One Thing Leads to a Rabbit Hole

By Miles Erickson

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One Thing Leads to a Rabbit Hole
This week I was tasked with writing a story about Topanga Days, the yearly music and arts festival that takes place over Memorial Day weekend. My directions were pretty simple “Cover the bands.” I started out writing a puff piece and getting some color commentary from locals. The aim was to get quotes like, “Wow! I’m so excited that Topanga Days is back post-pandemic.” Almost immediately I got off track, off topic and completely devolved. I wound up being led down a rabbit hole of escalating weirdness until I found myself interviewing (alleged) drug dealers, (alleged) money launderers, combing through police records, and trying to chase down a fugitive from the law who may or may not exist. Now, I’m not going to share with you any of the findings of my investigation, because at its heart, this is a newspaper by and for Topangans and I don’t think it would be in anybody’s best interest for me to start throwing around accusations and airing the dirty laundry of locals. Even in the opening here, I’m trying to be as tactful and diplomatic as possible. I should reiterate that by the time I was chasing down the aforementioned fugitives, I was very far removed from anything pertaining to Topanga Days. (I hope Topanga Days takes that last sentence into consideration when I come to collect my ticket on Memorial day.) If you’re wondering how a question like, “So are you excited for Topanga Days this year?” could lead to somebody saying “Well you know ____ over on ____ sells meth.” Honestly, I can’t imagine people in Topanga buying hard drugs unless it was labeled “artisanal” and sold on Facebook Marketplace. I’d like to defer to recent posts on Nextdoor Topanga, like, for example, the one where some guy posted about a kid jaywalking and blamed the kid’s father for his girlfriend having a nervous breakdown, then grandstanded about the tragic death of a 13-year-old girl that happened over a decade ago. Long Distance Listening Party Vol. 9 In Flight—Sunflower Bean Pedestrian at Best—Courtney Barnett One—Aimee Mann Life’s a Gas—Sunflower Bean Strawberryfire—The Apples In Stereo Frank Sinatra—Cake A Day In The Life —Chris Cornell (Live) The Hand That Feeds—Nine Inch Nails There Is a Light That Never Goes Out—Dum Dum Girls One, Aimee Mann. I always thought that this was a Beatles song, mostly because it’s kinda corny and sounds like something that would be in The Yellow Submarine movie. Other than that, I don’t have a lot to say about it. There’s a lyric that goes, “One is a number divided by two,” which is not very revolutionary unless you’re in second grade and still on multiplication. Strawberryfire, The Apples In Stereo. Speaking of songs that sound like Beatles songs, I can think of at least three Beatles albums that this sounds like a cut track from. The most obvious Beatles influences seem to be in the drawling, hypnotic vocals, drums, sound effects, violins, and that very one-brand use of playing segments of the song backwards. Frank Sinatra, Cake. I always love me a good high-pitched-synth melody. The synth bass organ at the beginning is also great and very ’90s. Sometimes when I listen to this song my stomach hurts and I have to drink Pepto Bismol. Like the next song, this one also features an extended bridge/breakdown/solo section but, unlike in “The Hand That Feeds,” when Cake does it, it feels earned and actually adds to the song. The Hand That Feeds, Nine Inch Nails. This is a song that I’ve been considering adding to the playlist in previous volumes. It comes in pretty tight at three minutes, but I could have used a little more repetition. The last third of the song moves directly from the bridge to the outro, when I could have used another go-round with the chorus and pre-chorus. The pre-chorus section at the very beginning of the song is maybe the best part of the entire piece, but they only use it once and it makes the rest of the song feel a bit underwhelming in comparison. Miles Erickson is a recent graduate of CalArts, a published author, and currently enrolled in a prestigious, four-year, student loan repayment program. Long Distance Listening Party is a bi-weekly column whose vague intention is to discuss topics framed in the context of what I’m currently listening to. This playlist is available on Spotify. Search “Long Distance Listening Party” or my username, Mileserickson-354.

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May 27, 2022