I know we've skirted around the issue for a while here at the Ragged Blog, but its time to own up. The phones are ringing and everyone wants to know; where does Ragged Claws go to find inspiration? What is it that drives you? What angers you? What's your message? I'm going to keep the media guessing on the other three and focus on the third question right now. I got off work today around 5 pm and have to return for a work meeting at 10. No, no, its nothing like that. I work at a restaurant that sells soup. Soup, and nothing else. It's called the soupbox. You should stop by some time. Really, its a ton of fun.
Speaking of things that drive me to drink, I've spent the past 3 hours wandering around one of Chicago's many thinly veiled wastelands known as Lakeview East. From the last few hours, I've compiled a list of things that frustrate me. They don't just erk me, or annoy me. They strike me as evil. Not the evil that we like to block out of our heads and pretend doesn't exist. I'm talking about the evil that is so sly and swift that it creeps into our lives and convinces us that things are actually pretty great and we should look on the bright side, while it silently sucks out our souls and eventually shapes our way of life. Let me explain a little;
The Chicago Transit Authority: I only have $1.50 in my pocket and need to get to work. I'm forced to go take out money from an ATM (the cta doesn't take cards), buy something from the gas station (the cta doesn't give change) and then pay 2.25 to ride 3 miles on a train that is running late (the cta is horribly unreliable). The technology to offer unlimited passes everywhere and purchasable with a credit card was invented at least 20 years ago. The cta chooses not to use it because they make more money this way. Thanks for lookin' out, Chicago. I appreciate it.
Small Businesses that make me feel guilty: That's wonderful that you are privately owned. However, nobody's dog needs organic home-made baked goods. Sustainable living is not sustainable if it doubles the cost of something most people don't want and can't afford anyway. Finally, I think I can live a full and healthy life, having never consumed wheat grass, but thanks for the tip.
Clothing Store Parties: This is an oxymoron. Unabashed materialism and eerily soft t-shirts and jeans that cost $100 just because of some crooked/urban-ish/graffiti-esque logo are no cause for celebration. Never.
Citibank Student Loans: Citibank calls me more than any of my friends or family members. Nobody who loaned $17,000 to a college-age future-alcoholic music major should expect payment or any of my respect. $25 million dollars from tax-payers and I can't get one late-fee taken away. Have you no shame, Citigroup?
Taxing my vices: The cigarette tax has now expanded to include tobacco as well. This means that a pouch of rolling tobacco cost $4.50 yesterday at the 7eleven by my work and today it cost $8.50. I know its just cigarettes, but it elicited a deep sigh of resignation on my part as I coughed up the money.
The third world: It's there. So are all these things. [dissonance]
These are just little things, but I can't shake the feeling sometimes that I just don't meld with the city I'm living in. I don't really want to start an argument with business owners about the merits of their products or start bombing banks, so instead I channel my frustration through songs and words. It seems a little childish sometimes. Anyway, here's a little song I recorded on the little talk-back mic on my laptop. It's not as ironic as it sounds.
p.s. While I was working one day a bum walked into the soupbox and asked if I wanted to buy a homemade banjo for 3 dollars. I said yes. It was half a coconut on a stick with a bunch of wires tied to it that more or less twanged when you hit them. I don't know if he actually made it, but it seemed fated. Anyhow, that's what comes in at the end of this song. I just cranked up some phony distortion on the track.