To Air is Human
In 1987 Nike introduced the Nike Air brand, making billions of dollars selling air. A small pocket of air in one’s sole promises levity; this perhaps is even more genius than Coke selling carbonated sugar water. A year later in 1988, Metallica released …And Justice For All, and while air-guitar and air-drums had long since been funneled through the flailing limbs of certain hopeless yet hopeful youth, never before had one had to do it with such precision, a mark of that outstanding album. It has been argued that heavy metal shares many musical properties with classical music, in terms of difficult time signatures and syncopated patterns, so it is not a huge stretch to suggest that when a conductor waves his arms in the air in an exaggerated manner, he is doing the air-symphony. “Airing” is the self-promise of all the notes matching up, a fantasy of mastery we afford ourselves. Guitar Hero and Rock Band‘s commericalization of such intuition provides the nth death of punk.
If you call him a choad in a cubicle, you might as well call me that, and our relationship is over. Besides the unrealistic height of the cymbals, this shit is dead on. I love how you and me, we love the same songs but have never met. Don’t fret though, for air, hosting some airborne plague, will eventually bring us together.
The “windmill,” another kind of airing, is an esteemed type of headbanging technique, discouraged unless you have very long hair and strong neck muscles. The windmill, like the hula hoop, looks easy but is very difficult. There are two kinds of windmills, 1) clock-wise and 2) counter clock-wise, which of course is inadvertent, for those who do the windmill are not concerned with mere direction of time. Take a thousand notes and condense it into a second and you have a timeless moment; be it a loud and indecipherable timeless moment that seems to never end.
Clock-wise over and over turns angry boys into angry men. If I were in that audience I’d be a corpse at the bottom of the mosh pit. (I’m not a fighter; I grew up on Bon Jovi and Benadryl.) Sometimes I feel like I’m doing the air-human, moving my limbs with the current of life’s pantomime, hoping my performance is convincing enough. Get on the bus, get off the bus. Go to work, come back from work. Eat, shit, piss, sleep, repeat. One day, I’ll master this life, but in the mean time, move over. I hear a drum roll coming.