Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wow, that link bar is one goony-ass time capsule. How many of those blogs do you think are still active? Two? Three? Still. Promise kept, belatedly.

Ed Park's Personal Days is one of those comedies about the inhumanity and insanity of office life, about how this absolute dread creeps into your soul if you stay around those places long enough. Except the book doesn't go for the easy joke the way The Office or Office Space would. Instead, it goes for total fucked-up absurdity, gets its jokes out of that. When you work in an office where nothing makes sense and people are getting fired all the time for no reason, the stuff you do there stops making sense too. I couldn't read Personal Days when I was still working at the Voice, so I bought it on the way home from work after my last day. Ed Park's a former Voice books critic, fired during the first wave of firings after I'd been there less than a year. I never really knew the guy because I'm kind of an antisocial dick at work. And anyway, the Personal Days office isn't necessarily the Voice office most of the time; I can only connect a couple of characters to their real-world equivalents. But it's still a pretty jarring and vindicating experience reading the stuff that definitely is that office: the completely deserted wide street, the card-swipers that may or may not do anything, the fucking elevator. I'm sure I would've loved Personal Days even if I'd never set foot in the Voice office, but that shared experience led to some intense hall-of-mirrors shit.

No Age at the Seaport last night: they looked small, insignificant, not really able to raise their game to the free-outdoor-show level. No surprise there; the same thing happened when I saw them at the Bowery Ballroom last year. And friends down front told me it got "wild" so who knows. But my favorite moment came when I left to go to the bathroom. Coming out of the Seaport building, I sat on a bench for a minute and watched the show from behind. This was during one of the flanged-guitar no-drums quiet bits, and I really enjoyed hearing those waves of murk bouncing off the skyscrapers across the street. It was pretty. So maybe that's No Age for me: background music for skyscrapers. Also: no "Everybody's Down"? When you're in a band, and you've got one great song, shouldn't you play that song as often as possible? Like five times in a row? Maybe they played "Everybody's Down" when I was in the bathroom.