I haven’t been posting a lot recently. That’s due to a mixture of actually being good with my exercise regime and education, and taking time away from nerd-land for trips away with my lovely girlfriend. There’s only so much time in the day, and when I’ve got the time to blog, I usually end up doing something more responsible instead. I’ve got life down at the minute, nailing it. Its good. Unless you’re a fanatic reader of this blog.
The fact that I’ve been quiet is a good sign though. I haven’t broken the challenge and had to write about it, and about how I suck and have no discipline. I’ve been chugging along nicely without buying anything that would qualify in the challenge (food and transport costs are fine, Batman comics and Manowar albums are a no-go).
There have been temptations. Trips to music shops. Flicking through comics in WH Smiths. Looking on Amazon just a few dozen times a day. But nope. I’m being good. Breaking out of habit of giving-in to my every materialistic whim. Sure I’m doing it by enjoying the fruits of previous materialistic indulgences, but, what do you want… I didn’t take a profound religious vow of poverty and abstinence, just a “don’t buy yourself unnecessary media for two months” challenge.
Since Christmas, most of my music habits have been based on mainly listening to my Christmas presents; Slipknot, C.O.C, and Machine Head’s new album especially. When I’m not doing that, I’m listening to my birthday presents from the summer: Manowar, Accept, Judas Priest, Savatage, Hammerfall, Trivium, Sick Of It All and Minor Threat. That; or the fantastic new Rishloo album.
Basically, I’ve trying to cram all of the new stuff from the past year into maximum listening position so as not to let anything fall by unlistened to. I’m trying to stop “not getting my money’s worth” out of albums before it happens. It may make future articles in this series difficult, but its better to enjoy and use the stuff I’ve got, and not have a new generation of Spineshank and Decapitated albums (aka. stuff I never listen to).
Now that Christmas is out of the way, the temptations start coming in again. “Maybe I’ll just buy one more Manowar album” “I’m reading Spawn, maybe I’ll buy the Iced Earth concept album about Spawn” “Why don’t I just complete my Helloween collection?” etc.
Every time I finish a comic book, its straight on ebay to see how much its sequel costs. “Quick, x-out, x-out of the browser, don’t buy anything you fool!”
I even discovered that I bought part 1 and 3 of a single story before Christmas, so now I can’t read it for fear I’ll buy the missing part 2.
I don’t want to buy new stuff though, that’s the point of the challenge. To distract myself from temptations, I enjoy the things I already have.
I’ve decided to dedicate a lot of this week to making good use of my existing collection of Thrash Metal. I was maniacally obsessed with it from sort of 2004-2007. As time has passed though, some of the music I bought at that time gets played more than others, as there’s only so many hours in the day and my purchase-addiction screams “new,new,neeeeeew!” at me all day long.
There’s many ways I could go in the “enjoy existing stuff” theme, like when I would previously dig out an old gem and write about it for a full article, or make up lists and themes about them. No time for that tonight though, so I’m just going to ramble about one subgenre.
There’s some Thrash that I listen to all the time (Belladona-era-Anthrax, Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Kreator, Annihilator) and there’s some that I listened to a huge amount when I first got it and will happily listen more nowadays if I remember to put it on and am not distracted by shiny new purchases (Forbidden, Nuclear Assault, Overkill, Sacred Reich) and there’s some that I only dust off when I think “hey I’ve not really gotten my money’s worth out of that (Voivod, Vio-lence, Exhorder, Onsalught, early Sodom, early Death Angel, S.O.D).
Yesterday, I broke out the debut Sodom EP… which I almost never listen to due to its ugly production, sloppy playing, simple songwriting and Black Metal fan credibility causing a reverse snobbery effect in me that makes me suspicious of anything cool to Black Metal snobs. I also broke out Slayer’s Haunting The Chapel EP which I never listen to because better Slayer releases exist.
The day before that I made sure to check out all the Bush-era Anthrax albums because I haven’t been listening to them much at all in the last two years. Turns out, they’re still good. Always better than I think they are. Just have to be in the right mood for ‘em is all.
Today, I’ve been just mixing it all up in one huge 6-hour splurge. Mixing in ugly messy Voidvod songs and rumbly brutal Sodom with glorious shiny Anthrax and surprisingly progressive Overkill. Its been fun having the “Raining Blood”s and “One”s and “Peace Sells”s mixed in with obscure Death Angel and Onslaught tracks I only listen to once a year.
Tomorrow, I’m going to listen to more of the modern Thrash albums that I should stop neglecting, like Formation Of Damnation, Annhilator’s self-titled and maybe World Painted Blood.
Another thing that’s great is you normally listen to certain songs more than others. I like Testament, but I’m much more likely to listen to “Disciples of the Watch” and “The Preacher” twice than listen to “Eerie Inhabitants” once. Its nice to break out of the self-imposed accidental censorship of awesome songs I simply forget to put on enough.
Thrash bands had such cool album covers most of the time too. 60s Rock was mostly photography, modern stuff is all digital effects and thoughtful design. In the 80s… it was acceptable to just draw a monster, thug or explosion in a colorful palate and suddenly you had a 12” masterpiece that was somehow completely charming.
Thrash also feels really suitable for exercise. There’s something about the speed and energy that encourages extra effort, that discourages slowing and that stops boredom. Its hard enough to listen to this stuff without bouncing around the room as it is, so marrying it with workouts is a real natural fit.
Ok. Enough rambling.
Reading-wise I’ve been reading The Dark Knight Returns pondering the hidden metaphor behind Bruno’s swastika-themed nipple-tassels and whether they are a commentary on Female Empowerment in the comics industry or something similarly subtextual, or whether Miller just decided Swastika boobs were appropriate for no clear reason.
I’ve also been watching Sons Of Anarchy on Netflix when I have time to spare. Netflix is a great invention. If you don’t have it, I recommend it. It makes me almost want to try Spotify, which is the same principal but for music. I guess I’m too nerdy about music though. That and I never have good enough internet on the move to use streaming services on my phone. I don’t really care about TV much at all in comparison… And you mainly watch it in your house with good internet.
Well; that’s that. It’s a two month challenge. I’m 1.5 months in. No failures. Temptation under control. Entertainment schedule full and enjoyable. Real-life responsibilities under control. Good times.