Outdoor barbecue in Los Angeles, 1946
That’s the way to do it.
As someone who graduated from high school in 1988, Lloyd Cole and Stephen Duffy created much of the score to my formative years.
This is the best thing I’ve ever seen via social media. Twitter has never made my brain explode until now.
If Roddy Frame were part of this conversation I would probably tear up with joy.
BART Map by Dave Delisle
I remember when Elliott Smith died. Not the moment I learned the news—that I seem to have forgotten in a dark fog. But I remember the time that I was living alone in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, about 5 blocks from the famous wall mural which was featured on the cover of Elliott Smith’s album Figure 8. What I remember was that it was late evening and I was inconsolably sad about his death, about the violent tragedy of how it happened, and about the fact that there would be no more of his music for this world—no more of his music for me.
I left the house and walked to the wall mural, which had become a memorial. There were candles and flowers and booze bottles, and people were writing messages to Elliott on the wall like prayers. He stood in this spot in the photograph, and so we want to stand in the same spot in order to feel closer to him while he was impossibly far away and gone forever.
It didn’t help, really. I mean, being there didn’t make me feel closer to him and it wasn’t the conduit to his spirit that I hoped it would be. But it was something I could do. And I saw other people were doing it because they felt something similar to what I felt. There was comfort in that. That’s what a funeral is for.
Tonight I found out Jason Molina died at the very young age of 39. But there was no where for me to go and nothing that I could do. I live with my wife in the suburbs, and I bet we are the only two people in town who know who Jason Molina even is. So listening to Songs: Ohia at home, writing and having a drink, will have to do. I have to admit, raising my glass to him is ironic and nearly distasteful since it was drinking that killed him. But it’s what I’m doing.
I remember, during a sad time in my life, I listened to the Songs: Ohia album Helca And Gripper over and over again; and in particular, I listened to the track Darling over and over again too. That was time I spent hanging out with Jason Molina. He wasn’t hanging out with me, but I was hanging out with him and he was my best friend at that moment. To me, his singing was the essence of Blues. I knew almost nothing about Blues music, but I knew that what Jason Molina was singing was all I wanted to hear when I was a particular kind of sad. It made me feel better. It didn’t make me happy—it made me feel better about being sad, because being sad was ok and it was human. That’s what I think Blues is. Men and women throughout history have all suffered through the experiences of death, loss, failure, fear and doubt, and singing about it is what we do to make it better enough to get through it.
So it’s not a small thing to say that during a time when I felt alone and without worth, the feeling that I was merely one of many flawed and frail humans to have ever felt hopeless or small, is what Jason Molina gave to me.