Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Isolation: Day 147

Last Thursday at work I had a hankering to see what Bret Easton Ellis has been up to on his podcast, and realized that the reason I hadn't seen any new episodes in my queue on Apple Podcasts was because my tier on his Patreon had been replaced. I changed my subscription up and was rewarded with a HUGE list of episodes I'd not even realized were available. Settling in to listen, I began with one from late last year where for nearly three hours, Ellis interviews author Chuck Palahniuk. This set off a full-on Palaniuk/Ellis binge over the coming days.

Ellis and Palahniuk were probably the two authors that motivated me the most to actually sit down and start writing fiction seriously. The book I'm finishing now was absolutely inspired by Ellis's American Psycho and Lunar Park, and Palaniuk's, well, pretty much his first five or six books, all of which I read in rapid succession in the early 00s. 

It's been some time since I'd gone back to these guys. Ellis is always just around the corner in my head - Lunar Park is my second favorite book ever, so it's just in my blood. But by the time Palahniuk's Pygmy came out - the most recent of his books that I've read - I had pretty much lost touch with his work. (NOTE: Not because Pygmy is bad by any means, however, this is a story for another day, if I haven't told it here already). 

Saturday morning K and I watched Fight Club, which is actually the only of those initial books by Palahniuk that I haven't read, simply because the movie always occupied such a large amount of real estate in my head, I assumed any reading of the book would be colored by it too much. I no longer subscribe to that trepidation, so after the film, I ordered both Fight Club and Choke, which I've always thought as companion pieces.

Although I'm still having trouble finding time to read for pleasure while I plod through another final edit of my own book, I started Ellis' Less Than Zero. It's an easy one to burn through, and works well with a start/stop regiment. Technically, I'm still about thirty pages from finishing Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country, so all these books I'm mentioning now are 'on deck,' if you will, and their accumulated presence has shifted my musical palette, so that I found myself compelled to stay up late writing on Saturday, falling down an audio hole with X, The Plimsouls, and Concrete Blonde.

There's never a moment that I'm aware of where Bret Easton Ellis specifically mentions Concrete Blonde, but they are definitely a band that fits the headspace I associate with his fiction. As such, I've been a bit obsessed. I tweeted out my love for the album version of Still in Hollywood later at some point during that late night, however, this live version of the alternate take that serves as a bonus track on the CD version of their 1989 Eponymous debut was just too good to pass up posting here today.



Concrete Blonde - Eponymous

Psychetect - Extremism

X - Wild Gift

Algiers - Eponymous

Black Pumas - Eponymous

Beth Gibbons, The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Krzysztof Penderecki - Henryk Górecki: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

The Birthday Party - Mutiny/The Bad Seed 

The Birthday Party - Hee Haw

JK Flesh - Depersonalization

Vitalic - OK Cowboy

Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines OST

Spotlights - Love and Decay



Interesting. Two days in a row. I'm sticking with the same interpretation, because my discomfort at penning query letters hasn't magically abated after writing about them. However...

I have to wonder if there's something more in here, as well. Destabilization of established processes and mores comes to mind, something 2020 has been all about. Any coincidence I have a voting ballot sitting next to me on my desk as I type this? I think not.

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