who sits down behind the sub bin. No one can see me, and I'm generally not important to look at. I don't sing, I don't front any songs. I just play. So my aesthetic is tailored to two things: my comfort, and not looking like the venue staff. I'm a bass player in a band; I ought to look like one.

The rest of the band looked very nice, especially the cats who were fronting songs and in plain view. We played at an A to the bride, and at about a C- to us. All that matters is that the bride is happy. Afterward, my guitar player (whom we will call BJ for two reasons. One; that's not his real name. And two; BJ is a euphemism for blowjob and I think that's funny.) had some things to say about my appearance. Obviously he disliked it, otherwise there would be no point in telling this story. That's not chiefly the problem. People dislike my aesthetic. That's part of being modified. We have some criticism to withstand, some not very pleasant. But as we know, when you wear a target, you're going to get shot; and we in the community often do, don't we. It's our often difficult job to carry ourselves with class and dignity when facing the cocksuckers who say uneducated and judgmental things to us for the sake of the rest of us in the community. The easy part with that, however, is that we are told directly these things and we can defend ourselves in a way we see fit. BJ, however, chose to express his discontent with my look to my singer. Very clearly sharing his discontent with my mods, my beard, my hat, my pants, and strangely enough, my cane. (BJ should have been more concerned with how ratty his playing was and even more so his vocals. Horrendous.) My singer told me this. My singer also told me that he himself disagreed with BJ's assessment, and he tried to refute the claims as well as he could. I told my singer to tell BJ to give me a call and deal with it like a man. BJ refused to do that, so instead choosing to have a criticism advocate. I'm not sure why. The simple answer is that he is a pussy, but that's childish. There had to be another reason why he wouldn't bring his problems with me to me. Time passes, and a few more criticisms of my aesthetic come from BJ to my singer, again avoiding contact with me. I chose not to address it directly myself in a preemptive strike against more bullshit out of respect for my singer and in the name of peaceful cohesion within the band. Team player, I am.

We subsequently ended our business relationship with BJ shortly after for other reasons mostly and replaced him with a more capable player with a better sense of the band's concept. So the issue is over. What triggered my latent anger at the situation is that since BJ has been let go, there is no reasonable reason for me to approach him about his 'concerns' with my aesthetic. That situation is over, but it has left me without the satisfaction of defending myself or answering his questions. That's very unsatisfying. There are very specific reasons for my aesthetic which all stem from past trauma and the attempt to manufacture a comfort where none was before. I think that most of us modified people share that story. But BJ didn't afford me the opportunity, and making it an issue after the fact seems childish for me to do. Fucker blueballed me in my chance to defend and edify. And that pisses me off. My question to you cats and kittens is this: Am I being childish about this, and ought this aggravate me as much as it does so long after the fact? Dude is gone, and odds are very good that I won't play with him again. So oughtn't I bury my feelings about it, or ought I harbor the anger to bolster my sense of self? I know the answer to that. How many times have you left an argument and five minutes later thought of exactly what you ought of said knowing that opportunity will never arise again? That's what it feels like. Stay beautiful, kids.




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