On Space

Boredom, Architecture and Modernity

Chasing Better Narratives: Odie Lindsey’s ‘So Bored in Nashville’

Bars and booze and lacquer and glass and smoke and tv and tourists and shots, and pit-stop at Randall’s to chop up a Xanax, to snort then smoke then back to the bars. In this city, through the bars, we wind up packed in a room full of ads. Living ads, that is, sexy and skimpy young women ads. New England or Oklahoma transplants, wannabe country stars clad in fishnets and bra tops, hot pants and logos, who proffer shots of some dye-injected Extreme Liquor product. A temp job, they swear, they serve you straight out of their mouths, out of their navels, wherever, no problem. For ten bucks a pop they make ten bucks an hour, while your lips suckle shots off of their amazing young stomachs. And they’re dying to sing, will do anything to demo. (All of this action in a Vandy sports bar, not an airport strip club, let alone a music industry hang.) And tomorrow I leave, for Forts Jackson then Benning. Signed the contract when the Army offered me 11B, Option 4: Airborne Infantry. I am twenty-six and terrified. Yet I felt compelled to follow through after the recruiters told me how difficult it was to secure this assignment. How rare it is these days to earn Option 4, Airborne, war on and all.

Hoo-ah! they barked. You tha man, man!

Randall and I depart that bar, we drive on. He says zero about my deployment. We pay cover and squeeze into an East Nashville venue, find another Brooklynesque band, another huddle of white hipsters in white V-neck t-shirts whose everything is constructed by camouflaging their incomes, by folding tattooed arms across their chests, and/or nodding and/or spying at their phones. Superb denim, everywhere. We drive off. Drop twenty bucks to park on bustling and hyper-sold Second Avenue: Hard Rock Cafe, Coyote Ugly, chain, chain, etc., etc. At a pseudo-upscale music hall, stuffed with pseudo-upscale music industry fakes, reclaimed wood and iron, taxidermy mounts, Randall yanks me into a hallway and flask-feeds me bourbon. Tells me he can’t get away from unknowns who want to write songs with him—Hey, man, let’s write; Hey, Randall, let’s write—everywhere he goes, because they know that their chances of landing their first album cut are stronger with his name on as cowriter. (A couple years back, Randall wrote a chestnut called “Urban Cowgirl,” a one-off departure from his non-paying folk songs. After the tune was cut by a cosmetic cowboy, it topped the Top 40 and made Randall a universe of cash. Now nobody artsy and literate and frustrated will hang out with him. He is and forever will be the “Urban Cowgirl” sellout.)

Randall hates this process, this creative suck-off, yet he does the same thing to more established songwriters: calls them to cowrite, wedges into their conversations at industry gatherings, pumping gossip like heartbeats, desperate to book a session, to redefine himself. I do not call him out on this. We are all chasing better narratives.

Odie Lindsey, ‘So Bored in Nashville’ in Southern Culture, v. 22, 3. Fall 2016. p. 72-6

So Bored in Nashville

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5 September 1782: On this Site Nothing Happened, Holborn, London

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43 Old Gloucester Street, Holborn, London. 7 September 2016. Photographs by Christian Parreno

Structures of Resting and Waiting: Porters in Nineteenth-Century London

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Piccadilly, London. 3 August 2016. Photograph by Christian Parreno

‘At the suggestion of RA Slaney Esq who for 20 years represented Shrewsbury in Parliament, this porters rest was erected in 1861 by the vestry of St George Hanover Square for the benefit of porters and others carrying burden as a relic of a past period in London’s history. It is hoped that the the people will aid its preservation’.

The Bored Young Man: On College Professors

[…]

A little boy across the aisle was perched on the edge of his chars, eagerly reading the comic strops over an old man’s shoulder. Kids were funny. They got so enthusiastic about such trivial things – dogs and circuses and funny papers.

College profs were about the same. They became enthusiastic about Keats, Shakespeare, or the pronunciation of French. They were always  talking about ‘the proper relations of things’ and ‘fundamental truths’. The bored young man had once assumed that these expressions meant something, though he had never listened to the professors long enough to discover just that. He knew now that they really meant nothing.

College professors were supposed to be intelligent, but he found them stupid. They were so easily outwitted. He had made a ‘C’ once in a course for which he had not spent an hour’s study, by copying from a crib prepared by the girl who sat next to him. He was rather proud of this; it was a record.

The Bored Young Man

Arleen Wilson, ‘The Bored Young Man’ in Manuscripts, Vol. 3 (1935).

Pure Drudgery: Peter Marino’s Advice

The first 20 years of an architect’s career is pure drudgery. My advice to young kids is, ‘Look, probably not more than five per cent – and that’s a big percentage – of your working hours are actually going to be spent being creative. If the creative part is essential to you then stay in the world of fine art’.

Peter Marino and Ben Mitchell. “What I’ve Learned”. Esquire, 2016. 63