“Where the hell have you been?” I hear you hiss. You sound angry, by the way. I mean, I don’t know if you actually are angry or if you just have some really intense feelings about my prolonged and frankly inexcusable absence, but that’s how you’re coming across.*
So where the hell have I been? Well, mostly at work, sadly. I’ve been focused on two big projects – putting some grant money to good use preserving and protecting the museum’s photo collection, and prepping for a temporary exhibit entitled Prom which, it may surprise you to know, is mostly about proms. Highlights from these projects include:
1. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on here:
2. Falling down the rabbit hole of looking at other people’s prom pictures, which led me to revisit my own prom pictures. Please enjoy my blinding dress, prominent five head, and incongruously blonde hair from 1997.
But! I haven’t been spending quite all of my time at work! I’ve done some other things, too! Like:
Going to see Sleater-Kinney!
You may recall how excited I was to score tickets to this show back in October. As a general rule, I am drawn to performers who are often described as having a “signature bleat.” Or “yelp.” Or “hiccup.” (See: Buddy Holly, Gwen Stefani, Joey “My Boyfriend” Ramone). I don’t actually like any of those descriptors, so I’ve come up with a portmanteau of my own to describe my preferred vocal styling: snarlcroon. I love a good snarlcrooner. And I think we can all agree that Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker is one of the preeminent snarlcrooners of this or any generation. Throw in some strident feminism, rock goddess guitar brandishing, and fist pumping riot grrl antics and I am a fan for life.
So, just how excited was I to see this show, you may be asking. Well. This is how excited I was to see this show:
“Gosh, I sure do look excited and happy,” I thought to myself when I saw this photo. “I bet no one has even been as excited and happy as I look in that photo!” And then the existence of this photo was pointed out to me:
I’m sure there’s something weird and ironic I can infer about the similarity of these two images, as well as my choice of shirt, but I’m too tired/lazy to articulate it.
Speaking of my choice of shirt, I wore it mainly because my favorite Sleater-Kinney song is I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, natch. I had high hopes they would play it, since its arguably their biggest hit, and Kim Gordon’s book dropped the same day as the show, and they’d been trading out that lyric in the song that goes “I wanna be your Thurston Moore” for “I wanna be your Kim Gordon,” but Mr. Lamarr said I was digging way, way too deep on that one.
They wound up not playing it, but they did not disappoint, delivering a blistering 25ish song plus five song encore set that included most of my other favorites, like Oh! and Dig Me Out. Their set was super tight, as well – we were out before 11 pm, which is probably the earliest I have ever left the 9:30 Club. Upon reflection, my guess is Sleater-Kinney is well enough aware of the age and likely career choices of their fan base to know that we all probably had to get up really early the next day to go to our non profit jobs.
Also, NPR was there recording the show for broadcast. See if you can spot us in the house left balcony. I mean, literally see if you can spot us, because I can’t. So what else have I been doing?
I Bought a Bass Guitar!
So, for awhile I’ve been (jokingly. Mostly.) threatening to quit my job, take up bass, and go work in the record shop. I’ve made good on part one of that threat. I’d just gotten a clean bill of dental health and had stopped off on the way home for my traditional “No Cavities!” celebratory burger at my favorite burger joint, which happens to be a few doors down from a guitar shop. I’m not sure if I was emboldened by the joy of not having to get a filling, or if I was on a carb-fueled high from my half organic beef, half vegetarian burger, but I soon found myself striding through the door of the shop and announcing, “I want to play bass guitar. I have no idea what I’m doing. I just want to be Dee Dee Ramone. But, you know, not do heroin.”
And then I was suddenly (by which I mean, “After a week of careful research, because I am a RESPONSIBLE ADULT WHO IS HAVING THE MOST FUN MIDLIFE CRISIS EVER!”) the proud owner of a Squier by Fender P-Bass in metallic red with accompanying Fender Rumble 15 v3 amp and a standing weekly appointment with a bass teacher.
When our bank called about some possible fraudulent charges on our bank card shortly after I’d picked up my P-Bass, Mr. Lamarr thought he knew exactly what they were referring to. “It’s nothing to worry about,” he assured the bank rep. “You see, my wife has recently decided she is a bad ass and has purchased a bass guitar.” However it turns out that the bass hadn’t raised any red flags with the bank – the $400ish purchase at a Walgreen’s in another part of the state, which definitely wasn’t us, had. It’s good to know that at least the bank recognizes and accepts my badassery.
Slightly embarrassing fact: every time I see the phrase “P-Bass” I think of Ernest T. Bass, of Andy Griffith fame. I then have to try very hard to pronounce “P-Bass” to sound like “base,” and not the fish. To reiterate:
Not a Punk Rocker
Not a Punk Rocker
“So, Lipstick,” I hear you say, and you sound a lot calmer and less angry now, I am pleased to report. “How good at bass are you?” I am glad you asked. I am freaking awesome. I am so good that Geddy Lee has called and said he is going to quit being Geddy Lee now, on account of I am so good.
No. I can kind of play something that resembles I Wanna Be Sedated and I’m working on what will eventually be the Animals arrangement of Bring It On Home To Me. But mostly what happens is something that goes like this:
Me: Mr. Lamarr! Mr. Lamarr! Come listen to me play I Wanna Be Sedated!
Bass: plinky plinky plinky plinky GRATING UNINTENDED REVERB SOUND
Me: Ok, wait, let me start over.
Bass: plinky plinky plinky plinky plonky plonky plonky GRATING UNINTENTED REVERB SOUND
Me: No, wait, I’ve got it.
SEVERAL HOURS PASS
Me: And that was it! I’m pretty freaking awesome, right?
Mr. Lamarr: What? I’m sorry. I was watching the cricket on my phone.
*I’m aware that probably almost no one noticed and/or cared. But listen, being a little delusional is what makes me, me.