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
July 02, 2016 - 3:18 p.m.
Thursday I had an American day but Friday was Canada Day so I celebrated. How? It wasn't music, the best first guess. This is me, so if it isn't music and baseball isn't Canadian, how did I celebrate. That's right, poutine! A few years ago I read about this Canadian Deli famous for their poutine in Brooklyn. I was living in Brooklyn, I could have gotten there in 20 minutes and never went. But now that I'm in City Island I went. OK I was starting from Manhattan not City Island but still it's a bit absurd. I could get poutine in Manhattan but I wanted to try the Mile End Deli. It's run by someone from Montreal and is supposed to be authentic and great. I didn't even remember the name of the place so I did a search for best Poutine in New York and found it. I did that before I left home. I knew that was my goal.
On the subway on the way there I got a Facebook message. It was from Mike; he had an extra ticket to see Richard Thompson at Caramoor and wanted to know if I wanted to go. The answer is I always want to see Richard Thompson, he's my favorite musician. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get there. Mike said I could take a shuttlebus from the Katonah station. Well that did it. I was going to go but the time was going to be tough. The show was at 8 and It was about 5:30 and I was on a train to Brooklyn, heading in the opposite direction. I decided to go for it all. I stayed on the train and went to the Mile End and ordered the Poutine to go. It look longer than I thought it would, the were busy because it was Canada Day. I then walked over to Nevin Street and hopped on the . I ate the poutine on the train. To make it more fun they forgot to give me a fork. Poutine is not finger food. But I'm me and absurdly prepared. I had a plastic spoon in my bag. Not as useful as a fork but it would do. So yes, I was that guy that eats messy food on the subway. I think people should have paid me as they got to smell it. It really was the best poutine I've had. It was so good I was having flavor flashbacks for hours after I had finished. I just had one now. I want to eat there every meal now. Great I'm craving poutine.
I played the trip totally by ear. I didn't check the MetroNorth schedule till I got to Grand Central Terminal. The train, the last I could take, left in 5 minutes. It's a good thing I know the station inside and out. I had plenty of time. I had an off-peak ten-trip to Scarsdale so I didn't even have to buy a ticket, just the step up fair on the train.
I texted Mike I was on my way. I had met Mike and Kate at the Brooklyn Bluegrass Festival a few years ago. They are a great couple that had moved from Civilization (aka Brooklyn) upstate (aka Irvington). I don't see them often but it's always fun when I do, kindred spirits.
I always get nervous about meeting people on the fly like that. We hadn't arranged a meeting place. I knew there were on the grounds, that's all. The concert was supposed to be in the Spanish Courtyard but the weather forced it under the tent of the Venetian Stage. I walked to the area by the food trucks where people were gathering and as soon as I entered the area I saw Kate waiting for me. They hadn't even gotten the text saying I had arrived; they just knew it was about the right time. I joined them and another friend, whose name I'm blanking on, do not tell me that surprises you, and we went inside. They had to print new tickets for everyone as it was in a different venue. It was a larger one so even though the show was sold out some people got lucky and now got to go. It's an ill tornado warning that blows no one any good.
Maggi introduced Richard. I couldn't figure out a way I could say hi to her before the show. Hi Maggi. She runs the Caramoor Americana music series or whatever it is that they call it. That’s why they book so many people I love.
I am never disappointed at Richard Thompson. This was a solo show. He plays in different configurations which keeps things even fresher. He sometimes calls himself a dinosaur of rock but that's the last thing he is. He still writes great new music and performs it every show. This was a festival set, mostly hits, but by no means not all. There were new songs and at least one that is unrecorded. It's called "Fergus Lang." It's about a blowhard real estate investor with a comb-over. There's a new verse about him running for president. I wonder if it might be based on some real person. Here's a video of it from a few years ago. While looking for it I see that he performed it at Clearwater 2014 so I saw him do it and forgot about it. This should go viral now. He needs to get a version with the new verse in it recorded. Anyone get it yesterday?
People who haven't seen Richard Thompson live don't think of him as funny but those who have, know that they will laugh out loud at the show. He has a very dry wit.
He did 1952 Vincent Black Lightning quite early in the set. As always I cried. This time it started at an unusual spot, the guitar break. I think he changed that up a bit too. I picture the entire story in my head as I listen and it's during the guitar break that James is shot so it does make sense to cry then. When he finished the song there was a standing ovation. How often do you see a standing O in the middle of a concert?
It was great watching sitting with Mike who appreciates Richard like I do. I've been lucky to see Richard with many of the right people. We both guessed the first encore right, Wall of Death. That was followed by Dimming of the Day. I guessed the second encore right, Bee's Wing
Richard played for about 100 minutes, a nice length for a show. I didn't have time to hang around and schmooze after the show as I had to catch the shuttle bus back to the Katonah Train station. My plan was to take the train to Fordham and then two buses back to City Island. But the next train didn't stop at Fordham, I 'd have had to wait another two hours so that wasn't going to save any time. I had to go down to Harlem and take the back up to Pelham Park. I of course missed the last bus and had to take a cab. There aren't many things worth doing that for but Richard Thompson is one of them. I might have walked it but it had cooled down and drizzling on and off and I was in shorts and a t-shirt.
So that was a pretty wonderful day, the best poutine I ever had, Richard Thompson, and Mike & Kate. P
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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