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 18, 2015 - 6:13 p.m.
When am I going to remember that I have to start writing as soon as I wake up on Wednesdays when I have to leave at 10:40 to meet Carolann? Easy, when I stop being an idiot. And then I won't have to meet Carolann. It's a paradox. OK. I am going to try and make a very fast breakfast and finish this before I leave.
I have almost an hour, well OK I have to get dressed so I have 35 minutes to write this. I can do it if I don’t waste time doing things like writing about how much time I have to write this.
John Platt's On Your Radar usually meets on the second Tuesday of the month. John was in Mexico last week so this month it was on the third. Now that worked out perfect for me as it meant I could go to see Kristin Andreassen last week and get there early enough to set up the merch. Yes it's all about me.
Last night's guests were Burning Bridget Cleary, Skye Steele, and Leo Sidran. The first two should be familiar to My Gentle Readers, they are favorites of mine. This puts it into the special category of On Your Radars. All OYRs are created equal but some are more equal than others. I don’t just mindlessly promote shows. If I recommend with enthusiasm I have enthusiasm. I had enthusiasm. I want my friends to do well.
I met Burning Bridget Clearly at the dinner table at NERFA. I associate them with dinner. So I texted Cheryl yesterday and asked if they wanted to join me for dinner. She said, "yes but it has to be something quick, like a sandwich, before the show, and near Rockwood." OK who knows where we meant from that. Without that hint Mark figured it out. When I told him we just came from dinner he said, "Did you take them to Katz's Deli?" Of course I did. See I'm a good Jew if by good you mean I like deli food.
Except for Peter none of the had eaten there before so I had to give them the how Katz's works lesson. It's the only restaurant you have to be instructed how to eat at. They give you a ticket when you walk in and every time you order something at the counter they write it on the ticket and then you pay on the way out. If you don't have a ticket they assume you ate a lot and take the pound of flesh closest to your heart. I had the knobblewurst as usual. It's as good as anything there, cheaper, and it's the only place I know that has it. I'm a knobblewurst evangelist. I hope Rose and Amy enjoyed their dinner. They are vegetarians.
Lou asked if they had halvah. I said no but the best halvah I know is at Russ & Daughters down the block. I was so happy he asked about that. So that was our next stop. Amy was happy about that too. She's of Syrian descent and halvah is a delicacy of the eastern Mediterranean in an arc from at least Greece to Israel. I'm not sure where Ashkenazi Jews picked it up. Did they bring it from Israel at the diaspora in Roman times? That would be pretty cool.
Great I'm in a rush and we haven't even gotten to Rockwood Music Hall yet. Sorry this is Wise Madness I can not neglect food or friends. I'm quite pleased that I mentioned everyone in the band without making an effort to introduce them. I guess I should. Lou and Cheryl are Rose's parents. Rose plays fiddle, Lou guitar, and Cheryl manages them. Amy is the other fiddler and Peter plays percussion. Try saying that three times fast. Amy was not the original other fiddler but they seemed to have made sure to get someone else that I'd like and told her that being my friend is part of the deal in joining the band. All bands I'm friendly with should have this rule. OK We still have not arrived at Rockwood for load in and I've already written over 700 words, as long as many an entire entry.
We got to Rockwood, hey it's right around the corner from Russ & Daughter, and I did Sherpa duties and brought them downstairs for sound check. John and Sheila were there. Now it's funny. Rockwood is very dark and the front wall is all window so when you walk in people are just silhouettes. I always have trouble seeing who anybody is. John had the same problem. He saw me walk in with a redheaded violinist and his mind leaped to Deni Bonet. Rockwood does that to you. I've stood next to Mya and not realized it was her.
Back from my errands. Yes it is now six hour later.
We went downstairs for the sound check and when that was done went up the backroom above stage 3. That's where he socializing began. In addition to the usual crowd Blair Bodine was there. According to the Wise Madness style manual (available for purchase at the gift shop) I should only give the first name and no link to performers I see socially that aren't performing. But I had to give them for Blair because I'm the reason she has a website. When she played the Falcon Ridge Most Wanted she didn't and I didn't make a suggestion, I said, "You have to have a website." I'm a bit pushy. I'm also the reason she was there. She recently moved to New York from Nashville but I hadn't seen her yet. When I saw a post she made on Facebook I was reminded to send her a message and ask her to go last night. She was looking for something to do with her boyfriend and she came. I haven't seen her in years so there was lots of catching up to do. I was talking to Mark, no link or last name as this is purely social, when we realized that it was almost show time and went downstairs.
Fred was sitting at my table. Now I had messaged him and told him that I was saving a seat for him. But neither of us saw the other when he came in but he knows where we sit and knows my bag and took it off his seat.
Who else was there, Suzanne, Richard, Viki, and oh yes, Gail. I used to call her the "glamorous Gail;" now she is the raging Gail. She was at the table behind me and tried to get my attention by hitting me with what I thought was a two by four but realized that as it was St. Paddy's Day it was most probably a Shillelagh. I'm not that clear as I'm sure I'm suffering from brain damage from the savage beating. She's going to tell you that she tapped me with paper but don't believe her. OK I better stop writing about it I'm reliving the trauma. Now I have PTSD.
Umm 1191 words in and I haven't gotten to the music yet. And there was great music. Don't blame me. It's the aftereffects of the attack.
Leo Sidran was up first. He was the only one I didn't know. I had heard him on John's show and listened to the song I posted on Reverbnation and some videos. What kind of music does he play? I don't know, neither does he. We talked about it before the show. It's melodic, there's a band, and he uses more than three chords I know what he writes, … songs. OK more specific he writes good songs.
Next up was Skye. Now you know I love Skye. I wasn't so sure how the audience would react. His music is not what most people are used to listening to and most people are slow to accept something new. I guess that's true for most new things but not Skye's music. The crowd was enthusiastic from the get go. I have to admit I kvel when the audience loves my people. I came up with some good ways to describe his music. Let's see if I can remember any them. It's pretty hard to not use ethereal when talking about Skye, but I'm going to attempt it. If there wasn't such a thing as ambient music and we just had the word I might say ambient. So much of it's effect is in creating a mood. It feels
Skye is one of the few people that can use a looper and not bore me. It's because he's not using it as a toy but because touring with as large a band as he recorded with would be financially prohibitive. He's not making a statement with it, he's making do.
When he was told he had two songs left he called an audible and did one long epic song. He sensed the crowd was ready for it. And he got the crowd involved. He had this board with jingle bells strung around it. I asked him what it was. I discovered it. Th board was just something to keep the string of bells untangled. He gave me one end of the string and he walked through the crowd unwinding it and giving each table a piece of it to hold on to .Then we all jingled them to the music. Sing-alongs are so old fashioned. This is how to get audience participation.
I almost forgot during John's short interview before the set he asked Skye about the people he's worked with. One of them is Jean Rohe. When he said her name Fred let out a whoop. I applauded. We of course both knew he was her violinist but had to cheer Jean. John said, "That section is the Jean Rohe Fan Club, Fred is the president, Gordon the vice-president, and I'm the secretary." I thought I was the president. A coup might be in order. Watch your back Fred.
Burning Bridget Cleary was the finally. They were such a contrast with Skye. He's serene and they are bursting with energy especially when Rose drank coffee right before the show. They are one of the bands that just make me happy. Fiddle driven Irish music is right in my sweet spot especially when the musicians can really play. They were the perfect band for St. Patrick's Day. Once again I got to kvel as the crowd loved them. I think you have to be dead to not love them. And the dead might get up and dance. Once again Fred got in the act. When they introduced Richard Shindell's "On a Sea of Fleur de Lis" Fred said something like "Oh yeah," and there was applause. Rose said how great it is playing for a crowd who knows who Shindell is. Yes we know and we love him.
It was a nice sized crowd and so appreciative. I love when people love the same things I do. It makes me feel much less alone.
After the set there was not another act on Stage 3 so we got to stay downstairs and schmooze. I got my social time with my friends. It's much nicer downstairs than upstairs where it is noisy and crowded. During one of the intermissions I went over to meet Blair's boyfriend who arrived after we went downstairs. I told him that very likely I'd forget his name and call him Blair's boyfriend. He was actually quite content with that. But hold on to your hats. A miracle occurred. I remember his name. It's David! Yes I'm not even questioning myself. I'd bet somebody's life on it. Not someone I care about but I'm sure there is somebody.
Wait there's more. After the show I Amy introduced me to her boyfriend, Max! Yes no equivocation. I remember his name too? OK who is writing this? It clearly isn’t me. Oh I get it. This is a freak effect of the brain damage that guerilla Gail inflicted on me. I'm now not just an idiot but an idiot savant who can miraculously remember people's names. But I have totally lost the ability to exactly duplicate any melody on a single hearing. Yes I had that ability, right? You remember it. I do.
On the way to the show I noticed that my watch stopped. I hope it's just a battery, But as luck would have it when I was helping Cheryl set up the merch she showed me that they sell pocket watch necklaces. I have always had a thing for pocket watches. I used to carry one in middle and high school. Cheryl said I could have one! But then I had to choose which one. This is what I got.
The watch was made in China. Who knows the first thing I thought of when I heard that. How about if I said, "The watch, the Chinese Watch. Yes alright bye … mother." Carey you better get that after no knowing the Goblin song from the Black Adder. Hey sometimes the jokes aren't meant for you.
I was going to go to the jeweler today to get my wristwatch looked at but decided it was more important to not disappoint My Gentle Readers and come home and write. Now I have to go out and shop before dinner. See I am putting off eating for you. That's true love.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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