Lester Bangs and the Nature and Purpose of Rock n Roll: A Eulogy for My Imaginary Deadbeat Boyfriend Who Willl Never Love Me

fun essay from goodreads... kind of an extended riff on the "we're fans! we'll never be cool!" speech in Almost Famous. It's long and a bit circular... If you just start w the premise that "Leaster Bangs is the ultimate fan, but fans and rock stars are totally different animals" then you cld probably start at the 5th or so and be fine...


One night last year, I had a long, horrible conversation at a bar with a man over whom I was at the time absurdly heartbroken. After the conversation (or possibly during) we got in a cab and the most maudlin, heartbroken, self-pitying pop-rock ballad currently on the airwaves came onto the cab's radio as though cued to our entrance. "Yes," you're thinking. "Yes, stuff like that happens to me ALL THE TIME! Why does that always happen?!?"

I'll tell you why: BECAUSE ROCK N ROLL HATES YOU. And by you I don't just mean myself, or a general audience. I mean you, specifically, singled out, in particular. ROCK AND ROLL DOES NOT LIKE YOU. Rock 'n' roll does not want you to be happy. It does not want to be your friend. It does not want to hold your hand. It wants to make you cry, and then tell all its friends about it. It waits around corners, listens to your confessions, documents your break-ups, your losses, your failures. It dogs your steps when you walk home from the subway, it notices who comes and goes from your life, who you want gone but keep around and who you want back but don't call. It records your childhood traumas like Freud in a smoking jacket. It chronicles your past lovers like a backward version of Homer naming the ships. It hoards all this information in a sweaty much-thumbed pants pocket and it waits, like the thing under the bed with its red eyes drooling vemon out onto the carpet. It has infinite, terrifying patience, and then at the precise worst moment it lunges for your heart and that's how we end up having more meaningful relationships with songs than with people. It's what comes on the radio, what comes on the shuffle, what some regrettably sincere lover played for you without thinking about the intractable truth that the song will still exist when your relationship does not. This is why there is a whole website dedicated to ruined music. Music is semi-permanent; relationships are doomed. And then that same song ambushes you in the middle of a perfectly all right day when you thought you were finally over it and then you're lunging for the off-button, the next track, the ipod at the end of the headphone cord, oh fuck, why can't I get it to turn off, why is the computer being slow now no, no, I can't listen to this oh fuck oh fuck.


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