Bad Ink, Rush Guy, and the No-Repeat Playlist

Robert and I pose in a mirror at the store at Clines Corners, New Mexico, April 2011.
Robert and I pose in a mirror at the store at Clines Corners, New Mexico, April 2011.

Years ago, circa 1987 as I recall, Robert Stinson shared an apartment with about five other guys in Tulsa. I went up there for a weekend to hang out, and while waiting for Robert to return from work one morning, I met one of his roommates. I don’t know his name, but I will never forget him, because the only thing between his ears was the rock band Rush.

I came into Robert’s kitchen for a bite of breakfast to find this guy sitting at the kitchen table with a boom box. It was covered with Rush stickers, and he was wearing a Rush concert tour dates “wife beater” t-shirt.

I sat down with some cereal and he launched into a 40-minute diatribe about Rush; how great they were, how no drummer could touch Neil Peart, how Geddy Lee’s voice was a vocal orgasm, how he’d gotten ahold of the super-rare Japanese import of a certain album, about how I had to hear this song (which he played), then that song, then another, and so on.

It was an oddly sobering experience about how the other half – the half whose existences are one-dimentional – lives.

I think about this guy sometimes when I see young people who have tattoos. What could I have possibly been into when I was 20 that I would want on my body now that I’m 50? Camaros? Foreigner? That girl I had a crush on? The Doobie Brothers? Mannheim Steamroller? My journal? Sheesh. Message to young people: if you have to mark yourself, get a piercing. At least you can change out the message.

Thoughts about this came about because I am currently working on a fun little playlist challenge.

This challenge came about because in addition to a USB port for an iPod on my Nissan Juke (which is connected to Abby’s old iPhone 3 as an iPod), there is a CD slot, which will play an audio CD or an MP3 CD.

The challenge, then, is to assemble an MP3 CD, which typically holds about 145 songs, with no more than one song per artist.

This is harder than you might imagine, particularly if you have a huge iTunes library and have, as I have, been collecting music for a lot of years. At the same time, I am having fun doing it.

The advantage to something like this is that it forces me to listen to some music (or at least access briefly before skipping) like (I cite as example because it is playing as I write this) Me and Bobby McGhee by Janis Joplin. I love this song, but seldom listen to it.

• • •

Now that it’s finished, I will say that it was a fun playlist to create, but it wasn’t easy. It ended up being 144 songs. I challenge you to try something similar.

Film camera self portrait with headphones, circa 2000; of note is that the controller clipped to my hoodie is for a portable minidisk player.
Film camera self portrait with headphones, circa 2000; of note is that the controller clipped to my hoodie is for a portable minidisk player.
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3 Comments

  1. Single-minded obsessions are certainly weird. I’ve been obsessed with various things throughout my life, but never to the exclusion of all else — as some people seem to do.

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