My tale of two cities.
Last time the theme was “original grunge”. Now it’s Southern gothic–which, believe it or not, is actually a thing. (Note though that not every band below is Southern or gothic.)
I’m at the really homesick stage of a move. I miss the South. Or at least, what I think of as the South in comparison to what I think of as the Midwest. Beyond the obvious parents and family dog (who last week killed a possum…which doesn’t sound Southern AT ALL…), here are some of the things I miss:
- A preference for college football over professional football. Or a preference for football over basketball (though living in North Carolina did help ease this culture shock).
- Friendly dogs (most neighborhood dogs here are on a mission. They are in total “pee and flee” or “shit and quit” mode. It’s probably the only way they get through the winter.)
- An understanding of “air conditioning” (in the South, any environment is either outside or has central air. In Chicago, air conditioning means “there’s a 30-year old ceiling fan in the living room”.). It’s so sad to see so many gorgeous buildings with box units ruining the facade.
- The accents. It’s not that I can’t understand the Midwest accent. It’s that I can’t understand how–having heard both–Southern accents are the “dumb” sounding ones. It’s always talk like a pirate day up here. Also, a lot of “o”s take on an “ah” sound. Like “mahm and pahp shahp”. Dey don’t gaht dose in the South. =)
Now, to try to stay positive and in the present, some things I do not miss about the South:
- The lack of diversity. This was especially true in the BRCM which was (for lack of a better phrase) a W.A.S.P.s nest. But even while Atlanta has “Chambodia” and a few Ethiopian restaurants it’s got nothing on Chicago when it comes to diversity. I can’t walk to the grocery store without hearing at least three different foreign languages.
- The social graces and airs. Chicago is blunt, and I like that. Anthony Bourdain described it as “one of the last great no bullshit zones”. You never have to interpret “bless your heart” as an insult (though I can’t imagine anyone saying that in the first place…). Everyone from the baristas to the bums will tell you exactly how they feel.
- The work ethic. In Atlanta, people work (and spend a lot of time in traffic to get there). But the vibe is that work just fills your day or gives you play money. Here, when you’re working you’re working. When you’re off you’re gone and will never be found. But the overall intensity of the work ethic in Chicago is highly admirable.
And so on that note, here are some songs. Click to get the youtube link.
- Better Dig Two, the Band Perry
- Boy Got it Bad, Kail Baxley
- Fire in the Blood, Bootleggers with Emmylou Harris and Nick Cave
- That’s What She Said, the Boxcars
- Blood on My Name, the Brothers Bright
- Hit ’em Up Style, Carolina Chocolate Drops
- Personal Jesus, Johnny Cash
- Next Door Neighbor Blues, Gary Clark Jr.
- 99 Problems, Hugo
- Broken Bones, Kaleo
- Ballad of a Prodigal Son, Lincoln Durham
- Old Time Religion, Parker Millsap
- Carolina Drama, the Raconteurs
- Bottom of the River, Delta Rae
- How’s It Going to End, Tom Waits