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 26, 2016 - 1:09 p.m.
I'm starting writing 50 minutes later than my theoretical ideal but an hour and half earlier than I've been starting of late. I'll look at the glass as half full. I'm a math guy so I should say 9⁄14 full. Those 40 words say a lot about who I am.
I did a lot so I should jump right into recounting my day. It's now half an hour after I wrote that last sentence. Welcome to my life.
My first stop was my PO Box at Columbus Circle. I should have taken a picture of my mail. It was all junk. One was addressed to the previous owner of the box. I've had it for years. The second was addressed to resident. The last we a Manhattan Yellow Pages. I didn't know they still made them. The thing was it was tiny, not a huge phone book. All ended up in the garbage. My plan was to get there at 5:15. I made good time and got there at 5:05., a 45-minute trip. It took me over an hour the day before which is why I got there after the Post Office closed. I had dinner plans with Dan at the Remedy Diner on the Lower East Side at 8:30 so I had a lot of time to kill. So I did what was my default Friday plan when I was teaching up there. I went to Free Music Fridays at the American Museum of Folk Art. I have a lot of trouble with the website. I won't give you a link to the Free Music Fridays section as it isn't always the same. If you go to the alleged page you see this, Free Music Friday. Notice it gives you the schedule starting in three weeks. So the website is annoying but the series is wonderful. I love Lara Ewen who curates it. She books great people and is an entertaining emcee. Why is emcee a word? Why don't we write MC? It is initials after all. I have lots to write about and I'm wondering. But that's how you know this is me writing this not the aliens that kidnapped me.
I walked in last night with no idea who was playing. There are three acts and I figured I'd see the first two then leave. The timing was right for that. I took my usual seat down front and the first act took the stage, Vincent Cross. He had a hard accent to pin down and I found out why. He was born in Ireland, his mother is English, moved to Australia when he was two, moved back to Ireland when he was 10, and has lived in New York the last ten years. To top it off like many musicians he has a great ear for accents. After the show I heard him do a full out Aussie and the lon gildand accent he's working on. He lives in Queens now, my peep. Yes, I have a lot of peeps, anyone from Brooklyn or Queens. Hey it's Easter tomorrow, it's the time for peeps.
He won me over the first song, a banjo rendition of Darlin' Corey He does trad songs, bluegrass, and writes his own. This show was solo so the sound was more trad. He told me that with the band there's more bluegrass. I knew after two songs that I wanted to play him next time I'm on the radio. I love discovering new music like that. I had no expectations and found a talent. I thought he'd be new to my crowd but find we have 95 friends in common. I'm behind the curve not ahead of it. They come from all over, the Irish scene, the bluegrass/old time scene and the singer-songwriter scene. It makes sense, he doesn’t pin himself down. I loved that he feels the need to teach as he goes along. He explained his different playing styles the first three, hard claw hammer, Piedmont Blues, and I think he called the last "Irish." I'm also not sure of the modifier of claw hammer. I went over to talk to him after his set and get a CD to play.
During the break I saw that Todd was there. I hadn't seen him since November and now saw him twice in three days. He was at the Deni concert. The world is predictable in its unpredictability.
Lara said that "Heather" was coming up. That's a common name and was sure that it wasn't Heather Pierson or Lloyd and figured it wasn't one of the many other Heathers I know. I was wrong, it was the Heather I've known the longest, Heather Eatman. I first saw her in the early to mid-90s when I started my musical junkiehood by going to the clubs in the East Village every weekend I had nothing else to do. I was at Café Siné or the Fort at the Sidewalk Café the most. I associate Heather with the Fort and Lach and the anti-Folk scene. WFUV might even have played one of her songs, Too Tired to Be Elvis Tonight. She's someone I saw a number of times and talked to a few. I have not talked to her this millennium but I did catch her once something like 10 years ago. I didn't know if she were still performing. I had just been talking about her with Richard Cuccaro a the last John Platt's On Your Radar. I was delighted to see her again, enough that I ran away from talking to Vincent so I could sit and listen during her set. She still has it. Her newest project is a collection of her oldest songs, written during high school and college.
After heather's set I talked to Vincent and Heather then headed out. I needed a lot of time as my plan was to walk to the Remedy diner at Houston and Norfolk; that's 4.91 miles according to Map My Walk. I did it in 1:18:51. Map My Walk seems to have gotten rid of the feature that let me embed the map here. The most direct route would be walking down Broadway to Union Square but I had to stray from that. New Yorkers know you have to your TAS (Tourist Avoidance System) when walking in the City. At 50th Street I walked East to 6th Avenue and got back on Broadway at Herald Square.
I got to the Remedy around 8:15. They were nice and let me sit at a table while I waited for Dan. He was right on time. We haven't hung out for a while so we needed the quality time. We sat for an hour then headed over to Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 to see Jo Kroger. It was the CD release show for The Simplest. As too often happens at the late show at Rockwood 3, the second show ran late and we couldn't go down when we were supposed to. I was there talking to Dan and Caitlin Mahoney, Jo's friend and last night harmony vocalist. She's my friend two. I met them both through Kat Quinn. They all accompany each other and I see all three of their shows. While I was regaling Dan and Caitlin with one of my "Why do these things happen to me" stories someone comes up to me and says, "Are you Gordon?" It was Jo's mother who I never met. She recognized me from posts I've made to Jo on Facebook. How do people do that? I never recognize anyone from Facebook.
Jo packed the house. I couldn't even get my usual seat; the one I think should have my name on it along with a permanent reserve sign. Not that I have a sense of privilege or anything. We were forced to sit middle row center.
I loved Jo's new material. It's that genre I refuse to call pop even if the world does because there's too much content, both lyrical and musical. Fred is now going, "It's pop, just accept it." This is still niche music. The listener is rewarded for paying attention. Someone that likes Katy Perry is not going to go gaga over it. Someone that likes Lady Gaga might go perry over it. The songs have layers and literacy. That's a good word for it. It's funny I told Dan that I was writing the entry in my head as I listened and now so much of it is gone. I listened to the CD earlier today. Will I have to turn off Miles Davis and listen while I write to trigger my memory? I'll try. Nope all that's coming to me is that I'm hungry. You know what I can do? I can show you. Here's the title track.
I love the line. "You don't need a soul so I fit right in." She compares New York and California but defies convention by making NY sunny and CA soulless. I have to remember to not play this on the radio. It uses two of the seven words.
Oh, I saw someone unexpected at the show, Tom Toce. He's a member of the friends of Christine Lavin club. He's also a fellow Jeopardy champion. He knows Jo from sharing a gig. It's a small world.
My brain does what it wants. It forgot what I wanted to say about Jo and remembers what I wanted to say about the ride home. I did the merch, what a shock, so I stayed late. I didn't get out till about midnight. It's a short trip but it's three trains that run local. I could make it two trains if I walked down to Grand Street but I wasn't dressed warm enough. I forgot this idiot story. It was 70° when I left home and I just wore a t-shirt. But I saw that it was going to go down to about 50° by the time I was going home. So I took layers with me. My light hoodie and my light jacket. Combined they'd do fine. When I walked out of the Museum the wind was blowing and it was cold so I put on the hoodie. By the time I got to Madison Square I was hot so I took it off. I went to put it back in my bag and saw the bag was open. Then I saw that my jacket wasn't there. I hoped that meant the jacket was at home and hadn't fallen out. That I was an idiot when packing, I knew that the jacket was in my hand and ready to go into the bag. It didn't want to be an idiot because I left the zipper open and I lost my jacket. Now where were we? Oh right. I didn't want to go to Grand street because I was cold. So I went to the Second Avenue stop a block away. I can take the in either direction. I heard a train coming in and raced downstairs. I saw it was on the uptown platform. I got to the second stairs while people were coming up it from the train. One group of women were walking abreast and I couldn't get past them, the train closed its doors right in front of me and that's why I missed the train and I was mad at the women that don't know how to walk on stairs when people are walking in the other direction. Except that's not what happened. Yes, the women blocked me and I had to wait while I was face to face with one and finally moved out of my way. But I didn't just miss the train. I missed it while that was going on. There's no way I would have made it to the door even if the woman hadn't been there. But that's not as good a story. And I was mad at the woman and I wanted to blame them. I pictured in my mind the story as I first told it to you. If I hadn't realized what I was doing, I'd have been convinced that's what happened by the time I got home. People like someone to blame. People like life to have points. For there to be a moral to the story, for heroes and villains. I'm a person so I feel the same desires. I know I have given into them. I had to make a conscious decision not to last night.
What happened to me being hungry? I'm still hungry. Now I'm hungrier. I better make my breakfast. It's going to be a breakfast sandwich. I am having more adventures today but I might not be able to update till tomorrow night. I might be spending the night at Melissa's. Maybe I'll bring my computer with me. Wow 2168 words. I told you I did a lot.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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