Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Message in a Bottle

From out of the past, praise from Tag Savage. It's a ways down on the page, but if you do a "Find" for "Squelch" or "Kenny" that will do it. Or see the excerpt here.

Something nice.

The Heuristic
Squelch has become quite good. I would say that its due to the stick-to-itiveness of its senior members, but similar tenures have not helped out Satellite very much.

It's not just that the subject matter has grown more, ah, mature either. Some of their best work has been their nastiest.

No, I think what I like is the quiet craft its writers have gone about developing. Rather than steadily blow each joke over the top, as was the routine for years, they have learned the slow burn, the gentle kick, the sudden gouge. Kenny Byerly, in particular, has become not just a master of form but one of its keenest innovators as well. The topics he deals in are deceptively benign. Maybe he's straight-edge or something. But he is funny like I am smart: in excitingly stupid ways.

But yes, I was postively mystified by the "RAD Trip" piece. Unfounded, untopical, unfocused, utterly knockabout. Thrilling.

Then there is Steven Handley, punk rocker, sweet-mouthed bastard. He is not prolific, but he is fine.

Now I am imagining parallels, deep tragic parallels. Handley and Gabriel C. Kevin Deenihan and Amit. What is your milieu? It does not matter. We all do what we do, whatever it happenes to be. Some of us switch up every so often.

There are the craftsmen, those who obsess over aesthetic niggles and whose work is formally unassailable. There are the punks, seething and radical, innovating at all costs. The punks, more than anything, learn too easily and get bored. There are the ... ah ... what are they called? The fluster kids whose material aches with desire, who sexual and social dysfunction is at once obfuscated and amplified by their conflicted work.

At last, I know that "RAD Trip," a personal favorite and popular failure, found its audience, and that audience is a pretentious hipster. So be it. So much the better, in fact, since it means that his flowery prose will fellate my ego more skillfully than that of a layman.

It may be a good thing that I never saw this while I was still writing for the Squelch.


matt said...

woo! in your face, ken chen!

Kevin said...

Tag and I had a 'thing' going on when I criticized his Daily Cal movie reviews as not actually reviewing movies. So he started this weird hipster fixiation thing on me. The result is that searching "Kevin Deenihan" on google produces this result:

Four: Kevin Deenihan

I was trying to get with this chick at a Squelch meeting when Kevin Deenihan came in reeking of Courvoisier. He insisted the girl was his. I insisted his ass was mine. He threw me to the floor and we rumbled and rumbled and next I know we are in the aching embrace of two lovemakers. Then he punches me in the back of the head and I pass out.

For weeks thereafter I searched his weblog for evidence that this had really happened, that my broken heart and bloody stools were not just a product of my imagination. Finally he posted the following entry:

"Can you believe it's supposed to rain through

For many of you, I'm sure this is just a mild
inconveniance. I, on the other hand, sleep in the
attic of a Frat House. There's two little
flue/window things that cannot be closed, so the
wind is always moving through it. And I'm about two
yards from the roof, so the pitter-patter of rain
sounds like a steady, loud drumbeat.


Oh Kevin, Kevin. Your allegory is tantalizing, I think, and it makes my head swim. You dirty shit. "Cannot be closed" indeed.

Kenny said...

If you read enough of Tag's page, as I pathetically did, you'll find mention of Kevin Deenihan, and Tommasso and Dave Duman as well. It's like a time capsule from the very recent past.

Kenny said...

Tom, if you read this, sorry about the extra "s" in Tommaso. I know the rule. It's been a long time since I've used it, that's all.

Zack said...

What's Tag Savage's real name?

Tommaso Sciortino said...

Don't worry about the double "s"'s thing. I'm used to it. As for Tag's real name, that's a complicated question. I remember way back when we were both at Stebbins I asked him if "Tag" was indeed his real name and he said yes. When I became mail sorter I kept getting mail for "Tim Savage" so I threw it in the dead mail until Tag asked where his mail was going. Eventually it was revealed that "Tag" is his real name unless he's confronted with his actual real name, "Tim", in which case that his is actual real true name.

matt said...

the first time tag ever came to a squelch meeting, i looked him up and down when i walked in and said, "you look like a sutherland." to which he replied, "i need a drink."