23.1.15

Thing of the Week: A Bunch Of Things That Aren't LJ's Head Cold, Dancing to "Typical Girls" Under a Disco Ball While Ian Svenonius Skulks by in His Peacoat

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: A Tie Between A Bunch Of Things That Aren't My Head Cold


1. Last Sunday morning I woke up with the beginnings of an agonizing head cold that also might be a sinus infection; I can't really tell the difference between these kinds of things. Then I went to work for fifteen hours and nothing about it was great but then finally it was over! My co-workers bought themselves some wine to drink and they were all "Aren't you so sad that you're doing Sober January and can't drink wine with us?" and I was like "I have literally never been less sad about anything in my life." Then I called an Uber and had such a chill Uber experience. It was warmish and humid out and the driver had the windows down and was blasting "I Wish" by Skee-Lo, which, as it turns out, is the best song I've ever heard. "I love your music," I screeched, in my scratchy gulpy sick person accent, "This is amazing." Next he played "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems," which was equally amazing but slightly less revelatory, since I already knew I loved "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems."

2. The next day I downloaded "I Wish" and "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" and then worked out to both of them. Skee-Lo is basically a genius to me. I really love the part when he's like "When it comes to playin' basketball, I'm always last to be picked and, in some cases, never picked at all"- I think that in some cases is so elegant! Skee-Lo is Evelyn Waugh. 

3. The one upside to my being deathly ill is that it has been perfectly timed to my becoming obsessed with binge-watching the entire series of The (US) Office. Guess how many episodes of The Office I've watched in the past four days? Forty-six. All of Season 2 and Season 3. I skipped Season 1 because I listened to Mindy Kaling's entire audiobook when I flew from London to Toronto in December and there's a part where she talks about how the general consensus is that The Office "came into its own" during its second season and I can't really be bothered with watching a season of a TV show that came out in like 2004 and hadn't come into its own yet. Anyway, The Office is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I am still reeling from the Season 3 finale, which is when Jim drives back to Scranton from New York City and Pam is in the conference room talking to the camera about whether or not Jim is going to get the job in corporate and then Jim walks in and asks her if she wants to get dinner and then Laura Jane erupts into violent sobs because Jim and Pam's love is the most beautiful love that has ever been. 

4. The part in "Savoy Truffle" when George sings "Coffee dessert- yes you know it's good news" and really just the whole joyful act of imagining cutie-cute George Harrison sitting around and writing a song about a bunch of different desserts. What a perfect boy. 

5. The picture above, which is of a man who is not a Beatle playing the piano at Abbey Road studios, in conjunction with the part in The Beatles by Bob Spitz where he describes Abbey Road studios as having a "library stillness," which is really inspiring to me. I am going to go to Abbey Road on Monday if I am no longer dying of a head infection. 

6. Guess how old I'm turning on June 24th? That's right- thirty. I'm turning thirty. Thirty years deep. I've recently been feeling pretty iffy about my future thirty-ness recently, but then I had a genius and fear-nullifying revelation in the middle of my having insomnia last night, which is that I am going to celebrate my thirtieth birthday by taking myself on a special LJ Turns Thirty adventure to the Loire Valley (AKA "the garden of France"), my favourite wine region in the WORLD, where I will stay at the wildly-Instagrammable Hotel de France and work on my nov and gorge myself on I literally don't even care what I eat because ALL I WANT is Chenin Blanc. As a rule I think it sounds really ugly when people say, like, "I want to drink all the Chenin Blanc," but in this case it's true. I want Anjou Rose and Savennieres in June, to be shared with nobody in the world except my best friend LJ. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Dancing to "Typical Girls" Under a Disco Ball While Ian Svenonius Skulks by in His Peacoat


I saw Chain & The Gang twice last week (including at a semi-secret show Friday at Punky Reggae Party at La Cita) and they were the best and wildest shows I've been in a long time. Like I can't even believe how great they sounded - both nights I never wanted them to stop playing, and I hardly ever feel that way about bands. At La Cita the stage is teeny-tiny and instead of staying up there with the band Ian Svenonius mostly danced around the crowd like a madman, or stood at the very edge of the stage like in that photo I took above. Lately I'm into the concept of human energy as a renewable resource, and Ian Svenonius is good at letting me know you can your scream guts out and dance your feet off all the time forever and the more you do it, the more energy you'll get to keep on doing it some more.

After Chain & The Gang the DJ played. And toward the end of the night "Typical Girls" by The Slits came on and I danced the hell out of it, thinking of Viv Albertine who is newly one of my heroes because of her amazing book, and also of Ari Up's fly dance moves in the "Typical Girls" video. We were under a disco ball, I did the pony, and at one point Ian Svenonius skulked by and did a little skulky dance next to Patti and then skulked away again, wearing a peacoat. I've been working so much lately, to the point where I feel like my head's going to fall off and roll away down the big hill I live on, and it's nice that Life was like "Okay, here, you get this moment of dancing to 'Typical Girls' in a Latin nightclub and of Ian Svenonius dancing by you in his peacoat, being a beautiful beast." It was a cool present.

So work continues to be bonkers and I had like zero "downtime" this week but I tried to take little breaks and give myself things that would make me feel stoked and inspired, like LJ's Notes from London writings and like Soft Focus, which is a talk show thing Ian Svenonius used to do for Vice. So far my fave is the Chan Marshall episode; it's got the warmest vibes and she's a goofball and wonderful and they love each other so much. I love her earrings and her story about playing CBGB for the first time, and how she makes Ian Svenonius smile a lot and show his crazy teeth. I like what he says about the power of the U.N.


21.1.15

Ex Hex's "Don't Wanna Lose" Video Is All Lips & Legs


BY LIZ

There's a new Ex Hex video out today and it's a remake of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, which is a movie I watched once in like 2007 and have no memory of and should probably revisit. The video's for "Don't Wanna Lose" and it's directed by Lara Gallagher who also did the "Hot and Cold" video that I love so much, plus that beautiful Mikal Cronin video starring Mary Timony as a sad-eyed maid in Portland. Big spoiler: Timony's not sad-eyed at all in "Don't Wanna Lose" - she's having the most fun! Just yesterday I had a moment of being super-thankful for Ex Hex for letting me know that my 40s might be the best fun yet (I turned 37 a few weeks ago, gotta think ahead), and then I realized that Ex Hex are like the opposite of that goddamn joyless This Is 40 movie. So waking up today to a video where they're roller-skating and doing choreographed dances and wearing punk makeup and generally being hot beautiful goofs was totally reassuring. Not that I needed to be reassured, but that's what Ex Hex does for you: takes the good vibes and intensifies them until your heart and head just burst into cool blue flames that burn forever. Here they are, being fashion heroes:



My fave part of "Don't Wanna Lose" is when they're at the photoshoot and Laura Harris whispers to Timony to get rid of her gum, and Timony makes her adorable "Oh no, my gum!" face. Mary Timony is a great actor; she really killed it in this little beautiful short film from 15 years ago. Also: perfect pink jeans, Laura Harris.



15.1.15

Notes From London In December: Vol. 2




BY LAURA JANE/ ILLUSTRATION BY JEN

November of 2014 was one of the roughest and ugliest months of my life. Writing is a really therapeutic thing for me IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED so once December rolled around I forced myself to keep really intense journals as a means of distracting myself from the general messiness of my everything. Plus December is a really large and descript month and generally my favorite month to write about. In December, everything feels like something. This is the second of three instalments in this series. Here is Part 1. 

06.12

My eye problems are flaring up again so I’m wearing my glasses and I’m riding the tube and I’m praying the ride will last forever. I’m drinking a venti skinny peppermint mocha (I’m not capitalizing “venti” anymore, I just decided. The time it takes to press down on the shift key to make the V isn’t worth it to me; what's the point, it's not a proper noun) and I’ve got If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow on my headphones; that’s just how I’m rolling these days. I am too tired to chew and 1997 was an amazing year for popular music. I want to sit forever and never stand.
        I’m giving myself a pep talk about my glasses. John Lennon wore glasses. He wore glasses so goddamned well they named an entire style of glasses after him! That’s something to aspire to. I’m going to buy myself a pair of the sickest glasses. Big fat sick fucking glasses.
       The tube ride doesn’t last forever which is cool because it means I’m not dead. At work I ask my boss if I can wear red lipstick during service or is it too flash for fine-dining and she says “Go for it!” so I “Go for it!” But at the end of the night my sommelier tells me I can never wear red lipstick during service again. It’s too flash for fine-dining.
        Now I’m pouting. I’m doing other things too. I’m using every tool in my physicality handbook to communicate that I find this censorship unjust. It is two-o-clock in the morning. I have recently finished polishing seventy-five wine glasses and am about to crack on with the second polish. I am not at my personal best. In fact it could be argued that I am floating around somewhere dangerously close to my Personal Worst.


5.1.15

Notes From London In December: Vol. 1



ILLO BY JEN/ WORDS BY LJ

November of 2014 was one of the roughest and ugliest months of my life. Writing is a really therapeutic thing for me IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED so once December rolled around I forced myself to keep really intense journals as a means of distracting myself from the general messiness of my everything. Plus December is a really large and descript month and generally my favorite month to write about. In December, everything feels like something. This is the first of three instalments in this series. 


01.12

Yesterday one of the producers of the TV show Desperate Housewives ate dinner at my restaurant. I leaned against the wine glass cupboard with my hands clasped neatly behind my back because I work in fine dining and when in doubt clasp your hands neatly behind your back. When you clasp your hands neatly behind your back people believe that you are a person who works in fine dining and not just a person pretending to seem like a person who works in fine dining by clasping their hands neatly behind their back. Guess which one I am.
        I listened to him tell his friends a story about how just before Desperate Housewives got picked up by ABC or whatever he was broke and feeling like crap about his life and he went to see a psychic and the psychic told him “You’re going to be very successful, but you’re going to have to work hard for that success. But at least the prospect of success is open to you— some people work as hard as you do, but success just isn’t in the cards for them.” The story had a kind of “Worship me” vibe to it and he kept going on and on about how hard he had to work to get to where he is now, dining with Ian Fleming’s grandson at a fancy tiny restaurant in Notting Hill, and I kept on standing there, kept my hands clasped neatly behind my back, gazing toward the front door so that guests can’t tell I’m secretly watching the levels of their water glasses because if a Michelin inspector happens to be secretly dining in the restaurant and the water glass goes empty we’ll never get a Michelin star, and then we’ll all have to kill ourselves, unfortunately. I listened to his story about the hot young thang who roped him into wakeboarding in Malibu which segued into a little bit about how he’s a Pisces in Western astrology but an Aquarius in Vedic astrology and Ian Fleming’s grandson nodded Mm-hmm Mm-hmm Mm-hmm like it was the most fascinating thing he’d ever heard in his life, which is probably how he reacts to everything, and I sort of wanted to go pull up a chair and have my sommelier pour me a glass of Larmandier-Bernier that I’m sure I would have fucked up pouring if I’d poured it and be like “Oh that’s cool that you’re a Pisces, give me money, I’m a water sign too,” but instead I kept on standing there and hoped so hard in my head that I’m one of those same kinds of people as he is. That at very least the prospect of success is open to me.


31.12.14

Thing of the Year: The Time LJ Went To Liverpool; Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys; John Waters Etc.


LJ'S THING OF THE YEAR: The Time I Went To Liverpool & Listened to "I'm Set Free" by the Velvet Underground While Sitting by the Mersey River


I went to Liverpool on the first day of September. I had recently broken up with my boyfriend. I was all by myself.
        Mark and I got back together a few days after I came home to London, and I believe that on some level the Universe catalyzed our brief breakup so that I could experience Liverpool to its fullest. I swear to God Liverpool is the greatest place in the world to be sad.
        I boarded a Virgin train at Euston Station in London. I sat next to a Japanese girl who had packed her own Bento box meal featuring three scoops of rice sculpted into a bear’s head and two ears. Several hours passed, and I read several tabloids. Eventually, the train pulled into Lime Street Station, John Lennon sang “And she never walks down Lime Street anymore” about a girl called Maggie Mae inside my head, and I started to cry. For me, Liverpool is Mecca. "This is where they're from!" I thought to myself, "This is where my heroes are from." I didn't have to think anything else except that. It did the trick.
        Outside of the station I caught a cab to my airbnb and the cabbie asked me where I was from. I said Toronto but that I live in London and he snorted at the thought of London and said "Welcome to civilization," which was inaccurate but cute.
        The street my airbnb was on looked like it was from a British children's TV show and made out of claymation. The houses looked like they felt sorry for themselves, like they were apologizing for looking a little on the derelict side of things but I did not mind it one bit. I knocked on the door to my airbnb and my host let me in. She had a little dog named Jody or Jolly or Julian or Christopher or something equally awkward. The dog looked like a runty Jack Russell terrier but with very sparse white fur exposing its cow-print skin. I told it it was a Tootsie Roll Pop.



My airbnb host had recently written a children's book about the benefits of a plant-based diet. She gave me a postcard advertising the book and I acted like it was a pretty great gift. When I first emailed her as a prospective airbnb guest I'd mentioned that I was coming to Liverpool to do research for a Beatles-themed novel, and now, today, she was very inquisitive about my Beatles-themed novel. But I was very shy to talk about it and ended up answering almost every question she asked with "I don't really know" and I think it seemed like I was lying about writing a novel. Finally I told her "My boyfriend and I broke up two days ago" so that she would understand that I was in an emotionally weird place and hopefully leave me alone. I forget if she did or not.
        I left her house and took a bus to the city centre, which had been redone since the last time I was in Liverpool, in 2007. Liverpool was voted the Cultural Capital of Europe and got a bunch of funding from the EU or whatever and then spent it all on building a new Topshop and Urban Outfitters and Apple store and New Look and… one of every store, really. All the stores.
        All the buildings were sleek and glass and blueish. The stores made me feel like I wasn't good enough and would never be until I spent all my money on new clothes, I walked into a Topshop and out of a Topshop, wandered out of the city centre and walked past a pub that I poked my head into and rejected on the grounds of my worrying that I might feel like a fish out of water there. All of the patrons looked like characters on the TV show Coronation Street, which I’ve never seen, so that statement might not be true. I walked out of the bar and a man outside smoking said “Why don’t you go on in? It’s a good place! It’s a good one!” and I said “I don’t know” nervously and he said, “Nah!” and brushed his hand against the sky to brush my nervousness away. He said “Go on in!” and gestured toward the door of the bar as if to say: “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you… the door of this fabulous bar!” and I walked through the door of the fabulous bar. The floor of the bar was carpeted in burgundy paisley and smelled like a thousand peoples’ lives. I drank a couple syrupy glasses of Blue Nun. The buzzy noise at the end of the Beatles song “Long, Long, Long” is a vibrating bottle of Blue Nun on top of a piano. I wished I’d never quit smoking. 



I ate Chinese food buffet for dinner and walked over to the Cavern Club. The Cavern Club the Beatles used to play in, the real Cavern Club, burned down, but then they rebuilt it: “brick for brick,” they like to say. I walked down the spiral staircase and I wished somebody was with me but I couldn’t choose who. I bought myself a glass of white wine, and the bartender asked me if I’d like Chardonnay or Sauvignon. The way he pronounced Sauvignon was extremely far away from the way I’d pronounce Sauvignon and I didn’t understand what he meant so I picked Chardonnay. It came in a mini-bottle. It was the one with the kangaroo on it.
        I sat at a little table and watched a John Lennon impersonator sing a John Lennon song. He was dressed up as Rain-era John Lennon, with big sheepy sideburns and a silky psychedelic-print button-up, which I thought to be a very “refreshing” look for a John Lennon impersonator. John finished singing, and was replaced by Paul. The Paul impersonator was better than the John impersonator. His voice sounded so much like the real Paul’s voice. He was pudgy, and wore a nubby pilly sweater. I wanted to hug him and burrow my head into the nubs and pills of his sweater which I imagined would smell like smoke and dust and laundry. I wished I was the type of free-spirited person who'd go up to him after he finished his set so I could charm him with my charm and he’d buy me a couple of pints and take me home and the next morning I would wake up in his bed and think “Oh my God, I slept with a Paul McCartney impersonator last night” and then I’d get to tell all my buddies the hilarious story of the time I went to Liverpool and ended up boning a Paul McCartney impersonator. But in real life I cringed at the thought of waking up tomorrow morning swathed in the Paul McCartney impersonator’s scratchy stinky bedsheets next to the reality of the Paul McCartney impersonator, who is more than just a Paul McCartney impersonator. He is a real man. He is not Paul McCartney. 
        I slunk out of the Cavern Club and did not hug a bronze statue of John Lennon, because some Scandinavian people were busy taking selfies with it. I went home and slept and woke up the next morning and decided that I was going to treat myself to a really excellent meal at what I can only imagine must be the best restaurant in all of Liverpool: Jamie’s Italian. Ha ha ha. I ate a beast of a mushroom-stuffed hunk of Porchetta that looked like a Swiss roll. It was like 10:45 in the morning. I'm nuts. I was depressed out of my mind and then it became time for me to have my usual “being in Liverpool” revelation of realizing that the Beatles are from a way crappier place than I am and that the Beatles are even more impressive than you thought they were because they transcended it. I wasn’t thinking that hard about it. Mostly I was thinking about how terribly I wanted to smoke a cigarette. I drank an espresso. It tasted like Porchetta.


I left the restaurant and walked down to the river. I was carrying my stupid rolly suitcase. The pathway was made of cobblestone and disrupted my stupid rolly suitcase’s intended smooth trajectory. I had a metallic taste in my mouth and I did not want to drink a drink. I played the game where I ask myself “If you could do anything in the entire world right now, what would it be?” and then once I figure it out, I do my best to replicate it while bearing the limitation of my present surroundings in mind. Here is what I did:
        I asked a teenage punk girl if I could trade her a pound for a cigarette and she just gave me the cigarette. I sat on my rolly suitcase and gazed out across the Mersey River, past a long and skinny houseboat George Harrisonily named the Om Shanti. The boat reminded me of a weiner dog. I listened to the sad and beautiful Velvet Underground song I’m Set Free and smoked my cigarette and cried. I got high off my cigarette. I tried to hype myself up by imagining my hero John Lennon sitting and smoking right in that exact same spot feeling just as sad as I did but it didn’t really take. The moment crazily didn’t have a whole lot to do with the Beatles and I wasn’t going to be a lame-o and try and force it. Who cares?
        I didn’t; the Beatles don’t. It was mostly the water that made it. 2014 was the shittest bad vibes year ever and I want my Thing of the Year to honor that. I’m Set Free by the Mersey River was the moment this year's trademark shitty energy was at its most resplendent and most profound. Like I said: Liverpool is the greatest place in the world to be sad.

LIZ'S THING OF THE YEAR: Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys

Last night I got home from Christmas and L.A. was pouring rain, which was fine, because I knew it would stop overnight and today would be smogless and perfect. I unpacked and called Mae Ploy and ordered a thing of Jungle Curry and then there was a knock at the door. A guy was standing on our porch, in the rain, in the dark, and when I opened the door he handed me a copy of a book named Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys. Boys. It's a memoir by Viv Albertine from The Slits and I'm already up to page 141, because it's fantastic. So far my favorite part is when Viv meets Mick Jones at art school and punctuates the story of their meeting with a photo of 17-year-old Mick:


I can't remember if I forgot that Viv Albertine and Mick Jones went out, or if I never knew in the first place. But either way it's serendipitous that Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys. Boys showed up last night, 'cause on the plane yesterday I was thinking about what I was going to write for Thing of the Year, and I knew I wanted to talk about Mick Jones and how he was my favorite person in 2014. One of the things I love most about The Clash is that they help me transcend the part of myself that likes to be a complain-y baby-jerk about a lot of things - but in a way that makes me feel protected, like a really great big brother might. Mick Jones is my favorite person in The Clash because I relate to his being both goofy and industrious and one of those people who smiles all the time. I also like when he gets shit-talked for being a prima donna and a stoner, I think that's a cool dynamic. But more than anything I feel very connected to this 14-second-long video where he says how he's not punk but he does have a bad attitude, and then laughs his cute laugh at the end:


Where I am right now in Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys. Boys, Viv's hanging out with Sid Vicious all the time and seems to have forgotten about Mick, but so far he's completely surpassed all my expectations of wonderfulness. There's a chapter where Viv decides she wants to start playing guitar, and she's all nervous about telling Mick, she's scared that he might tease her about it. But Mick's so into it! He's so psyched to have a guitarist for a girlfriend! They go to a guitar shop and Mick helps her find a guitar and she buys a Les Paul with her inheritance from her grandmother and then starts a band, with Sid Vicious on saxophone. It's all very sweet and exciting; Mick Jones is so earnest and such a romantic. Here's another amazing picture with him in it:


Apart from Mick Jones, my other thing of 2014 is the San Fernando Valley, which I fell in love with this year. The most important thing I do every day is work on my book, and since the Valley became my favorite place in Los Angeles, my book makes so much more sense. Everyone in it got less good-looking, for one thing, which is important to me. A lot of the Valley feels like it's stuck in 1982 and it's seedy and sleazy but there's an innocence to it too, and something about the overall vibe of crushed hope mixed with interminable starry-eyed-ness is really inspiring. And I don't believe in the shirt Diane Lane's wearing here, but I still totally want it:


And I made a Spotify playlist thing that's meant to encapsulate my 2014 - it's here, this is the tracklist:

1. "Valentine" by The Replacements
2. "Grateful" by Blake Babies
3. "Hateful" by The Clash
4. "How Can You Really" by Foxygen
5. "Are You Looking After Yourself?" by Courtney Barnett
6. "Aloha & the Three Johns" by Jenny Lewis
7. "You Ain't Going Nowhere" by The Byrds
8. "Country Queen" by Night Moves
9. "Crabtown" by Throwing Muses
10. "Heather Angel" by Sonic Youth
11. "Wild America" by Iggy Pop
12. "Xtatic Truth" by Crystal Fighters
13. "Red Eyes" by War on Drugs
14. "War Paint" by Ex Hex
15. "Ride" by Lana Del Rey
16. "You've Really Got a Hold on Me/Bring it on Home to Me" by The Zombies

My last Thing of 2014 was this thing Mary Timony said when Ex Hex was on WFMU in November. She was really tired and the DJ acknowledged her tiredness and Mary said something like "I feel like I've been in a war, like a rock & roll war." My point about that is I want to be a soldier for Mary Timony.

JEN'S THING OF THE YEAR: John Waters etc.


1.  Finding out that tumeric is actually spelled tuRmeric. This was major. I’m still having a hard time coping with it.

2. Seeing John Waters a million (3) times. Taking a picture with him at a book event. I wore my Comme Des Garcons fashion witch dress. I thought maybe we’d talk fashion but I froze. I couldn’t say anything besides my name and thank you. I tripped over chairs walking away form him.  Two more John Waters things:

3. His book came out.

4. The Lincoln Center Film Society complete retrospective of his work. I SAW EAT YOUR MAKE UP AND HAG IN A BLACK LEATHER JACKET!!

5. I went to Iceland and found out about Gryla and the Yule Lads. I also saw majestic landscapes.

6. Spaghetti squash was my favorite squash of 2014.

7. The return of The Best Show. Tuesdays from 9pm -12am ET at thebestshow.net. Get with it, everyone!

8. My doctor I love.

9. I went to a lavender field on Long Island, then a rosé winery, then bought North Fork potato chips at the farm I get all my vegetables from and ate the chips while looking at sheep.

10. David Lynch was in conversation at BAM. I went. I was waiting for him to psychically sense my presence in the audience and ask me to meditate and drink coffee with him but he didn’t.

11. Cool inspiring projects with cool and inspiring people.

12. Christine McVie is back in the Mac.

13. Edgewise this great book on Cookie Mueller was published.

14. Charlotte and I started reading about Ayurveda together. It’s called Ayurveda Night.

15. Because of Ayurveda Night I drink water out of a copper cup in the morning.


17. Steve Buscemi’s look in Parting Glances:




18. Other things probably.

9.12.14

All The Songs We Loved In November




WORDS BY ELIZABETH BARKER & LAURA JANE FAULDS, ILLUSTRATION BY JEN MAY

The Cranberries, “Dreams” (LJ)



A girl I know from home wrote Songs you will never ever get sick of even though you’ve heard them thousands of times and will probably hear them thousands more on her Facebook wall as a way of asking all her friends “Which are yours?” It was late and I was drunk and I started writing down the names of a bunch of different songs into the pale Internet-blue box but when I got to and dreams by the cranberries to be honest Mark asked me to be quiet. He was not being an oppressor by asking me that. It was late, he had to wake up early, and I’m a very loud typer.
        Dreams by the Cranberries isn’t cool, I know that, but it doesn’t sound uncool to me— I’m just saying it’s uncool because I know that it is. It just is. I don’t hear it and think “This is really cool,” mostly I hear it as sounding delicate and spidery and ephemeral the same way a piece of white tulle would be ephemeral. It sounds like the life journey of a piece of white tulle, or lavender-grey, or cream, or rose gold tulle that started existing as part of a ballet costume at the end of the 19th Century in either Austria or Germany but has by 2014 faded away entirely. Not decomposed but what’s the other word? I want to say evaporated, since I am thinking of something so light. But the word I am looking for is disintegrate.
        I’ve loved it since I was nine. It was on the Boys On The Side soundtrack, and I would rewind the cassette tape so we could listen to it over and over again. I was in my mother’s car. There were pool noodles in the back of the car.
        I Tweeted about Dreams once. It was the winter I lived at my Dad’s apartment and worked overnight shifts at the Gap and my knuckles were always chapped and my lips were always bleeding. I worked out at a little gym across the street that still sends me pleading emails asking me to come work out at it again. I know I could and probably should unsubscribe from the gym’s email list but my time is really precious to me and I feel like it’s more the gym’s responsibility to notice that I’m a lost cause and deal with it than mine. One probably depressing afternoon I worked out to Dreams over and over again and then came home and Tweeted about how when I work out to Dreams by the Cranberries I feel like I’m wearing a t-shirt that says I’M WORKING OUT TO DREAMS BY THE CRANBERRIES across the front, because I was younger and cared more about whether things were or cool or not, it embarrassed me to be listening to such an uncool song, but that was the tail end of me caring about whether a song or something was or wasn’t cool, that’s how old you are when that impulse evaporates and decomposes, twenty-five I would say— and a girl I knew replied to that Tweet, I don’t remember what she said, but she’s dead now. She died a few weeks ago.
        Home is so weird now that I don’t live there. It snowed there, and then they had a warm day, and I don’t know if any of my friends are happy or sad, and everyone is dying. No young person died the entire time I lived there, and then I moved away, and everyone started dying. My dentist died.
        I really liked my dentist. Once my dad and I went to the liquor store and my dentist was outside the liquor store smoking and it turned out the liquor store was closed so my dad and I walked to a different liquor store and then we ran into him again, and we joked about it, how we all wanted to get drunk bad enough to go to a second liquor store rather than just give up and not drink. Another time, he said to my dad, “I get you, you’re like my dad, you’re a laid-back dude.” He was my dad’s dentist too.
         I listened to Dreams by the Cranberries the next day, not the day after my dad and I ran into my dead dentist at the liquor store (though maybe that day too), but the day after my boyfriend asked me to stop typing loudly at three in the morning. I was walking to the Drapers Arms to go meet Vanya; the Draper in Drapers Arms refers to the old-timey profession of a retailer or wholesaler of cloth but I like to imagine that it is Don. Don Draper’s Arms. I took a detour to holler at 157 Hemingford Road along the way— that’s where the main character of my novel lives. There was a little pale aqua Volkswagen Beetle parked out front that I’d never seen parked out front of it before, which was a nice touch. The little pale aqua Volkswagen Beetle is parked out front of 157 Hemingford Road on Google Street View, too, in case you need to see it to believe it, or just want to.
        I was wearing a chartreuse turtleneck. The lady from the Cranberries breathe-sang about her life changing every day in every possible way and I wanted to cry but didn’t, since I wasn’t actually sad. I was significantly less sad than usual. I felt very conscious of, and very grateful for, gravity. For my feet being planted firmly on the ground. I felt very earthy and solid; I was a Taurus for a second. A few days later I was thinking about my parents on the bus, about how weirdly well your parents know you— you forget it about them. My parentes knew me when I was a baby and then they watched me turn into a child and then a teenager and then a grown-up, nobody else really did that, observed the narrative of my life from the vantage point of already being an adult--
        I have some friends who I’ve known for a long time and they’ve also seen the whole thing unfold, but they were just little kids and little teens the whole time too. They wouldn’t have been able to put it into a proper context, wouldn’t have been able to decipher the relationship between the way I was growing and the way I was aging. I guess I feel like Dreams can see me the same way. It knew me when I was nine and pool noodles were an object I interacted with, when I was fourteen and pretended to like anime because… I don’t know. I don’t know why I ever did that, when I was twenty-five and worked out at a shitty gym, when I was twenty-nine and looked at a house on Hemingford Road I didn’t live in but still could remember living in it because I am a fiction writer and my weird brain works like that. And that was a beautiful feeling, nothing at all like a piece of flimsy fabric decaying. I felt like I was my own little planet. The world around me was the flimsy thing.

Kurt Vile, "Puppet to the Man" (Liz)

A few Fridays ago I got to go to a special screening of a movie called Cake, starring Jennifer Aniston. Jennifer Aniston was there and she did a Q&A afterward; she was very fluttery and Rachel Green-y and stunning in her smart pink dress, which you can see in this mediocre photo of mine. After the screening there was a Kurt Vile show at a church in Koreatown and I really wasn't in the mood: I wanted to bask in Jennifer Aniston's pink-and-golden movie-star glow a little while longer and then go home, but in the end I sucked it up and drove over to the goddamn show. The thing about seeing Kurt Vile, I remembered, is that as long as you can find a place to sit or a wall to lean against, you can just zone out and be off in your own world, but in a way that's enhanced by Kurt Vile's cool draggy voice and spacey vibes. It's restorative, like communal naptime, only with pretty guitars and no post-nap hangover.
        Anyway, Alisa and I drove to the show separately and I got there first, so I went to the upstairs bar and paid ten bucks for a glass of bad white wine. The opening band wasn't my thing so instead of watching them I went to a nice little room outside of the women's bathroom and charged my phone. There was a vanity there and I touched up my eyeliner and lipstick and drank my wine and responded to some texts and Instagram interactions, and by the time Kurt Vile came on I was all refreshed and ready to go. I felt entirely accommodated by my surroundings, and I decided that's going to be thing for 2015 and beyond: total accommodation at all times, no matter how unfavorable and potentially irritating the circumstances. All you need is some imagination and willingness to look like a weirdo, and fortunately I've got both those things in spades.