Howling Hex

Sep 21, 2007 Daytrotter Studio, Rock Island, IL

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  1. Bookery Reading 11:10
Howling Hex

Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Josh Johnson

Behind the beleaguered voice of Neil Michael Hagerty in this newest of Bookery readings is a sad café, held together with cloudy windows and humble missives. It's the sound of a feeling that's not been beaten, just worked to the bony bones and the barren hollow. It's just as the one that he reads about, from the novella "The Ballad of the Sad Café," written by Carson McCullers. The thought in the passage that Hagerty - a man behind Royal Trux fame and the Howling Hex workings - chooses is a rumination on the act of beloving, the tragedy of it and the difficulties surrounding the choice to do so. No one wants to be the beloved. The choice is more favorable in being the lover, the one who picks. The reading is a twin to the reading on Hex's newest album, XI, entitled "Let Fridays Decide." It's a piece of prose about fate being put into order by the last day of the work week, when the aftershave is thrown on in thicker coats and the festivities of a break in stress are a banquet. The two pieces of text don't hold hands, but they could linger in the foyer together and before long find something common to talk about. There's a line in a song on XI that talks about someone who's good at not dying. That's really about living, but not living. That's about holding on, right? That's the feeling that comes across in a number of Hagerty's new tunes, living just to spite the alternative and sometimes it comes across with the air of spirited effort. He dresses the dirty, fierce tokens of effort for the more blissful lane with the streaks of black. They never splinter or separate. It's all one and the same. It's blackened contentedness. (As a side bonus, there's terrific regularly posted fiction and non-fiction on the Howling Hex site, such as a list of 14 Popular Slogans For Total Idiots that includes No. 5, "A live dog is better than a dead lion.")

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