I think, judging by the last few days, that we’re officially out of the part of fall here in Portland where it’s lovely weather: cold, and crisp, and gloriously sunny for the entire day. Oh, we’ve still got parts of that, sure — it was sunny earlier today for awhile, and the cold thing is certainly going on; it was 40 degrees when I woke up this morning — but the combination has slipped away and we’re headed into the slide towards winter, when everything’s darker and more wet, and it somehow feels more difficult to want to go outside for any reason, especially in the evening. It’ll be cold out there! And probably raining!
I feel like I’m noticing the weather more, this year; I felt like that was true during the summer, and it’s true now. There were moments in the summer when I’d just stop and look up in the air and the sky would be entirely empty and blue all around me, and everything felt so still. It would feel magical, in some way, that stillness and peace and the feeling of being so entirely in one moment out of nowhere. Right now, it’s a different feeling; something less still, but no less peaceful. I can’t describe it, not really. A sense of feeling particularly present, for want of a better way of putting it. I blame it on getting older, although “blame” isn’t the right way of putting it.
I read The Guardian‘s Best Albums of 2015 So Far list with a lot of interest this morning, in large part because I hadn’t heard of the majority of things on it. I’m a living cliche, I thought to myself; I’m one of those people who lost touch with music as I got older. I’ve been thinking a lot about music over the last few days, particularly the music of my youth — the Britpop era, or really, the Britpop ends era, 1995 through 1997 or 1998 — thanks to conversations I’ve been having on social media. Music was very much part of my life then; specific memories have soundtracks with such clarity that just isn’t the case anymore.
Part of that is that I was running with a very music-focused crowd, and it was the mid-90s with Britpop making all of us far more interested in music than we would’ve been even a few years earlier. Blur and Oasis releasing singles on the same day was a news event, somehow, which seems absolutely insane in retrospect. I defined myself through music — these are the bands I like, these are the sounds I listen to; this is the fashion I aspire to, as delivered by the bands, and so on.
What’s so interesting for me looking back is what happened as that broke down and fell apart. When Blur made Blur and Supergrass’s In It For The Money was, let’s be honest, a disappointment with the exception of three or four tracks. The feeling of needing to move on, and what I ended up moving on into. Somehow, I found bands that purposefully pushed elsewhere with their influences, and more importantly, pushed their fans towards those influences, so I could go from rifling through the 1960s British Invasion of the Small Faces and the Zombies to Sun-Ra and Steely Dan and the more out-there sounds peddled by Super Furry Animals and Primal Scream, or Googie Rene Combo, sampled and stolen for David Holmes’ “My Mate Paul.”
Those later bands weren’t the kinds that demanded the tribal devotion of an Oasis or a Blur, but they were more important to me, in the end.
Current reading: Kim Zetter’s Countdown to Day Zero, which is about the origins of the Stuxnet virus and the discovery of those origins by a bunch of anti-virus analysts who had no idea what they were getting themselves into. It’s a very enjoyable book, and was in my head when I saw the trailer for Spotlight, the new dramatization of the Boston Globe’s investigation into catholic sex abuse scandal back in 2003; in both cases, it’s people just doing their everyday jobs who end up in the middle of these amazingly dramatic, important world-changing events. It’s the origin story of our times, now — something that’s kind of interesting to me, because it speaks at once to a democratization of these kinds of narratives (No longer are you destined for greatness! You’re just working for the weekend!) and a weird pandering towards the audience (Hey, this could be you).
Also been catching up with Doctor Who, which I’ve fallen entirely out of synch with. I’m in two minds about where the show’s at right now; on the one hand, it’s in this weirdly dark place that’s at odds with its stated “This is a kids’ show” purpose, but on the other, when semi-binged (I’m watching each two-parter as one continuous movie, albeit over a fragmented, extended period because I can’t carve out enough time to do otherwise), I’m really really digging the “Doctor has clearly seen Clara die and is trying to deal with his grief by running throughout time to have more adventures with her before she died” theme to the season, and Capaldi’s really working for me as the Doctor right now. So… mark me down as selfishly into it, but saddened that I’m probably contributing to the show’s decline, somehow.
I haven’t really written about Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts, which I really should have by now — it’s a podcast crossover featuring episodes of a bunch of favorite shows, and by now two of my three episodes have been released: the opening FanBros episode, and the super-fun Less Than Live with Kate or Die episode. Weirdly, the whole thing got written up in The Guardian the other day, which is… surreal? And wonderful? But mostly surreal? Comics podcasting will never be the same, apparently. Perhaps this will end up being the greatest legacy that I leave to the Internet, which I would actually be entirely okay with. I mean, before this, my legacy was pretty much being the source for a number of Wikipedia articles…