Bedroom Boogie

by Thom Coombes

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1.
Pinball 03:41
PINBALL I felt like a pinball as I wander thru the sonder creeping thru the skin I’m under. I felt like a pinball as I shuffle thru the couples, in the ruckus and the rubble. Opposite the waiter with my pen and paper until this Elvis impersonator Comes up to tell us he's the eyes, ears, and conscious of some creator. I say I feel like an unemployed journalist looking for a story, Exploring another boring, glorified glimpse of purgatory . I felt like a pinball bouncing back and forth between the bells and buzzers. I felt like a pinball, where there’s no endgame, only a game-over. Everything started looking like a symbol, or feeling like an omen. I wondered if it was the dopamine in my system or the serotonin. I thought I saw a pattern in the randomness of which i tried to make sense, But any eloquence I came across was just a coincidence. I felt like a pinball dancing with the others, the lonely and the lovers. I felt like a pinball bumping into extras in the background on set of the actors. Life is as meaningless as a game of pinball but don’t get me wrong, It’s all fun and games to see how long you can hang on. High score initials, like some superficial graveyard I’ll never sign that wall of fame, all the same, I don’t really care about pinball.
2.
Papercuts 04:03
PAPERCUTS As I talk to my friends I can pretend to be social. Once I get in the groove I start to loosen up a little. But back at the office I keep my hands in my pockets with their potential. Oh man, I can't pretend to give a hoot. I know I don't look good in a suit. As I play with the band I can pretend to be myself, and to be creative, tho it just feels the same as anything else. But back at the office I couldn't help but notice I couldn't fake how I felt. Oh man, I can't pretend to give a shit. I know I don't intend to stay with it. When I'm offended I can pretend it doesn't bother me. When it's over my head I can pretend I understand it perfectly. But back at the office I seem standoffish when I'm just content to be unhappy. I pretend carefully because eventually it's what we become. And back at the office I know I'm not this person. Back at the office I can't stop this feeling from coming on. Oh man, I can't pretend to give a fuck. I guess success on paper feels more like paper-cuts. And all the boys in the background were just noise to drown out, like poison in the well, but I'm not buying what they're trying to sell.
3.
You’ve got something right there,” she says, and leans in close. “Can I get it or would that be gross?” She runs her fingers across my forehead and squeezes the pink skin until it turns red. “There’s another one here, just off to the side!” She lifts up the hair I combed there to hide. She pauses and keeps her hands in place and looks down to me, to see if I make a face. She goes in for the kill, and asks “does it hurt?” “I’ve got more,” I say and I unbuttoned my shirt. Fingernails pick, prick and prune and cover me in a sea of red crescent moons. It didn’t seem strange when she said “let me see” and that’s the strange thing about intimacy. Her eyes all lit up, she didn’t know where to begin. I stared at her face as she studied my skin. “Lay down on your stomach,” she softly demands and sits on top of me, hind-end-to-end. She takes a deep breath and gets down to work while I bite the pillow and try not to jerk. She’s as focused as if working on a crossword; getting stuck, moving on and doubling back to the deferred. “That was a good one!” she said, already moving on to the next. “Keep going?” she asked, not stopping to check. Putting 2 thumbs together, she pushed down and pressed. I hate all of my scars, but I hate this one best.
4.
Placeholder 05:46
PLACEHOLDER Never knew I was in danger until I was almost in the clear, The atmosphere like a private conversation I’m trying not to overhear. Once I turned my head back there, looked directly in the camera. All I felt was a fracture fading into ephemera. I wasn’t fazed but my eyes glazed over. Staring off into space, I know my placeholder. If I’m nervous under the surface, I’m on the wrong side of the lens. Happiness was too precious to be cradled in my hands. So I held myself together, or at least I tried my best. I felt like a worn out rubber band. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. I wasn’t fazed but my eyes glazed over. Staring off into space, I know my placeholder. Eyes on the horizon, or home on the range. All of these changes feel like more of the same.
5.
MOOD SWING SET Felt 2 things as 1 when they collide. Sever the tether and I’m off to the side. Saw myself spinning off course, caught between the back and the forth. Mood swing set and we met in the middle. Centripetal force got me running in a circle. A rut and a routine seem close, but It’s one or the other, you can be both. There’s the way that I feel, a way I always felt I’ll never get over it, or under my belt. I guess I feel normal, whatever that means. I’ve only felt what’s normal to me. If I go thru the motions, I’ll retrace my steps in reverse. If I have to wait it out, it’s not as bad as it sounds, it’s the only thing that works. Face like a mountain, face it like you face a mirror, If I go looking in, I'll still see myself right here. The past is layered in phases we compared to each other while we wonder where the moment disappeared. If I was scared of the phase I was in, I was unprepared for the next phase to begin. At the end of an era, on the edge of my seat, is my head in the clouds ‘cause I can’t feel my feet. At the end of an era, on the tip of my toes, if I slip thru the grip, then I grasp as it goes. My heart is a garden that the dark plays a part in, where you can bury your feelings and see what grows. Ass out from under me face in the dirt, it doesn’t hurt until you become inert. I’ll say all the things I said in reverse. I was saying nothing with a lot of words. Face like a mountain, face it like you face a mirror, If I go looking in, I'll still see myself right here.
6.
MOTEL TONIGHT Said I’d be back by the time the sun sets. but all the mountains around me look more like silhouettes. The longest road I’ve ever known has always been the last stretch that takes me back home. So I take a deep breath and rub my eyes, I'm gonna take my time and make it home all right, but there’s no way in hell I’m getting a motel tonight. I’ll turn on the campus radio when I’m in range, until then I’ll drive in silence just for the change, And wait to hear a voice other than my own come thru the atmospheric noise, and across the chrome, As if my car were a tin can and the antenna were twine disappearing behind the mountain line, but there’s no way in hell I’m getting a motel tonight. You’re there at my house, half asleep on the couch. You know there’s an empty bed. You’d rather wait, half awake, to be side-by-side instead. So there’s no way in hell I’m getting a motel tonight. All those road-side crosses scare the shit outta me. An accident could happen so easily. No matter how carefully, keep it steady. I gotta get home before my eyes get heavy on a road with no shoulder, no place to pull over, and not so much as a street light, but there’s no way in hell I’m getting a hotel tonight.
7.
BETTER IN BROWN Intrigued by a man, dressed in black. I always wanted to look like that. He’s flashing a fringe on a vintage western shirt. It’s an iconic look I could never get to work Met a man in pink, and I think he said “you’d be better off dead than to see me in red.” He’s a silver fox fit for the silver screen. He looks better than i do in my dreams, But I look better in brown than anyone in town So many soulful shades of blue, but you're the only one who looks like you. You got something borrowed, old and new. Wedding bells rang and I’m tangled up in you. I tried to wear white, but I couldn't keep it clean. I looked like some off colour scheme. A wedding white suit ain't as pure as it seems, or whatever the hell white's supposed to mean. But I look better in brown than anyone in town I saw a black shirt on sale, still too rich for my blood. I felt like a tryhard for trying it out. When I saw myself, it wasn't what I expected. It looked better in my head, than in my reflection. These negative thoughts are old bad habits that hang around trash like yellowjackets. I was red in the face with no one around. I felt that way until I found out that I look better in brown than anyone in town. And the man in black looks good like that. My bride in blue knows what to do. And I look better in brown...
8.
I USED TO LISTEN TO MUSIC Slow budget film takes the scenic route thru the ordinary and tries to be cute. There’s a scene the director refuses to cut. It doesn’t bring much to the table or advance the plot. The actor is alone, dancing in the basement. There’s nothing to get. It’s a feeling, a moment. It adds to the aesthetic. Some people won’t get it. Subtle in the silence there was something poetic In Another Scene: the actor’s driving at night, rain on the windshield, blurry street lights. They turn the stereo up, play my favourite song. The actor does nothing, which is what i would’ve done. I used to listen to music but now I just put it on. It was the soundtrack, not just the background. Am I indulging in dark thoughts or shutting them out. I didn’t feel as alone knowing that someone else had expressed the way that I felt when I felt depressed. I thought I needed a reason for pain to be justified. I was down and out but never hard done by. My head was filled with words between my headphones. I had said them to myself as if they were my own. I read the liner notes to know when and where it was from and how it was recorded. I could almost see that room. And I could see your hometown when my eyes were closed, right on top of mine as if the 2 were transposed. I used to know all the words, now I just hum along. I once said them as prayers at the top of my lungs. I need it now as much as I did when I was young because I’m afraid to admit that I’m more lost than I let on. I used to listen to music but now I just put it on. I stopped buying records once I moved 1 too many times. I tried to sell all my stuff but where do you draw that line? Which starts the paranoid existential bullshit I can’t turn off if I tried to. Some art I couldn’t part with for the sentimental value. Make time and space for art, because you make it for yourself. All that I have left sits upon my shelf. I got a chapbook of poetry sent to me thru the post from a friend of a friend who I only met once. It slowly flips open with a broken spine, favourite lines highlighted, second hand thoughts inscribed. There’s a history to this particular print that tries to explain why it’s so difficult to exist. Everything I own was placed at my feet. As if what you’re into and what you have really makes you unique. As I search for substance, even my misery is mediocre, but it’s honestly ok, because we’re all in this together. Am I defined by all I identify with in this room? Am I just an amalgamation of all things which I consume? Was I on to something or was it something I was on? What changed in me? When did I forget how to have fun? I used to be more enthused, how did I lose it? I used to listen to music but now I just put it on.
9.

about

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Any purchases for this PWYC album are certainly appreciated.

Alternatively, consider donating what you would spend on this album to one of the following organizations, and let me know at thomascoombes@gmail.com and I will e-mail you a download code.

www.girlsrocknl.com/donate-1
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unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/
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I started recording this album in the Summer of 2018 while house sitting for my parents, taking care of their pets and plants. I was gearing up to leave my little Newfoundland home to be with my sweetheart on the other side of the country.

I spent those weeks tying up loose ends and dealing with the clutter of my life. I began selling most of my music gear that I rarely used anymore, finding good homes for once loved instruments. I dusted off old faithful -a clunky tascam 424 cassette recorder- and set it up in what used to be my grandmother's bedroom, filling tapes as if they were some kind of sonic scrapbook, capturing my last rendezvous with thrift-store keyboards and various guitars.

A few weeks later I began driving across the country with my life packed into a little car, including a suitcase full of tapes and the 4-track recorder.

Old faithful stayed buried in the back of a closet for 2019, because some years are like that, I guess.

I recorded and re-recorded some more songs in the Spring/Summer of 2020, on the other side of the country, while my sweetheart worked late at the hospital, and I, recently laid-off, took care of our own pets and plants.

So this album rests on the heels of an old life, while welcoming a burgeoning new one.

XO



Album art by Noah Jake Bender.

credits

released July 24, 2020

PINBALL
Life is as meaningless as a game of pinball, but don’t get me wrong...

PAPERCUTS
Oh man, I can’t pretend to give a fuck...

THAT WAS A GOOD ONE!
Cover me in a sea of red crescent moons...

PLACEHOLDER
Happiness was too precious to be cradled in my hands...

MOOD SWING SET
Ass out from under me, face in the dirt -it doesn't hurt til you become inert...

MOTEL TONIGHT
All those roadside crosses scare the shit out of me...

BETTER IN BROWN
So many soulful shades of blue, but you’re the only one who looks like you...

I USED TO LISTEN TO MUSIC
But now I just put it on...

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Thom Coombes Victoria, British Columbia

not me. not now.

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