Song Of The Day 8/25/2015: Lloyd Cole – “Don't Look Back”

Since there’s not too much going on this week I thought I’d give you a sneak preview of something I have scheduled for this blog in 2016. In fact it was originally scheduled for this summer, but I took my temperature and decided I really wasn’t ready to go there yet. In fact there’s no guarantee I’ll be ready to do this when I have it scheduled now, which is March 6–12 of next year. Yes, that’s my ballsy call that I’ll still be around to peddle this aphorism boutique in six and a half months. I got ten bucks riding on it. And ten bucks is ten bucks.

Anyway, the big juicy idea I have is called The Semi-Autobiography. It occurred to me a while back that up until fairly recently, most of my adult life could be broken down into segments that were somewhat independent of each other. I started out in San Francisco for five years. Then I moved to the Pacific Northwest, where I was for three years (Seattle and Olympia). Then I moved to Los Angeles for five years, then back to Olympia for another five, then finally back to Seattle, where I’ve apparently finally set down roots since I’ve managed to stay here for a whole ten years now. (Although I’ll be honest: I’ve had wanderlust for four years. There have been no takers. Make me an offer.)

How do I explain this? I guess each segment described above has existed, and continued to exist, in its own time. Meaning there’s very little crossover. With a couple of exceptions the people who knew what I did when I was in San Francisco have no idea what I’m doing now. And the people I’ve met in Seattle over the last couple of years (but not the first time) have absolutely no idea what my life was like in San Francisco or Los Angeles. In fact, there’s so much separation that I barely talk now about what life was like in Olympia, and that was only ten to fifteen years ago. They’re all independent eras and the casts of various Law & Order incarnations have been the only constants through all of them.

But I don’t want to talk about what happened in those times. I don’t have to process that anymore, and I’m staunchly protective of the people who’ve been in my life (the ones that matter, anyway, who are still around in some way or another [i.e. Facebook]). Still, I think there’s a reasonable way to describe who I was. And that gave me this idea of telling each locality’s story in the language of some of the songs I listened to. The big ones, that is – when I was walking around Market Street in San Francisco with my Walkman (ask your parents about cassettes), or driving on the Santa Monica Freeway. Some very select songs that I identified very, very closely with. So my thought was that I’d just tell the story of, say, The San Francisco Years, or the first Seattle era, etc., and do it through the lyrics of the songs instead of reliving the experiences themselves, which really wouldn’t serve any point because we don’t have those experiences anymore, but we still, in most cases, have the songs.

So, for example, Lloyd Cole’s “Don’t Look Back” would be – or would have been, I can’t use it now since it’s today’s SOTD – a snapshot of me in 1990. It’s not a literal explanation of what happened. To be honest there’s a lot I don’t remember, and what I do remember I suspect some would be thankful if I didn’t bring up, me probably most of all.

But then how would I write about it? See, that’s the stickler here, and why I postponed this whole series until next year. If I told you that “Don’t Look Back” represented an interpretation, or a mission statement, or a roughly drawn sketch of who I was in the spring and summer of 1990, then what would be the point of my writing anything to go along with it? I’d have to do a video blog. I’d probably have to have Morgan Freeman narrate. And that means we’d have to get some penguins.

Well, anyway, so, that’s the kind of existential direction I’m thinking of taking this blog, but it won’t be until I’ve figured out how to write the companion text. But hey, who knows – this time next year I could finally be in New York working for Donald Trump, and none of this would mean anything at all. We’ll see. No matter what, if you’re unsatisfied, I’ll refund the whole price of admission.

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