the insomniac

the memories have taken on sepia tones like the nearly ten year old newspapers that make up the most vivid recollection i have of the place. it was 93 and 94 and my god i was young then, for my age. i think i may have thought i was fat, but i wasn’t. i think i spent most of my angst and energy stressing on making chris love me, against his will. this might explain how i managed to remain unaware and/or disconnected from much of the goings on at the insomniac coffehouse.

it began when our roommate jay told us about this coffeehouse, and we went. i had my first cappuccino there — my first cup of coffee costing in excess of two bucks. mmm. addiction.

and so it came to pass that the original owners, ben and judy, took on chris as a partner in the business. and chris is a born boss – has the attitude. has the confidence in his own opinions necessary to inspire others to follow his lead. let’s not speculate on whether or not that self-confidence was, at the time, misplaced, ok? thanks.

the insomniac’s first incarnation was in a place called the city bakery, but by the time we found it it was in an industrial-type storefront at 255 south laurel street. it was a big, open space, cluttered here and there with not-quite thrift store quality furniture. coffee was sold on a ‘donation’ basis in hopes of getting around the health laws, since we needed floor sinks or some shit. it worked, after a fashion, for awhile.

there were poetry nights, open mic nights, acoustic music nights, political babble nights, lots of hippie-oriented stuff. well, that’s what ben and judy had in mind, chris just isn’t your hippie type, and he wanted to find ways that the business could make enough money to pay him a salary. so we started having amplified music and door charges.

the thing that brought all this back to mind so vividly is, of course, the arrival of all this pinching judy music in my life. this story will be continued, but for now i will leave you with the mp3/lyric combo of the day, a catchy tune that represents the first time in my life i ever found myself bouncing down a hallway singing a song that wasn’t absorbed out of mainstream popular music.

without further adieu i present, taking you out:


taking you out

i guess i’ll answer for whatever’s led you on
you never said that you were staying here for long
i want to break this place despite the planted seed
and for once what i want might be
just the thing i need
i’m taking you out of my mind
it’s in the letter that i love you with my soul
but now i think those games are just weapons for control
i don’t want to play
no matter what you say
it was getting boring anyway
it’s bleeding teeth to brain
i don’t know how i feel
i’ll take a drink to get the needle
off the steel
and by the way you gave away
what i should be
unless it’s painted on my face
and i can’t see … it might be
i’m taking you out of my mind …

download the mp3 here.

13 thoughts on “the insomniac

  1. i like it! it sure has that ‘of an era’ feeling… 🙂 reminds me of the stuff we used to listen to during those pre-kid times…

  2. Dangit, I want to hear this now!
    And how soon is chapter 2?
    You’re going to keep us in suspense a while, aren’t you?
    *sigh*

  3. i’m already halfway through chapter two and i already have planned what songs will go with all the chapters (i’m figuring a total of four).

    i’ve been going to write this for too long and i’ve got my inspiration here on casette and CD. i will write while the iron is hot, or what have you.

    i would not leave y’all hanging like that.

  4. Oh I am so glad you decided to tell this story. You have hinted around the edges of it, and I have been curious for quite some time as a result. and music to go with a story is always a good thing, although I will wait until i get to my office (dsl) to have that part. Thanks kd. For the good storytelling, and for the story.

  5. I just wanted to say I am one of the people who hung out at The Insomniac when it was on Laurel St. It was one of the best times of my life. Nice to hear there are others out there who have not forgotten.

    Dan Bonbright

  6. I also hung out at the Insomniac on Laurel and later at the Mayfair. It was a special magical time. I would love to be back in touch with anyone else who remembers…Kevin Boyle, Jason (Ratboy), Marshall, Justin Sain, Christian, Tom, Cordell, Lance (still the tallest guy I ever knew), Deryn Riggs, Steve the Photographer…too many to name. My sister, Deb, and I miss all you guys.

  7. With regard to Insomniac I, I think you may have left out an important bit, here.

    In its first location, Mike and Kate actually RAN the Insomniac.

    Mike brought in the artists and bands. He and Kate were responsible for all the decorating: good local art covered the walls. Yeah, it was really a great place, alright, in its first incarnation. And Mike and Kate’s onsite management of the place was, as far as I can reckon, the main reason for this. As far as I can remember, nobody got paid anything for their work: everything done here was volunteer work.

    In its second incarnation, however, the Insomniac was different, not as good, really. True, a lot more people were in attendance, but the space was cavernous, the activities more pretentious, the art generally worse, and most of the political focus lost. At that point, many of those who first helped and attended the first Insomniac, myself included, dropped out.

  8. With regard to Insomniac I, I think you may have left out an important bit, here.

    In its first location, Mike and Kate actually RAN the Insomniac.

    Mike brought in the artists and bands. He and Kate were responsible for all the decorating: good local art covered the walls. Yeah, it was really a great place, alright, in its first incarnation. And Mike and Kate’s onsite management of the place was, as far as I can reckon, the main reason for this. As far as I can remember, nobody got paid anything for their work: everything done here was volunteer work.

    In its second incarnation, however, the Insomniac was different, not as good, really. True, a lot more people were in attendance, but the space was cavernous, the activities more pretentious, the art generally worse, and most of the political focus lost. At that point, many of those who first helped and attended the first Insomniac, myself included, dropped out.

  9. With regard to Insomniac I, I think you may have left out an important bit, here.

    In its first location, Mike and Kate actually RAN the Insomniac.

    Mike brought in the artists and bands. He and Kate were responsible for all the decorating: good local art covered the walls. Yeah, it was really a great place, alright, in its first incarnation. And Mike and Kate’s onsite management of the place was, as far as I can reckon, the main reason for this. As far as I can remember, nobody got paid anything for their work: everything done here was volunteer work.

    In its second incarnation, however, the Insomniac was different, not as good, really. True, a lot more people were in attendance, but the space was cavernous, the activities more pretentious, the art generally worse, and most of the political focus lost. At that point, many of those who first helped and attended the first Insomniac, myself included, dropped out.

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