The Random Griffith

People and their haunted houses

Posted in ooo-WEEEE-oooo! by Jackson Griffith on 02/08/2011

Gosh darn it, it ain’t even Halloween yet, but around the corner from my batcave, there’s this house, on the northwest corner of 22nd and H Streets in midtown Sacramento. I walk by there all the time, and there are always a gawker or two on the sidewalk, pointing at the creepy-looking building and shuddering like they’ll completely soil their uns if an ectoplasmic apparition of decaying Don Knotts or Amy Winehouse comes flying at them from an opening in the attic.

Betcha there’s no ghosts there. Go a block and a half up the street if you want ghosts. I mean, the real deal. There’s this Victorian I lived in back in 1991-1993 that’s funner than a goddamn carnival ride hurtling at triple speed and flying apart after being wrenched together by San Joaquin Valley crankster carnies. When I was there, shit would fly routinely, and these white luminescent things would jump over me in the middle of the night and run down past the kitchen area to a door that would fly open and then slam shut as I reclined there, going what the fuck, the hairs standing up all over my body.

One summer afternoon in 1992, it must have been several degrees above 100, and I was chilling on my broken futon with a bottle and a bong, and I heard this conversation and laughing coming out of the stairwell, behind the aforementioned door, which went from my kitchen to the second-floor porch below via a secret staircase. So I tiptoed over by the door to hear the conversation a little better, and I was right next to the door, and suddenly it flew open and I got hit with a blast of Arctic air, or Antarctic if these phantasms were acquaintances of Cthulhu, and then the door slammed shut and I heard more laughter. I think I really explored the deeply sedative quality of the whiskey I’d been drinking rather aggressively after that.

Anyway, I’ve told this story before. So I tell it again. Boo! —Jackson Griffith


5 Responses

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  1. Knowcebo said, on 02/08/2011 at 23:37

    Nothing doing about my project, eh? Too bad. I think you would have been a good fit. Well, back to the lurker gallery I go.

    • Jackson Griffith said, on 03/08/2011 at 12:59

      Actually, I’d started a response, but got distracted. So here it is: I’m too close to the whole Gary thing to write something that centers around Terry Blank’s work with Gary, so I’m going to have to take a pass. I have a few very good friends who were in the previous incarnation of Hospital, and they don’t have anything really positive to say about Blank. Disregarding their emotionally charged opinions, I have to look at the fruit of their collaboration, which was The Gray Album that Omnibus Records released. Much of that album, it I recall correctly, was a rehash and reworking of the second Gary Young’s Hospital album, The Things We Do for You, and it wasn’t an improvement on the original. As for your Gary piece in the SN&R, part of the reason I was so bummed out about it was that I really felt that if there was one piece I was qualified to write for that weekly, it would have been one about Gary. When I was arts editor I held off on it, mostly because I felt weird glamorizing some of Gary’s personal struggles, and so when I saw your piece in the SN&R, I was really angry that Nick Miller hadn’t asked me to write it, and at the time I took it as a big “fuck you” from him to me. I’d have to go back and reread your piece, but my original perception was that it fell short of the mark. Then again, so much of what I do falls short of the mark, so who am I to criticize? Anyway, good luck with your book. I just can’t be the guy to provide assistance on it, for reasons I’ve stated above. Cheers, Jackson

      • Jackson Griffith said, on 03/08/2011 at 13:57

        PPS: It’s nothing against you, so I do hope you don’t take personal offense to what I’ve said above. Then again, I have no control over whether you do or you don’t.

  2. Knowcebo said, on 04/08/2011 at 05:42

    No, no, I totally understand where you are coming from. I didn’t understand the context of your relationship with Gary. I can see why you can’t be involved. And as far as the article, I agree with you. It fell short of my expectations, too. I couldn’t talk my way back stage to see how Gary was interacting with the band. I think that would have given the article the piece that is missing. And, to tell you something funny, when Amy Scott and I ran into you that night (I don’t know if you even remember), I thought to myself, “If he’d been covering this story, I bet he’d gotten backstage.” It was a weird moment for me, because I used to read all your music writing in the SN&R, and it was like the universe telling me, “Don’t blow it, dude.” I don’t think I blew it, but I didn’t kill, either. Anyway, water under bridge. And for the record, I pitched the story to Nick, so you didn’t get overlooked; you just got plain scooped. 🙂

    • Jackson Griffith said, on 04/08/2011 at 12:21

      What in your mind is you “just plain scooping” me is more like my reticence to exploit a friend and former bandmate, because I would have had to address certain long-time aspects of his behavior, largely a byproduct of his alcoholism, without glamorizing those aspects. You had no such internal strictures, so you just wrote the piece. As you may learn someday, there are times when you will get too close to a subject to write with the requisite journalistic detachment. For me, it’s painful to watch Gary, and I don’t get that “hey, look at the hilariously wasted indie-rock legend” that so many others seem to find. Your mileage, of course, may differ.

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