misery loves C90

March 15, 2006

Someone important to me died exactly a year ago today. I carried 2 bottles of Jamesons and some Nembutal a Pogues album around for a few days afterwards in case anyone needed a bit of a leg-up. But as it turns out, we aren’t Irish or retarded, so we did all right on tea and polite conversation instead. My brother drove me home to write a eulogy and do what I’ve done at the beginning and sloppy, sentimental conclusion of every defining relationship in my life: make a mix-tape. Not much of a gesture, all things considered, but ultimately more sustaining than sedatives tea and sandwiches.

Still, if I’ve learned anything from the past year, it’s that you can’t stay angry forever. So today seems the perfect time put aside the dirges and bleak laments and replace them with a couple of songs that actually make me happy, instead of just homicidal. Sing along if you know the words:

Fragile Thing, Big Country: This duet by Stuart Adamson and Eddi Reader – the Cash and Carter of Northern England – might not strike you as a particularly uplifting choice for an opening track – Adamson sounds like the loneliest man on the planet, for god’s sake. He hanged himself in a hotel room in Hawaii a couple of years after this was released, and it’s impossible not to imagine him practising the knot between verses. And yet, somehow, it manages to be both heartrending and hopeful. I always feel better for hearing it, so it stays.

Gone Away, The Offspring: Yes, I know. It’s a ‘Cemetery Gates’ for adolescent boys in low-slung trousers, and really quite spanky at that. In the video, Dexter wears his best Tom of Finland shirt and sings to a light bulb. Which always cheers me up.

Kerosene, Big Black: Steve Albini used a dictaphone to record himself running a saw across a cheese grater. Underwater. And it’s still sounds better than anything I’ve ever produced.

Some Kinda Hate and Die, Die My Darling, Misfits: Actually, I love everything off their first 3 albums. More importantly, Doyle is single again. Give him my phone number – that would make me really happy.

Waiting Room, Fugazi: I went for a Bass lesson once because playing along to The Ramones is fun, but not necessarily instructive. Once the instructor had finished admiring my trousers, I explained that I was there to learn how to perfect the bass line to this song. After a pause, he said, “Mr. Big are quite good, don’t you think?” So I learned a little Bach and then I went home. (Don’t even think about mouthing ‘emo’ in my direction, or I’ll slap that carrot juice right out of your hand. Vegan.)

Surprise! You’re Dead!, Faith No More: When I first heard this album I dropped my eyeliner, kicked my Bauhaus album under the couch and fell in love with crunchy guitars. Embarrassing, isn’t it? I became so enamored of this album that I used to walk around with the lyrics to “The Real Thing” and “Falling to Pieces written in smudgy marker on my arms, along with crude representations of the tattoos I planned on getting. Fittingly, my first tattoo does look a little like someone scrawled it on in black crayon. Fuck.

Am I Demon, Danzig: It’s hard not to snigger at a line like “seasoned schemes of slimy curs offer up their flu”, especially when it’s delivered by someone with an inflatable raft in each cheek. Unless you have the flu and feel a bit like a dog yourself – then it’s actually quite profound.

Vote with a Bullet, Corrosion of Conformity: This dates from when COC were still a punk band and didn’t sound like they ride around in red pickups and molest farm animals. Pepper Keenan has one of the best voices around, if you like Deliverance.

Bring The Noise, Public Enemy: I wish I had a posse and a low-rider. I do have a pimp living next door to me, though. Am I ‘street’ yet?

Gigantic, Pixies:
Everyone woman needs a positive female role model. Failing that, Kim Deal.

Gratitude, Beastie Boys:
All right, maybe I am a little retarded.

The Creeps, Social distortion: Old punks never die, they just go to rehab and make a Country album – because nothing hides a receding hairline like a Stetson. Ask Dwight Yoakam. It should be obvious to nearly everyone by now that I like my punks stroppy, skinny, and covered in tattoos. And they didn’t come much stroppier than Mike Ness back in the day.

Commando, Ramones: Nuhnuhnuhnuh, nuhnuhnuhnuh. Nuhnuhnuhnuh, nuhnuhnuhnuh. Nuhnuhnuhnuh, nuhnuhnuhnuh. Nuhnuhnuhnuh, nuhnuhnuhnuh. Oh, right. I also like them stupid.

Neat, Neat, Neat, The Damned: I saw The Cramps in London years ago – and the sight of Lux Interior – older than my dad, even – wobbling around in 9 inch heels was a little disconcerting. Not much of a lux exterior, unfortunately. Anyway, The Damned’s Dave Vanian materialised at my elbow and stood next to me for the remainder of the gig. Me! (Actually, he stood next to my boyfriend, but he doesn’t count.) Dave is married to another hero of mine – Patricia Morrison, former bassist for Gun Club and the Sisters of Mercy – and they recently had a daughter that they didn’t call Eloise. A real-life Addams Family. Sweet.

Waking up, Elastica: Because I work very hard, but I’m lazy. In case there was ever any doubt.

Roxy, Girls Against Boys: This is from the album that everyone agrees is their worst. But I’ve already worn out the grooves on Bullet Proof Cupid, My Night of Pleasure, and every other track of theirs I’ve ever loved. Anyway, this one has xylophones. Xylophones!

Atomic, Blondie: The first single I ever bought on my own was Blondie’s Call Me. I wish I’d had enough pocket money for the Parallel lines album instead. Atomic doesn’t appear on either of those, but it has a fantastically cheesy disco riff and Debbie Harry thinks my hair is beautiful. Plus she has the best cheekbones ever. I’ll pretend this was an ‘ironic’ inclusion.

Jack The Ripper, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Nick has a woman who “screams out Jack the Ripper” every time he tries to give that girl a kiss. That’s funny, but hardly surprising. His new handlebar moustache can’t be helping matters, either.
Sick Things, The Meteors: A lifetime ago, someone gave me a fourth generation cassette with Wreckin’ Crew and 999’s Biggest Prize in Sport on the other side. I can’t play this track without hearing a bunch of sloppy punks yell “boiler, boiler!” over it in my head.

Fever, The Cramps: There’s a scene in Katherine Bigelow’s Near Dark where a group of vampires shut down a bar and drain the patrons of their bodily fluids. In an inspired bit of casting, one of their vics looks like Michael Bolton with stubble. This is playing in the background.

Low Place Like Home, Sneaker Pimps: I played this track to death while I brooded over a particularly annoying break-up. Then a neighbour slipped a note in my post box begging me to play a different song, and I switched to Fear Factory’s Replica for a couple of weeks instead.

Black No. 1, Type O Negative: Yes, this is the track that everyone who has never heard the rest of their albums selects as their favourite. I can’t help it – it always makes me smile. Also, there’s that picture of Pete Steele where his hair is sorta blown back and he… I forgot what my point was. Sorry.

Sistinas, Danzig: Slowdancing with Ed Gein to Elvis records in the basement.

I don’t know about you, but that always makes me feel a whole lot better. So does making lists while hopped-up on flu medicine, apparently.


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