Pick Your Pop Culture

So, I've like written about music for 25 years, and like I've got a lot to say and not enough people to pay me for it, and like I like to write about TV, and books, and movies, and stuff like that.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Nerves and Distractions

I hate being nervous. I hate the fact that once I experience the thing I’m nervous about, it’s not going to seem like all that big a deal. I hate the gnawing in my stomach, the deadening of my brain and body, the dryness of my mouth. I hate the waiting, and the ways time slows down dramatically every second you can’t find something to serve as a distraction.

In 24 hours, I’ll sit in a job interview, trying to impress somebody I don’t know. That’s never been my forte. I realize, once I meet somebody, I can talk with them without any problem. But, how often do I meet somebody who holds such power? The ability to end my search, to give me certainty, a regular income, benefits, the whole nine yards? And, at the same time, I have to be probing him, to make sure this is a job I really want. What if I can’t do it? Not the job, because I know I can handle that. But how do I determine from an hour’s conversation whether this person is somebody I can trust to lead me through the job?

I know that most studies show that the first job interview in a search is rarely successful. And, I haven’t exactly stopped my efforts at getting elsewhere. But, I want this right now, because I think the job is really interesting, from what I’ve seen, and I’m putting all kinds of thought into just this one. It’s like setting myself up for a fall, but I can’t stop myself. And all this just goes to make me nervous.

I’ve got a lunch meeting today, which will help. And Twangfest starts tonight. There’s some good music to catch, especially Jon Dee Graham and the Meat Purveyors. The trick there, of course, is to avoid staying out too late and giving up a small edge to my game in the morning.

VELVET GOLDMINE. My distraction yesterday afternoon was this 1998 flick directed by Todd Haynes and starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Ewan McGregor. Yes, they kiss, and lie in bed naked together. These facts alone don’t make the movie great, but they didn’t hurt it, either.

The idea is confusing to me, taking a glam rock approach to “Citizen Kane,” and finding an ultimately emptier mystery than that of “Rosebud.” Because Brian Slade (Rhys-Meyers take on Bowie) didn’t actually die, he just disappeared, after his fans turned on him for a fake death on stage publicity stunt. McGregor’s Curt Wild fulfills all his Iggy Pop mirror fantasies, except that he is a) entirely too beautiful to play an Iggy clone and b) has all the sexuality and virtually none of the danger necessary for the role.

So, glam rock was empty role-playing, we’ve heard that before. But, Haynes seems to want it to have fallen down because it met a true homosexual love it couldn’t bear. Slade can’t resurrect Wild’s career in the way that Bowie did for Iggy, but he can give up his own success in a futile attempt to show how much he loves him. Meanwhile, our intrepid reporter, Arthur Stuart (played by Christian Bale) stands in for all the gay teens who had their lives turned around by the sudden short-lived wedding of bisexuality and rock’n’roll. His love for Slade and Wild is unrequited, but he seems to be connected to them for the rest of his life, anyway.

The actors do a great job, the imagery is usually pretty cool – the starship bits don’t quite work for me – and the songs, sometimes originals written in glam style, sometimes old classics sung and played by new people, are really good. I just can’t figure out why so much of Bowie and Iggy was welded into these new characters, only to have their fictional changes be less interesting than the real ones.

SIX FEET UNDER. The new season has started, and the race is on amongst the Fischer clan to see who will get to have the most miserable life. Last year’s winner, David, seems remarkably stable so far, as he and his lover Keith figure out how they will wind up becoming parents. Nate seems pretty messed up, doing nice things for all sorts of wrong reasons, so I’ll keep my eye on him. His new wife Brenda definitely has a horrible time of things in this episode. Claire is living with a ticking-time bomb, the long-time nutjob Billy. Ricco, honorary Fischer, is dating and finding every woman unsatisfactory simply because he won’t give them a chance. But, the smart money right now has to be on matriarch Ruth, who has had her dreams of happy golden years shattered by the mental illness of her husband George. The opening death in this episode, by the way, neatly encapsulates what has become a perennial theme with this show: You should get out there and open yourself up to experiences, because whether you do or you don’t, you’re gonna be screwed over by illness or death.

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