Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing by John Seabrook John Seabrook was a privileged preppy who grew up listening to folk rock in the 1970s. ...

Can you feel the angst?
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As usual there is nothing to learn from now...

The best thing I heard tonight was that simply being alive was absurd. The Scandinavian girl and her piano player friend closed out the evening with a little duo performance with the suspected Icelandic girl on viola and vocals. She said that she thought that she would have a microphone and she worried that people wouldn't hear her.

She said that she hoped that we could still "get something out of it".

So it was this super-girlish, Tori Amos, you-wounded-my-soul-thing that made me want to throw-up. I could tell a fair share of the cafe was moved by it, further heightening my sense of discomfort. The piano was fair if sloppy but the melody of it was decent, if overly melancholy. 

But her voice was too raw; she reached for notes that simply weren't there and her cranium, which was evident inside her pale and seemingly paper thin skin, seemed ready to burst out of its wrapper as if to proclaim that this Nordic girl really is a skeleton and the tiny breasts bunched up messily in that tight burgundy silk dress were really just the air of illusion sent to cloud our perception. She strained on the vocals and was clearly inexperienced on the violin. 

Her lines, where there were lines and not simple one note vibrato bars, were pained and forced. But these all paled in atrocity compared with her lyrics. The first song had something about "seagulls". Enough said.

Other highlights included a line "two souls falling" (I made sure I remembered that one) and lots of words like "silver", "fire", "solitude". The last song was called "Happy Days", with the accompanying line (and I'm not making it up), "are here again", but I'm sure that this girl didn't get the irony.

I almost forgot to mention the best thing. 

During, I believe it was the first song, somebody came out of the bathroom, which was right by where they were playing, and the sound of the toilet regathering its water added a mystic, comical air to the music. Perfect comic relief but it wasn't meant like that. 

But I don't want to be too cynical. I will say that girl had a good sense of melody. If she takes a few years to learn how to play the violin and the shorter time that is needed to improve her vocals than the project would have all the making of something genuinely nice, though not something I would particularly enjoy. The lyric thing is something I'm afraid she will probably always suffer from. 

These girls who think they have come to the edge of the universe because some guy f*cked them and then won't talk to them anymore; or they are f*cked in the head because their Dad didn't pay enough attention to them and was f*cking some skinny chicken while Mom swallowed one Xanax after another and now they are puking up dinner even though they weigh 88 pounds; these girls don't have anything to teach in sharing their grief in such a one-sided and singular way. They are so inward looking to the point of pain. 

There is a greater world of suffering out there. Show a little bravery. None of us are special. Except those that transcend, that have rapture thrust upon them as a reward, not those that wait on it like a bird to perch on their window so they can write a sonnet to it and sigh blissfully. Art is dying. Art is living. Art is not you. Art is not your suffering. Art is the humanity in your suffering.

So her bony face and everyone's attention is vexing. I am not special, and I realize that after some youthful rockstar dreams, but I wanted to get up there with just me and my acoustic guitar and sing some blues for them, sing with urgency because good art is life that is urgent. I wanted to tell people this. I had big sense of my time being wasted, of worshiping false idols, of my own clock running out. 

We are supposed to humor everyone who "tries" because of their good intentions but I wanted to slay her for stepping up to this alter unprepared. But now I am being overdramatic and I know it. But its good to amplify these emotions, to put them under a microscope and see what is there. 

And what is there is profound shame and embarrassment for people who try to "express" themselves. So many of us try and so few are good at it. But still I suppose its the only true religion. With something like God at the other end. But I wonder if those who fail are the population of hell. And if I will then someday be one of the Devil's minions.

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