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
September 27, 2015 - 11:32 a.m.
Even though I slept late and I'm sleep deprived I'm starting to write before 10 AM! It's 9:51. I sleep deprived. I had insomnia. This used to happen often now it's pretty rare. My mother would say that I have a guilty conscience. I don't. This used to happen frequently. Most things are worse in my life now but it's nice that most nights I shut my eyes and I'm asleep in a few minutes.
Yesterday I was expansive in my writing, maybe today I'll be concise then I get to make breakfast and more to the point, coffee sooner. Yes I could just make the coffee now then write. There's a lot to be said for that as a Horvendile is just a way to transform coffee into blog posts. But I know if I get home and start doing things I'll have trouble getting started writing. I'm going to strike while the iron is hot. George Orwell would not approve of my use of that expression. Do you know what it refers to? Strike what when what iron is hot? Even if you do know, and I'm guessing most of you can figure it out that it refers to a blacksmith forging iron, actually steel, while the it is still hot enough to be softened. When you picture that you think of him making a horseshoe don't you?
Writing about blacksmiths is not being concise. Hey I said "maybe today I'll be concise." That was not a promise merely a conjecture. One that has proved false.
Yesterday I traveled upstate, all the way to Hastings-on-Hudson to see Bobtown. That's all of 40 minutes on the Metro North, running local. But it's still upstate, maybe you can argue Yonkers isn't, it borders the Bronx but Hastings is a whole town north of that. I'm surprised they don't require a passport.
I am always punctual but I often cut things close when I take the MetroNorth. I didn't yesterday, I got the Grand Central Station 25 minutes early. I was nice and relaxed. I should have been smart and grabbed something to eat but I was an idiot and didn't. Good thing I had a big breakfast, a three-egg omelet. And with that I'm actually getting up so I might as well make coffee. I have to take something out of the freezer for dinner. I'll be right back. Let's see how long this takes. It's now 10:06. It's now 10:17 and the kettle is on the fire. I had to put away yesterday's dishes from the drying rack. They were for the most part from yesterday's breakfast. I was bad and left them in the sink and didn't wash them till I got home last night. In two minutes I'll check on the kettle.
I got to Hastings right on time and Carter was there to pick me up. I really should know his car by now but I don't. Why? All together now; because I'm an idiot. I didn’t year you. Everyone should always sing along, it makes the show more fun. . OK checking the water. Tell me, who else live blogs making a coffee? The water is in the French press it has to brew for four minutes. It's already been about two. I can see you just shiver with anticip...pation.
When I go to Common Ground Community Concerts I do the merch. I also do whatever else Carter needs before the show. This time it was bringing in the stage lights from his car and cutting out the seat reservations. Yes he tried something totally new, preordering assigned seats. The shows are no longer general admission. Ugh. I have to reboot my computer. Well I'll pour my coffee while that happens. You can run to the bathroom or grab a snack. Be back in two minutes. It's 10:35 now and I'm drinking coffee. That all too way too long, exactly what I was afraid of.
I'm not telling any secrets when I saw that Bobtown is one of my special bands. Nobody else does what they do. That doesn't make an artist good but it's a good thing. Their harmonies are the first thing I'll usually talk about. They don't just sound beautiful, they are constantly changing. Hey that's perhaps the bands defining feature, the songs never just go on in the same repeating pattern. Within the songs they keep changing the vocal and instrumental arrangements. It's not verse, chorus, repeated exactly the same each time with just a bridge to break it up. Their voices don't stay in lockstep but dance around each other, it's the difference between a march and a ballet. The bass player, now in transition, just plays bass and Karen sticks to the acoustic guitar but the rest change up instruments. Alan plays electric guitar, banjo, and dobro. Katherine, standing drum kit, accordion, ukulele, washboard, and handheld percussion. Jen plays a plethora of handheld percussion and slide whistle. There's even choreography.
Last night I paid particular attention to Mama's Got the Backbeat. As befitting the subject matter this is a song that stays in a groove. They do not let it get stale, in fact they accelerate the changes in the song once you have learned the basic groove. Katherine starts with the lead, then Karen takes a few verses. The harmony vocals keep changing. Jen comes in with the bridge in the simplest of arrangements but then they take up the complexity several notches as Katherine comes back in the lead while Jen keeps singing the bridge in counterpoint while Karen sings harmony. Don't get what I mean? See for yourself.
That's an old recording, Fred is on bass and Katherine does not have her new drum kit. That's a suitcase she's using for foot bass.
Oh no, I just realized that they are not my first favorite band to have a front person be the one with the hair and playing stand up drum kit. Pretty sure that Katherine is not going to go the way of Jian from Moxy Früvous. If you don't know what I'm talking about Google it. Now I have to thoroughly wash out my brain.
It was a pretty amazing show, as their usually are. The only one I knew in the audience were Fred with a rare appearance by his wife the lovely Linda. I guess Fred deserves an alliteration to, how about the fantastic Fred. Know why I'm unhappy with that? The alliteration would work better if it started with an fr. I could say friendly Fred which also has the advantage of being the reverse of the legendary Fred Friendly of CBS news. And Fred is friendly. OK. Maybe I'll use that. Now I want to alliterate everyone I'm writing about. Well first off I should give the bass player's name, Joe. He's the only one I don't know well so I get afraid I don't remember his name correctly. So the band is:
The Common Ground staff
The host and curator of the Common Ground series Commanding Carter
There are a lot more volunteers each of whom deserves praise but I'm an idiot, these are the ones I know the best so know their names.
After the show I got a special bonus. I didn't have to take the train home. Karen and Katherine also live in Brooklyn and gave me a ride right to my door! That made my life so much better. This is where I miss my car. I liked it better when I gave the musicians the rides home and to the shows. I'd rather be a host than a parasite.
I'm on my second cup of coffee now. I’m almost awake.
Notice I hadn't eaten dinner. So when I got home I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich and heated up the leftover gnocchi. I got three meals out of the $2 package; that's good value.
The reason I wanted to get this finished early was so I could go to Day 3 of the Brooklyn Americana Festival. I had to miss the first two days. Today I can't miss the Calamity Janes at 2:30 at Superfine and The Amigos Band at 5 PM under the Manhattan Bridge arch. Then I have to go to Trader Joe's. Once again I'll be missing most of John Platt's Sunday Supper, I'll listen when it is archived. I hope I can be back by 7:00. In the last hour Harpeth Rising another of my super favorite bands is playing. They too are in the elite group of bands that have given me a ride home. I realized that I'm complaining that because I don't have a car I have to get rides home from not just favorite musicians but also beautiful women. I really need to rethink my priorities. Nope, still want a car and independence. And now I'm finished at 11:32.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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