hungry crowd

Your life is over.

“Titus Andronicus”

In the interest of reader comfort, I wanted to inform you that in this essay I’ll be discussing my experience with panic disorder in detail.

When discussing Charles Peterson, the legendary photographer whose photos became the front covers of many an early grunge album, former Mudhoney manager Bob Whittaker once said “Bruce (Pavitt, founder of Sub Pop) loved those Charles Peterson photos because it made it look like more of an event.” Often faced with crowds of little more than a dozen, Peterson got right in the middle of the action, making his gritty, colorless snapshots of Seattle luminaries like Chris Cornell and Mark Arm feel as if they were occurring in front of a hungry crowd of thousands.

Whether intentionally or not, the music video to Titus Andronicus’ self-titled single, and definitive anthem, uses this same effect. It’s embarrassingly apparent to me now, all these years later, that the crowd in front of Stickles and co. numbers no more than a few dozen. But when I viewed the video for the first time, at 14, they could’ve filled a stadium.

At the time, I was still recovering from a period in which I suffered from panic disorder, having crippling panic attacks on a nearly daily basis, leaving me in constant, chronic fear of my own mind. During that period, I related to little other than the discography of Joy Division, whose lead singer had struggled so much with his own mental health, and met a tragically early end because of these painful battles.

Though I was recovering, I feared that my attacks could resume at any moment, without warning. I feared ending up like Ian Curtis myself. I didn’t have any suicidal urges, but my lack of understanding of why my brain would consistently turn my body into full on fight-or-flight mode (I didn’t discover exactly what I was suffering from until years later), and my lack of understanding of how the brain occasionally acts completely on its own left me in a state of paralysis. I felt crushed, as if, even if I wanted to continue living, I had next to no control over whether or not that would happen.

So here was a music video from a band whose origins could be traced from a town hundreds of yards away from my house, a music video in which the huddled, undefined masses in the crowd all, during the song’s climax, euphorically chanted four words with the band: “your life is over.” His arms raised far over his head, begging the audience to clap along like at some shitty stadium rock show, Stickles led this giant, communal celebration of vulnerability, the likes of which I had never seen before.

My attacks would, in fact, return with a vengeance mere weeks after I was first exposed to Titus Andronicus through this video. But through it all, “Titus Andronicus” slowly revealed itself to be everything I never knew I wanted in a punk song. It wasn’t just rage and speed; it was the sort of community I had only read about in books, the sort of acceptance I had only dreamed of. If Stickles could celebrate in the face of his own demons, maybe I could too.

TOP 10: Most Anticipated Films of Summer 2015

10. HUNGRY HEARTS

09. LOVE & MERCY 

08. DIGGING FOR FIRE

07. THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT

06. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

05. TOMORROWLAND

04. THE END OF THE TOUR

03. IRRATIONAL MAN

02. Z FOR ZACHARIAH

01. ALOHA

I work at a Barbecue restaurant with big yellow cups. Today, we got a phone call asking us to essentially reserve our whole dining room for a 38-person event at 6 pm, requiring us to rush several sausages and chicken into our smoker to ensure we’d have enough for the group and other customers.
We also had to withhold all our ribs from other customers, which did not make people happy.
Shortly after all the meat is loaded and cooking, we get a call from our sister location in the next town over, and they told us they’d gotten the exact same call. Now we’re suspicious.
Sure enough, 6 pm comes and goes with overwhelming crowd of hungry people pouring into our restaurant. Now we’ve got too much meat that, by company policy, we can’t keep overnight.

10

man, @rosecitycomiccon was a blast.  and really well run.  it was SO kid friendly. the crowd was so diverse and welcoming. the cosplayers were SO good and so fun that my kids basically feel like they went to disneyland.

the future of conventions is KID and family friendly. not hollywood bullshit friendly. 

i am posting that panel pic because that is from the writing lecture panel i did with david walker. look at that hungry late sunday afternoon crowd.  look at all the different kinds of voices that are looking for their way into comics.  the next ten years of comics is going to be something to see.

Very happy to be part of it.

speaking of happy: so the only bummer is i rarely get to walk the floor but i do get to meet tons of people and get tons of reports from fans about what is going on. and AGAIN i am hammered with reports of a few, really a few, crabby, belligerent, cantankerous creators who decide that they don’t have to be polite to the readers. that they don’t have to say hello… pro tip: you do.   i met these readers.  they are good nice people.  being an asshole to them because you think the world has done you wrong or you’re hung over or whatever the reason is so insipid to me.

be cool to your readers or STAY HOME.  

soapbox over! thank you all for an amazing weekend. and it was a con i could ride my bike to! 

off to bolivia tomorrow (!!) see you there.

The Burning of Smyrna (1922)

M/S of man on raised platform handing out bread to mass crowd of hungry refugees who reach out desperately with their hands.

The identity of the man handing out food is unknown. Various groups from countries such as Britain, America, and France attempted to help refugees during and after the devastating fire. The crisis affected several hundreds of thousands of Greeks and Christian minorities from Smyrna alone, leaving out the many thousands more affected by the “population exchange” of Greeks, Armenians, and other Christian minorities from Asia minor as a whole. The total affected is nearer to over 1 million with these other places taken into account.

Robin stood on the corner of the street, his hood pulled up as he watched people passing by. He knew it was his own fault really; after all, what kind of idiot goes out for the day and forgets to take their money with them? But being annoyed about it didn’t change the fact that Robin currently had no money and he was getting increasingly hungry.

He watched the crowds for a few more moments before choosing his victim. He moved quickly, following them a little way down the street and then bumping into them. “I’m so sorry,” he said, pretending to brush them down and slipping his hand into their pocket. He managed to pull something out and stood back, quickly stuffing his hands in his own pockets and shrugging with an innocent grin. “Still, no harm done, eh?”

Hugh Dancy’s go-to karaoke song is Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” (x)

It’s at moments like these that I am forcibly reminded that he and I are almost exactly the same age.