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
May 13, 2015 - 1:11 p.m.
I of course have to tell the story of my commute. Why? Because I'm me. Haven't you been paying attention? I mean I've been doing this for closing in on 15 years. Given my recent posts can you guess how I got to Rockwood Music Hall from my home in Crown heights? Yes I walked, 6.19 miles. I love Map My Walk. You can see the record of the walk here.. My favorite part is the altitude chart. You can see I start off high in Crown Heights. The best part is the climb of the Williamsburg Bridge. This is my second climb of the bridge. Once again I started on the bike path as I can't find the entrance to the pedestrian. Why are there no signs? I just Googled it. Next time I'll know the entrance is on Berry Street. The Google Map directions are wrong. No Google Maps is right and the website is wrong. I just went to street view and found the entrance on Bedford Street. OK next time I walk it right. I hate being the guy interfering with the bike riders. At the halfway point you can pass from the bike to the pedestrian path. What got me was some people used that to walk to the wrong path. Sure it make it less safe and annoying to the bikers but it can save them half a block of walking. I am not fond of solipsists. Yes I did it but only because I could not find the right way.
I arrived at Rockwood early. OK I always arrive early but this was half an hour before doors. A perk of doing the social media for On Your Radar is I get to go down early during sound check. Coco asked me to save her and Bruce seats so I wanted to lay claim. My table has a plastic reserve sign on it. I made one from note paper with their name on it. Coco was quite amused. I'll often go back upstairs after putting my stuff down but there was someone I didn't want to talk to upstairs so I stayed put. Of course people I wanted to talk to came later.
As Meg was playing I knew I'd have a lot of friends there especially chicks with dip. I'm going to actually try and name everyone I knew. I have to do this geographically and some I didn't see till after the show which makes it harder. But here it goes.. Richard & Viki, Dan & Phyllis, Maggi, Fred, Coco & Bruce, Su, Carter, Chris, Lisa, Karen, Katherine, Catherine, Gidge, Allison S, Karyn, Carolann, Elisa & Jon, Mya Adriene (I still have to double check each time to see how many ens are in her name), Ira & Julia and Charmaine. That's 25 people. There have been shows where that's the entire crowd. I'm sure I forgot others but I'm damn proud of myself for remembering that many.
I just wrote about Meg a few weeks ago, MEGabytes of Music . Meg you are going to have to call me so I can title an entry "MEGaphone. OK I will confess. I wish I knew her as a kid as I would have so called her Megatherium. Meg please don't be offended that I want to call you an extinct giant ground sloth. I assure you there are no resemblances other than the name and that I love both of them.
So quick Meg recap. I have always liked her music but she's taken up to a new level on Restless Moon her just released album. There's a change in direction in her songwriting from confessional singer/songwriter to storyteller. She could always sing your socks off. That's why I worse sandals. Why does anyone put up with me? I just found out during the show that Holland Town is in Michigan not far from Kalamazoo where I spent the summer of 1973. And it was already my favorite song on the album. Hey I can't resist a great murder ballad. See that's why it's good that the song isn't confessional. Confessing to murder could get Meg in big trouble.
Meg has moved to Nashville. She's only been gone a few weeks I usually go longer without seeing her but I still miss her. It makes no sense but emotions don't make sense. That's what separates them from thoughts. Being separated by 888 miles makes a difference.
Fred Gillen and Matt Turk were up next. I was trying to decide if I've known Fred the longest of anyone in the room but I think John has him beat by about a year. I think I met him in 2001. Still that's a good long time. I've known Matt about as long as Fred's been playing with him. Actually I might have known him before then. They are clearly part of the horvendileverse. They were joined by someone I just met last night, Laura Bowman. Fred and Matt are true folkies. Hell they sang a song about Joe Hill. I love what Fred said, "I want to write love songs I hate that I have to write songs about unions." In a properly run world unions would be routine and not worth singing about any more than PTAs. Well OK Jeanie C. Riley did pretty well singing about one of those.
Matt and Fred are writing and singing in the tradition of Woody and Pete. Hell Matt is tracing it back further, he's going to be the roving troubadour at the Caramoor American Roots Festival. John asked him if he's going to wear the curly shoes. He should. I'm reminded of what Woody said about Bob Dylan. Others are singers that play folk music, he's a folksinger. Matt and Fred are folksingers.
I had never see Sleeping Bee. They were at NERFA but I missed them. They had a vocal following at the show. What do they play? There is Celtic influences to their music but calling it Celtic Jazz gives a totally wrong impression. Celtic music is high energy, theirs is mellow. It doesn't sound like Debussey but it has the same effect on me. I feel like it should be background music to a film. If here weren't a genre called ambient music I'd call it ambient music. I can see how people can love it, there's a there there. But it does not inspire me. I give them a lot of credit for musicianship and originality. There's a reason to hear them. If that connects with you, you aren't going to find that elsewhere.
After the show I did Meg's merch. Not that there are any much sales after On Your Radar. Rockwood is just poorly set up for it. I had to use my phones flashlight to let people see it.
While doing that I got friendly with Laura and her friend Alicia, did I get that name right? She's just getting started in folk so of course I gave tons of unsolicited advice. We talked about other things too. I told her I'd blog. I'd told her that the conversation we were having would be in my blog. See I didn't lie. She did something remarkable, she busked her away across the country and back.
I didn't plan on hanging out after the show but of course I did. I had a talk with Mya Adriene. Now she's leaving, moving to California. They are breaking up that old gang of mine. We're going to get together for dollar pizza before she goes.
I walked back to the train. I wasn't going to walk home that late at night. I always stand on the upper level and wait for the first train to come in either direction. People were streaming up the stairs in both directions. I just missed both trains. But a few minutes later someone said, "Hi." It was Laura and Alicia. They were going uptown so I waited on that platform with them. I'll always choose company over the fastest route. I got to know them better then rode one stop with them.
At Broadway Lafayette I started walking to the back of the platform. I thought it was too late for the where I want to be towards the front and I want to be at the back for the . But I didn't get far as I saw some hair on the bench I recognized. It was Katherine. I decided this doesn't count as a chance meeting as we both just came from the same show. But I once again had company and this time for a longer trip to Atlantic terminal where we both changed trains. When we got on the train I felt someone behind me tap my shoulder. It was Jeremy! This counts as a chance meeting. He wasn't at the show. This was total coincidence. I got to ride with two friends who also know each other. Jeremy did the sound when Bobtown played the Outpost in the Burbs. I'm sure they saw each other around at other events too. I know I run into both of them often enough. I keep a spreadsheet of people I randomly run into. This was only the third time this year. But oddly two were at Broadway Lafayette.
I am not going to be able to tag everyone I mentioned when I post this. I saw a lot of friends last night.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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