We use the term "high school journal" derisively, because high school is a time when we think we can translate ourselves into language. Then we give up, and listen, and demand of the professionals some special grace. We call the words of PHM bad, meaning embarrassing. Not just not good, but actively bad. Drunk, devils in beds. The word cringe comes to mind. It is onomatopoeia. We pull out heads back and scrunch our faces as we say it. Cringe. Still, we can't quite get the growl right, so we would never karaoke them. We feel the breath, know the stress, but the gesture isn't quite right for each word. And we have notebooks somewhere with phrases written out, or did we throw them away. When a lover hurts or hurts us, the thought take one line's frame. We laugh, decades later, about how much we know by heart. We don't know our best friend's phone numbers, but we rap the first verse of "Down In It" like an oath. Those bad lyrics. We love the album in spite of them. We are ashamed of our love, but it is no less.



 desertThe desert is a wasteland. The desert is a home. The album was sparse, in contrast to later work, heard as without: texture, depth, treatment. The essence of funk is tense silence and release, an outpouring of sweat: all here, however measured. The space between the kick and snare: “..erable lie.….tck…..boom..tck.” Without is the Midnight sample, gone for taste, perhaps: in a reissue, it is a phantom limb. Can you hear the difference in the long loved, or only absence?

I never count the cost of beauty, you should know that

Happy launch day, Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine.

pretty hate machine book cover

You've been a long time coming.

Thanks to all the participants, friends, and production team members who made it happen.

Info, readings, excerpts here. Full website to come. In the meantime:




You can buy the book for less than the author discount price on Amazon (sigh), or you can buy it at more than the cost from me, but done by the most excellent bookbinder/letter press operator Davin Kuntze in black silk, slate paper, and silver foil in ink, including three bookmarks and wrapping paper, at Etsy.


You can buy a black cotton/poly t-shirt of cartographer Scott Gursky's map of the post-industrial Midwest, which reads "The steel heart of America is full of pretty hate machines" from me for $15 postpaid in the US.

 You can buy die-cut bookmarks in groups of two that match the book for $1.50 postpaid in the US. 






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