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
-Bertrand Russell

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

July 12, 2013 - 10:24 a.m.

Simple Complexity

My plan is always to start writing by 9:00. I pretty much never do and often don't get to it by 10:00. So starting at 9:07 isn't bad. Maybe that bodes well for the day.

the Kennedys played at the Wycoff NJ Y last night. When I had a car it was a gig I went to. Now it's hard but I decided at the last minute to ask Brian if he were going and could pick me up at the train station and drive me. He could! In fact he was driving Bo and she was asking about me. I like to be wanted. I thought of going as a civilian but the thought of seeing Pete and Maura and not marching seems unnatural so I texted Maura and asked if I could merch. She has a new phone without her old contacts so she didn't know it was from me. I hate when that happens. I always think, "why didn't you say who you are?" The answer of course is you think your name will pop up on recipient's phone. So now I was "That sender." We straightened it out and I had my usual job.

So the next step was getting there which meant dealing once again with NJ Transit. I relied on them for no information. I just used my phone app. I wanted to get to the station in Jersey at 5:31, the next train arrived at 6:08. I had to switch trains in Secaucus. I had three minutes to make the transfer, which is terrible planning. You don't cut connecting trains that close. If there were signs at the station telling you which way to go and people in Jersey knew enough to use the left side of the escalator for walking and you didn't have to insert your ticket to get access to the tracks I might have made the connection. As it is I saw the train down the tracks when I got to the platform. Oh and the conductor never told me that I had to change in Secaucus. I have never once at a conductor on the LIRR neglect to tell me that I had to change trains in Jamaica. They usually tell me where my connecting train will be. And they never plan it so it's such a close call if you can make the connection. NJ Transit is terrible.

As it worked out I got there easily early enough. They hadn't even done the sound check yet. Nobody asked me for a ticket or if I were on the list. The Y is more like a pool club. They actually have a lake with a beach. The concert was right by the lake. Brian picked me up and I just strolled over to where the show was last time I was there and nobody stopped me.

This is pretty much what I needed. My life is in turmoil. There are few things that make me feel more like me than seeing the Kennedys. This is a home game even when it's in New Jersey.

They did an all request show including the request I didn't have to say, Anna and the Magic Gown. I had requested that a number of times but it has lots of lyrics and Maura had to relearn them. Now that she has they sing it if I'm around. Brian said how much it sounded like a Fairport Convention song. That's because it is supposed to sound like a Fairport Convention song. That was my reaction the first time I heard it, Great minds work alike. And nobody is going to be able to sound more like FC than Pete and Maura.

I talked about it with Pete and I have been seeing them since 1994. I first saw them at a Required Listening Show, hosted by Rita Houston at the late lamented Bottom Line. that's 19 years ago. I have seen them about 100 times. You'd think I'd have run out of things to say about them. I'd think that. It could be "love the music, love the people, yada yada yada." But here's the thing. I started seeing them long before I started blogging. Blogging changes the way I see things. I don't just think about things I have to verbalize what I think. That makes things clearer. It also created ways for me to think. So I realized I never figured out what parts of my brain I enjoy the Kennedys with. Now I have. It isn't easy. I lack perspective. I know Pete and Maura very well. I don't see them from a distance but in the can't see the forest for the trees range. It's obvious there is technical virtuosity, You aren't going to find better musicianship. Pete isn't a good guitarist he's a great one and Maura's vocals are as good as anyone you'll hear this side of Sandy Denny. That's why they can sound like Fairport. Maura's rhythm guitar and Pete's backup singing are icing on the cake. They are fun but not like Caravan of Thieves or like Frvous . They aren't theatrical. It's the opposite. There's no barrier between performers and audience.

That's the easy part,. I've always known those things. What hit me last night was about their music. They write complex songs with dense lyrics but somehow it feels like pop music. They use a lot more than three chords but somehow it sounds simple. They did Common Bond, a song from their third album that the rarely play now. It's a great song and I wish they'd play it more. It keeps feeling like a simple verse and chorus but you listen and it takes a long time to get there. There's a lot to the verse.

That's the only video of it I could find,. I think I was sitting next to Barbara when she recorded it. Listen carefully to the lyrics, to the vocabulary. There are plenty of SAT words in a song that feels like a campfire song. I think more than anything that's pop complexity is what defines the Kennedys sound. They make Bach sound feel like Aaron Copeland.

Coming up with that made me happy. And when it comes down to it what defines the Kennedys to me is that they make me happy.

It makes it better than I got to go with Brian and Bo and their friend Bill. Lots of Bs. Brian and I will trade insults much of the time but that's the way adolescent boys say "I love you.' Brian drove me back to Secaucus where there are tons of trains,. I could have saved myself $4 if I had know. Actually they never took my ticket so I now have a ticket out to Waldwick. That's great as I think I'll be using that. One of the great things about the show was that Brianne was there! What's this with B? Is it a Jersey thing? Brianne's name is a feminine form of Brian but she's nothing like him, thank goodness. She's 20 and I met her when she was just 16 and made a video of Maura's Thing with Feathers. It was almost exactly the way I imagined it. I told Maura my idea for a video and she said that these high school kids, Brianne and Jenna, had just made a video of it, Like me they saw it taking place in cemetery, There is something scary about that. Not the cemetery but the fact that we both thought that the natural setting for a Maura Kennedy song. I met Brianne and Jenna at a festival, I think the Warwick Dylan tribute. Now she camps with us at the Budgiedome. Like Brian she is one of my favorite people but I don't have to bite my tongue when I say it. Oh and we discussed going to Falcon Ridge together and that means taking NJ Transit out to Jersey and I can use my unused ticket! At least there's a light at the end of the Falcon Ridge tunnel. I'm working at getting my camping gear from Merrick to New Jersey and then I can drive up with Brianne. How can someone whose life is so messed up at the same time be so lucky? As I always say it's a strange and beautiful world. Now for some strange and beautiful breakfast. finished earlier than I start many days; 10:21!

Hey when I got home last night I actually accomplished something. I made the first draft of the Budgiedome schedule. I had to send out four emails before I actually remembered to attach it. OK I might be exaggerating, I might have made it on the third one. I'm an idiot. They way I put it in the last email, "I'm an idiot but a lovable idiot. At least that's what I like to think." Under self-image I put "it's complicated."





Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile July 12, 2013
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