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
-Bertrand Russell

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

November 20, 2013 - 2:57 p.m.

Alexander's Ragtime Band Dusting Crops

I dont teach on Tuesday so of course I have trouble getting anything done. It is when I'm supposed to do laundry but I always wait too long. I managed to get to it in the late afternoon but didn't finish in time to follow my original plan and see Jean Rohe at Bowery Electric at 7:30. Good thing I changed my mind and decided to see The Alex Mallett band at the Rock Shop in Park Slope. I see Jean all the time and I haven't seen Alex in ages. Don't get me wrong, I would have no problem seeing Jean every day, but I have to see Alex too. I managed to get there exactly on time, 7:30, for the first act. There was virtually nobody there and nobody on stage. It wasn't too long till the performer took the stage to a small but ,well it was pretty much just a small audience. It was also very male. Not a single woman was in the room. Which is odd as he is a sensitive singer/songwriter. I'd have thought he had more appeal to women. Not sure what he looked like because the way the lights are set up there all I could see was a silhouette. Here's a hint for all venues, back lighting is stupid. I was sitting in a dark room with uncomfortable lights in my eyes that made it harder to see the performer. He recited some weird poems about spiders and some of his banter was nicely weird, but his songs were pedestrian. Why couldn't he write songs about spiders and do creepy folk like Laura Dunn?

During his set Karen walked in and added some much needed estrogen to the room. In the back of my mind it then struck me that she told me she played bass in a band and the name of the next band, Cropdust, sounded familiar. Between sets I went over to talk to her and found out that she was playing with them. My memory is a bit jumbled about this as I also remember Karen asking if I was there to see her and that's how I found out. So I think it didn't hit me till she said it. It really isn't easy not having a brain. But seeing Karen was a very pleasant surprise. Oh and I got a hug.

Then Alex hit the stage. I never remember the people in his band and that's terrible. It's because I think of the bass player as the guy that looks like Robby Hecht, that's a good thing as Robby is a great guy and a great musician. The drummer looks like Creepy Guy number 2. That's not good as he isn't at all creepy. He is also much less dissipated looking than Creepy Guy number 2. He could be number 2's respectable brother.

I bet I write this every time I see Alex. He's someone that I see more often socially than when he's performing, and that lets me forget that I don't go to shows because I like him but because I like his music. Alex rocks not just as a friend but as a musician. I never have to ask why I'm listening to Alex. His songs are distinctive. They are weird in the best sense of the word. They don't all sound alike. He has different things to say and says them in different styles of music. He never ever drones.

So how come most singer/songwriters writing deeply personal songs, sound alike while people who don't try to be personal don't? It's probably because we all have pretty much the same feelings and there aren't that many ways of expressing them. But everyone doesn't write songs about the practical implications of living together like Alex did. And my body wants to move to most of his songs.

His girlfriend, Sammi came in probably right as he started but I didn't notice her for a song. She was standing right next to where I was sitting and he didn't notice me either. It was dark. I got up and stood with her and got another hug. Alex complained that he couldn't see anyone in the audience and asked people to step closer so we did. He could at least see the two of us.

There's what looks like a target in the middle of the floor and Alex took his mailing list and threw it from the stage trying to hit the target. He did. At least half the notebook was in the bull's eye. Give him 5 points. One person picked it up and instead of signing it the drew this amazing picture where Alex's banjo was a crocodile or komodo dragon lizard and the upright bass a giant face. I think it should go on the next album. Sammi went up after the show and asked him to sign it. I hope she got his contact info.

OK next time I remember how good Alex is and you come with me to see him. Deal?

I then loved Cropdust, the band Karen plays bass in. They are a string band, very much my sweet spot. They did a kickass version of my favorite song on the Anthology of American Folk Music, "The Cuckoo." Karen sang a verse. That's great music for her. Do you know the song? The Kennedys and Strangelings covered it. It's one of the Child Ballads.

I hadn't eaten and Cropdust finished at 10:30. I wasn't going to eat at McDonalds and I had to go shopping anyway. So I went to Pathmark near Atlantic Center and looked for something frozen I could just heat up when I got home. I found Nathan's bagel dogs on sale! I popped them in the microwave when I got home and had a satisfying dinner.

I have to get to class now. I'll finish this when I get back.

J'm back. Now a few years ago that is where I would have left off writing, but now that I'm out of the closet I have to write more. No! not that closet. I mean the closet with the monsters in it that come out when you turn the lights off, the anxiety closet. I went through hell while blogging every day and fooling everyone and I'm trying to not do that again. It sounds like I had a great time last night, and I did. But emotions are complicated and it leaves out a huge part of my subjective experience. What I wrote was what the NSA would think what happened, they can watch my actions but not my thoughts. Well OK they would actually know better because I sent a text, but you get the idea.

I was fine at home. I was fine on the subway. I came out of the Union Street station and had a massive anxiety attack. It was of the non-specific type. I wasn't anxious about something, I was just anxious. By the time I get to the venue I was ready to climb the walls. I doubt that any of my friends noticed anything. Did you Alex, Karen, or Sammi? It wasn't quite the kind of attach where people think they are having a heart attack but maybe it was and I'm just used to it. I never had these till I was evicted. Before then I'd get anxious about something, not about everything. I have one tell that tips it off. I kept looking at my phone. I even looked at it when people were performing, something I disapprove of. But it can help me. For lesser attacks I just pull the phone out, look at it, and never do more than make sure the ringer is off. Last night I had to go on facebook. Now I also had something I really needed to take care of. I was once again given opera tickets and I was racing to find someone to go with me. The first ten people I asked couldn't make it. Now it's at the "If you want to go let me know ASAP point. The show is at 7:30.

This went on all night. Good thing I got some hugs. That helps. I got a virtual hug from Carey. She is the one I messaged.

Things didn't start to get better till after I got home. Partially it was from something that happened and partially because when I was home and ready to bed I could use a strategy. I often refer to the Cabell quote at the top of the page. I needed to awaken from the dragging nightmare but even without the sigil, which was after all nothing but the lid of a jar of cold cream, I can with an effort go to the world where I'm other than I am here and where the world fits me better. Or if you prefer Barrie I found my happy thought. It's not a cure but it lets me get to sleep. I felt better in the morning, I always do. The anxiety is back now but as soon as I'm done with this I'm going to call a friend and I bet that helps.

One nice things about being honest about these things it that people come up to me all the time and say the same sorts of things happen to them. We always feel better to not be in a fight alone. And perhaps I help others who discover that they aren't alone.

OK now to finish this and make my phone call and get auditory hugs and hope someone wants to go to the opera with me.





Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile November 20, 2013
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