Normal History Vol. 430: The Art Of David Lester

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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

” … wilful, atonal punk is driven along by the rhythmic, metallic chugging of David Lester’s guitar, while singer Jean Smith recites her stream-of-consciousness text … ” —AllMusic album review by Dean McFarlane, 1991

First of all, you can’t recite something that is stream-of-consciousness. To recite is to speak from memory.

Wow. That feels good. That’s been bugging me since 1991, back when whatever reviewers wrote was pretty much beyond responding to unless you wanted to write a snail-mail letter to the editor (which I’ve never done).

Second, I have always thought that the stream-of-consciousness comment was a bit of a dig—even though male poets and lyricists might be lauded for their stream-of-consciousness brilliance. Anyway. Wrong on both counts. I wrote the lyrics on paper in advance, and we rehearsed the songs on the album in question prior to recording them. Not to say that I haven’t “written” excellent lyrics while they were being recorded on the first time through. These weren’t those. Them. They.

Water Cuts My Hands

At a bus stop
in yellow darkness
where concrete building meets stone sidewalk
a man wants in
to a can of mushrooms

I am from a bar
he is from an alley
I use his pocket knife
to mash around the rim

“Water Cuts My Hands” from Water Cuts My Hands (K, 1991) (download):