WEIRDLAND: National Sickness (Lou Reed's music), Mr. Robot (Season 2 will be darker)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

National Sickness (Lou Reed's music), Mr. Robot (Season 2 will be darker)

“If I was restricted to me, it’d get very dull for me. I create a character—and that may or may not apply to me.” —Lou Reed.

For Lou Reed, Shelley Albin was like a prism, an effect Lou later wrote about in “I’ll Be Your Mirror.” It was Lou’s first great love.“People say "I’ll Be Your Mirror" was for Nico, but that’s my conversation with him,” Shelley said: “Lou was a romantic at heart, a total romantic in the sense that Byron was a romantic.” But Shelley didn’t want to be a part of Lou’s artistic persona or take part in the real-life stories behind his increasingly sordid material. “People would always say, ‘Oh, you’re his muse,’ and I would say, ‘Thanks. I’d rather not be.’” Nevertheless, Shelley became the basis for numerous songs over the course of Lou’s early career ("Pale Blue Eyes," "I Can't Stand It").

"White Light, White Heat" is poststructuralist rock par excellence. In its anarchic harmonic structure, the fragmentary splicing that exposes the multitrack recording, and its polysemous lyrics, the album mirrors the horrors of urban life—a rupturing of the physical self, and ultimately the mind—in a thwarted path to fulfillment. Like gestalt psychology, it operated on the fragmentary nature of consciousness in a fractured world that was becoming increasingly incoherent. “Here She Comes Now” concludes the A-side, lulling the listener into a false sense of security. On the flip side, it all gets turned upside down, reaching a psychosomatic climax with “I Heard Her Call My Name,” the most chaotic track the Velvets ever recorded. At once a metaphor for orgasm—“I heard her call my name, and then my mind split open”—the “call” brings the user back from rapture to reality while reconstituting the wall between the self within and the external world without. What was Lou searching for? Spiritual enlightenment, ecstasy, mind-numbing bliss, love? It would be decades before he truly found his mainline, and it didn’t come from the barrel of a hypodermic needle. Shelley would always remain the Daisy Buchanan of his misspent youth.

Then Lou met Bettye Kronstad, who actually had pale blue eyes. They had little in common but floated in the same concentric social circles. Though Bettye had auditioned to be a dancer for the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, they eventually met through Lincoln Swados, who since leaving Syracuse was in dire straits. Swados had attempted suicide, jumping in front of a subway train. As fate would have it, one day, Lou and Bettye’s hospital visits coincided. Bettye instantly caught his eye when they met in the hallway; Lou approached from behind, concealing heart palpitations behind braggadocio and swagger. “Hey you,” he said. “You’re beautiful. Turn around.” She looked at him, startled. Lincoln persuaded Bettye that Lou’s macho posturing concealed the fragile ego of a “nice guy” within. Lou agreed to meet Bettye near her apartment at the West End. “He was a gentleman, and he insisted upon walking me back.” Lou would take the Long Island Rail Road into the city, or Bettye would take it out to Freeport; they were madly in love. “He was kind of lost. He was a serious, reflective, almost teddy bear kind of a man. He was a sweetheart, but fame does awful things to people.” Lou and Bettye got engaged. After a year of living with Lou’s parents and saving, the couple found a studio apartment on Seventy-Eighth Street between First Avenue and East End Drive. Lou dedicated “Perfect Day” to Bettye, immortalizing a summer night early on in their romance. In early January, 1972, Lou and Bettye got married in their apartment on Seventy-Third Street.

Lou Reed was simultaneously East and West Berlin. He was at that moment a symptom of a national sickness. Berlin traded the tragicomic sarcasm of Transformer for a decidedly tragic narrative arc. With Bettye gone, Lou upped his Scotch and speed intake. Days later, he partied all night in Amsterdam, and while appearing the next night in Brussels, he collapsed onstage, narrowly averting an overdose.

Revisiting the ugliness of relationships from a position of unprecedented emotional stability, Lou adopted a critical distance in Ecstasy that allowed for penetrating insights into everything that had once gone wrong in the morass of romantic dysfunction. It was rock therapy. Lou’s ecstatic vision anatomized non-cathartic feelings—paranoia, jealousy, disgust, regret—as they came into conflict with rapture and love.On “Paranoia Key of E,” Lou enumerated a kind of DSM synesthesia—“mania’s in the key of B, psychosis in the key of C”—The eighteen-minute “Like a Possum” returns to the licentious territory of “Heroin,” with Lou recalling “playing possum” with a spiritual death.

Lester Bangs described Lou Reed as having “nursing-home pallor” and a “rusty bug eye” as he drank off the shakes. “I take drugs just because in the 20th century in a technological age living in the city there are certain drugs you have to take just to keep yourself normal,” Lou told Lester in a moment of uncharacteristic frankness. —"Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed" (2015) by Aidan Levy

Created and written by Sam Esmail, “Mr. Robot” follows social anxiety-riddled, bug-eyed Elliot (Rami Malek) as he entertains paranoid delusions of being followed (or is that really happening?) and pontificates on the evils of capitalism, the disparity between rich and poor, the disappointment of fallen heroes, and corporations that are ruining the world. Source:

Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail took to the stage at New York Comic Con on Friday, October 9th with the entire core cast including Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Christian Slater and Martin Wallström. Esmail also pointed out that Season 2, which will have 10 episodes like the first season, will explore elements of the history between Darlene, Elliot and their father, as well as what he called “the precursor to how fsociety was formed.” Said Esmail, “For me in doing this show what’s cool is I don’t want you to just want to know what happens next. I want you to want to know what happened before. “

When pressed to give one word that would set the tone for Season 2, Esmail said ominously, “Dark. It gets really f---ing dark.” Malek added that Esmail told him the new season is "going be tough. It’s going be harder than last season.” The star then asked Esmail if Elliot would get another love interest. Esmail’s response? A vague but provocative “interesting question…” Source:

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