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This morning, the Twitterz provided me with a link I’d missed back in November, to a piece about the Clash’s Vanilla Tapes. I listened to the cut of London Calling, and heard the ways in which it was not the final cut, and thought of authenticity. What a fabled state of grace: authenticity.

You think, if I just get this one thing right, I’ll be done.

portrait as a process test

process test poser portrait

But you won’t. And that’s okay. You’re still not a poser. (That’s an old Chicago punk term that got thrown around the way farb gets thrown around now.)

I’m pretty familiar with the album version of London Calling, but the Vanilla Tape version really reminded me: it’s not a destination, it’s a process.

It can mean taking coats apart and making them over till our eyes bleed. It can mean thinking and rethinking a character.

What matters is the process. I know, how tiresome: it’s the journey not the snow leopard.  But it’s true: what makes history in any expression fun are the questions, the new things to learn.

Yes, I have always like to dress up, and to get my friends to join me.

Yes, I have always liked to dress up, and to get my friends to join me.

I realized, too, that the joy I felt seeing the Clash at the Aragon ballroom none-of-your-business years ago was not unlike the pleasure I get from living history– and that’s not just because of the funny clothes and loud noises, though both sub-cultures share a taste for natty dressing and unusual music.

I find joy in the physicality of living history*, for although a milliners’ shop is no mosh pit, when your  clothes, shoes, and accessories are as right as they can be, you will move and feel differently than you do in your office or workout clothes.

There’s joy for me in the difficulties, too: from Saratoga to cooking, I like a problem to solve, a process to learn.

I’ll never get everything just right: I’ll get closer to right, and the fun is in figuring out how.