I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 21, 2016 - 12:56 p.m.
I'm having a very bad vision day so writing this is difficult. I cranked the page magnification way up so I can see what I type. What I can't see are all the headings in Word. I knew where the magnification control is but had to click around till I found it.
What was yesterday's adventure. I went to see a Robinson & Rohe at a house concert. It was one I had not even heard of in Ditmas Park. The host, Richie is a friend of Jean's. His face was familiar; I'm pretty sure I have seen before. The same went for Charlie Burnham the opening act. I knew only one person there, Joanna who I had met at Jean's house but still enjoyed myself in the pre-concert gathering. There were two kids at the party, that was a lot of fun. The seating was a bit unusual, three of the seats were cajons. One had a pad on it, a cajon throne. One of the kid decided it was named Gordon.
I talked quite a bit to Charlie before the show and felt I had a feel for him. He played fiddle an mandola and was expecting either something trad or jazz. The first piece took me by surprise, an Avant garde rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow. The rest wandered all over the place but did include trad and hints of jazz. This should have trigged my memory of where I knew him from but it didn't. Then during Robinson & Rohe's set it hit me. I saw Charlie do a show with Skye Steele. Skye used to play violin in Jean's band so it all comes together. And what did I say when I wrote about the Skye and Charlie Show? That they wandered all over the musical terrain. There are a lot of musicians inside Charlie.
You know how people binge watch TV shows? I'm binge watching Jean Rohe. I've seen two Robinson & Rohe shows, a Jean Rohe | Kindness & Cruelty show and ran into her in the audience when seeing Stephanie Coleman. I'm pretty sure I ran into her one other time when she wasn't performing and I'm blanking on it. The best part is that instead of getting a restraining order on me she said, "It's so nice to be seeing so much of you." It's been something like 14 years since Da Vinci's notebook dubbed Carey and me stalkers. That's when I started joking about restraining orders.
My computer froze when I was writing that last paragraph. Good thing Word recovered it. Now I'm going to try and do the thing I did when it froze, find a video. I found it!
I can keep coming up with things to write about Jean and Liam. I don't know where it comes from. This is actually something about all artists. At shows Liam tells the genesis of the following song. He was at the corner of Nostrand Ave and Empire Blvd when they were tearing up the street to put in the Select Bus lane. When they stripped away the surface the old trolley tracks were exposed. That inspired him to write this.
Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people saw those same trolley tracks without being inspired. It didn't even entre the consciousness of most people. They saw no significance in them. It did not harken back to bygone days. It's as much about really seeing what's there as turning it into words and music. I often say that photography is the art of seeing but all art starts with the art of seeing. What artists do is let others share their vision of the world even when they are seeing things that aren't in this world. Art is about conveying the inner experience.
That's one of the great dividing lines between artists. Some have all the craft down pat but they don't see anything special, anything that everyone doesn't see. Some can become quite popular, they are giving people back what they already know and feel comfortable with. It's the ones with the vision that I love. There's one singer/songwriter that I'm not particularly fond of. I don't like her singing or her music. But I give her credit for writing about something, not just making pretty sounds. I'll take that over someone with a beautiful voice but nothing to say any day.
After the show I hung out a while and talked so some more fun people. Amy and Ilusha showed up after I sat down for the show so I didn't talk to them earlier. That's better when I see Jean I should know someone in the audience. I had a talk with a flutist about how much fun it is to live in Brooklyn and have so many musicians around. Days where I don't see someone carrying in instrument are much rarer than days that I do.
Who kidnapped the real me? I didn't write about my commuting adventures. The show was scheduled to start at 8 but the doors were open at 6:30. My plan was to get there at 6:45 and I worked out the timing with Google Maps. I took the to the to the ; at least that was the plan. The shuttle ride ended a stop sort when I pick up the . The wasn't running. I had to switch to a shuttle bus. When I got out of the station I saw the bus and went towards it. It was stopped right in front of the bus shelter. I went to it and right before I got to it the people in front of me stopped dead, right at the gap between the shelter and the bus. I couldn't get past them. The eventually moved and then the bus door closed. Ugh, I asked them why the stopped and they just shrugged. No big disaster, it meant I got there at 7:05. It was also a longer walk from the bus to the house than the subway station. I was still one of the early arrivals.
Going home I didn't want to do the walk to the bus to the shuttle which runs very slowly at night or all the way to Atlantic Terminal. Instead I planned an all bus route home; the B103 Limited to the B46. My timing was fortunate; I waited only 3 minutes for the B103, they run every twenty minutes. If I missed it, I would have taken the shuttle bus to Atlantic Terminal. I then had to wait only a minute for the B46 so the trip home was not too bad. I never go south of my house on Utica so it was a new neighborhood for me.
It's late but I'm going to make pancakes this morning, well afternoon. I make the overwhelming majority of my pancakes on Sundays; cultural norms filter their way into my mind.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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