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
July 25, 2016 - 12:01 p.m.
I never start writing when I want to. Need brooks no delay but late is better than never. Anyone catch that's a quote from Lord of the Rings?. I know it ridiculously well.
You'll never guess what I did last night, Come on guess. Yes, you got it right, I went to hear live music. Hey it was only the sixth concert in the last seven days. More amazingly it was the third one where somebody was celebrating a birthday. On Monday it was Paul Kowert's birthday and I saw Haas Kowert Tice. Tuesday was my birthday and I saw Bobtown. Yesterday Jean Rohe celebrated her birthday, though it's not till later this week, and played with her band. My plans were to take it easy yesterday but then realized Jean had her show and I couldn't miss it. At least it wasn't as beastly hot as I feared. Fred texted me and asked if I were going and I said, "Of course." Do Fred and I count as groupies?
Going anyplace is an expedition from City Island. On Sundays it's pretty much being Lewis & Clark. There's always a traffic jam on weekends getting on and off the island. The bus was very late. There's construction on the and the trains ran less frequently. The was running local. It took me over two hours to get to Rockwood Music Hall. Good thing it was worth it. I made it just a few minutes before show time but Fred saved our usual table. It really should have our names engraved on the chairs.
This was a band show, Liam on piano and accordion, James on synths, glock, and assorted percussion, Chris on bass, and the drummer whose name I sadly forgot. Hey that's pretty good for me. I'm glad I remember Jean's name. Hell I'm glad I remember my own.
Jean has a lot of new material, she's preparing a new album, and she's reworked some older songs. So remember how her last album Jean Rohe and the End of the World Show was my clear choice for album of the year? It looks like this one will be even better.
Jean's song Sisterly might be a few years old. Last time I heard it she had added a rap section which transformed the song, made it dark. She's now worked it over again with dissonant accompaniment, the rhythms exude chaos, it ends with a scream/wail, the cry of a tortured soul. You look at Jean and see this beautiful, sweet looking young woman with a smile that lights up a room. But she's an artist and knows that there's more to the world than the light. This is music to disturb the comfortable. She has other songs to comfort the disturbed. It's an entire opera in one song. When she finished the audience erupted. We all knew that we had heard something special, something powerful.
There are many sides to Jean, she's not a Mobius band; which by the way is a great name for a band. The new album has an honest to god pop radio hit, Live. How did you pronounce that? Rhyming with hive or give? Hive is the correct one. Homographs are tricky. I was blocking out the music video for it in my head. When Beyoncé has a hit with it remember that Jean wrote it.
As it was her birthday and there was no show afterward we hung around after it was over. Fred had to go but I stayed. First thing I did was go over to talk to Skye Steele. He used to play violin in Jean's band. He came out with his own album a year ago and has been on the road touring since then. Now he's back in Brooklyn and I had to reconnect. When I was talking to him I was surprised when I heard Anna Dagmar say hi to me. Since she had a baby I have not been seeing her nearly as often. Funny how that works. I didn't know that she knew Jean but it's right that she does. They are both artistically ambitious always looking for new worlds to conquer. Anna was telling me about her new projects. I can't wait to hear them. The more I think about it the more I realize what similar niches they fill in my emotional ecosystem.
I have had an amazing week of music.
Monday – Haas Kowert Tice
Once again I had to make choices and miss music I wanted to hear yesterday. No Fuss and Feathers was John Platt's guest last night on Sunday Supper. I'll listen to that when it's archived. Right after that Mark Allen Berube had a Concert Window. I think this was the first one of his that I've missed. You can't be everywhere at once. He'll be playing at the Budgiedome so I'll see him soon.
I've talked about how upset I get when I see a great artist like Jean playing in a small room like Rockwood 3 when people who are far less talented play in arenas. All the acts I saw this week are good enough to play at the Barkley Center, or Carnegie Hall, or Irving Plaza, or at least City Winery. But they are not. Part of that is luck and part of that is because my taste isn't the same as the general publics. It's something I think about with an election going on. There is no reason to expect the candidates and policies I think best would be most popular with the populace. That's what living in a democracy is. It's not wrong. That's democracy working even if it means I don't get what I want. All I can do is what I do for music, make sure as many people as possible are exposed to those with talent. I'd vote for Jean for president but even after her birthday she'll be too young. So instead I'll see her whenever I can and urge you to do the same.
I'm writing this backward. I didn't give the little details of my life. That's fine, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Jane and Bernie headed down to the DNC yesterday. Jane is a delegate. Hey, there's a reason I call them Jane and Bernie. With them gone I have a new responsibility, feeding the cats. I remembered last night and this morning! The cats will survive me! I will survive the cats! Ok I'm getting too excited there. Exclamation points should be rationed.
OK now to post this then eat. I'm going to take it easy today except I will run into the city for half-priced bagels and a few more things. I want to see Ian Fitzgerald tonight but even I have my concert limits. I need a night off.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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