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
January 11, 2016 - 12:30 p.m.
My therapy is at 2:30 yet I find it very hard to get ready in time for it. I'm starting to write this at 10:46 which seems like plenty of time but it's not. I have to leave here at 1:30, which still makes it seem like I have plenty of time. And OK I have more time than I thought as I was thinking it was 11:46 but even at three hours I'm going to feel rushed. It takes me an hour to write most days. I used to do it in 20 minutes but those days are long gone. The important thing is to keep writing and not get distracted. As I was writing that I got a Facebook message that I responded to. The hazards of a connected life.
Last night was the second First Acoustics Second Sunday concert and open mic. The featured artist was Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes. I just wasted more time. I have a macro to insert a link to their website but I forgot the keyboard shortcut. I had to figure out how to get the list on Word then look it up. In case you need to do it that it's listed under "customize the ribbon" in the options. The fact that it doesn't involve the ribbon doesn’t seem to matter to the people that design Word. My theory is that they are not human beings.
Scott is one of my people, the band is one of my bands, and his people are my people and my artists. The guests performing with them were Bobtown, Honor Finnegan, and Mark & Beth from Spuyten Duyvil, and Allison Scola from Villa Palagonia. I ended up sitting between Mark & Beth and Carolann & Mark. Who else was there? Richard & Viki, Peter & Ellen, Joe, Jenai, Shelley, Mira, and of course Coco and Bruce who run First Acoustics. Oh I left out the most important ones, the people I'm totally blanking on now.
The evening starts with the open mic. I told Coco that I sing at the The Budgiedome song circle and instead of running in horror at the thought said that I had to do one of their open mics. I gave her a "We'll do lunch sometime" and said "OK, when I write another song." This came up again on Saturday when I was at her house to see Villa Palagonia. I decided that I didn't have to come up with a new song, I have at least one that is performance ready so I dug up Mary Marry Me (Nobody from the Midwest can sing this song). Yesterday afternoon I sat in my room and practiced it. I orchestrated it for kazoo. I wrote and intro. I practiced some more. I practiced the intro. And then when I arrived I actually signed up for the open mic. You might know my relationship with open mics, I avoid them. There are a few good ones including this one that involve many pros, but in general they are well-meaning people that I don't want to hear. I have also said that if I had any talent I'd take part in them. So now we know I'll do them without any talent. But I do have enough confidence in my talent as a writer to write this every day and so I want people to hear my songs too. I not only sang in front of an audience with many musicians in it but I also asked Katherine to video it and I'm going to now show it to you. Many of my friends that were at the show came after my performance so this will be their first time hearing it.
So how does someone often paralyzed with anxiety manage to do something like this? Because I don't share that common anxiety stage fright. Oh I have some but it's probably less than most people that aren't performers. I know very well there's nothing to be afraid of. Whenever I do something like this the reaction is great. People are nice, they appreciate the effort. I have never had a bad experience putting myself in front of people. I never did an open mic or sung with a mic at all but I have done the Budgiedome song circle and I've sung in front of groups of friends, and of course that means musicians. Watching this I don't have my usual reaction to hearing myself singing, cringing. It wasn't good but it was not terrible. I was almost on key and my voice didn't sound strained. I blew one line and not one of the tough ones to enunciate. The ferry verse ends differently than the others; it's supposed to end "Right across the sea." Oh well. I got most of the pronunciations right and that is not easy. I even got compliments that I appreciate. One person, I won't taint her ear's reputation by naming names, said "It was good, not just the writing but the singing." I am always open in my praise for musicians and I hope it makes them feel as good as that made me feel. It's why I say it.
Here are the pics of most of the open micers. Word does not like micers, it's so far behind the times.
That's all I got? Oh well.
There was in intermission when I ate huge amounts of cinnamon coffee cake and garlic bread. That is not bread with garlic butter, the garlic is baked right into the bread. I somehow neglected to have coffee. I was very awake and it was decaf but I never turn down coffee. Somehow space aliens did this with their mind control. Or maybe it was Scott. Maybe Scott is a space alien, that would explain a lot.
I've been writing this forever and I haven't gotten to the headliner's set. This is why I feel time pressure. Now I have only an hour and a half and I have to make breakfast.
How good is Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes? They are this good! My hands were as far apart as I can put them without cutting them off. They just keep getting better too. They have that great combination of meaningful music and stupid fun. I would love to see them on the main stage at Falcon Ridge, the crowd would love them. They are totally weird so I love them but people not listening closely, most people, will hear catchy pop songs. Scott has a beautiful voice, he could be a crooner singing insipid soft rock ballads, thank god he doesn't, he uses is voice for good not evil.
Obligatory shot showing the beautiful room
After the show I sold CDs and got to use the bands fun pad interface. It even has a bar code reader. I'm spoiled now. I'm not sure if I can go back to using the square on an iPhone.
I made no attempt at a quick exit. I helped put away the tables and chairs and said long goodbyes to people. Then I walked down to Trader Joe's and got some much needed food. I went hope and made a gourmet dinner of Nathan's In-the-casing frankfurters. Those are the real deal like they sell at Coney Island. I usually don't buy them as they are a lot more money but they were on sale. They were still a lot more money but they are the best and I wanted to treat myself. The come in five packs which is just weird. I might have to buy another one as I always have two.
OK it's 12:19, this has taken me forever to write. I have to post this and make breakfast in one hour. I can do it, right? Wish me luck.
Oh wait, I didn't talk about Bowie yet. I'm going to keep this very short. Almost everyone is posting about him on Facebook so I don't need to. This is a rare case where I care about the person everyone else is eulogizing. From about 1975 to 1985 he would have been in my list of top five musicians. I had literally every album he put out till some time in the 80s. I thought that Rebel Rebel was the song it would be most fun to sing on stage. Bowie was weird. He had a lifestyle. He brings to mind something that I think is from Picture of Dorian Gray is life itself was a work of art. But here's the thing. That's not why I love him, and it's not why I said "love not loved." Because the reason I love him is that he made not just good but great music; music that was like nobody elses. He died and that's said because he was still making music. But the love is in the present tense because the music lives as long as someone is listening to it. It's more alive today than it's been in ages. Raise your hand if you listened today? I heard Blackstar for the first time; it's on Amazon Prime Music.
OK now I really have to go.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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