Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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April 1, 2008 |
I'm a 27-year-old gen-Xer whose roots lay in grunge rock and pop punk (i once sported a mohawk for a week). Given that it catches some people off guard to walk by and see me listening to your show. Admittedly the music doesn't always resonate with me (though who can't love the Wailin' Jennies or the Boys of the Lough?) but the overall feel of the show and especially the news from your home town have made it a staple in my weekly routine. The news from Lake Wobegon surrounds my mind with an air of rare familiarity. I always get wistful when the show closes and you sing "It's been somethin' seein' you again" and this makes it hard to put in a punk album after the show is done because I like to ride that wistful feeling in silence for a bit. All this to say thank you.
Interesting that you say your "roots" are in grunge and punk, Nathan. Twenty-seven is too old for punk. You have to be an adolescent which, nowadays, thanks to the growth hormones in milk, starts around ten. That part of your life is done gone and now you're shopping for something else that might last you for awhile. The problem with being cool is that it's competitive and you wake up in the morning feeling suddenly uncool and no longer caring. This happens after twenty-five or so. What appeals to you about the show is the old pleasure of being spoken to and not having to respond, a childlike pleasure, but also it represents a different layer of language than grunge/punk and language, Nathan, is a pleasure that only grows with time. It's the basis of social attraction, I think, that can carry you across lines of class and education and race. And age, and perceived cultural identity. It's one thing that can haul us out of ourselves and allow us to feel life's gentle rain on our epidermis. Language is our skin. Also our lips and probably most of what we think of as our brain. Onward, young Nathan. Glad to have you with us for as long as it intrigues you.