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 12, 2016 - 1:06 p.m.
I remember the things I did to write about today but not the ideas I had; that is the exact opposite of my original intention when I started blogging. Of course I know that most of my readers now prefer when I write about music, that's how they know me. I'm just too much of a free spirit to be tied down to writing about one thing. I have lots of thoughts in me that want to get out. Then why do they hide when it's time to write? It is a puzzlement.
Last night I went to see Honor Finnegan at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. This is just about tied with the Way Station as the nearest venue to my house, it takes about 25 minutes to get there. I know there are people who would think that's far. It's all a matter of what you are used to. I enjoy the trip there, I take the subway to Grand Army Plaza and walk along Prospect Park West. I don't know exactly where it is but I know it when I get there.
This was my first time seeing Honor since her album Roses and Victory came out. I blogged about the album, Love in the Time of Victory. You should go back now and read that. I was shall we excited by it. Now I was excited to see them performed live. I had already heard many of them but it was different after hearing the album. Now I can hear the more elaborate arrangements in my head. At the show she was accompanied by Steve. We all thought his name was Aviv, that's what we've been calling him for years, but his cup at Starbucks said Steve so that must be his legal name. That's backed by coffee, his birth certificate is backed by just the government.
As is so often the case I was the first one there. I had wanted to walk there, it's just two and a half miles from me, but as is often the case I couldn't get it together to leave early enough for that. I actually could have made it if I walked but I'd have gotten there just as the show was to start. It's not like I mind, I heard them practicing and I was the ears for the sound check. The show was unplugged except for Aviv's electric guitar and I walked around to check the mix. I love unplugged shows and Honor has a voice that can fill a much larger room.
I did not come the furthest for the show. There was a couple there that came down from West Hartford Connecticut. They help run a coffeehouse there. They did not come down just for the show, they were visiting their son and grandchild but still they won the traveling the furthest award. I have a picture of them. I'll have to edit those today. I also took a video. I have a video from the day before I didn't edit. I had plenty of time to do it. Why didn't I? It is a puzzlement.
You don't have to ask yourself, "why bother to see Honor?" Her music is unique without being avant garde. It's totally accessible but with complexity to keep the active listener engaged. People remember her funny songs the most. That's what first drew me to her. "I Should Stop Having Sex with You" is hysterical. She did her Christmas song "Jesus's Birthday" in March because she wanted to. I want her to do it at the The Budgiedome in August. She asked Aviv, I mean Steve, "How many more shopping days till Christmas?" I said, "Sure, ask the Jew." I'm Jewish I can say that. But that's not my point. I was talking about how great Honor is. So yes Honor is funny. She also has a voice that commands a room. She could give a great show doing nothing but standards. She'd have been a perfect singer for a big band. She can also write hauntingly beautiful dark songs like Stark as Stone or my favorite, Swimming.
The other day I wrote about the different ways people experience music. Since then I saw the perfect example on Facebook. Someone posted as praise, "you were technically proficient and showed absolutely no originality." That's not an exact quote but it was pretty much the meaning. Some people don't want to be challenged. They don't want to be made to think. That's the only explanation I can think of as to why Honor was playing an intimate venue not a concert hall. Honor challenges you, she makes you think. She might make you think while making you laugh but that's still making you think.
I'd love to see the reading levels of her songs. She uses a lot more multisyllabic words than most songwriters. She packs a lot of words into a song. One of her songs is The Librarian; I don’t see how a librarian could resist her. And for those who don't want to think she has a gorgeous voice that can bowl you over and is adorable. Honor is a ship racing through the water and the listeners are caught in her wake. Don't worry you'll get it. So here's the deal next time I see her you should be there too. I guarantee you'll enjoy yourself. If you don't I won’t give you your money back but I won't sing Ol' Man River either. You can't turn down a deal like that.
After the show Honor and I walked back to the Grand Army Plaza stop together. We went in different directions on the train but it was nice having the walk together. We must both be good people as her train came in as we walked down the stairs to the station and mine came two minutes later. That's how it works, right?
I didn't eat dinner till I got home. I do that too often. It had to be something I could make fast; pan grilled Cajun chicken breast and hash browns. I put MSG on the chicken. It's getting to be that cooking without MSG has become like cooking with salt to me. Just about everything is improved if you add a little of it. I had to mention that as I wrote about that in Love in the Time of Victory.
Just remembered something else. Michael Daves's new album is orchids and violence; Honor's is Roses and Victory. Is this the new wave in album titles? [plural of a flower] and [term related to war]? Was there a meeting? Was this from a workshop I missed at NERFA? My debut album will be Carnations and Capitulation.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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