From Davis Square rental prices to Union Square Fluff fests, Somerville certainly has earned the reputation in recent years for being the little hipster sister of Cambridge.
“Not so fast,” though, says SUBJECT TO CHANGE’s Patrick Bryant. Over the course of SLOUCHING TOWARDS SOMERVILLE’s 20-odd tracks (the second volume in the series), Bryant reads opinions from the Somerville Journal’s “Speak Out” column that fly in the face of any notion that Somerville residents are all the sort of folks that might be seen riding their steam-punk bikes to the tattoo parlor with their pet chickens reading Foucault in the sidecar.
As he reads the letters with a perfectly poised, almost friendly sort of rancor (the kind that closes angry letters with “Good Day!” and a slam of the phone), it is clear that Bryant finds a certain level of perversity in the back-water opinions of our hidden neighbors. He seems equally relieved that they have a place that cares enough to air their deepest irritations (since the Weekly World News apparently isn’t an option). Hidden neighbors, you say? Although we read their comments on internet articles supporting George Zimmerman and see them in line at Dunkin Donuts ordering “lodge” regulars with “85 creams and 652 Splendas,” it is true that the real heart of Somerville can appear hidden from the counter-culture set that you or I or Bryant cohorts like Teen Beat’s Mark Robinson and Evelyn Hurley (pictured on the cover) might rub elbows with on a regular basis.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t dream of their world (after all, we are already buying their records and furnishings from Good Will). Bryant envisions their world of dreamy anger by reading their letters over the sumptuous sounds of German orch-cheeze king Bort Kumphert* in a perfectly ingrown vision of the way life used to be if it wasn’t for YOU. Among the list of things to gripe about? Breast feeding in public (disgusting), the cost of liquor (the SAME bottle costs two dollars more at another store–doesn’t anyone WATCH these things?), obituaries in the local paper (not enough of them!), and about 500 more.
(*not his REAL name. We don’t want anyone to get SUED here!!!))