WORDS BY LJ/DRAWING BY JEN
When I was twenty years old the only time I wasn't stoned was when I was high on some other drug. My only priority in the world was becoming the number one person who had listened to the highest amount of (mostly irrelevant) sixties psychedelic rock songs; I wanted to hear every note, learn every word, own every record. Looking back, I deeply admire the ferocity with which I devoted myself to such a devastatingly ridiculous pursuit.
1. A DREAM FOR JULIE
There is something about the hookiness particular to certain buoyant sixties psych jams that I will always need to hear. They mean nothing, yet sound better than anything.
I wonder who these people are, this band Kaleidoscope. I wonder what they're all doing, and which of them are dead. I wonder if they were for real or just copycatting, if some guy once wrote these songs and thought, "I am an artist, and this is my contribution," or if they're all just half-baked I Am The Walrus knock-offs some asshole paid them to write.
I've loved A Dream For Julie for a very long time. It sounds like the smell of the air-conditioning in my old apartment, riding down Manhattan Avenue on my green Schwinn Varsity, a boy's bike. My boss's dead brother had the same bike when he was young and she cried when she saw it.
They say "rose wine" in the lyric and any mention of pink wine in art speaks to my soul in a very real way. You have to have listened to a lot of sixties psych to build up a tolerance to lyrics like "Strawberry monkeys are smiling for Julie." You have to put your strawberry monkeys blinders on.
2. JENNY ARTICHOKE
Jenny Artichoke by Kaleidoscope has a very "beginning of everything" feel to it. Every morning I want to post it to everyone I like's Facebook wall accompanied by the caption "Good Morning from Laura Jane!" and cry tears of joy over the beautiful thing I've just done.
When I love a sixties psych song so much for every full listen I give it I have to hear the first thirty seconds thirty times over, press back and back and back again and again and again from the beginning the beginnings of such buoyant sixties psych songs always pack 95% of the punch. This song has dings and rawrs and several fake-out endings that take me right back to my beloved crunchy beginning, the only place I want to go. Those five seconds make me smile and cock my chin at no one in a very cute way.
I did not anticipate spending the second half of my twenty-eighth July listening near-exclusively to an embarrassing piece of garbage named Black Fjord or that I would ever love a song with the word "fjord" in the title in my life. It doesn't even make any logical geography sense how a fjord could be black.
I would be embarrassed to play a friend this song and tell them "Musically, this is where I'm at these days." In real life I could not bear the humiliation of attaching this song to my name or my name to this song. I am hiding behind my writing right now.
I'm not in a very good place lately. I'm sad. A lot of the times I feel fine but a lot of the other times the prospect of living out the entire rest of my life sounds so unbearably difficult I can't breathe. I am cripplingly jealous of Sheila Heti's writing career at the same time as I am cripplingly jealous of everyone in the world who's not a writer at the same time as I hate living at the same time as I never want to die. I believe in everything I normally believe in at the same time as I don't believe in anything. Every day, a few times a day, I stop believing in rock and roll so I can cry for a bit. I can't listen to any Beatles or Clash or Stones; I don't understand why I'll only allow myself to bleed if I am bleeding on that level. It's honestly fucking arbitrary.
I imagine that this song is a Beatles song and I imagine that the Beatles wrote the words The orchestra of broken hearts is silent- if they had, they would have changed my life a long time ago. I'd have them tattooed on my forearm.
I imagine it's a Paul song, a Paul-copycatting-John song, the Paul song where he really went for it on the psychedelia front and happened to be reading The Lord of the Rings that week and wrote Black Fjord, the wonky Paul song on Magical Mystery Tour about "Nordic peoples" and "Saxon warlords" and "the magic ring of El-Tara." I imagine it was Paul McCartney who wrote the lyric The warriors are sailing away to Valhalla because if he did I could know for certain that the person who wrote those words understands what I'm saying and thinking and feeling when I say that I am a warrior sailing away to Valhalla, that that's my new "life concept"-
I am confident that Paul McCartney understands warriors, sailing and Valhalla. I am confident that he understands them viscerally.
I've self-identified as a warrior since the first day I knew I was Laura. And it's awful, how right now I don't feel anything like a warrior at all- I feel like I'm a statue of myself spun from thin glass, like anything that could touch me could break me. And this sure as hell isn't Valhalla- my messy bedroom I'm too tired to clean, the spots where I fiddle with the fabric of my couch cushions on the hottest day of the year. The whir of a low-quality fan. Other people's toes on the subway, the prospect of poverty, the value of these words vis a vis the amount of no dollars I make off of writing them-
I'm the most negative optimist you'll ever meet. I wish that for five seconds of my life I could feel sorrier for myself than I do for everyone else. I wish I could resign myself to a miserable life nullified into boredom and meaninglessness by ritual and time but I can't. I have little respect for the enthusiasm with which I devote myself to such a devastatingly ridiculous pursuit, but I can't help it- I believe in the possibility of Valhalla.
And this sure as hell isn't it, so all I can conclude is that I'm sailing away.