Tag Archives: boredom

Bored and a half

Prowling empty hotel hallways...
Only boring people get bored.

I wish I’d known that as a kid. It seemed like I was always bored, then. It wasn’t until I more or less stopped watching television late in my teenage years that I stopped being boring. (OK, I did spend some delirious late, late night hours watching old horror movies over at my pal Shawnee’s house. Her parents were amazingly tolerant of her hippy friends, even after the rest of the household became seized by Born Again Fever.)

But, by the time I had crossed paths with that truism, I was already decidedly unboring. If I do say so myself.

I had a pal who was out on the road in those days with Chakka Khan’s band. It seemed so extraordinarily glamorous. But it was driving him nuts. He had a beautiful wife and a young baby and he really wanted to be home with them instead of holing up in a seemingly endless series of motel rooms.

I remember listening to him and offering up one suggestion after another… but he had them beat. And more or less legitimately. I offered up sight seeing and he said, Mostly, I’ve seen it. I suggested museums. You’d be surprised how lame the museums in Peoria and Hackensack are. How about learning a new instrument or something? I offered. He just looked at me funny. How about drinking, I finally said, and cracked the seal on the Tequila in front of us.

Some years later I would pick up a Rolling Stone magazine and glance at the lead article on a certain poor little rich boy rock star. Fabulously wealthy, he languished in his own shadow. His lack of passion became a burden and, for a time, he stopped writing. The Rolling Stone writer tried his damnedest to capture the star’s dilemna — and maybe if I’d had a little more compassion in those days, I’d have been able to dial in that wavelength.

But it just slipped past me.

All I could think about was all that money and all those possibilities and all he could come up with was… boredom.

I have considerable more empathy, now. Once I stopped drinking a dozen years ago, I started finding some compassion for those who could not, as I’d often advised, reach right down and pick themselves up by their bootstraps. Because, once I’d taken away my own medicine, I found my own bootstraps just a little hard to reach… they were so far and every effort, in those days, seemed crushing.

I eventually climbed out of it — but for way too long, I was depressed. Some days I couldn’t bring myself to go out or even do the simplest chores. Once an aggressive, restless bon vivant, out many more nights than not, I found myself unable to stay at parties more than a few minutes. After a while, it just seemed easier not to go.

So I holed up in my house, with my cats and my guitars…

But at least I wasn’t bored.

Only boring people get bored.

Internet Archive page for this recording

A STAR IS BORED

A star is bored
prowling empty hotel hallways
He’s never alone
so how come he’s always lonely

Nothing gets him down
it’s all just the same
saying “If you think you’re bored,
then you should see me!”

Down in the bar
leaning into a smokey corner
trying not to catch her eye:
“Say, cowboy, why you dressed like that?”

And it always seems to
go down about the same
It kills a couple of hours
but it don’t kill the pain

Tell him a story
make it long, make it lonely
Lots of starstruck summer nights
and the moon’s reflection on the river that runs through
everything

Nothing makes much sense
but he guesses that’s just life
Ya play a few songs
and then they turn out the lights

Yeah, nothing makes much sense
and he guesses that’s just life
You have a couple of laughs
and then you call it a night

(C)1990, TK Major

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I’m sick of the blues

Je suis désenchanté

There was a time — a while back, mind you — when I was writing so many song lyrics that I couldn’t keep up, music-wise. Actually, judging from the quality of many of those songs, I couldn’t keep up lyric-wise, either, but we’ll let that go. For now.

That meant the musical dropback plan b of the 20th century — the blues.

One day when I’d run out of music and run out of words and yet still found myself writing a song, I found myself singing, “I’m sick of the blues.” And I thought — ah, an instant classic.

But, gee, I love the blues. So I quickly began ticking off a list of musical genres that I was even more sick of. That was good for a verse… (And please keep in mind this was 1994, too. Hence the dated cultural references.) Trendy cuisine, another verse. And where else to go from there but around the world…

Formulaic? I wear my formulae on my sleeve. Er, sleeves. Whatever.

Anyhow, if the lyrical conceit seems a might precious, you might want to check out the dub version (from 1999; just below the other play and download links). The fictional vignette posted with the previous AYoS version is a riff on that mix.

 

 

dub version (1999):

 

Désenchanté
1/19/94

I’m sick of the blues
I’m sick of reggae too
I’m sick of rock and country
rap and techno too
I’m sick of Madonna and Bono
of course I always was
m sick of world music
ambient trance and dub
I am sick to death of everything
I always loved to do
I’m sick to death everything
but most of all of you

I’m fed up with cuisine nouvelle
I’m cuttin’ off Cajun too
I’m bored with bouillabaisse
with Thai and Greek I’m through
I wish I had a dollar
for every overpriced Bordeaux
I wish I had a dime for every time
you blew my roll
I am sick to death of everything
I always loved to do
I’m sick to death everything
but most of all of you

I’m désenchanté with
Cannes and St Tropez
I cannot regain
that simpaticismo
I felt in Spain
I can’t explain
this ennui borders on pain
but all around the world
everything’s about the same
I’m sick to death of everything
I ever loved to do
I’m sick to death everything
but most of all of you

1/19/94
(C)1994, TK Major

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Empty hotel hallways [A Star Is Bored]

A Star Is Bored

He was so bored in the room. The others had gone out to an afterhours but he was sick of clubs and music. He tried to write a letter to his ex-wife but he couldn’t think of what to say after he asked about the kids. The movies on cable were always the same.

He went down to the bar and ordered Scotch. He buried himself in shadow in a corner booth but soon he looked up to see a woman of thirty wearing teenager’s clothes and too much makeup.

“Aren’t you…” she began.

His first impulse was to be rude, to just send this poor creature away. There she was, her waste cinched in with a department store “fashion” belt, her breasts on display thanks to some engineering miracle of a brasiere, her hair somehow inflated… she looked like a flower ready to blossom… or simply explode. But he could never be cruel.

Sadly, he thought to himself, he could never be strong either.

“Maybe,” he said in answer to her partial question. “I might be. After, all, according to the entertainment section, I am in town.”

She looked confused but hopeful.

“Why don’t you sit down, love? You seem quite young to be one of my fans…”

A STAR IS BORED

A star is bored
prowling empty hotel hallways
He’s never alone
so how come he’s always lonely

Nothing gets him down
it’s all just the same
saying “If you think you’re bored,
then you should see me!”

Down in the bar
leaning into a smokey corner
trying not to catch her eye:
“Say, cowboy, why you dressed like that?”

And it always seems to
go down about the same
It kills a couple of hours
but it don’t kill the pain

Tell him a story
make it long, make it lonely
Lots of starstruck summer nights
and the moon’s reflection on the river that runs through
everything

Nothing makes much sense
but he guesses that’s just life
Ya play a few songs
and then they turn out the lights

Yeah, nothing makes much sense
and he guesses that’s just life
You have a couple of laughs
and then you call it a night

(C)1990, TK Major

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Désenchanté

2006-01-14_Desenchante.m3u

  

Water beads on the shiny hood of the old Citroen as the girl’s driver noses it out into the rain. A groundsman closes the tall door of the stable behind as you look over your shoulder through the sloping rear window.

The girl’s knee presses against your thigh and she pulls at your hand, putting it on her own thigh.

It feels like someone else’s hand on someone else’s rich beautiful girlfriend’s perfect thigh.

How did I get here? you ask yourself, as though a plot device in a cheap melodrama.

But no flashback rolls out… just the dull, internalized throb of what felt like 20 years of smoky northern european discos. Even when his girlfriend made him stay by the side of the lake at Interlachen for a week, he felt the throb, like a factory worker who can’t lose the pound and grind of the machines, no matter how far away he goes. Or how drunk he gets.

He never used to drink that much. What happened there? he asked again, the words hanging like a bad digital reverb in the empty soundstage he imagined his mind to be.

But there was no threshold… no tipping point. Now, the alcohol was simply the sea that every night floated on. Every night a carefully measured voyage from wary alertness as he reached the club and set up to a deadened weariness as he got home at dawn… a slogging, dots-in-front-of-the-eyes almost deadness that was somehow both comforting and terrifying in its indistinguishable familiarity.

Of course, I didn’t necessarily have the jaded turntablist/DJ above in mind when I wrote this song. In fact, at a time when I’d been writing a lot of blues, I found myself thumping out the familiar 1-4-5 of a 12 bar blues and heard myself sing: “I’m sick of the blues…”

But I thought to myself… yeah, the world’s never heard a song about a guy or gal who’s been down so long, down’s got ’em down. How can I subvert this?

So I made the song a lament not about depression, loneliness, and heartbreak — but rather about literally being bored with blues music. Which I was. (In a loving way, mind you.)

But I was also bored with a lot of music. The catalog of styles reeled off in the first verse of this song is suggestive of what I was listening to back in ’94 (except for Madonna and Bono, of whom, indeed, I have always been sick).

By the time I got to the second verse, I realized that, while I could just spend three verses listing off music styles, maybe I needed some kind of development. So I started listing off trendy cuisines. And the last verse, a brief catalog of putatively desirable destinations, directly suggested the title I ultimately chose and hinted at the vignette above, variants of which I used in the past to promote the ‘studio’ version.

The studio version (and the studio, as I’ve noted before was some cheap gear hooked up to my computer, in mid 1999) was an instrumental — or more properly, a dub. I did cut vocals and they did suck.

So I did some serious dub deconstruction and reconstruction. (I remember when we used to have to do dub mixes in realtime… imagine… jumping around, bumping faders back and forth, wiggling Echoplex levers, smacking guitar amp reverbs… how undignified it all was. Too much work.)

Today’s acoustic version:

Dub version (199):

Désenchanté

I’m sick of the blues
I’m sick of reggae too
I’m sick of rock and country
rap and techno too
I’m sick of Madonna and Bono
of course I always was
m sick of world music
ambient trance and dub
I am sick to death of everything
I always loved to do
I’m sick to death everything
but most of all of you

I’m fed up with cuisine nouvelle
I’m cuttin’ off Cajun too
I’m bored with bouillabaisse
with Thai and Greek I’m through
I wish I had a dollar
for every overpriced Bordeaux
I wish I had a dime for every time
you blew my roll
I am sick to death of everything
I always loved to do
I’m sick to death everything
but most of all of you

I’m désenchanté with
Cannes and St Tropez
I cannot regain
that simpaticismo
I felt in Spain
I can’t explain
this ennui borders on pain
but all around the world
everything’s about the same
I’m sick to death of everything
I ever loved to do
I’m sick to death everything
but most of all of you

1/19/94
(C)1994, TK Major

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