Over the course of the past year and a half, talk has increasingly turned to the fact that secret_malady
and myself have rapidly outgrown the snoozeworthy confines of Lawrence, KS. I could probably pound out volumes of perceived grievances I harbor against this humble community (anyone who reads this journal regularly has probably grown weary of my unending rants on this subject), but I'll simplify the matter by chalking it all up to ego: The Program, as it stands, has gradually become TOO COOL for Douglas County. As a result, we've decided to seek greener pastures.
The initial plan involved moving to Chicago, which has always been a lifelong dream of mine... great food, great music, fashionable locals, and reliable public transit are all high-scorers in the Book of Manilow. Unfortunately, cold weather does not, and the extended freeze mother nature delivers to the Windy City each year is enough to negate any delusions of livabilty Chicago may harbor for me... As much as I love the town (and I mean LOVE with a capital L-O-V-E), I think life would be much easier if Chicago remained a Recreation Destination in the warm weather months and a nightmare to avoid in the winter.
Other places we discussed: Portland (doesn't everyone?), North Carolina, Tokyo, Spain, Mars, and Narnia. But one place kept coming up over and over again: Austin, Texas. Kelly, having spent some of her favorite years as a resident, has always been a proud champion of this idea... But as much as Austin appeals to me, and as much fun as I have when we visit, I must admit to a fair amount of hesitation on my part.
For starters, it gets so hot down there that no one can be comfortably fashionable, and I fear being devoured in a sea of flip-flops and sawed-off sweatpants. Will Austin hipsters sneer at my pretension because I dare to sport a dinner jacket at the neighborhood bar? Honestly, I don't really care-- the less class an immediately surrounding populace displays, the more I stand out, and I've never had an aversion to being the coolest motherfucker in the room.
I think the music scene would be a much larger problem for me. Austin has always struck me as a real Blues Hammer kind of town, a presumption I've based on the following facts:
1)There is an obscene amount of Stevie Ray Vaughan worship emanating from that town.
2) A vast majority of the shitty bar-rock bands that play at the Jackpot come from Austin, so many in fact that I'm often convinced that no other forms of music can exist down there.
But here's some easy reassurance: Legendary rockabilly satanists The Flametrick Subs live in Austin and perform monthly at Beerland, a sideshow-themed bar and grill. Not to mention the fact that two of my all time favorite bands, Scratch Acid and The 13th Floor Elevators, are from the same area (and neither one of them sounded like Stevie Ray Vaughan).
Other things that tempt me in Austin:
An abundance of quality record stores.
Free midnight exploitation films at the Alamo Drafthouse.
A couple of really sleazy vintage furniture stores.
Vegetarian-friendly restaurants as far as the eye can see.
Also, Kelly's folks live in Fort Worth, and my daughter is moving to New Mexico, so we'll always be within driving distance of close family should any sort of emergency arise.
Keeping these things in mind, I have concocted a (speculative) TWO YEAR PLAN TO LEAVE LAWRENCE:
*Move into a cheaper house so that my monthly expenses aren't so out-of-control.
*Fall back on my old career as pharmaceutical lab rat to raise fast money-- Use this money to get my license renewed and buy a van.
*Stick with my current job at Blue Collar Press long enough to get health insurance-- use the insurance to fix my teeth, my toes, and get this mysterious lump removed form my arm.
*Build up The Spook Lights until we can easily keep the band going in a new town (this can be accomplished by playing several shows in the area and trying to build a reputation with the right crowd)... Also, in addition to the 10" we are releasing this summer, I'd like to produce a full length album to have on the market before we move.
*Finish both movies I'm working on right now... Austin has a vibrant underground film scene, and it it would be nice if I had the means to get my foot through the door.
* Have at least ten thousand dollars in the bank before moving so I can live comfortably without working until I've become familiar with my new environment. Once again, medical studies come into play-- and, oddly enough, Austin is home to Pharmico, the largest research facility in the US. Looks like that guinea pig experience might work in my favor, after all!!!
All of this is still pretty hypothetical. Any one else out there have any Austin stories you'd
like to share?