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Peter Gabriel at MSG

I saw Peter Gabriel last night at MSG, and it was… interesting. It was excellent in many ways but also really depressing in many other ways, and the whole thing really threw me by the time I got out of there. It’s strange to say that going to a show full of people and energy and music that I essentially enjoy would make me leave in a deep depression, but there were a few nerves to be pinched.

To first get this out of the way: I like Peter Gabriel’s music, but I don’t think I like people who like his music. I think it’s a very personal thing to me, and the songs of his that mean the most to me aren’t the ones that have supported his livelihood. So to go and have the guy sitting next to me yell “SHOCK THE MONKEY! SHOCK THE MONKEY!” after every other song really made me want to sell everything I own, put a unabomber-style shack on my property, and never talk to another human again.

The other thing that bothered me is that although I go to a lot of shows alone, I really don’t like doing it. And this is probably the first non-metal show I’ve ever attended. So not only was there no chance for me to talk to some other dude about the band, like I did when I went to see Rush or Fozzy or whatever else, but pretty much every guy there was with a woman, because this is the kind of show you bring your girlfriend to and hope they play “in your eyes” or whatever. And, not that I haven’t noticed this before, but I’m getting extremely depressed about being alone. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, but then there are these breakthrough points where I suddenly realize that it’s been months and months since I’ve dated, and I’m currently sustaining no relationships, and I have nothing going on where I’d potentially meet people, and I have no energy to seek out people, and things won’t change themselves, and I have no energy to try to change things. And I can push this stuff away enough to get up every day, and go to my job every day, and maybe put in a little bit of writing on my books or whatever, but when I really think about it, it completely fucking demolishes me. And that happened.

So I’m sitting there for this whole show, essentially spending the whole thing not thinking “wow, I have all of his albums, he’s great,” but rather “I wish this show was over so I could go home and completely reinvent my horrible life.” And the thing is that a lot of Peter Gabriel songs mix happiness and depression in such a strange way that they totally pulled me further into this. When I’m alone, when I’m depressed, I listen to his music, and that helps me write and create. And that means I’m not a fan of “Sledgehammer,” but if you’re depressed and you listen to “Mercy Street” or “Red Rain,” it’s not going to snap you out of it. And my whole career of depression has bookmarks in it via his songs. Even the happy songs remind me of failed relationships, like when they played “Secret World” and it reminded me of the girl I dated back when that album was out, the girl that put “In Your Eyes” on a mix tape for me and now even the first two notes of that song practially exorcise her to me again.

The concert “ended” in a very strange way. They played the song “Signal to Noise” from the new album, and it’s very heavy and deep and dark and forbearing, but absolutely incredible. It’s primarily a more tribal drum sound and some symphonic synth. As the song approached the end, each instrument would finish playing their part and the person would just put down their stuff and walk off the stage, until finally it was just the drummer and a synth playing a sample on its own. Then he got to the end, and the lights went off, and that was it. It was such a heavy and strange ending, watching everyone just walk away, and it struck such a strong impression on me that it completely blew me away.

(Of course, they came out and played a couple of radio-friendly singles as an encore, which sort of ruined it for me, but still…)

So there it is. I have a lot of thoughts and a lot of plans, but mostly I just want to go home and sleep and sit in bed and read and just try to figure out what to do next. I have a hot idea for a new book and I’ve been letting it fester in my head. I think getting onto something real in the writing department would help, but it’s also one of those times where I know that writing isn’t the answer for me and I need to figure out what is.

On that note, I better go home.

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Rabbit-proof

It’s been good weather for this Peter Gabriel soundtrack to the movie Rabbit-Proof Fence. I have no idea what the movie is about, just that it is Australian and has to do with two aboriginal girls. But the soundtrack is very dark, detailed, and somewhat ambient. It’s the perfect thing to have in the player when I am writing, and since it has been cold and pouring rain outside, it fits that climate well. I almost hope the weather is like this all weekend so I can put this CD on repeat and keep the words flowing.

I’ve been keeping steady with this Vegas story, but it feels like the more I write on “documentary” stuff like this, the more I harm myself for writing anything like Rumored again. It’s very difficult to think of following this book, especially since opinion on it has been so strange and mixed. I know I can’t go back to writing first-person, coming-of-age kinda-biographical stuff like Summer Rain, even though I essentially have another book up on blocks right now that deals with that. Sometimes I feel like I’m back to 1994 again about what to do with my writing. It’s very depressing to think about it.

I still have a stack of copies of Rumored to Exist sitting on my bookcase, awaiting the post office but I don’t know who to send them to. If you’re reading this and you don’t have a copy and you think you could somehow con a couple of other people into buying one, mail me and I will send you one. I’m not going to send them to every idiot who writes me like they are a free sample of nutrasweet gum (remember those?) but I would like more people to check it out.

Did they ever have an Apocalypse Now video game? Do you think it would cost a lot to license that shit from Coppola? I just found out that Take Two, the company that did GTA3, has an office about two doors down from me. I could swing in there, talk that shit up, and just sit around sketching up crap on a whiteboard and then sending it off to Korea or whatever to get coded. Who wrote the engine for Medal of Honor Frontline? Shit, I should look some of this stuff up on google.

OK, I’ve got time to kill until the new ER, so I’m gonna play some games.

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Up

The new Peter Gabiel album, Up is pretty damn good. The music behind it has progressed greatly over the last ten years, although in a strange way, this is not as pop-accessible to me. It reminds me much more of one of his first three self-titled albums, but if they were recorded with incredibly advanced and modern digital equipment. There’s still the world music-oriented influences on there, although in a different direction than Us. But the thing above all of it is that his signature voice is still as pronounced as ever. It’s a very strange experience, and I think it will grow on me even more after I get it on a MiniDisc and listen to it with headphones on the train for a week straight.

I can’t believe it has been ten years since the last Peter Gabriel album. I don’t remember exactly when I bought Us, but I do remember spending a hell of a lot of time listening to it in the 1992-1993 school year. It’s one of those pieces of hyper-nostalgia that ties me into that timeframe. I really remember listening to it a lot when I was briefly dating this girl Kim in January of 1993, because the song “Secret World” really reminded me of her. I also remember a night where I listened to the whole tape three or four times, when I was dragging my laundry from my house on Mitchell Street in Bloomington to the laundromat in Eastgate Plaza. It made me remember the whole routine; I’d drag the clothes there and practically explode the tendons in my wrists from the laundry baskets. Everything went in, then I would walk down the plaza. This was, of course, on a Saturday night, because I had no life. I would go to Morgenstern’s and look at some books or the magazine rack, and pick up some obscure magazine that looked cool. Then I’d go to the cheap Chinese place – was it called Grasshopper? – and order some very Americanized sweet and sour pork, and read my magazine. I guess the Peter Gabriel fit this well; Us was such an introspective and dark album, following Gabriel’s divorce and really picking at various parts of the same problems I was facing. It was such a soundtrack to the strange ups and downs of my life at that point, unlike the steady stream of Death Metal that also shared the CD player around the same time. Death Metal marked the peaks, the energy and anger of being 21 and being in college and everything else, but after that all faded and I found myself sitting alone in an apartment as a 31-year old writer, the Peter Gabriel stood the test of time.

Speaking about thinking about the past too much, I’ve been getting some letters about the NecroKonicon, the glossary about my life. I guess I’m not the only one plugging their past into Google and hoping for an answer. I wish I could do more with this thing, either expand it more or do something fancy with the layout. I also wish I knew of a better way to send this out to more people, or somehow market it or put the right spin on it. I have a hard time even describing it to people. Most of its readership is from Google. If you have any bright ideas, let me know.

I had to move all of my logs off of rumored.com today, so I did a quick report with analog to see how things stood. The directory currently getting the most hits is the Vegas directory, and I suspect that most of the hits are from people googling on stuff like “cheap vegas hotel.” And a ton of them are from google’s image search. I have very mixed feelings about this. For one, I’m running out of space posting photos, and I get no feedback whatsoever from them, they seem like such a waste of time to me sometimes. But, if I had nothing but text, my site would be incredibly boring. So, I don’t know.