1. I really, REALLY, like Doctor Who. I have a color-changing Doctor Who Fan Club Of America button on my bass strap; I’ve had that button since I was three or four years old, when I joined the DWFCA. I still have my membership card as well, although I don’t think it entitles me to anything anymore, since I haven’t paid my membership dues in about thirty years.
2. I really, REALLY, like my cat. Her name is Abby. I found her living on the street in Chicago, and the first night I had her she gave birth on my knee. We have a bit of a bond.
3. I really, REALLY, like The Kinks. When I’m feeling provocative I can be heard to suggest that Ray Davies is a better songwriter than Lennon or McCartney combined, and that the run of records from Face To Face through Muswell Hillbillies is the most solid run by any of the British Invasion bands.
4. I really, REALLY, like William Joel (you probably know him as Billy, but I don’t think that’s showing him the proper respect). His was nearly the only music that my mother and I could agree on when I was a kid (the number of times I was subjected to Marc Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis” must be prohibited on some level by the Geneva Convention). He made great records from Turnstiles – The Nylon Curtain, and An Innocent Man is about 63% great. After that, it was all a bit of a nonstarter, but I’d much rather listen to “Sleeping With The Television On” or “Zanzibar” than anything by, say, Queens Of The Stone Age. That’s just how I roll.
5. I really, REALLY, like Scharpling & Wurster. For the uninitiated, that’s Tom Scharpling (radio host, writer, video director, formerly one of the main show-runners on “Monk”) and Jon Wurster (the drummer for every band at the same time). They have been doing long-form, slow-burn, comedic conversations on Tom’s show The Best Show On WFMU for over thirteen years, not necessarily every Tuesday, but most Tuesdays. I’m not sure what the total running time would be of all of their conversations end-to-end, but I’ve listened to about 1,800 minutes of it in the last two years. It is gold. GOLD I TELL YOU.
6. I really, REALLY, like sweaters. When the inevitable happens, and the weather gets, ugh, HOT, I persist in wearing a cardigan until it practically becomes a health concern to so do. I don’t believe there’s anything as satisfying in this eternity than a brand new sweater.
7. I really, REALLY, like The Fall. Not the time of year, although yes, I really do (see above about the sweaters), and not the Albert Camus novel, in this instance I am referring to the band. Mark E Smith is a truly bizarre human being, a nexus point for intelligent righteous anger (directed against what it is not always easy to say), and the bands he assembles anew every few years are invariably past masters at boneheaded riffs and self-immolating repetition. I’ve never seen them live, and am resigned to the fact that I may never see them live, but I have listened to EVERYTHING. For interested parties, I would suggest beginning, as I did, with the 50,000 Fall
Fans Can’t Be Wrong compilation, and if that proves to be just not enough Fall, move on to Grotesque, the Slates EP, Hex Enduction Hour, Perverted By Language, The Wonderful And Frightening World Of, or The Real New Fall LP. Gold-plated genius.
8. I really, REALLY, like Pabst Blue Ribbon. I didn’t used to, until an ex-girlfriend berated me for not drinking to the point that I grew to love it. It’s cold, it’s tasty, it comes in the indispensible tall boy format (they even make a taller boy!). What else is there to know?
9. I really, REALLY, like movies. I don’t think there’s anything better than being alone in a cinema during the afternoon, hopefully only one or two other people in the room, at the start of a movie about which you know nothing other than that the parties involved are trustworthy (or that there is an interesting premise). If I had to pick a few favorites, I might throw out Bottle Rocket, Brazil, The Graduate, Irreversible, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, Husbands, Love & Death, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Pierrot Le Fou, Days Of Heaven, and Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai de commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. I did not make up that last film, it is a three-hour long, largely static film, with minimal dialogue and only one major character, in which almost nothing happens for an exceptionally long time. VERY SLOWLY. Bliss.
10. I really, REALLY, like Superchunk. They are a beloved band, but somehow still an underrated band, always better known for the fact that Laura & Mac started Merge Records than for the spectacularly high-quality string of releases they’ve put out for the last 25 years. My first Superchunk record was Foolish, my favorite is Come Pick Me Up, I think their best might be On The Mouth, and I’ll be seeing them in Calgary in about two weeks time. I once saw them in Chicago, when I had bruised one of my ribs, and, even though it hurt like hell, I pogoed and shouted along to every lyric; by the end of their set I had turned the bruised rib into a cracked one that took months to heal. AND I WOULD DO IT AGAIN.
11. I really, REALLY, like avocados. If I am unsure what to order at a restaurant, I look for the thing with avocados on it. For the last three weeks I have had a whole avocado for dinner every night, usually with a bit of hummus and slices of red pepper, and some Wheat Thins. I am not a vegetarian.
12. I really, REALLY, like moving. This is borne out by my history, having been born in Boulder, CO, lived in Seattle, WA, and then in Chicago, IL, and now in Saint Paul, MN. Chicago felt the most like home, but it’s also a tough city to live in. Saint Paul is a much easier place to live and enjoy, although it doesn’t really feel like home yet. Although, any place I keep my cat and my records is home as far as I’m concerned. If I were to move again, it would probably be to Vancouver. Or possibly somewhere in the UK (I’d move to England or Wales just for the television).
13. I really, REALLY, like records. Vinyl records. They are beautiful, precious objects, which one should not handle when quite drunk (as my mint copy of Randy Newman’s Little Criminals once found out to its cost). They are the right size for something containing music, the least tangible, but possibly the most affecting, of all art forms. MP3s aren’t real, CDs are a ludicrous medium, and although I do love cassette tapes, they break all the time. My record collection, with proper care, I consider to be some kind of inheritance for future generations of Bryants.
14. I really, REALLY, like neckties. I own about 100. And socks, I’ve got a few hundred of those, almost all of them argyle (although I’ve recently started branching out into striped, because I like to live dangerously).
15. I really, REALLY, like lists. And using ten interesting words when one boring word would do.