How to Wreck a Nice Beach

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Something To That Effect

From The Bathroom Wall Of Madeleine L’Engle’s Ghost

By Dave Tompkins at 9:40pm ET

This special robots-only issue of Rocktober was recently declassified from a stack of magazines at my place. Along with: The Source (Nov. 1994, Redman cover, knot of tissue, right nostril); issue of Time with Nabokov on cover (Artifice, acrostics, lepidoptera, two jackhammer operators falling in love) ; Mad (with Don Martin’s utterly essential Super Hero Sound Effects); Rap Pages (Goodie Mob emerging from a swamp in Georgia, much to the surprise of the local snake-leech-stoat-wild boar community), Military History (JFK, on phone, clutching his imploding forehead during Cuban Missile Crisis, next to the headline: WORSE THAN WE KNEW); New Yorker with the George Saunders story about the woman who answers the door with a dirty sock feeding on her shoulder; ITT newsletter with Nixon’s future science adviser, Ed David, talking about how vocoders will bring us closer to the robot (run, robot, run!); Famous Monsters of Filmland (Frogs!); the Life hip-hop issue with Bambaataa, Fab Five Freddy, DXT etc. (kidding! I scissored that thing to death and taped the pictures on the wall as consolation after getting cut from the basketball team in seventh grade); a diagram of a Kraftwerk show rendered on graph paper by Pete Relic; Christian Science Monitor (“Talking Soapsuds on the Air? Blame It On the Sonovox,” Sept. 2, 1941); DE:BUG (issue with feature on HTWANB, as well as the world’s most extensive collection of artificial voice toys, in German); every ego trip; no Blazes; one One Nut Network; postcard from Funkenklein addressed to the offices of Delicious Vinyl (“Coolin’ in Tokyo with the Jungle Bros”); Famous Monsters of Filmland (The Green Slime!); issue of Urb where they let me write about how one could store their entire record collection in the back-leg of a cockroach after the apocalypse; email from former Spin editor Simon Reynolds saying my double review of Ui/Kriedler was frolicking in too much jive; a promo one-sheet of T La Rock’s “Back To Burn” 12 that includes Sleeping Bag records’ cute koala logo (which, along with “When the Levee Breaks,” I listened to, on Walkman while on the bus heading to “states” in Asheville, NC, where my high school basketball team lost, though I take no responsibility, pine-riding in a pair of Worthy Expresses); a laminated Tommy Boy press release from Sept. 1983 (includes photo with caption “Whiz Kid and wife Betty discuss the merits of Linn Drum vs. Dr. Click beat box during a break in the mixing session”); Tuba Frenzy (with my “Stabbing In Words” story that borrowed a still from Peter Weir’s The Cars That Ate Paris), a vaguely legible photocopy of the fax of Reginald Dennis’ letter of resignation to Source publisher Davie Mays, concerning abovementioned Redman issue that contained a certain feature on the Almighty RSO that had been indelicately forced into the magazine, thus burping the layout, which, according to one crackpot theory (mine) resulted in a byline casualty (also mine), as a review of Da Youngsta’s third(?) album went unattributed, leading me to believe that the Almighty RSO had sabotaged my Source debut, a beef wisely pocketed during my interview conducted with RSO’s Ray Benzino, late one night at the Source offices, when we discussed the murder of Paul “C” McKasty.

It’s cool. I wrote my name in there anyway.

And finally, at the bottom where the bass blooms, something my mom copied off Madeleine L’ Engle’s bathroom wall (Tesseract, hi), which I was going to read at my brother’s funeral, but opted instead for “Where 2 O’ Clock Came From,” a poem by Kenneth Patchen, because, really, check how that old dragon couple “quick-tailed the sky down” while some unidentified creatures—thinking woodland here, in spats, but it’s your call—upset a table, also presumably falling from the sky, and merrily stuck their faces inside a clock while deciding what time it is. All at once. Their clock. Their call.

“I believe:
that imagination is stronger than knowledge
that myth is more potent than history
that dreams are more powerful than facts
that hope always triumphs over experience
that laughter is the only cure for grief
and that love is stronger than death.”

Additional cure for grief: dub version of Fantasy Three “It’s Your Rock”

How ghost it?

It ghosts.


  1. The annotated reading list is like letting us rifle through your desk; very satisfying. The six-point creed at the end … beautiful.

    Comment by Wendy Livingston — October 29, 2011 @ 2:30pm
  2. A big thank you for your article post. Much obliged.

    Comment by Brody Islam — February 7, 2012 @ 6:33am

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