January Sucks, And You Do, Too

front yard winterOK, look, it’s the very tippy-tip end of January, and I have been so nice about it. Have I mentioned the intense and horrible cold and awful snow that will not go away because of the constant, depressing intense and horrible freezingness? Only once, last week, and pretty briefly for me. I HAVE BEEN AN ANGEL about all this, this… weather, and that is so over!!! It’s time someone spoke out: I need warmer weather now, and I’m willing to kill to get it. And I will NOT write this kolumn under these condition. I can not.

I am, after all, an artist, am I not?

Nope, OK, I see what you mean. We will begin dred kolumn. Hopefully, my hatred of everything at this moment will just whistle by harmlessly, without decapitating any innocent passersby.

They had the superbowl last week; one of those teams won, I think it was Florida.

June from across the street called up last night and said they had some new kind of Cheetos down at the Superette she thought we might like and did we want some and when and what for and could she be any help about it or would we have to just get them ourselves? and I said, yeah, probably might be better if she didn’t go to too much trouble on our account I think or something.

Winter on cape cod is a quiet time for many of us. It’s beautiful, if you like freezing horrible cold terrible terribleness; and sort of pensive, as in, omigod, when will it be over? I remember when I first moved out here, it took me a while to get used to these long, quiet winters, when nothing good ever happens. Of course, now that I’m more used to them, I really hate them. You have to live out here for a good, long while before you can be as sick and tired of all this as people who have lived out here for a good long while.

I do get a little cranky this time of year. Mrs. Kelp, who skates, and has an almost Sonya Henie-like elfish fragility to her (especially from this angle), sometimes has to restrain me from lighting the dogs (which she does effortlessly, with a firm, well-placed swat.) .

Hey! Good news! We’re at the halfway point! Let’s all take a little stretch and get a snack…

OK, back to work.

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that I thought music -new music, anyway -was actually sort of improving? You don’t? Well, good. It isn’t. I was wrong. What a weird thing to say!

I mean, for a critic to actually say something was improving -you must’ve known something was wrong with me. I actually moonlight as a musician, too, occasionally -disgusting to admit, but it’s true; I never told you that before, did I? Of course, both as a musician and a critic, I hate to admit anyone else is good; as a critic, because that means I can’t disparage them; and as a musician because of just regular petty jealousy and hatred.

I have to admit, though, that I’ve played with way more great new bands and musicians this year than at any time over the past 30 years. It used to be that you could depend on hating random opening acts, but this year, for the first time, I think I actually liked more of the bands than I hated. Strange. I don’t trust it either. Can’t be true.

Maybe I’m just getting soft, but if that were true, I’d think movies had gotten better, too… movies sucked this year, except for “Aberdeen”, “Big Bad Love”, “Amelie”, “Waking Life”, “Door to Door”, and a handful of others; but CDs may have actually gotten slightly better (which starts to make sense if you remember what a bad year it was for the record companies.) They’re still not great, and it’s hard to find ones that work all the way through, but so many folks are coming up with promising new ideas that I’m actually kind of encouraged. Spookie Daly Pride, the Eyesores, Vic Thrill, the Hives, Norah Jones, Bleu, Lightning Bolt, Shari Elf, the Shins, Amy Fairchild -that’s a pretty good crop of young-uns for one year. On the other hand, vets like Beck, Flaming Lips, Los Lobos, Of Montreal, and James Taylor came through with compelling work, too There even seems to be a smidgen less ego and hooey (we seem to have gotten over rooting for whoever could drink and take the most drugs and make the biggest mess of themselves and keep strumming -which certainly explains why no one will hire me lately); likewise, angst is at less of a premium, which is OK by me, too.

But, you know, I’m changing my mind again about last year: it stank. Any year that ends with the death of Joe Strummer is not a year we need to hear any more about again. It’s not that hard to find good bands, but the Clash were indispensable. He wasn’t done, and we’ll miss him a lot.

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