Sunday, November 10, 2013

ReNEW SENSATIONS: Doin' the Things That We Want To

I spent two years at the mostly forgotten Saskatchewan School of Performing Arts. I was a drama major. I was 13 the first year, 14 the second. It was pretty intense and I kind of burned out on it by the end of the second year. By the spring of 1992, I just wanted to hang out with my friends.
We moved to Regina at the beginning of the following school year. I had some good times in drama class and the school play one year and was on the Improv team. But that was all such kids stuff after two years with Raymon Montalbetti.We did an hour of breathing and movement every class. Just breathing and moving. Sometimes guttural shouts. We didn't do a lot of scenes. We didn't learn how to memorize scripts. We learned how to breathe and how to move, how to be aware of yourself. We workshopped performances. We created our own shit. The few plays we did do, by end of my first year, there were only two of us left as drama majors, so we had to work with that. Waiting for Godot. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. True West.

I ended up in London, Ontario six years later. Chad was going to school there and he and his roommate had paid their rent in advance. His roommate dropped out and moved back home, so Chad suggested I come live in his basement suite for free and become a famous novelist or something. I don't remember what the plan was, but it wasn't very well thought out. I had spent the winter working in pasta restaurant and had had my first few record reviews published and I had a bit of money saved up, so I figured I might as well. We spent a lot of nights in bars and clubs at first. But it wasn't my scene. I had moved out east to be an intellectual and I didn't know how to talk to these people. One night we got home and turned on the TV and there was Gary Sinise and John Malkovich on some PBS station doing True West. We sat down and watched the whole damn thing.

This song says a lot about Lou Reed. He puts himself beside Sam Shepard and Martin Scorsese, and, y'know, he's earned it. At their best and at their worst, by 1984, these three boomer dudes have produced a few unqualified classics in their respective disciplines and would keep on doing interesting work that placed a high value on the integrity of the artist's vision without entirely discounting commercial prospects for decades to come. The song also reminds us that Lou Reed is a critic. People talk about what he said about Christgau on Take No Prisoners. People talk about his feud with Lester Bangs. The guy was a critic.
Groucho Marx wrote letters to T.S. Eliot. "I wrote this song 'cause I'd like to shake your hand..."

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