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
August 30, 2015 - 12:14 p.m.
Damn, it's late, 10:27 and I'm going out today. I'll just have to write fast. Yeah right. I'll try and be less distracted than usual
This is the first Sunday I'm writing to A Thousand Welcomes on WFUV. That was always on Saturday mornings, from well before I started listening to the station and I listened when the station was broadcast via cave paintings. I'll come back to WFUV later. I have a life to write about.
Yesterday I of course once again wasted too much time so I couldn't do much needed shopping. Now my plan is to do it tonight. Last evening I once again went to Jalopy. That's why Jalopy has a macro to insert a lint to it, I go there often enough to make it worthwhile. Last night it was to see Alex Mallett's release show for his new album Eyes Wide Open. It was also a going away party, Alex and his wife Sammi are moving to Kansas City. This Brooklyn exodus has got to stop. And neither of those is the biggest news in their lives Sammi is great with child. No I don’t really talk like that but it's one of my favorite euphemisms.
The show was listed as starting at 7:30. I made great time and got there early, 7:10. Jalopy is very much a home game. I get there and see Ernie, sitting out front and he says "Hi Gordon." Ernie is a musician who sometimes does the sound there. Jalopy is very much a community. I walk in and Feral is behind the bar. He is also a musician, He also said, "Hi Gordon." He asked if I were there for the show, I thought something might be up and I said, "I'm here to see Alex." Then I found out that his show was delayed. There was an art show going on. The show would start around 8:30. I decided to grab something to eat. I could have eaten at the Jalopy Tavern next door, which is very good, but it was warm in there and I didn't really want a sit down meal then. I decided to explore. My phone told me there was a café on the other side of the BQE. It was an indirect but short walk. When I got there it was closed. That was not the best neighborhood so I decided to walk back on the other side of the BQE and explore Carroll Gardens. But as I approached Jalopy I heard yet another person call me name. I couldn't make out visually who it was till I got closer and saw it was Alex and Sammi. They were on their way to their car to get their stuff. I of course volunteered for Sherpa duties. I ended up not carrying the banjo. Too bad I figured just saying that I carried the banjo would be funny. I had the guitar and suitcase filled with t-shirts.
Instead of exploring the neighborhood I hung out with Sammi and Alex and helped them set up. As I'm not going to get to see them much anymore that was a much better use of my time. It also meant that I got to go in well before doors as I was "with the band." I was born "with the band."
Doors ended up being closer to 8:30 and the music started at 9:00 with an opening act. I planned my time around two bands starting at 7:30, instead it was 3 bands starting at 9:00. So much for going shopping after the shows.
It's hard to describe what Alex does. It looks like it should be a bluegrass band with banjo or guitar, mandolin, and standup bass. But it's not. The music doesn't sound unusual at first listen but it is. His songwriting doesn't sound weird at first listen, but it is. It's not like John Prine where you listen and go, "what drugs is that guy on? I want some." Alex just explores different things than most songwriters. He doesn't go I’m going to write a love song or a murder ballad. He writes about what he wants to write about. They are somewhere between ballads and singer/songwriter material. There are always unexpected turns. He doesn't shoehorn his music to fit people's expectations. His songs are as interesting as he is. As she often does, Sammi joined him on vocals.
Jalopy is my favorite venue but the last two nights it's been hot and stuffy. When the set was over I went out to get some air. I came back for the next act which was also an album release show. Alex played bass in this one. I had intended on staying to the end but it started so much later than I thought and the heat got to me so I left early. I felt bad as I couldn't say bye to Alex. I did remember to take my t-shirt. I might wear it today.
When I got home I microwaved the leftover gnocchi. It was just as good as the first day That's good to know.
Who remembers Rod Serling's Night Gallery?. That was a show on from 1969 to 1973, It used his name but Rod Serling was just the host, he had no part in the show. They wanted him to bring in the The Twilight Zone audience and he did. I watched. It was not as good as TW but there were some great episodes. I'm just bringing it up because I wanted to mention one of them, not a great one. John Astin who was around 40 and looked way too old for the role, played a hippie that dies in a motorcycle accident. He finds himself in a room where a couple endlessly show a slideshow of their vacation pics. He of course finds out it's hell. The reason I'm bringing it up is that the devil tells him that there's an identical room in heaven. That's a great point. I said I'd get back to WFUV and this is how. Someone I don't know posted online how great it was to turn on the radio Saturday morning and hear "Neal" Young, The Rolling Stones, and Josh Ritter. To me of course that's exactly what's wrong with what the station is playing. The WFUV motto is "Music Discovery Starts Here." Unless you just moved here from Latka Gravas's country that is not musical discovery. I might as well be listening to classic radio. That listener's heaven is my hell. It's not right or wrong, we want different things. WFUV can't server her needs and mine at the same time. By the way it isn't that I don't like Neil Young, the Stones, or Josh Ritter, it's that they are old and familiar and can hear them at family restaurant and sporting events. It's the opposite of discovery. I did have fun talking about it with Carey. though. I did not need any explanations with her, just read her the post.
Of course WFUV does play a lot of new music. It's just for the most part I don't like it. But if instead of playing classic rock they played the "City Folk" music I'd still listen. I used to be WFUV's target audience. I listened seven days a week much of the day. I'd listen on my morning commute till the train went underground. I would turn it on when I woke up and turn it off when I went to sleep. Now I'm catching flak on Facebook from people who seem to have the attitude that if it's on WFUV I should like it and that it shows a character flaw if I don't. It doesn't work that way. I love WFUV because it played music I loved. It introduced me to new kinds of music I love. I stay loyal to the station because on Sundays they still play music I love. .And I still love the people there. But don't tell me that I'm adverse to new things. What I used to love about WFUV was the new things it introduced me to. I still go in search of new and exciting music. I just won't find that on WFUV outside of Sundays now. I'm listening to Folk Alley and I added a ton of music to my Amazon Prime Library. I took the time to look through their email for things I'd like and I did. Yesterday I listened to a Miles Davis album for the first time. Jazz is finally entering my musical blood. But that's not as nice as turning on the radio and having it expose me to new stuff I love all day.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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