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
December 07, 2015 - 12:57 p.m.
Oh no I slept late today; now I have to rush through this. I woke up in the middle of the night with a systemic allergy attack. Actually I woke up twice and it progressed between the two. The first time I sneezed and coughed and I had this itchy bump like a mosquito bite on my forehead. The second time I itched all over and when I turned the lights on my hands were bright red. Now I know exactly what to do when that happens, take 5 mg of prednisone. But it wasn’t in the drawer where I keep the prednisone. Fortunately, I figured out right away where it had to be, in my suitcase. I never unpacked in from my Thanksgiving trip. I took it at a Zyrtec and recovered very quickly and could eventually get back to sleep. But when my alarm went off at 8:30 I had no desire to get up and just told me alarm to stop and went back to sleep. I love that I just say “stop” and the alarm does. That’s living in the future.
Last night I took part in one of my holiday traditions the Robinson and Rohe Christmas show, “the Longest Winter.” For a Jewish atheist I tend to have a lot of Christmas traditions, now they are also Festivus traditions and that’s why I do them but you should not use the more general term when the more specific is applicable. It really is about Christmas though as you’ll hear Chanukah came into it.
The show was at Jalopy. I was doing merch, I was going to say “Of course I was doing merch” but oddly I don’t usually do it for Jean even though I do it for everyone and I see her in all her incarnations more than anyone. But I decided to ask and she said yes. The show was at 7:00 and my plan was to get there at 6:15. I often complain about how hard it is to get to Jalopy but it is just the to the B61 bus. If I check the schedules that shouldn’t be bad. Yeah right. It is very often bad. I checked the schedules and saw it was a nice easy connection, the timing worked out well. Then I got to the bus stop at 5:45 and checked on the MTA bus time page how far my bus was. The schedule said it should be at about 5:50. Then I see that the bus is 2.5 miles away and the bus behind that is 2.9 miles away. My bus was clearly delayed. The further bus kept catching up. The first bus was scheduled to leave the terminal, two blocks away at 5:49, the second at 6:04. At around 6:04 the 5:49 bus just disappeared. It must have had mechanical difficulties. The 6:04 was pretty much on time and arrived at 6:05 or so when I expected. So I waited 20 minutes for a bus. The entire bus trip was 12 minutes. So yes I arrived at 6:17 just as I planned., I don’t have issues with 2 minutes. It was just aggravating to wait so long.
And now I’m finally getting to the show. It wasn’t just Robinson and Rohe, who need a website or at least their own page on Jean Rohe’s website, it was also another favorite Robert Sarazin Blake. I didn’t know they knew each other but I was not surprised. I have seen them both at House of Love concerts and the House of Love sort of defines a scene that also includes Kristin Andreassen, Brittany Haas, Mike + Ruthy, and Jefferson Hamer. It seems that anyone who plays HoL will know everyone else that plays HoL.
You know how I have my endless campaign against generic music? Robinson & Rohe and Robert Sarazin Blake is about as far as you can get from generic. My reaction when hearing that Robert was doing the show was to say, “I find it hard to imagine him doing Christmas.” But he does, it’s in fact a thing for him. He does a beat poet, gruff, but totally Christmas Christmas show every year in the “most northwest corner of the most northwest city in the most northwest state in the lower 48, Bellingham Washington.” What he brought last night was part of it. He didn’t do any traditional Carols. He did his one compositions and very unusual covers, two Dan Bern Chanukah songs, and a selection from Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales. It was wonderful.
Then Liam and Jean did there thing. They perform in front of a lightbox tryptic designed by their friend Andrew Benincasa.
Pretty nice right. You can buy that as three Christmas Cards and it comes with the download of their Christmas EP. Here’s the thing, this is nothing like Jean’s music with the band or solo which is nothing like the music they collaborate on in Robinson and Rohe. There are a lot of people inside Liam and Jean’s heads. There is no Jingle Bells here. They do hauntingly beautiful songs some traditional but obscure and some original. You can go to 10 other Christmas shows and not hear one of the songs they do. And it still comes out as totally Christmas. The closest thing I’ve heard is the Medieval Baebes which is a choral ensemble. Jean could be part of that if she was willing to drop everything else and move to England.
This is now firmly entrenched in my Christmas traditions, this is my third year taking part in it. Here is where they are taking it on tour:
They have a cool thing they do in association with their shows, Troubadour Express. They will deliver a message to wherever they are going on tour and try and get it to the person in that city. I sent one. We’ll see if she gets it.
OK now I really have to finish this up and make a very fast breakfast, I have therapy. I hate having to cut this short as it was a very special show and I hung out afterward. But sad to say but I must be going.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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