The Silver Year: Chapter 8

Chapter​​ 8

Fuck Today

 

5-19-2012

 

QUINN QUARK IS DEAD.​​ He didn’t even get the dignity of dying onstage—or at least not the​​ stage​​ I wanted him to die on, the stage​​ he’s​​ supposed to be​​ on​​ at this very moment​​ playing to a sold out crowd. But instead,​​ the shell of a​​ man he left behind,​​ now​​ known as “Quinn Quack”​​ to the media,​​ is eating alone at a Ruby’s Diner, waiting for someone he’s really not looking forward to seeing.

I had actually become quite fond of playing Quinn Quark one last time. I wanted to give him the​​ goodbye​​ he deserved.​​ I wanted to drown him in his silly boyhood fantasy​​ forever​​ so I could be free​​ of him​​ to​​ finally​​ find​​ me,​​ Walter Huxley.​​ That’s the person I truly want to be. But oh well. It’s not like​​ Quinn​​ didn’t have a good run​​ before dying at Red Rocks, then being shortly resurrected to die​​ again​​ on the pitchforks of the press. Make a boyhood rock n’ roll fantasy come true​​ then destroy it: check. It’s time to move on and keep checking along—or at least that’s what​​ the therapist inside my head​​ keeps​​ telling me, one of the​​ many​​ new​​ unnamed​​ identities​​ emerging​​ in my head in my search for Walter Huxley.​​ 

My therapist​​ also​​ suggested​​ beginning​​ this journal, but I’m not exactly sure why. My​​ life isn’t​​ fun to​​ document​​ right now.​​ I​​ had to​​ put on shorts today. I know,​​ fucking weird, right? I haven’t worn​​ them​​ in probably ten years. I feel so awkward—almost naked. Okay really,​​ it’s just my cankles that feel naked, but still, I just don’t feel like me. However,​​ that’s the point.​​ I don’t want to be me right now.​​ I mean,​​ I do​​ want to be me, as in Walter Huxley, but the world still recognizes me as Quinn Quark, so I have to do as much as I can to not look like him. I’m sorry if I’m confusing you—whoever you are. I’m very confused myself.​​ 

Anyway, me—whoever I am, can’t go out in public. Not just because I’m still constantly recognized, but now​​ also​​ constantly harassed​​ thanks to Francis’s article.​​ As you may be putting together,​​ she​​ cut and pasted the context of our​​ conversation​​ to her creative liking, painting me in the​​ worst light possible—a “drug-riddled, sex-addicted, megalomaniac”​​ were​​ her words​​ to be exact. But I was drunk and high the entire interview,​​ compared myself to God,​​ admitted to cheating on my ex-girlfriend with her mother,​​ and grabbed​​ my interviewer’s breast, so​​ maybe I am, however,​​ I​​ never claimed to​​ be​​ perfect. In fact, I​​ beat myself up every day​​ for not being​​ so.​​ But​​ I’ve​​ come​​ to realize​​ through this,​​ how can any artist​​ ever​​ be perfect? Creativity isn’t​​ born of perfection, but​​ buffed​​ of​​ our​​ flaws.​​ Every artist is a polished​​ turd,​​ and​​ so are most humans.​​ 

But​​ according to Lola,​​ now that I’m​​ a​​ “celebrity”,​​ I’ve lost my right to be​​ human, turd, or artist,​​ and must suffer for showing myself as such,​​ especially since I didn’t consult her before taking​​ my first major​​ interview​​ and​​ for​​ lying​​ about​​ not finishing​​ the album​​ (she​​ really wants me to suffer for that).​​ This is why​​ many​​ celebrities have​​ “teams”​​ behind them—some the size of small economies—who​​ preserve their pedigreed image for when it has to compete against other pedigreed images at award shows and such.  ​​​​ 

Anyway,​​ I guess there’s a lot I shouldn’t have said and one thing I should’ve:​​ “off the record”. Yes, that cliché detective drama phrase could have saved me from the three ring circus my life has now become. Apparently—as I’ve been repeatedly told by​​ Lola, if that’s not stated during an interview, everything you say is on the table​​ and it’s at the reporter’s discretion to publish it or not, and believe me, you don’t want the fate of your reputation to be in the hands of a reporter.​​ 

So​​ you—again whoever you are,​​ might​​ be asking​​ then,​​ how​​ is​​ this famous polished turd​​ able to be​​ out​​ so cavalierly​​ in public, wallowing​​ his​​ misery into a cookies and cream milkshake at some neo-classical American​​ diner without being​​ bothered? Well,​​ that’s where the shorts come​​ in. I​​ also buzzed my hair,​​ grew my beard​​ out​​ even thicker,​​ and traded my bellbottoms in for hipster shorts,​​ mandals, and​​ a bright orange fedora,​​ which is actually my late grandfather’s hunting hat, but who knew hunting hats came in bright orange fedoras?

So far my dorky dad getup seems to be​​ my best yet. Not once was I recognized as I took my old​​ Huntington​​ stroll from Tenth and Orange to the end of the pier where the diner is.​​ I’ve​​ actually​​ been having​​ a lot of​​ fun​​ playing​​ dress​​ up​​ in public​​ lately.​​ Sometimes it works, other times,​​ not.​​ I​​ once​​ thought dressing up as a woman would be a good idea (not my idea, one of the​​ new​​ nutcases in my head). Within the first hour of going out,​​ someone snapped a picture,​​ and by the time I returned home, there I was looking like a street hooker with a penis on every major celebrity tabloid website, and that’s how I became​​ “Quinn Quack”​​ to the press.

​​ Since then, Quinn Quack has​​ hardly been able to leave​​ his​​ house. Night and day the paparazzi stake out to get a shot of me. The celebrity gossip magazines have quite the price on my head right now,​​ and I’m making everyone money but myself.​​ Yep,​​ despite being outrageously famous, I’m still broke,​​ kinda​​ unemployed,​​ and living with Grandma.

So what​​ happened? Who’s responsible for this? Who burned the show, Quinn Quark,​​ and Perfect Crime to the ground?​​ Oh yeah me. But​​ of course it never would’ve been possible without Francis and an​​ unlikely coalition of​​ Christian​​ and feminist​​ activist groups and some serious fucking irony. I mean really, my life writes better stories than I can. The god in charge of me must be really getting his kicks​​ and laughing his ass off​​ right now.

So​​ yeah, the article came​​ out with everything I said in it—or at least everything that fit into the frame of “drug-riddled, sex-addicted, megalomaniac”,​​ and of course my​​ most​​ outrageous quotes​​ were​​ the​​ enlarged​​ ones you so often see in magazine​​ articles​​ that appeal to people who don’t read. Things like:

 

“Yes, getting high with God would be fun.​​ But I insist I am not him.”

 

“Wanna know what my last words to Squids were when I found him shooting up in that tour bus bathroom he later died in, right before he probably shot up the dose that killed him? ‘Shoot up until you’re dead for all I care,​​ because once this tour’s over, you’re out of the band.’”

 

FJ: So Amber cheated on her fiancé with you, then left him for you, then you cheated on her with her mother?

WH:​​ Well, I had broken up with Amber​​ an hour and a half before, but basically.

​​ 

And Francis’s flattering recollection of how the night summed up:

 

​​ Mister Huxley​​ got so high and drunk that he​​ vomited​​ on​​ my couch, then​​ cried like a baby until I cleaned it up.​​ He then showed his appreciation​​ after​​ by grabbing my breast.

 

Needless to say, it​​ didn’t take long before​​ the article began making ripples, first with the​​ conservative​​ press who took my​​ blasphemous—but obviously flippant—statement about God​​ to paint me​​ as​​ a​​ corrupting influence on today’s youth,​​ a “Marilyn Manson without makeup”.​​ But rock stars being controversial with​​ conservatives is nothing new, and actually sometimes a good look.​​ 

However,​​ once​​ the liberals jumped​​ in, that’s when​​ ripples became​​ rogue​​ waves, thanks to the fury of​​ several feminist activists​​ who​​ began​​ pigeonholing​​ me as “a throwback to the hedonistic type of rock stars​​ who should’ve been left in the​​ nineteen-eighties.”​​ These​​ sentiments​​ then​​ grew​​ through the silver screen network of liberals​​ until reaching​​ “Kimye”, who​​ finally toppled​​ Quinn Quark​​ and the show’s boat over​​ forever.

For those of you who haven’t heard, “Kimye” is the latest and greatest pedigreed power couple, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and​​ in the same statement announcing their relationship,​​ Kanye​​ also denounced me for​​ “dissing”​​ his new girlfriend when I said my life would be no different if she never existed, and​​ apparently Kim​​ agrees​​ because Kimye is of​​ one​​ mind​​ now, especially​​ since​​ the​​ teams​​ behind​​ them​​ have​​ now​​ joined powers​​ and​​ decided to make me the launch​​ point of some redemption/reinvention campaign​​ for them both, which coincides with​​ Kimye’s​​ new “natural-looking” line of makeup, called NewNude.

 

#Turninganewleaf for #genderequality and to say rock stars like QQ have no place in civilized society. The #NewNude is here! <3 #Kimye

 

Celebrity feminists​​ soon​​ poured in with support and profits for Kimye​​ and shame for me.​​ Then​​ with popular opinion on their side,​​ the​​ conservative​​ ranks cranked up​​ again and​​ Christian church leaders​​ began​​ spreading​​ a boycott of the​​ concert’s primary​​ sponsor, Devil’s Juz Energy Drink, because the company’s parent company is actually owned by a Christian family. The liberals​​ then​​ hitched onto this​​ for their own motives,​​ and Devil’s​​ Juz quickly gave in, followed by the rest of the​​ sponsors, and finally, because of the bad press and massive decline in support, the show was canceled​​ and​​ heralded as a rare and great triumph of bipartisanship.

Now you may be saying (again who the fuck am I talking to?), come on Walter, stand up for yourself and tell everyone the truth.​​ Tell everyone that evil​​ little​​ chipmunk lured you with flattery​​ and mouth-fed you drugs in order to wring every intimate secret out of you.​​ Tell them you’re not the person Francis made you out to be; tell them you’re actually​​ someone​​ who​​ champions​​ women’s equality. Have they forgotten your foray​​ in​​ trying to​​ be a woman?

First off, what’s the point? Once popular culture has made a verdict on you, it’s hard to change and rarely worth trying. Once you’re ousted by the cool kids—Rolling Stone being a very influential one—there’s no coming back.​​ And although I’ve never had goals of nineteen-eighties rock star hedonism, maybe the cool kids are right in me being a relic of the past​​ who has no place in Today’s society.​​ I don’t like Today’s music, Today’s fashion,​​ Today’s perversion with celebrity culture.​​ Today just wants a face, a big fucking face to talk about and laugh at. Today says: “Fuck the music! We just want to look at you like a goddamn monkey in a cage. We don’t give a shit what your music sounds like, just keep rolling around in your own shit and picking at the other monkeys’ asses so we can laugh and point our fingers at you and live our pathetic lives vicariously through you because deep down inside we want to be just like you—a wild fucking animal!”​​ So yeah,​​ Fuck Today.

Also though, I am​​ kind of getting what I wanted as Francis so lovingly reminded me in a typed letter left discreetly in my​​ grandma’s​​ mailbox:​​ 

 

Dear​​ Walter,​​ 

 

I’m writing​​ to​​ you because I care about you. Not once have I felt the need to explain my journalistic actions, but you at least deserve that. In hindsight,​​ I may have gone too far, but I’m really only giving you what you wanted. You said you didn’t want to be Quinn Quark anymore and I’m making that happen.

 

I won’t lie and say that my motivations weren’t primarily selfish. I’m trying to be​​ a​​ great journalist,​​ maybe a Pulitzer winner someday,​​ and getting the story​​ everyone wants but nobody has is my life’s ambition. Sure, the way I got it from you was a​​ little​​ unscrupulous,​​ and I did take advantage of your ignorance of media law, but in my line of work sometimes you have to weigh ethics,​​ and unfortunately you lost.

 

However, if you still wanted your promising music career I maybe would’ve given a second thought to publishing a story so damaging. But since you don’t, I had to sacrifice you for the greater​​ cause:​​ myself. You want out and I want up. Why should I try to promote somebody in a career they don’t want if I can benefit so​​ much from taking it away? If I​​ as a​​ representative of​​ Rolling Stone​​ lavished​​ over​​ you like everyone else, it would’ve solidified you as a bona fide rock star—exactly​​ what​​ you don’t want, and my article wouldn’t have been nearly talked about as much as it is now. I’m sure​​ you see my logic.​​ 

 

I’m sorry you’re having to go through all this. I never intended for it to go this far, but don’t worry. It will all be over before you know it.​​ Eventually​​ “Quinn Quack”​​ fever will fizzle out. The public can only take prolonged doses of crazy celebrities for so long. After that,​​ you’ll join the ranks of Lindsay Lohan,​​ Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson,​​ and others in the Hollywood Hall of​​ the Insane,​​ and​​ you can​​ just fade into obscurity like​​ you always wanted.

 

I know you probably hate me,​​ and that’s something I accepted long before I published the article, but I want you to know I am rooting for you in whatever you decide to​​ do​​ with your life. There’s a lot of greatness in that head of yours.​​ 

 

Love,​​ 

You know who

 

While her​​ line of reasoning—using me as a stepping stool just because​​ I happened to be on the floor—is a little heartless,​​ after writing all this down,​​ I’m starting to​​ see Francis​​ may​​ be right (and maybe that therapist inside my head actually knows what he’s talking about).​​ Sure things suck right now, but it’s kind of a funny suck when I think about it,​​ something I’ll hopefully laugh about later​​ when Quinn​​ Quark​​ is long forgotten.​​ I never would’ve imagined​​ a year ago I’d be slandered in Rolling Stone and be​​ enemy​​ number one​​ of​​ Christians, feminists,​​ and Kardashians alike.​​ 

I should also mention not everyone gave into the smear campaign against me; people who can see the deeper foolishness to this all,​​ and who actually read more than enlarged​​ quotes​​ and tweets.​​ Unfortunately​​ though,​​ without the support of the media or​​ a​​ high-profile backer, their voices are lost, but they’re there.

Also I still​​ apparently​​ have “Quarkians”​​ out there. After​​ the concert tanked,​​ Cirkus​​ wanted​​ the rights to​​ our​​ EPs​​ so they could remaster and re-release them together​​ in lieu​​ of​​ the album we owed,​​ and​​ I​​ just​​ conceded.​​ I’m just glad they’re not suing​​ me when they really should be.​​ But​​ it’s looking like​​ pre-orders alone​​ will​​ be​​ enough to pay back​​ what the band​​ owes​​ to the label,​​ so​​ at least​​ my hands are clean of that.​​ 

Shit,​​ she’s here;​​ the person I’m not looking forward to seeing;​​ the person who’s probably suffered​​ as much if not more​​ than​​ me​​ because of Francis’s article. All​​ right Walter, hold it together, just hold it together.​​ 

Leave a Reply