A Season of Stuff is a writing challenge that I will be doing for the length of Spring 2016. The plan – to pick some object from within my personal possessions each day and write about it – its history, its significance, etc. Come on in – check out my stuff.
At the end of our freshman year a group of the resident punks at Manor North, York College decided we would aim to get one of the college-owned, yet off-campus apartments. So when we returned for year two in 1993, we took over Country Club Apartment #F7. My roommates were Jamie, Ben, Steve and Greg.
At the end of that year, Greg dropped out and Ben decided to get an apartment with our friend Jesse. In order to keep our place in F7, we wrangled in Steve #2 and this kid Jonathan. I don’t really remember what happened but within a week of moving in, Jonathan pissed off Steve #1 (who had decided he would now be called Leon to avoid confusion with Steve #2) and decided to move out. By the end of that semester, both Jamie and Leon would decide to drop out, leaving me and Steve #2 to have the place to ourselves. For the remainder of the school year Steve and I would do our best to convince the Resident Advisors of the apartment complex that our roommates were still in school, even though there was clearly one whole empty bedroom. Somehow we never got placed with any other roommates. Weird, but awesome.
Despite being campus owned housing, F7 took on the life of a punk house. We had bands stay there. We had a PA in the house for awhile for some reason and several times did very loud “punk rock karaoke”. I remember one time Steve singing along to 108 with the front door wide open and I looked out as the RA walked down the sidewalk with a look of horror on her face. There was an Michael J Fox/Alex P Keaton poster in the front window for awhile. We had a shopping cart that came from who knows where and filled with various junk. You know, the normal happenings of a college apartment/punk house.
Through all of this, Steve took to writing various non-sequitur stuff on things and hanging various random pictures on the walls, oftentimes using his own hockers to adhere them. This being 1994-1995, we were at the height of the mid-90’s emo craze and F7 was well steeped in the culture (Steve ran Yuletide Records which put out releases by Frail, Anasarca, 400 Years, Spirit Assembly, etc). Eventually Steve would take to combining his love of writing on random stuff and his love of emo lyrics. I remember a page from a wrestling magazine. It was someone like Mankind – big, burly dude – and across his chest was written the Moss Icon lyrics “Lyburnum – cover me”. Then came this plastic “1” from a modular sign. Not sure if this was stolen directly from a sign or found on the street, but it arrived in our apartment and the Native Nod lyrics from “Tangled” made their way onto it. “I wake up laughing everytime”.
I loved (and still do love) that Native Nod record, so at the end of that strange (and final) year living at F7, I would take this “1” with me. I think since then it has hung in almost every place i’ve lived. In 2004, a scan of this image would be appear in the lyric booklet included with my band He Taught Me Lies collaborative LP with Rick Gribenas.
It’s hard to really pinpoint its significance. Is it the song? Is it a reminder of those simpler times? Pure nostalgia. Not sure, but here we are 20 years later and i’m still stoked that I snagged this thing from going in the trash.