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
March 25, 2014 - 1:41 p.m.
It really is amazing how my time disappears. I've been out of class an hour. I did grade one person's test but that's about it.
So what happened yesterday? I did stuff. OK now I got it. First came therapy just four days after my last session. I actually had some trouble filling the time. She usually has to cut me off. It wasn't just that it was sort notice it was that the good thing I wanted to write about was simple and this week's anxiety was unfocused. Usually I know what I'm anxious about but not always.
I had a few hours to kill after therapy and before I wanted to be at Rockwood. First I went to my PO box at Columbus circle to pick up two books I ordered from Amazon.
Then I went shopping for some desperately needed clothing. I bought three pairs of pants, black and charcoal for teaching and jeans. I needed the jeans bad and got what they had at Marshall's, Izod. I don't feel right about that. I don't wear designer jeans. I wear Levi's and if I can't get them Lee's or Wranglers. They look like dungarees you can wear working while prospecting for gold so they are acceptable. I also bought a belt. I have been going beltless for far too long. As I've lost some weight that isn't a good idea.
I thought I had too much time to kill but as it worked out I got to Rockwood Music Hall later than I wanted to. John Fullbright was playing. I had never seen him before. I have been hearing such good things about him for a couple of years now. The first time I had a real talk with Kathryn she told me he was playing at her house. I couldn't make it and I'm just now catching up.
I decided to risk not buying a ticket in advance as I didn't want to pay the service charge. Shows at Rockwood rarely sell out in advance and I didn't think that John would. I did think it might sell out the day of the show and wanted to get there early. I did not get there as early as I'd like but I got in. There were 10 more tickets available then. But I was too late to get the Statler and Waldorf seats. I'm glad I went up to check though as that's where I ran into Marty. He saw John on the Cayamo cruise and raved about him to me. I didn't stay up on the mezzanine though as if I don't get those seats I don't like it up there. I went downstairs and got a place to stand right by the piano. I thought it was a bit off from the best spot but then the moved the piano and it became almost ideal. Not quite but almost. I will have to wait to show you the pics. I'm at school now.
The opening act was the devilish Kristin Diable. You have to love the implicit conflict in her name. Well I do. I didn't realized there was an opener though it was listed on the website. I was pleased to discover that she was good. Her first song was a capella with stomping and clapping accompaniment. It threw me by being in 5, not sure if it was 5/4 or 5/8. But I couldn't believe it was four stomps followed by a clap. There was some illusion going on that made some of the claps seem fast. I finally got the hang of it. Nobody around me was stomping or clapping which I found disappointing. I have a lot of respect for anyone that plays a kick drum. My leg was tired from just stomping after one song. Most of her songs were closer to the blues and showed her New Orleans roots. She's worth seeing again.
During her set I saw Gail standing front row center. We made eye contact and she came over to talk during the break. I was impressed that she made her way through the crowd. I was thinking of moving over to her but my stuff had a nice home under a table next to the stage and I didn't want to leave it untended. I'm happy she made it over to me.
First off I'm proud of myself for remembering John Fullbright's name. I always want to call him Dirkson or Rockefeller. I know why Dirkson, William Fulbright and Everett Dirkson were both prominent senators when I was a kid. I have no idea where Rockefeller comes from. Well there was Senator Jay Rockefeller.
After all the build-up from people I respected could John live up to expectations? Yes. He is the real deal, especially when he moved from guitar to piano. Is that how most fans feel? To me he's good on guitar but great on piano. That's where he shines. The music has a driving energy. As he sang a song from God's perspective I was reminded of a line that Nick Spitzer said about Jerry Lee Lewis playing hymns in church. By the time he was finished there wasn't much of the hymn in the music, except the Holy Spirit in his left hand. He might be from Woody Guthrie's home town but John's not a simple folkie. There's a lot of rock and roll in there. Anyone who thinks that I think that's a bad thing doesn't know me very well.
Here is the sad thing. People were raving about John two years ago. He was the consensus next big thing. But he's still playing Rockwood which holds just 120 people. That's so sad. There ain't no justice. He was nominated for a Grammy this year. Maybe that will propel him to the next level. If not make it your good fortune by seeing him at an intimate venue.
The reason I felt OK with not buying my ticket in advance is that I knew that if it was sold out I had a backup plan, seeing Robby Hecht on Stage 3. It killed me that I couldn't make it. He doesn't play in New York often and I feel I owe him one. I saw him at NERFA this year. He was one of the performers that I already knew that I saw because I don't get to see him often. I had it in my notes to write about him then I forgot in the haze of NERFA. Then I meant to write about him in the entry of things I forgot to write about at NERFA, and forgot again. Yes this is very sad. And I had such nice things to say. So I'll say the gist of it now. Before I saw him I forgot how much I liked him as both a musician and a person. He excels at both. He is so much one of my people and one of my musicians but he's not one of my regulars. He should be. I heard his new CD is great. I picked it up last night when I talked to him after the show. He was worth waiting around for even though I hadn't eaten and was starving. You know me and food so is there higher praise?
OK I really should do some prep for class. At least see what I'm supposed to be teaching. No plans for tonight. I hope I remember the personal stuff I want to write about tomorrow.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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