Late one night, after I told her about the extinction of large, defenseless sea cows, on both of America’s coasts, by the hands of human beings, Effie put on a song I had never heard before, “Dying on the Vine,” by John Cale. The fragments of sentences have been rearranged, William Burroughs-style. When John Cale sings, “I was living my life like a Hollywood, but I was dying on the vine,” he is only making sense to folks who know of the street corner in Los Angeles.
“I’ve been chasing ghosts and I don’t like it. I wish someone would show me where to draw the line. I’d lay down my sword if you would take it. And tell everyone back home I’m doing fine.”
As I ride my bike to work on these fall days, I have been listening to a lot of tracks from the Gloaming, by Radiohead, an album inspired by fear of future and feelings of powerlessness. To create the album’s cover art, artist Stanley Donwood made lists of words and phrases drawn from roadside advertising in Los Angeles. In bottom right corner, are the words from the title of this post.