Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Screams and whispers

First of all, I’ll get all of the zine stuff out of the way:

I am waiting for a proof to arrive (early next week?) and then it will be live and you will be seeing much more spamification here telling you why you’re an idiot if you don’t buy a copy. I have the first proof (no ISBN) sitting on my desk and it is easily the best issue yet. It looks incredible, and has more good stuff from more new people and more published writers. Anyway, go here for more info.

The weather’s shifting fast, and it’s doing weird things to my head. First, it’s literally doing weird things, because I have some allergy or allergy-like headaches and congestion. I took an Allegra today, which means I trade the headaches for this feverish, mindless jittery feeling all day. But the weather’s been odd; it was cracking the 90s one day, and the next is was barely at 50. It’s been hot for a while, so the sudden warp in the weather is pretty weird. And I swear there is some correlation in these pressure changes or temp snaps that force my brain to dial up memories from some point in the past when the same thing happened. And it’s not memories, like I’m reminiscing about a long-lost restaurant or a girlfriend that never was. It’s like I just feel the essence of that time, and then in order to somehow quantify that, a few brief memories slip in.

Case in point: on Friday, it was lunchtime, and Sarah had the car, and all of the lunchmeat in the house was green. I hit F12 to see the weather on my Mac Dashboard, and it was 59, so I grabbed a light jacket, an iPod, and started walking south. For whatever reason, the temperature or change in barometic pressure or something reminded me of the band Anacrusis, so I dialed up their album Screams and Whispers on my little white music box.

Anacrusis is either a minor historical footnote or an inside joke to most of the metal community. And I don’t even consider myself a member of the metal community anymore. But back in the early 90s, as thrash metal gave way to Death Metal and then the industry or the bands or the fans (or all three, since usually the same people had bands, zines, and basement record labels) suddenly realized that every band out there continuing to release the same exact Sepultura record was not a sustainable plan, so labels tried to branch out with all of these fusion ideas: death/industrial, death/hardcore, rap/metal, thrash/gothic, whatever. And Anacrusis fell into that slot on the Metal Blade lineup for two albums. The St. Louis-based four-piece took a thrash approach and tried to mix in some prog-rock influence, like Fate’s Warning or Queensryche or whatever. The good news is that all of the fans into this album thought it was completely over-the-top. The bad news was that there were about eight fans of the album, and after their 1993 album, they fell off the face of the earth.

Now back when I was doing Xenocide, I was getting a lot of record label demos and advance copies. (I was also getting record reviews from a future Al-Quaeda member, but that’s another story.) Marco at Metal Blade fed me a lot of tapes, and for whatever reason, this tape ended up in the walkman quite a bit. In the spring of ’93, I was carless, and walked everywhere. And for whatever reason, I have this really distinct fragment of a memory of walking to the grocery store or mall or laundromat, and I was listening to this tape. Every day, I walked at least a mile to work, to shop, to get out of my tiny cell and clear my head. And that album, that music brings me right back there. The album itself is not that memorable; I couldn’t name a single song on it, and there were no big breakthrough hits or whatever. It’s not the kind of album that you buy because it’s got that “Hm Hm Hiiim” song on it. It’s very ambient in that aspect, very background to me. Maybe that’s why it stuck with me.

And what’s weird is that when this happens, I don’t think about the girl I was dating then, or my job that I was working day-and-night, or the classes I skipped, or anything else. It’s just that walk, just south of 3rd Street, cutting through the yards and church parking lot to get to the Eastgate Plaza.

Anyway. My typing ability is rapidly declining. I was going to mention that I took a tour of Coors field last Wednesday. I was the only one there, so my $7 got me a personal tour. Photos are here. It was interesting, especially when I actually got to walk across the field on the warning track, a dozen feet from home plate, and then into the dugout. It’s a lot less glamorous than I’d thought; I mean, every single one of these guys make at least five times as much as I do, a few of them a hundred times as much, and they’ve got a wooden bench to sit on that’s about as nice as one a bum sleeps on in a public park. I don’t know why, but I thought they’d at least get some kind of Herman Miller shit in there, or air-conditioned ass pads. Still, very interesting.

OK, time for lunch.