"Elias Nebula is practicing Japanese but no one knows."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I ran into Keith from the No Neck Blues Band the other day in the Village. I had some copies of The Kirby Collector magazine in my hands at the time and he looked disdainfully at me and said "Is that what you're reading these days?"
My lips reared back from my gums in a defiant sneer and I drawled "Who don't like Jack Kirby? Show me that man. Let him come among us and state his case if he dare."

I asked Keith what he'd been doing lately. He'd been acting in Eugene O'Neill he says.
"Fiddle-de-dee," says I.
The band he said was sifting through old tapes of live shows, of which they had thousands of hours.
"Like the Dead." I mused dreamily. "Like Pearl Jam."
Keith said, "I prefer the comparison to the Dead."

We were talking about the interview I'd done with the No Neck Blues Band in 2003. I said, "Yeah we should do an update. A twentieth anniversary Where are they now?"
Keith goes, Yeah, it must of been a good ten years by now.
I shot back, shrilly, "Nine years. It was nine years. It's been nine years."
I am very prickly about matters of time -- every year an indictment.

On the subject of dwindling self-expectations, we spoke a bit about David Foster Wallace who was after all the sujet du jour nine years ago. Keith said he'd summoned up a bit of interest in DFW after DFW's suicide. "Like it legitimized his mewling about despair and sorrowfulness," I chuckled. Keith prevaricated a bit then admitted it. "Like reading Sylvia Plath."
I said I'd read The Pale King twice (happily I got paid by the hour for my trouble) and I was quite content to leave the poor man buried and not to bother his soul further after that last ejaculation.

So as we were parting ways, Keith goes, "So are you writing anything now?"

Before I could mumble something, eyes averted, about a vast systems novel in progress lo these many years, he corrected himself thus: "Are you writing a blog?"

As soon as he said it we both had a queasy sense of deja-vu, only compounded as I tediously spelt out ("spat out") the name ELIAS NEBULA.

"Oh yessss," Keith said. (Anagnorisis.) "I remember now. I tried looking it up. It was impenetrable."
"Impenetrable?" I rejoined, sharply. "You're calling me impenetrable? Have you listened to your group's records lately?!"

This is of course the tragedy of the avant-garde in the twenty-first century.
Infighting, and the regrettable conquest of the mid-cult.

AFTERWORD: I remembered, I urged Keith to look at this site and to leave a comment to prove he had done so. Curious readers will note that no such comment has been left. "Curious readers" may have "noted," in fact, that nary a comment has been left since Mark Balelo (an occasional character on the show Storage Wars) wrote his famous "cease and desist" note to this correspondent after I called him a nouveau-riche half-wit with all the grace and intuition of a guinea-fowl some time in the balmy days of last year. Is Mark Balelo really more committed to the life of the mind -- the project of die kunstkulturwelt -- than Keith from the No Neck Blues Band? It appears he is.

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