January 13, 2005



Listening to Party Ben's ridonkulous mashup, "Independent Room," and wondering two things:

1. How great a piece of music is "Waiting Room"? How much information can Ian MacKaye put into that modified Hetfield muted rhythm part? How dope is each break?

2. How much do I wish Beyoncé was still writing lyrics like "Independent Women"?

To deal with one of these questions, I am listening to 5-7-99 Kilkenney, Ireland: Friary Hall, one of the twenty CDs available from Fugazi Live Series. Garden variety flashbacks and mental housework: Did we seee them at The Marquee or The Academy? Neither?

Rhythm, foreground, independent parts, dub, bits of paper.

Interrogating Destiny's soldiers will take more time.

Last night's book party for Martha Cooper's Hip Hop Files was another memory wrench. I walk in and "The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight" is playing. There's a big photo of a full-car Dondi piece in front of me. I see Teddy Ted and Special K of the Awesome Two walking around in those leather jackets with other bits of leather stitched to them. (Not those quilted shits, or the baseball logo freakout ones—just like Sesame Street-type letters all over the place.) My immediate sensation is not "Oh, when I was young and vibrant," but "Oh, when the living room rug was blue," a stabilizing feeling that graffiti and b-boy electro is my safe zone. I feel more juiced and geeked to be alive RIGHT NOW, but I need these sounds and images to return me to some sort of tape counter zero.

My friend Molly and I try to get drinks but, as a recipient of Bacardi's largesse, the party is serving only drinks using Bacardi Vanilla, which is English for "ree-volting." We nurse the cough syrup in urine sample cups and try to spot famous b-boys. There's Lee Quinones with his kid, Crazy Legs with another kid, wait, there's Henry Chalfant. "Looking For The Perfect Beat" starts playing. I feel warm and calm.

I see two kids, maybe five or six years old, toying with uprock moves.

"Are they gonna battle?"

Molly says "Yes, look."

They've started routines. The first kid does the heart-beating-in-shirt move, the dead man, the pendulum arm. The second kid has faster leg moves on the floor. Neither can really feel the beat yet—that will come in a few years. Then a girl, maybe 17 or 18, crosses her arms in battle stance. The first kid finishes another routine and looks at her with a "What?" response. She she starts in, definitely old enough to hear the beat. Moves fluid and sweet, she ends with a backflip, lands in b-boy stance. They're arguing, talking, flirting, taking care of each other. If you added up all three of them, they'd still be younger than me.

"This is just better, it's just better," I start babbling.

Nostalgia is the critic's heroin: enables you to focus on your core interests, but blocks out the world. So what is the critic's cocaine?

Posted by Sasha at January 13, 2005 09:51 AM | TrackBack