The First Draft of My Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech Awarded for My Novel "The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs."
I thank the Swedish Academy for awarding me this highest of honors. As the letters in "Penthouse Forum" so often begin: I never thought it would happen to a guy like me. Thank you.
As a man of letters, I must say: Sweden is tits, dude. Total. I really can't stress that enough. No, it's not just your women. No wait--it is just your women. But the color scheme of your flag is pretty sweet too, so don't let them tell you that is all you have going for you. Thank you.
Perhaps I did not expect a novel which only sold 37 copies to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Perhaps there are other writers more deserving of this honor than myself, but as we say back home in Chicago: So what?
But still: I really didn't think I'd win this, so, like, I'm kinda talking off the top of my melon here. Past speeches invariably discuss the Sacred Duty of the Writer in This Day and Age as in All Days' Past. I wish I had something more to contribute to this cause, but I don't, and besides, the musical group Lost Sounds summed it up nicely: "Some say the end is near, but I think it's already here."
The End. And it's not an apocalyptic blast of doom and gloom over in a day or two, leaving us to eke out an existence in a post H-Bomb wasteland. No, instead, it's a slow process of decay.
The decadence of this era is incredibly corny. The Romans had orgies, vomitoriums, and Caligula; we get Ashlee Simpson, Old Country Buffet, and Dick Cheney. I can guarantee my winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature will garner perhaps a brief mention in American print media, and no mention at all on TV. Especially if there's a runaway bride, a waterskiing squirrel, and/or a bitchin' carchase happening on the same day.
So what's to be done about this Impending End? Is it really The End, or just the end of a corny era; in the immortal words of d. boon, "a colonial trait that's much too old."
I don't know. I'm just the drummer for The Functional Blackouts. [Pause here for thunderous applause, then a standing ovation.] Thank you! Thank you very much! Oh please, stop! Thank you! We are great! I know! Thank you! Thank you so much!
[30 minutes later, after the ovation has ended, and the audience has retaken their seats.]
Seriously though. I don't know. I mean, the decadence my friends and I get up to is really about fun for its own sake, sort of an epicurean getting out of the ya-yas before the inevitable inheritance of suburbia. There's very little talk about how to fight The Man, thank God. (The moment Paul Caporino tries to write a political song about capitalist exploitation of the Third World for MOTO is the day the terrorists REALLY HAVE WON.) There's nothing worse than musicians thinking they can solve the worlds problems through song. And yet...The Minutemen is my very favorite band, and The Clash is right up there too somewheres...but those are exceptions rather than the rule. I guess what I'm trying to say is: Like I need some 18 year old trust fund dipshit screaming into a microphone about how crappy the geopolitical scheme of things really is. A simple commute to work takes care of that little quandry for me.
No, this is more about the simple gut reactions of media children too smart for the puerile distractions your average cubicled asshole finds interesting, but too dumb to know where to channel all this excess leisure energy beyond bands n booze...perhaps the final shout before rocknroll becomes as dead a museum artifact as jazz. (Trickknee's Rockabilly Fest article in the last TB gives a taste of what I'm trying [and failing] to say here as an example of this. As do bands who play safely in the parameters of "acceptibility," of knowing where that fine line is between presenting a marketable "outrageous" image vs a born outrageousness that gets you in trouble...like the dif between Pat Boone and Little Richard.)
Bulgakov, author of "The Master and Margarita," the novel which was the inspiration for the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," wrote, "Manuscripts don't burn," and he's right. If you can get a good idea out there, it's gonna get out to everybody sooner or later. The historical examples of this are too numerous to mention. Creative play is under attack, and it's the same corny ideologues and greedy motherfuckers who have always tried sterilizing that force for its own bland ends. Just the simple act of living on your terms is worth more than all the talk talk talk about What's Wrong with the World, and if a sentiment like that sounds like a death dance before a totalitarian clampdown, it's worth considering Bulgakov wrote the above at the height of Stalinist repression.
The problem with PC punks and their zines (we know who they are) is they saddled the anarchic (in its true sense, not the circle A hot topic way) creative play of punk-punk punk rockers and drenched it in drab ideology. Rules. Couple this with a subculture with more rules and mores than a South Carolinian Ladies' Tea Party, and you find yourself in the same trap the hippies found themselves, and with the lack of fun, of course, after all your adolescent hemming and hawing, you'll just turn out like your parents. It's the difference between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards's reactions onstage at Altamont, in so much as that difference exists in their impotent powers to self-consciously change the world in an overt way. In my own life, I've seen the dudes in my high school with the biggest liberty-spiked mohawks end up happily married with three kids living in enviable mcmansions. Surely, sooner or later and assuming they don't die, a similar fate awaits many gutter punks. Death or glory, just another story...
Instead of all that, our revolution, such as it is and if you could even call it that, is the simple idea of having loads and loads of fun--creative, transcendent, fun--on your own terms. As the 21st Century drags on, I suspect this will be harder and harder to accomplish. Cities will be too expensive, and suburbs are culture slums. The banking institutions will reinstate debtors prisons for those who can't pay off their credit cards and student loans. Mere survival's gonna take too much work, and all the free time we enjoy now thanks to the labor-saving devices of the last few decades will be eaten up by longer commutes, longer hours, exhaustion, TV, and happy meds when we get a little ahhhngsty about it.
But then again, the desire for creative play is one of many inheritances from chimps, so for now, I'll hold out hope that future generations will figure out new and exciting ways to achieve this--whether through music, writing, or anything else--and I can only hope I've made some contribution--no matter how small and barely significant--to this here idea.
Thanks Sweden! You have great taste!
Contact: the bcshowwithbc-at-hotmail.com
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