Thursday, 12 October 2017

Infinite Diversity, Finite Combinations 6.1.8

Back to Enterprise this week, as Archer begins his voyages of discovery into the mouths of alien women.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

No Apologies For The Infinite Radness 1.2.5 - "Oh My Sweet Carolina" (Ryan Adams)



A lot of people (wrongly) cite Heartbreaker as Ryan Adams best album, and (wrongly) name "Oh My Sweet Carolina" as its best song. As conventional wisdom goes this isn't hard to understand. I sympathise, obviously; why else would the track be on this list? There's a lot of button-pushing with this one. It's a melancholy ballad, with great guitar, masterfully-used piano, and the absolute best guest spot any Ryan Adams song has ever enjoyed. The middle eight is a thing of windswept beauty. But it's the subject of the song that really hits me in the feels-box.

"...Carolina" is about how nostalgia and wanderlust fight against each other. About how for many of us the pull of home is ever-present, even if we were desperate to escape it while we were there, and even if we're deliberately putting more distance between us and it every year. The song's narrator spends the opening verses first destitute and then addicted to cocaine, but the possibility of actually going home - as oppose to simply yearning for it - is never raised. It simply isn't who he is. There's something out there he has to find first, and it doesn't actually matter he has no idea what that is. He might recognise the irony of having to constantly change where he lives because of his inability to change himself, but knowing how you're broken and knowing how to fix yourself are very different things.

The result is that the sorrow of homesickness is experienced at a remove. The narrator doesn't want to go home so much as he wants to want to go home. He wishes he was the kind of man who could go back to the place he misses without immediately needing to leave again. He wants to stop being the guy who races newspaper boats in gutters to see which one disappears first. The guy who gambles on speed, in other words, and in doing so mistakes disappearance for a form of success. That need to race away - the specifics never mattering, away the only destination specified - is just bringing him sadness and confusion. Our narrator can't even decide if it's Carolina or Kentucky that's home at this point. The sweetest winds may blow across the south, but he let those winds blow him away, and he doesn't even remember where he started from anymore.

Maybe he's still out there, looking for whatever it is. Maybe he settled down someplace when he had the money for decent light-bulbs. Either way, that urge to return must still be there, deep beneath the surface. You don't cure nostalgia; you just keep generating it to the point where you forget to feel every pull at the same time.

 I guess that's why I've never stopped loving this song, even though I've lived with it for almost as long as I did my family. Some things never change.

B side:

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Infinite Diversity, Finite Combinations 5.1.8

This week's Trek chat is about the Voyager episode "Emanations", which kicks off the venerable tradition of trying to make Harry Kim seem interesting by repeatedly killing him.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Unprovoked Assaults


I'll try to keep this brief(ish) because I'm supposed to be writing up some IDFC right now. There's only so many hours in any given day I can spend on Star Trek before I lose my job and/or my (very patient and understanding) partner.

That said, I did want to offer a little push-back against a tweet thread sent to me by a friend, which takes Star Trek Discovery to task for its racial and international politics. There's not really any way to talk about this without spoilers, so I'm going to put the rest of this post below the fold.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Infinite Diversity, Finite Combinations 4.1.8

Another Thursday, another IDFC article. This time I'm taking a look at "The Passenger", a story with the dubious distinction of having held the title of "Worst DS9 episode EVER" for precisely one week.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Two Weeks

It's been two weeks since the boiler broke
I grabbed my phone and I called it in that morning.
Ten days since the landlord called
Said "I'll send a crew to help with no more stalling."
Four days since I chased this up
Found out he'd done fuck all because he's lazy.
Yesterday, his wife sent him round
And said "I can't fix that myself, I am so sorry."