Now listening to: The Sadies' "Darker Circles"
'specially: Track 7, 'Whispering Circles'
Fifteen years ago, both Rebecca Gates and Ken Stringfellow were playing in (separate) bands. I recently saw a posting for a show they'd be playing together -- both are currently touring for solo careers that began some time ago. I love that fifteen years ago, I was not expecting this show; just not thinking about it at all. Reading about it now, though, I have this thick, thick description of the event.
I had "Manos" by the Spinanes (Rebecca Gates' band with soon-to-be Built to Spill drummer Scott Plouf), backed by Tracy Chapman's self-titled album, on a cassette that I brought with me on a school trip to Australia. I hear 'Spitfire' and think of bus or plane windows onto trees and clouds that looked unfamiliar just because I knew they were. I remember listening to 'Please Return It' off "Amazing Disgrace" by the Posies (Ken Stringfellow's band) on extended, loud repeat while housesitting the summer before I left for college -- the joyous freedom of not having anyone around to be annoyed by my popsong obsession.
And now both bands are done*, and Gates and Stringfellow are playing solo shows, sometimes together. I love that I have this extensive personal investment in this one event, that the time and energy I put into these bands, these songs, these artists has prepared in me a totally entangled reception of this event. That wasn't the point at the time; I listened because, at any given moment under any given set of circumstances, that was what I wanted/chose to do. Or someone else wanted/chose. History here isn't causal or contingent, it's the accumulation of discrete and overdetermined occasions that lead not to an event, but to a particular appreciation of it. An appreciation that I have because of how I spent my time, and how they spent theirs.
I'm old enough now that on my birthday, at least half my birthday cards make jokes about how women lie about their age. I haven't done that yet - I may eventually, but I sort of don't like the thought of that particular lie. In all my years I accumulate observations and responses, and I am the only thing holding all that past together. Which isn't important in any sense, but it's singular. Without me doing it, it wouldn't happen. Without all the time I spent sneaking Posies songs onto my college radio show (supposedly a folk/americana hour), or the the invitation emails I sent out that advertised a Spinanes-based party soundtrack, I wouldn't have this particular reaction to the combination of solo tours by Rebecca Gates and Ken Stringfellow. And if that reaction didn't exist, it wouldn't be a loss to the world so much as a loss to me -- I love the sense of time I get from this whole process.
This isn't really about religion (Although, let's be honest. I've probably written more about music on this weblog than about religion. Sometimes tangentially, and sometimes to illustrate a point about religions, but still.), but it may be a nod to my approach to History. I'll start a doctoral program at Northwestern this fall on North American Religions, and I think a big part of my first year is going to be familiarizing myself with history as a discipline and genre. And, as of now, my idea of history is more about appreciation of an event than determining its cause.
*(ETA) I stand excitedly corrected. The Posies are not done and are 'bouts to release a new album. Score!