I listened to a lot of music when I had cancer. I had some free time and was on a lot of pain killers. It was a good use of my time. I listened to a lot of sad music, but when I was tired of being sad, I was angry and needed something to meet that need. I would get on Beastie Boys kicks. Many tracks were loud, and driving but full of positivity. Sometimes too, the lyrics felt oddly appropriate to my situation. I sang along with “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” because that’s what it felt like I was doing. “Time to Get Ill” put a wry smile on my face. “You gotta fight…” held extra emphasis, I wanted more time to party and do plenty of other things in the meantime. “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” passed the time when I couldn’t sleep all night in post-op recovery.
The Beastie Boys aren’t only good for cancer listening, however. I memorized every second of Paul’s Boutique during one of my first jobs out of college. I was working through a temp agency, doing data entry for medical billing company. The supervisor was a nice guy. He knew exactly how much the job sucked. He set me up with a laptop in an empty office with a window. I had a never ending supply of hand filled out medical forms. He told me I could work overtime. I was flat broke, so I did. I went into the office everyday early, went out for lunch to get away from the computer screen, and worked late every night. I had Paul’s Boutique on repeat in my portable CD player. For three months.
Training for my first marathon also required some music. If I was feeling sluggish, I’d turn it to “Sabatoge” and sprint in spite of myself. Hot summer runs through the city were fueled by “Roots Down.” When the day came, I found myself at the startline in Pittsburgh, where I learned to love, really love music in dirty boxy clubs. It was already drizzling and humid even at 8am on a May morning. I prepared for soggy shoes and got ready to go. It was pretty miserable in sections but I was fueled by the amazement that I could push my body like this, even after cancer for 26 miles. I was rough around mile 23 and just in time, on my ipod came “Fight for Your Right.” This slow plodder broke into sprint and played air drums and I pumped my fist in the air. People stared. It was awesome. I rode this high all the way in to the finish.
What’s my point? I don’t know. I’m sad. The Beastie Boys are like soul food for your ears. I’m just bloody sad that there won’t be more. Sad that I won’t be able to listen to them without knowing one of them is missing. Sad that I was diagnosed before Adam Yauch and now he’s no longer with us. Fuck cancer. Fuck every time someone has to say the words, “very treatable” the way Adam did in 2009. Sad that there won’t be more smart lyrics, more heavy beats, more… goodness. Sad that the world is a little less bright.
creighton posted about the new tegan & sara album. the tracks that i’ve heard are fantastic. it makes me want to drive to the beach in a convertible. and i don’t even like convertibles.
now hopefully i can see them live, even though the philly show is sold out :(
Just as no one on the internet knows your a dog, when you’re out in public, nobody knows that you’re listening to Sting on your iPod.
I’ve got several blog posts in me but as I’m not really up to typing (I’ll get to that later). Hopefully I can touch upon everything and get into detail if and when I’m feeling up to it.
Besides nice meals with friends (thanks all!), and nice long walks which wear me out but are lovely, I’ve had two big excursions. One was to Jammin Java to see Toshi Reagon for the second time. The first time I saw her was at the same location but without her band. In all honesty I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy myself, not because she’s not an amazing musician, but because I just wasn’t into her style of music, but she really blew me away. So much so, that I was almost disappointed that she’d have her band with her because she’s so amazing solo, but again, I was far from disappointed. She played the early show so it was kind of short and I was not ready for her to get off stage when it was her time. She even commented near the end of her set that she felt like she was just getting going. With my limited mental capacities at the moment it’s difficult for me to describe her music, let alone her performance , but I’ll point you in the direction of some reviews that are more articulate than I can be at the moment. I will say that I’ve rarely seen a performer work a room without feeling like things were being a bit forced, but Toshi does none of that. Her music is spiritual, and deep, and bittersweet, and her lyrics capture the complexity of human relationship and experience without being preachy. I highly suggest seeing her if you get the chance. For the way that I’ve been feeling both physically and emotionally, it was the perfect first post-op show.
Friday night I got the opportunity to see Athens Boys Choir which again was far more enjoyable and I had way more fun that I expected too, especially two days post-op, even though I was sitting behind a speaker which blocked my view a bit. The work is spoken word, usually with a backbeat. He works with what looks like a version of my computer (smart man) and performs over tracks loaded into iTunes. I love to see how differently this medium is used by DJs, singers, rappers, spoken word artists, etc. Admittedly it doesn’t always work but for the Athens Boys Choir it certainly does. He is an an amazing writer and an engaging performer. Again if you can catch him live – I highly suggest it.
round up by topic:
I <3 Hillary – and so does Ohio
- ben points out this mix from Lovegrove, one of my favorite all time Baltimore DJs. It’s all kinds of warm and danceable. It makes you want a mojito even though it’s 36 degrees outside.
- the very first chuffed was a blast. the next is on february 24th