The Winter Of Our Discontent: An Unbearably Sad Week Concludes With Taylor Swift Alone
It began with freezing temperatures for three weeks straight, a real horror, especially when you are 63 years old, and had me spending the month not going to concerts. But the real horrors began on Sunday, January 26th, where 41 year old Kobe Bryant and his thirteen year old daughter Gigi died in a helicopter crash. In the immediate past, the best basketball players have been
1 – Jordan
2 – Lebron
3 – Kobe
And immediately me, and everybody else, could feel death breathing down our neck. To make matters worse, the day before I’d gone to see the brilliant COMPLEXIONS Contemporary Ballet At Joyce Theatre, and was rained on incessantly there and back-the finishing coup to a terrible cold that laid me up for a week. Meanwhile both my nephew and my big sister (who is a mother to me) have been battling and continue to battle cancer, my sister starting chemo.
With that depressing moment in my pocket, I caught Season 3 of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and obsessed over the penultimate episode where everybody dies when she returns after 30 years in limbo. It creeped me out. Though not half as much as “The Good Place,” whose last episode included (spoiler alert) Jason being the first to choose to kill his consciousness forever. In my novel “Memory Motel” I dealt with the question of the next life and ennui, boredom (I claimed God created everything out of boredom, to fend off atrophy), being tired of being dead, by 1) making a collective hive brain, and 2) giving individuals the ability to die for as long as they like and to return to consciousness anytime they want. Having a final death is just too damn depressing and having the beloved Jason being the first up to choose the end of everything upset me.
If that was depressing thinking of all the people who died while I was completely sick, that was a form of masochism, a wakemare.
The other thing that depressed me (I am still contemplating a full review of it) was Taylor Swift’s heartbreaking ache of a documentary “Miss Americana”. Taylor has everything, but here you see her alone and lonely, whether crying on the couch after discovering she wasn’t nominated for a Grammy for anything in 2018, or muttering to herself that she has no one to share her joy with after winning her second set of Grammys in 2014, something wasn’t clicking. If all the pressure of fame, if all the social media brutal smack down, if the inability to go and get her nails painted in public, doesn’t stir your sympathy, her Mom’s cancer moving to the brain certainly will. It feels like there isn’t a shot in the documentary where Swift isn’t ready to break in half. If she isn’t happy, who the hell is? And if having everything, in a very literal way, isn’t enough, then what is?
Meanwhile, I tried to get back to work last Thursday and failed miserably, returning home at lunch.
On Friday I felt better but I didn’t want to risk it, and on Saturday I felt well enough to see Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen” fun plus cockney gangsters, like “Villain” without an actor of Richard Burton’s stature to push it through.
Sunday, I lay about home writing (from 530am to 1130am nonstop), then watched the Super Bowl which, if you can get past Trump’s interview with Sean Hannity (at 3pm), had fair to middle commercials (the best: maybe #babynuts), and a really good game and better half time show (here). And I sure felt back to normal.
But still the dead were on my tail, and Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill (who I interviewed for Creem in the 1980s) died on Saturday. The single most influential guitarist in the world of post punk, only Johnny Marrs is in the same league.
We will all die way too soon (“The Good Place” got one thing right: we didn’t live nearly long enough, if we live 5000 years instead of 100, perhaps we could get a handle on life and death), maybe today. Then I started thinking about #girldad (do I regret not having a child? yes and no) and getting ready to return to working from the office, and with an ineffable sorry I can’t seem to figure out dogging me during this winter of discontent. In the end, life is a sometimes thing so take it sleazy while you can.
Andy Gill – B+
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – A-
COMPLEXIONS Contemporary Ballet – A-
Miss Americana – A-
Super Bowl 54 – B+
The Gentlemen – B+
The Good Place – A