Hands Off, She’s Mine

The editor of an as-yet-unpublished local lit magazine called me last week:

“Dude, do you have any story ideas?”

Sure, I’d love to contribute.

“No, no, I mean like we just want you to come up with ideas so we can give them to our writers. I don’t think your style would work with what we’re doing here.”

Thanks. Don’t look for me in any upcoming issues of The Noble St. Review, but do look for me elsewhere doing things like. . .

. . . writing nostalgically about Counting Crows, critically about crummy punk bands, in praise of the excellent Nicole Atkins record, and nonsensically about why British bands in America are doomed

. . . thinking a little too deeply about power ballads and why it’s a terrible fate to be worse than Dream Theater

. . . and pontificating on the metaphorical chess game of life.

That last piece, as some of you may have noticed, formed the basis of what I read last week at No Touching After Dark. Thanks to anyone who ended up here by way of there, and thanks you all as always for reading.

– Reilly

Distortion and Cake

Sometimes it’s fun to talk about the promise of urban renewal. Other times, it’s a more compelling use of time to take a look back at a so-so year in loud music or get a break in the British music press.

Which are all well and good, except for those days where you just want to wish a boyhood hero a happy 41st.

Also, for those of you in the city of Chicago, a long-form story of mine about chess, fireworks and suburban youth will be in the upcoming “home” issue of No Touching, which should hit a smattering of independent and fringe bookstores around the city the 28th of this month. Thank you as always for reading.

– AR

Christmas Eve Eve Eve [Chicago, 12/22]

A friend of mine discussing the mystery of Christmas shopping:

“This whole thing makes no sense. Jesus was born, now go buy stuff for people you see once a year. I don’t get it.”

Couldn’t put it better myself, but to honor J.C.’s birthday, turn to page 52 of this week’s Chicago edition of The Onion or keep reading to follow all kinds of other important business like…

…the best show on television. Ever.

…how a journeyman middle reliever and the supervillain of Shankfest 2007 have managed to turn only-in-the-movies things like criminal drug possession and cheating at professional sports into irreparably boring concepts.

…the discussion no one’s having about the recently-departed Quiet Riot frontman

…the soul of lower Michigan

…and, a month later, Thanksgiving. The holiday is passed but the sticking points are, in all likelihood, eternal.

That’s that for now. Talk to you soon, and thank you as always for reading.

‘Tis the Season

Yesterday in Chicago the temperature reached a so-called “high” of 12 degrees, the US dollar reached lows it hasn’t hit in years, oil hit a record high and people are still dying in wars on foreign soil. And despite all that, my fellow Americans were still able to dig deep within their hearts and souls to find the will and the fortitude to go to the mall at 5 a.m.

Let us now give thanks and reflect on the true meaning of the holidays:

From The Onion A.V. Club: Tips for Surviving Office Holiday Parties

From The Onion A.V. Club: Holiday Event Mixlist

From Metal Heavy: Retrospective: Dead Winter Dead / Christmas Eve & Other Stories

And, in case you were wondering, I didn’t go to either of them. Some decisions are just too painful to make.

They Say the Neon Lights Are Bright…

Last night at the Jewel/Osco in my neighborhood, a man stole an old woman’s purse out of her shopping cart as she waited in the checkout line. She started yelling, we customers looked at each other for a minute and, as soon as it became apparent no one else was going to do anything about it, I took off after him. A security guard and I chased the guy for a few blocks but, having a much better knowledge of how the alleys and gangways around here are laid out, he slipped away before the cops showed up.

Back at the store, we learned that as he was trying to fish the good stuff out of it, he dropped the purse near the exit – with the wallet still inside. The woman had lost nothing. “That never happens,” one of the lot guards told me. “It’s a miracle.”

Miracle might be a bit extreme, but perhaps things do work out sometimes. Or perhaps the world isn’t such a bad place after all when I am free to chase cowards through the streets and go home to write about music.

From Reservoir Magazine: Nil Rethinking
From Metal Heavy: Album Review: Skindred, Roots Rock Riot
From Metal Heavy: Album Review: Nightwish, Dark Passion Play

Oh, and the Sox are going to get Alex Rodriguez, but not for any of the right reasons. So sayeth I.