Some Thoughts #73

    As the heat lifted and the summer came to an end, everything started to feel a little bit better.  A lot of us were able to breath a sigh of relief.  And once again I was able to enjoy being outside and find that extra kick of energy that comes in the fall.  Unfortunately the one thing that brings me a lot of my satisfaction and inspiration is seeing bands play, and sadly there have been few shows this fall.  Over the summer, things were great.  We had a great space for shows and for the first time in awhile, things felt quite right around here.  But then came the first week of college, and the police were out enforce and the great Warehouse space was shut down from future shows.  Since then, the few houses that could do shows have changed hands or also been busted.  Krissi said to me a few weeks ago, “I haven’t seen you at any shows,” and I was like “what shows?”  True enough, in the past few months it seems I can count on one hand the shows I have been to, and that has left an empty feeling in me.  It’s also left me rather devoid of thoughts and inspirational passion.  Of course my energy comes from many places, but I live for bands, and when I can’t see the bands, when I don’t have bands to look forward to seeing, and bands to be excited about for days from having experienced - well life gets kind of blah.  Then with all of the depressing world politics - preparation for war and the ugliness that comes from all of that, the re-living anniversary of 9/11, and then our most recent bout around here with the serial sniper -- well things seem kinda of bleak out there in the world.  And yet, I find myself super into my town.  I love Richmond like it’s a new found friend.  Even though it’s a changing city, and I am constantly amazed at how much it has developed in the 5 years I have been here—I’m talking about entire city blocks being rebuilt and developed over a very short time—well I laugh thinking about this lazy town I fell in love with, with no traffic, ample parking and a seemingly united and organized punk scene.  A lot has changed.  And yet I also have managed to watch quite a few cycles within this town.  I feel like an outsider most of the time and have lamented that I may never feel like I actually live here—like this is my home or where I am from.  And then I realize that I have watched and experienced almost entire lifetimes unfold in the time I have been here.  I’ve watched people come and go and return and watched new kids come to town and do great things.  All of a sudden I feel a deep connection to the folks and the streets of this town.  I feel an enormous amount of pride in the number of rad bands from this town that I got to review music from in this issue.  And I look around in October and just go, yeah, this is a good time in Richmond.  Even if there is no space for DIY punk shows and we’re left between clubs and 21+ bars.  Suddenly the division between total DIY punk, by and for the kids, becomes so distant and separated from the other spectrum of punk that is more popular, more accessible, more guaranteeable in a club. 
    I traveled back to my old stomping grounds of Pittsburgh to celebrate my birthday in September and had an amazing time rediscovering old friendships and how things can stand the test of time and fall right back into place, as if the years had not passed.  That was awesome.  I hung out with lots of kids - I mean 2,4 and 6  year old kids.  And I felt surrounded by a flurry of a community of punk rock kids that I didn’t know but who were doing stuff and that felt pretty cool. 
    The clocks changed back today and thus we enter the dark days.  The short, cold, and dark days of winter.  My least favorite time of year when the depression hits hard.  I can already feel the instincts to pull inward and withdraw.  And yet I also know how to fight it and at least try to stay sane.  But perhaps there is a reason for that stack of books by my side that I have been hoarding for a dark, cold day.  I actually thing this might be the year that the South has winter.  Could be hopeful thinking... but I am expecting some snow.
    As I said, not too many thoughts in my head right now that I haven’t lamented a thousand times before.  And all the current events that have me so down... what is there to say really?  The government is fucked.  War is bad.  The system should come tumbling down.  Of course.  And that is what we all think and in our own ways work towards on a daily basis I think.  Trying to break down the systems that we hate; the structures that confine us and limit us and categorize us.  We try to work towards making things better.  Whether it be among our friends, our local scene, our community, neighborhood, or reaching much further.  Ultimately, change starts within.  Ya know, do things in your own life the way you want to see them and then expand further.  Start with yourself, your household, your friends... and then take it to the next step.    Merrydeath has some great artwork in this issue - the Revolutionary Code of Ethics series and the DIY series, which I love, are kind of examples of what I’m talking about now.  Sometimes I start to forget about all the great stuff happening - and all the great people making that great stuff happen.  I get lost in these funky moods where I find it near impossible to leave the house.  Couple that with a lack of shows that are my usual life’s blood to the world... and well, it’s refreshing to be able to experience so much great music, so many great stories, and zine projects and shared passion for life with in these pages here... and more than anything that is what I feel I am able to do right now - say look at all this great music, all these great zines and think about the thoughts and ideas that people are writing about and sharing and remember that whatever you are feeling - there is probably someone else feeling just the same thing, or feeling just the same way.  And sometimes it takes reaching out to someone to find that connection.  And connections and relating are so important.  You can find inspiration in the most unexpected places.
    Thanks to all the contributors to this issue - artwork from Jeremy, Merrydeath and Cristy (you can get their contacts below Fly’s Zero Content). Special thanks to Fly, my sister in stress and over-extended commitments. The columnist speak for themselves.  And the zine reviews in here are done by Aprille, Tifani, Davin, Kyle, Ryan, Jim and Greg.  The music reviews by Jay, Dave, Tim, and Brandon. With some of both my me as well.  Oh yeah, and these contact sheet photos are some stuff I’ve been working on - since I have no new band photos. Thanks to all of you who have helped out with this issue.
—Chris(tine) Oct. 02