Essays, Interviews, Observations, Pop Culture, Stories, and other Dodginess

UK Grief’s Non-Record Release Party

Posted on April 8, 2015

Or “Angie’s Eye”

UK Grief’s Non-Record Release Party was held at Chicago reclusive author (and keyboardist) Clive Javanski’s new Logan Square Apartment. Clive still had his place near Quencher’s Saloon in Bucktown, but purchased this as some kind of investment.

“A few years ago a strung-out coke whore was probably giving a two-dollar blow job in this exact spot,” Clive said. “But now we have Diamond-Eyes David Catzman in her place, sipping a Cuba Libre and wearing ruby red boots.”

I was never really sure who Catzman knew in our group, but he always showed up for a party. Catzman is what Aidan calls “a bi-guy,” which might explain why he has a gorgeous girlfriend with him yet grabs my ass in the kitchen.

Catzman was here along with many other assholes to celebrate what would have been a new release from the Bucktown-based UK Grief (myself, Clive, Sasha, Aidan, Franz). There is no record yet. But there’s still a party.

I looked around the room and saw Angela, an ex-girlfriend of mine who always wore construction boots on her tiny feet and looked damn good doing so. Her kisses tasted like undiscovered fruit. When she got drunk one of her eyes got smaller. How cute. It usually led to her hand in my pants, or mine in hers.

“Everyone’s at this fucking thing,” Aidan said. “The entire city’s walking weird is here.”

Band friend Mosquito came. He earned that nickname because someone said he “looked like an insect.” Also here was Devin, who said he worked at Violet Hour in Wicker Park and was starting a new Internet cooking/eating and restaurant show called “Food Assholes.”

I walked over to Clive, who in between bong hits was telling some DePaul girls how we were originally going to name the band Weird Asian Girls. None of us were girls (before Sasha joined), or Asian. But damn were we weird.

I walked the room. Someone called me an “IRA looking asshole.”

Things I overheard:

“The last tire fire I started, in unincorporated Indiana, you could see that motherballer from space.”

Then this.

“At the last party this hillbilly enchantress turned Aidan into an exhaust pipe.”

I went looking for Sasha, because it’s times like these we usually have sex. But I found Angela instead, in the kitchen. She wore a black skirt and I got to see my favorite freckle of all time – the one just a few inches above her right knee on otherwise unblemished legs.

Angela was wearing an old Nitzer Ebb tee and kissed me on the cheek. I was going to ask what she was doing there but I decided not too. I thought about writing a song about her, called “Angie’s Eye.” We talked, we drank. Her eye got smaller. Someone’s hand was going somewhere. Hers or mine, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter.

UK Grief’s St. Pat’s Loft Gig

Posted on March 17, 2015

On Saturday night UK Grief played a St. Pat’s gig at the same Chicago Wicker Park loft of its “first and last gig.”

As Irish, I’m like the vampire that takes Halloween off. It’s amateur hour. All the amateurs come out wearing their “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons (who still wears buttons?) and stupid green Leprechaun hats. I did have a Pot ‘o Gold, however – growler of  Half Acre Space IPA that I treated myself.

It was the only thing I carried in with me to the loft. We were back. UK Grief – myself, Chicago reclusive author Clive Javanski (keyboards), Aidan (bass), Franz (guitar), and Sasha (percussion and vocals).

I didn’t even know we’d be doing this gig as recent as Friday. My friend Paul asked what I was doing for St. Pat’s (which has turned into a weekend weeklong holiday).

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe stay home and dye my toilet water green.”

“Well then why don’t you take a four-leaf dump.”

Paul was at the loft this night, with the Pretties – his two beautiful, model roommates. Drinking out of his lighted beer mug, which he’s had since high school.

“What’s up Lif? Gonna put on a good show for us?”

“Probably not, Paul. Probably not. So keep drinking.”

None of us were wearing green, save for Aidan’s green painted fingernails.

“Hey Aidan,” someone yelled (his brother). “I like your green fingernails.”

“I like your green pussy,” Aidan said. “Now shut the fuck up.”

Sasha wore a tartan kilt that had a little green in it, but mostly I saw blue and purple. And she wore it over jeans, which I found strangely sexy. Before our set Sasha and I went in the kitchen and shared a Guinness and a kiss.

Our first song was an Aidan original called “Black and Tan Belly Dancer.” It was based on a half Russian, half Middle Eastern who actually was a belly dancer. He dated her and brought her with him to the Irish Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center on the north side exactly one year ago. Aidan wrote and sang the song, so this was my David Gahan moment in Depeche Mode when I leave the stage as he does when Martin Gore gets behind the mike.

There were roughly 200 people there, which is more than I’ve seen at some of the local shows in town. We regaled them with Irish-themed songs, including a few originals, obscure Cranberries tunes, some Gavin Friday and Bell X1. And the lone U2 song we’ll do, “Red Hill Mining Town.”

It was after that number when Clive passed out behind the keys. Not because he was drunk, or stoned, which he was, but some shitty, temporary medical condition. While he was being looked to by a couple med students in the crowd Aidan took it upon himself to rage against the “asshole amateurs” at the Irish parades and bars downtown.

“If I see any of you with a green plastic hat on, I’ll shove it up your ass,” he said.

We thought about continuing on without Clive, but then someone cranked up the jukebox (yea, there was a jukebox in the loft) and it was Dropkick Murphys. So we left the stage to drink, and maybe fight, because what else is there to do when the Murphys come on?

I went back in the kitchen with Sasha. She wanted to kiss again. I didn’t. But then she pointed to a can of Guinness hanging from a rope in the doorway above us.

“The Irish mistletoe,” she said.

“Fuck it then, let’s kiss,” I said.

“By the way,” Sasha said. “If I’ve never told you this. It’s perfect for today, but your name is stupid. Now kiss me.”

 UK Grief Walks into a Bar

The First and Last Gig of UK Grief

Happy Birthday Asshole

Posted on March 7, 2015

It was my birthday last week. My friend Aidan brought me a growler of Half Acre Space IPA.

“Happy Birthday Asshole,” he said.

It was the same thing he said to me in junior high at our Chicago Catholic school after bringing me a bag of unconsecrated hosts from the church sacristy. “Happy Birthday Asshole.”

I had just opened the growler when my neighbor, Ms. Weregun, knocked on me door. She had a birthday present for me. It was a cat litter box.

“But I don’t have a cat,” I said.

“Well get one, asshole,” she said.

My first birthday after college an attractive but somewhat worn-looking girl knocked on my apartment door. Underneath her long coat was a cheerleading uniform. She was some kind of stripper/birthday gram. Sent to me not by Aidan, but by a girl friend of mine, Heather. I told her I didn’t want a strip dance or anything, so we had some coffee. Before she left she told me I smelled nice and gave me a kiss.

During my sophomore year in high school my girl friends decorated my locker. This was usually reserved for girls at the school. I liked it. One of the jocks walked by however, and asked “if I was a fag.” Weird, because only a week earlier I had gone down on his girlfriend at a school drama group party. I guess he was unaware.

I remember one birthday during college and my friend Johnny and I were hitting the Wrigleyville bars. I remember it was freezing, we were running, and something made Johnny shit his pants. His sweatpants (why he was wearing sweatpants, I don’t recall. I”m sure it was a hit with the girls at the bars). He chucked those sweatpants in an alley near Wrigley Field. “They’ll be frozen to the ground by morning,” he said.

There was another birthday memory from junior high, when my older sister’s friends pinned me to the floor and nearly tickled me to death. One of them kissed me after, so that made up for it. She even let me touch her boob. “Happy Birthday,” she said.

When I was 17 my girlfriend at the time made me give her 17 spankings. Even though it was my birthday. I’m not really even into spankings. So I would take my time between spanks, groping, caressing her ass and legs. “Spank me goddamnit!” she said.

Reclusive Chicago author Clive Javanski once got me a bag of pot and a book on Doc Martens, and some album from a British doom metal band.

Then there was the birthday in Dublin. A girl named Clara. After hours, in my mother’s office at Trinity University.

One time Aidan brought shrimp to a party we had in honor of my day of birth. I ended up on and practically in the toilet for most of the night.

“Where’d you get that shrimp Aidan?”

“Who the fuck knows,” he said. “Happy Birthday Asshole.”


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