Killing Yourself to Live 85% of a True Story
Chuck Palahniuk and Chuck Klosterman are different people. I now know that. Even better, Chuck Klosterman's books are about music and they are interesting and they are well written. Klosterman writes about music as a listener but his gift is talking about it as it fits into a person's life, how it infiltrates thinking and understanding and relationships. While the larger subject of the book is an assignment about how rock stars have died, the personal epiphanies and thoughts of Klosterman loom larger than any discoveries that could be made (and rarely were) when say, standing on the spot of the plane crash of the Big Bopper Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. The observations Klosterman offers appear true to life he lives and there's a sense of honesty in the way he writes about them (even though that might factor into the 85%, 15% ratio). While he's wrong about a few things (no one needs to own Brittney Spears releases p. 16- thinking like this is why there are so many Jethro Tull records where used records are sold), that's ok, no one is perfect and if they were, that would probably be boring.
Some excerpts [with my comments in brackets]:
1- "Ohio. I was qualified to live in Ohio."
4- "We are all tourists, sort of. Life is tourism, sort of."
9- Chelsea Hotel- Stanley Beard, "The kind of person who wants to stay in Room 100 is just a cultic follower. These are people who have nothing to do....You will see that they are not serious-minded people. You will see that they are not trying to understand anything about death."
11- "I have no idea how people travel."
-"Death is part of life."
-"However, this is not necessarily true for rock stars; sometimes rock stars don't start living until they die." [The NYTimes recently had an article related to this- artists and death]
13- "Somewhere, at some point, somehow, somebody decided that death equals credibility. And I want to figure out why that is."
14- missing Car Rock
15- not owning vinyl or a turntable [hmmmmm]
18- diners [not that he really goes to many- chain restaurants instead]
19-compares a woman to the one in "Jolene" by Dolly Parton [How is this the first book I've read this year that mentions Dolly Parton????]
29- Honesty Room
-"...and one day I was structuring my entire life around spending time with her."
33- Springfield, Mass. Basketball Hall of Fame
-"Springfield is a poorly organized town." [So true!]
-"Like all museums, it's a rip-off." [not always true, but understood. Hall of Fames are always a rip-off.]
-"In theory, the Basketball Hall of Fame should simply serve as a pleasant distraction from the road and an opportunity to buy a t-shirt."
34- (Great White concert fire)- "In West Warwick, what used to be a tavern is now an ad hoc cemetery- which is the same role taverns play in most small towns, but not as obviously as this."
42- "Half the people who attend concerts only go so that they can tell other people that (a) certain shows were amazing, and (b) other shows sucked."
42-43- "I honestly believe that people of my generation despise authenticity, mostly because they're all so envious of it."
- Chevy Cavaliers [a friend, when I told her about his mentioning of Cavaliers as a working class car alongside IROCS, said that he probably meant Cavaliers from the 90s. And if he's not, Jettas and other non-working class cars are for suckers.]
45- Synchronicity by The Police
46- "Like all modern people, I had no relationship with anyone in my building."
53- (Washington monument) "but what is this 500-foot masonry structure supposed to tell me? What is it supposed to make me understand? ... I'll never understand why people need to see things just so they can say they saw them."
57- Petula Clark Downtown list
58- "Artists who believe they have any control over the interpretation of their work are completely fooling themselves."
61- "Every summer, Hollywood movie studios convince millions of people to see blockbuster movies they know they're going to hate."
-"Who really cares who Lindsay Lohan is dating? Almost no one."
-"But it's still information they need to have. This is because those people care about something else entirely; they're worried about the possibility of everyone else understanding something they're missing." [v. true]
63- North Carolina
64- "...I must run: Running keeps me alive." [also in agreement here]
64- "This NC oxygen is delicious..." (mentions Superchunk) [yes except when it is above 90]
67- "At their core, the final outcome to every football game (including the Super Bowl) is wholly meaningless.
70- Mary Beth- dreams and media
79- The Standard Hotel
84- (people talking about dreams) "It's a way for people to be honest without telling the truth."
86- Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot- 9/11 [The thing he missed with this is that the album was streaming on the internet when 9/11 happened. That was the really eerie part of the album and 9/11.]
87- "...what can you say when skyscrapers collapse?"
91- "Right now, most rock journalism is just mild criticism with a Q & A attached. Nobody learns anything (usually) and nothing new is created (ever).
92- "...the pursuit of intellect and the so-called 'life-of-the-mind' makes people broaden their classification for what can be reasonably classified as important."
112-113- "We are always dying, all the time. That's what living is; living is dying, little by little."
141- Rumors Fleetwood Mac [which I discovered is a fabulous album only this year]
143- Jeff Tweedy- transcendent moments, unintentional
-CK mentions guitar strong at the beginning of Fleetwood Mac's "I Don't Want to Know" [my favorite song on the album]- "we loved hearing the inside of a song."
164- "Nothing is going to happen tonight."
166- "...reading was a kind of neutral, reactive way to spend an evening."
171- (3 import stores) "I will never understand what people want out of life."
173- "...the things I write are often things I would never say."
195- Thomas Jefferson to Lewis and Clark- seeing mastodons
198- Led Zeppelin and guys
201- talk radio- though Dick Cheney dead
202- "Right now it would be easier to find uranium than college kids."
205- "I don't miss high school at all."
-"I have nothing to say, but I can't stop myself from talking."
216- "That's the history of KISS and those are the contents of my heart."
217- "I love KISS because the world makes sense when I think about them. Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you. It's understanding the unreasonable."
224- Kurt Cobain's death- people unconnected to Kurt, Seattle or grunge- "...suddenly chose to remember themselves in a completely different way."
227- "...his death changed the history of the living."
-"Kurt Cobain was that popular-yet-unpopular kid who dies for the sings of your personality."
230- (people needing to believe he lived under the bridge) "...Maybe it's something they need to believe, because if they don't, they will be stuck with the mildly depressing revelation that dead people are simply dead."
-"...everything else has nothing to do with the individual who died and everything to do with the people who are left behind..."
231- checking email
232- "We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It's easy."
-"But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like....4 or 5 of these people."
-"the individual who embodies your personal definition of love does not really exist. The person is real and the feelings are real- but you create the context."
233- Lucy Chance- "The bar misses you."
235- "I am ready to be alone."