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
June 14, 2016 - 12:27 a.m.
I should be going to sleep now but I didn't write last night and won't be able to write tomorrow so I better write now. Of course I have a lot to write about and unfortunately will give short shrift to two musicians. I also will not attempt to address the Orlando massacre. I have things to say but that would take more time and attention than I have available now.
So let's go back to Sunday. I went down to Brooklyn which still feels like home. To make it more like home I went to see Elisa Peimer at First Acoustics. It doesn't get more home game than a friend playing First Acoustics. I got to spend an evening with my crowd. The Open Mic started early, before I got there. I walked in and heard a piano and someone singing. I'm blind so all I could see was that it was a brunette woman on stage, I figured it was Elisa … but the voice was wrong. That was Sharon Goldman's voice. Why? It was Sharon Goldman singing and playing. I found a table up front and who was at it? Elisa and Amy. I told you it was a home game. After Sharon did a song I heard something I never expected to hear. Coco asked, "Gordon are you going to perform?" This is the open mic I perform at but I have not been able to prepare anything with my life being turned upside down. As I didn't sing Sharon was able to do another song. Everyone lucked out. She a tad better than I am. If by tad you mean an enormous amount.
There was a short break and Sharon joined me at my table and we had a very nice talk. That was part of what I wanted from going, spending time with my crowd. I know everyone was very worried about me and I missed them. Then Allison and Joe joined the throng.
I know Elisa well, I spent New Year's Eve at her house, I have seen her perform in shows with other people but never her as the headliner and never with a band. This was an album release show. It was not folk; it was for the most part folk rock. That wasn't what I expected. That's a good thing. I like to be surprise and I like things that aren't just another sensitive singer/songwriter. This music had me moving and it had me thinking. That's what I want out of a show. My intensive therapy has made me a better music listener. I was always good, I always good pay attention to all the parts, but now my mind wanders less. I stay more focused. I also listen to half the show with my eyes closed. Of course I often did that before. I have forgotten all my brilliant insights and observations. Too much has happened since then and one other thing; I'm an idiot. I really did have insights and more to say. The take away is that there's a there there. It's music that gives more when you put more into listening.
When it was over we all became volunteers and put the chairs and tables away. That's the first I saw that Katherine was there. Because the show started early she arrived after it began. I did not make a quick exit and that was my intention. I spent time talking to my friends and getting hugs. Yet somehow I was leaving without giving Coco a hug. I never do that. I really am off my game. I had wanted to get there early so I could help set up and spend time with Coco but there was a stalled train in front of mine so I got there before the scheduled start but not as early as I would have liked. I'm going to have to spend time with Coco my next Brooklyn trip.
I walked to the subway with Katherine then headed back to City Island. What did I do as soon as I arrived? It was Sunday night, that's a hint. I watched Game of Thrones. I watch it on my computer so I can start any time after it airs. I won't give any spoilers. All I'll say is "Arya!"
Today I headed back to my program. The staff is very happy with my progress. I'm functioning much better even if I can't see it. That's partially because they saw me at my worst while I'm comparing it to a higher baseline.
Talking to the other people right after seeing my friends the day before reminded me once again how lucky I am with my friends. I not only have people that care for me but so many of them understand what's going on. I hear from other people in the program what their friends and family say and do. People that are try to be supportive but don't have the understanding to be of help. As one friend said, they can sympathize but not empathize. The therapists on staff liked that description.
Today after the program I went to see Shawna Caspi at Rockwood Music Hall. Well actually I saw Shawna well before she got to Rockwood. She stayed with her aunt in New Rochelle. My train to the City goes through New Rochelle. We planned it so she got on my train and I'd be a native guide the rest of the way. I told her I'd be in the front car. She asked, "How do I know which is the front end?" There are no signs and telling her by compass direction wouldn't help as she doesn't know the area. Can you think of a way to do it? The trains travel on the right track, just like cars. I told her, If the other platform is on your left you are facing the front of the train. It worked; she was waiting right by the front door. She saw me and we sat in a three across, two seats for us and one for her guitar.
Because I was with her she didn't have to navigate Grand Central Station on her own though she made the effort to figure things out. She looked for signs to follow and noted how we went. We got to the and made the non-obvious transfer to the .
We made such good time Rockwood was closed. She wanted to sit down and wait so we went to the Park in the Island down the center of Allen Street. She was surprised to find benches there. They weren't actually on the island, it's just a second of the cross-street closed to traffic. She went on at 6:00 and we waited there till 5:15. When we got back to Rockwood 1 they had just opened up.
Shawna changed into her performance clothes then did sound check. Then we sat some more and talked. I got lots of socializing-with-musicians time. I should tell you a bit about Shawna. She's Canadian and lives in Toronto. We sort of knew each other through Moxy Früvous and reconnected through our mutual friend David Hein. Somehow we became friends through talking on Facebook. She's always been my Canadian connection at NERFA. She tells me who I need to check out. She's one of the people you need to check out.
Today's show was the best I've seen her. Maybe that's because of my improved listening skills. I was able to appreciate how her songs develop. You know that's the thing I most listen for in music. Most of her songs are tales. So now I'm blanking on most of the specific songs I wanted to talk about. I love the love song to the bicycle repair guy. I never quite decided if it were all a double entendre or if I just have a dirty mind. Perhaps that's the effect she was going for. Why didn't I ask? I prefer the mystery.
After the show we went to eat at the Diner whose name I never remember on Houston. The burger was excellent and the company even better. Then Shawna attempted to navigate back to Grand Central. She's going to be back at Rockwood for John Platt's On Your Radar in September. I'm really expecting you to be there.
She did a great job till it came to finding what track her train was on. I told her that would be virtually impossible. There is no listening by station, you have to know what line the train is on and which trains make local and express stops. I just use the phone app. I saw on that her train left in 3 minutes so I told her which track and where it was. Fortunately, it was track 18, the closest one to the subway. She made her train.
Coming home my subway train was racing the bus. The train had to stop because of traffic ahead of it. My bus app said the train was at the stop a bit before the doors opened. I raced down the stairs and saw a Bx 29 about to leave, the doors had closed. I banged on a window and he reopened the door. I got on as did the other people that were on the train with me. I was the first at the stop. I started reading and when I looked up I was no place familiar. I had gotten on the bus going the opposite direction. At the train station they stop at exactly the same place. That didn't actually cost me any time as that was going to be the next bus back to City Island. I just had to take it to the end where it turned around. Oddly I had to get off the bus then back on.
OK now I have to get to bed. It's an hour past my bed time.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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