Flush it Friday: Goin’/Goin Back/Back to Raleigh/Raleigh
A couple weeks ago, I had what turned out to be the most delightful pleasure of spending a weekend in Raleigh, NC, for a conference. (Sorry, big W. for not reachin’ out! I was wall-to-wall booked.) Conferences, for all the hand-wringing about them, are great opportunities to visit new cities and, if you’ve got time, immerse yourself in a little local flavour. Catch a taste of what a different place has goin’ on. Shake off the accumulated dust, rust, and cobwebs of your home base and slather on some new grime. Feel those shoulders loosen a bit and get to struttin’ without your superego nippin’ at your every step. Yes, of course, go to panels and be serious and supportive and a good colleague and interesting and more importantly interested and all that collegiate stuff. But also: go pound some pavement, pull up Happy Cow to find the closest vegan spots, wander into some breweries and find out if they can make a good beer, ask servers or bartenders advice about this that and the other, see some people wig out like it’s Danko’s, come back home filled to the brim and totally exhausted.
I could tell you about NC State’s gorgeous campus, with its red-brick buildings, lush green quads, stately oaks, Hellenic columns, and a general aesthetic that gives off engineering vibes without leaving a bad taste in your mouth like some other engineering schools I know and live awfully close to. I could tell you about how Tompkins Hall, home of the NCSU English Dept used to be the textiles building and, so beautifully, still looks like it. I could tell you about a Cold IPA I had that was an IPA brewed like a lager/pilsener and how dope it was at Cloud Brewery where I watched a redhead with Arctic-blue eyes try and totally fail for over an hour to dump this guy she desperately wanted to keep smashin’ but couldn’t get over that he had kids and was divorced. I could tell you about the neon lights in the student corridor of downtown Raleigh that made me rethink what I thought about who gets down the hardest in what college towns. I could tell you about So and So Books and how they were about to host a monthly reading group about the 33 1/3 of Throbbing Gristle’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats and the dope dude who ran the shop and how he was reading Ling Ma’s Bliss Montage and how I think that book has two good stories and then a bunch of bad ones. (I bought Labatut’s The Maniac there as well as a onesie for my niece.) I could tell you about how the receptionist at the hotel said she liked my hoochie shorts, ’cause I do, in fact, wear hoochie shorts.
All of that is worthy of anecdote, I promise. And all of it filled me—and keeps filling me—with great joy. Atlanta’s been a bummer lately, but I’ve got some juice from Raleigh that’s propelling me through the bog ‘n slog of the perennially busy Fall semester. So I could, I could, take up any one of those things among other things to talk about, but instead, we’re going to hone in on Saturday night, a brief moment in time, captured on camera by the bartender at a rowdy place I think called Tobacco Road that also I think is the local UGA bar. A homie of mine who works and lives in Greensboro came down for the night, and when I was done with my professional duties for the day, the two of us hit the town. We talked work over dinner and beers while keeping an eye on Georgia absolutely embarrassing Kentucky at Cloud before heading over to Tobacco Road, a mere half-block away in distance but lightyears away in attitude. We sidled up to a dirty-ass bar, waited a long time to order our drinks, and then settled in to bullshit about college football, Merve Emre, the American Vandal podcast, the profession, relationship shit, Nonsite, and who knows what else. We were, as they say, on one, and it was a thing of beauty.
And yet, we were so ensconced in our own growing-ever-louder bubble of bullshit that we did not witness first-hand the Event of the Night/Weekend/Week. At the other end of the bar, the very end of the bar my buddy was facing but was to my back, there was, apparently, a young married dude bothering not a couple different folks with some flirtatious advances. At some point, someone must’ve alerted his partner to his brand of bullshit (different than our bullshit, which was a good kind of bullshit). She storms in, confronts his doofy ass about his shady behaviour, and then proceeds to slap the shit out of him right there at the bar. I mean, cocked back and whap! laid it on his philanderin’ punkass. Drunk, stunned, bemused, but clearly fuming, the dude sorta just sits there, while she—oh, this glorious woman—must say to herself, “I’ve got more gas in the tank than that. I’ve got another gear. The thunder got called down and now he’s got it,” cocks back again and slaps him even harder. After the second knockout slap, she walks away, the dude gets up and tosses what’s left of his beer at her, and I swear not a single drop of beer touched her nor her shadow.
Of course, we didn’t see any of this live. Remember: football, bullshit, Merve Emre, academia, etc. Fortunately, the bartender caught it all on cam and showed it to us before we closed our tabs (and left a hefty tip for the joy). Look: cheating? bad. violence? bad. But, also, look: comeuppance and justice: sometimes what you need to see, even secondhand.
What happened the last time you left town for a little vacation or work trip? What’s your favourite (or most recent favourite) overseen/overheard story from such an outing? Where do you hope to visit soon? What do you like to do when you’ve got a weekend in a new place? What do you look for when in a different city? Why is it sometimes easier to access our sense of self in a different setting? Can you answer that?
If you can, you’ll have to wait, because first, we just gotta gotta gotta flush!
BSG took a break from the library to drop a Bassoon-less Bassoon premiere on us. Shit’s out there, man.
The brilliant Megachiles had the privilege to premiere the new Afterbirth. Old Guys Making Sick Death Metal is the theme of 2023.
Adzes joined Joe ‘n Jordan to premiere a new track (hell yeah) and talk about a movie (maybe hell yeah I don’t know).
Spear‘s back with Tech Death Wednesday and a hot cup of Xoth. Space noodles.
Resident weirdo Aaron took on the new Gnaw Their Tongues and we all died from the racket.
Whew lawd! The Toilet Troupe took us to some bizarre places this week. Bless ’em for it! I didn’t do shit but listen to the new Sulphur Aeon enough times to go, “Yeah, that’s pretty good,” and cry over the new boygenius EP and their LP from earlier this year. Fortunately, we’ve got all this hot content to keep us warm as the days get cool.
What’s been Good? Who’s been Bad? Where’s been Ugly? Let us know in the comments. Stay well, my beloveds.