Time heals all wounds and anxieties. Shortly after my last posting, my book, "The Language of Fear" by Del James arrived, without a scratch and in pristine condition (which is along the same lines as mint condition). Riding on its coattails were four (4) tickets to see Air at EarthLink Live on April 6 in Atlanta. Elevating myself in the travel-weary metal box with flashy, pressable buttons to the ninth floor, I had a feeling of exuberance and finality. Like two anticipated babies, left by the stork. For me and me alone.
The book, which is a collection of short stories dealing with the unseen and unwanted elements of our society -- mainly, drug addiction, street life, substreet life -- is more or less Sunset Strip poetry. The author makes references to the female anatomy in snarled lip callousness, referring to a vagina as the cliche "flower." Bloodstains are referred to as "HIV graffiti." You get the drift, I presume. It's a run-of-the-mill slice from the dark-mind turkey. But it sings in certain areas. James has a clever mind and several stories are actually worth reading. One in particular...
One of the last stories (depends on your edition...though out of print now, there were several runs of "The Language of Fear") is titled "Without You." The story is the inspiration for the three (or four if you count the alternate version of "Don't Cry") videos off the insanely classic Guns n' Roses albums, "Use Your Illusion I & II."
What is most interesting about these videos, as Chuck Klosterman superbly points out in "Fargo Rock City," is that they seem to be in no particular order. The child I was, and in many ways still am, was hungry to wrap my developing fingers on a copy, crease the book in half and flood my eager brain with details of syringes and domestic abuse, crashed wedding cakes and cliff-defying automobiles, as the videos showed me in their nonsequential splendor. My searches would turn up nothing; the book was already hot and gone. Rare book sellers were perplexed by a fifth grader asking for such a title. My mother was equally embarrassed by my request.
I have only glanced at it, and will get to it once I can muster the courage and tact to read it without ruining it. As we speak, it's choking in a Ziploc bag on my bookshelf, a victim of my paranoia and captor of my desire to one day cash it in.
It stinks like an old book. All I know of its lifespan is that I got it from Kentucky (thanks, Pam Baker, whoever the hell you are), and it must be a late printing (date says early 90s, I believe). The foreword is written by Axl Rose, lead singer of the now defunct and never-to-return (embrace the truth, folks) band who acted out James' stories. Plus, Rose describes probing James for video ideas for their stale and tired "The Spaghetti Incident" EP (works great as a coaster). Still, I finally got the book. Thank you, eBay. I am no longer horny in the bidding war (see below post).
To toss it in the ring real quick: 90s rock books are a strange genre...although it probably isn't worth anything on the market, a book by Mark Sperry was the ultimate in f*cked up fiction. Fifth grade is not the age to read about setting bums on fire and ripping off people's flesh. So, I gave it to the seventh grader up the street. Today, he is a filmmaker in NYC. I'm glad it helped him, because it made me want to wash my eyes.