Blood Tangent | Sarai Nissan

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

I’m listening to “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison because Lester Bangs told me to. As of four months ago (April 30th 1982), it has been 35 years since Lester died of a tantalizing yet incredibly foolish mixture of dextropropoxyphene (cough medicine), diazepam (Valium), and NyQuil. For many writers—especially music writers— Lester is probably the closest thing to God that us dirty little heathens can get.

I always fall for the ones that die young, or before 50 at least. Thinking about the “era of bangs,” I want to be swallowed by it all. The celebrity, the people, the parties, the angst, the music, the long, long, seemingly never ending nights. I want to be the artist and the muse, the delight and the disaster.

“The Literal drive toward death”

The death drive, or Thanatos, is a Freudian psychoanalytic theory describing the literal drive toward death and self destruction. Who would’ve thought there was a term for that? (Me.) The death drive is the opposition of Eros, or the pleasure principle; the desire to breathe, eat, sleep, procreate; to survive.

Freud hypothesized that the death drive was a natural manifestation of life’s ultimate goal: to die. He said that this so called, “self destructive behavior,” is, in a sense, the human’s ability to express Thanatos.

On the day of his death, a concerned neighbor saw Lester with an unfamiliar pallor and inquired about his health.

“I feel great,” Lester responded, which is the most typical answer for anyone who is feeling the polar opposite. Like the tropics to the arctic tundra opposite.

There is a point in those doomed darlings lives where their life instincts were overridden by their death drive. Perhaps like Lester, there is no point where you hit a wall, you just keep going and going into the black, until there is not a single shred of light anymore.

No one knows for sure if Lester wanted to die. Perhaps he was trying to dull the ache of living or per- haps he just took profound amounts of controlled substances to simply get some fucking sleep.

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