”And in fact the only way I can deal with this eerie situation at all is to make a conscious decision that I have already lived and finished the life I planned to live – and everything from now on will be A New Life, a different thing, a gig that ends tonight and starts tomorrow morning.” – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, PhD.
KEITH SILVA: With apologies to Raymond Carver: what [do] we talk about when we talk about endings?
As I began to write about the end of Eel Mansions — actually, rewrite would be more accurate since Elkin said my first attempt at this review read like I was smoking banana peels again followed by a nutmeg chaser — I took to the warm cottony solace of research i.e. strong black coffee and the internet as a way to spark my imagination. Always the nerd.
The internet claims the existence of a television program called Supernatural. In a voiceover in the fifth season, episode 22 to be exact, a character by name of Chuck says: ”Any chapped-ass monkey with a keyboard can [shit] out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch. There’s always gonna be holes. And since it’s the ending, it’s all supposed to add up to something. I’m telling you, they’re a raging pain in the ass.” As another television personality (and one I have more currency with) Ralph Wiggum might say, ‘Endings? That’s unpossible!’
Ralph and Chuck are right. Besides spotty wifi coverage, a decent 180g repressing of Skip and Flip’s ‘Hully Gully Cha Cha Cha’ and Bâtards with a respectable mouth feel that, at least, look like they weren’t rolled by robots, haters love to hate on endings. Copious uses of words like ‘stick,’ ‘didn’t’ and ‘landing’ are commonplace in said discussions as if the aggrieved parties were all judgey-Le
-judgersons and 2002 never went autumnal. The divine right to bitch once the final page is turned or a favorite entertainment shuffles off its coaxial cable is universal.
Enough with the windup, here’s the pitch: Eel Mansions #6 eschews the bitch. Derek Van Gieson may have ninety-nine problems but that bitch (the one about sticking the landing) ain’t one, son.
Revelations occur, comics are read and all are made aware, ”you haven’t heard [Black] Sabbath until you’ve heard ‘em with saxophones!” Speaking of which, in the parlance of the ‘record store guys,’ Eel Mansions #6 is less Last Waltz and more Sex Pistols at Winterland. Instead of an ending-ending, Van Gieson offers more of a conclusion made more useful by its inconclusiveness. It stands we may never hear surf music again, but Janet, Armistead, Frank, Bert, demon baby Chee-Chee, Shelby and Bruno endure. And we may thank God for it.