Cleveland

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Cleveland, Ohio. Somewhere downtown nestled among the giant old buildings that make up this part of the city. Just around the corner is The Federal Reserve Bank, where I assume white collar criminal workers push the pencils and papers that keep the greed machine grinding along.

Their reptilian overlords lurk and dart around massive rows of filing cabinets and desks, all bathed in fluorescent light.  Fat men chomp on cigars as the buttons on their suit vests strain against their girth. Meetings are called in secret board rooms, the Koch brothers, Monsanto and Rupert Murdoch meet with bankers, price fixers and top level Wall Street scum to discuss matters of business and how much money will be printed out of thin air; how much of a lien will be taken out against the American people.

     It’s either that or just a bunch of sad boring men staring at computer screens.
     Here comes one now, carrying a stack of loose papers and a copy of The Wall Street Journal. He orders a latte and takes a seat near me. Other banker types come and go with frappacinos and iced coffees.
     Everyone looks like a character from “American Psycho”. Phil Collins plays on the store radio. All of the songs in this Starbucks are hits from the 80s. I wonder if the two hip lesbians working the counter are doing it as a running joke they have about the clientele and their love for Easton Ellis.

I’m slowly chipping away at a mound of online work and realizing I won’t meet my deadline. At the same time I’m dealing with the aftermath of having my Paypal account hacked, forcing me to cancel my bank card and track down the ensuing refund. A casualty of this tiny war is my podcast. The site that I use to host it is paid monthly from my Paypal account, but not this month. This month I got an email stating that service has been canceled due to non-payment. That song from “The Breakfast Club” soundtrack is blaring over the speakers.

I never realized how much I truly dislike this music. There’s something about the way it sounds, so disingenuous, so completely sterile. It’s like the musicians on these recording sessions (face it none of these are really bands, it’s all just manufactured shit) indifferently interact with one another as they go through the motions. The only concern of the producers and engineers is to get a clean recoding of the pop hit formula and collect a check from the label.

“Let’s Go” by Prince plays, I nearly wretch as I wait on hold for the third person at Paypal to tell me there’s nothing they can do.

Listen to Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #13 and 35” and you’ll here a group of musicians playing together and seemingly enjoying themselves as they blare out that obnoxious composition while Dylan caterwauls about something. Any real rock record sounds that way to me at it’s best; a document of a band sweating and playing together. Not just some ensemble of slick 80’s assholes reading music for a paycheck while they record the soundtrack of the money moving coke fiend lizard lords that come buy their coffee here.

I wonder how excited everyone in the recording studio was the first time Phil did that thing with the drums on “In The Air Tonight”?