Three songs about heroin

Marianne Faithfull – Before the Poison

The Stranglers – Golden Brown

Velvet Underground – Waiting for the Man (didn’t for the obvious one)

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the drug chaos in Mexico. I learned that the heroin trade in Sinaloa, Mexico was started by Chinese immigrants who moved to the region in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The difficult-to-traverse mountains provided a perfect place to start a drug trade that continues to this day.

Book recommendations:

Murder City by Charles Bowden
El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo
2666 by Roberto Bolaño

Love and Rockets

From Locas II by Jaime Hernandez, Fantagraphics Books.

I could go on in really revealing and embarrassing ways about how much I love Love and Rockets. Wait, I think I already have. Lately, I’ve been re-reading the Locas series which can be found in two humongous anthologies recently re-issued. I’m almost done with Locas II and I’m reminded as to how influential the comics were in my early life. Quite honestly, I can’t even say they were influential as they felt much more documentary, as in my life often seemed to be reflected in the stories to the point where I wasn’t even shocked when I’d read almost word for word conversations I’d have in real life being said by the characters in the book. Re-reading the books now is almost like a source of comfort, the kinda life I have is so rarely reflected in the media spectacle that there is something to seeing one’s own experiences, including insecurities, being expressed by characters who have some commonalities. Commonalities…! They are CHICANA PUNKS FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, who lived in-between cultures, were superstitious, fell in love hopelessly (even with cholos), had crazy drunken street adventures, doubted themselves (for all the above reasons) and still managed to try and stay punk even when they weren’t anymore! I have way more commonalities with these things than I should publicly admit on this blog. See, I told you I couldn’t help but going on. Thank you Jaime Hernandez for bringing out the beauty of our everyday lives!

I met the Hernandez Bros. once at Golden Apple quite some time ago and tried to tell them in my gushing way some of what I just wrote. They answered “Yeah, it’s cause we peek in your window at night.” And at the time I sorta felt like they were mocking me which left me a bit confused. Also because Gilbert told me with what almost seemed like sarcasm that he was married to “a gringa.” And I remember thinking “What does that matter?” Maybe now, I would’ve understood what was happening but at the time, I was a too-cool-for-school twenty year old who thought she was meeting some kind of heroes and was sad to find, well, they weren’t. It was a very good lesson for me and later, helped me appreciate their work even more.

So if you’re looking for something awesome to read and start the new year off with, pick up Locas and Locas II. You can even check them out from the library but they’re nice to have around, so when you and your friends are having some funny or interesting conversation and you’re like wait, this seems familiar, and then be like, oh yeah Maggie said the same thing. My favorite is the one above, Maggie trying to explain how influential punk was in her life and in the end, just shrugs her shoulders and says “I can’t explain it.”

The Art of Jaime Hernandez by Todd Hignite just came out last year and it’s a gorgeous book filled with color strips, drawings, punk flyers (Nardcore!) and photos of Jaime and his brothers. The text is a bit hard-to-read and I wish there would have been more of Jaime’s direct quotes in the book but the book is, afterall, focused on Jaime’s personal drawing style which is universally recognized for it’s innovativeness and originality. Another great book to read in 2011!

Book Quote: 2666

Construction site in East Los Angeles, 2011

From the book 2666 by Roberto Bolaño:

Healthy people flee contact with the diseased. This rule applies to almost everyone. Hans Reiter was an exception. He feared neither the healthy nor the diseased. He never got bored. He was always eager to help and he greatly valued the notion – so vague, so malleable, so warped – of friendship. The diseased, anyway, are more interesting than the healthy. The words of the diseased, even those who can mange only a murmur, carry more weight than those of the healthy. Then, too, all healthy people will in the future know disease. That sense of time, ah, the diseased man’s sense of time, what treasure hidden in a desert cave. Then, too, the diseased truly bite, whereas the healthy pretend to bite but really only snap at the air. Then, too, then, too, then, too.

Book Quotes: 2666

Chinatown, 2010

From a passage about Russia in 1939 from the book 2666 by Roberto Bolaño:

He mentions names Reiter has never heard before. Then, a few pages on, he mentions them again. As if he were afraid of forgetting them. Names, names, names. Those who made revolution and those who were devoured by that same revolution, though it wasn’t the same but another, not the dream but the nightmare that hides behind the eyelids of the dream.

Book Quote: 2666

Today’s quote from 2666 by Roberto Bolaño

“I get the idea perfectly, Mickey,” said Archimboldi, thinking all the while that this man was not only irritating but ridiculous, with the particular ridiculousness of self-dramatizers and poor fools convinced they’ve been present at a decisive moment in history, when it’s common knowledge, thought Archimboldi, that history, which is a simple whore, has no decisive moments but is a proliferation of instants, brief interludes that vie with one another in monstrousness.

Favorite Video(s) of the Week: Les Négresses Vertes

Zobi La Mouche- Les Négresses Vertes

There was a time in the early 90s when I didn’t have a job. I scavenged, weaned and gleaned from the excesses of consumer society. I didn’t need much – friends, homemade food, dance parties, books and music were my sustenance.
Les Négresses Vertes made up a big chunk of the soundtrack to this bit of my life. I listened to them constantly. They were the background music for two of my favorite books at the time: Letters of Insurgents and Song from the Forest.


With exuberant songs such as “Zobi la mouche” and “Voilà l’été” Les Négresses forged their lively ‘get up and dance’ style. The group’s unique sound was basically a musical melting-pot, created by fusing a variety of musical influences from their extremely diverse origins. Spanish and Gypsy rhythms were fused with traditional French dances and rai sounds and strung together with lyrics which appeared light and innocent on the surface but were, in fact, full of innuendo and hidden meanings.

Read more here.

L’homme des marais – Les Négresses Vertes