All hail the paltry sapien, and woe be to he or she who doesn’t!
Seriously! Everybody! Hail already!
What the hell are you all standing around for? Do it already!
It wasn’t immediately obvious what it was when I picked it up, but the fact that it had Complaints Choir plastered across the front of the package made it easy to be curious about. Chad showed up at the door of the on-air booth partway through the proceedings and asked, “Did you find Complaints Choir?” That man knows a treasure when he finds one.
I know people say shit like this about all sorts of human activities - we obviously hold ourselves in rather high regard – but even more than holding ourselves in rather high regard, there is not a more distinctly human activity than complaining*. It’s the very first thing we do from the moment we exit the birth canal, and from that moment on, practice makes perfect.
Think of all the ways we use our powers of complaint: to effect change under conditions with which we are dissatisfied where we have the power to change things, to blow off steam under conditions with which we are dissatisfied where we DON’T have the power to change things. We write formal letters of complaint to the parent company when the fish guy at the supermarket doesn’t know enough about mercury levels, but not before we’ve recounted the episode to our mothers, sisters and significant others (not to mention blurted what an undertrained doofus that guy was all over the Twitterverse and Facebook).
Ah yes, there are those who will try and tell us, either right to our faces or more indirectly, that we shouldn’t complain so much. These people can get stuffed, for all I care about what they have to say. Complaining is something that is in us, which brings me, more or less, back around to Complaints Choir, because the complaining instinct is especially strong in our impulse to create.
It’s right there in all of our creation myths. First, there is nothing – well, nothing but some all-powerful someone- or something-or-other who exists outside of time and space and all that. And it stays that way for a long time, until our all-powerful someone or something decides to start making stuff – people, places, things – and setting them in motion. Why? The complaint is implicit, but obvious: Because there’s nothing to do.
Now, not everybody can just up and make a whole universe, or even a paltry little planet, when they’re bored. But just about everybody can sing. A song. And it makes sense to do it because just about every song ever written is a complaint about one thing or another, even if it’s wearing a tuneful disguise.
And it also makes sense to sing your complaints in a group, because another thing that humans are is social (Think about what you’re doing when you chat up a stranger at a bus stop, and your opening line is, “Cold enough for ya?”**). People getting together to sing their beefs: that’s definitely the most human activity going.
Hence, the worldwide phenomenon of Complaints Choir. And the documentary movie about them. And the soundtrack package, with four (FOUR!!!) discs – 3CDs and a DVD of the movie itself – for the documentary movie, because the absolute most human activity going, we social complainers who hold ourselves in such high regard, is the one where we gripe in groups while we record the whole thing for posterity.
*If there is, I don’t know what it is. Perhaps Buster Friendly knows?
**Did I just BLOW YOUR MIND or what?
The deal: for the next 17 days, you need to give slightly more of a shit about Frank Zappa and what he stood for than you otherwise would. Here’s the post from last year that explains it all.
You can: play guitar, start a band in your garage, be smart and/or a smartass and/or a crew slut, don’t eat the yellow snow, give your kids stupid names and only address them by those stupid names until December 21, keep the ridiculous moustache that you started growing for Movember…any other suggestions?
You wanted a playlist, you got a playlist! The December 2ndest playlist in the world, THISS!
Afrodizz - No Time
Rheostatics - Record Body Count
Belle and Sebastian - I’m Not Living in the Real World
Exploding Star Orchestra - Impression #1
Subtle Lip Can - Inside Look
Sun Wizards – Quit Acting Cold
Psychic Alliance – Tri-Scare-a-Tops
Ex- Boyfriends – Never Been Happier
The Depression – Sometimes You Just Wanna Die
Shooting Guns – Harmonic Steppenwolf
Michael Rault – Shell Cut You Down
Mitts – Two Timing White Girls
No Bunny – Do the Fuck Yourself
Black Mountain - The Hair Song
William Shatner/Henry Rollins - I Can’t Get Behind That
The Wright Specials - Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do
Zach Hill - Memo to the Man
Les Savy Fav - Appetites
Sparrow - The Quiet Revelation
Hellogoodbye - The Thoughts That Give Me the Creeps
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - You Won’t Let Me Down Again
Maserati - Ruins
Stuart Murdoch’s diaries, printed and bound and offered up for sale like a common musical recording. And check out this marketing angle:
The Celestial Café” is a collection of the diaries and thoughts of Stuart Murdoch, singer in the band Belle And Sebastian. They stem from the particularly un-rock and roll years of 2002-2006, and are subsequently very light on the subjects of drug taking, orgies and general debauchery.
Mr Murdoch would like you to know that so that your precious time and money are not wasted. Thank you.
They say that things in this world happen for a reason, and I believe them. William Shatner’s the most obvious example of that. He may go away, but he always comes back, and how could that possibly be a random thing?
But what about in other realities? Do you think things happen in other possible worlds for reasons, too, even if those other places would have different reasons for what happens where they are?
We’ve been listening to Shatner’s Has Been from 2004. Well, not all of it. We’ve been listening to the lead-off track, a cover of Pulp’s Common People, featuring Joe Jackson contributing his very best Joe Jackson impression*, and the track that, for our money, is the best duet on the album and possibly the best duet so far of the 21st century. That’s I Can’t Get Behind That, a little gem that’s tucked away towards the back of the thing, done with Henry Rollins. And it got us to thinking.
How fantastic do you imagine the reality to be, where Henry Rollins is his world’s William Shatner? How do you figure it’s come to be that way? Do you think such a place is walking distance from here? Do you think they have a TV show of Shit My Dad Says, too?
*Good enough to provoke the question, ‘Hey, whose has-been album is this, anyway?’
David Lynch is a pop star now, more or less. Probably less, but who knows, right?
It seems our hero caught the bug while making his contribution to Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse’s Dark Night of the Soul. But why should I tell the whole freakin’ story over again, when some lady from the Guardian’s already gone to so much trouble?
Hey, it’s a post about David Lynch’s singing career, so why not toss in a little extra weird stuff, just because? Here he is, starring in an Achewood strip of his very own.