One of the greatest things about the time I spend at WCBN is how often I get to read liner notes.
I think these are generally an underappreciated art form.
Back in the summer I read the liner notes to Paul Simon's latest album, which were written by Elvis Costello, and I've not forgotten this line:
"The trick is, as I know it, is to care like hell and not give a damn at the same time or as more elegantly proposed here; So Beautiful or So What."
Since that time I have occasionally thought of that line, so beautiful or so what, and it's helped me keep my head up -- which I think is one of the most important functions of art.
To me it means that the things you should think about most in life are the things that awe you.
In any case as you might suspect I have no problem with the "care like hell" part of the formula Elvis Costello suggests, but the "not give a damn" part eludes me occasionally.
(Here are some songs I've previously suggested for this purpose.)
When I REALLY need to pump up my ability to not give a damn, which is a situation that I found myself in earlier this evening, I turn to my Pandora station based on this song.
The song: Muse, "Supermassive Black Hole"; 2006
(This post is also about guilty pleasures, which I don't believe exist, so I should also say that publicly admitting to liking Pandora radio seems to be a bit of a faux pas in Radio Person circles. However, I do like Pandora radio.
Also, admitting to liking this song was probably a little embarrassing even before it was prominently featured in the first Twilight movie but hey, a good song is a good song.
And the particular combination of Pandora radio and this song is simply a masterpiece of super-lush, over-dramatic, mid-2000s rock. The kind of station my roommates used to have to ask me to turn down late at night.)
I think part of why I like this song so much and why it is so good for me when I am in dark moods is its reference to astronomy. I like to be made to think about black holes because thinking about stuff like that helps me get out of my own problems because for everything that they are, they are certainly not cosmic.
There's another phrase I've used here before that's something I have to remind myself to do when I feel sad. It comes from something my friend Anna said when I was trying to fumblingly explain to her why I got Orion tattooed on my arm. I said, approximately,
"Well when I walk home at night in the winter and it's cold, it's really easy to just stare at the ground the whole time and not realize it because the cold makes me all hunched up and grumpy and upset. But when I do manage to look up I almost always see Orion and it makes me feel better because it makes me think like 'wow, the stars!' instead of 'blehhhhhrgh, my proooooblems'."
"Oh okay," she said. "So it's a reminder to turn outwards."
Something like that.