the mungk – playlist

I love music. I’m an old school punk and grunge kid from the eighties and nineties, though in the last couple of decades, my musical tastes have radically expanded. I’ll listen to anything from Billie Holiday or Frankie Valli to Anti-Flag to Alessia Cara. While writing The Mungk, I listened to thousands of songs, starting with Los Angeles by X and finally Popcorn by Muse, with stops ranging from AFI to Joni Mitchell to Katy Perry to The Tragically Hip (a lot of Hip – there always is. I listened to Get Back Again over three dozen times while writing that piece, now in Retreats From Oblivion).

Anyway, music is such an intricate part of art for me, that I inevitably can’t help creating playlists to match the bigger works that I write. Sometimes, it’s a song that caught my ear in the act of writing or editing and fit so perfectly, I can’t hear it without thinking about that scene or its emotions. Other times, it’s tongue in cheek or counterintuitive, but somehow, just works.

The playlist for The Mungk is as follows:

The House In The Country: Julian Plenti – Skyscraper (3:18)
The First Appearance Of The Mungk: Alice Cooper – Welcome To My Nightmare (2:48)
We’ll Get You A Nightlight: The Who – Helpless Dancer (2:34)
What Does That Mungk Do?: Nirvana – Drain You (3:44)
Cracks: L7 – Crackpot Baby (2:38)
The Doctor: Snow Patrol – Run (5:57)
Goodbye, Alice: Violent Femmes – I Know It’s True, But I’m Sorry To Say (5:06)
Alice Aftermath: Billy Talent – Living In The Shadows (3:16)
The Fight: INXS – Never Tear Us Apart (3:07)
Bumps In The Night: The Rolling Stones – Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? (2:37)
The Power Goes Out: The Tragically Hip – Frozen In My Tracks (4:04)
The Storm: Bruce Springsteen – My Father’s House (5:08)
The Aftermath: Beck – Morning (5:20)

pounding heart

It’s too much. All the extras. The work stuff. The family stuff. The internal existential crisis stuff.

All I wanted to do was write and read. Have some peace and fucking quiet. Some good music. A couple of beers or a nice glass of wine, maybe an old fashioned, done up right.

I want time alone with my family, relaxing. I want Saturdays around the pool and Sundays at the theatre.

I want quiet mornings. I want a workday that ends at a particular time, not “you’re salaried, so whenever”.

Every morning, I wake with palpitations. Every. Single. Morning.

I have so much left to do, but at this rate, they’re going to kill me first.


It’s morning. I’m up before everyone else because the cats will it so. So, I’m on the front porch, editing and enjoying a morning coffee, wrestling with a particular scene.

It’s peaceful. Peaceful is something I take for granted these days, and I miss it. There’s nothing better than relaxing, creating, with a nice cup of coffee and The Verve on in the background. It’s like sitting around a pool or a campground with some nice southern rock and good friends, laughing and being utterly stupid, solving all the world’s problems around a fire, beer in hand.


ninety-seven lovers

I’m sitting here on a Saturday morning, by myself, listening to my playlist shuffle through The Who, The Flying Lizards and now, Pulp, with 97 Lovers.

I’ve never been quite sure why I like Pulp, beyond Common People, but for some reason, despite the pretentiousness and boredom, there’s something I kind of like.

Not everything needs to be a pop classic or a rock ‘n’ roll anthem. These forms can be beautiful, but so can be being completely bizarre. There’s nothing wrong with niche.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with popular, either. The Beatles are wonderful. Kanye sucks. It’s all about the point behind it. The Beatles sing of peace and enlightenment, of love and people. Kanye is all about posture and glorification of his own ego.

That’s truly boring. And an indicator of massive insecurity. Anyone who needs to proclaim their greatness as loudly and often as that is a study for psychologists, not something to dance to.

I’m down for any and all music, if it isn’t done purely to sell tracks or glorify someone’s ego. Anything else is fine.

the breakdown

I’m in full on brain lock mode. Depression, deep dissatisfaction with the current state of my life and an absolute uncertainty about what’s even possible in the future have me essentially shutting down.

I hate technology. I mean, I’m not a luddite or anything, though I feel like maybe we should all be a little more luddite these days. I work in IT.

And I hate technology.

It certainly has wonderful uses. I like the functionality of computers and smart phones (though sometimes, the smart phone thing is a little too much) and the way The Last Of Us looks on my Playstation is incredible.

But I hate working with it. I have no desire to keep “updating my skills”, especially when I know that most “updates” in technology are bullshit to sell more gear or subscriptions or whatever. Most software only ever becomes bloatware, and loses its core functions as time goes on (see Facebook’s awful algorithm or Twitter’s semi-monthly attempts to force the HOME feature no one wants on its users).

Sometimes, things are fine the way they are and simplicity is almost always the best choice.

I have no passion for this type of work, not for a long, long time. I fell into it as a teenager and kid, because it was the cool, cutting edge thing at the time, but I have always wanted to be an artist (writing/drawing/music). I’m just not enough of a hustler to do it and beyond writing, I’m too old and too busy to develop the skills to excel at anything else.

I need a month off to get my shit straight, but instead, I’m working the job of five people, doing work I hate with people I don’t particularly care for (and some recent subtractions I absolutely hated). When the hell do I get to slack and figure it out? It’s not like I can go back in time and be fifteen again.

It’s not like I was even able to make that choice at fifteen. If there’s one feature of our culture that pisses me off, it’s that we expect children, most of whom have no concept of what the real world or work is like yet, and who barely know themselves (if they do at all), to decide what they want to do for the rest of their days at such young ages.

How well does that ever work out?

I’ll tell you, as a forty-four year old who wants nothing more than to go “find himself” and go back to school for something he actually might want to do… pretty well never.