In memory of September 11, 2001, a day of silence. No music today, no EAR FARMing today. This is not meant to be somber, and not to make some grand statement, but rather because five years ago today the world became a completely different place for me. Because, to me, it's important for the world to never forget what happened here in New York five years ago. And because on that day, for the first time in my life, I could not (had no desire to) listen to music.
I moved to New York City by myself in July of 2001. One month later my girlfriend moved to NY and one short month after that our city, our nation, was attacked. I had called in sick to work that day (out of the blue I didn't feel well when I woke up) and we got a phone call at about 9am from a family member saying that an airplane had hit one of the Twin Towers. "Pssh," I thought, "that's nothing...just a Cessna or something small, probably happens all the time". Then, I turned on CNN. As soon as I saw the image on TV I realized the scale of what was happening was much more massive than I'd considered. I grabbed my video camera and ran outside.
At the time we lived in the West Village with a clear view directly down 7th ave to the World Trade Center. I wanted to get as close as I could to the buildings as I felt some duty to capture what was going on on video. Thankfully my girlfriend made us stop a safe distance away and I started to videotape and watch. To see and feel the attacks of September 11th mere blocks away, in the street with thousands of other people, is something I don't think I can quite put into words. Somewhere between those who were actually on site (and in the buildings) and the rest of you who watched on television, we people who lived and worked in lower Manhattan were devastated and in shock. In an email from that day five years ago I wrote: "As terrible and shocking as it all was, the most horrible sight I have ever seen was when the first tower collapsed. The feelings of shock, anger, disgust, horror, and hatred rushed through my mind and the streets. People screamed and wailed. One of the twin towers had fallen. America had been attacked. Rescue attempts would be nearly impossible and none of us in New York, or the world, would ever be the same again. The second tower fell and I felt so totally helpless as I was watching thousands of people die before my eyes."
In the days following September 11, 2001, my neighborhood was silent. War-zone silent. From time to time the sirens of emergency vehicles would cut through the debris filled air. You could feel the collective anxiety of your neighbors and when someone on the street stopped and asked "How are you doing?" you could feel that they actually meant it. That they were asking, "are you okay, is there anything I can do to help you out?" Each day was spent trying to be normal, trying to get out to the stores that were open...trying to walk around a bit before returning to the safety of the apartment and to watch the news. I remember wondering what the rest of the country was thinking and feeling. Were they heartbroken and terrified like we were?
As I said, I couldn't listen to music for at least a week after the attacks of September 11th. I just didn't want to. For the first time in my life the notion of listening to music was repulsive escapism. I wish that wasn't the case, I wish I had some great song that helped get me through those days, weeks/months, after the attacks but I didn't. I wish there had been something else, something other than silence.
I don't even remember what music I finally listened to when I did start to listen to music again but I do remember everything about that day five years ago. I remember the sight, the sounds, the smells, the emotions, the fear. The cloud of smoke/debris lingered for what seemed like months before it dissipated. In much the same way I think the events of that day stayed with the people of this country heavily at first, and over time have faded. There are now fictionalized movies and TV shows and the news will surely hammer home the images from that day over and over. Is this some kind of national coping mechanism? Well I don't want to see movies made by Oliver Stone, or ABC, and I don 't want to watch CNN's original broadcasts from September 11th on their "pipeline" (whatever that is). I just want to remember, in my own way, what it was like five years ago. What it was like on the day when music no longer mattered.
That's the post I had written for today. While it's important for all of us to never forget what happened on September 11, 2001 it's equally important that we DO listen to music. So that we're not punishing ourselves by re-living life as it was on that day but that we remember it and then do our best to carry on. That we DO maintain our sense of humor, our sense of freedom, and our distinct ability to say "FUCK YOU" when we've been wronged. So what I've got for you is a very special mini-mix just for today.
Recently Osama bin Laden's ex let the world know that he had quite a crush on Whitney Houston. So much so that he thought about killing her husband, Bobby Brown. Well, in the spirit of the US military's use of heavy metal music against Manuel Noriega when he took refuge in the Vatican embassy in Panama City I offer the following Bobby Brown songs. I propose that today the entire world download these songs and play them on repeat. From here to Tora Bora let the world crank this crackhead's music up to eleven as we raise a big middle finger to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Listen in pain you tall-ass crackwhore loving terrorist son of a bitch!
- "Cool It Now" - New Edition
- "Mr. Telephone Man" - Bobby Brown & New Edition
- "Don't Be Cruel" - Bobby Brown
- "My Prerogative" - Bobby Brown
- "Something In Common" - Bobby Brown & Whitney Houston
EAR FARM will resume normal posting tomorrow, September 12th, 2006.