Schnipper’s Slept On

October 07, 2009

Each Tuesday (Wednesday Special!), FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated recent release he thinks we need to know about. This week it’s The Horrors’ Primary Colours LP. Watch the video for "Sea Within a Sea," buy the record and read Schnipper’s thoughts on it after the jump.

Some anecdotes about my recent trip to San Francisco, my third this year, to see my wonderful friends Jacob and Leah get married:

The day I leave, I stop into Tartine, an incredible bakery I visit every day every time I am in San Francisco, to buy some banana bread for my red eye flight. I notice a girl in line ahead of me: tortoise shell glasses, tight jeans, blue blazer, long brown hair. She looks tidy, classically fashionable and out of place—a very New York girl in a city ensconced in billowing fabric and bright, mismatched colors. I’m surprised but pleased that there’s a girl like her in San Francisco, she’s such an anomaly. Except later that night at the airport I see her sitting at my flight’s gate, waiting to go back to New York.

Waiting outside of a weird art opening in a tiny room to have dinner with my friend Justin, his ex-girl and her boyfriend, he turns around and aggressively asks a small circle of people gathered on the sidewalk, “Who touched my butt? Who touched my butt?” I am unsure if he knows them, if he is joking. They are startled though, and deny touching his butt. His motive then becomes clear: someone has stolen his wallet from his back pocket, brushing up against him before reaching in and grabbing. The wallet is never recovered, and he says the greatest loss is a membership card into a secret marijuana society. Closing his bank account is easy.

The wedding itself took place outside in the Presidio, just beside a log cabin in the dusk. They married under a “non-denominational” hupa, crafted by Leah’s grandmother, held aloft by a mix of Jews and non, including Jacob’s brother who sounds about as from-Texas as you can get. Leah’s brother officiated, there was no wedding party, and everyone gathered around the bride and groom in a horseshoe to hear the vows, as there is no amplification allowed by law. Leah’s brother referenced Grover, the Muppet, when addressing them and us, I believe a vague reference to Jacob’s rather large beard. He had never worn a suit before and looked killer. At times Leah looked like she was struggling not to laugh. Later, not more than thirty minutes after legally marrying, Jacob and some old friends talked about old hardcore bands. Leah came up to our friend Daniel about the same time and just said “What’s up?”

Having spent so much time in the city this year, I’ve had it get under my skin in all ways. Last time I was there, three months ago, I was completely entranced by it, driving out to the beach, to all kinds of nature, sitting in a tree for a good while one afternoon. Usually I make fun of stuff like that, probably out of some vague jealousy, but there’s a serenity to the city that I let sift in. This time, I was so excited for the wedding but less sure about returning to San Francisco. I never told this to anyone, but a few years ago I heavily debated quitting my job and moving there. I wanted space and time, and with a few close friends there, I knew I’d have some support. Now the city embodies everything I do not do regularly. When Daniel and I have to make a long walk, I ask if we can not do it on Mission Street. He’s a little surprised. The last time I was there a ragged woman walked towards me yelling “fuck” very loud and very long. A couple blocks parallel is Bartlett Street with flowers and pretty houses—can’t we take that route? Maybe there is a level of tolerance inherent in the city’s citizens I simply cannot replicate. I don’t know if I want to. Leyna, Daniel’s infinitely sweet girlfriend, wondered aloud what it must be like to see the city as someone who doesn’t live there. Curtly, I answer that really only New York seems like a city to me and everything else is something different. I don’t actually think this and retract immediately, but the nascent sentiment has to have some symbolic meaning.

I noticed that in San Francisco most of the kids I met or hung out with have cheap cell phones phones. A little less than a year ago, just before my trip to San Francisco, I bought an iPhone. I’d had a free phone for six years and it was time to be able to check my email on the go. I don’t think I’d think that if I lived in California. But I also have no idea what the fuck I would do all day. Faced with some spare time, a little trial, up early due to the time difference, I read the “Understanding the Anxious Mind” article in the NY Times Magazine on my iPhone. I recognized some traits in some friends and family, and felt kinship in their description of the “garden variety” worrier. Back in New York yesterday my roommate said that he felt like all of his friends and family here would fit somewhere in that article, but in San Francisco (where he, too, had just been, to visit his brother and his brother’s family), most people would be hard pressed to name anyone they knew who would be ruled by that genetic disposition of nervous Nellie.

In San Francisco, I stopped by Aquarius, the weird music record store, and recognized the guy at the listening station. I looked at him trying to figure it out and after a moment I realized he was Faris from The Horrors, who I’d interviewed a few months before. It was a fun interview, sitting in the back of a nice bar drinking wine and having them do a bit of show and tell with their tour purchases. I remember being surprised at how chatty and kind he and Josh were, expected much moodier rock star attitudes. So I wondered if I should say hello. I’d looked at him, but had he looked back? And if he did, did he think I was just some fan or did he remember me? He probably does a lot of interviews, I’m sure he doesn’t remember me. And if he does, what’s the point of saying hello? For a moment I was completely bewildered. I decided to say hello, and he remembered before I said anything. He’d known who I was. But then he hadn’t said anything first. Was it weird to say something then? Did he not want to? Oh god, why is this torture being wrought upon me from within my own docile being? “Understanding the Anxious Mind” opens with a scene from a video of an anxiety ridden teenager who is being followed for a study. She rambles: “When I don’t quite know what to do and it’s really frustrating and I feel really uncomfortable, especially if other people around me know what they’re doing. I’m always thinking, Should I go here? Should I go there? Am I in someone’s way?” Preach on, sister. I know where she should live when she grows up. Or maybe more accurately, she probably doesn’t have much of a choice. I wish I did. Or maybe I don’t. I can’t really tell. Shit. Either way, congratulations, Leah and Jacob! Come visit.

From The Collection:

Slept On
Schnipper’s Slept On