awl the sad young et cetera
May 6, 2009
The Awl linked to me yesterday. That was very nice! As a result, my traffic numbers went from the metaphorical deep, dark ocean floor up onto an underwater hill somewhere slightly above the depths of the metaphorical deep, dark ocean floor. Here is an exclamatory sentence in loving and inaccurate tribute to Choire Sicha! The Awl’s commenters didn’t like me much (and all seemed to think I’m a woman?) but I like them anyway, just like I like anybody who will even pretend to begin to read my writing. In tribute to all this, here is a quick cover of “I’m So Happy When You’re Near” by the Shaggs. I think this song is really about blog traffic and the cover is my attempt to express en forme de chanson the liking of traffic and attention when I get it and the inevitably crushing loss I feel when it goes away. Or maybe I just made all that up!
I am thinking now about what a contemporary Shaggs would be like (the real answer to this question is “nothing like the Vivian Girls!”). I imagine their dad hunched over the computer arranging loops in Garageband every afternoon and forbidding them with threat of violence to leave the room or eat dinner or text their friends until they were able to come up with more Soulja Boy style viral hits with matching dance moves. When they found themselves unable to record a hook to his specifications, he would sing it himself and pitch his voice up to match theirs and it would sound really creepy but he would insist it was “fine.” They wouldn’t play instruments although maybe one of them might “DJ” with an iPod full of synth pad samples and a single digital turntable sans mixer. They would all go to the American Idol tryouts in matching outfits and would get into one of those clip reels of embarrassing singers who are embarrassing enough to be shown but not embarrassing enough to get their own segment, like a bunch of sad young anti-Susan Boyles briefly lifted out of obscurity only to be mocked and thrown back down. They would tell everybody at school about going to audition for Idol and have a popcorn party to celebrate and would then be really embarrassed when the show aired and not go to school for the rest of the week out of shame. They would post their songs on Youtube with poorly-synced webcam videos of them in the basement dancing and miming along and the videos would get 150 to 300 hits on average and people would write mean and hateful comments about how stupid and ugly they were and the best they would be able to hope for in terms of success would be to become some 4chan joke they don’t even get. There would be no Lester Bangs to champion them because he would be too busy doing meth and playing World of Warcraft and updating his crowdsourced tumblr, Vinyl Fetish, which would alternate high resolution pictures of vintage vinyl LPs with pseudo-artsy black and white BDSM shots. They would probably autotune all of their vocals, which of course would not add any tune to the proceedings but would add a depressing amount of “auto.” Bless their hearts.