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

February 24, 2012 - 11:11 a.m.

Barnaby Bright and the Dark Mysteries

Wow, I slept super late today. My usual plan is up by eight, start wrting by nine, finish by ten. I didn't get up till after ten. Now I'm racing through my online stuff and trying to write this at the same time. Why did I sleep so late? I didn't go to bed that late, a bit after one. It must because the storm woke me up a few times and it took me a long time to get back to sleep.

So now I have to write this fast and try to not sacrifice too much style. I will sacrifice the photos. They'll have to wait till I get a chance to edit them.

School went pretty well yesterday. I finished an entire section, something I'm supposed to do every day but usually don't. It's a topic I had a great deal of trouble with last time I taught it, transformations of functions. I cut down the material tremendously, that's what made it something the students could wrap their minds about. The book worked with too many functions, I just worked with three, the quadratic, absolute value, and the square root.

The class didn't give me a hard time about anything. Was that because a lot of students were missing? Is the entire problem that we have over thirty students in a terribly shaped room? I think that is part of it. It's hard for me to make eye contact with everyone or pick up on their body language. I can only see 40% of the class at any one time.

It was another hang out in my office day after class and that worked out too. Not only did I get a great long session with Carey on turntable.fm but I got school work done. I entered all the attendance in my gradebook spreadsheet. Then I submitted the classes "Final Attendance" on the school's website. Final attendance is what they call the preliminary attendance where we tell if a student ever showed up for class. If they show up they get charged for it. So that's important. One of the other teachers who has been there longer than I have asked me what she was supposed to do. It's the same thing every year. It's been online now for years. It's really simple. There are written instructions. How could this be a mystery to her? Oh and we got an email about it too.

I have prepared all my lessons through next week. My plan is to cover new material the next few classes then give a test next Friday. That means a lot of work for me just when I have lots of things going on. Lots of things of course means lots of music.

Tonight -- Alfa
Saturday -- We're About 9 and Barnaby Bright
Tuesday – Anaïs Mitchell
Wednesday – Milton
Thursday – Vance Gilbert
Friday – Emily Elbert and Mark Allen Berube (two different venues)
Saturday (Whispering Tree and Deni Bonet) (two different venues)

I got tired just typing that. People tell me that they don't know how I do it. I don't know how I do it either.

The reason I stayed around school was to see Barnaby Bright at Rockwood Music Hall. How comfort zone is that? Both the band and venue get their own macro to insert a link here. Actually I just wrote the one for Barnaby Bright. They certainly merit it. I see them so often that it becomes cost effective to write the link out just once and use a hot key after that.

I told them I'd do merch so I wanted to get there early. I stopped at Lucky Burger for dinner, as I often do when going to Rockwood and got there 20 minutes or so before show time. Sure I was early but Seth and Chris were even earlier. They grabbed seats up in the mezzanine so I couldn't actually talk to them and make myself heard. I didn't have time anyway as I was looking for Nathan and Becky to get the merch. I found Craig who was playing bass for them last night. This was a rare band show. They were backed by drums, bass, and cello. Craig told me that they weren't there yet. Nathan had told me they would get their early. What happened? Parking. This is New York. I told Becky that if this happens again just let me know and I'll park the car for them while they set up. That goes on all the time at downtown gigs. Every band should have a designated parker.

This was my first time seeing a no cover show at Rockwood 2. I love Rockwood but it is better for me when there is a cover. As I said I did the merch and that meant I set up on the little raised area by the door. People kept walking in an out during their set. People decided that the merch area was a good area to dump their stuff. It wasn't too bad and for the most part the people were quiet and listened but it was still something of an annoyance and I had to stand the entire set.

The music was of course great. I love them with the strings. Clearly this is how they hear the music in their heads. It isn't just added as embellishment so they can say they are doing a band show. For most performers I prefer solo shows because the band doesn't add enough to compensate for the lack of focus on the lyrics and singing. Some performers are as creative in their orchestration as their songwriting and those are the ones where the band enhances the show; count Barnaby Bright in that group.

I actually came up with more to write about them. I really should be out of insight by now. Barnaby Bright elicits cognitive dissonance. In many ways they are The Kennedys the next generation. Pete and Nathan are not just good but brilliant instrumentalists who know exactly how to harmonize. Maura and Becky have spectacular voices and are gorgeous. They are bubbly upbeat couples who are a joy to just watch interact with each other. As a friend of mine once said, "I'd pay to just watch Pete and Maura look at each other." Their music is sophisticated. We are not talking three chord wonders. Most folk musicians couldn't play what they do let alone write it. But here's where the cognitive dissonance comes in. Barnaby Bright's music defies their name. In a word it's creepy. I love creepy. It is filled with foreboding and hints of horrors unseen. Seeing this come out of those bright smiling faces makes me feel it even more. Now I realize I have to get them together with Laura Dunn and the Ghosts of Xmas Past.

After the show I sold my merch and Seth and Chris came down to talk to me. I was surprise that nobody else I knew was there. I was expecting more friends. Why weren't you there? I'm expecting you next time they play in the area.

OK I have to make breakfast and get out of here. You aren't going to get to read about my trip home and the abusive drunks on the train.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile February 24, 2012
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