Hi. We’re on tour and visiting in Chicago with Evan Sult, former drummer of Harvey Danger, and his three cats. I wanted to write another diary entry now that the debate on indie-rock pretentiousness has dried up. So far our tour with Nada Surf is going swimmingly. They’re treating us very well and are excellent men.
I’ve realized in driving across the Midwest time and time again that I have a deeply sentimental attachment to the idea of a bucolic white farmhouse on a few acres of land. We drive over hill and dale and everywhere are these little dilapidated farms with a crumbling barn and some raggedy-assed cows and I realize that somewhere in my heart I’m saving my pennies to one day get a little farm for myself.
Of course, I have no intention of actually farming anything on this farm, nor do I want any cows or any other stinky animals or anything, really, that requires any husbanding. I really just want a place where I can sit on the front porch and shoot a .22 at cans, where the barn would hold a couple of ’60’s Pontiacs with bleached paint and a Triumph motorcycle that I was “restoring”, and where I would spend all summer building a fish pond, (did I mention the stream?).
This isn’t really a bold fantasy. It doesn’t involve any European fire dancers. And I guess that’s what’s surprising to me. Which isn’t to say that my fantasy life has very much in the way of European fire dancers generally, but more that I can’t really pinpoint where and when this rural farm fantasy took hold.
I think originally it started with those John Cougar Mellencamp videos of the mid-eighties. Growing up in Alaska, where we were definitely American but seperated from America by thousands of miles, my friends and I had many different fascinations with what we imagined was American life. I would never have admitted it at the time but those damn John Cougar videos, with all of the cheerleaders dancing in the back of rusty 50’s pick-ups waiting at railroad crossings on the Fourth of July, filled me with longing.
Now I’ve travelled all over and I know that John Cougar’s America is just a fantasy, and worse it’s a fantasy that, more often than not, is used to sell a chickenshit, xenophobic ‘patriotic’ America back to us, but because I remember a time when that vision meant something to me I refuse to think it’s totally bullshit. And it’s not bullshit, because on an individual level I meet people every day that reaffirm some aspect of that initial dream.
I have no idea if I’ll ever really fulfill my Midwestern farm fantasy, (namely because it’s in dramatic conflict with my Brooklyn loft fantasy, not to mention my Istanbul magic palace fantasy,) but it’s a big part of where I spend my imagination time during the long drives… when I’m not listening to Sean and Michael declaim the history of rock music like blind Talmudic scholars describing an elephant.