A Most Unreliable Narrator Issue #139 Oi! Oi! Oi!
Music saves lives
Welcome to A Most Unreliable Narrator, the slice of life newsletter of GenXer around town, Lisa Rabey. I talk about anything and everything with a bit of swears. I’m glad you’re here.
(Another doozy of an issue. Make sure to schedule time for tea and coffee breaks it’s that long.)
Back in my youth, I used to go to concerts. A lot.
It started during my first foray into college where I wrote for the college newspaper. I started out as an arts & entertainment writer, eventually becoming an editor, and that position meant I got wooed by lots of indie record labels for their bands, and not so indie bands, who were coming to Grand Rapids or to Detroit. Sometimes they just wanted me to review their record.
(I also worked as an intern at a local indie radio station during this time and got to meet a lot of bands like Live and Oasis. This is wayyy before Oasis blew up. Oasis’ bassist, Guigsy, felt me up when I hugged him. This was 1995.)
(In the world of digital music, why do we still call them records?? Granted, vinyl is back in a big way, but this is from the before.)
My concert going days started to slowly decline. Life happens, love and friends happen, especially money happens.
And then what became a regular occurrence became rare.
(In 2009, two of my favorite bands, elbow and doves, were on a joint tour and they stopped in Detroit. I was living in Detroit ‘burbs then and I was already in love with both bands so how I missed this show still frustrates me 14 years later.)
When I met TheEx is fall of 2006, things changed. Turned out he knew I was the girl for him when he came to my apartment for the first time and saw my poster of Ian Curtis (lead singer of Joy Division) hanging on my wall. Turns out TheEx, who is two years older than me, was into the same music. This shocked me. Most of my conversations about music were with my imaginary internet friends. To have someone local, someone I saw a lot, dig my music was rare.
While TheEx and I broke up several years later, we went to a lot of shows when we were together. Sometimes even driving to Chicago or Detroit to check out a band. When Control came out in 2007, the story of Ian Curtis (lead singer JD who committed suicide), one theater in all of Michigan was showing it and happened to be in Royal Oak (‘burb of Detroit). We took a cross-state drive, saw the film, and came back the following day.
We were really into music.
As most relationships end, ours did too. Then I went to graduate school and moved from Grand Rapids to Detroit, got back together with J, and life changed.
Since then, I got into the habit of buying tickets for concerts and just never going. Why? No bloody fucking idea. It just was.
(I’m also annoyed when Frightened Rabbit came to Louisville and I didn’t go to their show. How often to Scottish bands appear in Louisville?? Then the lead singer died so no more touring.)
When I recently won tickets from WFPK for Flogging Molly, a ska punk band Oi! Oi! Oi!, I knew I had to go after feeling pumped about my excursion to the writer’s group earlier in the week.
Two bands were opening up for Flogging Molly: Skinny Lister (I just pre-ordered their new album on vinyl because I’m bougie as fuck. Also, they are sea-shanty punk), and Anti-Flag.
J and I saw SL in 2014 at a small venue in Grand Rapids. He got me turned on to them when he heard the song 40 Pound Wedding on NPR. About 12 people attended that show, including J and I. We, meaning I, danced my little heart out. The band did not give a fuck how many people were there. They even passed around a flagon of rum. You can imagine I was doubly pumped to see them last weekend.
Now, I have not heard of Anti-Flag and that seems odd since the band has been around since the late ‘80s. (The lead singer, I was delighted to find out, is 49.) Now, I don’t follow the punk scene as much as I probably should (I call myself punk because I believe in the ethos but again, my musical tastes are different), so hearing Anti-Flag was a new experience.
The band represented punk in a big way: liberty spikes, fuck the man, down with capitalism, politicians ruin everything, we need equality and justice. I enjoyed the show. About 9:30 p.m. Flogging Molly came out on stage and the venue went wild.
I’ve never seen so much plaid, fashion colored hair, kilts, and goatees since the ‘90s.
(I pointed out on FB that I was a bit annoyed because Anti-Flag, for being about equality and justice, were all male and white presenting. No women or non-males, no people of color. I was bitching about this to Best Kate and she said it all comes down to the same thing: capitalism and white male privilege).
I think, no I know, part of my reluctance to concerts these days is because I felt like I was too old. Especially at a punk show, but honestly? I felt fine. I really enjoyed everyone having a good time, the bands giving their all, and watching the youths enraptured with their identities or learning about their identities. Of course, there were some mosh pits going on that I was itching to join. I popped 5 mg gummy of the devil’s lettuce before I went and drank half of a shitty IPA beer at the show but my high wasn’t from that, it was just simply being at a place where I felt loved.
From that show, I feel more comfortable about going to see further shows. I’m really proud of myself last week for putting myself out there and having a good time.
I also talked to strangers! Who am I!?
(Another great thing I was tickled to find out is the lead singer of Flogging Molly is 62. Fuck yes GenX.)
Fat Girl Surgery
Nothing new to update here other than doctor’s appointment this week. I’m keeping a digital private diary about how I’m feeling not because I don’t want to tell my nearest and dearest, but it’s really about working it out for myself. I laid down some rules for myself, which has been going mostly well, to get on the path I need to be. I am also using this newsletter space to work out between head hungry and stomach hungry. Just because I had I had 75% of my stomach removed doesn’t mean my disordered eating has disappeared.
When you read this, J and I will be on our way home from Nashville. How the fuck I’ve lived 2.5 hours away from country music central for the last eight year and never went is fascinating to me. J and I are on a travel kick finally and realizing vacation time should be for vacation and not for dicking around on day stuff. I may get a lot of time, four weeks, but I used the days off as in a day here or ½ day there. Our cruise last December is the first time we’ve taken a proper vacation since 2018. This year we’re going to Nashville, Cancun in April, and EU in November again for another cruise. I’ve got a long girl’s weekend to Key West with Best Kate and Annie in September. I’ve plotted and planned my time to cover all of this and I’m super excited. I just want to relax and chill. Have no agendas or timetables.
I’ve been particularly wordy lately and I want to tell you all about our vacation to Nashville along with a slide show so don’t be too surprised when issue #139.5 shows up on Wednesday.
lisa writes stories
Issue #1 has been published. Please join me. I’d really appreciate your support.
What I’m Reading
This year I’ve committed to read 75 books via the Good Reads Reading Challenge.
Glenarvon Byron’s ex-lover was so distraught about their breakup; she wrote a roman à clef about their relationship
Pride and Prejudice Read this a zillion times but doing a read-a-long for Austen Mondays
If Walls Could Talk Lucy Worsley walks you through the history of the home
Cartographers Nell Young’s father is found dead and she must investigate why
Would I Lie to the Duke (Union of the Rakes #2) “When an ambitious entrepreneur pretends to be a lady of means, she catches the eye—and heart—of a duke”
Waiting for a Scot Like You (Union of the Rakes #3) When Major Duncan McCameron meets sassy Lady Farris, passion and misunderstanding ensues
You May Kiss the Bride (The Penhallow Dynasty #1) When Gabriel Penhallow meets Livia Stuart, passion and misunderstand ensues
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Considered to be Christie’s greatest and MOST controversial mystery
Again the Magic (Wallfloweres #0) Lady Aline Marsden was brought up to marry a man of her class. Then she meets John McKenna.
The Davenports (The Davenports #1) “The Davenports delivers a totally escapist, swoon-worthy romance while offering a glimpse into a period of African American history often overlooked.”
The Idea of You Thirty nine year-old Solene Marchard falls for 20 year-old Hayes Campbell. Chaos ensues.
The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club #1) Retirees solve cold cases and current murders
Check out the media I’ve consumed for 2023!
Punk Saves Live is a non-profit organization who are a “…catalyst at events for the Punk Rock Community to start focusing on Health Concerns, Equal Rights, Human Rights, and more.”
PSL was at the Flogging Molly show swabbing you to see if you were a good candidate for bone marrow donation. They also had a kit of available tampons, access to Plan B, and other health stuff you might need.
Turns out I’m 15 pounds too fat to get swabbed and the director and I lamented about this. What happens with being 15 pounds too heavy? If I was 15 pounds too heavy to get the donation, would I be denied. We agreed this was bullshit.
Instead, I bought a t-shirt as a donation. I also came home, found their website (linked above) and became a “hooligan” which is someone with a reoccurring monthly donation. I
I really like PSL ethos and their work. Especially the help they are doing for mental health and physical health support and awareness.
If you have a few bucks, please consider donating to them. You don’t have to become a hooligan but every dollar helps.