On Space

Boredom, Architecture and Modernity

Tag: Everyday

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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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’.

Calvino: The Boredom of the American Inferno

Fortunately America is not all an artificial-natural paradise like California here. A quarter of America is a dramatic, tense, violent country, exploding with contradictions, full of brutal, physiological vitality, and that is the America that I have really loved and love. But a good half of it is a country of boredom, emptiness, monotony, brainless production, and brainless consumption, and this is the American inferno.

Los Angeles, 15 February 1960

Calvino, Italo. ‘Letter to Lanfranco Caretti-Pavia’, in Letters, 1941-1985. Translated by Martin McLaughlin. edited by Michael Wood. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, 197.

 

Thus Held by Boredom in Boredom: Blanchot’s Everyday

[…] As we discovered through the experience of boredom when indeed boredom seems to be the sudden, the insensible apprehension of the quotidian into which we slide in the leveling out of a steady slack time, feeling ourselves forever sucked in, yet feeling at the same time that we have already lost it and are henceforth incapable of deciding whether there is a lack of the everyday or too much of it – thus held by boredom in boredom, which develops, says Friedrich Schlegel, just as carbon dioxide accumulates in a closed space where too many people find themselves together.

Boredom is the everyday become manifested: consequently, the everyday after it has lost its essential – constitutive – trait of being unperceived. Thus the everyday always sends us back to that inapparent and nonetheless unconcealed part of existence that is insignificant because it remains always to the hither side of what signifies it; silent, but with a silence that has already dissipated as soon as we keep still in order to hear it and that we hear better in idle chatter, in the unspeaking speech that is the soft human murmuring in us and around us.

Blanchot, Maurice. The Infinite Conversation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. 242

Life is Boredom then Fear: ‘Dockery and Son’ by Philip Larkin

[…]

And how we got it; looked back on, they rear

Like sand-clouds, thick and close, embodying

For Dockery a son, for me nothing,

Nothing with all a son’s harsh patronage.

Life is first boredom, then fear.

Whether or not we use it, it goes,

And leaves what something hidden from us chose,

And age, and then the only end of age.

Larkin, Philip Larkin (2001/1963) ‘Dockery and Son’ in Collected Poems. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux.