My cubicle at work—I’m on the eighth floor—has a narrow window just behind and to the right of where I am typing this now. I have a view of…well…mostly a handful of single-family homes just before the main highway running through Ottawa. Beyond the “Queensway”, however, I can see a sliver of the river and the hills on the edge of the horizon.
Not a spectacular view, but not unpleasant. I don’t often look out of my window—it’s narrow, as I said, and the view doesn’t exactly catch your breath. Today though, for no apparent reason, I looked up in the middle of completing one of the many mundane tasks I do through my workday.
I suddenly had a weird feeling come over me. I should mention that it has been so long since we’ve had any sunny weather that my sunglasses—which I leave on top of the fridge when not wearing them—were covered in a fine layer of dust this morning. Today, the sun is shinning. It is one of those crisp early-winter days in Ottawa that almost make up for the mind-numbing cold you know is coming—a “rough beast…slouches towards...” town. Today, the sun completely alters the dirty snow and chill air. Looking out over the city I got this odd feeling:
It may have been a little stab of happiness.
Okay…I’ve written several times now about rock being dead. (Hunt around the site a bit, you’ll find them in no time—I’m growing tired of spoon-feeding you people with links.) I’ve gone on about the staleness, the clichés, and the general air of decay surrounding a once powerful musical beast.
This should, in no way, be considered a retraction.
But…occasionally…you have those moments—those days of chaos. There inevitably come days where the paranoia overwhelms: they are all out to get you, the bastards. Today was one of those days for me. Today I am petulant and unpleasant. Today I am wronged. Today, none of you will ever understand me.
And there it is—calling out to me from the rack—that fucking great Helmet album. Thirty-six minutes and fifty-six seconds of sublime crunchiness waiting patiently to rattle my shelves. I slap in on and in seconds my head is bobbing violently. I experience a brief moment of nostalgia for my long hair—now long gone. The key to really enjoying loud, nasty, hard rock is apparently being able to achieve the mindset of a fifteen-year-old head-banger.
Don’t read too much into this. Rock is definitely dead. It has left a beautiful corpse however. It can still provide ghostly solace in moments of childish angst.
It may still even be able provoke a little air-guitar.