Inside Llewyn Davis, Part II. This Time I've Seen It. I Swear...

Inside Llewyn Davis Part II, I’ve actually seen it this time…

            As promised, to the faithful few of you that actually take the time to read this fucking blog, I am dutifully reporting on the major motion picture “Inside Llewyn Davis,” now that I’ve actually seen the damn thing.  Now, I understand that my take on it, as a former folk singer, is highly sought after by those out there in the internet ether.  People have been clamoring for this for some time now.  I’ve had countless emails and phone calls regarding it.  Well, perhaps not.  But I do know that several of my friends have been patiently waiting for me to say something other than “I liked it,” or “it was good.”  So here goes…  Well, first let me say that I am writing to you now because, yes, I know its hard to believe but its true, I am snowed in.  Yep, in Portland, Oregon.  Snowed in.  Traffic is at a standstill outside my apartment and has been for hours.  No, its not nearly in the same ballpark as Atlanta’s recent catastrophe and failure of the state and local governments to provide any sort of assistance in maintaining adequate roadways for its tax-paying patrons in the case of an emergency and so on.  But its annoying nonetheless.  I was supposed to have band rehearsal, which of course was ruined.  So here I am typing away.  I also had the brilliant idea of going for a walk just a bit ago, which I thought would be fun, looking at the trees and streets filled with fresh snow, throw a snowball at a cop car or whatever.  It sounded like a good idea twenty minutes ago.  Nineteen minutes ago I realized that I’m an idiot.  No matter which way you walk, the snow is always blowing straight into your face and your eyes and it sucks.  It sticks to whatever facial hair you have, hopefully more of a problem for the men,  and then melts and then freezes into little clumps of ice in your beard, eyelashes, etc.  Also, since its not super cold out, the snow is very wet and sticky and I ended up with soaking wet jeans;  everyone’s favorite thing to walk around in.  It was not majestic or pretty or any of that.  It was a shit idea and now I’m cold and wet and in a foul mood.  Fuck, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, Llewyn Davis…

            Now that I’m back indoors and fixed myself a stiff drink to fight off the chill, let’s get into it.  And I mean that quite seriously.  This movie brought back a lot of shit; some good, some not so much.  There was a very large chunk of my teenage/young adult life dedicated to the cause of folk singing.  I didn’t just play sad songs on an acoustic guitar, I WAS a folk singer.  I rode buses to random cities where I knew a guy or gal who would let me sleep on a couch while I played all the open mics in town.  I took a train to New York and played Carter Family, Guthrie and Bob Dylan songs in the dining car for tips and drinks(as I was only nineteen or twenty at the time, I don’t remember which).  I played on street corners and people would invite me to their homes, give me food and drink(possibly thinking I was homeless?) and have me entertain them with songs and stories from my travels; half of which I probably made up as I went.  I’ve played all across this great country and back multiples times.  I, in a fit of “Bound for Glory” obsession, even hopped a train once.  Although that ended about as boring as it could have.  It was a grain hauling train in Wisconsin and took me from my tiny little town of Horicon to an even tinier unnamed and unincorporated town and I had to call my buddy from a pay phone to come pick me up.  But still, I did it dammit, and it was awesome.  Except for all the times when being a folk singer sucked.  All the shows played to no one except maybe the soundman, who usually left to go smoke.  The constant urge to move or go someplace new, thinking it was always so much better than wherever  I currently was.  Being depressed all the time about having missed out on the sixties folk scene.  Being bitter that no one appreciated my new song about rambling or gambling or gypsies or sailing on the sea or whateverthefuck it was.  Having what was once called the “Worst iTunes Playlist for a Party, Ever.”  Naturally, all I had on my computer was Dylan, Neil Young, every Carter Family song ever recorded, Guthrie upon Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Robert Johnson, well, you get the idea.  Folk singing wasn’t always bad but it wasn’t always great either.  And I did it for years.  I really gave it a go, really put my heart into it and never set my roots down.  The decision to stop singing folk and form a Rock N’ Roll band was very hard for me.  It wasn’t so much about changing musical styles, but about abandoning a lifestyle for me, one that I wasn’t sure I wanted to abandon yet.  But it was also very easy from the standpoint that I had begun to resent folk music for what, at the time, I perceived as a colossal wasting of my years as a young adult.  I’ve come to realize, through intense, inward self-study and self-medicated talks with myself, that my times as a folk singer, like most things, fell somewhere in the middle.  I have started, only recently, to cherish these times for the life lessons and adventures and stories which I now plunder for my newer songs.  By the age of 25, I had seen and done more than a lot of people will in a lifetime.  And some of that was things that I wish I could un-see and undo.  Things that I would never want my child, should I ever have one, to experience.  But it was all part of it, and I know now that I wouldn’t change it if I could.  Hell, at least I’ve gotten a lifetimes worth of song material out of it.  It still seems, though, as if it wasn’t all real.  Like it was part of something that I read somewhere and told, as my own, so many times that it became a real part of me.  I feel like such a different person now.  And I guess, in a way, I am.  But life is mysterious like that and so is our memory.  It’s constantly changing and repainting old scenes with new shades of the same story.  Memories are not unlike dreams that can change over time and as we invent parts and embellish others to make them more interesting to those around us, based on the company we are in.  Our own reality is only real to us and no one else.  It’s also probably one of the reasons I tend to cut ties with people, so I may freely reinterpret the past anyway that I see fit, without the burden of other people’s memories getting in the way.  Who knows...  Anyways, whew…  That was wave number one that hit me when watching this movie.  I told you it was a lot of shit…

            Wave number two was the humor of it all.  For some reason, I was overcome with the comedy of errors that is the life of a folk singer.  It was really, really funny to me.  My girlfriend was getting very irritated with me saying it was funny, but I couldn’t stop laughing at Llewyn and his misguided ways; you know, the whole funny-because-its-true thing.  One of the scenes that has really stuck with me was when Justin Timberlake and the chick(who apparently is with the guy from M*mf*rd *nd S*ns, blech…  Almost ruined the film for me.  Also, by the way, I am not sure but I think I heard his cunty voice singing one of the songs during the movie.  I like the film a lot so I don’t really want to know if it is him as surely he can’t be a part of anything good, ever) are singing their crappy excuse of a folk pop song and everyone in the audience is singing along, either because they’re idiots or because they actually like the fucking song, who knows.  But I’ve totally been there so many times, just stewing and being super pissed off and hating everyone in the room for liking that shit and then just talking through my well-crafted, heartfelt tune.  Fuck all of them.  And driving all the way to Chicago just to play a song for a guy who didn’t like it all and wanted him to join Peter, Paul and Mary.  I totally would’v e done that!  No one ever liked my music!  And when Justin Timberlake throws him a bone and has him come and record with him, Llewyn asks him “Who wrote this?”  So funny!  I loved it.  I’ve done that before!  It’s like a Curb Your Enthusiasm/Larry David awkward moment.  And, I will also admit, shamefully however, that I have yelled at/heckled a performer onstage before.  I’m not proud of it, but it also wasn’t an old lady, so it wasn’t quite as bad.  It was some douche with a newsboy hat who was way too in love with Jason Mraz.  I guess I don’t actually feel that bad, he totally deserved it.  He sucked, and clearly, someone had to tell him.  It wasn't my fault he was playing such terrible music.  In fact, I would have been doing him a disservice had I not said something.  So there, I actually feel quite good about that one. Sort of.  Maybe I am a music snob…

Anyhow, it all seemed like someone was trying to make a movie that was poking fun of everyone, myself included, who wanted to be a bona fide folk singer in the sixties.  This is the exact movie that I would make if I wanted to mock of all those people who loved folk music maybe just a little too much(me included).  The Coen Brothers clearly had a good bead on all the Dylan fanboys(again, myself included) dreaming of Greenwich Village.  Also, on a side note, when did “Dink’s Song” have a real name?  And why was that song the centerpiece of the film?  Not surprisingly, I played that song a ton back in my folk singing/open mic days but it was weird to hear it in a movie.  Speaking of weird, and completely off topic, I was watching “Rock N’ Roll High School” today and I couldn’t help but think of what a strange career PJ Soles has had.  She has been up close and personal with Joey Ramone, Bill Murray and Michael Myers(the fictional psycho serial killer, not Wayne Campbell).  That’s a lady after my own heart.  Rock N’ Roll, Comedy, Horror, she does it all…  What more could you ask for?  But back to Llewyn.  The other thing that I thought particularly funny, was his inability to use condoms properly.  I agree that its fully possible for lightning to strike and for a freak accident to occur, but multiple times?   C’mon, I don’t believe that.  He’s just being careless and lazy.  Get it together buddy, condoms are not that hard to use.  OR, just pull out and shoot it on her stomach.  OR, even better, do both.  Not getting a girl pregnant isn’t rocket science, and I’m sure it wasn’t any different back in the sixties.   I can’t even imagine how horrible it would be to have to go through an abortion, then or now.  I felt bad for the girl and she had every right to be pissed off at Llewyn for making her have to go through that.  Though I suppose that was probably meant to be more of a character flaw, mainly due to his lack of future planning and just general nonchalance toward everything; which always seemed to get in his way.  Either way, I found a lot of humor in his failures and his anger and his resentment towards others, mainly those more successful than him, throughout the film.  It’s a very common theme in the entertainment world, and I’m sure in most fields of work.  I don’t think they quite explored this enough as it has been a very large part of my life as a musician, and in talking to my musician friends, theirs too.  We musicians are a very jealous bunch and we spend quite a bit of time and energy specifically devoted to hating others.  It’s a sort of pastime amongst the brethren.  But anyways, that was wave number two, the folly of it all…


Wave number three was the one I thought might strike first and therefore was the most predictable; the overwhelming urge to move back to New York and, once again, start singing folk.  I knew this would be impossible to avoid so I was quite prepared for it.  I knew that upon seeing the film I would once again wax poetic and romanticize that former part of my life.  Even after seeing, and laughing at, how ridiculous it all was/is, there will always be a part of me that cherished that time immensely and will always want to relive it, sort of.  I know, that in my heart of hearts, I am much happier now with all that is happening in my life, both personally and musically, but it was always much more exciting and chaotic to never know what was going to happen next, to pack up and move to a new city with only a backpack full of clothes and a guitar(my cherished Martin D-15 if you were wondering) and see where life takes you next.  I was in love with the chaos as much as anything else.  It was the whole Dean vs. Sal thing and I know better now.  But even so, I can’t stop myself from daydreaming occasionally about just leaving all my shit at my apartment, except my guitar and my blue Jansport backpack(which I lost some years ago and my wonderful, amazing girlfriend replaced this past Christmas.  Thanks Love!) full of clothes, and taking a bus, or train, to Nashville or New York or Chicago or wherever and just living by the seat of my pants and…  Fuck, someone’s car alarm has been going off for the past twenty fucking minutes and its driving me fucking insane!  I can’t handle it.  They ruined my little folk music fantasy and now I’m pissed.  God, I hope it isn’t my car.  That would suck.  It’s probably not…  Shit, now I got to put on pants and go back out into that fucking snow and check.  Fuck, this sucks…  Well, I guess that’s the end of my thoughts on “Inside Llewyn Davis.”  Hopefully, it was stimulating and titillating; especially for the ladies out there.  Wink, wink…  I should probably learn to type those symbols for the “winks” because I know there’s a way, but I kind of don’t care enough and it’s a little too I’m-a-thirteen-year-old-girl-who-just-got-my-first-iphone-and-I’m-a-textaholic-lol.  So I guess maybe I shouldn’t.  Why am I still talking?  Still titillated, ladies?