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**PRINT: FRIENDS FROM CINCINNATI: Installment 24 features this part coming-of-age short by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, author of the Trouble collection of shorts out in 2006. | PAST BROADSHEETS |

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Brian Costello

October 6, 2002

Rollie St. Bacon
950 Morris Avenue
Orlando, FL 32806

Dear Brian:

I'm sorry I haven't written sooner. You know how it is here -- especially now, when all you want is cold weather and it's not getting cold and you're looking for a premonition of better things or you're trying to make something happen but nada, nunca, nuncie is the answer to your scream into the void. I'm not trying to bring you down, because you know how pathetic things are here: with me, with this town -- but I guess I just want you to know that I have been meaning to write, and I have been meaning to maybe call, but I hardly talk to anybody anymore, and I know you understand.

Thanks for the tape. Your band, I like -- I do -- and I even think, yes (gulp!), like you said, you do sound like the Germs (Rollie says as he makes the preemptory Sign of the Cross) -- but for my $$$, 'tain't whatchew do with the style, it's all in the riddim, and for that, yeah you should be proud as punch. You finally got my gospel theory drunken dronings about this: the dirty secret with the Stooges (and by extension: the Germs) isn't with some outrageous frontman messed up on H yelling about fucking, oh no sirree (!) -- the stuff's really about those jungle drums. Any asshole can (and does) wear leather pants with white belts and nice spiky hairdos (especially now in this neo-post-proto (to use these jiveass rock critix prefixes) era) and they yell and prance around in prefab-"outrageousness" -- but : FUCK THAT FUCK THAT FUCK THAT! The trick -- the magic? -- the real secret (what we do is secret: SECRET!): it's in the rhythms. Iggy (a drummer originally, you know...) was the charasma to make the girls take notice cause they didn't know any better. They wanted masturbation fodder, as always...bubblegum eye candy, irregardless of content. OK, OK, not ALL the broads, but you know, Mr. Funnyman...how many of those women who laugh at (with) you, who claim, "I like funny guys who are sensitive..." and I suspect you're more aware of what total and utter BULLSHIT that statement is from the fairer sex, no? Guys are stupid, blinded easily by silicone and short skirts, but at least they know it...whereas women, they're responsible for emo, among other terrible terrible delusional outright lies.

But I'm rambling -- but you know that's pretty much all I do anymore. Like the bitter (very bitter) end of Kerouac -- holy, like Kaufman, like Boon -- but unlike those 2 -- like us 3 -- bitter. (Are you bitter? I suspect tones, here and there, in your letter, mixed with all your excitement over all the good news. But maybe it's just me.) Yeah, so solly: I'm ramblin wicked bad.

But speaking of The Germs: have you ever noticed how "Sex Boy" is the exact same chords as "Mood for a Day" by Yes? I might be the 1st rock critic in the history of mankind to make that connection, all the more, um (what word would your Chicago Reader friends use here?), prescient, by that book, that rad (do kids even say "rad" anymore, Brian?) "Lexicon Devil" book, about The Germs, about Darby. Pat Smear was outed as a big Yes fan...and I always knew it...like that beginning of "No God"...the way "Roundabout" was turned on its fucking ass and reformulated into pure gut rage rebellion...but not in the political sense, or the art school sense...but in pure nihilistic frustration....if our society was worth a damn, Darby Crash would have been poet laureate...but then again, had our society been worth a damn in 1979, Darby Crash would have been his real name: Jan-Paul Beahm, a relatively sane nonpoet nonpunk probably serving people Rooty Tooty Fresh n' Fruity's at some IHOP on Hollywood Blvd. No, not even...a worthwhile society in the 70's would have made Darby a damn good Canadian, which would have been, welllll....okay, I guess...but devoid of the suffering and utter futility/absurdity of living here, where nobody sings "My Country Tis of Thee" and nobody talks much about the proverbial Melting Pot anymore...Darby would not have been Darby...and to just think what he might have accomplished had he lived in the old Soviet Union...another Bulgakov, another Platonov, another Babel...without the crazy Bowie and heroin/suicide obsessions, the only thing that could have really killed him was the government.

I think about leaving here, as you well know from our (well...mine really) talks, but I'm too old to leave now. I'm happy sitting around writing letters, reading books (you're right about Nabokov...boy, thanks!)...hiding out -- lonely? Yeah, but there's nobody here I even want to be with. Yeah Cos: your energy does shoot out in millions of directions at once -- like you said in the letter -- and you're right and that's why you're in the "big city" as opposed to being just another work/play Purtian consumptive, or another has-been who never was like me -- I'm about to pass out, but I think it's great that you're doing well, and as for everything else -- I think you'll be fine.