Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Death metal and blind accordions

I can’t really write about what’s on my mind right now, except to say that I’m not feeling great today. I still don’t know who reads this or why, so I’m forced to tiptoe around assorted facts about my current mental well-being. While I agree that this is stupid, it’s probably best that I don’t drag other people’s lives into a public forum.

I can tell you that I’m listening to a lot of death metal these days. As I work on the book, it’s become essential to listen to the same stuff I had in the player back in 1992, so I’ve been burning CD-R’s of stuff as a sort of soundtrack. And it’s the only kind of music I like when I’m in this weird, mixed mood – half-depressed, half-pissed. Why would I want to listen to Tori Amos whine incessantly about how her boyfriend doesn’t love her anymore, further driving me to the edge, when I can put in the Satanic deathfuck of Blood Coven or something similar? It combines the power and hatred I wish I had with the nostalgia and memory of a distant time where I probably didn’t feel any better, but I was in much more comfortable surroundings. And it’s slightly less embarassing to getting caught with Yes – Big Generator in your walkman.

The album of the day is Dismember – Death Metal. I like a few things about these guys; one is that they’ve managed to put out new albums each year that are innovative yet still stick to the basic, thick, detuned Swedish death metal sound without drifting into pseudo-industrial, electronic, sampled bullshit like so many death metal bands that ruled in 1992 and are now working at a 7-Eleven. Their production is also phenomenal – the mastering, the way the whole CD comes out sounding ten times louder and heavier than the average CD. And their albums start off completely kicking ass, and push at this level of intensity all the way through. Although I’m not into Death Metal as much as I’m into their first or second album, it’s consistent.

On the train home last night, there was this blind guy with an accordion. I’ve seen him before, mostly causing a clusterfuck of congestion on the stairs at the train platform. Last night, he started playing on the ride home. It was a real disaster, only because the car was swaying back and forth and slowing and speeding up, and here’s this guy with a huge metal box strapped to his chest, both hands busy pressing the keys, and at every movement, I was certain he was going to plummet across the whole length of the car and take out four people with his needle-sharp blind cane. Luckily, nobody was hurt, and he got to play, and he even made a couple of bucks for his efforts.

I’m feeling less pissed now, but I have a bunch of work to do on the book before the end of lunch, so I better get to it.