Your favourite blogging duo have some cold and hot takes on winter among other things.
I love it! I love the cold, love to freeze but above all, I love to ski. No, not downhill, cross mother quacking country baby!
When I was a little rascal I didn’t go anywhere but down on a pair of skies. In fact, I was in love with the speed, I didn’t even try to do those elegant slalom turns – I just found the fastest way down and hopefully I could manage to run through a jump at the speed of light. I didn’t use poles, I didn’t know what the hell they were for anyway. Things have changed, I haven’t gone downhill for quite some time and these last winters haven’t been that great snow-wise, so sadly not that much cross country either but this year we have loads of snow. Lovely fluffy snow!
So what’s the thing with cross country skiing? Well, I know people that put a big effort into perfecting their technique and see it as perfect exercise. It is in many aspects the perfect exercise, but that is not it – far from it.
It’s the sound or lack of it, muted by the snow. It’s being out in the open nature being facepalmed by a stunningly beautiful nature. It’s your runny nose and your smokey breath. It’s the lovely sound of poles hitting the snow. It’s saying hello to your fellow nature lovers when you meet them on the homemade tracks. It’s being alone with your thoughts showering in the white light.
Something happens to the trees and the fields when they’re covered in snow. It’s almost like nature stops whispering and starts shouting!
Yes – that’s the song I’ve chosen. The song that the landscape seems to be singing, covered in that lovely fluff – it’s shouting! Radiohead has brought us so many great songs, but this one is always on my top 3. It is amazing, just like our current landscape.
Bill Watterson sums up my feelings exactly with the very last strip of Calvin and Hobbes.
Now get out and build a crazy snowman!
Let’s get a bit esoteric to start with.
Beauty is way overrated. Anything that you have around you a lot becomes ordinary, fast. Keep the sublime at a distance and make it a point to seek it out when you know that you can appreciate it fully. However, I would suggest that you should do the same with the abrasive, acerbic and the downright ugly, well all tastes and consistencies life can throw at you. This is true for any kind of experience and definitely applies to enjoying art in all its forms. By sticking to a varied diet of aesthetics nothing ever needs to become mundane. For example, if you’re a frequent reader of this here blog you know I love to hike in nature but I wouldn’t want to live in the countryside.
This brings me to my next point, comfort.
What has this all got to do with the question at hand. Well yeah a lot actually.
If I want to experience a fluffy winter wonderland I’ll seek it out as in taking a bus/train to some ski resort or just some beautiful mountain range, we have got an abundance of both of those near enough.
Where I live, I’d rather have the comfort of not having to bike to work in pitch black mornings, the temperature far below freezing and the wheels skidding around on ice or in a trudge of snow. Of course that snow will invariably turn into a grey sludge that is even more terrifying a prospect to try to bike through, oh yeah, and this state is usually the version of “snow” that hangs around for the longest, seeing how global warming and stuff, yeah, that shit didn’t help at all since all it really does is make all extreme weathers more common.
For this challenge I have picked a song that is a perfect analogue for my feelings about fluffy winter wonderlands. Black Flag’s Scream. It comes off the most widely misunderstood side (the B-side) of the most widely misunderstood album (My War) in all of HC-dome. It is definitely a bludgeoningly harsh and slow trudge through nearly seven minutes of a brilliantly heavy sludge riff interspersed with some of Greg Ginn’s most ingenious chaotic, and yes ugly, guitar leads. It also boasts Rollins best vocal performance of his stint with the band delivering some of Ginn’s finest lyrics. “I might be a big baby, But I’ll scream in your ear, ‘Til I, find out, until I find out, Just what it is I am doing here”. I know that he’s not screaming about bad weather but hey it still fits perfectly and yes that is one terrifying delivery by a guy that is about as scary a dude as I know of.
Damaged was a fine album but if I want to listen to Black Flag play classic hard core I’m going with the Nervous Breakdown or the Jealous Again EPs any day. For the Rollins years My War is my favourite album and I think I actually love the B-side the most even though the choice between the sides of the album is a close call for sure.
Yeah that was my hot take an all things life and Black Flag.
… and for our next task …
…A tune that has aged terribly.
This challenge comes courtesy of Swine Tax. Read our feature article on them to find out why they have come up with this really really hard challenge. You might not think it looks all that hard of course but then you haven’t been paying attention to how as by compulsion every song we ever picked for a challenge has been treated like Sméagol’s precious. We can’t help ourselves but like some crazed Julie Andrews’ write about our favourite things.
See you in two weeks