So, the podcast is on a hiatus. I haven't been to any shows lately, and I've been working on the DVD and another project that's not quite ready to talk about yet. I figure I've been doing this every week for a little over a year now, I might as well go on break. I'll be posting clips from the Madison Pop Fest next month, but that'll probably be it until the new year.

Meanwhile, one of the shows I ended up not seeing recently was Portastatic while we were in Chicago last weekend, owing mainly to sleep and fatigue. The new album, Be Still Please, is growing on me the same gradual way the last one did, except for the one song that's just lodged itself in my head. "You Blanks" choruses on an amazing encapsulation of what the last six years have meant for at least half the country:

All my songs used to end the same way
"Everything's gonna be OK"
You fuckers made that impossible to say

It's not enough that we've lost 7,000+ people and something like half a trillion dollars, our moral standing and our national character. We've had hope taken from us. We are desperate and gasping, hoarse from screams that never end. In six years (or maybe a little over eight or twelve) the lights of a thousand new dreams have died, and it's horrible. Some of us have learned to close our eyes and wait until daddy says it's OK. The rest of us have stood and gotten punched in the gut by the machine that killed John Henry, and there's no end in sight.

Mac McCaughan's last band's last album came out on September 18, 2001, and on a song called "Phone Sex" contained these lyrics: "Plane crash footage on TV/I know, I know that could be me." It's ironic that on Be Still Please McCaughan writes in less literal terms about the event that "Phone Sex" only coincidentally references. What he's writing isn't really protest music, but what he and the rest of us are doing isn't really protesting. We're all becoming, and it's up to the next few years to tell us what.

Posted by Aaron S. Veenstra ::: 2006:11:24:19:06

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