There's this place at home called Hot Dog Annie's; it's on a country road in the middle of nowhere and it looks like this. There's picnic tables out front and on Wednesday you can get four hot dogs for $4 and they serve them to you in a little paper box. I haven't been there in years and years, but on Sunday night I spent a long time looking at William Eggleston photographs and lots of them reminded me of Hot Dog Annie's, even though they were probably mostly taken in the South and not in Massachusetts. Here are some of the pictures I loved the most:
Obviously my favorite thing about William Eggleston is that he was friends with Alex Chilton's parents and took the photograph for the cover of Radio City by Big Star. He also did the cover for Alex Chilton's record Like Flies on Sherbert, and I was going to use that bit of trivia to segue into writing about that record but now I just don't feel like it. I dig Like Flies on Sherbert but it's kind of bad-vibey and doesn't really match the mood of the William Eggleston pictures I'm in love with right now. I'd much rather write about the song "No Destruction" by Foxygen, which I've listened to approximately a gabillion and twelve times over the past week:
"No Destruction" is my favorite song today because it sort of sounds like it's from at least 40 years ago, the way it's all lazy and meandering and lovely and groovy. But at the same time it really couldn't exist in the '70s or the '60s; no one would have written the lyric "There's no need to be an asshole, you're not in Brooklyn anymore" back then. "No Destruction" is kind of dopey but self-consciously so, and I identify with that: I relate to how Foxygen's maybe both kidding and totally not kidding when they sing phrases like "the doors of consciousness," and the lyric about milkshakes is cheaply precious in a way I can absolutely get behind. As a writer I'm terminally sweet and wide-eyed, so I'm generally inspired by people who figure out new and fucked-up ways to pull that sort of thing off.
The part of "No Destruction" that inspires me and sweeps me up most is the second time the boy sings "Someone who smokes pot in the subway, pot in the subway" - he sounds so heartbroken! I want to kiss his forehead. There's this fictional boy I've had in my head for a long time but only really written about once, in a zine I made 11 or 12 years ago. He's sort of the self-actualized version of the main boy in my book, which means nothing to you, because you haven't read my book, because I haven't finished writing it. But a lot of Foxygen songs (this one, "Waiting 4 U," etc.) sound like songs that my nameless fictional boy would sing, so most of the time I pretend that he really is singing them. It's a cool thing to feel like some boys you don't even know wrote a bunch of songs for a character you haven't even named yet. It makes me feel so understood.
When I'm in Massachusetts this summer I want to go to Hot Dog Annie's on some grossly hot day at dusk and eat a hot dog and drink a root beer and listen to some beautiful music made by some dopey weirdos from a long time ago. I'm the same as Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris - about the '70s instead of the '20s - but bands like Foxygen make me feel like the modern world's all right too. Maybe after I eat the hot dog and drink the root beer I'll start writing a story about Foxygen Boy/Self-Actualized Jack, because by that point I'll be finished with my book and - oh my god you guys I can't even.