michael's communiqué #15
01/20/2005

So I've been struggling with this new communiqué for two months. I think I spent a solid month after the Presidential election kicking at puddles and feeling like I didn't have much of anything to say. I mean the results weren't any big surprise... John Kerry could not inspire an air mattress... but the sadness left in their wake was tangible amongst those close to me. So as the year closed... I finished up the semester, a detective novel I was writing, and continued the various activities related to making our next record a reality. I watched the last of the autumn slowly fade to four thirty blackouts... taking solace in the fact that the colder it gets in New York, the more lights are strung from everything. That, plus some time with those near and dear, can get one from an "annus horribles" to something... hopefully... brighter.

The most troubling and demoralizing aspect of the election was just the disconnection between many of the American people and the things which directly relate to their own happiness and well being. It is as though the election they are voting in is for some other country. A Dream America they fantasize about living in while their own lives and communities slowly disintegrate around them. It is particularly galling when you look at a state like Ohio. I am by no means an expert on the Midwest, but we spent a little time there on tour last winter. People were struggling, towns were decaying, and it seemed like the only things prospering were the omni-present Applebees. Salvation through chicken fingers, while people swim in debt and doubt and despair. But people still would rather believe in it, and vote for it... the fairy tale of unfettered capitalism lifting even the meekest amongst us up on its glittering wings. But I've seen its wings... and they're attached to a private jet flying to the French Riviera, unloading the contents of its bathroom upon us from three thousand feet. But it doesn't click. It's like rooting for the home team to win, and The Dream America, as put forth by President Bush and the Neo-Cons is the home team, and to accept its fallacy is to lose... is to be dreamless and teamless. It is our obligation to give people a new dream, a new team to root for, one whose interests actually include all the little dreams which make happiness possible. The dream to have the time, security, and liberty to learn, to love, to build, to care for one's family friends and communities. To have a nation's wealth... support and invest in those upon whose back it is built upon. This is democracy.

And as for the Christians... by who (according to the media) so much power has been asserted in this election. Wake up! Christ would not be elected by any other name in The Red States if he ran in this election. Christ was not a gay basher, or a war monger... he was a defender of the poor, the meek, the marginalized... and opposed the greedy and corrupt inside their own walls. This is not a shaded interpretation. To believe the other side is to be an idolater of Televangelists, Radio Talk Show Hosts, and cynical politicians. Don't reduce your chosen savior to a golem, an empty sign to be possessed and wielded by the most soulless and cynical amongst us. Wake up!

I saw Jean Luc Godard's most recent film Notre Musique in December, and I think that is mostly what got my ass into gear to write a little something. Godard is closing in on eighty, and I suppose realistically at this stage of his life, he probably approaches each film unsure if he will make another one. His recent films have been interesting but opaque collages of questions and references, Forever Mozart and In Praise of Love in particular. But "Our Music" was a beautiful... accessible... poem of resistance, broken up, Dante like, into Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. It is ultimately a meditation on the process of creation, destruction and redemption on both the smallest and largest of levels in a human life. It's an affirmation of the importance of art in restoring and defending our humanity. So I'm back on the job... Go see it...

Sorry about all the political stuff... I know some of you would prefer an enema... but alas I needed to purge. I think I will be able to resume my more diary like writings soon... but until then, here are some dreamy photos from our 'Detectivism' party last fall... and an answer to a fans request that I list my top 25 records of all time. I took the request very seriously, getting a bit nostalgic for my days as a music journalist for the Village Voice's fledgling sister paper... the since forgotten Long Island Voice. So of course my list sprawls to a Top 40. It was a very daunting task, I assure you, and one that would probably look radically different in two weeks. The only restrictions I gave myself were no greatest hits compilations, no multiple records from one artist, and only records from the pop/rock era... thus no Satie, Jobim, Piaf or anything else pre-Chuck Berry . I probably tweaked it a bit... for diversity... to give you a sense of stuff I like that you maybe wouldn't expect. I hope it's of some enjoyment!

Truly Truly Truly,
Michael

p.s. What the hell is wrong with Prince Harry?