Saturday, August 4, 2012

It All Comes In (0-9/10) 1975-1985

Music scares and feels.  Mom recounts dad’s first cradling after homebirth, placing headphones over ears; revelation in reminding me these were subtle early times – I’m brittle in storing and remembering.  A version of The Little Drummer Boy – we were nonreligious – but a baby god, “I played my best for him...” the animals kept time, I knew of rapture, in car with FM radio going, speaker static, where parents drove on everywhere streets.  I’ve come along when parent’s selections take from the major outlets.  Sit with cousin on upper bunk bed, spitting on Flash Gordon movie soundtrack phonograph as it plays: alternating the drag of fingers against the motor or spinning faster to distort, tickling fingertips under chin stylus (the whirls and grooves audible in the single speaker), smear crayons in vinyl ridges and the wax collects, kicking the player, skipping.  In years I’ve numerous tape decks I call “recorders” – impulses – there are events I should preserve, but filler of haphazard Christmas gift interrogation, inaudible/uninteresting chatting, shoddy/obvious trickery of capturing family or friends for unguarded/irrelevant information, et cetera.  Summer nights of “radio shows:” running monologue of immediate bedroom sights, rehashed topics of television, and recipes: “bologna roll-ups” (microwaved, the meat’s circumference pulls up as a bowl, filled with slice of melted cheese, ketchup, and cut with edge of a fork or rolled as a burrito).  Keep radio near at low volume; listen for song or commercial lead in, fading out me, recording the programming.
Nature television: animals, oceans, rainforests, niche environments, or such – broadcast late night and odd hours, watched constantly - especially longer productions documenting researcher embedded in untouched lands with certain population or family were enthralling – decades of material, grand dramas; life dreads, excites, loves, dies, and some keep going for moments in the shade or burrow sleeping – reprieves in station off-air overnight hours.  Misunderstood – I felt the boy hung out on exposed log, and hurt, wanted to be him, night cried years, everything goes, I’ll be alone.  The Earthling, frightened in fall of RV and parents crushed, digging and hand-made bag pinned under the side, the house latter found a shell and alive rabbits with wild wolves up mountain side, the old man atop waiting to cook them – I don’t remember its ends.  I knew “The Nothing” in The Never Ending Story was loss of the stories we have for ourselves in merchandising and purchasing world of 1980s youth – Star Wars toys after the films, in Christmas stockings, the bagged not carded versions but few points of articulation and long after imitating play they are stiff.  Their ships best for marooning figures at Corps of Engineers campsites, free to public, every year there in Colorado with a camper, hammock, and wrecked Millennium Falcon, survive with rations and Robinson Crusoe efforts.
Dad (born 1950) read Science Fiction and comic books – when young, summer, banned from swimming pool, traded many to lifeguard for re-entry.  We lived in townhouse, flooded when I was four or five years old (late 1970’s).  Most comic books in the basement, mud and mold damage.  The insurance company refused to pay, the comic books kept in flat cardboard wardrobe boxes with garish prints on the outside, meant to be slid under beds to store plush sweaters and slacks.  The comics, un-bagged and board-less, laid flat upon each other, piled according to title, series, artists, or publisher.  Insurance company took storage arrangement as proof of dad lacking investment or collectable mentality – hence value significantly lessened.  Shuffled within the stack, single sheets of yellow legal pad, dad had written identifying information and issue numbers for each respective pile of comics, those preceding or following the paper – used by mom in phone arguments with adjusters to show care taken to catalogue, organize, and base subsequent purchases upon this schema.  The battle, such as it was, went on, the ruined comics eventually elevated in status, Overstreet Price Guide invoked to determine value and the (now official) collection boxed up (parents packrats).  I would continually/periodically dig through these boxes, stored in basements of whatever house we lived within, the mold and cellulose sickening me for weeks after each rediscovery, and others not damaged from flood.  From then, looked at and read with no discernable markers for mainstream, underground, alternative, et cetera.  Lurid colors of depravity, the illustrations childhood hallucinations.  Zap Comics inspired, self-bound, thirsty and thin pink skin peeled back with scotch tape, parents left me to play alone often; there are stashed boxes of magazine, book, and videotape porn – I’d have thirsty spells and regret the innocence could not have had a bit more.  Piles of comics by Robert Crumb and Jack Kirby, and, in general, themes of space, sex, science, drugs, sword and sorcery, political/social insurrection, religion, war, and philosophy.  In school, a reading textbook story, animals trying to dislodge something from the ground, each successive passerby offers to join chain of cumulative pull, the addition of the last one along is enough for success; he takes credit, says he did it – I’m enraged in class, sneak the book home to rip out only his pages, the others’ strain unresolved.
Moved between 2nd and 3rd grade – my first elementary school: Laotians, Africans, Latinos, and working class parents; the new: wonder-white families, $400 shoes with small inflatable bladders (I’ll pick two pairs for snugness/smugness of fit), and bedrooms with framed posters of Lamborghinis – appropriate welcome to 1980s suburbia youth.

·         Beatles
·         Bob Seger
o   Little Drummer Boy
·         Gordon Lightfoot
o   The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
·         Dolly Parton
·         Kenny Rogers

·         Alien
·         Dreamscape
·         Fantastic Planet
·         Forbidden Planet
·         The Earthling (1980)
·         Misunderstood (1984)
·         The Never Ending Story
·         Le Petit Soldat (1947 Paul Grimault)
·         Quest for Fire
·         Sesame Street
·         Soap
·         Sneeches
·         The Time Machine
·         The Velveteen Rabbit
·         Watership Down

·         Neil Adams
o   Batman
·         Bizarre Sex
·         Beverly Cleary
o   The Mouse and the Motorcycle
·         Robert Crumb
o   Mr. Natural
o   Zap Comics
·         Charles Dallas
o   Psychotic Adventures
·         Justin Green
o   Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary
·         Jack Kirby
o   Mr. Miracle
·         C.S. Lewis
o   The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
·         Jean Merrill
o   The Toothpaste Millionaire
·         Spain Rodriguez
o   Insect Fear
·         Shel Silverstein
o   The Giving Tree