Last September, I hosted Today Is the Day at my houuu… my mom’s house in West Bloomfield, an upper middle class suburb, which is roughly a half hour outside of Detroit and about 15 minutes outside of Pontiac. I told Steve Austin and the boys that, if they leave their van on our drive way, I can guarantee with 99.9999999999999% certainty that their gear wouldn’t get fucked with. It was pretty neat hanging out with one of my musical heroes, just shooting the shit about a variety of topics, one of which was of course how we’re both right wingers and how it’s tough to be one when you’re in a scene dominated by Sanders supporting maroons.
At some point, I asked him if he’d ever met Ross the Boss of the Dictators and Manowar. He had not, nor had he even heard of the Dictators! So I gave him my old copy of Go Girl Crazy. Steve, if you’re reading this, I hope you and the rest of the guys listened to it and enjoyed it! It was also surreal seeing Austin, with many a tattoo, including the confederate flag, interacting with my 4’11” Jewish mother and telling her in his Southern drawl, “m’am you have a beautiful home.”
The reason I offered in the first place is because I live 15 minutes from the Pike Room, the venue they played at in Pontiac, MI. Between the venue and where I live, along Orchard Lake Rd, the scenery changes rapidly from the ghetto, to a lower middle class environment, to rich, scenic lake side property, to a bizarre, Tolkien/medieval world of castle-like homes, and then finally to the modern, upper middle class suburb where I live.
I’m assuming this type of drastic change in environment is typical in a lot of cities, where the high crime/low income and low crime/high income areas are a stone’s throw away from each other, yet have little influence on the other. I love walking to the local public library and looking at the old time houses and white picket fences and daydreaming about living in a different time and era, where the 2.5 children and white picket fence dream was something people aspired to, rather than scoffed at; all before stopping at the pond/swamp with all dead tree branches that look hella cool at night.
When I was a younger lad, I thought living in the city was the be all end all of the hip and trendy; after all, that’s where the bands and artists and loose sluts with tattoos reside. That’s where you live within walking distance of the local bar, where they serve you pitchers of PBR for $6 (as a side note, when I went to see the Napalm Death with the Melvins and Melt-Banana, I deliberately purchased Bud Lite just to stand out from the hipsters). It’s where the art galleries and art spaces are. Where the used bookstores are, where the tattoo shops are, where the record stores are, where the etc. etc…
According to a liberal black woman I was arguing with on the Facebook about whether Hamtramck is a ghetto or not (it is), the suburbs are racist. I guess it’s racist to avoid going into high crime areas, where I’ve had my car stolen twice, where convenience store clerks are forced to work from behind bullet proof shields or where my friend Matt almost got his head blown off during a robbery at the Metro PCS where he works. To avoid these perks is to avoid diversity, you evil white devil, you. Except there are blacks that live in the suburbs and feel the same way. Along with all of the owners of the Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants which I like to go to. Or the Korean dry-cleaner. Or the Jewish tailor. Or the non-Muslim Arab liquor store owner. Multiculturalism actually works when the correct cultures mix together.
For the life of me, I do not understand why any of my friends or acquaintances live in Detroit or its Muslim and Polish Mordor, Hamtramck, other than it’s dirt cheap, allows them to work few hours during the week and allows them to be at the bar every single night. Actually that pretty much answers my question; or, in the case of my friends Ian and Rachel, who live on a particularly slummy block off of Woodward Ave., allows them to score heroin on a nightly basis unabated by things like police officers or decency. And the fact that, in the suburbs, you won’t find a shoddy, makeshift art gallery in which some girl urinates all over herself while people splash paint all over her body is of little consequence to me.
I’ve done the hipster, urban thing when I lived in Grand Rapids; I’ve wasted god knows how much dough on booze,checking out mediocre local bands and going to local hipster joints on a nightly basis to watch other morons wax their idiotic, uninformed political/social views on the ladies who nod with aplomb, as the guys try to get a strain of that HPV infected, hipster pussy. Hey, don’t yell at me! I didn’t learn until 2007 that women DO NOT CARE about using rubbers. As long as they’re on the pill, or rather as long as they have the plan b, or rather as long as the county they reside in doesn’t make abortion illegal, they’re okay. Shit, I’d be surprised if some of them even can have babies anymore.
But the bottom line is, for me to head out of my comfortable little burg, where I can go to Uptown Grille or Library Pub and get drunk or sit at home and read or listen to my records, there either has to be a show or event going on or girls involved.
In the former case, I’m pretty much kept in the know thanks to the FB community, Metro Times or even word of mouth. I can go to the Loving Touch in Ferndale and catch Lightning Bolt, High on Fire or EYEHATEGOD, then get a couple tasty imported beers at One Eye’d Betty’s down the road or dry out and get food at the Woodward Avenue Brewery. I can take the M10 freeway north to the Masonic Temple, where I got to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and went to Berserkerfest, where I got to see Voivod and Conan. I can go to the Majestic Theater, where I saw Napalm Death, the Melvins and Melt-Banana or PJ’s Lager House, Corktown Tavern and UFO Factory in Detroit. There’s also Token Lounge in the hickish suburb of Westland, where I got to see performances from my boy Nik Turner of HAWKWIND, early ass punk rock band Slaughter and the Dogs and NWOBHM luminaries like Saxon, Girlschool and Raven. Hell, if I’m really feeling desperate, I can go to a house show in Ypsilanti or Ann Arbor. So, it’s not as though I’m exactly out of the loop.
As for getting women, it’s not exactly hard depending on my patience and/or determination; since I’m not ugly or fat, I can get a girl to sleep with me at least once every three months. When I’m hitting up OKCupid, I can pull tail roughly once or twice a month. Play “six degrees of Edwin Oslan” and you’ll be able to link me back to some girl that is part of the Detroit punk/metal/underground scene that I’ve had a roll in the hay with and possibly even dated.
Personally I don’t care if the girl is a weird punk chick, a normal one who does yoga and goes kayaking or is some place in between the two extremes; I mean, it is cool that crazy, but hot kook Melissa wears a cut-off denim vest with an Acid Bath patch on the back and was jamming Death (the Florida death metal band, not the black guys from Detroit) the night of Halloween that we hung out and slept together, but that’s all icing on the cake really. Hell, Gabe the skinhead was in a relationship with a girl who lives right around the corner from me in neighboring burb of Walled Lake; she was a veterinarian and shared the same “why would you want to live in that shithole?” attitude as me. And she was just the way I like ’em; very cute, has a good job, doesn’t pay attention to the news and doesn’t give a flying hoot about politics. Why am I saying all this?
The point I’m making is that there is no reason to move to the city other than so you can say you’re a “hip” urbanite. It’s completely useless; I mean, maybe it works for some people to live in a really shitty part of town and own a loft and do art all day and barely work a normal job. Maybe that gives some people a thrill. But, to a man, I’m to wager that the Lydia Lunches and Richard Kerns of the world could do their goofy half-porn, art-wank-off nonsense in the burbs just as well as in some crime infested shithole. I mean, most bands come from the suburbs!
I get a thrill from walking in my neighborhood, going to the gun range in the white trash-y town of Keego harbor, working out and sculpting my Herculean physique or going to the Uptown Grille to ogle dumb as dirt servers, who wear tight black pants and serve the same exact craft brews you’d get at a hipster dive in Detroit, only without the snarky attitude. And you certainly won’t find any girls who think it’s okay to wear shorts and not shave their legs like that gross ass server we had at the Detroit Brewing Works.
The only reason I can ever see moving to Detroit proper and not some reasonably safe neighboring suburb is to be surrounded by slutty…err, I mean liberated women, who have a laissez-faire attitude towards sex. And, since that’s something I can find in the suburbs, albeit with less tattoos, then there’s really no reason to move out to the city. I got 99 problems, but getting a girl, who is loose enough to sleep with me the first night I meet her, ain’t one.