Friday, 27 May 2011

Suck It And See - review


Arctic Monkeys
Suck It and See.
Domino records

After the critical acclaim, yet only lukewarm fan reception, to the group’s last album ‘Humbug’, the expectations were high for ‘Suck It and See’. When the band released online ‘Brick By Brick’ I’m sure there were more than a few worried looking faces at the record label, as it seemed that they had lost their way and were an almost different group from the young upstarts of only 5 years ago.

I, like most, was a little knocked off balance upon hearing ‘Crying Lightning’ for the first time and thought they had missed the mark, only to do a complete 180 degree turn a matter of listens later where it now ranks as one of my favourite tunes in their canon. We all know Alex Turner is either a genius or bordering on one, his song-writing and especially his lyrical ability is really second to none in his generation. The only person I can really think of to compare him to (a pointless task I grant you but what the hell) would be Morrissey, with the ability to blend true emotion, heart-break, joy and humour all in the space of a single line.

The album starts with ‘She’s Thunderstorms’, a Smiths sounding track that is immediate and a great choice of opener showing the band have moved on from both their initial scrappy indie songs and their more recent heavier outings. ‘Black Treacle’ is a bone fide Arctic Monkeys, future live favourite in the class of their most popular hits complete with a strong chorus, which is positioned perfectly as the next track on the album is the aforementioned and online ridiculed ‘Brick By Brick’ (youtube clip from ‘Downfall’ Hitler parody especially funny.) Amazingly in the context of the record as a whole fits in perfectly. I think it could win over even the most ardent angry fan to chant its chorus during the upcoming tour.

‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’ is my favourite track here. It’s got everything that I like in a song. It’s one cut from the cloth of side project The Last Shadow Puppets and complete with ‘shalalala’ hook and jingle jangle 60s guitars, is pure pop music. It even has the great line “took the batteries out my mysticism and put ‘em in my thinking cap”...lovely. Not even half way through and it shows that the band are in a good place and actually enjoying themselves, drumming especially great.

‘Don’t Sit Down ‘cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ was the 1st release from the album, after ‘Brick By Brick’ dipped it’s toe in the online waters, and is another great song that shows the growth of the band throughout their journey and album career and is probably best described as the ‘join’ between ‘Humbug’ and ‘Suck It and See’. Heavier riffs are back and proof that the groups leaning towards louder rock and Josh Homme wasn’t a simple fleeting fad for the band and that in fact it is now a part of their music armoury.

Now midway through the album we reach the tracks best described as ‘album tracks’, make of that what you will. ‘Library Pictures’ although not one of the best tracks here, due to the simplified AAB structure, is a definite future live favourite with heavy mosh pit ready chorus riff. ‘All My Own Stunts’ opens with some studio banter and guitar twiddling before kicking straight into another riff heavy, rock track à la Homme.

Control is got once again with the excellent ‘Reckless Serenade’, a bass led song that steers away from the usual guitar then louder guitar format, and although only just making it to the 3 minute mark does features a classic Turner lyric showing the embarrassment when 2 lovers get carried away during their first embrace i.e. “the type of kisses where teeth collide”, repeated listening brings to attention new musical hooks appearing out of the wood work almost like the band are always trying to cram another one in before holding the cupboard door shut…then….one more…go on…done.

Recently Alex Turner wrote and recorded the excellent soundtrack to the film ‘Submarine’ which included a stripped down version of the song ‘Piledriver Waltz’ and I would go as far as to say that this track (here in it’s re-recorded full band treatment) is a contender for one of Turners greatest songs. With a beautiful melody anchored with poignant lyrics and although heavier than the original recording, the band don’t take anything away from the song, in fact quite the contrary. I think this song was a case of it being too good to chance it being lost on a soundtrack album (as great an album Submarine OST is) and by adding it here helped bring it to the forefront and to a wider audience.

‘Love is a Laserquest’ follows and it seems that the Sheffield Morrissey is brought out of the drawer again. Who would have thought the Arctic Monkeys could ‘croon’ with the best of them? The song itself is a slow burner definitely, but atmospheric and once again reminiscent of his work with Miles Kane and The Last Shadow Puppets.

‘Suck It and See’ the title track and a possible contender for next single, in my opinion, from the opening indie doo-wop chords to the band drop in, shows immediate pop at its best without sounding clichéd or tired. The final reminder that the Arctic Monkeys are still firing on all cylinders and haven’t reverted to effects boxes and loops to ‘progress’ their own envelope pushing, the song is still king for these boys (sorry…men) and this is another great example for your collection.

Suck It and See ends with ‘That’s where you’re wrong’ and running at 4 minutes 18 seconds is one of the longest here, although any fears about the group going the way of YES and Pink Floyd are probably without merit. A straight ahead, mid tempo indie song, not the best ending track but with peaks throughout. A strange choice of last track but again it’s not the first time I’ve been wrong about these things...give it a week and I’ll be telling everyone within ear shot that it’s their crowning achievement.

I’ve given the album as a whole multiple listens now and I think it’s definitely up there with their best work, showing maturity in both the writing and the musicianship as a whole. Especially the rhythm section who are a tight, powerful cradle for both guitars and vocals to sit on, without a chance of collapsing under the multiple rhymes and tongue twisters being thrown out of each verse. I think this will be the album that brings back the floods of fans that had been worried the group had gone all American and hairy, and shows that they are still the same guys that made ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dance Floor’. Welcome back, definitely no monkey business going on here.


Suck It And See is released on the 6th June on Domino Records

Monday, 23 May 2011

DYLAN


DYLAN

Bob Dylan turns 70 years old tomorrow and although I’m sure he himself doesn’t mind in the slightest the fact that someone of his ability and talent is rapidly getting to the senior years of his life is worrying me. I can’t imagine talking about Bob Dylan in the past sense as he like only a handful of other artists of the 20th century apart from contributing to it also help define it, so for this person to start his last mile of his career is frustrating that at some point the well will run dry.

When writing about Dylan it’s very easy to Wikipedia his standard bio (Real Name Robert Zimmerman etc.), where he was born where he grew up, influences, vocal style, blah, blah, blah but its strange people don’t think to do this when talking about Van Gogh or Charlie Chaplin. It’s very easy to find out bio’s and personal history but people don’t seem to show the same level of interest in that side of these characters and icons where as for pop musicians it seems to be almost obligatory that we NEED to know where they went to school and smoked their first cigarette as if that somehow helped start them on their journeys.

Bob Dylan is one of those songwriters/artists/poets that along with someone like James Brown for example, don’t actually fit into an exact genre of music; they just make Bob Dylan and James Brown ‘type’ music. Just try and add a Bob Dylan track into your own i-Tunes list and see what comes up, Folk maybe, classic rock, country, R&B, and blues even. He technically fits into all these categories and at the same time none of them. Duke Ellington famously said “there are only two types of music, good and bad” the rest is really just for record shops and radio play lists to help keep artists in some sort of order. I still couldn’t tell you the difference between a Hip Hop record and an Urban one, so trying to slice country and Alt. country one is a losing battle from the get go.

Trying to explain to someone that has never listened to Dylan or thinks they know his music and have decided they don’t like it because they’ve heard an early acoustic song like ‘Blowin’ in the wind’ or worse still “don’t like his voice”. The phrase “wood for the frickin’ trees” does leap to mind. The lyrics, rhymes, and overall audio picture’s that he paints in the listeners mind are second to nobody before or since. A simple song like ‘Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts’ (from the Blood on the Tracks album) is a movie squeezed into a single track and that is one that I believe has tried (and not yet succeeded) to be turned into a full length movie as all the characters and stories interwoven are so complete and in depth it seems like you’re visualising everything as it happens. You don’t get that with Justin Bieber. Who in music today has the nerve or wordsmith and lyrical talent to through a line like "With your silhouette when the sunlight dims, Into your eyes where the moonlight swims, And your matchbook songs and your gypsy hymns, Who among them would try to impress you?" I mean I love 'Do-wah Diddy' as much as the next guy but Dylan was upping the game more than a notch or two. It was no coincidence that everyone from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, The Byrds, Brian Wilson, Neil Young all sat up and took notice when Dylan rolled into town. For John Lennon the effect was immediate, he spoke of being almost embarrassed to write any more ‘She Loves You’ type of songs any more after hearing Dylan. From then on he wanted to grow individually and say something that appealed to his contemporaries and people his own age rather than 8-10 year old girls with posters to sign of their favourite Beatle. You can see the influence from straight from ‘You’ve got to hide your love away’ right up to ‘Working Class Hero’ and beyond. Even today Paul McCartney in a recent interview was asked which person alive would he like to interview and he said without hesitation “Bob Dylan”.

I will admit that not everyone gets his voice. I personally think that the words sound best when being stretched from his sand and glue vocal chords, and that a more proficient singer in the classical sense like Ella Fitzgerald or even Pavarotti might lose the inner meaning of ‘Desolation Row’ if they tried to belt it out. But for those of you that can’t be doing with it, look at the artists that have covered his songs.

Jimi Hendrix (All Along the Watchtower)
The Byrds (Mr Tambourine Man, You Ain’t Going Nowhere, Wheels On Fire, My Back Pages and many,many others)
Johnny Cash (It Aint Me Babe)
Elvis Presley (Tomorrow is Long Time)
Adele (Make You Feel My Love)

As his birthday approaches there are many books on him being released and each one of them can sum up and write about it’s subject in more detail and with more skill than I can, but as my pub bore version of events tries to do him justice I’ll simply just give you a top 10 Dylan songs and as Spotify either includes or deletes permission depending on the day you may need to pull out youtube to listen to them. Get out your musical shovels and dig deep, plenty of gold in the hill for everyone.


01) Stuck inside a Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (Blonde on Blonde)
02) Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bringing it all back home)
03) Standing in the Doorway (Time Out Of Mind)
04) I want you (Blonde on Blonde)
05) Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands (Blonde on Blonde)
06) Ballad of a Thin man (Highway 61 revisited)
07) Simple Twist of Fate (Blood on the Tracks)
08) Just Like a Woman (Blonde on Blonde)
09) Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts (Blood on the Tracks)
10) Blind Willie McTell (unreleased song from the Infidels album sessions)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

SMiLE Box Set


Turn that frown upside down
SMiLE –re-issue

Beach Boys fans and Brian Wilson fans alike were greeted with the recent news that a box-set focusing on the magnum opus/project SMiLE would finally be seeing the light of day and would feature a “completed” version of the album well as tracks and out-takes from the sessions (although as most people interested in the subject will know an actual version was in fact completed by Brian Wilson, band member Darian Sahanaja and Co-Writer/wordsmith aficionado Van Dyke Parks in 2004 as well as a complete re-recording with Wilson’s touring and studio band.)

If it’s completed already then what’s the point I hear you cry from the balcony, well the cynical ones among us may point the finger at Capitol records that are well aware of the upcoming 50Th year anniversary of the Beach Boys and as there is no new material from the band need something that is going to whip up some interest in the group rather than simply putting out another version of the tried and tested greatest hits for the 100Th time.

In 1993 The Beach Boys released a box-set called 'Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys' and it included large sections of the aborted SMiLE sessions from 1966 and for most people this was enough, the songs that were the central point of the piece such as 'Surfs Up', 'Wonderful', 'Wind Chimes' and 'Heroes & Villains' were all included but the transition themes and musical sections that tied the whole song cycle together were missing and incomplete.

The album itself was finally complete in 2004 using digital editing software such as pro tools to quickly show multiple versions of the same songs and paste them together in every possible way for Wilson's approval, when the final running order was decided upon the incomplete sections were finished and a third movement (yes I consider this stuff modern day classical music so I will be so bold)added to the piece and recorded by the band. This new version is the template from which the 2011 Box Set SMiLE is using as the running order, by using the original tape sessions and then simply leaving the 2004 inclusions out, which doesn’t really make much sense to me apart from re-packaging the same sessions available already online but re-jigging the running order. It seems to be the equivalent of going back to the re-mastered version of Casablanca or Chaplin films and re-adding the fuzz and lines throughout the picture and messing the sound up to make it “authentic”.

As I have mentioned before hindsight is a wonderful thing and with SMiLE and Beach Boys history/folk law it is no different. The SMiLE sessions have historically been portrayed as Brian Wilson (leader/songwriter/producer/genius) following on from his masterpiece PET SOUNDS decided to go one further and make his final statement, his “teenage symphony to God” (originally titled DUMB ANGEL and later changed to SMiLE) the rest of the band couldn’t deal with this “crazy music” and simply mocked his perfectionism and “acid alliteration” as Mike Love was quoted as calling it when referring to Van Dyke Parks lyrics for ‘Cabinessence’ with the coda “over and over, the crow cries, uncover the cornfield” being at the bone of contention (although when you realise the songs make perfect sense to me).

In the end the band turned against Brian Wilson and the tracks and he quit the sessions and junked the project and quietly went to bed for the next year while the band continued to make more “suitable” records that stuck to their tried and tested formula with great (Dennis Wilson's ‘Forever’) and some not so great results (the Mike Love ‘Student Demonstration Time’ being particularly embarrassing.) Now I was saying hindsight being wonderful, well it seems the group has now decided that they ALL love SMiLE era recordings and songs and have in fact always loved them (raising eyebrows around the Parks and Wilson households I’m sure)

Recently I asked Van Dyke Parks about this new revisionist version of events and whether he had been asked to contribute to the promotion and interviews regarding this new box set, he replied that “As the project unfolds, it’s been made clear that it’s The Beach Boys desire to be on the front lines of commentary (regarding the new release) and that’s totally understandable and fair in my view”. When you realise that Beach Boy member/co-founder and Wilson’s co-writer and COUSIN has sued Brian Wilson many times including once for his promotion of the 2004 version of SMiLE you’ll understand why Van Dyke is being cautious before nailing his flag to any particular side.

In the end all we have is the music to judge it all by, when all the lawsuits have been resolved and we forget about the second rate diet coke version of the Beach Boys currently touring your town, only the songs and arrangements Brian Wilson created and the lyrics that Van Dark Parks wrote in tandem will be left and we can then see Wilson’s vision in all it’s glory, and even though incomplete still feel and hear the spark of youth and talent before the years of depression and mental health problems robbed one of the 20Th century’s greatest pop writers of his prime years… hopefully we can listen and finally smile.

For more information on SMiLE (the original sessions and the revised version)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smile_(Brian_Wilson_album)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Submarine


SUBMARINE –Original Soundtrack
Alex Turner
Domino Records

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The way you can look back over a group of bands or artists that were considered “ok” with the passage of time are elevated onto the level of “genius” with either early death or simply by making an album that sold about 5 copies and shifted them into the “cult” artist arena.

Appreciating greatness as it happens is something that doesn’t happen much and a bona fide classic album definitely doesn’t appear much. Magazines use words and phrases like “instant classic” a little too easily and although in some cases they have been on the money some bands that achieve this status won’t be remembered in the end of year run downs let alone in 30.

“Submarine” the original soundtrack to the film by Richard Ayoade is written and performed by Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys/The Last Shadow Puppets) is in my opinion a genuine classic, chipped diamond straight from the pen of a heavyweight. It’s not a long drawn out double album or progressive rock opera with pretensions of a running theme but it definitely has a “feel” and “mood” about it. With only 6 tracks in total (and one of them being an ‘intro’ to a later song) it isn’t something that you need to get stuck into or live with for a while, you’ll either get it straight away or you won’t. The song writing is of a very high level and I would say Turner is in a definite creative peak as far as his lyrics go as well as musically (in interviews recently he has described himself as “discovering the other three strings” on the guitar) I would agree with this sentiment and the finger picked melodies on songs like ‘It’s Hard to Get Around The Wind’ show a maturity from the usual power chords or some of his early work although looking at his songwriting progress from the earliest singles to a more recent track like 'Cornerstone' from the Humbug album you can definitely see a continuum.

The soundtrack as a whole fits the movie perfectly and with the South Wales backdrop and beautiful scenery and sunsets captured. Although tracks are sparse in their arrangements, 2 in particular add other ingredients to the mix including drums, bass and echoing guitar (thanks to ex-Coral wunderkind Bill Ryder-Jones.)

The tracks getting the most attention today and yesterday would have to be the last two, ‘Stuck On A Puzzle’ and ‘Piledriver Waltz’ which I have recently found out will be re-recorded for the upcoming Arctic Monkeys album because frankly a song that good can’t be left on a soundtrack album and possibly be forgotten.

In conclusion this small, delicate and quiet album is a musical shot across the bow to other bands and artists out there to pick up their guitars and pens once again and actually try and write a song with some feeling and narrative rather than simply pushing 5 buttons and filtering it through computer recording programmes in a blind quest for boundary pushing and inventiveness.

Instant Klassic is gonna get ya.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

NEW YORK


With only days away (in fact a' day) before I and my lovely girlfriend and overall partner in crime head to the big apple I thought it only right and proper to give you my blogging disciples some New York based ditties to crank up....

New York City - John Lennon
The Only Living Boy In New York - Simon and Garfunkel
53rd & 3rd - The Ramones
Across 110th Street - Bobby Womack
Good Fortune - PJ Harvey
I'm Waiting For The Man - The Velvet Underground
Living For The City - Stevie Wonder
On Broadway - The Drifters
New York - Cat Power
New York City Cops - The Strokes
New York, New York - Ryan Adams
Positively 4th Street - Bob Dylan
What New York Used To Be - The Kills


"When its 100 degrees in New York, it's 72 in Los Angeles. When its 30 degrees in New York, in Los Angeles it's still 72. However, there are 6 million interesting people in New York, and only 72 in Los Angeles." - Neil Simon

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Agent Ribbons - Album Review


Antenna Farm Records
Release date:02/05/11
www.myspace.com/agentribbons

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Early 90s alt is back. When bands like The Pixies made albums that stoked the fires of grunge (before the media hurricane of Nirvana arrived and destroyed everyone else in their path) A time when bands made music that could still be fun, loud and at the same time still push sonic boundaries with the help of maverick artists and producers such as Steve Albini. Beyond spandex and hairspray but not quite at the stage of moaning and self harm (sit down Vedder)

Agent Ribbons have the same thing. Chateau Crone is full with scratchy fuzz guitars that sound like recently un-earthed Nuggets of 60’s garage rock and never outstay their welcome and can flip genre’s on a coin spin over to Broadway to 3am torch songs to lost loves with equal ease.

Agent Ribbons are a 3 piece led all girl band made up of Natalie Gordon (vocals/guitar), Lauren Hess (Drums/Accordion) and the new addition of Natalie Cherie (violinist/cellist) that hail from Austin Texas and with their own version of Baroque rock and pop can also get noisy with the loudest of them without blinking a false eye lash.

The album starts with ‘I’m Alright’ with it’s Nazz like Surf guitar riff that sounds proper Grind house and menacing, imagine Link Wray in a mini skirt. The track although understated is still chugging and forceful with Gordon’s vocals floating on top like an almost Ravonettes bow. Play, listen and repeat for best results.

Although influences are apparent with Agent Ribbons they don’t wear them on their polka dot sleeves, what they present is pure original and the product of their own abilities, where you may smile at tiny Shaggs references and Moe Tucker drum licks you never feel that you’ve heard it before, they are girls that have almost arrived fully formed. An example of this would be the track ‘Dada Girlfriend’ which reminds me of Sea Change era Beck but at the same time without any of his country influences, almost like they borrowed his vision for the afternoon and run it through their own filter.

The biggest change throughout the album is the inclusion of the violin and the burlesque style of ‘I’ll Let You Be My Baby’ is a great example of this. With it’s sleazy Cabaret style and Cherie’s Fiddler on the roof chops making this a great track to listen to and with both funny and sardonic lyrics shows off the level of talent the band has in their locker. I have read in the press that since the album has been completed Cherie has parted company with the group which in my opinion is a real shame as although some critics have said her string additions were superfluous I believe they added another dimension and colour to the bands palette and helped them stick out from being another garage rock duo.

Pete Townsend of The Who has talked about making statements rather than making records or making POP art examples rather than sitting down to pen a cute little ditty like the Tin Pan Alley pro’s before him and something about this frame of mind and outlook reminds me of Agent Ribbons as I listen to the album throughout. They have great one liner’s casually thrown in between the mono drums and single string dentist drill toned guitars. How could you not like a band that sing “I was born to sing sad songs, that go on for more than 3 minutes long and I feel another coming on, now that you’re gone” I mean that’s poetry but without any of the pretensions of those that present themselves as such, and as a track it’s one that in my opinion is one for the ages and one that wouldn’t have surprised me if it had come from a Broadway musical from the 1950s.

As I listen and review albums/EP’s lately I’ve found myself sinking more into the music and giving it the concentration it deserves. Treat this album to a proper listen and they will return the favour with a musical treat and leave you with an audio hug.

3 thumbs up.

'originally posted on 405'

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

30 YEARS OLD....


On the 25th APRIL I was 30 years old...
or
361 months...1566 weeks or 10964 days!! not that I'm counting...

well not since I read the below piece and it helped bubble wrap my anger a little
and help play to my strengths a little more...also the mention of Gram Parsons and Otis Redding always warms my cold cold heart..

--------------


30 YEARS OLD...

I know what you’re doing. You are freaking out because the number 30 has become that snarling beast in the corner, ready to strike at any moment. Your 20’s are starting to feel like a slippery fish that you just can’t quite hold onto, and you’re preparing yourself for a new lifetime of Friday night romantic comedies and being home in bed by 11PM. I too am turning 30 soon (January fast approaches), so to make myself and you feel better, I thought about the advantages of reaching my forth decade.

Younger Women
Don’t believe the hype, younger women LOVE older men. Most of them are under the impression that you “have your shit figured out” and that you are phenomenal at shagging. Whether this is true or not, your 20’s were filled with enough Space Mountain-esque experiences that helped you gain a confidence and swagger that your 22-year old self wish he had. Remember the time that you were pulling a “Zack Morris” and banging around with two girls at the same party, while your friend’s blew lines of Adderall and watched youtube clips of Rodney Mullen in the adjacent room? Remember the time when your friend got into that car accident while drunk driving and you took the smashed up car and dumped it in a river “Winston Wolf-style” so the cops wouldn’t bust him? Times like that have made you a man, however sleazy and criminal those acts may have been.

You also now realize why women share a love for cowboys, lumberjacks, and Steve McQueen, because these are MEN and not boys. At some point, our culture has grown weary of marketing true masculinity… we’ve lost the love of the leading man, the undeniable ferocity of the warrior has vanished. At one point there was Robert Redford, now all we have left is Michael Cera. Sure, women think the dude from Juno is cute and funny, but they would rather be fucked by Jeremiah Johnson. Just sayin’. Sex and love get better because you are better at being a man.

Music is Better
Sure, you still love Black Flag and E.P.M.D., that shit will always be true and ring inside of you like a ferocious beast. However, you then start to get affected by some melodic deep shit, mainly jams that are ultimately helpful with doing the nasty and spending your Friday nights getting high and being nostalgic with the closest of homies. You have spent your teens and twenties building your dynamite record collection and punching people out at Cro-Mag’s shows, now you start to become a bit of a romantic. Love songs and tunes about courage start to sound way better to you. “Baby Blue” by Badfinger begins to tug art your heartstrings and you realize that true importance of Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, and Harry Nilsson. You start to understand music as communication, Al Green croons the first dance at your friend’s wedding, you drink whiskey with Leonard Cohen on the day that the first of your friends pass away, and you rock to the pulse of “Mother Sky” by CAN as you and your buddies drive through Laurel Canyon with a fresh bag of herbals, giving the rest of the living world one big “Eat My Fuck”. Music begins to make you smarter and more appreciative of friends, family, love, and drugs. You get on some next level shit. You have grown up.

Parties are way more fun
You have made it this far, and sure, Father Time has thrown some wrinkles and a few greys on your person, but that’s what we call being “distinguished”. Remember that swagger that I spoke of earlier? Well, it makes you way more fun to be around and it makes you appreciate this new version of being social. Instead of doing keg stands eight days a week, you have graduated to hitting up that Saturday night house party where the women are dressed like Bardot, and the men are dressed like they give a shit. The music is at a perfect level and the drinks are tasty and strong. You have better conversations with these people because you have a lifetime of stories about meeting Joe Strummer, your first motorcycle crash, and your uncle’s bank heist in Boston some years back. You smile a lot more, you are older but handsome. The younger women are there, along with the proper Otis Redding jams, and you are finally comfortable in being you. You are “killing it”. At one point you look around the room and time has stopped, the anxiety of growing up has turned itself into a beautiful high, and life becomes clear. You are more desired, sexually, socially, and spiritually. You have become the Bowie of your own universe, and now you are grown up enough to know how to work it. Own that shit.

I hope these little examples with help ease the tension of growing older. Now I know that this won’t apply to all of you dudes, some of you are hopeless cases. That is fine, there is a certain beauty to being Peter Pan as well. I know that at some points of this article I may sound like a motivational speaker or your life coach, but these are true words from probably the most insane, ravenous, hedonistic dude that I have ever known…myself. Remember: grow older and better, be a man and take no shit, life is beautiful and meant to be celebrated, death is closer than you think. Keep your fucking dreams alive and forever fight for your right to party. You are the best at being you, now go out there and show the world.

My secretary will send you a bill. Thanks.