Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Sven carpetbombing

Sven is carpetbombing me with stuff on his mailing list right now. I think I enjoy reading 1 in 3 things he sends me. I guess that’s better odds than flipping through the channels on a TV, and there aren’t any commercials.

The other day when I was talking, recording, and driving at the same time, I got on a major rant on commercialism, society, and what hasn’t changed since the fifties. I wish I could transcribe it, add more, and get it into it. A summary – all of these Newt Gingrich types want us to go back to he wholesome fifties, a time of family values, blah blah. People have forgotten that the fifties were full of racism, intolerance, the start of the cold war, and the beginning of mass consumerization and the homoginization of America. The sixties happened because the fifties happened. That’s all I’ll explain for now.

I considered starting On the Road last night, after all of this thought of tracing his roadtrips across America in a rental car, taking Hi8 and 35mm images of everything along the way. I’ve managed to read On the Road every year for the last four or five years, and it’s about time for another reading. But I didn’t have the energy for something new, so I read a few chapters from Burroughs’ The Soft Machine. It’s always interesting to fall asleep with stuff like this in your head.

I’m going to look at some more journals.

06/24/98 21:58

A mental circle:

I’m listening to Sigue Sigue Sputnik, a strange throwback to about 1988 for me, when I found the tape in a record store in Stratford, Ontario, and I remembered my friend Roger Eppich’s advice that I should seek out this album at all costs. (At the time, all of the Canadian tapes I found had black shells instead of clear or white. Is this normal? A unique fad to that point in time? Is anyone on Open Pages even old enough to know what a cassette tape is?)

I bought the tape, listened to it on the bus trip home (it was all at night, and they parked the busses for an hour at a rest stop at 3 in the morning when they discovered that the itinerary didn’t account for the difference in time zines) and then the next morning, I went to Roger’s to tell him about the tape and to show him a copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, my first copy on CD – I’d already spent years memorizing a version Tom Sample dubbed on tape for me from the vinyl. Roger had pierced his ear since I’d left for Canada, and he said he did it himself. I asked him to pierce mine, and two seconds and no numbing later, he did.

Hell, that circle didn’t work like I planned it. There are a lot of interlocking references, but none circular. I wanted to do an A -> B -> C -> D -> A, but it fell apart. There are some other weird references I could mention from the above – I heard the song “Mother” on the radio today, and I still know all of the words; Roger Eppich lived with Tom Sample briefly in 1987 before Roger went completely insane; something else involving roadtrip with either of these bastards. I’ve spent forever talking about roadtrips with Tom, but one time me and Roger loaded up his piece of shit Citation after a Friday night of work at Monkey Wards and drove to his girlfriend’s place in Middleoffuckingnowheere, MI. Roger could drive like a maniac – we must’ve been airborne at least a few times – and we listened to a soundtrack of what was the coolest industrial mix tape you could hope to find in 1988. We get there, and this weird Bladerunner-esque trip dumps us into the most run-down Pizza Hut in the world, where we ate cheesy bread and waited for this girl to finish work. I can proudly? say I’ve eaten at small, redneck Pizza Huts from New York to Washington, and they’re all the same – families bringing in an army of kids for the weekly “restaurant” food, some idiot feeding quarters into the jukebox and picking the same Winger song 20000 times (once, at the Goshen Pizza Hut, we (me, Tom Sample, maybe Matt Wanke) got there just as a huge line of religious motherfuckers walked in. I went to the juke, fed in a fiver, and picked all of the AC/DC songs on the list, mostly the songs “Hell’s Bells”. (On another side note, my independant testing labs have confirmed that Back in Black is the best all-time CD to have in the player at a pub when you’re getting shit-faced drunk with a couple of buddies. There was a bar called Bear’s Place that was stumbling distance from my house, and once when I was there with my old roommate Yusef on $2.50 pitcher night, I heard the tolling bells and realized they were going to play the whole thing through. We tipped back about 5 pitchers between the two of us during the next 10 tracks, and it really hit the spot))

I don’t even remember if Roger even brought the girl back to Elkhart, or if we just went to say hi for an hour and eat free shit at Pizza Hut, or what. I know that on the way he gave me the “she’s got friends” speech, and when we got there, she gave me the “boy, I wish I could think of a friend for you” speech. Not that I would’ve known what to do back then – even with millions of years of genetic predispositioning, I would’ve been lost. At least Roger was cool enough to occasionally try to steer me in the right direction – give him five bonus points for optimism.

I’m now listening to Billy Idol – it’s some kind of nostalgia night. Believe it or not, but for a brief period of time, I had short, spiked, platinum hair similar to Mr. Idol’s. I don’t have any good pictures of it, though.

I don’t want to spend all night writing pages of obscure stuff that will throw 98% of my readers (what is 98% of 4?). I’ve got a book to write, so I better get to it.

It’s after midnight…