Travel Soundtracks: Self-Reflection in Perpetual Motion


Last year I found myself on, I believe, 12 long-haul flights and 16 shorter flights. That’s pretty standard for me. There are those who do more and plenty who do less. One of the things I hear from the latter is “damn, that’s a lot.” I guess, but when you get used to it it’s not quite as daunting as it sounds.

There is a flow to it. A rhythm. Dealing with airports, planes, trains, hotels, even packing, there is a method to go about experiencing the journey or preparing for the journey which, when finally discovered, makes travel much easier. Routines, pastimes, and activities, are woven into a coping strategy. Listening to music, as for many others, is part of my strategy but it’s not just any music that will do. As I have discovered in conversation with other frequent travelers, there is a soundtrack that is better suited to given travel circumstances matching the personality listening to it. Playlists are carefully curated and artists sometimes agonizingly debated regarding appropriateness for situational harmony. I am one of the many frequent travelers who have learned that just hitting play on anything I may like is not conducive to improving the conditions. It’s not about distraction. It’s not about blunt entertainment. It’s about fitting the scenario. It’s about being useful. What keeps my pace? What calms my nerves?  What sharpens focus? What allows for patience? Continue reading


Salt Lake City Road Trip – PART II

I have heard that parts of Idaho can be pretty epic. Not this stretch. Even passing through Boise there was nothing. No canyons, pretty fields, city views or potatoey things.  I stopped in Burley for gas and a late lunch where I discovered I can pump my own gas like a real grown up! Fuck you again, Oregon. Little Ceaser’s was most convenient for food…oh well. Either that or gas station wings. Roll with the road-trip culinary punches, I guess.  Continue reading

Salt Lake City Road Trip – PART I

The first time I heard King Diamond’s brilliant concept album Abigail (early ’88, though it was released in ’87) I thought “it would be cool if he played the whole album live!” Then with his horror themes and Satanic camp aesthetic I thought “King Diamond performing a Halloween show would be rad!”

What can I say? I was 13. I had simple dreams.

King Diamond 2015 tour tickets went on sale a few months ago. No Seattle. No Vancouver. Certainly no Portland. But he was going to be in Salt Lake City…on Halloween …performing Abigail…in its entirety. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities (or…Don’t Throw the Panties)

Portland. I live here. I hate it.

It has its charms and its moments, but there are plenty of reasons this city doesn’t sit well with me. Trumping all other grievances is one hell of a subcultural disconnect. I’m not represented here in a meaningful way. I think I prefer London. Surprised? Me too. London offered me something I miss almost more than anything at the moment (I’d say it’s second on the list). That city, that sewer of a noisescape and vacuum of value and standards, managed to resurrect my love of music and bring me back to a place of fandom I had not experienced since I was a kid. Whether it was Continue reading