At this point there’s a discussion of lost laundry, disorganization, fighting the good fight vs. defeatist attitudes, and the fact that I once had to get my landlord to go to “Water Board Court” to fight a bill I received stating I’d used something like 40,000 gallons of water in one month, which caused my bill to skyrocket to ridiculous proportions.
Dan Kennedy: We lived in this place for a while, on 35th street, and the second we moved in, I was like, “Oh. We’re. . . we’re in the spider web. So, don’t move. Like, (laughs) don’t try to fight it ’cause the spider will just come out.” Like, we are IN the vortex of weird shit.
The first electricity bill we saw ended up exactly like your water bill. And we’re like, okay clearly there are five apartments running off of our meter. It was totally bizarre; someone must have been hijacking our electricity. My attitude on it was, “Yeah, just don’t even fight it, just pay it and know that everything’s gonna be screwed for a year.”
Popshifter: Oh my god.
Dan Kennedy: My girlfriend’s attitude was like, “No, we need to fight the good fight!” And I was like (blasé tone), “I guess, but we both have a lot to get done in the next eleven months.” (laughs) We may as well just go with it.
I relate the story of my neighbors in New Orleans who drunkenly drove down our street crashing into all the parked cars on the side of the road. At one point, their back tire flew off, so they rode the rest of the way on the rim, leaving scorch marks down the length of the street. The other neighbors whose cars were hit called the cops, who were less than enthused about helping, saying they didn’t actually see it happen, thus there was no proof. They refused to confront the drunk neighbors who were presumably passed out in their apartment, despite the scorch marks and all the empty beer bottles in their car.
Dan laughs and I inform him that it’s not just the New Orleans Police Department being laissez faire, it’s also that the incident occurred during Mardi Gras and that during Mardi Gras, unless you actually see someone getting their head cut off with a sword, the cops won’t do anything because they have so much other stuff to worry about.
Dan Kennedy: (cracking up) That’s such a good level though, when to dispatch police units? “Well, has someone’s head been cut off with a sword?” “No.” “Okay. We’re just gonna ask you to let us know if that does happen.”
Popshifter: (cracking up) Yeah! Pretty much unless they see someone getting assaulted or shot, they don’t do anything. Because so much happens where they do see it. So if it’s just what someone heard or said, it’s like there’s no proof.
Dan Kennedy: That’s so great. You’re like, “Hey, uh, my neighbor just veered down the street, careening into every car; they’ve got a couple kids stuck to the grill, and now they’re passed out.” And they’re like, “Well. . . it sounds pretty screwed up, but I gotta tell you the truth: I’m looking at four people who are getting cut up right now with different types of saws. I’m gonna have to roll on that.”
Popshifter: (cracking up)
Dan Kennedy: “We’ve got a lady up the street. Oh! She just set a bomb on fire, so I’m watching a lot of stuff actually happen and it sounds like you saw something kind of happen?”
Popshifter: “You may or may not have seen it.” (laughing)
Dan Kennedy: That’s a great definition of mayhem.
Popshifter: Have you ever thought about doing a film—either writing, directing, or collaborating on the soundtrack? Because obviously music is a big deal in your life and has directed so many things that you’ve done.
Dan Kennedy: I never did until the last couple of years. I’d love to make a film like I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.
Popshifter: What is that?
Dan Kennedy: Oh, that’s a documentary about Wilco. Now more than ever there is room for interesting, dark humor and more interesting takes on music documentaries, other than, “Here we are on the bus!” I guess the short answer is yes.
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