January 27, 2006

Jesus, St. Paul, Poland, Wankers, a horse-drawn hay cart, Larry, and Me

Speaking of religion, philosophy, spirituality, atheism, contrarianism, drugs, hippies, punk rock and what have you, Larry dredges up an anecdote from a drunken ramble through Poland in the summer of '92.

What he doesn't mention (and possibly doesn't know) is that shortly thereafter I, to the horror of many of the punks in our extended entourage, attended mass at the cathedral in Prague, and that it was one of the most moving, soul-shattering, beautiful and terrifying experiences I have ever had. And I still hear it echo and feel it reverberate in the soul I'm not supposed to have to this day. Blake said he knew there was a God because he had seen his face. It was something like that.

UPDATE: the other odd thing about this story is that, as I learned many years later (and if I have my facts right) Ken Layne and Matt Welch were at the show we played with Fugazi later that night.

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 27, 2006 09:39 PM | TrackBack

Blake has seen His face; you went to mass at the cathedral in Prague; I've had versions of "The History of the Concept of the Soul" -- from Night Shift at the Thrill Factory and the live Making Things with Light version -- come up consecutively with my ipod on shuffle. That's when I smile beatifically, and know that God exists.

Posted by: Paul MacDonald at January 27, 2006 10:39 PM

Yeah, it was the Roxy. When you guys came on I remember thinking, "Mr. T? Looking like a bunch of preppies? Are these guys the Michael J. Fox of pop-punk?"

And then you blew Fugazi off the stage, least far as I was concerned. One of those times where the unknown opening act not only stomps balls on the headliner you came for, but actually severs your relationship with them in the first place. Fugazi was fine, but I haven't ever really forgiven them. Also, that whole straight edge thing, etc.

Posted by: Matt Welch at January 27, 2006 11:13 PM

Wow, I had totally forgotten the "Saint Paul was NOT a wanker" thing -- good times! A lot of crazy things happened on that tour, particularly during the Eastern European part of it. In fact, there are at least four or five other amusing anecdotes just from those couple of days in Prague. I guess it'll all come out in your memoirs, Frank (which have to be titled "The History of the Frank").

Posted by: Aaron at January 28, 2006 07:12 AM

No, I didn't know you attended Mass at the cathedral in Prague, or I would have tormented you mercilessly about it for years afterward. What I also didn't mention is after all the harassment I inflicted on you, I was the one who ended up attending Mass regularly. In Latin, no less.

The Fugazi show was actually a day or so later, after Bydgoszcz. What I remember most about it (Matt is right, though, you guys were great) was that Fugazi gave us all their beer (always a fringe benefit to sharing the bill with Fugazi in those days). Oh, and Ian arguing backstage for about an hour with some Polish kid who was trying to convince him that Fugazi were ripping off the Polish scene by charging the equivalent of $5 for their shows. ("You do not understand. We are not rich like Western countries! You must play for five zlotys!")

Posted by: larry at January 28, 2006 12:34 PM

"Saint Paul was not a wanker!" I love it. Although I've always wondered why hippies/anti-religious types always seem to reinterpret Jesus and allow for complete inerrancy, albeit begrudging of St. Paul's latters? Like instead of calling him a wanker you could take a different course of action. I often end these arguements with punkers wondering if they had intentionally taken the worst course of action or if divine intervention was somehow preventing coherence.

Wouldn't it make more sense, assuming your goal was to convince the Catholic that his/her religion was bullshit, to reinterpret St. Paul's ideas of the Resurrection of the body as being allegorical and then contextualize his crazy comments about chastity? You could then make a Jack Chick style switch and prove that the Catholic way is completly based on a wrong assumption which because of delayed-parousia we can now prove is irelevant.

Instead the punk/hippy/frustrated youth generally takes a potshot at the pope, which I always considered a case of papal envy. These self-proclaimed geniuses love to call a guy that knows a dozen languages and taught at a world renowned university a dumbass thinking that I'm going to suddenly change my mind. Then they proceed to tell me that Jesus in fact had no idea of what might be divine and certainly despised moral standards. Horrible things like divinity and a conscience were unfairly pinned on him later by quacks like my twelve language knowing moron Holy Papa....

It's always been kinda obvious that the anti-religious arguement was never about even trying to make sense. Its a pat on one's own back for a real bad case of wanting to be smarter than one really is. Jack Chick tracts used to annoy me when all of the sudden I realized that the punk rock and hippy styles of anti-Catholicism were much dumber. The don't even masquerade as being about facts but a simple clash of egos and attitudes. The side with 2000 years of accumulated wisdom vs. the side with adhd, panic attacks and mood swings. Gogo mood swings!

Posted by: Punk Rocker at January 28, 2006 04:30 PM

Larry, you may also remember that Fugazi gave us all the money they made that night, which was not very much given the value of the currency, but made a difference to us.

I also recall that Fugazi carried around with them some bowls and were eating their dinner out of them. You gave them a hard time about the bowls being made from plastic, rather than some more eco-friendly material, and Ian shot back "It's tough being a hippy, isn't it?"

Those were the days, my friend!

Posted by: Aaron at January 28, 2006 08:07 PM