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
June 04, 2017 - 12:23 p.m.
I slept late this morning but as I don't think I'm going to go out today that's not a big deal. I would go out if getting on and off the Island on a summer weekend were easier. I just don't want to have to face the hour plus trip getting home from the subway station that's only 3.5 miles away. I'd walk it but the reason I want to go out is shopping and buying things that are heavy. Ah, maybe I'll try it. I'll bring a full backpack not the one shoulder one I take everyplace. Then it becomes an adventure not a burden.
Yesterday's adventure was going to see Gina Forsyth at Rockwood Music Hall. I don't remember meeting Gina, it might have been at NERFA or it might have been on Facebook through mutual friends. I first heard her at the Emerging Artist Showcase at Falcon Ridge but did not give her my full attention and was not impressed. She came back as a most wanted, I saw her set and my reaction was, "how the hell did I not love her the first time?" Something similar happened with Joe Crookston. This was more shocking as I thought her songs didn't scan, but they do? She's not a good, she's a great songwriter. I'm going to blame the sound guy. It was bad that year. So now not only did I love her but I felt guilty for not loving her from the get go. Yeah, I do that. At least I keep an open mind; that's why things keep falling out of it.
Yesterday was the first time that I saw that she was playing New York since then and I didn't want to miss it but as I have no money I asked her if I could merch. She said yes. I'm charming and she's kind. Fine, she's kind enough to overlook that I'm annoying. Why do you keep insisting that I be honest? Save your efforts for the president. I also invited my "New York Music Junkies" list to the show. Once I love something I want everyone to love it. It's my mission in life.
Thanks to the bus being 20 minutes late, the trains only running local, and unplanned train delays I got to the show only 10 minutes to show time instead of before doors. When I do merch, I like to get there early to talk things over with the artist.
When I walked in I heard someone call my name. It was Bev and she was sitting at my usual table. That was convenient. I got to sit at my favorite table with one of my favorite people. I was afraid that I wouldn't know anyone there.
This was the first time I had seen Gina do a full set. It was a revelation, she shot up my charts. She apparently builds her repertoire around things I love. She does fiddle tunes. She does Cajun. She does blues. She does rural Mardi Gras songs in French; they are not the same as City Mardi Gras songs. She does sad folk songs. She does funny folk songs. She does sad songs that sound happy. Her banter is delightful. That is exactly the right word. Her wife, that has a name, and was sitting right behind me, joined her on a song so there was harmony. One song reminded me very much of Tom Lehrer. This is all in a one hour set.
When she speaks, she reminds me of Mary Gauthier. That's not too surprising, they both have deep voices and both spent a lot of their life in New Orleans. When she sings she reminded me of someone but I couldn't pin down who it was. When I pay deep attention to much I often close my eyes. When I did that on the right song, sorry forgot which one, the resemblance connected, Susan Werner. They look totally different. Their backgrounds are different, Susan is from Iowa and lives in Chicago and Gina from LA (Lower Alabama) and lives in New Orleans. They live at the opposite ends of the train they call The City of New Orleans. But in another sense, they come from the same place. Their voices and phrasings are remarkably similar. Their songwriting is similar and covers a similar range. They are both serious songwriters that are not afraid to be silly. They embrace silly. They both are deeply influenced by where they grew up and where they live even if those places are dissimilar. I hope they are both pleased by the comparison, it's a compliment to both of them. One more thing, they are both a lot of fun to talk to off stage. One difference, I didn't propose to Gina.
When Gina finished the set, I saw that Kirk was there. He came in just before the show started. He's in Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes and they did a mini-tour with Gina. It didn't come to New York. Bev had to run but Kirk and I hung out a bit with Gina then headed out. We were walking in the same direction, uptown, so I got to hang out with him some more. He is one of the people I have not been seeing enough of so that was great.
I headed up to Trader Joe's. I didn't plan on it but I made a stop at KFC for their $5 Zinger combo special. I had planned on eating when I got home. I'll make the chicken breast I took out tonight. I tried something new at TJ's, honey butter potato chips. I was skeptical but they were great. Give them a try.
Instead of shopping I should have seen The Merry Wives of Windsor at Bryant Park or Rachel Trachtenburg's band Wooing in Brooklyn. Summer weekends on City Island are when I want to get home late, after the traffic has eased some. The trip from Trader Joe's to home can take about an hour and 20 minutes if I make all the connections. It took me that long to go the last 3.5 miles from the subway station to home. I had to wait forever for a bus and then it went very slowly. The MTA can't help the traffic but they can make the buses run more often than once an hour. They are scheduled every 20 minutes or half hour. In the summer, the buses are packed. A lot of people are going to City Island. They should run more buses. If we know this is going to happen the MTA should know this is going to happen and provide extra buses. The trip in would still take a half an hour to 45 minutes but we wouldn't have to wait an hour for the bus to come. If there were more buses there might even be less traffic.
Once again, I'm not writing about the serious politics that's on my mind. I'm sure you're all happier hearing about Gina than politics. You might even be happier hearing about my travel woes.
I forgot my health report. I told you on Friday that I had bad poison ivy or something similar. I bought hydrocortisone cream. It worked its usual wonders. I applied it before I went to sleep and after I showered. I also scrubbed when I showered to remove any residual oil. I saw a video emphasizing the importance of friction when washing off poison ivy. So now the skin's a bit rough and that's it. I'll keep up with the cream till that goes away. They gave me cataracts but I love cortico-steroids. Very few medications give such immediate results. Now off to make breakfast.
The Revenge of the Cob - June 09, 2017
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