Smells like (short) nostalgia

Screw you, Charles R. Cross. Screw you and Heavier Than Heaven. Screw you and your research. Now I can’t let a whole day pass without listening to either Bleach or Nevermind or In Utero… and feeling the soul-crushing weight of April 1994 again. Screw you and your damn book to hell.

Of course, I’m aware that many have dismissed Heavier Than Heaven for being based mostly on the narrative of the most untrustworthy of sources — the blabbermouth Widow. But that doesn’t make his story any less painful, at least to me, a 90s kid who’s more than just a casual listener of his band and, for good or ill, considers him some sort of a personal hero, corny as it sounds.

Now excuse me while I scratch old wounds.

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Guy named Richey

MSPListening to “A Design for Life” on YouTube. Manic Street Preachers keeping me company at 2 a.m.

Just finished reading Manic Street Preachers: Sweet Venom by Martin Clarke. Details of Richey Edwards’ harrowing battle with mental illness — the self-mutilation, the eating disorder, the dependency on drinks, and finally his disappearance — shook all the sleep out of my system. Like death, mental illness has always been a terrifying and yet fascinating topic for me.

Richey Edwards. Left his hotel room without checking out in 1995 and was never seen again.

I could follow up on his sad story by reading Rob Jovanovic’s A Version of Reason, but I’m afraid doing so would put me in a very dark place inside my head, and from there it would be a long hard crawl back to the light, and even then I doubt if I could come out of it whole.

So I picked The Hot Kid instead, by the late Elmore Leonard. Critics can accuse Leonard of a lot of things, but writing depressing stuff is not one of them.

“A Design for Life” has just ended. I think I’ll listen to it one or two more times, jump to bed with The Hot Kid (man, that sounds… weird),  read until sleep comes and the vision of a lonely boy with cuts on his arms fades away.

And tomorrow when I wake up, I’ll welcome the sunshine more than ever.

What he said: Henry Miller on materialism

henry“Most of the young men of talent whom I have met in this country give one the impression of being somewhat demented. Why shouldn’t they? They are living amidst spiritual gorillas, living with food and drink maniacs, success-mongers, gadget innovators, publicity hounds. God, if I were a young man today, if I were faced with a world such as we have created, I would blow my brains out.”Henry Miller in The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, his brutal, unabashed take on American capitalism and abject materialism

Imagine reading this in Makati (or in The Fort or Ortigas Center or Eastwood or other such places), at a Starbucks perhaps while waiting for somebody, and looking at the suits and ties around you fiddling with their iPhones and Blackberrys and Samsung whatevers, or hunched over their MacBook Pros, or engaged in passionate talk on topics ranging from social media to Steve Jobs to getting a tan to market analysis, and you realize, Jesus!, Miller’s words are as true today in my country as they were in 1945 America.

And then you wonder if that feeling you have is amazement or disgust.

Bookgasm 2012

stormofswordsTo your right is my Best Read 2012 Edition. Because the murders are horrific, the characters wicked, the plot complex. Not-for-the-faint-of-heart stuff. The whole book is a big fat middle finger to anything formulaic.

For this year, it’s 20 books/ebooks, more or less 15 magazines (mostly Rolling Stone), zero comics (not proud of this) — and two significant developments: my  gore-soaked introduction to the fantasy genre, and my acceptance of ebooks as a legit format rather than Jeff Bezos’ racket to sucker us into buying his Kindle (I ended up buying his Kindle).

It was a wild ride. In 12 months I’ve been to Afghanistan at the height of the Taliban rule, to Texas playing Sherlock Holmes with a dude named Kinky, to the highly fortified NASA compound in Houston plotting the most audacious heist in history, even to the Booya Moon, where it’s always bad at night and there’s evil laughter in the woods. And more. Wherever it was, it was always exactly where I wanted to be.

Looking forward to the adventures of 2013.

Photo courtesy of Dennis “The Ill Diablo” Mendoza.