Although I probably should have been writing my numerous papers that are due this week, last night I went out to see Q and Not U, my favorite band of recent years. Although I’ve gotten much grouchier about seeing live music – I hate standing up forever, being in a crowd, seeing crappy opening bands, all that stuff, I never pass up an opportunity to see Q and Not U when they come through town. I realized last night that its been almost five years since I first heard No Kill No Beep Beep while reading manuscripts for Akashic Books, the cd on endless repeat. That year I immersed myself in the idea of post-punk, a life after local all-ages shows in VFWs, punk rock ethics extended beyond spats about looking different and into the literary and activist realms.
As I told my friends when we tumbled out of Northsix, I’ve seen a lot of bands, been in a few, and felt strongly about music since I was 12, but no one can make me feel the way Q and Not U does. There aren’t a lot of bands that really grab me anymore, but shit, last night I remembered what its like to feel that swell of the music in my chest, as all thoughts other than “this is awesome” are banished from my brain.
It’s good to have passions. It’s good to lose myself and surrender to something so strong that it makes me knees weak and my mind go blank, letting the sound wash over me, and remember what its like to get really seriously pumped about something – a band, a poem, a protest. I’m excited about things that are happening in my life right now, but I’m not feeling ferocious about anything in particular. I’m building something, but I’m going through the motions, to the point where I’m not sure what the fuck I’m doing.
My brain feels cluttered with bullshit, weighed down by a list of things to do, a weekly checklist that wanes and waxes but doesn’t push the envelope. I have one of those grand lists for the next few weeks, but then I really need to reassess what the fuck is going on and how I can make some serious awesomeness. I just want to get back that brain fever, that light in my eyes when I talk about my next big project, stop fucking around and wasting my days staring into space. Just. No big deal.
Its nights like last night that make all this come rushing back. Seeing this band that I’ve loved for years with friends who’ve known me far too long for me to remember life before them – it’s like a check in with myself, my ethics, my motivations. I’ve invented the life I want to live – but that’s no excuse for slacking off, because this is only a marker on the road, not a fucking destination. I haven’t invented the destination yet.