It seems to me that much of my life is occupied with waiting for the next juicy tidbit to be laid in front of me for consumption. I’m not talking about GT South’s delicious barbecue hovel on the east side. No, I mean consumption in the sense of me being a consumer, and consuming products.
I’m not your typical consumer; the breadth of things that I consume is very narrow. My car is an average priced sedan that I’ve driven for over six years, and hope to drive for another six at least. My clothes are the standard Old Navy uniform of (cheap) cargo shorts and (cheap) mono- or bi-chromatic t-shirts. I wear my shoes into the ground*, I eat out a lot but rarely at expensive or high profile restaurants, and I hate every shopping mall with the intensity of Jon Gruden when the Bucs are in the middle of another hopeless loss and have just committed their fourth turnover.
What I do consume is media. (I know, you’re surprised.) I buy a lot of CDs and a modest amount of vinyl. I have a good-sized DVD collection that is still slowly expanding. I own several video game systems that demand new games to keep their lasers bright and shiny – so I helplessly comply once every month or two. I keep an eye on new release schedules for music, movies, and books. I even have a list.
Ah, The List. This, I guess, is where my consumption turned from a harmless hobby into a seriously problematic addiction. About a year ago I realized that things were slipping past me. I have a couple more responsibilities (house, cats, girlfriend, etc.) and a little less free time than I used to, and every once in a while, an artist or director I like would release an album or movie… and I wouldn’t know about it. I might find out five months later and buy the album, or wait on Netflix to send me the movie on DVD. That model, clearly, was unacceptable. And at the same time, I was ramping up my subculture browsing. I was flitting between web forums for hip hop, dancehall, metal, and rock all day long at work, and finding more and more bands that I liked, forthcoming releases I really wanted. Eventually it got to be too much to keep up with. At least until I made up The List.
The List is just a text (.txt) file on my computer. No funny fonts or spellchecking for The List. I edit it in Notepad and it’s as ugly as Luke Skywalker making his Gerbil of Rage face when Darth tells him about their secret special relationship in “Empire.” The List is saved under the file name “New Releases Forthcoming,” which is a little dry and a little pompous at the same time; I probably should change it, but then again, it’s not really worth the effort, is it? I can tell what it is from the name, and that’s good enough.
I open The List every day and scan its contents. On good days I get to add new items, or remove old ones when the date of release has finally arrived and I reach my metaphorical consumptive orgasm. I’m not sure which action I prefer: adding new items (as well as tending to the existing list of Forthcomings) has that sickly charge of anticipation, like the month before Christmas when you’re ten. It feels good and kind of hurts at the same time. Removing items that have finally arrived – and usually, I wait to remove them until said item is sitting on my desk, freshly unwrapped – is both satisfying and deflating. It usually makes me want to add something else to The List, just to keep it hale and healthy.
I realize this admission makes me out to be kind of a freak. …That’s all I can say about that. I won’t defend myself. Yep, I’m kind of a freak. The End.
For your reading enjoyment, here are some soon-to-arrive highlights from The List:
~ “From Beyond” director’s cut DVD (Sept 11). Stuart Gordon’s best non-“Re-animator” movie finally gets the deluxe DVD treatment, and now with several extra minutes of grue. I cannot wait. Rumor has it that one new scene has Jeffrey Combs sucking out a woman’s eyeball in loving close-up.
~ “Graduation” by Kanye West (Sept 11). I realize Kanye’s massive ego gets on people’s nerves, but the guy is simply doing more with hip hop than almost anybody else, whether mainstream or underground. His albums are nearly as creative as your average Def Jux release, but they also have a lot more superficial appeal – like hooks, soul samples, funny punchlines, etc. I liked his previous two a lot and I’m really anticipating this one.
~ “Death is this Communion” by High on Fire (Sept 18). This is a great sludge/doom metal band, like a modern day Black Sabbath after five joints and three hours of Dungeons & Dragons. And check out this badass cover art. All it needs is a pair of boobs and Conan.
~ Untitled new release from Bounty Killer (late 2007, exact date unannounced). The guy puts out like one album every five years. That’s not good enough. And it’s exactly that kind of lax release schedule that makes The List necessary… I can’t keep up with all these artists who disappear off the radar for half a decade and then slip out a new album when I’m least expecting it. This entry reminds me to check back at his site every so often.
~ Halo 3 (Sept 25). The main event in videogaming. I fully expect this game to force me to quit my job so I can max out on hours per day spent sticking aliens with plasma grenades. Waiting for this is killing me; luckily, I have the awe-inspiring Bioshock to tide me over until then.
There are others… a startling amount of others… but I don’t want to scare you away completely, Diane. My only intent was to give you a little window of insight into my soul so that when they show me on the news being carted away from a Best Buy, foaming at the mouth and screaming about the Grand Theft Auto release delay, you’ll be able to knowingly and sadly comment on it to Diane Sawyer. Be sure to get them to film you from the left – that’s your good side.
* It’s the best way to wear them. I tried wearing them into the sky and into a river and both of these went exceedingly poorly.