Thursday, November 26, 2015

Bret Easton Ellis, I love you (AM)

I really was not made for these internet days. I remember in the early days of internet, living with Miguel and David, Miguel had internet in his room. I’d use it sometimes to write an email, maybe look up a thing or two, but I couldn’t spend long hours in front of the computers like my housemates. They are still much better than me at the internet. I know this because they send me links to things I would never have the patience to find. As in, I would never have the patience to roam the 'net for hours on end through one obscure site to the next just to find some hilarious or gross thing.

I have websites I look at regularly but I rarely add to these. I may wander around the 'net for a while if I have purpose but I just don’t have the time or patience to spend a long time looking for potential  best new things. So too with podcasts. I have a few in my rotation but I’m more likely to drop ones I tire of than pick up new ones. But lately my regulars haven’t been giving me what I want, what I need. What do I need? You know what I want right now from my podcast? I want to listen for a good length of time to something enjoyable and immersive, fairly lighthearted but intelligent. But also that won’t punish me if I drift away from it for a couple of minutes. You know what I mean. That! That is what I’ve been wanting. Sure I’ve tried other podcasts outside my regular roster but it’s hard to really connect with one.

When I learned Bret Easton Ellis did podcasts a year or two ago of course I jumped at the chance to listen to it. I love his writing. His earlier books especially are among my all-time favourites and I often lament the fact that I had to miss seeing him speak a few years ago because I was bed-bound with a cold, so his podcast seemed like really a new best thing.  Back then I listened to an episode in which he interviewed BJ Novak. And by "interviewed" I mean he talked for an hour during which BJ Novak was occasionally given the opportunity to interject, answering a question ostensibly directed at him, but evidently posed so that Ellis could offer up his own thoughts on the matter.

This did not make the podcast unenjoyable. To the contrary, the ridiculous self importance of BEE was highly entertaining but I felt at the time like it didn't fit in to my podcast regime. A regime which was largely dedicated to podcast hosts with a much more understated sense of self-importance. 

Yesterday, though, I just knew it was time to really shake things up and that I needed to listen to a totally different kind of thing. No Fresh Air. No This American Life. I remembered The Bret Easton Ellis Podcast and I decided to give it a go and within minute I knew I'd made the right choice. 

I chose to listen to an interview with Judd Nelson which opened with about a 20-minute monologue by BEE, waxing lyrical about what actors are like, about how they play a part all the time, about the difference between them and the other public performance professions. About how they always want to please, always hide something. Nothing he was saying was in the least revelatory, but the guy really has a way with words and although, or because, he really seems like a douche bag it was highly enjoyable listening. It really suited my mood perfectly. It made me remember what it was like to read some of his beautifully crafted sentences for the first time. It made me remember, Bret Easton Ellis, I love you. 

But words are not a man. Of course I don't love him. I hate him. I find him equal parts wonderful and repulsive. Which is of course a balance for the ages. But I certainly enjoyed him. And if you have a passion for the 80s and the movies of the time, listening to Bret Easton Ellis talk to Judd Nelson about The Breakfast Club and St Elmo's Fire was always going to be a joy. Listening to BEE recount the way Emilio Estevez and other hot young things were perceived and presented in the media of the time is a great insight into the pop culture of a time I was too young to be aware of. I really felt like I gained an insight into a time and place listening to that episode. And I love that. It is basically my main thrill in intellectual life. 

Guys, I think BEE has found his way onto my podcast roster.

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