There is a terrific recording studio located on Division Street just west of Western Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. You know when you use a preset on a keyboard or recording application there usually is a default “Large Room” setting. I swear that setting is copied from this very studio also known as Strobe Recording. The room sound is as ideal as they come. Jamie Wagner, owner and proprietor of Strobe, occasionally hosts an event called “Strobe Sessions.” Well…he has for 63 times in the past 10 years! And Number 63 happen this past Thursday and I got to catch a terrific live performance of The Plastic Red Buddha including songs from Sunflower Sessions…this week’s Joup Friday Album. Local Chicago is good.
More and more frequently I find myself wondering whether the world has always been this despicable or if I’m just becoming more conscious of it. Concurrent with this feeling is a realisation that our generation is being increasingly more spoilt with a Pop Culture smorgasbord: the Heroes of our youth dominate the Box Office, favourite bands of the past reform and tour, the best TV show of all time revived after a 25 year hiatus, Comic-Con has gone supernova. One of the few gifts of being a dentally challenged, pallid skinned Brit is an ever healthy cynicism possibly attributable to being of an island nation still living on a pension from a highly questionable Imperial legacy, which during the best of times enables many of us to take a dim view of anything that on the surface seems too good to be true. Back in my teens when I thought ‘The X Files’ was giving me a window into the clandestine machinations of the world’s superpowers my dad calmly and succinctly cut through my teenage distrust of his adulthood by putting it to me ‘hypothetically’ that THEY would love it if we were ‘watching the skies’ rather than paying attention to what was going on in front of our noses.
Do you remember what you did in your spare time when you were in seventh and eighth grade? I remember babysitting, playing baseball in the street with my friends, swimming in my backyard pool, and wasting an inordinate amount of time trying to beat The Legend of Zelda. I was also in the school band which met once or twice a week, and I took lessons for which I was rarely prepared. Our band concerts were twice a year, and I am pretty certain our audience consisted of mainly our parents because, quite frankly, they were the only ones brave enough to subject themselves to the torturous cacophony of a junior high band concert. This experience starkly contrasts with the experience the students have in Central Middle School’s Symphonic Band.
I moved to Los Angeles almost a decade ago, fresh out of my 20s and still basically a newlywed. I was coming from Chicago, where I’d met my husband, Shawn. He had lived his entire life in Chicago, specifically in the south suburbs. Meeting Shawn and his tight-knit group of friends was like being thrust into the pages of an Andrew Greeley novel. Irish, middle-class, witty, fatalistic … it was something I found hard to relate to at first, since my own experiences were so different. But Shawn was only informed by his past; he was also his future. So when I got an offer out here for a job, he put our persnickety feline, two computers and an aluminum softball bat “just in case we run into trouble,” into his car and we set off.
I think I am probably “wanted” in West Texas, although God knows where exactly.
The problem started east of El Paso.
- The first 100 miles: This is so beautiful!! I’m so inspired! So spartan and gorgeous, and unique! I wish I could paint!
- The second 100 miles: Hmm, interesting. A border control checkpoint. “Yes, sir, I’m a citizen of the USA.” I wonder about the effectiveness of this operation. It’s broad daylight on the main road. Do you think anyone ever says, “No, I am from Cartagena, and I have 50 kilos of coke in the trunk.”?