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PO Box 26632 / Richmond VA 23261-6632

Some Thoughts #79

    This issue marks the 18 year anniversary of Slug & Lettuce.  I find it hard to believe sometimes cause that sounds like such a long time. I don’t see things slowing down, stopping, or even changing anytime in the near future.  My thanks go out to all those who have helped to pull this issue together, and to everyone who has helped out over the years.  There are those who have been around for the long haul and you are appreciated and certainly not forgotten.  It’s a funny thing with time, and growing older in a youth culture, because those who stick around for what I call the ‘long haul’, really count for so much.  I find myself constantly saying things like “I met them over a decade ago,” “I haven’t been there, seen them, done that, etc... in ten years.”  That ten year, decade plus reference is everywhere for me these days.  I still joke around about how I think last year was 1995, but lately I’ve also really come to realize that was actually almost 10 years ago and that lifetimes of events are unfolding right before my eyes.  I’ve finally come to terms with Richmond and my present life and I find it all to be so great.  The people that I have known for all these long years and the people who are still collaborators with me through Slug & Lettuce after all these years really mean a lot to me.  The more I think about it, the more amazing it is, because while we seem to watch the revolving door of punks come and go in a few year increments, there are plenty of folks whose dedication, commitment and hard work has not wavered.  There are zines, labels, distros, activists and good solid people who are still doing what they’ve always been doing and I find that I take a lot of comfort and support in that.  I find we get a bit pickier as we age, in who we spend time with and who we really consider our friends and peers and peeps.  Somehow the relationships that once upon a time seemed like enough, we now look for a deeper kind of sustenance and sustainability. I still feel like I “know” those people I see on a regular basis, even if we don’t have heart to heart deep talks, a time comes when  that lack of dialog really does leave you feeling empty.  We look around and ask, what do I really know about these people?  I do take comfort though, in the people that I’ve just seen around for years and years, who are still around doing what they do, even if I don’t “know” them all that well.  Sometimes time brings it’s own sustenance.  But it’s all those people that I really do know, the ones who I’ve watched grow up and who’s footsteps I’ve followed in; the people who have continued to be there when I needed them, or who’s presence has always been silently, or loudly felt, the people who’s parents addresses I still have somewhere, who’s last names I actually know, as I like to say—he people that I have lived many lifetimes with — these are the people that I feel I will grow old with. And I look forward to it.  Growing old with my friends, that is.  But in the meantime we’ve got some keeping young to do and for me spring time is all about that rejuvenation and energizing process.  By April, and into May, I have finally broken out of the hard shell of hibernation, shed all the extra layers, and stretched out those stiff muscles, and I’m ready to go.  These longer days with the brighter sun always make me feel like anything is possible.  I really try to enjoy spring as much as possible, because it’s always such a fleeting season, teasing and then gone into the heat of the summer. Richmond’s spring season is extra wonderful because this is a lush city with so much green plant life and blooming flowers and budding life.  The first time I ever visited Richmond was in May and it was so over the top lush, and hot and humid.  I find myself so content here now, in this city which has changed dramatically in the almost 7 years I’ve been here.  But I am also just as content here in my home, my yard and my neighborhood.  Over the years I have cultivated my herb garden, and the annual vegetable plot; and the hammock under the Crepe Myrtle and Wisteria vines is the perfect place to lounge, although the porch willow rocking chair is pretty damn fine too.  So it seems that everyone has spring fever, especially all the reviewers and columnists for Slug & Lettuce because it was like pulling teeth to get the contents together for this issue.  Everyone was off riding bikes, keeping the records distributed, parenting the children, teaching school, saving the world, or just enjoying the sun and doing everything but sitting at the computer.  And how we blame anyone for that?  And I’m hardly one to talk here, as I’m down to the midnight wire (the 5am wire in my case) of trying to get this last bit written before I send this off to the printer and then hop on a plane to Milwaukee and then onwards to Minneapolis for the Havoc Thrash Fest and the Profane Existence Misery show.  Back on my “it’s been 10 years” line of talk, it really has been 10 years since I’ve seen Misery.  I mean, it seems like forever and yet yesterday at the same time.  Always amazing how the things that you really like, and the things that are most important to you stay with you always and don’t hold the same timeline as the rest of life.  I’m just stoked to still be able to get to see one of these favorite bands of mine.  And it’s a funny thing all the apocalyptic named bands I like so much - Misery, Nausea, Tragedy - there is something to be said for the strength of those names.  It’s like t-shirts I wear and don’t think that much of - they are friends’ bands after all, but then take a step back, or wake up when some random person in the grocery line asks what your shirt says and, well sometimes the context can be rather amusing. I still can’t get over how much negative attention my “You Don’t Have To Fuck People Over to Survive” t-shirt has gotten.  I mean I think that is such a universally positive empowering and great slogan.  But there are those people who just see “Fuck” on a shirt and freak out.  It always surprises me these details that I don’t even think of, that make or break in societies eyes.  On my calendar at work is says “Havoc / Misery”, and I wonder what they think of that.  And yet I’m the ultimate posi-core girl, the eternal optimist who is always looking for the good in things, to the point of fault at times, and definitely criticism.  But ya know what, if I’m to be the one promoting the huggy granola feel good side of punk, so be it.  And I’ll do so while listening to all this apocalyptic music. The latest issue of Harbinger talks about how we are all living in a daily life that is full of “disaster”, and yet, we as a society, are actually all in wait of these disasters to break up the monotony of the routine, so that we can really LIVE.  Everything is a balance of the good and the bad, and there is so much fucked up horrendous bad stuff in our world and in our lives that doesn’t it make sense to try to grasp onto that which is fulfilling and positive and promote and support those things which we feel help to make life more worth living.  I get all oober goober excited about things and am now prone of making fun of myself for getting so excited to the point of obsession - whether it’s a band, a book, a place, a plant, a smell, a color, or an experience.  I get obsessed and a bit crazy sometimes and go overboard and carry on, but that is what I live for.  I live from one obsessed moment to another as a means to fuel the fire that sustains me.  So when I tell my friends that I’m going to see Tragedy in Philly, and they say “will you be writing a 2,000 word essay about how the show saved your life,” my response was “well probably not,” cause I’m thinking, “I’ve already done that.”  But then I’m there in Philly watching Tragedy, and I’m so overcome with intense emotional feelings overboiling to the point of mania that I equate to that which makes everything worthwhile, and I found myself thinking “yes, this moment is worth it all.”  But I don’t have 2,000 words to write on just that cause there are so many other things to gush about.  Like back in February when I last went to Philly for the 2.5 Children reunion show.  I practically wrote a 2,000 word review of the CD (in this issue) and have attempted to get the thoughts onto paper many times before the show and after to just talk about this great band that had such an impact and influence on my life.  I’ve wanted to tell the world how amazing they are, because it seems they might have gone unnoticed outside the east coast mid-Atlantic region just cause their records never really got in print or distributed.  But finally they have.  And after at least 8 years since having seen them last play, and a good 6 or so since I’d seen some of my pals in the band, well it was amazing actually.  On one had I expected one of those falling into place family reunions that I’m so fond of, but I also feared that “it’s been so long, who knows” nervous energy.  And true enough, they all have “grown up” and gotten their lives together in an impressive manner, while here I am still wearing the same sweatshirt and writing the same zine and carrying on the same way I always have.  Sometimes I feel like I have gotten stuck and I fear that a bit, being stuck, as if it might be some lame and pathetic thing to have not changed; as if I will in turn be left behind while the world moves on.  But then I remember that there is something to really be proud of about consistency and plowing along on my continuous treadmill. I had my shit together very young, and that has kept me heading in the same direction, hardly wavering or changing.  Sometimes when things get to moving and changing around me, I start to really question myself, and sometimes ask if I’m stubborn.  But in the end I always find I must embrace both my consistency and dedication, and even my stubbornness, for all it’s worth because the best part of staying on the same path and course is that I have this strong sense of who I am and no need to apologize for that.  But back from that tangent, when 2.5 Children started to play I was so overcome with that nostalgic throw back to another place and time and I realized that I know every single word of all their caffeinated brilliance, and I sang my heart out, and for the first time ever actually though that if there was a band that I could sing with, it’d be them.  But I don’t have room too many more words, so moving right along....and wrapping this ramble up.  In the last issue I was talking about the dogs we’ve lost, and how I was looking for the right 4-legged friend and I admitted to having this fondness for the special needs dogs.  Somehow I’ve come across seizure dogs and diabetic dogs and ones with birth defective legs and all of them have charmed me to no end. But the one that claimed ME was the 3-legged girl named Tibby, named after her missing Tibia which was amputated after she was hit by a car last fall.  She’s 10 months now and in all her puppy glory, she’s mostly a big mouth.  You’d never know she’s missing that back leg cause she’s fast and sleek and gets around just fine.  She is just plain awesome.  And she’s taught Tonka how to play and share toys and quite literally, she’s taught the old boy some new tricks.  So I’ve been feeling bad about my referring to the dogs as 4-leggeds, now realizing that was rather ablest of me, although I’ve always called the animal friends, or animal people 4-leggeds.  But now, actually following some unspoken prediction of Erik’s, we have a 3-legged Boxer pup and our 4-legged Tonka, who make up our 7 legged pals.   I still make the rounds to the shelters and visit the homeless dogs and still find myself falling for the least likely to be adopted ones.  I hear there is a Chihuahua waiting for me as I write.  We’ll see.  So I’m packing this issue in.  My thanks again to all those who have helped with the reviews lately, and my thanks to everyone who has supported and helped out S&L over the years.  Let’s hope that everyone doesn’t get so dependent on sending files over the computer, thus forgetting how to use a laser printer, and thereby not sending in the ads that support this paper.  I was going to bring back the eco-recycling tips, prompted by Steve’s column in this issue.  It was always one of my favorite parts too, but then I just felt like I was being repetitive - saying reduce the amount of crap you take in, reuse all that you can, and recycle everything else a hundred different ways.  But it’s been made clear to me time and time again, that while we should all know this stuff, our society is still based on convenience and that makes people lazy and wasteful.  So just a few things to start.  Most cities and towns have curbside recycling collection - don’t thrown away your recyclables - separate them and put them in the right place on the right day.  Easy.  Don’t throw away things that you can reuse - whether it’s paper, cardboard, mailing supplies, or grocery bags.  Don’t take a bag every time you shop.  Either go bagless, or bring your own bags.  Reuse or recycle the paper and plastic bags that inevitably accumulate.  Think creatively and conserve resources.  You save money in  the long run too.  Okay, so I’m going to start to compile the eco-tips again in future issues.  And my apologies that there are no classifieds in this issue either.  I just ran out of space.  One more thing on the eco-front.  Smoking sucks.  I hate cigarettes and I’m really allergic to the smoke.  I have never ever been a smoker, not even a puff, though it seems my whole life I’ve been surrounded by them.  My father finally quit smoking last year and Erik quit this year, both for necessary health reasons, but I want to say Hooray and Congratulations, and my huge and love to both of them.  Smoking is gross, it’s expensive, it’s ugly, and it stinks.  I’m ecstatic that both my father and my husband have quit - so hear hear! to them both having longer healthier lives.  Okay, so I’m off to the post office and then to Milwaukee, and onwards to Mpls.  Then it’ll be back home to Richmond’s spring and garden planting and hammock sitting and book reading and coffee drinking and loads of good punk rock all summer long.  All stop no go, caffeinated summer punk rock in the sun fun.
—Chris(tine) 4/04