News / Blog

September 6, 2009

Autumnal tweeting

Greetings from Boston, where there’s a distinct hint of autumn in the air, heralding beloved fall traditions. There’s leaf-peeping, covered extensively in earlier posts. There’s my overwhelming urge to buy new shoes. And there’s the traditional sticking of a giant UHaul truck under an overpass on Storrow Drive by a Boston University freshman who thought the “low clearance” and “no commercial vehicles” signs were meant for someone else. Pretty colors, new shoes and the opportunity to laugh at self-absorbed people other than myself – it’s definitely my favorite season.


It’s been suggested that I don’t spend enough time on Twitter*, tweeting, retweeting, chirping or whatever it is you kids are doing there. So, the Board of Overseers at Ashmont has decided to have a contest, to see who can write the best Twitter review of Joe’s recently published book, It Feels So Good When I Stop (Riverhead). The prize will be a new Kindle, loaded with 10 of Joe’s favorite books. (I expect this will mean a lot of Jonathan Coe and B.S. Johnson, and probably won’t include Judy Blume, as I’ve suggested, because as you know if you’ve seen recent episodes of the new hit Twitter series “Pernice to Me,” he doesn’t listen to me often. I wanted the prize to be a weekend on Cape Cod with Joe’s whole family and me, but Joe said that sounded less pleasant than a weekend in Guantanamo Bay during a hurricane.) There are no rules, save those imposed by Twitter’s format – 140 characters, less the 7 you’ll use to put “Pernice” in there somewhere so I can find it (very important). The deadline is September 30, 2009, 12 midnight NDT (Newfoundland is my favorite province*) and you can write as many of them as you want. You can just read the reviews, which I posted here –– and steal liberally. It’s what I would do. Your review doesn’t even have to be good. I mean, it has to be “good” to win, but it doesn’t have to be favorable. Of course, I only posted favorable reviews, because I feel strongly that the First Amendment has no business on our website, and further, that it should only apply to people I like. I feel the same way about the Second Amendment.  Only people I like should be armed (and more importantly, only people who like me). And the Nineteenth, come to think of it. Only girls I like should be able to vote. And which amendment gave guys the right to vote? Because whichever one that is should probably just be repealed. But I digress. The judges will be Megan, Joe’s high-powered editor at Riverhead, and Chris, his fancy-pants New York City agent, and the old curmudgeon himself. I can’t judge because it took me more than 20 years to graduate college, and also because I am likely to pick a tweet pertaining to Tom Pernice the golfer. As everyone knows, I’ll travel a really, really long way, crawling over glass and through fire to get to a punch line, even if it’s not very funny. It’s actually the one personality trait Joe and I share, though naturally, I’m funnier. I’ve taken the liberty of writing a few sample tweet reviews, just so you get an idea.

My name is Joe Pernice. Please buy my book, and also my entire back catalogue. Thank you.

Pernice. The Sub Pop lady in the book is not based on Joyce unless you find her vexing and intriguing, in which case it’s totally her.

Lou Barlow is way more of a jerk than Pernice makes him in the book. And no one lives happily ever after.

See. It MUST have “Pernice” in it. Don’t come crying to me if you screw up. Also, anyone tweeting what they had for lunch is automatically disqualified.


So we just got back from the west coast, which was fun. The shows were great, with many special guest stars. We taped a lot of it, and my high school friend Anne is working on downloading, so I can upload for you. I imagine this will be about as interesting as watching hours of 7-11 surveillance tapes, since there are about eight shows worth. I got her to perform this daunting task by promising I would never reveal how old we are. Personally, I’m not ashamed of my age. I EARNED these two barely perceptible lines around my sparkling eyes, worrying about the fact that I was going to be late for my chemical peel while sitting in traffic on the Southeast Expressway, and I’m proud of them. I also consider that Anne and I are even now, though in high school she asked the boy I was going to ask to the prom. It all worked out though, because I convinced the committee to book a band I managed as the entertainment, and thus, was on the guest list for my own prom. Also, Anne’s date is STILL incarcerated at MCI Concord, so it’s not like we had a future anyway, at least until his parole hearing in 2015.

Anyway, the west coast. Joe did some nice live broadcasts in various places, and I have posted them here ( Bob Pernice, James Walbourne and Peyton Pinkerton showed up and played, which was fun. Last I saw the three of them, it was about 3 a.m. and they were headed down Market Street in the general vicinity of the Tenderloin in San Francisco. I hope they’re alright. If you see them out there, tell them to Skype home. Getting to see John Cunningham play was a particular treat, and made the summer air travel with amateurs and petri dishes worth it. I like this guy so much that I even spent a day very uncharacteristically behaving like a tourist with him, which is to say, if you ever come to Boston, I’ll meet you for a drink*, but it won’t be at Cheers. I don’t care how much money you’ve spent in our web store.

It was nice to meet those of you I met. You were all lovely*, except for the one guy in San Francisco who said, “Oh wow, are you the email lady?” But the look of sheer terror on his face when he realized this designation displeased me provided laughs for Jose and me for days to come, so all is forgiven. Some of you brought gifts, which was an unexpected delight, and we promise not to sell any of them on ebay*. In Los Angeles, we were thrilled to finally get to meet the lovely Mrs. Menck.  Bob Pernice was especially smitten, and said to her, “How does a guy like Ric get a girl like you?” See? THAT’S why we don’t take Bob on the road often. I mean, we’re ALL thinking it, sure, but no one SAYS it. I also got to meet Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Palladino and Helen Pai, the geniuses behind Gilmore Girls, which was one of my favorite shows ever. I know it’s a girly show, but I liked it so much that I think I might have some extra X chromosomes. Aside from making this great television, they licensed many songs from us, singlehandedly making our revenue line every single year we’ve been in business, and even put Joe on the show once. I can’t believe he didn’t get an Emmy nod for that guest spot. He was robbed.


Next weekend, we head out to the Midwest – Friday in Chicago and Saturday in Minneapolis. I haven’t been to Chicago since the ’68 Convention*, and we all know THAT didn’t end well for me. I’m hoping things are a little less contentious this time*, and there will be no arrests. But no promises. I haven’t ever been to Minneapolis* though I feel like I was there when Chuckles the Clown was laid to rest (“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”). If you do come to the shows, there’s no need to bring us gifts (see above). Your being there (plus the ticket price and whatever you spend on merch) is our gift. But if you insist – even though I’m telling you that it’s not necessary – but if you were raised by well-mannered people who taught you how to treat guests properly – keep in mind that Joe is partial to all things Major League Baseball and BMX. Jose is into Andy Roddick and the US Open, and if presented with anything related, he’ll jump up and down and clap like a seal, which isn’t as undignified as it sounds. I like weapons-grade moisturizers that cost more than $20 an ounce (even on sale); suede Converse One Stars, men’s size 7 (Like Cowboy Curtis said: “You know what they say – Big shoes, big feet.”); and religious icons (particularly the Marys; Saints Rita – baseball, unofficial; Christopher – travel, and I don’t care that they kicked him out; Therese of Lisieux – too damaged to get into here; Jude – lost causes; Clare of Assisi – television; and Gerard Majella – lady stuff). Also, my favorite color is platinum. And if you bring baked goods, that’s great, but please be prepared to sample them in front of me. I’m not concerned for myself, and can certainly see why you’d want to poison me. But I have to be careful with Joe. He’s my meal ticket.  I won’t be at the Toronto show on 9/ 24 though, so no baked goods at all there please.


I don’t know what to tell you, except that I suspect things are changing. When on the west coast, I walked in on several conversations between Joe and his musical compatriots that stopped suddenly when I was spotted. This happens frequently, but normally means the conversation might not be suitable for lady ears, such as mine. However, Cunningham was in on these, and since he’s a gentleman of the hold-the-door, buy-the-lady’s-latte variety, I don’t believe this was that. All I heard was “pssspssspss mumble mumble Christmas goose” or “pssspssspss mumble mumble supergroup” – not sure which. I have deduced this means either they all plan to spend Christmas at Ashmont HQ (also known as my house) and expect me to cook Christmas dinner (which, if true, will be more of a Hannaford’s rotisserie chicken or Chinese food than a Christmas goose) OR it means they all plan to record together soon. I will let you know when I figure it out, which will probably be around the time I’m handed a master tape and told, “Get it done. There’s a good girl.”

The book that Joe and I plan to co-write – Mistakes We Made and Didn’t Learn From: The Story of Ashmont Records, is indefinitely shelved.

We’re working on booking a few November shows on the east coast, but because we’re old and creatures of habit, we’ll be doing EXACTLY the same cities we did in August – Boston, New York, Philly and DC. I know, I know. And I’m sorry*.


We are now carrying copies of the new book in the store at, even though we said we wouldn’t. You all know by now I am not to be trusted. We also have the Charlie Ashmont tees back in stock in new colors and sizes, and at Charlie’s insistence, $1 from every one of his shirts sold goes to or Oh, and I think there might be one of you who hasn’t already bought 2 copies of the new record, It Feels So Good When I Stop (Novel Soundtrack) and I have to ask – what are you waiting for? Our friends at One Little Indian in London are releasing it in the UK and Europe later this month, and they’re also making vinyl. I will import some for the one guy that keeps writing to me under different names asking for it.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for spending WAY too much time with me today. You’re a trooper. We welcome your correspondence, but remember – those teachers who told you that spelling and grammar aren’t important were wrong. They sold you a bill of goods. As have I.

Your humble servant,

Joyce in Dorchester

Personal to Matt in Dearborn: Am too*.

Personal to Russell in Los Angeles: Am not*.

*not actually true

Joyce @ 12:17 pm