Equal Parts Pumpkin & Punk
Once upon, in a time not as long past as you might think but longer ago than you know, in a land as far away as the other side of the world and as close as the corner store, I very nearly ran away with the World/Inferno Friendship Society. Ultimately, I chose a different path to my own wild life, but I did become a life-long Infernite. And now, upon another time, I’m publishing three fantastic books by a member of The Society.
Equal Parts Pumpkin & Punk is the first volume in a three-book series by Aaron Hammes. In prose that’s energetic, charming, and intimate, Aaron tells the taleof touring with W/IFS through Europe in the summer of 2015. He spins stories about everything from the nature of being an artist, to traveling through Germany during a very hot summer, to the legends of how The Society came to be. Reading this book made me feel like I’d finally, at long last, run away with the World/Inferno Friendship Society. Whether you’re a die-hard Infernite or simply a fan of good writing, it just might make you feel the same way.
I suppose this leaves the question of what this compilation is. Impressions, musings, recountings, direct quotations, answers to questions unasked. I myself leave behind a morass of issues in Chicago, I imagine or know for a fact the others do in varying measures as well, and you're dealing with that thing that's been hanging over your head for a bit also. I'd say it's going to resolve itself soon—be strong, chin up—but that's not generally my experience. Nevertheless, here we are, no life to live but this one. Perhaps I'll see you in Dublin; it not, no sleep 'till Wiesbaden.
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I think most people have experienced it at least once, in one form or another, but a bit of environ will be useful to get the point across. Tonight we perform at an anarchist collective, a four-floored concrete monolith, covered in graffiti and leftist stickers (I love these in Germany. They give me a very warm feeling, though one with a note of melancholy that there actually needs to be protest against neo-Nazism. Seriously. Take the Tea Party, global warming denial, anti-equal marriage and women's reproductive rights advocates and amplify their anachronisms to a level of hate almost beyond imagination. For how loosely the term gets thrown around, these are actual fascists.). The basement is full of vegan cakes, a literal bakesale from which the band gets the proceeds. The first floor is the venue, tiny, windowless, the height of dinginess with an incredibly low dew-point before the first note is played. The second floor is a record store where I procure a pretty obscure AU album, but which houses an impressive selection of secondhand punk and hardcore records besides. The third floor, closest to the sun, as it were, is the dressing room and kitchen. By the time I reach it, I have found the showers as well, as I'm drenched almost immediately in the stale, humid hearth of a room. Everyone in this place is fantastic, incredibly friendly and generous, and I could not begin to complain about any part of the anarchist accommodation. The crowd is fine, Scott and Sandra switch instruments for a tune, which is fun.
As an aside, there is no worse charge from Mora Precarious than "boring." Arguments are boring to her. Bad audiences are boring, sets that are poorly performed are boring, being bored is boring. Mora is bored tonight, which means we play songs incredibly quickly. This is relevant.
It is, again, hot. But in this instance, there is not even the presumption of airflow of any variety. We are locked in a concrete box, breathing a limited amount of air with some full-lunged syndicalists, and it's getting pretty thin. A couple of us mention "brownouts" on stage, which for me means I am forcing a great deal of air out of my lungs and into a definitionally leaky metal tube, and due to heat and exhaustion begin to see black and blue stars in front of my eyes. Or, less poetically, black and blue television static consumes my periphery and tunnels before me. My ears seem to fill up with liquid, head goes to cream cheese, and instinct tells me if I stop blowing into this beast, a hand will drop down through the ceiling and push me over with one boney finger. Somehow I keep winning this battle; one day Jack will get his wish and we'll all brownout onstage together, Heaven's/Gate Friendship Society style.