Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Changing of the leather jacket guard

It’s another Motorhead day – I picked up a copy of Overkill last night and I’ve already listened to it 3 times today. I also bought an Enigma CD, which must’ve looked weird to the guy at the counter.

So in listening to Lemmy and reading about Burroughs, I wonder why my life is so boring and what I can do to fuck it up more. Most people feel the same feeling, but it’s from a Green Day record or something, so they go out and dye their hair or pierce something or tear up a pair of jeans, but those aren’t acceptable “nonconformist” things for me to do for the sake of adventure or deviance. I think about stuff like writing a completely fucked up story, one where even my friend Ray just spits Pepsi out of his nose while reading it and says “that IS fucked up”.

Like I said, I have been reading a lot about Burroughs in this book – I forget who wrote it – about his years in New York in “The Bunker”, which was a fucking huge 3 room flat in the Bowery that had no windows and used to be a YMCA’s locker room. The book is a series of interviews, of Burroughs talking to artists and musicians and writers in the NY scene where art was getting decadent, music was becoming punk, and writing was just freaking out.

Simms called me last night at about 1am – I left him a message about my Disney trip, because we saw those audiotronic bears at Disney and they were singing “Riders on the Storm”, which is a Simms standard and made me think of all of the Simms standards so much that I had to break out a tape of the Surfing Richards the other day just to listen to some of it. Anyway, he told me about 20 times to go see Lost Highway, so I will have to check it out. Unfortunately, it is just a midnight movie on the weekend, so I don’t know when the fuck I’ll get in there. But it sounds abnormal enough to make me think about what I’m doing with the writing.

I also told Simms about the Small World ride, where they played the song like 2000 times and you couldn’t get it out of your head for days. After we rode Small World, I could sing the first note of the song and Karena would get all freaked out and have flashbacks, as would just about everybody else who rode the damn thing, including the ones who didn’t even speak English. So I was singing other songs all day, and then I would change the words. Like, I’d start singing the Motorhead song “(We Are) the Roadcrew”except when I’d get to the chorus, I’d sing “We are the Small World”. I did that with about every song I could remember the words to, and sometimes I wish/I’m glad I don’t have a portable DAT.

Two unrelated but related items:

First, today is my ex-girlfriend’s birthday. I don’t remember how old she will be, 23 or 22 or something. 23. I didn’t write her, because I don’t know where she is. I just remembered her birthday.

Second, I retired my leather jacket, and bought an identical one. Well, almost identical – it is from the same store, same model, but it has different stuff in the shell, feels lighter, cheaper. The leather doesn’t look as black and the belt buckle is crappier. But the smell – it reminds me of the day I bought the first jacket.

I bought that first jacket in November, 1993, with my student loan check. I bought it because she left me – because I felt like I needed some other icon, some other protective force that defined what I was. It was like a bulletproof vest. It wore on me more perfectly than any other piece of clothing I had ever owned, borrowed, or rented. It became a trademark – the Konrath jacket. Along with the Konrath walkman, it went with me everywhere. It went to Canada twice, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, California, across the country, on every roadtrip, to work, classes, bars, parties, concerts, everywhere.

Anyway, it feels weird to have a new old jacket. The cut is about the same, and at first glance it feels identical. But it isn’t the same old jacket, which makes me sad and wish it was 1993 again. But it SMELLS like the same old jacket did in 1993 – that new leather smell. It’s a brief time travel to the day when it all started. Almost…