March is a movie desert folks, but being a reader, I took the opportunity to grab the reins (or the binding) and get to the page. A giant perk of working at BookStore One in Sarasota (see our current staff pic with Stephen King who did a signing at our store last week at www.sarasotabooks.com) is the ability to score ‘advanced readers’ aka pre-publication books. To my great surprise, I found Chuck Klosterman’s X (tdp in May 2017) in a recent pile.
X is a re-release of essays and articles written by CK. To which many would say, ‘ho-hum’. But step back Jack (and Jaclyn, this is a very female friendly book), because not only are his essays timeless, he sprinkles in both prologues and epilogues to add new revelations.
What a joy this man is to read. A former ESPN contributor, he covers sports with the eye and pen of VanGogh. He appreciates moments from his past, like the flukey basketball game he witnessed in North Dakota, when an undersized Native American team beat two more affluent teams. My explanation doesn’t do his writing any justice, let’s just say he makes special human moments seem like Olympic highlights. His interview with Kobe Bryant mined an unbelievable commonality I have with the former NBA’er (to be discussed below).
Working as a reporter for Esquire, he interviewed many musical greats such as Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page and Noah Gallagher. His everyman questions make interviewee and reader alike ponder much deeper than “What tree would you be?”.
Here are just two takeways, one tiny, one large:
Small; Chuck questions whether nostalgia is good or bad (related to songs, relationships, and time periods) and then decides the more important question is why people feel nostalgia. He reiterates his youth when he was a captive audience to his brother’s Van Halen tape and subsequently his own choices, among just 7 tapes he himself purchased, such as Ozzie Osborne. His point is two-fold: one piece of music may never be known as in depth in the future (by an individual) as it once was through repetition, but yet, nostalgia as a concept will still be possible, but will take on different forms (eg. people may remember listening to the same song at the same time as 500 twitter folks all give immediate reactions). I still am happy, nostalgic? that I grew up in a more restrictive time, and that even a decade older than Klosterman, I was ‘stuck’ listening to Boston’s self-titled album which included More Than a Feeling over and over, or my Elton John or Billy Joel album over and over again. And who doesn’t want to brag at knowing the lyrics of Italian Restaurant by heart?
Large; This solitary bedroom listening I did as an adolescent (partly due to the War of the Roses happening in my downstairs livingroom) is the perfect segue to my bigger epiphany, that I have something in common with Kobe Bryant. First a preface: I have had a negative perception of Kobe since what appeared to be a pay off on the rape charge he incurred a decade or so ago. Possibly unfair, given the accuser might have been dishonest and the fact that I am not a lawyer, nor have I studied facts of the case, but at any rate, he seemed seedy as a result.
Yet, after reading CK’s interview of KB from 2015, I see Kobe as more human. Kobe, through CK’s suave and insightful questioning, assessed himself as a good friend, but one who would never be a ‘great’ friend. While I have different reasons why I may never be a great friend, (Kobe’s main one was, he forgets birthdays and is unsentimental), our reasons are similar. He grew up in Italy, basically isolated from social situations with children his own age. While I have had great friends and was a great friend, past wounds from said friendships, like being asked and then ‘terminated’ as my best friends maid of honor (I was not Baptist enough), and with another friend being used as an accomplice to infidelity, and most recently, having a cantankerous friend who I had honored when she retired a few years earlier, not only no call or care about my retirement, but had the nerve to chastise me unfairly while I was injured, and to add insult to injury subsequently troll me with text messages, some of which could be construed as semi-threatening. Conclusion: Takers often don’t want to admit they’ve been had. Hence, self-sufficiency seems entirely less messy.
But like me, Kobe sees his inability to be a great friend, or maybe in my case, have a great friend, as a weakness. I wish I could form friendships now and have hope, but don’t know how much effort I’m going to put into the search. Our modern age seems to move too swiftly (at least for my age group and younger) for real bonding to occur which if anything, is a convenient excuse.
To be true to my blog, I’ll add in a PPLL film aside. I watched Swing Time recently at the request of my co-worker. And while I admire the dancing (painful in a way in that I wish I had had the opportunity to study it as a youngster) and scoff at anyone who says Lala Land can even hold a matchstick, let alone a candle, to any of these musicals, I didn’t love the film. My lack of feeling has something to do with Fred Astaire’s inherent sadness, even when he’s laughing, I see some melancholy. But that won’t stop me from borrowing Funny Face, another Barry Rothman suggestion, this time with Audrey Hepburn at Fred Astaire’s side.
Suffice to say, hope springs eternal, both with friends and flicks.