Sunday, September 28, 2008
Whenever we go to a restaurant, my partner like to make a droll little game out of guessing what I’ll order. And damn it all anyway if he isn’t almost always correct. How does he do it? “Easy,” he will tell our guests. “I’m just look for the weirdest thing on the menu and I know that’s what he’ll order.”
I don’t mean to be contrarian. But the habit is long-ingrained. I first noticed it decades ago, because my musical self-education happened in isolation. Only gradually did I learn – for example – that it was good to be into the Rolling Stones except for the one out and out disaster of their career, the execrable Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967). Even my hippie roommate back then dismissed it summarily as “psycho-pukey!” And listening to it nowadays I can hear what we meant; yes, it’s a mess, a muddled mélange of tweetings and bleatings, but I love it precisely because of its excesses.
Plus my favorite Beatles song (after “Drive My Car”) is “Hey Bulldog,” how contrary is that??
Once an acquaintance severed contact with me for finding literary motifs in Patti Smith’s underrated album Wave. “What? You call that punk??” Well, no. Not then, not now, but somehow it spoke to me in a different way than her brasher, more consistently artful opuses.
Same with plays. Marat/Sade! How could you entertain such embarrassing twaddle! And The Fantasticks – now you’re being deliberately retrograde! And The Revenger’s Tragedy, well….now you’re just trying to be obnoxious.
Case in point: it’s true, I actually enjoy The Famous Life and Death of King Henry the Eight [sic]. As history it may be pabulum, but considered as a romance -- ! It has its moments.
And movies, don’t get me started. Let me just point out that in days of yore I was repeatedly bashed for loving The Big Lebowski (1998). How could I even refer to that blotch on the Coen Brothers’ otherwise sterling record! What a bumbling fumble, what a crass attempt to garner box office success. Now, of course, the movie’s been rediscovered and recuperated, and I am exonerated.
I expect to wait a little longer to be forgiven for my psycho-pukey proclivities.