Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: May 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Have I Mentioned? I'm In Love... With Love!

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Did you know that I am in LOVE... with LOVE!

Want to know more about me? Here are 100 THINGS more about me that you probably don't know.

Queue the song... "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer. Better yet, hit play on the Blondie cover below. "I Feel Love" Live Donna Summer Cover. Just audio, but like most other Blondie songs, it rules. 

What do I mean when I say, "I am in LOVE with LOVE." Like many others who are incapable of actually giving love, I tend to find myself in love with the gesture of love that one person (preferably a stranger) conveys to another. 

This may come as a surprise to most, but I often find myself swept away by the idea of true love, and deep love stories always bring me to my knees. There is only one other type of love that I find more mysterious and haunting than true love, that is -- unrequited love. My absolut favorite stories are those of a love that is not returned. Tragic, yet beautiful.

Read on and I will share with you two of my favorite love stories: my new favorite and my all time favorite love story.

My New Favorite Love Story 
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor

The other night I was watching the biography of King George V and Queen Mary on PBS, and although I was familiar with the story of King Edward, I wasn't aware of the love story between King Edward and Wallis Simpson.

King Edward, the eldest son of King George an Queen Mary, was a playboy, a reckless womanizer who had a penchant for married women. He ascended the throne upon his father's death in January of 1936 and abdicated by December of 1936. 

Why would a young man abdicate the throne and give up being KING of United Kingdom, Dominions of the British Commonwealth and Emperor of India? Perhaps he was crazy? Or, perhaps it was for love. 

In November of 1936, King Edward expressed his love and desire to be wed to a woman by the name of Wallis Simpson. Wallis was an American heiress who happened to be married at the time. The thought of an American sitting on the throne was impossible, what's worse, a twice divorced American!  The Prime Minister, The Church of England, and more importantly his mother, forbade it and Edward stepped down as King leaving the thrown to his younger brother (the one the movie was about). 

Wallis was forever referred to as "That Woman," a femme fatale with extreme sexual talents. To this day biographers claim to uncover new stories about Wallis and the possibility that she was a not entirely a woman, but an intersex, or suffered from Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome

Reading articles about Edward and Wallis, or the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, they were both odd creatures. He was rumored to be mad, and she was rumored to be bossy and vulgar. My favorite quote about the duo was, "Even if you hate them, you have to admit, they were perfect for each other." And in the end, what drives everyone crazy? The thought of two people who are in love unlike anyone else they've known, especially when it doesn't make sense inside their small conventional minds. 

My All Time Favorite Love Story
Dali and Gala -- the greatest love story of 20th Century! 

When I was 23, I backpacked alone through Europe. I spent nearly three months wandering and exploring whatever my heart desired - I was finally the gypsy I had forever longed to be. On my journey, I met two Australian boys and traveled with them to Spain. In Barcelona, I was told that the Dali museum was a short train ride away and that I should pay a visit. Being the pseudo-art-loving-wanabe that I was, I figured that I simply could not pass up the opportunity, and off to Figueres I went! 

Wandering the halls of the Dali museum, I was impressed and elated! Every inch of the museum was like a piece of art on it's own, it was perfect. After an hour or so, I began to notice a more than common theme, nearly each and every painting was an homage to the same woman, or at the very least, included her likeness in some way. 

As I was completing my tour of the Dali museum in Figueres, I headed to the gift shop -- I had to find out who this woman was! The only book about Dali's personal life that was available in English was a children's book, so I picked it up and started to read. 

Turns out the woman from the paintings was Gala, Dali's wife. They met when he was a young painter and she was an older woman who was already married to a French poet, Eluard (similarities to Wallis are apparent). According to the children's book, they met at a party in France, Dali was virtually unknown, and had accompanied his friend Joan Miro who was invited as a guest. 

(This next part may be made up and may be true, I sometimes have trouble with fantasy and reality - it is love after all.) 

Eluard told his wife it was time to go and she refused, instead Gala left the party with Dali. Shortly thereafter, Gala moved to Spain, leaving her husband behind, and spent the rest of her days with Dali. From that point forward they were inseparable. My favorite quote from the children's book at the museum was, "Even if you had never met Dali or Gala, and you entered a room where they were standing on opposite sides, you would feel a force - that was how close their bond was for one another." Gala was less than perfect, one article / blog post refers to her as "Dali's Demon Bride - Tales of Lust for Money and Men." 

The Immoral of My Story 

I'm not saying these stories of love are perfect, what I am saying is that for whatever reason, these two odd couples found each other in a sea of sameness. Think of the time, both women were born in the late 1800s, one was rich while the other was common, they were both (allegedly) sexual deviants who possessed strong characters, and both of their husbands were rumored to be homosexual. Why? 

I don't care what they were or what their husbands were. All I care about is that they found each other in a time where these types of circumstances were not just unheard of. Their love might not be the same as your love, or your parents love, but it was their version of love -- and both couples remained devoted to each other until they died. 

Dali even signed his paintings with Gala's name claiming "it is mostly with your blood that I paint my pictures". When Gala died, Dali had her buried inside the castle that he bought for her. Dali then became very ill, he moved into the castle and refused to leave until an accident where he burned his body badly and his family forced him to move out. 

It may not be right-in-the-head kind of love, but I'll take it any day over a white picket fence in the suburbs and 2.2 kids. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Morning Routine - It is Not Pretty!

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Won't You Enjoy My (Painful) Morning Routine? 

Yesterday I volunteered for a blogging challenge, this is the first blog post of a series I will be writing for the next 30 days. Don't worry, they won't all be this crappy. 

With nothing to say, I've resorted to writing about my reluctancy to wake up each morning. Please bear with me over these next few posts, I am out of practice. As my blogging gains momentum, you'll be riveted - you'll cry, you'll laugh, you'll cheer! You're welcome.

My Morning Routine
6:30 a.m. my iPhone alarm goes off

At 6:30 a.m. each morning, the first of 17 or 20 alarms goes off. I set the first alarm simply for the satisfaction of turning it off. Look at me up there, comfortably tucked away in my stark white sheets, resting my lovely head on cozy pillows, buried under my luxurious coverlet that is accented by my functional yet stylish blanket. How could one bring oneself to willingly wake from this slumber? 

Leyla in bed
7:00 a.m. denial fades as reality rears its ugly head

WGN Morning News has been on for approximately 20 minutes (or after alarm #4). Robin and Larry have made me laugh a handful of times, yet they're unable to motivate me from the bed and into the shower. At least 10 or 15 murder stories have been reported on, and I've read at least 400 nonsensical tweets.

It is at this hour where I start to bargain with myself... "If you get up now, you can have a nice leisurely walk to work, it is a beautiful day and you like walking, you need the exercise and it helps with your stress and anxiety - it sets the tone for the day. Do it Leyla, get up now!"

My bargaining proves useless, next come the threats. "Great a-hole, now it's almost 7:30 a.m., you've been laying here for one hour! You realize what this means, you'll have to cab it to work AGAIN! Do you have any idea how much you spend on taxis? You're an idiot!"

Leyla A. Getting in the Shower
7:39 a.m. steam from the shower intensifies, the inevitable is here  

I send 5 or 6 more tweets in sheer rebellion. If I step into that shower, I've succumbed - I must resist! Perhaps if I check work email I can justify being late. Anything, I'll do nearly anything to stop this madness, please god, please don't make me go to work. 

At 7:46 a.m. the ruthless day has taken me. I will spend the next 10 or 12 hours as it's obedient servant. I will not complain as I endure the horrific fluorescent lighting that makes me wish for blindness. I will smile as they walk by my cube. I will respond to their email requests with vigor. And most of all, I will not be petulant and I will not cry (even though I will want to cry so badly). 

And when the day is finished with me and I am released from it's Jabba the Hutt esque prison, I will return home and fight sleep for a few hours. For I only have a few precious hours until the cycle repeats itself. In that precious time at home, I will lay still and alone and watch King of Queens in my pyjamas. 

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nick Cave at SXSW '13 - a Post Lingering in Draft for Months

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Nick Cave Interviewed by Larry Sloman at SXSW '13

I've had this SXSW post lingering in my drafts for two months. I wasn't going to post it but I figured what the hell - it's written, just post it. 

Tuesday was my last day at SXSW Interactive, I had a late afternoon flight. I was able to catch one AM session and one afternoon session before leaving for the airport. Lucky for me, there was one "all access" session in the afternoon (usually the Music sessions are reserved fo those with Music badges). The afternoon session was A Conversation With Nick Cave - with Larry Sloman.

The best part of the "conversation" was probably when Cave first entered the room. Everyone got up and started taking photos with their phones - and iPads, like the dude above. People look so stupid when they take pics with their iPads. I opted not to bum rush the stage for a photo, but as you can see, others had no issue being a-holes. After 2 seconds of this nonsense, and without much thought, Cave blurts out something like, "Are you all going to be doing that the whole fucking time?" He then offers the audience an opportunity to all take photos for a few minutes. So, then I did.

The conversation went on for about 55 minutes, but I think most of us could have stayed in that room all day long listening to Nick Cave use his fancy words to describe his strange life. I did not know much about Nick Cave prior to that afternoon, but I was truly impressed with how eloquent and witty he was - especially for a junkie / alcoholic / degenerate. This session was most certainly a highlight of SXSW for me.

Want to read more details about Nick Cave? Keep reading... I managed to weave my personal opinions into details of the interview - because, well, it's my blog and I do what I want here.

Childhood influences
The Johnny Cash Show. I didn't realize it was American, I just thought he was this weird guy who was Australian. In Australia, we never had our own cultural influences, we always looked over to seas to America and Britain. The Johnny Cash Show was really important to me when I was 9 years old because there was something very evil and dangerous about this particular character, and I responded to that.

Looking for culture 
In Australia we dreamed of going to Melbourne for culture, and then when we got there, there wasn't any culture there. Then we dreamed of going to England, and when we got there, we found there wasn't any culture there either. Turns out looking for culture was always a bit of a disappointment for me.
I can relate, looking for culture has always been a let down for me too. I find most people are average. And, I have yet to find a society that is more cultured than the next. Maybe culture is found within.  

School and failures 
My friend Eddie Baumgarten had a still in his house and we formed The Triple A Club: Anti Alcoholics Anonymous (he was 12 at the time). I was expelled and sent to a private school when I was 13.

(Later on) I failed out of art school, and I was amazed because I thought I was actually really good. When I failed out, it really closed up something which I thought I was supposed to be doing (he wanted to be a painter), but I was shocked.

Our band would play in small bars and we were hated by the audience - we were hated in Australia. It was assumed we were gay, so in response we dressed in drag.

Fathers death 
I got in a lot of trouble for robberies and stuff, I was in the police station with my mother when I found out my father died in a car accident. The Australian police were quite calloused at that time... and it was a time when the bottom of the bag dropped out and everything fell out.

I using heroin at the time, and it was considered a recreational drug, it didn't have the stigma it does now, it was the drug of choice for many people. It was easy to get, lethal, but highly effective.

The Boys Next Door 
(The name of his band when he went over to England.) We were looked at by the English papers as this weird band from Australia.

Everyone was living in squaller in England, the rich were rich and the poor were poor. They still are. We were these middle class kids who came from Australia in the winter, with no money, we all lived in the same room. We were still using heroin in England but it was not part of the culture of music in England at the time, we were looked down on as a junkies.

I became the singer because someone in the band told me, "You're the unmusical one." I still feel very much an impostor in the whole music scene... which I am quite happy about, honestly.

This comment resonated with me too. I think people in every profession feel like an impostor at some point. For some of us, feeling like an outsider helps us keep our edge. We work harder because we're always afraid someone is going to find us out.   

The most dangerous band in the world
There was a guy in the band "Bingo" an ex-Marine who used to look after us, unsuccessfully. His job was to confiscate weapons at the shows. The violence / interplay with band and the audience would often get out of hand. It got to the point where people came out to the shows because this (violence) was expected.

Berlin - the impetus of breaking up the band 
It had just reached its time. I had a lot of difficulties with Roland, he was unhappy that I was singing his songs and he wanted to sing it.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Larry Sloman reads a one star review from Michaelangelo in the NY Post: "With Nick Cave it is simple, if he's rocking, it might be worth hearing. If he's not, it isn't." As Sloman went on with the review, watching the reaction on Nick Cave's face was not easy. He was visibly bothered.
(Cave pauses) I had not read that review, you totally just bummed me out. Fuck him... Michaelangelo, what a name!

Writing a book
Berlin was an amazing time, I had three years that were absolutely amazing to me. England prohibited things for blossoming for me... Berlin, I was able to do things there that I wasn't able to do in England, I wrote a book there...

Writing a book was tougher than writing song lyrics. Song lyrics, you're driving back to the "pain of birth" with each line. When you write a book, you can get on a roll and keep going, with song lyrics, it doesn't happen that way. It isn't that way with song lyrics, writing song lyrics is like giving many births... to a watermelon out of the tiniest orifice. Whereas, writing a book is like giving birth to one really big watermelon - once it is open it just keeps going.

Cave on drugs and greatness 
Larry Sloman: You were a great workaholic for a man who was taking a lot of drugs. You were more productive than William Boroughs.
I take offense to that... (pause, laughter, pause). I meant the "great" part. I watched a lot of videos in rehab, not writing or doing anything. I thought, this is what being sober is like, just watching a whole lot of videos.

Biggest hit of his career - Murder Ballads 
We didn't know what to do with it, so we put it on the album. But it was a hit - mostly because I did a duet with Kylie Minogue on it, a moment that still resonates very positively with me. She had a very lovely effect on things for a while. Through her own resilience, she has a great outlook and way of effecting things.
Cave spoke highly of Minogue, which made me tickle inside just thinking of how much this must have irritated the hipsters in the crowd. For those of you who don't know, Kylie Minogue is a breast cancer survivor, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 - maybe the resilience to which he was referring.
Song with PJ Harvey
We kind of fell for each other for a while... that kind of ended.
PJ Harvey is straight? Who knew?!? In any case, I don't see the two of them together. Even thinking about both of their really skinny bodies against each other kind of freaks me out.   

MTV Music Awards 
Larry stumbles when reading his notes regarding the MTV Awards, and as he says "Best Male..." Cave cuts Larry off and announces, "Best Male".

In 1996, Cave declined MTV's nomination for Best Male Artist with a letter to MTV. Below is an excerpt, or read the whole letter here.
My muse is not a horse, and I am in no horse race, and if indeed she was, I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes...

The end of the conversation
The conversation went on for a while, but the questions turned into answers more quickly. Cave explained that he turns down all sorts of commercial opportunities, including a sanitary napkin company that wanted to use the song, "Red Right Hand". Cave paused and said, "I mean the mind boggles."

The conversation ended with Cave discussing his current wife and his feelings towards her...
I feel that I know her better in the songs that I write about her... it makes me feel close to her, I feel somehow that I weld myself to her in those songs. It is very much an invented world that these songs operate in...
While listening to Cave for those last few minutes, my anxiety was building - the clock was ticking and my flight was getting closer. I left the Austin Convention Center that afternoon wishing that I had an invented world where I could operate. And when I boarded the plane, I realized I had no invented world where I could operate! 
What I had was a super real world, with no choice but to operate. My world had 500 unread emails waiting for me. Plus, it was only F'ing Tuesday - I had to got to work for another 3 days after not having slept for the past 5. Until next year SXSW.