On an Almost Disturbing Lack of Clouds in the Evening Sky


In which The Gay Recluse hears a song from another life.

Yesterday we turned on the stereo in our basement.

We hadn’t played it in years. Miraculously, it worked!

The receiver and speakers are from ninth grade.

Hey computers! Sometimes bigger analog speakers still sound better!

More miraculous was that a CD was already in the system. It was Compilation by The Clean!

We stood there paralyzed for five minutes of “Point That Thing Somewhere Else.”

Our mind was blown. It was shocking to remember that music could be so good. The drums — ambivalent, without a single roll — the two guitars droning and whining and distorted (but melodic), the bass only slightly less ambivalent than the drums, playing the same thing over and over, the lyrics disposable and not even really audible: of course The Clean wouldn’t have existed without the Velvet Underground. But seriously: haven’t we all heard enough of the Velvet Underground for a lifetime?

The last time we saw Hamish he was selling paintings on West Broadway. He had the last rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan: it was like $38.34 a month.

We were working in a record store around the corner. Like all of the employees there, we paid ourselves and needless to say, we didn’t hesitate to take a few extra CDs: Compilation was one of them.

We never could have predicted that The Clean would have sent us spinning back to that mostly unhappy period.

But we’re not inclined to regret it either.

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