Christine
chris1slug(a)hotmail.com
PO Box 26632 / Richmond VA 23261-6632

Some Thoughts #87

ˆ    This issue marks the 19-year anniversary of Slug & Lettuce.  I find it pretty amazing actually considering that not only does that just sound like forever, but it’s as old as many of the punks that we hang out with.  Kinda puts a whole new perspective on things when you look at it that way.  So next year will mark the 20-year anniversary with issue #90 and my hope it to compile a book of all the photos that have been in S&L in that time.  I have been planning this project for the past year or so, and thought that somehow, because all the editing is essentially already done, that it would be relatively easy.  Easier somehow that the book of my New York photos, which only would really encompass a 6 year time span in the early 90s.  Obviously my thinking is kinda flawed, cause while the editing process might be partially done, what I really didn’t consider what just how many photos we’re talking about.  Ninety issues of my zine, 20 years of band photography.  That is thousands of photos.  That is a lot of photos.  And while the selections may have already been done, one issue at a time, it still involves getting them all together again, on hand and in the same format.  Parts of this are harder than others, and overall it’s quite do-able, but nonetheless it’s a huge project and I find myself slightly overwhelmed.  So if anyone has any suggestions, advice, or the ability to help out with any of the many steps involved, let me know, cause I’m going to need some help.  And while I’m asking for help, I’d also like to set up a website.  What I had hoped was that someone with the ability to do so would be able to do this for S&L.  Initially I was hoping that someone could just run the site, partly on their own volition, but as I well know, people don’t often just spark that kind of initiative and if they do, the follow through and the duration is often sadly, lacking.  So ultimately what I need is someone that can set it up and make it so that I can maintain it.  While I’m at it, it’d be nice to put some of the photo archives on line too.  Wooah, going crazy now with the technology.  But S&L itself still needs to stay in a print format.  It’s getting harder and harder to do a print publication, and I just recently found out that both HeartattaCk and Impact Press are putting out last issues this summer.  So sad.  What is especially sad is that I understand it.  Even though people are telling me more than ever that means that S&L must survive.  Well, she’s not planning on packing it yet.  And the zine does seem to have a life of it’s own, which is a good thing at this point.  Besides the obvious challenge of funding and advertising, it’s become amazing how many people just don’t write letters or correspond my mail anymore.  People are so plugged in on-line and they get all their information immediately, often times things fly around faster than we can mentally or emotionally process the information.  It’s crazy.  Now we’ve got phones that just get smaller and smaller, and personal management gadgets that work at mini computers, devices I don’t even understand.  It’s all pretty overwhelming to me.  Who knows how long the demand for a print zine will last.  But I still like to be able to hand something out, and to be able to throw something to read in my pocket or bag and take it with me.  I don’t want to stare at a screen all day long or for the rest of my life.  Long live paper.  Twenty years, here we come.
    So it’s spring, the best time of year.  We’re actually having a real spring here in Richmond, which is most unusual.  It’s comfortable and exciting.  Spring has more than sprung, everything is green and the pollen is flying.  The flowers have bloomed, and a more are budding.  The vegetables are planted in the garden, and all is well.  And it hasn’t gotten hot yet.  I’m still dragging out my sweatshirt at night, and sure as I put that in print, the heat will settle in and not a cool day will come again for many months.  But I’m still enjoying the outdoors as much as possible and the rejuvenating process that comes with this season.  It’s funny that the spring issue of this zine actually comes out at the beginning of summer.  I suppose I should have changed that a long time ago to match the norms of publishing, but at the same time I’ve never really understood why everything is always so far ahead of the game.  You know what I mean, stores have bathing suits for sale in February, Christmas decorations in October, everything is always being marketed a good 3 months before the time comes.  And magazines tend to be 2 months ahead of time.  It makes sense that you would publish the May issue in April, so that it’s available through the month of May, right?  But the May issue in March is just confusing.  So my spring issue comes out in the middle of spring.  It just makes it so that most people read it throughout the summer and my feelings and observations are long past the time that is now current.  So it goes.  That is the other thing that is strange about a quarterly publication... I tend to write about what happened this week and what shows I went to in the last few, or where I’ll be going next week.  But then what happened a couple months back, also in the scope of this issue seems so long ago.  But the passage of time overall is a strange thing.  Months and weeks flying by.  Years passing quicker and quicker.  I’ve been in Richmond for almost 9 years!  How did that happen?  No complaints.  It’s home and I love it here, in fact Richmond is rocking hard right now.  It seems that the scene is on the up and up here.  Bands are coming through and playing great shows with good turns outs.  There are a few regular places for good shows to happen.  People have been moving here.  I’ve even heard kids saying, “Richmond is the best place to be right now.”  I’m just glad that they’ve all finally realized it and I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts.  We’ve got a girls roller derby team, there are moped and bike gangs who organize events with bike jousts.  I mean, neither of which is really my scene, but I’m still glad that it’s happening in my town.  So I’m looking forward to one of those good summers.  I’m gonna start it off with my usual trips to Austin for the Chaos in Tejas and then to Ohio for Emissions.  Then Tragedy is going to be in the neighborhood.  Not even sure what else is coming up after that, other than the August round of Pointless Fest birthdays in Philly and Best Friends Day in Richmond.  But May offers a good start.  And it’s all gonna be a bit odd and different for me because I recently found out that I’m pregnant.  So really, who knows what is gonna happen.  It’s all new uncharted territory for me now.  But, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be for such a thing, so along with everything else, we welcome it and will embrace it. 
    As for the shows that have happened both recently, and now several months back, there has been a lot of them, and a lot of good ones.  The zine should be done already and I shouldn’t still be writing this, but we just got back from Savannah where we saw the Damad reunion and that was amazing.  An emotional time for many, it was like dejavu for me.  Last time I saw Victoria was the last time they played in Richmond when she was pregnant.  Which was 7 years ago.  The strange thing about it was reflecting on all those years of interwoven southern bands.  Antischism to Damad to Kylesa, the evolution and overlapping of members.  Many people were seeing Damad for the first time, to young to have seen them back then.  I of course end of reflecting on a lifetime of these bands in many different cities.  It’s the kind of thing that could make me feel old, but actually just made me happy to be around old friends.  Last week Avail played in Richmond, which is always an experience to have.  I wrote extensively in the review section about Avail cause Jade Tree just re-issued 3 of their CDs.  Avail is one of my favorite bands, all time favorite bands.  I can credit Avail for why I ended up in Richmond in the first place.  I just love them.  And it was just awesome to see them play again. 
    I have this tendency to get really obsessed with bands, and plot these great shows in my head that would be the “ultimate” at the time.  I remember doing it years ago in NYC, saying wouldn’t it be great if all these bands... (Bands that were active and playing and all favorites of mine at the time) played one show.  Funny thing is that around that time, not only did most of those bands pass through NYC, but also we had the Beer Olympics, which was an all day event of many favorite bands, all playing.  It was the start of the all day fest experience for us, an illegal gathering in an empty warehouse on the waterfront of Brooklyn.  We manage to pull it off for a few years.  It’s the sort of thing that could never happen now. Not only in NYC, but most places.  We are gonna try and have a punks picnic with bands playing outdoors on an island here in Richmond at the of the summer ó so we’ll see.  But anyway, the reality of bringing together a whole bunch of bands at a certain time is very plausible and these days our fests do just this thing and draw people from across the country not only for a good show, but also for a gathering of friends.  But I had this current show that I wanted to create with bands that I’ve been stoked on and wanted to see play together.  It would be Kylesa, Baroness, The Holy Mountain, Torche and Minsk.  It’s not that unrealistic, most of these bands have toured together or played together already and they’re all playing and touring currently.  I haven’t managed to find them all playing one show together, but I have managed or will very soon to see all of these bands this spring.  The Holy Mountain were top of my list to see, being one of my obsessive favorite bands, and my current favorite band that is playing that I had not yet seen live.  They came to Richmond and played a great house show and it was everything I expected.  Now I just want to see them again.  Baroness played the next weekend and they are so amazing I wanted to travel around and see them play some more.  Sadly, I missed Torche, and also missed Kylesa (and they are a band I drop everything and will travel for) as they were either here or near here in the same time period.  But I will see Kylesa and Minsk and Baroness again at Emissions.
    I also got to see Rob Zombie, which I wrote an entire obsessive column about which was totally inappropriate for MRR (especially since it would have been for the “Punk and major label big business issue”.  Fortunately they rejected it.  And well, now the time doesn’t seem right to use it here.  But suffice it to say, I’ve been majorly obsessed with White Zombie since the late 80s.  When I lived in NYC they played often and I went to see them every time.  I got a lot of shit for it from the punks, but I didn’t care, I was that into them.  Almost 20 years later, both White Zombie and Rob Zombie are mainstream popular, and it’s probably the only thing (no, definitely the only thing) that I’m that into on that level.  So when I found out that Rob was finally coming to play nearby, I didn’t give a second though spending more than I ever have for tickets, I was only concerned about it selling out.  Actually the whole experience wasn’t as strange as I thought, the big club experience, so different from my usual DIY punk show scene, was overwhelming at first, but okay.  And damn, when they played, it was euphoria.  I got myself front and center and felt like a girl at a Beatles show in the 60s.  I was clutching my chest and I could barely breath I was so excited.  It was insane.  It was awesome. 
    I wasn’t sure if I was more excited to see Rob Zombie or the Holy Mountain, which happened on the same weekend.  Truth be told, it was just such a different kind of excitement.  For Rob, it was a nervous excitement.  Going to a big club, dealing with strange stuff I’m not used to, being a “fan” at a distance, all of that was so unusual for me.  Plus there are years and years of obsessive fandom I’m dealing with.  It was a huge experience.  The Holy Mountain was on my level, my people, and real.  In the end I was just as excited, and had equal pivotal experiences, just totally different. 
On the timetable of the past season, there have been tons more shows.  Lots of great local shows and a few more we’ve traveled for.  It’s been a good season, and I already think it’s gonna be a rad summer.  I’m excited.  I don’t know what is to come on all levels, but I think it’s gonna be good. Now I just need to get this zine off to print and before I know it it’ll be time for another issue and more shows and hot summer days.  Rock on.
—Christine • May 2006