The mid 90's were when I hit my stride, picking up new music the way a two year old picks up a language.
So much of the music I've come to take for granted came out of that period. The minimalism of Phillip Glass, Steve Reich and John Adams (not the president). The impressionism of Ravel and Debussy. The modernism of Arvo Part and Henri Gorecki. The fantastic film scores of Nino Rota and my all time favorite composer Ennio Morricone. But most importantly, there was Jazz.
Duke Ellington And John Coltrane - Sentimental Mood
This was the point in my life when I had around two friends and didn't really do anything with them outside of school, so I spent a lot of quality me time. This would become something that I came to find desirous in my adult life, but it was also something that puzzled the shit out of my parents. Typical of the parents of bookish nerds, they really wanted a more outgoing, socially acclimated child, but that one really wasn't going to work out for them. I remember one birthday in particular (and it might very well and most likely could have been the one that followed this particular day) when, in lieu of presents,I was given by various relatives and family friends a princely sum of money to spend as I saw fit. It was about $120, which in the halcyon dawn of the Reagan administration was equal to about $300 in today's economy. My mom had only one directive as I took off the mall to spend my ill gotten booty. "Don't spend it on books!" Seriously? They had no clue how easy they had it. Less fortunate mothers would have directed their child to avoid spending money on Meth or hookers. I spent it on books anyway, and it was well spent, as I still own a few of the books I bought that day. Books about Ninjas! It was a good time to be a boy in 1982.
This Boy's Life
Sesquipedalian (unnecessarily wordy):
The Nurse comes at noon with her poisons. She has philtres and tonics and tablets of hallucination. She says she means to help me. She means to make me well. But I know she lies as well. They all lie. Her capsules weaken my body and force sleep upon me. When I have drifted into the arena of the unwell, she will prepare me for Jacob and the knives that await me. I lie still with more than mild dread. With ratched, clang, sturm und drang she lords upon her wards, with the confidence and authority of one who knows how it will end. There are no surprises for her. She holds all the cards. The Hermit, The Hierophant, and The Fool. The Emperor and The Tower. She wields the cards of Judgement and Death. The Hanged Man and the Wheel of Fortune. Even the Devil himself resides in her deck. Only the lone card of Justice remains omitted from her hand. The Nurse has no interest in such things. Only Alchemy and Castigation hold sway with her.
She imagined herself as Abraham on Moriah. She imagined herself as Isaac, walking alongside his father, carrying his wooden pallet up the very same hill. They were one and the same, in her, playing out the storied drama of sacrifice and supplication. The father, prepared to sacrifice the thing he valued above all else. The son, willingly acquiescing to his father's decision. All in the name of faith. Til the very last, she truly believed that if her actions were sincere, if her fealty was true and she went forward with his command, an angel would appear. The Angel of God would stay her hand at the very last moment and she would be rewarded for her actions. This was the thought that gave her strength as she took the pot of water from the stove and put the rim to her lips. The roiling water and thick steam was almost too much to bear. Her hands was firm and resolute as the voice whispered in her ear about holiness and purification. The voice told her it was time to drink. She opened her mouth and tilted back the pot. The Angel of God never arrived.
Touched By The Hand Of God
At this point, I was still throwing pots in craft class, but one day I would be the Henry Moore of the flesh medium.
(British artist and sculptor)
I broke my forward stare long enough to check my reflection in the rear view mirror. If today was my day to become famous, I needed my hair to look good.
(Kit's last action before he confronts the police in the film Badlands)
Surveying the architectural model in the executive conference room at the Nakatomi Tower, he says "...and Alexander wept he saw the breadth of his kingdom, for he knew there were no more worlds left to conquer." The benefits of a classical education.
(from the film Die Hard)
Where cheap plastic disposable crap still matters...
So I took advantage. I took advantage of their disadvantage.
(Reference to Humbert's letter to Quilty in Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov)
But, taste is subjective and by no means definitive. One man's Aria is another man's Metal Machine Music.
(Lou Reed album characterized by "instrumentals" composed of squealing and feedback. Largely regarded as nearly unlistenable.)
Until, as James Brown said, "I cain't do no more!". And when the day comes that I've done my last encore, Danny Ray has thrown the cape over my shoulders and like James, I'm quietly escorted off the stage of life, I only ask one thing.
(The end of every JB concert was marked by this ritual)
Duke Ellington And John Coltrane - Sentimental Mood
I was only along to observe, mindful that any drastic behavior or sudden movements could leave me mauled, eaten and partially digested like Timothy Treadwell.
(Animal advocate killed by a bear as featured in the film Grizzly Man)
And after the apocalypse, the roaches will gather beneath their sturdy roofs and raise a toast, glasses high, to the long gone daddy/man cub that was Homo Sapien.
(Dual reference to a Hank Williams song, and Mowgli from the Jungle Book)
We were in a random bar along with about ten other thick skinned jaded thrill seekers.
(reference to an A. Whitney Brown monologue on SNL from 1987.)
Alongside the wall between our table and the bar was a potted plant of some sort. A fake plastic rubber tree plant, perhaps.
(Lyric from Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead)
He pulled her toward him and gave her what Kevin Costner described as a long, slow, deep, soft, wet kiss that lasts for three days.
(line from Bull Durham)
Pass judgement if you like, you won't be the first, but any Star Trek nerd worth his phaser knows that it's a violation of the Prime Directive to interfere in anyway that shapes or otherwise alters the course of a subjects life.
(Standard Star Trek reference)
I am Uatu. I am the watcher.
(Marvel Comics character. He is the personifiaction of the reading audience acting as witness, unable to affect outcome or change history.)
I am Uatu. I am "The Watcher"
He skulks in the corner like Horwendill’s ghost, appraising my every action and judging me with the eye of the unavenged. I wear the mark of Feng and Gerutha, of incest and murder, with neither Amleth, nor Hamnet to speak council for me with wild, raging fury.
(This one is pretty much all Hamlet. In the original Danish story, Horwendill is the dead king, Feng, his brother and Gerutha his wife. Amleth is the prince and Hamnet was the name of Shakespeare's son who died as a child)
(my most pretentious line to date, it was written before I had any idea where I was going with this.)
No Virgil, he will see me through the gate, without ceremony, my soul borne away to the place of its eternal display.
(In the Inferno, Virgil is Dante's escort through Hell)
But the everlasting, loving arms of God and Beatrice shall be eternally denied to me if the Jacob the Lurker has his way.
(Dante's escort through The Paradise)
When I have drifted into the arena of the unwell, she will prepare me for Jacob and the knives that await me. (Line from the film Withnail & I)(Allusion to a line from "Theme of the Traitor and the Hero" by Jorge Luis Borges)
With ratched, clang, sturm und drang she lords upon her wards.
(The most ham fisted sentence this month, this one I'm embarassed of. A simultaneous allusion to Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest and Ratchet and Clank, a PS2 game.)
The boy in the chair is my betrayer, my brother and my killer.
(Line from "Famous Blue Raincoat" by Leonard Cohen)
As for the man inside my mouth…
(Title of a song by The Cure, also a reference the The Shining)
I have always been here before.
(Rocky Erickson song)
And until the last night comes I shall be here in the morning, noon and evening, each day collecting and gathering as a durden of living days, until the great Fangorn that is my life stands eternal and evermore.
(Forest in Lord Of The Rings)
I have always been the caretaker and sleep will not rob me of my duty.
(Another reference to The Shining)
Like the Maid Of Orleans, she would believe, for the remainder of her life, that she had been touched by the Divine hand. And like the French peasant girl, she was given purpose and meaning. She was given instructions. She was given orders. But, this was not the voice of Saint Michael inspiring a girl to reclaim a kingdom for Charles VII.
(Standard Joan Of Arc reference)
She imagined herself as Abraham on Moriah. She imagined herself as Isaac, walking alongside his father, carrying his wooden pallet up the very same hill. They were one and the same, in her, playing out the storied drama of sacrifice and supplication. The father, prepared to sacrifice the thing he valued above all else. The son, willingly acquiescing to his father's decision. All in the name of faith. Til the very last, she truly believed that if her actions were sincere, if her fealty was true and she went forward with his command, an angel would appear. The Angel of God would stay her hand at the very last moment and she would be rewarded for her actions.
Touched By The Hand Of God
I suppose that answers the "How full of shit are you?" question you've been asking yourself.