I was brushing my teeth after having a smoke outside just now, and I had my headphones on, and I just started dancing to the music I was listening to, as I was bent over the sink, spitting and rinsing.
It crossed my mind: "Would I be doing this if I wasn't sure that I was home alone?"
My immediate gut reaction is,
"No." Because, why, you ask? Because you'd look an absolute loon if your (already weary of your mental health) housemate saw you.
But he walks around talking to himself and yelling swears at Fox News in the evenings.
And the whistling. The mother-whoring whistling.
So, we all have our "quirks" then, right?
But not all of us have any past suicide attempts.
A-ha. There it is.
So, what have I been doing these past two years? Basically nothing.
Well, not completely, "NOTHING." I mean, with all the shit I've put myself through, I was pretty fucking busy mentally. But, it was like negative work, or anti-work, I guess. Imagine this, if you will: your very small family is well aware of past struggles and attempts, yet no one talks about it. Even your mother, who is also probably the person with whom you are the closest in the entire world, will not talk about it. So, I've had to fall into this role of what they thought I should be, because I was so afraid to upset anyone.
I, for a while, did not want to improve myself, out of fear that they wouldn't accept the "new me." But, mostly, it was because I, as a diagnosed depressive personality, was supposed to behave accordingly: good days, never great ones, constant personal challenges (be it work, money, etc.), constant negative inner-dialogue. . . it was all self-inflicted.
And there, dancing while brushing my teeth over the sink, like I loved to do when I was twelve; my mother would sometimes, in fact, send me to the bathroom to brush before bed and would then wonder why it took me fifteen or twenty minutes to do so————
Over the sink, not even just slightly "groovin`" to the music, but full-on butt-shaking glory, did it hit me, a thirty seven year old man: I was afraid to look foolish for being myself. How could I dare even think of letting them see that?
Wait, "THEM"? There's literally no one there and literally no one cares. It's a dopey moment of just enjoying yourself while doing something menial, yet necessary. Why not just go for it? If someone would have filmed it on a camcorder and mailed it to Bob Saget in 1990, there's a good chance it would have seen some air time. It was that stupid and insignificant, yet irreverent enough, to have been on one of those cheesy shows. Hell, I'm lazy, but go YouTube "toothbrush dancer" and there's probably hours of "hysteria" to scroll through. Who is honestly going to disapprove of someone literally just having fun and making the most of, what would have otherwise been, a dull moment?
Jerks, people, etc.
Nice try, but that's on them.
You know, that time. DRUMS PLEASE.
Literally: how in the actual fuck do you remember that?
How do I? How do you not forgot it?
How could I forgot it? It was pretty significant.
Brushing teeth, headphones on, volume maxed (`cuz I'm cool af, alright?), badly rapping and dancing along to 'Summertime' as I was bent over the sink. The late 80s / early 90s headphones were trash, so if you had your volume maxed, everyone else within a five or seven foot radius was also aware of this fact. So, I guess my mom saw the light shift in an unfamiliar way that caught her attention to the point of coming to see what was going on.
—(AUTHOR'S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING THREE SENTENCES ARE PURE SPECULATION AND NOTHING MORE THAN AN EDUCATED GUESS)—
Upon arrival, she realized that, because of the volume of my headphones and my eyes facing the sink, I didn't know she was there. She then decided to call my sister over to view the spectacle that I was becoming. And, judging by the amount of times they mockingly shouted "DRUMSTH PLTHEASE!!" at me afterwards, they stood there and watched me long enough to have gone at least one revolution through the length of this cassette single (had an autoreverse Walkman; again: cool af, just to be absolutely clear here).
So, what? They made fun of you? And?
And it was pretty fucking damaging. I'm not even going to try and sugar coat this into anything other than what they did: — Made fun of my dancing, which they knew would hurt me, as I really prided myself on being the best dancer in school. That was something you did honestly love to do, remember? And here, in a moment of vulnerability where you are not dancing to impress, but dancing simply for fun, they put you at the end of the firing range where only one person stands. — Accused me of wanting "to be black." Imagine that: a kid with a completely butchered childhood wants to be anything but what he is, as long as it's something else. And then, yeah, hey, we're gonna need you to go ahead and, yeah, feel real bad about that. If you could do that, that would be great. Yeah.
Oh my god, fuck them.
Not their fault.
— Actually said, "Well, you're definitely not black, because you sure can't rap!" in a joking way. So, all that fucked identity bullshit up there? Yeah, we'll just go ahead and let that marinate, ferment, and mutate now. — Just, "DRUMSTH PLTHEASE!!" a lot after that.
Well, yes naturally, after just having my entire poorly-defined identity just demolished in a matter of minutes. Later, when under the covers and out of earshot of them.
That was literally twenty five years ago. This is the first time in twenty five years I've even thought about that. That is also not figuratively the first time in twenty five years you did a toothbrush dance. And you also very definitely lived by yourself for four years.
Plenty of time to enjoy yourself without any worry of being "caught." And yet, because of all this, something extremely enjoyable from your childhood is not allowed to transfer over to adulthood, which is how it should have gone in a healthy situation. Had things gone differently, you wouldn't see anything abnormal about it.
I keep having these really vivid revelations and they make so much sense to me, it really feels like good work being done. I'm actually pretty scared to show too much happiness, if you can believe that. My job has really been the key to this. I mean, it took me damn long enough to accept it, but I'm actually an honest to goodness success story. I just have to now accept that I should operate at that level of confidence without worry of social-inacceptance because of it. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It is —and even now I'm loathe to actually say it— okay to be proud of yourself if you are, indeed, doing well.
When Archy Marshall releases new music, my world stops. Things become blurry, confused. We share a love of all things jangly, boom-bap and introspective all the same. It's a rare musical stew that makes for a combo that has molded me into the person that I am today. The kinship and connection I feel through his music is inexplicable — and yet, totally genealogical, and therefore, sensible. Because we share such similar musical backgrounds, I feel he speaks volumes about my life that I've just not yet been able to convey. It's like he says it, or plays it and I say, "Yeah, that."
So, the inevitability of him not batting a thousand with me has been in the back of my mind for some time. I knew he would eventually release something that didn't immediately floor me and I was perhaps anticipating it even more than the next thing that would.
A New Place 2 Drown was announced very lowkey, rather uncharacteristically, over his rarely used Instagram profile. And, to be completely clear, it is not new music from King Krule. It is simply the soundtrack to a short film and art book, mainly produced by his older brother Jack Marshall (who has also used the name Mr. Gone). And it does sound the piece of something greater, like it's not quite all there. It's a mishmash of Archy's electronic side. Stuttering, post-dubstep rhythms and dreamy melodic synths and keyboard washes fade in and out of each other for about fourty minutes while Archy spits a few bars here and there (he is my favorite MC, after all) and overall, I'm sure most of it was lots of fun to create. And it makes for a really easy listen. It's Archy being himself, perhaps the most personal work he's yet presented — it has been released under his real name, after all. But the song craft, the heart, the soul, the guitar playing (!!!!), it's missing here.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with A New Place 2 Drown, it just feels a little short on elevation. Instead of taking a grand step forward after 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, Archy has modestly let loose a snippet of brilliance. It feels more at home with the freebies he used to give away as DJ JD Sports than it does as a proper album. But still, I awaited those bits and beat tape fragments as much as anything released officially, so to have anything new in any regard is something to rejoice, I guess.
Here's to hoping I get that genre-defying masterpiece next time. But for now, A New Place 2 Drown will hit the spot.
Album's defining quote: "We just smoke and let days roll by. . ."