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February 7, 2006

Book Notes - Lisa Carver ("Drugs Are Nice")

When I first heard that Lisa Carver was writing her biography, Drugs Are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir, I knew it was a book I would search out. A queen of the DIY ethic, Carver has excelled in my eyes as editor of her zine, Rollerderby, musician, and performance artist. The resulting memoir was one of the most moving books I read last year.

In her own words, here is Lisa Carver's "Book Notes" submission for Drugs Are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir:

Drugs Are Nice is about the underground music scene in the late ’80s, early ’90s, but I didn’t listen to any of the people I was writing about: GG Allin, Lydia Lunch, The Swans, Smog, or even my own band, Suckdog. I listened exclusively to The Stooges – for almost two years, writing almost every day. Thank goodness there are three Stooges albums. I listened because of the pitilessness of it, and the hunger.

“I’ve been hurt
and I don’t care
I’ve been hurt
And I don’t care
‘cause I’m burning inside
…just a burning…
just a dreaming
just a dreaming.”
--“Dirt”

“Individuals with dissociative disorder will report feeling as if they are living in a dream or watching themselves on a movie screen. They feel separated from themselves or outside their own bodies. People with this disorder feel like they are ‘going crazy’ and they frequently become anxious and depressed.”

I have often felt love as weather. I have often felt life as unfixed, unplaced. Messages sent across the ocean.

“I floated in your swimming pools.
I felt so weak.
I felt so blue.
Ann, my Ann, I love you.”
--“Ann”

“There’s nothing in my dreams
Just some ugly memories.
Kiss me like the ocean breeze.”
--“Gimme Danger”

Love was much easier to feel, to know I was feeling it, when it took the form of pain of separation or never-met-ness. But I wanted to be known. I wanted to met. To be hit and really feel it. “Say do you feel it? Say do you feel it when I cut you? And there’s fire, and there’s fire.”

The Stooges, and punk, and post-punk, were about tearing a hole in a lack of feeling, in malaise, in the unreal feeling – even if it meant cutting your own stomach up to make the hole. “And I stick it deep inside … ’cause I’m loose!” Loose like dreamy. Loose like all these personalities and they’re not quite connected. Try to rip the film off your eyes, claw or bomb your way out. “Somebody gotta save my soul! Baby detonate for me!”

I like people with dissociative disorder. They tend to be creative and suicidal, and while of course it’s sad that they want to die, there are benefits. Plain old depressed people spend a lot of time just depressed. But dissociative, suicidal people don’t spend a lot of time killing themselves … mostly they don’t kill themselves at all, or just once, after, say, 38 years in a row of not doing it, of doing a whole lot of other things entirely. On the whole, they’re an energetic people. They’re willing to put themselves in dangerous situations. Put others in ’em, too.

“Little stranger
I swear you’re gonna feel my hand.
I swear you’re gonna feel my hand.”

How does our generation feel? How does the ocean breeze kiss? Unfixedly. Universally. You’re nowhere, you’re everywhere.

Iggy closes his eyes, he closes his mind. This time he’s ready to feel her hand. And lose his heart on the burning sand. (“I Wanna Be Your Dog.”)

Iggy Pop was twenty years ahead of time (for a movement, a scene, I mean) in feeling so lost, bored, shaky, floating, daydreaming, zoning out – and in his use of drugs, travel, music, crime, and lots and lots of rough sex to try to snap out of it. Pain as charisma.

Your youth tells you, Don’t just accept the confusion, the gauze! Smash through dream walls with any dream taxi you can steal. “I am your crazy driver.” I wrote my whole book getting driven back into that time by Iggy Pop and The Stooges – of when I was having the dream all the time of waking up.


see also:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)

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