That was Me You Thought You Didn’t See Last Night

Contrary to my personal supposition, this blog is not dead. Yes, it has been about a month since my last post, and the pressure acquired from this knowledge drives my fingers to type these opening sentences. My absence from the blogosphere hardly has anything to do with the absence of ideas. It was barely about writer’s block. Quite the opposite, my head has been full of transient and lingering ideas dancing around the subjects of music (as usual), literature and media. I confess that dwelling on these thoughts was a form of escape from the monstrous banality of academics (Microeconomics was for a while, my dementor). I’ve spent my “summer vacation” on books and on the Internet, geeking up on 60’s and 70’s rock and country. My petty excuse: the learning never stops – as well as the pleasure gained from it. In fact, I’m thinking up questions to answers and coming into realizations as you read this entry. Anyway, to clue you in regarding my mind and life’s goings-on, I briefly enumerate:

1| Never the Strangers

In case you don’t already know, my band has changed its name. We are now Never the Strangers. To those who have been asking, here’s how and why: (Warning. If you’d rather not know because you prefer excitement in mystery, don’t read it. Skip to #2. It’s okay.)

The name popped in my head as I was having lunch out. The three words came about without rhyme or reason. I decided to stick with it because it sort of sounded nice. I shared it with the band and they liked it. They placed the meaning, and I consented to the signification. It has two levels: (a) Nobody is a stranger when it comes to music. For instance, when you’re with somebody in someplace with some music playing and you hear a song you both know, you no longer are strangers to each other. (b) Leonecast (RIP) saw too many member changes in its heyday. Once the final four was settled, we decided to come up with a new name to represent ourselves. Never the Strangers carries the line-up people are now familiar with – no longer alien, no longer “strange.”

Leonecast is dead, long live Never the Strangers. Forget but don’t forget. It helps to have a sense of history because we’re nothing without it.

2| Artistic Integrity

This is a topic that has invaded my head persistently enough for me to notice. (a) The artist has multiple selves, and he has the ability to switch between those selves whenever he wishes or whenever the occasion calls for it. (b) The issue of artistic integrity is unavoidable, especially when the politics of music are thrown into the equation. What are the identities of the artist? Which of those does he feel comfortable and authentic being? Which identity does the crowd call for? What sells? Where does one draw the line? It’s a dilemma that’ll obviously be around for as long as we have a notion of what’s true and what’s false, regardless of how true or false that notion may be. Oh, and let’s not forget fame and fortune.

3| On Great Music: Present < Past

I’ve noticed that the lists of rock and pop’s all-time greats contain artists reigning during the second half of the 20th century: Dylan, Springsteen, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, the Stones, etc. I’ve had more than a decent share of hearing people say that today’s music sucks and to an extent, I believe them. Sure, there are great stuff currently out there, but none of them are as groundbreaking or pioneering as those who came before us. Some of my post-modern favorites include Interpol, The Strokes, White Lies and The Libertines. Though I adore their music, they’re somehow just derived reiterations of what was and what has been. With millions of bands saturating the airwaves and the Internet, who has the chops to be the voice of this confused, disenchanted generation? Or is it even possible to have an encompassing embodiment that lasts? Does the fragmentation leave the position constantly variable?

4| I should not have taken a management course.

I have been through three school years’ worth of “trying it out to see if I’ll like it” and ultimately conclude that taking up management is tantamount to a badly failed attempt at flirting. Finance? Not my cup of tea. Accounting and Statistics? No. Marketing? Maybe. But nobody panic. I am at peace with this fact. From this point on, I swear to make choices that will only serve to affirm my sense of self. Well, there’s one last year of management to go, but what’s 10 months in the greater scheme of things? I love music, media, writing, culture, and literature. That’s that. I’ve had it with the system.

 5| I dream of zombies every night.

Well, not really. I’ve certainly dreamt of them a few times by now, though. Admittedly, I revile blood-and-gore films in general but I am a fan of zombies in media. I haven’t seen all films about the undead, but I can name a few – that I’ve watched and are on my to-view list. I’ve read and think Max Brooks is brilliant. I am willing to play Left4Dead2 with my friends late on a Sunday night. Or a Monday night. Or a Tuesday morning. Also, I am quite certain that I’m not alone in this hidden (or not so hidden) obsession. I am one of the 26,912 people who like the Facebook page The Hardest Part of a Zombie Apocalypse Will Be Pretending I’m Not Excited because that’s precisely how I feel, even if I probably won’t stand a chance in an actual outbreak. It’s funny how I’m transfixed on a gruesome portrayal of the sameness and brainlessness of humanity. But I like it anyway. This makes wonder how twisted I really am, deep inside.

End of enumeration. I’m itching to say more, but I’ll save it for the next entry, which will be more focused and in-depth. Let this be a little update on how I’m doing. So yeah, I’m still here. Hopefully, the follow-up comes really soon. Sit tight and happy summer.


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