I’ve had this blog since 2002. I was browsing through archives the other day when thinking about re-booting it. Thirteen years now, and no post more recent than five years. I suppose all told I average a post or two a year. And most of them really don’t say anything.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, but I’ve always had a problem with focus. It’s not hard to see that when you look through the subject matter of the blog. It began in the thick of my days producing dance music. It was a thing that I really wasn’t bad at, but I rarely could focus on it. Life and responsibilities get in the way (/cliche). In all my years working on music (which starts back in — ahem — 1986), I’m sure I didn’t come close to breaking even after the amount I spent on records and music equipment. But, I did some things that were pretty amazing, things that many people would be jealous over. I had records played on BBC Radio 1 and other terrestrial stations. I imagine at least a couple records were played worldwide. I DJ’ed in front of at least 3000 people several times. Richie Hawtin came up and asked me the name of a record I was playing once. I DJ’d outdoors at an illegal rave in San Francisco while it was raining so badly that the needle on the record formed a wake as it cut through the standing water on the vinyl.
There was something important in some of what we were doing in the rave scene of the 90s and (less so) the 2000s. It’s not something that people would recognize in relation to the word “rave” today. It was mostly a genderless thing, something where nobody was meant to feel judged. It was one of the driving forces in fashion of the 1990s. And, yeah, some of it was silly, but it was an attempt at evolution of a kind. It makes me think of a quote from one of my favorite movies from the early 90s, Pump Up the Volume: “All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.”
All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.Mark Hunter (Christian Slater) in Pump Up the VolumeThat’s unfortunately what happens sometimes (most of the time). Someone took it and turned it into a theme park. That’s not bitterness. It’s just perhaps a narcissistic distancing of myself from a particular modern scene.
At the point where my releases were taking off, I quit music. There always felt like something was missing. I was really intellectual for a musician and a DJ (as you shout oxymoron at your computer screens). There was meant to be a concept. But in the end, the concept ended up being something about a moment. A moment that you always remember, but can never quite feel again in the same way you felt it that time. I imagine it’s like drug use. You feel something in that moment of time, and then spend the rest of your life attempting to recreate those fleeting moments of time. When you get close to that feeling again, there’s nothing like it, but then you wake up the next morning and it’s gone. You feel a few ripples like on water, but they fade quickly and, in the end, you feel like you have gained nothing and lost nothing. You’re back at square one mentally and spiritually.
So in Act 2, I turn to fiction. I turn to words. There’s something more permanent in that kind of art. Ovid said, “I shall have life” and he was right. Words have a deeper way of communicating, a deeper and more permanent way of affecting others, affecting the world.
I shall have life.Ovid, a sexy Roman fucker who also wrote about the art of seduction.
Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Woolf, Shakespeare, Gibson, Wallace, Morrison, Saunders. They’ve all affected me more permanently and more meaningfully than even Felix’s seminal “Don’t You Want Me.” And yet, those moments — the moments of perfection in the lights and sounds and crowds in clubs, warehouses, or hilly fields by a bay — those moments are a part of me too, and I think that somehow those moments come through in the words I now write.
This is the relaunch of the blog. This is the continuing refocus. Things may happen here, consistently or sporadically, but, more importantly things are happening in other places too. Things I hope to show you someday.
NEXT TIME ON KELLY D'S FLIP PHONEHOW I GOT A DEGREE, WAS TUTORED BY A BURNING BRIGHT LIGHT OF MODERN LITERATURE, AND SOMEHOW KEPT MY DJ NAME.
Heck. Felix says it better than me.