The events of Monday last

On Monday I got a new bass. Since on Monday I already owned a beautiful Musicman Stingray, that would seem indulgent — though hardly uncharacteristic of a musician, “musician” being most helpfully defined not as someone who plays music but rather as a person who FUCKING CANNOT OWN ENOUGH MUSICAL EQUIPMENT — if you didn’t know that when I opened my Stingray’s case for practice on Monday evening I found an altogether different instrument than the one I’ve played for the last 2 years. That may be overstating it, but I did find that my sweet little guy (still talking about the Stingray) had a nob broken off and, more crucially, a cracked neck. I have no idea when or how the damage was levied — the bass could have self-inficted it as some sort of grand gesture that I have yet to understand. Over the course of a 1 hr. practice, it went out of tune — this is an instrument that usually goes weeks without even the slightest detune. I knew I had to act fast, while the crack was still small, so I blocked out my emotions, went straight to Guitar Center, and got $750 in trade toward a Fender P-Bass — not a bad deal given that my Stingray retails for $1300 new, without a broken neck. It pleased me — perhaps immorally — to note that, as I had hoped, the Guitar Center guy’s inspection was too circumspect to uncover any problems beyond the missing nob.
The thing is, now that the dust has settled and my hot young sunburst P-Bass has moved into my apartment, I kinda feel like shit. Did I betray that Stingray? I think I may have. One little nob falls off, one little crack appears in the neck, and I’m off trolling for a flawless young thing to replace her. She barely has time to adjust to the light of day — she’s been out of her case for 2 hours tops — and she finds herself being handed over bodily to some Guitar Center scumbag, her injured neck giving her trouble as she cranes to watch me saunter out the front door carrying some trim-waisted dye job with perfect skin. What have I done?
The fact is, that Stingray was on her way out. A cracked neck is not an easy repair; the prognosis called for steadily diminishing health. But an attachment forms, doesn’t it? Even though things outside ourselves attain value only insofar as we invest them with it, it’s possible that being human consists in doing exactly that — when we stop believing that the stuff around us has intrinsic worth, something separate from the esteem we assign it, then everything becomes really fucking stale, like when you’ve been playing a video game all afternoon and you put down the controller and think, “How stupid was that? I have to go outside now.” To form relationships with inert objects is to be human.
But to be a human musician is to want desperately, desperately to fuck Guitar Center. It is to want that with your entire mind, such that often it’s all you can think about. “Well, this is the point in the evening when I recount to all of you a few anectdotes that I think the groom would prefer died a quick, quiet death, not unlike the many whores he’s known in Tijuana, right Bobby? Ha ha. But listen, first let me tell you about my plan to finally stick it to those heartless bastards over at the Guitar Center.”
That Stingray gave her life that I might fuck those shiftless, heartless bastards over at the Guitar Center. Think kindly on her once in a while, won’t you?
[Apologies to readers who work at Guitar Center or have a 35 year old son who works at Guitar Center living in their basement. Guitar Center is not as bad as all that. I really like when they have “green tag savings extravaganzas” and, in particular, “monster savings extravaganzas”. The prices during these times are unreal.]

It's a well-established claim, and

It’s a well-established claim, and one frequently made, that we are scientists is the world’s greatest band. And we’ve always been happy to go along with it when a statesman or news anchor or a-list starlette starts in with her ardent (usually adulterous) assertions — because, really, we’ve always been at a loss for convincing alternates. Not any more. Not after last week. Not after being taken to school — lovingly, with great consideration and good grace and erotic charm, taken to school — by the 4-point constellation that is Bishop Allen. We’ll have photographic evidence up in the next couple of days, as well as a complete account of The Seven Days That Changed Everything And Left W.A.S. Lovestruck & Reeling.
New live tracks on the Songs page tonight.
Show this Saturday at the Knitting Factory.
Please, please say something bad about Bishop Allen so we can punch your fucking face.

Letter to Bush

The Science Diaries #4