chairman mau a.k.a mauricio carey
Convention requires me to clue you in to who does all the typing around here. Judgement does not require you to sludge through this less than Cliff Note length bio about me, me, me. But if you are so inclined…
Suburban Atlanta 1980-1989: The Carefree Early Years
Realizing early on that I was never going to be The Beatles (not one of them mind you, I mean all of them), I figured I’d better find a more realistic way to make my way in the world. Reading! Writing! That sounds good, I can do that! And so it was, off to the dreadful concrete campus of Georgia State University.
6 years later, an actual degree in English was thwarted by an obsession with music, girls, carousing, movies about music and girls and, well, sleeping. Bio 101 was the last straw. Much to the dismay of my wife (yes, I’ve skipped ahead temporarily), I failed the subject. More than once. Simply by refusing to, you know, actually attend class. After all, these things we don’t understand are just magic anyway, right? Why spoil the mystery with facts? So, 3 credits away from graduation, I gave my parents the best gift a son can give: I dropped out.
Urban Atlanta 1990-1999: The Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll Years
10 years of drumming, drinking, more carousing, more sleeping ensued. Upon waking, I though I’d better find a better way to make my way in the world. Graphic Design seemed like a good idea. Asking painter and fellow carouser John Marino advise on this dubious venture, he replied: “Are you really clean?” Well, at the time I was still in the process of shedding the grunge of the early 90′s, but I stuck to it and made it work. In Design school, all my OCD tendencies flowered: the tightly-crafted grid became my model for making order out of chaos.
And what better grid to aspire to than the numbered streets of New York City? A burgeoning new romance with a beautiful New York City singer/songwriter (that would later became a treasured friend and musical collaborator), gave me the balls I needed to brave the ultimate concrete jungle. I took my not exactly sanctioned degree from Portfolio Center (fuck you twice, Hank Richardson) and, on the day of my 30th birthday, sold my beloved 1983 320i, packed up a U-Haul and shlepped my drums and Bondi Blue Mac to New York City, the place I’ve since called my true home.
Carrol Gardens, Brooklyn 1999-2003: The Halcyon Days of Design Interactive
In New York I found financial “stability” by way of the Interactive Design bubble of the late 90′s. At that time, you could’t spit in the street without splashing someone willing to give you an inordinate amount of money to make “web sites.” That teat, as many of you know, went very quickly dry.
For those of you that have never tried unemployment, give it a shot. It’s a hoot. It’s amazing what you can do with no job and no mona-y if you really apply yourself. As the Jazz Butcher once said, “it’s good to drink for free/when you haven’t any money.” Or, as we used to say in the pre-High Fidelity years I spent working in a record store, “it’s all about being hot and getting shit for free.”
Determined to juice these mottos of all they’re worth, I managed to attended my first World Series game (a subway series to boot), maintained a one-bedroom apartment, dated frequently (if not entirely successfully), and continued to do laundry once a month. The rest of the time, I found solace in coffee, nicotine, chocolate, gummy-bears, whiskey, coca-cola, funny cigarettes, 1970′s New Hollywood films and the work of Odd Todd, who found his hilariously talented ass in the same sling. (These same salves have of course nurtured many of us in times of pain, joy or boredom and therefore remain staple household goods to this day.)
Cobble Hill Brooklyn 2004-2009: The Find Your Footing, Get a Life, Get Married To a Totally Hot Scientist and Not Have Kids Years
There is a happy ending. Things looked up as I married the Lovely Yulita (most certainly not a meter-maid), rode the coat tails of The National lads, took lots of photos and labored for years in the lucrative slave camps of mediocrity know as corporate fashion. One metaphorical ulcer and a stomachful of stubborn pride later landed me back on familiar ground. I quit. And started c23, my very own, very little design shop in Cobble Hill that has for the past 4 years kept me, my wife and our feline child Oliver Wombat safe as houses.
For the time being…
Cobble Hill Brooklyn 2010-2011: Divorce + Depression, Bourbon + Benzos
The time being lasted almost seven years. But by mid-2010 I found myself among the 50% of matrimonial Americans– separated and on my way to the dreaded D word. Breaking up is hard to do, but divorcing is a bitch. When you’re dating–shacking up, going steady–thoughts of the future are fuzzy, malleable, almost perfunctory. Once you marry, you project expectations many years into the future, subconsciously (if not consciously) forming a picture in your mind of how the next 30 years might unfold. And you believe those projections. You plan, you map out a course towards a comfortable old age, even as cracks in the foundation start to show. Certainly, nothing is certain, and life holds no guarantees, but the marital pact suspends your disbelief about just how fucked up shit can get if you’re not careful. And even if you are.
After five and a half years of real love and real effort, my frayed marriage finally tore apart at the seams, leaving me to ponder, what the fuck now? And by ponder I mean sport-fucking, bar-flying, better living through chemistry and eventually not leaving the house for months. Some real deep dark night of the soul shit. The holidays found me a babbling, drooling mess, a zombie pouring orange juice in his coffee, wandering into rooms like an octogenarian, wondering, what did I come in here for…? All was haze and lapsed memory, shattered hope and self pity.
But even times like these can last only so long. Eventually your body tires of lying in the fetal position, your brain re-generates those cells you killed trying to forget, and the heart sutures itself enough to begin remembering how to love again. And even if it goes nowhere, even if the chocolate-high of new found romance don’t last as long as it takes to choke down a Hershey bar or three, the heart keeps at it, ever re-inventing itself in the hope that one day you can project into the future once again.
Cobble Hill Brooklyn 2011-Present: Cigarettes and Chance Lead to Teenage Vinyl Courtship
Rehearsal is over. The boys and I walk down Vanderbilt towards the car service, black instrument bags in tow. As we pass our regular bar (Weather Up, the charmingest speakeasy in 21st-century Brooklyn) a vision of a girl approaches me forthrightly, asking for a cigarette. Now, let me take a moment to savor the moment. She was lovely. She? Talking to me? Improbable. But it happened.
The next hour was like a jolt of electricity to my somewhat grizzled condition. I know there are those that will dismiss this “illusion,” (go ahead and hate, baby, I won’t hold it against you) but I think it may just be possible that I fell in love within the span of 60 minutes. Go ahead, laugh, it’s ok. But it happened, people. It did.
The next six weeks were spent tiptoeing toward intimacy. With all deliberate haste, we paced ourselves with bourbon and vinyl, wishin’ and hopin’. The result was the most teenage courtship one can imagine at the age of 44. Sweet. Protracted. Swarmed at with butterflies.
Shacking up ensued. Plans were considered. Futures pondered. Hearts examined. Minds checked. And in the end, we returned to the tiny Weather Up, this time in our Saturday best to join with our closest friends and family for a two-hour cocktail party and the simplest and most moving ceremonies you can imagine. It. Was.Perfect
After an acoustic performance of Alex Chilton’s Thirteen and a reading from Stepehen Merrtit’s The Book of Love, expertly, movingly delivered by our dearest friends, we said our vows. We kissed. Then we got the hell of Dodge. 24 hours later we are laying in a cabana by the beach in, ahem, Hawaii, drinking pinã coladas, glowing looks on our faces as we watch the sea and each other well up and spill over…