Ideas swim around in my unconscious mind. Occasionally, they come up to the surface and I notice them. If they’re big enough to be caught, I grab ‘em.
The possibility that I might do something in response to the general trend in modern Western culture toward shaming women for having bodies that don’t perfectly match impossible standards has been swimming around for a while. I’ve occasionally done some things – posted links to articles, mentioned it here, a couple visual art pieces. Then, t’other day, I was laying in bed and the My Goddess Has A Crazy Bush V/A compilation jumped out of the water into my lap.
I was born in 1969. The images of naked women I saw in my adolescence were pictures in magazines that my friends and I swiped from our fathers’ closets, mostly Playboy and Penthouse from the ‘70s. Back in them days, women had pubic hair. When I started getting a little south of the border action, my girlfriends had pubic hair. Occasionally, a woman I was involved with would shave her pubes, which seemed like a big deal – ooo, check out what I did, we’re getting’ all perverted up in here. I was in a relationship for a few years with a trichotilomaniac who mostly confined her compulsive hair-pulling to areas that were not in public view, so I got used to hardwood floor, but I understood it to be one specific woman with one specific disorder.
In 2007, I was working in a restaurant where it was normal to talk about sex. That isn’t unusual in restaurants, but in this one particular place the conversations got more honest. It was then that I learned that shaving most or all of the pubes had become a normal thing for women.
I wrote the above a few months back, shortly after I received the inspiration for the V/A compilation My Goddess Has A Crazy Bush. Then the little thingy that plugs into the back of this laptop fell apart and – no surprise – they don’t make that one anymore. So the battery went dead and I couldn’t get back to any of the files here. I shoved this computer under the bed, got another one from my mom – a.k.a. Nana – and went on about my merry way until a label guy asked me to resend a track for a split cassette because he lost it and then I got motivated enough to actually do something toward getting this laptop powered up so I could get the files I wanted which started off with me asking around, finding out that a coworker had a sack of old, busted laptops and asking her if I could look through it for something that would allow me to jerry-rig a power supply. The first thing I took out of the sack was a power cord that had the right thingy on the end. Bam. We’re in business. I sent “Astralopithecus” to Ingrown Records, our side of a cassette split with Medicine Calf, which will be released if/when the Med Calves finish their side. I gazed lovingly at four-and-a-half-years’ worth of photos of my rotten kid and then I opened this and ya know what – who cares fuck-all about my own personal history of interacting with hairy pussies. Really, though, of what interest is that?
Anyway. The “Crazy Bush” comp is plodding along, as they do. A half-dozen tracks have come in. There are a few more bands/artists who claim they’re going to send something, all male. I went all out trying to get some chicks on this one – pitched the idea to possibly a hundred all-female or female-fronted acts. Not one replied. It’s going to be a sausage fest for feminism.
I talked about the project with this performance artist from New York who did a few performances in town, a twenty-something lesbian who had some feministy-looking art on the walls in the space where she was performing. Her response was a blank stare. (I love performance art, by the way, especially when it consists of a lesbian from NYC getting naked and being absurd. Actually, that’s almost redundant: all performance art is homosexuals from NYC getting naked and being absurd.) (Full body hair on that one, by the way.) I dunno why I told her about it. I guess because she had some bush-related art up.
The concept behind the comp has expanded a little. It started off being feminist, then I realized that it was really as much about the environment as about women’s body hair. Women correspond with nature in all religious/mythological systems. Women are Nature. Men are associated with society. This is the paradigm everywhere and everywhen. Our society is anti-(woman/nature). Women’s bodies are treated like commodities to be exploited, just like nature. What this comp is about then is rejecting that idea. Women and nature are fine as they are. There is no need to “fix them up”.
Think of a Japanese garden. Very nice, very lovely. Everything arranged just so. Now compare that with an actual, natural space. They’re very different, aren’t they? Maybe you like the Japanese garden better; I prefer the natural, even if it is sometimes untidy. I’m not opposed to Japanese gardens – actually, I think they’re quite beautiful – but I prefer National Forests. I’m not opposed to women shaving. I’ve definitely enjoyed some bald eagles, but I am very much opposed to women being shamed into shaving by a misogynistic, materialistic culture like ours. Fuck that noise. I wouldn’t shave my pits/legs/crotch for all the tea in China, for fuck’s sake. Actually, I’ll go it a step further – I won’t even deodorize. Ask any of my coworkers and they will confirm that I am an unabashedly smelly fella and whenever anybody mentions that, I will use it as a launching pad for a free-form, maniacal rant about corporate body-shaming in capitalist America and I’ll hammer it into the ground until people decide they’d rather learn to live with my funk than hear me yammer on and on about it. And I rejoice with great rejoicing whenever I see or hear about any form of re-wilding, whether it’s the recent reintroduction of wild horses to the Iberian Peninsula or weeds growing through the cracks in the parking lots of empty big-box stores. That which we call “civilization” will collapse one day and Nature, great and terrible Terra Mater, will reclaim every inch and grow all over it. Hallelujah.
So, My Goddess Has A Crazy Bush has an environmental as well as feminist message, which I guess makes it ecofeminist. There is still no requirement that tracks contain lyrics about crazy bushes. Some of the tracks that have come in refer to the subject, others don’t. Either way is okay. You can send your cover of “Louie, Louie”, if ya wanna. I am trying to expand the sonic palette on this one – trying hard to get some musical styles that are not weirdonoise, for a change. I really want to have a wide and wooly range of genres, if not genders, represented.
Really, if you know any hairy females who make any kind of music or read poetry or any fuckin’ thing, try to get them interested in this.
It seems likely that there will be more than one of these. I am quite invested in gender equality and in saving this planet and expect to continue to be so. I can easily see an ongoing series of “Crazy Bush” compilations. Let’s just go ahead and assume that there will be a bunch of them. That doesn’t mean that anyone should put off sending something because they can always get in on volume IV. If you got it, send it. Then send more for future comps. Also, form your own ELF cell and refuse to eat any peaches that ain’t fuzzy.
I'm sitting in a room. Specifically, the basement of the Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant here in Harrisonburg, VA. We used to play here a lot, back when I worked in the kitchen and could badger the soundguy for shows all the time. After I left, I didn't see him as much and we haven't played here in a year or so.
The line-up tonight is Helgamite, some heavily bearded, corrugated metalheads frfom up in Luray, Joey Molinaro, a grindcore violinist from New York or some such Yankee state, us, and the Subtlerrrs, a band I never heard of who were added to the list by the soundguy, probably because there's some possibility that somebody might want to hear them and the night won't be a total loss. I've been in touch with Molinaro via the www for a while, but this'll be the first time we play a show. Hopefully, he'll get here sometime soon.
It's St. Patrick's Day. Five years ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of a hospital in Charlottesville, VA, waiting for the Spotted Opossum. I was vaguely wondering how I'd handle a St Patrick's Day birth. I am, by nature, prone to think about such things and I was wondering what kind of sacrifice I should offer to Patty as thanks for a happy, healthy delivery. A goat? A potato? In the event, the wee grrrl didn't arrive until 3am the following morning. She was a tiny thing.
Today, I spent the afternoon with her. She was all about watching My Little Pony and not a bit happy that I still don't have internet at the apartment. I made her put together a puzzle instead. I am that parent - the one who doesn't have an Ipad or TV or internet or any of that cool shit. When this snow melts off, I'll be dragging her out to the woods and making her swim in creeks, capture small varmints and roll around in mud. Actually, I don't have to make her do that stuff. She is my child, after all. Given the chance, she'll wander along a creek picking up quartz crystals and fresh-water mussel shells all day long. It's only when she's inside that she wants to zone out in front of a glowing screen.
Since I've been away from this, I've been working a lot at the Little Grill, a collectively-owned restaurant. I discovered that place when I was 16. It was amazing. There was always something going on - poetry reading, play, bands. The bands then were mostly of the rural variety, bluegrass, country blues, folk, but there were enough rock, punk and just fucked-up noise bands that you never knew what was gonna go down. I lost my virginity in a car in the little Grill parking lot. After, we went inside to see the band.
And the people who worked there then were all cool as fuck. I was 16, so guys in their mid-twenties who drank and did drugs and were in bands were like demi-gods to me. They put up with me pretty well, I guess. I was an obnoxious little piss-drunk kid.
Eventually, a new owner got the place and immediately fired me. I can't say he was wrong.
Over the years, I've mostly avoided the place. I worked there briefly in '06. Got mad and walked out. Last summer, it started to seem like signs were telling me to apply and I always pay attention to that. Even with my shoddy history, they hired me. I announced my intention to become a worker/owner a month or so ago. The A&E recently took a job with a band based out of Nashville (or Ashville, I'm not sure) and the A&E slot fell in my lap. I had been plotting for months how I was gonna take it over, but it just happened without me doing anything.
I've been pretty clear about my agenda. In the past decade or so, the Grill has lost it's way as far as music is concerned. Its all folk now. Folk and old-time. The kinda stuff they play on NPR on Sunday afternoons when old hippies are napping. Boring, hackneyed shit.
No more. Obviously, I'll have to keep some of the boring dreck, but a new day is dawning at the Little Grill. All the freakish glory of my teenage years with none of the vomiting and suicidal hangovers.
Helgamite is destroying. These guys are louder than anybody needs. Molinaro showed up. I sent him looking for the soundguy, who is hiding someplace. I think the Helgamite bassist is sitting in with BDSR tonight. I never know what the fuck is happening with my band. Or why. Molinaro wants to play third, which puts BDSR in the #2 position.
I was hoping to get a recording from the soundboard, but apparently that isn't possible, so it'll be the standard ghetto, sounds-like-shit muddle that we've all come to know and love.
I have just been informed that the Subtlerrrs will be next, then Molinaro and BDSR last. This is how it always goes down. There's some blond with a Eurotrash haircut roaming around making me wanna, Drummer Boy is rockin' out, the order is changing, the soundguy is cranky. Typical. This afternoon, I was kinda hoping the show would be cancelled. I always kinda hope the show will be cancelled on the day of. I'm not a person who wants to be in the spotlight. I do it and I actually do enjoy it when I'm up there and everything is coming together like it's s'posed to, but I'm much more comfortable climbing a mountain or drawing or picking up mussel shells with the grrrl or cooking on a flatgrill or driving my truck or just about anything. I have stage fright - that's part of why I wear the medicine hat. It allows me to get in character, to get out of myself. And when the noise is full-on, cored-out and rolling, I get really far out of myself. Sometimes, when I'm performing I really do love it. Sometimes.
The college girls in green plastic hats just fled. I'm surprised they were here as long as they were. Molinaro told me his tour is going good, which is good. Hopefully, he'll get enough money from the door to cover his gas to the next gig.
And why is BDSR last? How does that make any fuckin' sense? I used to be able to count on us getting the opening slot.
The Subtlerrrs are setting up. I've been talking to dudes in local bands, telling them I'll be the booking guy at the grill, trying to generate some interest. Most dudes in bands just wanna play shows, so it ain't hard. I should have no trouble getting two or three bands every Friday without repeating too often. Outta towners are always welcome, of course.
I always feel weird sitting around in bars waiting for someone to tell me it's time to play. I was never into the whole bar scene. When I was a drunk, I avoided bars as a rule - too expensive and I was prone to becoming somewhat antisocial after I reached a certain level of drunk. Incapable of decent behavior. Getting drunk in a bar was too likely to end in arrest or brutal beatdown. Now I find myself sober sitting in bars.
The Subtlerrrs are reading Genesis. The guitar has a no-name guitar. It ain't even a Silvertone. I'm playing the black, left-handed Hondo tonight. Standard tuning. Black X wanted to switch to open E - I usually work in some D-based tuning. It seemed easier to just tune standard than tune to open D and raise eveything a step. Standard tuning has it's uses. I'm not opposed to standard; I just like variety. Actually, standard tuning is a change of pace for me. At home I've been fucking around a lot in DADAAD.
These guys are pretty good. I gotta get contact info.
I also gotta get working on this piece of art I brought. Pen work, easy and portable. I've got a visual art show in April and I need new stuff.
I'll try to get stuff up here more often.
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.