I have been running since October in an effort to return to a single digit clothing size and to stay healthy long enough to help save the world and maybe meet my grandchildren some day. I began with three miles every other day and have slowly worked my way up to five miles a day, at least four or five days a week. I don't always run the whole way, but I try to complete the five mile loop every time, even when I don't want to-which is most days. The music has always been the key. I have multiple mixes of songs that I fucking LOVE, so it is a joy to run while listening to "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" or "All Along the Watchtower". I get a much needed adrenaline rush when "Violet" by Hole comes on because I finally get their angry young woman appeal,albeit decades later. Good music is essential. It makes me run purposefully. The list of music I have compiled is too long to cover but, suffice it to say-in the Merriam-Webster sense of the word- I think it's awesome.
I woke up last Tuesday morning dreading the prospect of running. I wouldn't have gone even if I was being serenaded live by a pace car filled with John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Nirvana and U2 taking turns. I decided to go on Itunes and look for something different to get me motivated. Enter Motion Traxx, a running podcast for different paces and distances. I noticed the "Tribal 10k"-promising continuous tribal house music for sixty two minutes and decided to give it a shot.
As I trepidatiously downloaded it, it struck me that my experience with house music has always involved some sort of enormous multilevel club, where ninety nine percent of the people present are sucking on something glow-in-the dark and are high off their asses on Ecstasy. I attended my first rave in the early nineties,completely sober, and a stranger lovingly flicked sweat on me while my friend and I danced to Psychic T.V. It was as disgusting as it sounds, and it pretty much precluded me from ever entering into the love affair with the drugs, the deafening electronica and throngs of half clothed people that is rave culture. I guess I have that glistening stranger to thank for my intact eardrums and plentiful braincells. I'm not saying I haven't walked a mile or so down that particular road, but I turned back after the first two hours, feeling as though I'd had enough of the "been whacked on the back of the head with a frying pan" sensation provided by that particular substance. My singular experience-a New Year's Eve party at The Delano in Miami- was certainly a festive techno-music experience but, ultimately, not my cup of tea.
Anyway, I digress. I turned on the podcast, listened to the minute or so intro by Deekron the Fitness DJ(who, surprisingly, sports a newsboy cap on his website) and miraculously ran for sixty two minutes- a little over six miles-without stopping. I slowed at some stop lights and veered to avoid getting hit by the many distracted drivers, but I actually ran the whole way. I didn't even think about stopping. The Tribal 10k mix worked for me because it made me feel completely different than I usually feel when I run. I had no history with the music,no emotional attachment to any of it. It put me in a completely different mental space, almost trance-like, much like it probably does for the people who frequent whole club/rave scene. The music gives people a place to- in the words of D.J. Lance, host of Yo Gabba Gabba,the trippiest kid's show on T.V.-"get the sillies out". In my case, I need to run the crazies out, but it's all the same idea.
See for yourself:
(I kind of feel like the guy at the very end-never really loved the show on T.V.)
Now here they are playing at Coachella:
While Yo Gabba Gabba is known for having interesting guest performers such as Jack Black, The Shins, Supernova, Mark Mothersbaugh, Sugarland, Tony Hawk, The Ting Tings, "Weird Al" Yankovic, The Killers, The Roots, Weezer etc.-most of it my kind of music- its regular music is simplistic,repetitive and unappealing to me for the same reasons that I don't enjoy house music. It is clearly a show for kids of all ages, so I understand why they keep it basic, but it makes for a strange audience.
I had no idea about the show's cool factor when we took the kids to see them perform a few months ago. The experience I had-with all the lights, bizarre characters,balloons, The Aquabats, Dave Grohl and Biz Markie-was so evocative of the few raves I've attended that I was certain I'd been dosed. I felt like I had landed on another planet-a really cheerful, loud, slightly terrifying planet where people might start spontaneously combusting if they got any groovier. The audience was heavily dotted with hipster couples in their early twenties. It made no sense-who else would subject themselves to the Nokia Theater filled to capacity with a thousand screaming children and their middle aged parents unless they were really high? It became a game of spot the E-tards, and they were everywhere-grinning and swaying,hands in the air,with pupils like giant swirly lollipops. At one point, three large thuggish looking guys sat down in front of us. They looked disturbingly sober, out of place, even. After much debate, we decided that they had to be either really untalented pedophiles or hit men that were there to whack Muno, aka. the big red dildo. The whole scene was a little too intense for me.The kids had fun, but when it came time to take pictures with the real live characters, Little became hysterical, and Big wouldn't let go of Toodee, the giant blue cat creature.
So, while I try and muster up the motivation to run on this rainy Sunday, after a three day hiatus due to a root canal, I wonder if a mix of D.J. Lance and the gang might be just the thing that I need to go the extra mile this time. I do feel like I re-learned something incredibly simple from my sixty two minutes of running to techno tribal rave music: trying different things is good, even if you have already written them off as "not your thing". Sometimes it's just the thing you need to break out of your own track worn by habitual passage and into a new groove in which you can really run.And I am talking about the music, not the drugs, folks.
In case you haven't had the pleasure: