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 โ 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 โ except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
August 17, 2014 - 11:37 a.m.
I have a few ways I can go with this. Just the facts ma'am just the fact or go subjective which might get maudlin. I might just so I can use a quote.
A week or so again Aaron asked me what music was going on Saturday night, he would be in town. I consulted my calendar and it was blank! But I consulted my Facebook events calendar and found that I was going to see Seth Kessel and Your Ex-Girlfriends at Union Hall. I knew them both socially before I heard them play. Seth is a friend of Alex and we ran into him at Rockwood Music Hall. I saw his band last month at Union hall when they were on a bill with Bobtown.
I deliberately didn't get there early. The show was at 8 and I arrived at 8. I saw Alex buying a burrito from a truck and went over to talk to him. He was playing bass in Seth's band. I found out that the show was actually at 9 and doors were 8 so I was early. I hung out with Alex and the rest of Seth's band, people with names, names I was told, One was Gabe and the other was a lovely woman, who also has a name. I talked to her more. And I've totally blanked on it. In any event I'm glad that I ran into them as I'd have been bored if I hadn't. Aaron wasn't going to get there till 10. Here's the takeaway from my conversation with Alex, Mumford and Sons is an EDM band with the banjo used as an arpeggiator.
Then I went to watch Your Ex-Girlfriends. They are high concept. They are all attractive blondes in matching outfits that sing cover songs. Apparently they usually do country, last night it was rock and blues. They do it great. I was talking to Alex about all the multiple connections in our little music world and on stage was another one maybe. When Kat introduced the band she said that the fiddler was Kari Groff. I never met Kari but she's not just a fiddler but also a child psychologist what made some wonderful children's albums with Kristin Andreassen who is ever much part of my world. I have all their music. But here's the thing I checked the Your Ex-Girlfriends website and it said the fiddler was Kari Nelson. Did I mishear? I don't know. I looked for her after her set but didn't see her. But there's yet more. Alan from Bobtown joined them too. He isn't blond or a woman but he still played harmonica with them. It is a very small world. He played with Seth's band too.
Aaron arrived between sets but texted me that they wouldn't let him in. Now I know that as my friend he's disreputable but they let me in. So I went outside to see what was going on. He had left his wallet at home and didn't have his driver's license and they won't let someone in without ID. I talked to the person at the door and he said that if I'm a regular I should know that. I told him that I've never been IDed But the reason is that I'm usually going in with the performers. When I'm not I'm ridiculously early. And maybe I was IDed and just forgot about it. So I stayed outside and hung out with Aaron for a while. Oh I had somebody take our picture. Let's see how it came out.
Now If either of us needs an alibi for last night we have it. Aaron seemed to not think that's likely but who knows. The cops might think I murdered someone last night. It could have been Ira Glass and somebody heard his voice and thought it was me. I'm sure Ira knocks people off all the time.
When I went back downstairs Seth had started his set and only then did I discover just what it said in the Facebook event, that he was doing all Elvis songs. Seth does a great Elvis and can deliver the songs but I was disappointed because I love his songwriting. I guess I'll just have to see him again. The show was still great. But here's the thing, the subjective part I decided to go with. The silicon chip inside my head got switched to overload. No I didn't shoot up a school, I'll leave the murder to Ira Glass. I didn't outwardly do anything. But internally I flipped to that combination of anxiety and depression that I call existential angst. This came out of the blue and not even the music could shake it. I tried dancing to the music, didn't help. I tried sitting down and relaxing, didn't help. So I ended up dancing because that has the best hope.
When the show was over I didn't hang out, I grabbed my bag from backstage, said goodbye to Alex, and walked up to Atlantic Terminal. I talked to Katrina on the phone while I walked. Then I read LOTR on the train. Then I grabbed a very late dinner at Popeye's that I ate at home. And somehow as I was on the computer I realized I had snapped out of it and didn't know when. I'm still out of it. It's scary how the brain can do that. Was it just a rush of some chemicals? A purely physical reaction? It might very well have been. It might have been butterfly effect and the cause so minute that was amplified by feedback and can never be traced.
This morning something I could identify made me feel good. Christine Lavin filled in for John Platt on WfUV's Sunday Breakfast. Her guest was Julie Gold. They are two of my favorite people and talking to either of them always makes me feel good, even without the wonderful music. Julie was reading from the book she's writing and read the section on her playing piano for Nanci Griffith on From a Distance at Carnegie Hall. Julie had written the song but at that point still had her day job as a secretary at HBO. Then Chris played Nanci's recording of it. Chris, Julie, Nanci, and From a Distance is a very good reason to feel good.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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