January 18, 2004

This one’s for you, Cru Jones

Disco Bowling at Sun Mountain

Pardon our silence, but life has been wrought with activity both predictable and unpredictable as of late. I’ve been doing my best to stave off the delirium inevitable from a complete and utter lack of weekends. I’ve been working straight since my last day off on December 30th, and my last two-day weekend was before Christmas.

Aside from the headache that crops up right behind my eyes and lingers for a few hours, my brain has been pretty rad, lately. Last weekend I taught snowboarding lessons to some five-year-olds, and tried to convince them that apples were part of the meat food group. I did this by telling them stories of my childhood in the Midwest, growing up on an applebeast farm. Applebeasts have apples growing out of their backs and they are harvested once a year for their sweet, delicious bounty. They resemble small hairy elephants with tusks and everything, so you gotta be extra careful when going after those apples.

“There’s no such thing as applebeasts.”

“Sure there are.”

“Apples grow on trees.”

“That’s what they always say, but have you ever actually seen an apple tree?”



Eventually the kids decided I was the applebeast and they started attacking me with snowballs. A few of my fellow instructors accused me of having more fun than the kids. I said mission accomplished. When their parents picked them up after lessons I explained to them all the neat things we learned about science and apples and food groups, today.

“Hmm. Sounds like we’ve got some unlearning to do on the drive home.”

And thus I had my vengeance for performing the thankless task of teaching five-year-olds to snowboard.

Last week I finished week two at my new job and it’s still totally rad. I’ve started telling people I’m a high-powered web designer and like, stuff.

Last night a bunch of us Bachelors went out to Sun Mountain Fun Center for a rolicking evening of cosmic bowling. We got really creative and bowled an entire game switch (using our non-dominant hands), and then did a round of “trick bowling,” where we made up our own moves (backwards, spins, under the leg, handstands, etc.) that everyone else had to mimic. Early on in the game I smacked myself in the leg with a bowling ball. Regardless of bowling-related injuries, it was an evening of absolutely infectious fun (which would be the slogan for the Sun Mountain Fun Center if it serviced a den of heroin addicts) with some super-duper cool folk. The teams Otter 1, Above & Beyond, Fo Schizzle, Neu-Q-Lehr, Ballahs, Orbitz and The Pin Pirates all made an appearance, and swore themselves to numerous rematches over the coming weeks.

When we left the alley I had a bump on my leg the size of a golf ball, and when I took off my snowboard boots this afternoon it had turned into a four-inch bruise laced with the same pattern as my Smartwool socks.

Also, over the last week I’ve developed an unhealthy addiction to Europop/Eurodance music. If you aren’t familiar with Europop, think Club Stargate in Superior. Think unchanging electronic drumbeats with mindless lyrics and a classic 80’s snare line that links every chorus. If you could grind a pack of 18-year-old girls into a fine powder, melt it in a metal spoon held over a lighter and administer it via syringe to a hepped-up vein, you have Europop. It is unsophisticated musical dribble with no lasting value whatsoever. It is completely consumable and disposable. Europop has all the wit and appeal of a vending machine.

And I am completely consumed by it. Whether I’m at work or home, I’m constantly streaming Europop radio stations via Winamp. Every song, every group sounds exactly the same, and yet the music never gets old. I swear that Europop is the most unapologetically happy music being produced today, and represents kitsch in its purest form. With Europop, the 80s never ended and the 90s never happened. It lags twenty years behind current musical stylings and is an idealized wormhole back to big hair, rollerskates and florescence.

Certain writers that we respect and admire have written that no living man or woman has the rocks to resurrect the 80s. Certain writers that we respect more and admire less are going to make every effort to see that it happens. We will do it single-handedly, and we will do it with a word from our sponsors.

Sorry to hear about your “bowling-related injurie”.
Ah Europop, don’t listen to it that much. I listened to it in my Dance Dance Revolution days (short, skinny asain boy kept beating me at it, not that there is anything wrong with asains). I would rather listen to my ROONEY cd.
Well, as my deranged brother would say, “Hizzle Fo Shizzle…….Dizzle?”

At least with europop it’s okay to re-use everyone else’s musical licks, because it’s a tribute to the original song. In rap, it’s my “New” track using everyone else’s songs. ReeeeeeMix mix mix mix mix!

People used to laugh when I said that A Flock of Seagulls were cool. Now that bands like The Faint are ripping them off and their songs are being used in ad campaigns for Grand Theft Auto (some) people can finally appreciate their genius and (maybe) forgive them for their awful choice of coif.

Rock-‘n’-Roll -a style of popular music that derives in part from blues and folk music and is marked by a heavily accented beat and a simple, repetitive phrase structure. A lot of music groups seem to neglect what Rock-‘n’-Roll means to people in general.

Really, what it all comes down to is heart. Heart and soul. And parachute pants. People with more critical (or more snooty) ears are quick to lash out at Europop (or any mindless dribble-music) with the claim that it doesn’t have the soul that really good music has. There’s a human spirit, something fleshy and tactile, that any amount of flashy electronic drumbeats cannot reproduce.
I know this, because I’m a recovering musical snob. However, such arguments neglect the fact that music is less a lecture and more a dialogue between the listener and the noises he/she is privvy to. Each time we choose to listen to a certain CD, or load one MP3 into our iPod over another, we’re making a choice about what atmospheres we want to fill our heads with.
This is not to say that we’re making a huge decision every time we dial up a song, and we must burden ourselves with the full weight and implications of our choices at each turn… just that all these tiny actions inevitably form a concept of self, which then fuels future actions.
It’s this feedback loop, from musical consumption to Self to consumption, that can give meaning to the most glib music. Instead of valuing it for its timelessness or virtuosity or innovation, we value it for its banality. But then, through repeated exposure and digestion this banality grows into familiarity, an external realization of the self, and it gains meaning despite its lack of artistic merit.
Maybe I’m looking too deeply into it, or maybe I’m just talking shit, but really, there’s something in Europop that has grabbed me; something that even six months ago I would have totally scoffed as nary worth my time. Perhaps it harkens back to a party scene in college that at the time I never had any interest in joining. Perhaps after drowning in an emo binge for two years I’m suddenly drawn by the blinding cheerfulness.
Or perhaps I’ve been working for a month without a day off and I’m completely losing my mind.