Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 29-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.
Thank god it’s Saturday. Wait. It’s only Thursday, but it’s my Saturday. That is to say, my five-day work week at my new job is Saturday through Wednesday. I was looking for two long days, but found five short that requires a 40 minute walk each way, but at least I can walk. I don’t have to take the bus and spend nearly half an hour’s wage on transit each of the five days.
Oh my god. I’m so boring. There’s a reason for this. I want to tell you all about the new job, but I need to be careful. Careful, as in: This is why David’s name is prominently featured at the top of this column and mine is not. One of the reasons. Actually, it’s his column, and I kind of took over. I didn’t mean to take over. I edited the caption for Normal History Vol. 2: The Art Of David Lester, and then I suggested a caption for Vol. 3, and then I got carried away. I began “curating” the column, in that I select one of David’s illustrations to go with what I write about. By “go with” I mean resonates rather than illustrates in the same way that I don’t essentially sing to the melody that David plays on guitar. I sing something else that creates tension or otherwise complements it, as with the color wheel where blue and orange are known as complementary colors (note the ‘e’ replacing the ‘i’ in compliment, which is more of a nice thing to tell someone whereas Mecca Normal is not well known for spending much time complimenting things).
For Normal History: The Art Of David Lester, I am going album by Mecca Normal album, in sequence, for song downloads which may or may not pertain to what I write; if they mirror each other too closely, I might hold a story until the next week so things don’t get too easy. I select a David Lester illustration based on what he has ready and what, in my mind, fits.
I’m not sure why I’ve waited until Vol. 237 to tell you this. Yes, I am. It’s because I want to write about all these things that happened at my new job, but I need to be careful. It’s writing that gets me into trouble. Not through lack of care; I am always careful. I write fiction. Fiction cannot be called the truth, per se, which is odd because it is frequently the lack of truthfulness that I write about. But you can tell the difference between fiction, non-fiction, opinion and poetry and how all of this and more can be stewed together. And now we have creative non-fiction, as an actual genre. Regardless, intentional wavering between the blurred lines of fiction and non-fiction is less reprehensible than the pleasure Robin Thicke admits to taking in degrading women in his gas-lighting croon “I know you want it”—a traditional slogan in the language of manipulation that intends to serve selfishness. Manipulation is the essence of an attitude—or philosophy—that describes rape culture, late stage capitalism, Big Brother and Survivor, as well as several personality disorders, including narcissism. And the art of fiction is also one of manipulation.
“The Orbit,” from Who Shot Elvis? (Matador, 1997; Smarten UP!, 2009) (download):