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Old News: Pop Culture Fiction

Old News: Pop Culture Fiction

by Philip Squires

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For the last few years, Dregs Marrow's life has followed a pattern: get far, experience collapse, start over, fail again. Now, the twenty-six-year-old seeks to build a band from scratch and is looking for like-minded people to join him in this venture in Portland, Oregon. After placing an ad online, Marrow meets with a variety of talents who espouse different


For the last few years, Dregs Marrow's life has followed a pattern: get far, experience collapse, start over, fail again. Now, the twenty-six-year-old seeks to build a band from scratch and is looking for like-minded people to join him in this venture in Portland, Oregon. After placing an ad online, Marrow meets with a variety of talents who espouse different philosophies about creativity and making music.

Spanning a year in Marrow's life as a struggling musician, Old News focuses on musical aspirations, social paradigms, mental lapses and breakthroughs, current affairs, the dichotomy of personal motivations, and creative thinking.

This novella provides insight into Marrow's most inner thoughts and emotions while providing a glimpse into the music world, how music is made, and the expression of art. Old News narrates a story of perceptions in the creation of music-it is conceivable by hard work, an open mind, fearlessness of failure, and practice.

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iUniverse, Incorporated
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5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.38(d)

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Old News

Pop Culture Fiction
By Philip Squires

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Philip Squires
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-1433-7

Chapter One

"The last band I was in was called Rostrum. We had a sound that was in the mists of grunge meeting culture, or in simpler terms, loud sound masqued by time and tempo changes. I have been playing guitar and singing about seven years now." Ashing my cigarette would be easier if I had longer arms. Walking with this guy, he doesn't know what he is talking about. He feels he doesn't need samples to offer examples. That makes zero sense to me, these days most who claim to have talent cannot be taken on their word, and I am afraid I follow that train of thought with this guy.

"So what are your top five albums Tim?" A question to gauge his type of musical concerns.

"Well, I guess I would say I have a top five in bands, not really albums. I would say albums tell a better story than the band that made them, in terms of marketable music. I would like to be different on every song I make; I think that is more profitable to a wider range of a demographic." Tim says.

This complicates me, "You feel that once a band makes an album that they stay in the cannon for the rest of their careers, they don't mature and make their weakness a strength?" Without giving him time to answer, "You don't want to know how they make their creative mantras come alive through the different stages of their lives?"

"Yea I do, I feel that they find something that speaks to them and they continue to meet those markers. The facets that led them to the sound that influenced them. I don't think they have a clue until they start playing together." Tim says this while looking towards the curb as we sit down for coffee drinking.

His words belong in the gutter.

"Well, I have a problem with that statement because I feel artistry and creative balance need to experiment beyond the realms of safety, therefore, giving new perspectives towards the creative process, while allowing the artist to catalogue what works and what doesn't. They simply do not come up with it on the spot, sparingly yes, but most often they have jotted ideas down to expand on."

"That's a good point, I guess I feel if you have the talent than it will always be there, and whatever you do, it comes out right." Tim tries to keep his leg still, but his constant leg shifting shows odd anxiety.

"Sorry Tim, to me, that is not how it works, it's a battle from routine to inspiration everyday, and that battle is sometimes lost everyday to multitudes of people. So, when you see something that makes you feel anything; that inspiration has started to soak your skin. In which, that moment was not forced upon you."

I am ready to leave this meeting.

"It was nice meeting you Tim, once you get samples down for advertisement, I would like to work with you."

"Right on, take care, Dregs."

"You too, Tim."

In terms of musical framing, that guy seemed to have less of an idea, than those from the Midwest. The frame showing how creating sounds for any group comes to be a influential band. Portland, thus far, has not been critical in its progress. That meeting seemed he was left behind in the artistic freedom department, when he was made. To think that hit songs make the band now is just crazy; I feel singles from albums only show the marketing side of album research, and not in how the way that first or second album was created. It would be nice to hear the first song recorded on new albums, with that first song being the single released by the recording label. I think that would show the timeline of the album's creation, which a lot more people are interested in. The followers of artist's want to feel how the passion was put onto the page, and how it was recorded. The artist decides what goes where; but the listener would have to have some interest in the art themselves, and not the product that is sold. That concept is lost on most I talk with.

The pink doughnut boxes seem to be from the establishment of Voodoo Donuts. Diabetes runs in my family, but I like the tooth that is mostly sweet. One glance into the case of bakers delight, I see the Challenger. The logistics that go into this belly cement of dough would be a list of ingredients. Coincidently, I do not know these ingredients outside of the finished product. I will try to paint a picture. The size is the most notable aspect of the Challenger. If a professional football was to be de-inflated, then that would give you the base of the Challenger. The rows of dressing: maple syrup, chocolate (dark mostly, mostly in the dark way you would feel full), caramel, raspberry swirls, angel cream filling (that is as white as most people are in the face who try to dominate the challenger). The cost is free if you eat the 20lb baker's challenger, in a certain amount of time.

I took a while to decide if I wanted to fight for my meal, but I just asked for one of the raspberry filled-glazed doughnuts. I have to pay cash, because this locally owned store does not want the extra credit charge for its usual purchases between three to five dollars, costing them an extra $.60 cents per transaction.

I have found cash-only signs to be popular in the independently-owned businesses. They would not exist if their system were anything less convenient for their customer. The small business has to make changes that are less convenient to the customer, while still providing a stable business for its customers. The little issue of non-plastic transactions is nothing that keeps me awake. More power to those who own and operate a successful store in their local community.

There must be hundreds of thousands locally owned stores here, starting from the corner grocery mart, to the independent music stores. With the prices being a bit more at the local stores, I feel like I am giving to the community in a trade for them being stable in town, a different patron/merchant mentality. In comparison, the music stores are about four dollars more than the online/chain stores for newly released albums. While you purchase the album in a physical store location you get to keep the inside booklets; that quality is left to the artist. Most of the lyrical books, and art/photos of the band itself are a sentimental profit that serves as a whole product.

The everyday music spot provides an excellent escape being that it's five blocks from my place and right across the street from the Crystal Ballroom. The Ballroom is the best venue in town, and the floor is on a rubber inflatable foundation that stretches the whole second floor of the building. It creates some fine standing ground for the band that is making it uneasy to stand in one spot. If I could open for a band here, I would be on the right path, but I stand outside of the venue everyday.

I should grab a beer inside the bar, and see if any one person is having a qualified bad day, or a slow day to be exact. I find fewer walls are up in stranger-to-stranger conversations. The attitude shows the courage, and moral fiber when one is down; to see what they say to pick themselves up for tomorrow, or how adversity creates situations for us. Be positive in those. People are proactive to complain when something has been taken away. Figure out how to get it back.

Just the forty-year-old crowd is on the clock today; it seems I picked a bad afternoon to have a beer. If they were in a bad mood, I would not want to hear it because I am learning myself. I have things to prove, and time to do it, where they usually do not. I could be surprised.

Other than face-to-face questions of band inquiries, I use online vehicles for advertising. This damn website is giving me people to meet, but the responses I get have been rubbish to hideous. I keep responding to anyone who responds to my band ad, and I feel I describe what I want very clear. If you do not have a sample, do not respond, and I am just going to be the singer or guitarist in the next rehearsal. No more waiting for progression from anyone else trying to farm creation. "Dude-man" Tim didn't even have any equipment, which is what I asked for in the ad. I know how I feel most days, and I know how to explain it. All I ask is that they are ready to jam that day, if need be.

Another meeting, through the medium of Craig's List, has given me another dead road in the timeline of my bands' beginning. It is a good thing my apartment is across the street from a bar that keeps Pabst Blue Ribbon in pounders for $1.50. Cheap beer for cheap encounters, I will have a foreign beer when I sit down with the progressive people. The studio apartment of mine really has to have some tapestries to cover the psychiatric ward feeling that is bleeding off the walls, and into the senses of my body. The studio apartment is small, which I can bear, but the color makes me want to have pads on the walls, mainly so I can throw myself at them until something new has been made from me. The new me would not be me; therefore I would throw myself at these walls until my life has no walls of living around them. I see South Dakota's frost is already there. The sun, and Vitamin D, is out my window this fall I'm glad I am out here in Portland, Oregon. The weather changes every ten minutes, so I just wait if I do not like what is outside.

Craig's List ad: I am trying to get a band together that is rock influenced but the sound will be determined once we all get together and create the sounds ourselves. I am looking for singer, a bassist, and a drummer. Must have own equipment, and transport is not a problem, have thought on artistry and a place to practice ... If you are interested in forming something completely from scratch than let me know, I have some years of band practice little in theory, and would like to start ASAP Let me know if this sparks any interest, email me back and we can go from there. And I am 26, the ideal line up would be those in the 20-29 age bracket. Take care.

Chapter Two

The dream of my love returns.

"I need the blanket to be bigger than the bed."

"Why?" she said.

"I sleep with a fraction of the blanket in between my knees, so I don't have to feel my muscles rub together all night, and it prevents me from rubbing my muscle on you when you least expect it."

She always surprises me, when I say things that are too forward. "I may want that at anytime, I'll have you know, that is not your decision."

"Fine darling, we will just make a bigger sheet, when the lamb's wool has been shaved for the season. I don't have any goose feather stuffing left over either."

She contemplates what she has in stock in the shed outside on the north field, and rolls over to face me, her lover.

"At least we won't have to have two separate covers, and now we always will feel mornings' dew on one another." She says to me.

While I look into her shimmering blue eyes, the lighting and thunder continue their dance outside, on this cold rainy night.

"I may reconsider then. I can speak firmly from the episodes I want to show you, after I make my special stew."

"My timeless love, I feel at home with you."

With a straight face she simply says back, "See you in another light, for now you have to go."

Those dreams leave me with a cold disdain, and a warm refrain, I make movement to continue this new day. My body is left acking, while my mind flows faster than the river Thames. Stomach quake, followed by a nauseated first person's viewpoint, my view is blurry twenty-two feet from the door. I cannot remember when I knew her. We lived, and loved, through each other. Her dark cherry-black hair, with a face whiter than the full moon in winter. She had hands that would solve life's disasters, and a smile that could make you run faster, and faster, for her. Some place she stays, where the seasons never change.

I have these dreams every once in a while, and after so many years, I have figured out that she doesn't live here anymore. That was the stipulation, (before I took my duffle bag, and left the pearly gates, through the front door) they said we would not be aligned for another thousand years. I have only my dreams to remind me of who I should be looking for. I have only written this about her:

You said you made me a woman.
I kept asking before I fell asleep.
You were gonna have us meet,
And, now I think I know her.

I prayed for her when I was twelve.
I've never known who I was after.
I wanted to get over searching,
I have left it an open meeting.

I want her to grab my flow,
When the objective is to glow.
She'll hold on to my mojo.
She'll read me like a hero.

The tonic by the bedpost,
Has been my substitute.
When I leave the schedule closed,
I have forgotten my orginal request.

Please get my love host.
She is no longer sleeping close.
I can't invent her standing,
The girl that is cunnning.

I apply these limits too cleany.
I have not been one to judge easy.
I misplaced a certain introduction.
Admmitingly, to you, shes the ruby lady,
Too me, she is my one and only.

I have thought about different ways to write her expression out. She always had a quip that could bring rain for any drought. I'm tired of not seeing her in other girls who I meet; I'm tired of not smelling her when I turn the corner. All I see are lilacs growing near. It was told to me before I left too early, that I would not see her down here, so why do I settle on someone who is a question mark? Do I talk to the next girl that I trade smiles with, or more appropriately, do I just randomly spark conversation at the bus stop, because no girls trade smiles with me.

Although, I do have a great pick up conversation. While driving my car around I will notice a lovely lady standing in the shelter of a bus enclosure. She will be standing under shelter, through the rainstorm, and I will join her. I will park my car about a block behind her, and I walk up to her, while standing under the bus roof shelter. I'll ask for a light to my cigarette, and when she will say she does not have one. I could say she might not be anyone I should know, but I will comment on her green fabric coat, and ask her, "Is it warm enough for you?"

She will reply, "Yes, on most days, but when I feel down, nothing can comfortably warm her. Not even a green military jacket."

I'll add, "I can relate," and tell her, "She has the brightness of a million magnetic high-speed trains."

"Thank you," she will replay and I will look away.

I'll then ask if she is tired of waiting for the city bus, she will agree to that frame of mind. I will tell her, "I have a car parked behind her, and if she wants a ride that would be fine for me."

She will never ask why I came to talk to her, I shall never see her again after that initial night. She will not leave me any information. I'll again start out a week, without warning. What a great scenario.

Chapter Three

Dan's rehearsal space is a camp for a new band's nutrition. I'm happy to know that other musicians, whom have tried to make a career out of their musical talents, can approach the money-making side of music by finding old office buildings to rent out for music rehearsal. That seems like making lemonade out of lemons. The only other time I have hung out there was being the hand-me down to other musicians. The group I tried to sing for gave me contacts to ex-military musicians. The military part does not bother me, but I cannot be creative with someone, or others, if I haven't gone through a relative rigorous experience. With that being said, I dislike the 30-year-old dirt bands that want to make a career out of the industry.

In turn, I was substituted in for this group. I'm not bothered by people living out their dreams, but I do feel dream opportunities can pass by before the person will have realized that's what they wanted to be ten years ago. Mainly, I have time to spend towards this goal, and I need others in a similar mindset; not passive musicians, but dedicated practitioners for the communal goal. Tomorrow, I might as well search online and look for certain words that pertain to motivation. To those people I reply:

Hey, man! My name is Dregs, I am 26, I saw your ad about wanting to jam and play with other guitarists, and bassists. Your ad I can relate to, but I was wondering if you want to practice and play shows, after the roster is filled? Mainly, I am looking for like-minded people who want to build a band from scratch, and who have a working foundation to get things accomplished. I play guitar, sing, have own equipment, PA, amp, transportation, and a place to jam that charges 10 dollars and hour, or twenty for 3 hours. My number is at the bottom of this email, give me a call and we can talk about mutual interests. Peace, Dregs.


Excerpted from Old News by Philip Squires Copyright © 2012 by Philip Squires. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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