wired on sugary food, the kid's fingers are FLYING!!!

Because I am insane like this fuckin' guy, I have been trying to compile a list of my favorite records of all time. But this has driven me MAD I TELL YOU MAD so I've decided to turn Haibun into a different kind of beast, the much-discussed much-derided musical autobiography. We will do this until I am sickened by my own self-proctology. So without further adieu we begin with randomly chosen awesome thing #1:

Talk Talk, It's My Life (1984)

I got this cassette from my brother's friend Dave, who hated it and wanted to trade for something, I don't even know what now, maybe my dad's old Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban record but I don't think I would have been that financially dumb. Anyway, I made the swoop and spent the summer of 1984 falling in love with nothing.

I went to Harvard but before I went to Harvard I grew up in Canby, Oregon, where I spent a lot of time dreaming about getting out of Canby, Oregon. Don't get me wrong, I love that place even if I do only go back once every two years and even if I did just miss my high school 20th reunion (gawd I'm old) and all that stuff, I really do love Canby...but by senior year I knew we had to break up to save our relationship. When I got into Harvard (and a couple of other schools out east) it was like God singing a song into my ear.

I signed up for a freshman camping trip program that preceded Freshman Week at the H. (Do they still have Freshman Week? Do they still have anything I'd recognize in Harvard Yard? I haven't been back there either. O the years they roll like Rappin' Fats Piscopo.) In order to go on this trip, I made my mom purchase some tough-ass leather Danner Boots; bought 'em at the factory, wore 'em home, loved those boots. Still have 'em, even though they're all tore up now. I spent many many hours "breaking them in" by going on long walks around Canby -- of course, what I was really doing was saying goodbye to this town where I'd lived for eight years, where I'd been glorified and beaten to shit and sneered at and celebrated, and where I was about to leave (not forever, that's for another album, another haibun, but still). When I'd go on these walks, I'd take the family Walkman. And when I put in this album it was like God singing a song into my ear.

Remember the high-definition cassettes that did a swiftly-rising series of "boo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo" tones at the beginning? This one did. And then three drumbeats that I had timed perfectly so I could play along, BA DOOM DOOM, and then "Dum Dum Girl" started and I learned how to swoon. This is clearly the best Talk Talk album, no contest, sorry everyone who loves the abstract spaces of Laughing Stock but It's My Life is the concrete. These are pop songs in love with space and art, with the half-said phrase that means nothing except to two people and then suddenly one of them doesn't understand anything anymore, with the echo that says more than the sound itself. Tim Friese-Greene became a kind of god to me that summer with his production techniques, what with the way "Renee" pulls up short with that boat-anchor-bell thing halfway in and the way he lets Mark Hollis lay back behind the beat with "Every little accident takes time" on "Does Caroline Know?" Mark Hollis understood what I was all about, Mark Hollis had probably spent his life in some little town he adored but had to leave it to move on and create great art, that is what I was going to do.

That is what I was going to do. What's all this Internet bullshit, why aren't I holed up somewhere writing the novel that burns within me, why aren't I famous and rich yet, where is the hungry kid who walked through dahlia fields in 85-degree heat after a long day at work with tears in his eyes at the thought of leaving it all behind, Mark Hollis crooning "It's you it's you it's you it's you it's you it's you it's you it's you" to him I mean me on Territorial Road, on Knight's Bridge Road, on Birch Street and Maple Street and 12th Street and then I was home but I wasn't home, it wasn't home, it was but it wasn't going to be, I had a new home that would never truly be my home waiting for me on the East Coast where I had never been. I was all alone by my own design.

If any record has ever captured that feeling better, the willful alienation from people and times and situations one loves but can no longer trust nor own nor worry about, I've not heard it.

dust all in my eyes
dust all over my new boots
sun cuts through the dust

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