Y’all, I am TIRED. Like, the “I’m not even sure if I’m thinking clearly anymore” kind of dead-behind-the-eyes exhausted that comes with a busy week doing too many things, none of which are sleeping. When I romanticized this whole burning the candle at both ends thing as a kid, I did not at all consider this part of it.
Anyway, switching the format this week because there’s just a lot of STUFF to share. Media recs to return in the next newsletter, don’t worry. (jk i know no one is actually worried about any of that stuff but me!)
anyway whatever sorry love u,
SOME THOUGHTS I HAVE BEEN THINKING
All of Us and None of Us Are The Young Dudes
My friend Carly and I have been asked “how do you girls know this music?” so many times at concerts now that we have begun to place bets on how soon the question will arise and how many the evening will hold. This is partially our own fault, really. We have a penchant for boomer artists, always have, and a few years ago, when more and more of them started popping up on year-end In Memoriams, we made a vow to see as many live as we could. Hence, our lowering of the median age, hence the constant questions.
Earlier this week, Carly and I went to see Mott the Hoople’s reunion concert at the Beacon. Friends, we did not even make it inside the doors on Wednesday before we got our first “well, aren’t you the youngest ones here!” of the night. We were, and that it was more egregious than usual made us laugh even harder.
In the middle of the set, I went to the bathroom and a woman washing her hands next to me asked if I could take her photo. Her hair was stiff and glistening with grease, set in the kind of thin, crunchy twirls you wore when you were 12 and tried curling mousse for the first time, spraying an egg shaped dollop of the pale foam into your palm even though the directions said a quarter size was enough and massaging it through your still-soaking wet hair.
“I’m sorry,” she laughed. “It’s just that I’m having a good hair day.” (And, really, whomst among us has not shamelessly snapped a photo or 43 of ourselves to capture a fleeting moment where we felt like maybe we aren’t so hideous after all?)
“It’s no problem! Of course!”
“My friends keep telling me to wash my hair, but it looks good right now! You got curly hair, you know how it looks better not washed, right?”
I thought for a second about how even briefly touching her hair would leave a slimy residue on the pads of someone’s fingers while I snapped multiple shots on her phone. Girls know to never just take *one* snap, that the best photos we share of ourselves are usually the result of a lengthy process of eliminating all the terrible ones. Girls will always silently do other girls a solid in this regard, even more so when asked in a bathroom when both parties are at least two drinks in.
I handed her phone back and she thanked me and she said “it’s a real sausage fest up there” and I laughed and nodded and said “have a good night” and went back upstairs to rejoin the mostly male masses.
Mott the Hoople’s biggest hit is the David Bowie-penned glam rock anthem “All The Young Dudes.” Bowie once claimed that it’s “no hymn to the youth, as people thought. It is completely the opposite,” but it’s hard to see it any other way. When they played it in the final encore at the end of the night, I looked around at the audience that was comprised of about 90 percent white men old enough to be my dad, many a lot older than that. They all looked the goddamn same to me.
By that point, even those who had spent the evening sitting down now rose in their seats and their dense bodies began to overflow into the aisles and pack in tight and everyone sang along at the tops of their lungs, even the line where they say “speed jive, don’t wanna stay alive when you’re 25” despite living decades past that mile marker. And everyone waved their cell phone flashlights in the air because it was 2019 and not 1972 and I couldn’t help but think about that lady in the bathroom and remark out loud, “literally no one here is a young dude.”
And it was funny timing because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting older. I know this is probably insufferable coming from a 27-year-old, but my birthday is next month, so it’s the season for me to dwell on the passing of time and all of the ways I have and have not spent it. This is how I’ve always been, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
And I have to laugh because this is just Classic Me, always looking back or looking forward when I should be focusing on what’s right in front of my face in this moment. I’m always trying to skip any detours and speed towards the finish line where I will emerge fully formed and knowing all the Things I'm Supposed To Know even though the length of this race is anybody's guess and all those Things I'm Supposed To Know are learned along the way. As a runner, I am terrible at pacing myself — alway going out either too timidly or pushing too hard, never an in-between — so no wonder I’m like this in life.
Anyway, thinking about aging just depresses me, because I am acutely aware of how I think about it as a woman (if you rolled your eyes at that, it's okay, I did, too) and how that feeling like you’re running out of time — an even larger scale running out of time than just the biological clock bullshit — is a very female feeling to carry. It just bums me out, I guess, because I look at my friends — most of whom are older than me, by anywhere from 10 to 40 years — and they’re smart and cool as fuck and accomplished while continuing to stomp through uncharted territories. But they all have, at one point or another, voiced similar sentiments of inadequacy and insecurity in conversations. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine disparagingly referred to herself as an “old bag of bones” and it just made me so sad because she’s brilliant and funny and weird and chic and — pretty much anything and everything but a bag of bones. And it just hurt a little to think about how our patriarchal culture loves to put an expiration date on a woman's worth. And it stung a little to think about how we got dealt the same bullshit cards, she and I. The older we get, the less value society tells us we have.
I thought about that again on Wednesday night, watching Ian Hunter, who will be 80 in June, turn on riotous glam charm seemingly without a second thought to how it would appear for a man of his age to do that. Surrounded by mostly average senior men who still saw themselves as the young dudes, I thought how none of them would ever think of themselves as anything resembling old bones, bag-like or not. I rolled my eyes, then pushed the thought to the back of my brain, and stubbornly tried to join them.
STUFF I WATCHED
and i would ask for you to consider the fact that your icons were not always icons
lol SIKE! I only watched this once and that was to cringe at my own voice and make sure I wasn’t totally horrible before I shared it.
The monthly music writing series Words and Guitars had me join them this week and I did my best to write a new essay on my Moby Dick of a story (for those of you who slept through high school English: we’re talking about the great white whale I will spend my life chasing) for it.
It’s about Buckingham Nicks (1973) — I know, some of y’all are like can you write about something else!? But this is different, I swear! — and growing up and the special albums that are with you throughout that process. And also, importantly, about remembering that people change and death is coming for all of us — even the icons.
You can watch it here. Or, conversely, read it here. I'm weirdly proud of it (for once in my life!) and have been told I brought the feels, if that is any incentive.
STUFF I WROTE
How Schitt's Creek turned Catherine O'Hara into a couture queen
(brb I'm still crying over the season finale this week)
okay that's it that's the end thanks bye