THE WYMAN WEEKLY
Underemployed. Unattached. Unimpressed.
Issue 38 January 30, 1997
So I walk into the newly expanded Ole & Lena’s coffee shop and sense trouble. It’s now called the Urban Bean, but that can’t be all bad. I’m way more urban than Norwegian anyway, right? I order a medium coffee and then the trouble starts. Instead of giving me a mug, which is what coffee should be served in, they serve me up in one of those soup bowls with a handle on it. Egads. So I end up carrying that monstrosity and looking for a seat in their new section, which is huge and brightly lit (coffee shops, bars, and record stores should never, ever, be brightly lit) with bright paintings on the wall and two couches against one wall. I was waiting for the theme song to Friends to start playing, which I compared once to the Monkees, but then heard “Last Train to Clarksville” and decided I wasn’t giving the Monkees enough credit. Come to think of it, the most brilliant moment on Friends this season was the opening sequence where our oh-so-attractive twentysomethings walk into their coffee shop and it’s full and people are sitting where our gang usually does, so the Friends have to turn around and leave and you hope that they go to a bar or something. Anyway, I’m looking for a new coffee shop. As I’ve said before, these places are good locations for practicing looking alienated and disillusioned.
U2 / “Discotheque”: How fitting that these guys have put out my favorite disco song since INXS did “Suicide Blonde.” U2 came about partly as a rebuttal to anti-disco “classic rock” guys. I remember being at the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks when I was 18 and mentioned to my buddies I had to get going so I could go home and watch Under a Blood Red Sky on Showtime. One guy (hint as to his musical preferences: he was learning “Dust in the Wind” on guitar) accusingly asked me “aren’t they a New Wave band?” which is the same question that someone (and I’m not making this up) asked me back in ‘94 when I was talking about seeing the Black Crowes’ surprise show at First Avenue.
I was walking down Seventh Street to my bus stop after work and was looking down towards the ground when suddenly I felt a hand in mine. I looked up to see some guy shaking my hand. “Hey how’s it goin’?! You’re my man!” he yelled, then he quickly walked away. This made me look forward to summer, when the manic street preachers make their presence felt. You’ll be out on Nicollet Mall and sometimes you’re lucky enough to hear your future. So what if it involves burning in hell if you don’t change your ways; at least now you know how it all ends so you can go smoke and drink and supersize your combo. Manic street preachers can be fun, just remember to keep your hands in your pockets (that way they can’t thrust their pamphlets into your hand.) It also helps to have a quick retort on hand. Such as:
Manic Street Preacher: Jesus saves! You: Yeah, but (insert the name of your favorite hockey player here) scores on the rebound!
MSP: God loves you! You: Hey - who doesn’t?
MSP: Can I interest you in some literature? You: No thanks - don’t feel like joining a cult today.
If you do end up having literature forced upon you, do what my buddy Jason Wolf once did. He gladly took the material, and then said “So I read this and then get back to you with any questions?” Shuts ‘em up every time.
IDLE THOUGHTS FROM SUPER BORE SUNDAY
The Super Bore party here at Wymanworld started at two o’clock in the afternoon, when I woke up and headed for the shower. Why the late awakening? Well, I went to sleep at midnight and sometimes I need fourteen hours of sleep, as my usual ten-to-twelve hours on the weekend just doesn’t cut it. (In case you’re wondering: fourteen hours is nothing. Back in ‘91 I once slept for twenty-one hours straight. No chemicals were involved.) The Super Bore to me is kind of like the presidential election: I don’t really give a shit who wins, and I already know who’s going to win before I watch the results unfold on TV. But dutiful American that I am, I always tune into the event to absorb the punishment. And this year I had a vested interest because if the Patriots would have won, I would have scored some righteous bucks in a playoff pool. I turned the game on and the volume off. As much as I like John Madden, the game isn’t that complex where I needed commentary. I decided to track PJ Harvey’s career in reverse chronological order. You know how Jimi Hendrix kinda got labeled as Mr. Guitar but was equally brilliant as a songwriter and singer? (I sincerely believe that. His vocal personality would take control of a song. And his “and that ain’t too cool” aside in “Hey Joe” is cool.) Well, PJ is equally brilliant as guitarist, songwriter, and singer, but she just seems to get labeled as Voodoo Woman. A closer listen to her songs reveals tales of lust, God, revenge, Satan, and redemption. John Parish & Polly Jean Harvey’s Dance Hall at Louse Point has been called artsy. In reality, it’s a brilliant blues album, and should be played on KQRS and Cities 97, both of whom proclaim themselves “your home for the blues” and then after making such a statement always play either Stevie Ray Vaughan or apparently the only other guy to ever play the blues - Eric Clapton. The worse of the two is KQ, which plays stuff like Foghat’s version “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” and takes it serious. If they had any sense of humor at all, they’d play the Jeff Beck Group’s or Megadeth’s versions of “I Ain’t Superstitious”, both of which bludgeon the blues into submission with a lot more glee than Foghat. And the crazy thing is that Foghat lives on! Not only do they play around town every once in a while with Nazareth, Uriah Heep, and Badfinger, but Lenny Kravitz’ “Are You Gonna Go My Way” songs exactly like Foghat, and alternative hipsters think its cool! One year ago on this day was my last at (deleted), so I better crack a Grain Belt to toast one year of freedom. Mental note: January 26th will forever be honored as Independence Day in Wymanworld. Hey, the tracks on PJ’s “C’mon Billy” imported single are as good as anything on To Bring You My Love. “I need a man...” PJ howls and on the cover she’s laying on her bed with her eyes closed. Wearing nothing but a slip, some high heels and her panties are around her knees... hey wait a minute... just noticed that there’s another pair of heels on the bed and a polka dot dress. Now are those PJ’s clothes or not...? Is there more to the story of why Billy left her than we were led to believe? When did the Packers start trash talking and taunting like those thugs at the University of Miami? PJ’s Rid of Me sports some of the loudest and brashest blues since Led Zeppelin. PJ assures her man that “you’re not rid of me” even though he’s moved on to another gal. She does cruel things to his legs, or maybe just fantasizes the whole thing. “I’m man-sized” she sneers at one point, and then later declares “you couldn’t measure me / I’m twenty inches long.” You can guess what “Snake” is about, and if you’re wondering if Polly is suffering from a certain type of envy: big deal, she says, “you leave me dry.” Four Track Demos is a companion piece (actually listened to it first - I was going backwards in time and all), released by PJ when she was unhappy with Steve Albini’s production of Rid of Me. It’s as unrelenting as the full band versions. Alanis Morissette (and for that matter, Courtney Love) has yet to sing of turning the tables as fierce as these songs - with tracks like “Reeling” where PJ lets you know that “Even Aphrodite / she got nothing on me.” I never made it to Dry, where PJ sings about baseball heroes like Curt Flood. At some point, Desmond Howard ran over my hopes of winning all that green, which I would have put straight into my retirement fund. A bit later, not wanting to miss the X-Files, I figured that the post-game show was over and turned the volume on the tube up. What I heard was a Packer (not Reggie, though) going on about how it was “God’s plan” that he play in Green Bay and that “the Lord Jesus Christ meant it to be.” I hit the mute and reasoned that if God is moonlighting as the general manager of the Green Bay Packers, then I don’t need to feel guilty about sleeping through my Sunday mornings.
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