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Bob Mould (part 4)

23 June 2009

Continued from part 3

Anne: At the World Café Live show a few years ago where it was an interview and solo show before a screening of the Circle of Friends DVD, someone asked you what you would be doing if it wasn’t for music and you mentioned that you would’ve become an urban planner. That caught my ear because that’s what I do for a living, so I was wondering if it’s something you’re still interested in and what made you have an interest in it to begin with.

BOB MOULD: I had to come up with a major and that was the major that tied in everything I wanted to study together. In the early ‘80s, it was just a discipline that was just starting to emerge.

Anne: That’s honestly what drew me to it. It’s so broad and varied and you can do so many things with it.

BOB MOULD: It’s sociological, mathematical, geographical, it’s watching trends and patterns and applying it or in the real sense of urban planning, managed design.

Anne: As long as you get someone to listen to you.

BOB MOULD: It’s one of those disciplines, not unlike architecture, where it could be a real tricky thing when you’re in the middle of it.

Anne: I work for a government agency and we’re basically an advisory body, so I’m in this position I have lots of good ideas, but no one necessarily has to do what I say, so it can be frustrating.

BOB MOULD: I don’t think I would’ve liked that and that’s probably what it would’ve been. I’m still interested in the sense that it was really nice to contemplate that career and with 30 years of travel, it gives you a different perspective. For example, when I go to Holland, they’re so ahead of everyone with what they do.

Anne: You get to see what works and what doesn’t.

BOB MOULD: It’s like an old, underwater country and they still make it work better than anywhere else.

Matt: Amsterdam is similar to New Orleans in that it’s basically in the bottom of a punch bowl, but they protect it so much better.

BOB MOULD: They pump the water out and I’m sure the Dutch would’ve been a great help had FEMA or someone else been listening.

Matt: Yeah, if FEMA wouldn’t have been outsourced to cronies, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. That actually leads to the next question I’m gonna ask. At that same show/DVD screening, I remember you saying that you thought that things were gonna turn around politically and that it had happened before in your lifetime, so I was curious what you think now about the last couple of months and the last year, especially given that you live in DC.

BOB MOULD: 10 o’clock Eastern time is when it changed, when the California projection came in, that was the moment.

Matt: When the election was officially called for Obama, we were actually walking home after watching the election results come in at a friends’ place. We heard yelling, chanting, all of that stuff, horns going off.

Anne: It was louder in our neighborhood that night than when the Phillies won the World Series.

BOB MOULD: My neighborhood was turned upside down. I live right in the epicenter of Obama world. It’s a huge difference. On a local level, I see a lot more younger people on single-speed bikes riding to work instead of SUVs with Maryland plates barreling through. That’s a very clear difference. It couldn’t be much clearer, actually. The Hummers are gone, the long motorcades that blocked the city are much smaller. When Biden goes home from work, it’s still a clusterfuck, but it’s not as bad as when Cheney went home from work. They don’t quite as much detail, security, protection. I think people are getting a little bit nicer. I think that when the Republicans are in, cities almost have a tough time because it’s a class war. Republicans like to kill cities off and build the suburban mentality.

Matt: They wanna make people stupider.

BOB MOULD: It’s stupid, McMansion life instead of actually having to deal with walking to work and stuff. Also, social services, especially for the homeless and mentally ill, get their funding cut off, so those problems are exacerbated.

Anne: I was just reading today that Republicans are up-in-arms about the person who’s been appointed to head the Census Bureau and that’s because his speciality is population estimating and they’re worried that that he will skew things towards people who are traditionally undercounted (the homeless, minorities, what have you) and that it could potentially re-district things.

BOB MOULD: I hope they do. Everybody re-districts. That’s the game. The Republicans do it when they’re in office and the Democrats should do the same.

Matt: Sure. TOM DeLAY made a sport of it when he was the House Majority Leader.

BOB MOULD: What come around goes around. They lost. They need to sit in the corner for a while and if the Democrats screw up, they’ll be back in power, but if the Democrats get the country back on track, they’ll have to wait a little longer.

Matt: I think they’ve marginalized themselves to parts of the South, Midwest, Alaska and places like that which are already right-wing. I think they might be done as a national party. They’ll be around for a while, though.

BOB MOULD: I thought it was great they tossed BOBBY JINDAL out there and he got destroyed. He destroyed himself in 10 seconds after the 1st State of the Union address.

Matt: I did part of my growing up in Baton Rouge, so that was especially pleasant for me to see.

BOB MOULD: Yeah, Bobby Jindal’s got some learning to do.

Matt: They all do. My favorite is him not taking the stimulus money. Not just him, but the governors of Texas, South Carolina, SARAH PALIN of course. They’re doing it purely for ideological reasons because they’re thinking about running for President in 2012.

BOB MOULD: They have a constituency. There’s no doubt that in that part of the country, they do good. Then there’s Seattle down to the line between LA and Orange County. Then there’s the Northeast. Now that Virginia and North Carolina have sort of joined the East Coast…

Matt: I think it’s certain parts of Virginia and North Carolina personally.

BOB MOULD: Well sure, Appalachia.

Matt: It just means that more black folks and more educated folks voted in North Carolina.

BOB MOULD: I think that North Carolina was gonna go because it’s a combination of the African-American vote, the Research Triangle and Asheville. The Republican area is Charlotte.

Matt: There’s also Winstom-Salem and Greensboro, where the tobacco companies are.

BOB MOULD: And then also in Brunswick, near South Carolina.

Matt: And then Fort Bragg, the military base…

BOB MOULD: Right, Fayetteville.

Matt: Actually I found out recently that a good friend of mine from high school is stationed in Fort Bragg. He joined the army 6 years ago. I found out via Facebook. It makes me wonder if he’s served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

BOB MOULD: If he’s been there for 6 years, then most likely he’s done at least one tour of duty.


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