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  • Andy Valeri; Big Beef Productions

'Wrecked' - Living And Creating While We Do The Collapse

The ‘Wrecked’ episode of the IAH series is out now, and I’ll admit this one has always personally stood out to me a bit. Coming at the end of a string of new productions at the time, it felt like it was crossing some kind of threshold, though of what I wasn’t sure.

Perhaps that was due to a sense that it was reaching a new level production-wise, in how the programs were coming together, as well as how they were working thematically, in what they were tapping into.

It certainly seemed to represent another reflection of the Lattice of Coincidence at work. That’s considering it’s now been nearly a year since this metaphor-laden episode was actually produced, only to have it’s long-scheduled release align rather fittingly with the tumultuous events of the moment, as a whole series of long-standing institutions and the assumptions underlying them are being wrecked upon the shoals of historical change.

As I type this in conjunction with this episode heading out into the audiophonic landscape of our troubled world, we have GameStop stock holders on the verge of stopping the game that is the scamming fraud of Wall Street, 'bringing it down like a sacred cow’ as The Pure Plastic Tree sing in “Boxed,” a song I helped produce and which was actually on the first Big Beef Records CD release nearly three decades ago. Another Big Beef recording from that same era is also included in the episode, the eternally cool “Ruin” by my compatriots The Electric Ferrets. This version recorded in the community television studio that I worked in for many decades.

Gonna tell me Dylan’s "Everything Is Broken" doesn’t resonate, maybe more than ever? That Brainiac doesn’t sound like the soundtrack for a future we don’t even know how to pretend to understand? That George Carlin wasn’t a prophet, along with my fellow Ohioans Devo? The spud boys’ “Worried Man”, taken from the Neil Young movie “Human Highway” and was a notably rare work at the time in the pre-internet era, was something I first saw on an episode of “Night Flight” on cable TV in the mid 80’s, and stuck with me ever since. Another of Devo’s works that couldn’t help but permanently inform and deepen ones perspectives on just how this world actually works, or doesn’t work, depending on the what the case may be.

But wreckage can come in all sorts of ways and forms. Maybe it’s your home, both literally or figuratively. Maybe it’s your relationships. Maybe it’s your career or your business. Maybe it’s your country, or your society. Maybe it’s your future. Or perhaps it’s your past. Nothing like discovering that you’re from something that isn’t what you thought it was. That what you thought and believed, sometimes fervently, finds itself among the wreckage. That ‘ash heap of history’ as is sometimes referred to.

That’s the kind of thing reflected in “Ozymandias,” Percy Bysshe Shelley’s classic ode to the eternal decay of hubris, featured here from an original J.J. Burnel 45rpm. Rather timely as the hubris of our current ruling political establishment drives itself (and us) towards the brink of collapse through hubristic determination to thwart democratic accountability, all the while fueling and enabling a literal genocide.

But that’s how power roles amidst our Age of Impunity, our present incarnation of the unaccountability of power, which spreads over us as a kind of radioactive toxic dust, which pollutes and sickens everything in its path.

As we live through a Chernobyl-like meltdown of our whole political establishment, for which, like Chernobyl, there will be way too many innocent casualties, we can only amplify the better visions among all of this, among all of us, in order to reshape and re-direct ourselves towards a healthier, more sustainable world.

So here’s to music and culture helping shape that future forward, one in which we can crawl out of this wreckage toward more healthy ground. Where we can amplify the healing vibrations of music to not just envision a better world, but getting on with the work of actually creating it.

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