Lost in the Supermarket

a musical education in the early internet era

I first began listening to The Clash in high school. The internet was far past its infancy, but one could say it was an awkward teenager. It was the days before Youtube and Wikipedia and no one else I knew listened to old punk. If you even said “old punk,” kids thought you meant Green Day. It was a badge of pride if you even owned Dookie. These were the days of Blink 182 and Sum 41 and other quantified nouns. Sad times, indeed.

I had a boyband phase in kindergarten, younger than most. New Kids on the Block it was for me then. But most of the kids I grew up with continued to listen to pop music (cited as the culture), while others took to the post-grunge spectrum (cited as the counter to this culture… the alternative, if you will).

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A Proustian Spit in the Face

In an attempt to block out the chatter of the workplace, I popped in my earbuds and opened Youtube. Something made me play London Calling, the full album.

After cringing at the oil pipeline ad that preceded it*, it was proven yet again that I can’t get through a bout of Spanish Bombs without remembering this one time back in my bookstore days. A guy came in carrying a vague familiarity. He might have either gone to my high school or showed up at a lot of the same parties. He asked for a book of some type I can’t remember. It was likely music-related, as I can’t imagine what else could have provided a more reasonable segueway into a discussion of The Clash.

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My life according to the latest Facebook meme.

Okay, so I guess I’m narcissistic enough to fall for the latest Facebook meme, the “My Life According to [insert favourite band here].” I am convinced that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the only reason at least 75% of internet content exists (this blog included, no matter how I try to rationalize it). Needless to say, I decided to use the Clash. (No other option really crossed my mind, although I bet it would be fun to do with Smiths songs. Maybe I will.) It only took me about five minutes:

ARTIST: The Clash
1. Are you a male or female: Janie Jones
2. Describe yourself: Lost in the Supermarket
3. How do you feel about yourself: Should I Stay or Should I Go
4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: Ivan Meets G.I. Joe (pretty damn accurate, actually)
5. Describe your current boy/girl situation: Armagideon Times
6. Describe your current location: Safe European Home
7. Describe where you want to be: London Calling
8. Your best friend(s) is: Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad
9. Your favorite color is: White Riot
10. You know that: I Fought the Law (and the Law Won)
11. If your life was a television show what would it be called: Straight to Hell
12. What is life to you: Rock the Casbah
13. What is the best advice you have to give: Stay Free (or, Know Your Rights)

ARTIST: The Smiths

1. Are you a male or female: Girl Afraid
2. Describe yourself: These Things Take Time
3. How do you feel about yourself: I Started Something that I Couldn’t Finish
4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
5. Describe your current boy/girl situation: Girlfriend in a Coma
6. Describe your current location: Back to the Old House
7. Describe where you want to be: London
8. Your best friend(s) is: Sweet and Tender Hooligan
9. Your favorite color is: Golden Lights
10. You know that: There is a Light that Never Goes Out
11. If your life was a television show what would it be called: Bigmouth Strikes Again
12. What is life to you: You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby
13. What is the best advice you have to give: Accept Yourself

Yeah, The Smiths was better. Oh, Morrissey, you silly bitch.