SAYING LIFE IS AN IMPOSSIBLE SCHEME, THAT'S THE POINT OF THIS PHILOSOPHY
The leader quote is from the Pet Shop Boys track "Miserablism," which in its own odd way--right down to the arched eyebrow--wouldn't be bad as a retroactive theme for Hieronymus Zoo, he who was Someone Dead. And the point of picking the quote is that The Portland Mercury printed a review of the book today that is a bit mixed. Sample:
"Through it all, Rich's prose is pleasant and amiable. He makes living alone on your own island with an attractive stowaway seem pretty nice. For all the pain Rich's protagonist has allegedly endured, I Was Someone Dead is about as painless as, well, a comic book."
Ignoring that last dreadful slam at comics, I'd say the writer, Justin Wescoat Sanders, is extremely fair in his criticism. Obviously, I'm not in agreement, but it's not one of those reviews where you wonder if they mixed up the book you sent them with another book. I can see where he's coming from. It does prey on some of my insecurities about being a shallow writer, if I'm being perfectly honest, and naturally I'd have preferred a whole-hearted endorsement, but this is the gamble one takes.
And points for using the word "allegedly," which has been my favorite sarcastic tool recently. I love sticking it in sentences just to be a bitch, which, allegedly, I am quite often.
Incidentally, in reading the very essential liner notes that are included in all the Pet Shop Boys reissues from a couple of years ago (the indispensability of which makes the artist commentary on their otherwise fantastic compilation DVD all the more disappointing for its near total lack of substance), I am reminded that "Miserablism"--along with Electronic's "Getting Away With It"--were written as Neil Tennant satirically adopting the point of view of Morrissey. He was also skewering shoegazing, which was popular at the time, and in that regard, he says, "What bugged me about the shoe-gazers always looking really miserable is that people thing someone like that is really serious. It's something that endlessly bugs me in pop music--that someone with the style of being serious is always accepted as being serious. And also that anyone being playful is then not taken seriously, whereas actually being playful is actually more difficult than being 'serious,' and possibly can end up being a lot more serious at the same time."
Hear, hear. [Edit: Fixed because Maryanne said she thought I had it wrong, and sure enough, I did. I'm still waiting to see if I messed up "whoever" below and will get a lecture from JdG.]
The B-side that leads the "Further Listening 1990-1991" disc in this particular reissue, Behaviour, is one I've been putting on quite often in the last month or so: "It Must Be Obvious." I doubt it would be any great surprise to anyone that I have a thing for unrequited love, and so gravitate to songs about that (some time in late July, I think, I had an intense week of listening to The Divine Comedy, including my fave A Short Album About Love, with the similarly excellent "Everybody Knows (Except You)"). The winning lyrics here:
"We're meant to be friends
That's what it says in the script
Is it really the end
If, sometimes, I stray just a bit?
It should be poetry, not prose
I'm in love with you
Do you think it shows?
And everyone knows when they look at us
'Course they do, it must be obvious
I never told you, now I suppose
That you're the only one who doesn't know."
Read into this what you will. I'm usually in love with so many people at one time (allegedly), even I lose count, so pick whoever you wish and pretend I am sending a secret message about him or her.
Current Soundtrack: Pet Shop Boys, Behavior 2001 reissue, disc 2 (it appears to be a synth kind of week by my soundtrack choices)
Current Mood: melancholy
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich