My Perfect Weekend of The Clash & Bananas


I'm home in Massachusetts right now; it's perfect. On Friday night I took the train into the city and got off near Fenway Park and stopped at Nuggets, in hopes of finding some weird treasure you could only find in Boston, and guess what was right by the door? Earwig, by Blake Babies, on vinyl. It was $55.99, which made sense to me on some levels but also seemed potentially impossible, since nearly every other record around it cost about 12 bucks. So I brought Earwig up to the counter and pointed to the price tag and said to the counter guy, "It's $55.99, really?" - which I understand was an annoying question: I'm self-employed, and it's super-exasperating when someone questions the value of whatever good/service you're providing. So the counter guy was rightfully annoyed, and made an annoyed face and spoke to me in a scolding tone, saying "It's rare - and really hard to find!" If I'd been more on-the-ball I might've sassed him back and told him, "That's a redundant statement - and it makes the same point twice!" But instead I just sighed and said "Well, yeah, I know," and shrugged and smiled and put the record back. Hopefully it'll find a good home soon, with somebody who'll love it intensely forever. Everyone knows Blake Babies fans are generally a moneyed and powerful lot.

I left Nuggets without buying anything, and I walked all the way from Kenmore Square to Porter Square to meet Laura (not Laura Jane! She lives in London now!) and her brother Todd for cocktails at The Abbey. I got a drink called The Fearless King (muddled basil, whiskey, grapefruit juice) and a pint of Rapscallion Honey beer and both were lovely, and then Sarah and Rich met up with us and we went over to Redbones to eat dinner at the bar. Sarah and I split a pulled pork sandwich plus about 5,000 sides, including hushpuppies, which were extra-oily and hot and heaven and so beautifully Munchkin-like in their sphericalness. Pretty sure I hogged most of the hushpuppies, but the experience of dunking them in the little paper cup and let the vinegar soak through the crispy-crackly batter was so satisfying and addictive, I just couldn't stop. 

Saturday morning I took the train home and listened to Blake Babies and The Clash, who are my #1 at the moment. I used my parents' copy of The Story of The Clash as the backdrop for a bunch of pictures for this post, mostly because I just want to look at Mick Jones all the time. I first fell in love with him in ninth grade: I remember sitting in Western Civ and staring at the back of Marissa Vanesse's hair and hearing "Rush" in my head and being hung up on the sweetness/snottiness of Mick's voice, and ever since then I've gone through a thing of being obsessed with him at least once every few years. And on Saturday night I watched Westway to the World, which is a Clash documentary you can watch in its entirety on YouTube. It rules because it's basically just The Clash talking about themselves for 80 minutes, plus lots of really great footage of them playing live. My fave moment's when they tell the story of going to an ice cream parlor and taking their cones outside and writing "I'M SO BORED WITH THE U.S.A." on the windows with their ice cream. I also loved when Paul Simonon did his impression of Mick Jones's hair:

Anyway - Saturday afternoon I went down to Rhode Island to see Kristie, and on the way back home I drove up the street where the two main characters in my book lived when they were kids. I took pictures of their apartments and then I walked up the street to a corner store called Jimmy's Variety, which I've written into a bunch of stories but probably hadn't visited since maybe 1985. I have a very vivid memory of buying a tiny box of Mexican jumping beans there when I was about seven, but they don't sell Mexican jumping beans anymore. So instead I got some baby oil, for eyeliner-removing purposes, and also a pack of peppermint gum.

On Sunday my mom took me to this amazing place called Crompton Collective, which is a marketplace in an old factory where all different vendors sell handmade stuff and antiques. The best thing I bought was a book from 1970 called A Child's Guide to Martha's Vineyard - it's really cutely illustrated and has a section on how to talk like a Vineyarder. Apparently, on the Vineyard, if you want to go somewhere then you say that you "admire to go" there (as in "I admire to go back to the Vineyard and ride the Flying Horses with LJ and Jen and eat more White Russian pancakes from The Black Dog, and also have many more new island adventures, as soon as I possibly can"). A particularly charming page from A Child's Guide to Martha's Vineyard is the one where the author breaks down the history of the island ferry, which used to run on the barter system. It would've been so cute if LJ and I had paid for our ferry tickets in goose feathers and corn.

I also got a book from 1940, about all the different ways to prepare bananas:

It also has a section on banana "how-to-do-it's." I like how the "how to buy bananas" part is basically just "Go to the store and buy the bananas." 

Another book I got is titled Boats - everything about the cover, illustration, font choice, and narrative voice of Boats is so delightful to me.

My copy of Boats once belonged to a boy named Chip Cate - what a name! Obviously Chip Cate's mom or some other female figure in Chip Cate's life wrote his name on the inside cover of the book, which is a little frustrating: I wish Chip Cate had written his name himself, so I could get a better sense of his personality/aura, but it's okay. I like how Chip Cate is a sort of Wes Anderson-y name for a kid, but on the scrappier end of the spectrum of Wes Anderson-y-ness, a la Eli Cash. Eli Cash means a lot to me right now because he's my favorite fictional Clash fan, one of the few Clash-loving fictional characters I can think of whose Clash-loving-ness isn't just tacked on as some lazy signifier of generic punkness/anti-establishment attitude. Eli Cash's Clash love is heavy and pure, mysterious and true.

And I got some sheets of old wrapping paper, which I'll probably never use. I guess I bought it mostly in tribute to Jack White and Meg White. If I could wrap up "being in The White Stripes forever" and give it to Jack White, I would - ever since I read that thing where he said how he would've stayed in The White Stripes till he died, if Meg hadn't wanted out, I've felt vaguely sad for him. Deep sympathy for Jack.

Another important thing about yesterday: it was Juliana Hatfield's birthday, which I learned from page two of the local paper:

One way I celebrated JH's b-day was by painting my nails grey, in the middle of a crazy early-afternoon thunderstorm, with the lights out and Earwig on. And then in the afternoon I went back down to Rhode Island with my brother and sister and my brother's buddy Mark: we went to Sunday dinner at Wright's Chicken Farm, which is this gigantic restaurant where you get all-you-can-eat roast chicken, french fries, salad, pasta, and rolls - all served family style, 12 bucks per person. Post-supper we went to the gift shop and I bought strawberry bull's eyes and Snickers fudge, and then listened to "English Civil War" by The Clash 734 times before the day was up. I also rewatched this video of The Clash playing "Janie Jones" exactly one month and 13 days before I was born. It's so perfect too. Look at Mick Jones:

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