Everyone loves a gingerbread house. Even South Park’s hate campaign against the “ginger” couldn’t dull the sugary luster of the beloved cookie-built domicile. You probably remember the first time you saw one, right? Or the first time you smelled one?
How to make me put a ring on it*, chapter one. (*the robot.)
Sometime in the late 1970s, at my local church, I spied and smelled a real, elaborate gingerbread house for the first time. It was during an Advent festival, with apple-cheeked residents of my snowy hometown selling pinecone ornaments and weaving fragrant holiday wreaths budded with hollyberry. Someone had knocked themselves out on the centerpiece, a resplendent dwelling of gingerbread with all the confectionery trimmings, the kind that lured the likes of Hansel and Gretel to their near-doom.
Let’s say you’ve decided to become a “Goth”. These are some things you can expect:
No friends, aside from other Goths.
No attention, aside from that of other Goths.
No respect from anyone, aside from other Goths.
Goths have made a full-time commitment to a bad mood. It’s like a lifestyle built entirely around PMS. If a Goth is older than 25, you’re looking at severely damaged goods. Elvira is literally the only person who can pull the look off successfully.
From 1989 to 1992, all anyone knew of Nine Inch Nails was prettyhatemachine. Your opinion of that one album was your opinion of Nine Inch Nails.
Before Broken, NIN’s sophomore EP, you could be forgiven for thinking Trent Reznor was the heir apparent of electronic Goth, following the dark path of Joy Division and Depeche Mode. Reznor was the scion of a venerable HVAC company (founded 1888!), and probably spent much of his young life in the presence of gigantic, droning machines. “Industrial” was already wired into his veins.
For all your heating, cooling, and electro-goth needs!
In the second issue of Bands I Useta Like, I drew a retrospective entitled “Thrills”, wherein I delineated the major moments of excitement from a lifetime of moviegoing. Thrills come in varying qualities and intensities, from “cheap” to “absolute”. A milder one, that is no less desirable, is the “pleasant surprise“.
One of the first pleasant surprises I took notice of was during the documentary Citizen Shane, from 2004. It tells the true story of Shane Ballard, a rotund, porn-loving oddball who ran for sheriff of his hometown of Lowndes County, Mississippi at 22. Ballard was a talented audiophile whose mother was murdered under mysterious circumstances when he was a baby. Not long after the documentary’s release, Shane Ballard and director Ron Tibbett would also be deceased, under mysterious circumstances. Subcin, the site where I saw the film, is not currently active. Continue reading →