Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's Strange How I Admire Old Men

There is perhaps no other time in a man's life when he so scrutinizes the stuff his idols are made of than when he's making a list of potential names for his firstborn child. We've come to an informal agreement that I'm in charge of coming up with male names, and Nicole's handling female names. It might seem a little sexist on the surface, but, y'know, Nicole didn't spend the better part of her pre-adolescence thinking up names she'd rather be called than Emmet*. Well, I hope she didn't. That would be kinda disturbing if she did.

It's become painfully obvious to me that my heroes have always been either shitheels or schmucks--and occasionally a little of both. My favourite writers are generally the worst of the lot, a trainwreck of drunks, creeps, and the odd anti-semite. My favourite fictional characters don't fare much better, from crypto-fascists to workaholic louts. As always, the literary world has let me down.

Jazzbos shine a little brighter in the character department, but their names tend towards being so common their significance would be lost. So scratch Ken, Diz, or Albert. There's a certain amount of cachet in using jazzers' last names as first names, but that's problematic too. Mingus is a great name for a cat, but a kid? Dolphy, meanwhile has two knocks against it. A) I'd really hate for someone to think it's short for Adolph. B) Who the hell wants to go through third grade named Dolphy?

Names is hard. Hard like math. But the Theater Fire is easy. Last we heard from the Fort Worth, TX octet, they were travelling undercover as the Howling Hex on You Can't Beat Tomorrow, both the album and the variety show. They've got a new album, Matter and Light, not coming out until December (lotsa fun stuff happening this December! Can't wait!), but were kind enough to send a teaser, which is absolutely the best thing I've heard all year (sorry, everyone else). "Swashbuckler Blues", heard below, recalls Muswell Hillbillies + I dunno, Calexico x just about everything I like in music right now. Watch this space for more on the
Theatre Fire in coming weeks.

mp3: "Swashbuckler Blues" by The Theater Fire

* I have long ago made peace with my first name and come to not only like, but to revel in it.

EDIT: for about 45 minutes, I accidentally had the wrong song linked above. Just long enough for the Hype Machine to pick up on it. Oops. The above song is now corrected, and if you're looking for a hot track from the upcoming Rah Rah album, check back soon!

No comments: