RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Tuesday, June 12

SONG OF THE DAY: Porter St.



A slew of Richmond memories and thoughts on creative processes after seeing Lamb of God on the Slayer farewell tour the other night. Much love to those dudes, all of whom have been homies in one way or another throughout adult life, including now. (Shout out to Gandalf-ass looking John Campbell, by the way; when we did haiku events in Richmond regularly, took him on in a battle of the beards haiku death match once. Shit was funny.)
I got a fellowship for later this year, as an “emerging writer” at age 45, so I’m trying to manifest and imagine actually doing my creative shit as a bigger part of my life, being it’s the only thing I actually have ever enjoyed doing for work, and it’s what I’m driven to do regardless of the world that’s been situated around me. Seeing some dudes you used to play Genesis with or go to dirt track with or just get fucked up (lolol) or traded zines or sat on porches, any of that shit, who have somehow had the skill and luck (it takes both) to get to a position where they’re doing their creative side as a job, it’s inspiring. I also imagine that shit gets tiring, and is like the monkey’s paw, and is never exactly what you expected it would be. Nonetheless, it beats sitting at a desk (like I do now) or standing on a ladder all day (like I used to do) or prep work in a kitchen (like most of them did).
Richmond is a weird scene – was back then and remains so to this day. When I was younger it was a very clear case of authentic people (aka the real) and inauthentic ones (fake asses), but also obviously when you are young, you are more militant and everything is figured out in sharp contrasts you gradually lose over time, or they seem less important, or I don’t know, you just get older and give less of a fuck.
But authenticity vs. fake, real recognizing real, becomes even more layered and important in post-gentrification realities of a place, like being seen in Richmond, like being seen in Charlottesville where I now live, like being seen in NYC or DC or Chicago or Istanbul or London or Bay Area or really every fucking where there is money on this Earth. Real and fake become more sedimented, so fake shit that’s been around long enough somehow seems less fake compared to the new very fake. This track by Tim Barry (another long-time RVA peep) “Porter St.” New goes up over new over new, and where it was old and cobbled together it becomes new and fuck man I don’t even recognize Richmond any more. Southside is now called Manchester and where there was a wasteland they act like it’s always been Scott’s Addition and there are now young and seemingly progressive white people scattered like Bullets wrappers used to be. Even got my daughter at her bff’s crib one time and it was in KNOWN DANGERZONE from my time there but now it is all nice bungalows and pretty chill though I am sure in fact absolutely certain I could still go a few blocks north and there’s no way they bleached that area clean.
Where does everybody go when they are no longer wanted? I mean they were never wanted, the wretched of the earth, but they were allowed to exist mostly because they (we?) overran certain areas in sheer numbers, and made it too much themselves (ourselves?) to be bothered with. But somewhere along the way of Amerikkkan culture, those with money started to bother, and now everything feels different, in a fake way. And the fake is so layered that fake shit from a while back feels more authentic.
Tim was singer for Avail, and I had mutuals who were tight with that whole scene, but I was never really tight with the RVA punk scene, because a lot of the guys that came into town the same time I did through VCU were very fake, on that fake vs. real scale. They also were cool within that scene, and punk scene at the time tended to reward coolness more than realness, or so it seemed to me as shitty rural Virginia kid with no money. Thus, as Tim Barry’s career has redefined itself from Avail singer to singer-songwriter guy, it sometimes amuses the fuck out of me that he has songs about shitholes I know very deeply like “South Hill” because those guys always seemed like Northern Virginia kids to me, which in case you are not aware is an automatic derogatory description of an RVA person if you are from anywhere in the state south or southwest or neglected or forgotten or never seen in the first place. But I do love some Tim Barry music when it hits right. His earlier stuff hits righter than more recent stuff, for me at least, but much like the Lamb of God boys, I’m always glad to see people I know find a way to exist in a creatively fulfilling way. I hope to add my name to some such a Richmond-related fucked-up artists Wikipedia page at some point as well.

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