WORDS BY LJ/ DRAWING BY JEN
2. Today it was sort of semi-warm out, I was really proud of the weather for stepping up to the plate and being like "WHAT'S UP I'm March now, and I'm going to act like March, the interim month between winter and spring, and not just be all lame and winter about it like I usually am." So I went for a nice meandering walk down my soggy grey street, impulse-bought a gold-and-blue Missoni-striped cardigan and listened to the twenty-minute-long interview with Marc Bolan that comes as a bonus track on whichever luxury edition of Electric Warrior I happen to own, I guess it's from 1971- I just wanted to make double-sure that there's nothing I don't love about Marc Bolan. I knew that there wouldn't be and I'm happy it's official now; Marc Bolan is fucking delightful. Over the course of the interview, he:
- exclusively refers to money as "bread"
- reveals that Cosmic Dancer is about reincarnation, which is the obvious best case scenario outcome of what Cosmic Dancer could possibly be about
- says the word "jive" an insane amount of times and
- "boogie" almost as much and
- "heavy-headed" to mean "thoughtful," which is really cool and I'm gonna steal it from him, and
- "headless" to mean dumb.
3. He's very polite, somewhat soft-spoken, and refers to a bunch of different people, such as Randy Newman and Cat Stevens, as being a "good guy" or "good person," which is a trait I really admire in others and am presently trying to cultivate in myself. I never notice if anyone's "good" or not; it's just not built into my nature to care. I think Marc Bolan is maybe the first person I ever noticed was good or not. He's good.
4. Then he makes a really cool point about urgency that changed my life a year ago but I idiotically forgot about until today, which is basically that as an artist you need to communicate what you want to communicate to your audience as quickly and as urgently as possible, and then he says the years slip by, and the planet changes and you have to work really hard not to think about Marc Bolan's death, the crazy tragic way in which Marc Bolan died, for real DIED, because that's something I really haven't delved into acknowledging happened yet, I really can't deal with it, it's the worst and darkest thing in the world to me. So I just wanted to let you all know that that's my deal re: Marc Bolan being dead, in case you were wondering why I'm not talking about Marc Bolan's death as much as you might think I might.
5. He's my perfect coolness. A lot of people are cool but there’s always something off about it, some strange little detail that I wish I wouldn’t see making them a touch less cool to me. It’s like running around this city scoping out dudes; some of them seem pretty close to perfect but some dumb quirk of his has to go and fuck it up: he’s wearing an army green canvas messenger bag with a too-long strap or he reminds me of Fred Armisen or I watched him jaywalk and he gave a car the finger- I hate “the finger.” It’s gauche. John Lennon’s cool but too dreary and George Harrison would probably piously find something in my character to tsk-tsk about, David Bowie’s a bit of a phony and John Cale’s a statue at Stonehenge. Lou Reed’s a twerp.
But everything cool about Marc Bolan is as cool as why you’re born rich and exist and cool is something you think about. Nothing could make him cooler and nothing he does makes him less cool than he would’ve been if he hadn’t done it. His face is wide and his hair grows out of the back of his head and probably looked really ugly from the back if you were walking behind him. T.Rex songs are always a little bit crappy, crappier than you’d expect them to be; he writes lyrics like “Got giraffes in my hair and I don’t care” and “I ain’t no square with my corkscrew hair” and I’m trying to remember what I thought T.Rex were like before I knew what T.Rex were like; I guess I imagined Mick Jagger only gayer and louder and lamer and ruder. I am always so wrong about everything.
The coolest T.Rex lyric is from the coolest T.Rex song, The Slider, which is on the coolest T.Rex album, The Slider. It goes “I have always always always grown my own before; all schools are strange.” It’s cool how he says always three times, normally it’d be 2 max, and it’s cool how it’s a weed thing, it’s cool how it’s about growing your own and grown rhymes with own and it’s cool how “all schools are strange” really has nothing to do with his growing his own, it’s cool how awkward of a sentence “all schools are strange” is and what a weak point it is, it’s true but not true, like you could say “all dogs are strange” or “all trees are strange” or “all food is strange” and they’d all be a little bit true, but nobody really cares about it. And it’s cool how he chose school, how he had a few mean words to say about school. I hate school. The only thing I have to say about school besides the thing Marc Bolan already said about it is “Ooh la la” boredly while rolling my eyes.
6. He does an insanely good job of balancing "caring about cosmic shit" with "getting shit DONE." Being pragmatic and living your life in a productive way while simultaneously rejecting the conventions that most people think life is all about is fucking difficult, and I think that Electric Warrior and The Slider represent the moment in Marc Bolan's life how he figured out how to be amazing at it.
A few weeks ago I was eating brunch with Erin and I said "It's honestly insane, how [thanks to marijuana and Hinduism] I see through literally everything, at this point." I picked up my water glass and made fun of myself by saying "Ugh, glasses are so pointless. Why are there glasses? We should all just go live by the river and drink out of our hands." And ridiculous as probably sounds, I do mostly agree with myself. Although I guess we could have cups by the river.
However, I was of course eating brunch as I said that, and I fucking love brunch, and it's hard not to feel confused about how it's possible to genuinely love brunch but also think brunch is pointless at the same time. And I feel like Electric Warrior-era Marc Bolan intuitively understands the "brunch is pointless vs. brunch is awesome" dichotomy and is super fucking talented at living out that duality, and that- along with how generally perfect they sound- is why I love T.Rex as much as I do, which is SO MUCH. The early Tyrannosaurus Rex records are calm and cute, but they're Marc Bolan's "Brunch is pointless and ridiculous" records. They try to say everything and there's just so many weird words overlapping you can't figure out which ones to pay attention to. But Electric Warrior's just like, "Here's how it is: brunch is pointless but amazing," pointedly and amazingly. Something crazy happened to Marc Bolan's brain in 1970, and I want the same thing to happen to mine.
7. I was listening to The Slider on one of those freezing February afternoons when the sun reflecting off the snow's so bright it makes you itchy, my worst weather: there are few things I hate more than the sun in winter. It reminds me of marinating an onion in white wine. It's as bad as if you felt the "having to pee" feeling every second for the rest of the time you were alive. I barely even like the sun in summer! I love the moon and I hate the day. My favorite weather is a hot black night.
The sun was bleaching my eyes out. It was one of those moments in winter where you really have to step back and coach yourself through not wanting to die and go out of your way to think hard about how none of it’s your fault or has anything to do with your life really. Your life’s only fucked up if it feels fucked up on a perfect weather day. Otherwise you’re probably fine.
I tried to put a more positive spin on things. The sun reminded me of itself. It reminded me of being a kid, when it was only ever summer: I can’t remember winter from when I was very little. I remember winter during adolescence but as far as my memory knows it wasn’t until I turned ten that winter started happening.
If I could describe the sun in two words they'd be fancy and leonine. I had some stupid letter to mail and it made me think of all the letters I haven't written yet. I remembered being a kid, when I could proudly boast "I'm going to grow up to be a writer" to my classmates from the vantage point of twenty years before figuring out what being a writer meant, when I could experience the summer sun hitting my hot shoulders without freaking out about what life's gonna feel like once it's gone, when there were games and fairs and rides and all life every day was like if all life every day today took place on a boat, with champagne in a world where cigarettes didn't kill you and all men had grey eyes and black eyes.
I remembered bouncing around inside a bouncy castle on a really hot day. I remembered how grateful I was to be bouncing. I remembered lying down on the floor of the bouncy castle and feeling the ground move where everybody else was bouncing around me. I remember a bouncing person tripping and falling a little bit on my ear. I remember the sun so white and hot I couldn’t open my eyes and the sun blaring down on the fabric plastic so hot that where it touched my bare skin if it burned any harder I couldn’t have touched it and my skin was sweating where it touched it and I remembered it all in less than one second while Marc Bolan sang when he's sad he slides and I thought when I'm sad I should bounce (!!!!) and if I could choose to be in one place forever tomorrow I’d be lying there with Marc Bolan and that’s how the sun would burn even though I guess I just said I hate it.