Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.

Three-pronged implement

Originally posted to blockquote.org on in Chicago, Illinois

Some folks came to town for a music show. How many came shouldn’t have been a surprise, but the bodies that arrived to fill the space of a friend’s apartment with their substance were of a number I’d never witnessed there, and this is true even without counting the regular bodies.

Afternoons and evenings the neighborhood street traffic showed thin by all modes of transit. If Lincoln Park wanted to stage the coup on Wicker Park, etc., that it’s plotted since its first move to infiltrate North and Milwaukee Avenues with brand-name boutiques, sushi, and little puppies, these last three were the days to do it. Their loss. Every one of my sub-40 neighbors accompanied by their long-distance friends shuffled, trudged, and pedaled down to Union Park under storm clouds (“No rain! No rain!”) for three days of self-love and music.

Had one asked where Justin could be found among the revelers, the correct answer would be on the periphery, sponging off the generosity of friends when all I’d contributed to the cause was a single bottle of Oberon, appropriate to the season but a posteriori less so the occasion, and for two late, rapid hours Friday. Truth is, the festival’s eventuality met my notice many times prior to the fact and I failed to respond in earnest, since lately I’ve enjoyed no surplus of time, attention, or income. In that tripartite objection my stubborn mind stands, and there I stand.

It’s possible that I could be of a mind to attend shows, and to somehow afford to attend shows, and it’s probable that it would be a good time. The last judgment finds its basis in experiences of like kind achieving that outcome. I want to say on these grounds that I make a valid point. One may grant that the world is potential, and I may assent to the proposition. The existentialists said a man must not be judged, however, on the grounds of his potential but on his actual existence. Thus somewhere between those two poles, whereby potential action is or is not a criterion of personal identity and worth, lies a third point describing where I am as a consumer of music.

Not that this tarnishes my appreciation for the thoughtful and even artful turn rock music has taken in recent years. There’s no doubt in my mind that if I devoted a few hours each week to seeking and listening to new music it would cause me pleasure, no doubt also amplify my reception of the band names littering the neighborhood. I even think modern music could benefit from my active engagement. Seriously. I’m a generous person and I have a lot to contribute.

On Saturday I purchased the three tracks off Bitte Orca spared an excess of that grating falsetto. Of the three I bought, iTunes says the song I like best is the song everybody likes, and that affirms me.