My earliest memory of RDJ is the movie Less Than Zero. I was so impressed by it the first time I had seen it — especially Robert Downey Jr, who became a bit of an idol, in his fab bloodstain shirt — I was like, I’ll impress my girlfriend with this movie. She and I were with her family, visiting her uncle’s family over Christmas. He was a Methodist minister. For my girl and I it was a wonderful experience. My introduction to spooning. Our kisses in the winter cornfields across the road. And watching Less Than Zero on Christmas Eve with the minister’s family. “What’s happening, Dad?” — “The man is performing oral sex on the other man, in order to pay for drugs.” That was a tense moment.
I could relate to RDJ’s descent into addiction, though I never did take to cocaine the way he did. I think I was aware of how little I could afford. He was aware of how much he could. I guess that’s something else to relate to. Fiscal awareness. But I do get the impression he hates blogs and bloggers, so though there’s nothing here in this post to really say, I thought I’d be deliberately annoying.
While investigating Steve Albini’s latest band on YouTube, I came across a comment where someone pointed out the well-known fact that Steve Albini is an asshole, only to be insulted by the guy who had put the video up — someone who didn’t see the irony in reacting the way he did.
The legendary Steve Albini apparently being a dick in real life is just what people say. It also informed his approach to the way he made music in Big Black. The name of the band itself was perfect for putting people out of ease. Liberals would worry about whether or not it was racist, and racists would be put off by the imagery of the “big black guy”. (The one thing racists are supposed to be most afraid of.) Like any punk rocker with a chip on his shoulder, Albini made outrageous statements that he refused to explain. He wrote songs about violent/taboo thoughts and daydreams, but made them real, with dark, scary characters doing the narrative. And he didn’t explain that he wasn’t those characters.
Of course the way to talk to someone on one of your own videos is politely and kindly. And the way for any punk rocker to talk to any other punk rocker is politely and kindly, in my opinion. It’s stupid to do less. No one should feel obligated to put on the jerk persona in order to be a fan of hardcore music.
I shook my head at Alan. “You’ll have to tell me. I’ve been trying to figure it out for two weeks. What’s behind the enclosure?”
Alan shivered. “Don’t worry about it. Shift change is in ten minutes.”
“Come on, man. No one ever talks about it.” I sat back down in front of the panel of occasionally-flashing buttons.
“Something you wouldn’t believe anyway. A bio experiment gone horribly wrong. There’s nothing in there at all now except a very dense mass of baby spiders. Like if you … compressed them.” He shivered again.
I heard the door clang shut. “The next guys must be coming in.”
“Yeah. Or else they’ve auto-sealed and the enclosure’s about to drop.” He smiled and looked up. We both saw that no one was coming.
The thick walls of the enclosure dropped. Topping it was a living dark mass. The lights failed.