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
November 22, 2015 - 3:57 p.m.
How did it get so late? Oh right, I didn't wake up till 11:20 and then made pancakes for breakfast. Hold on a minute. I have to put the leftovers in the fridge. Still there? Thanks for waiting for me to get back.
Let's see if I have time to write everything I wanted to. I probably won't. I'll at least start with what I did yesterday. I went on a polar expedition. No that's not true. I did not go to the arctic, just upstate New York, Yonkers. You don't hit the arctic till around Kingston.
I went there for an Urban H20 benefit with Spuyten Duyvil and the Gaslight Tinkers. I miss my computer, I want to hit control + S and automatically insert a link to the Spuyten Duyvil website. Well now you are going to find the websites yourself; that's why god created Google. Days ago I texted Beth and asked if I could merch at the show. Uncharacteristically she did not respond. So on Friday I asked again on Facebook and I got my usual, almost immediate, "of course you can." Why didn't she respond to my text? I texted her landline, Why? I'm an idiot. Come on you have to know that by now. I have to give myself, and Beth some credit, I didn't go have an insecurity attack that the reason she didn't respond was that she didn't want to talk to me. That is my usual response to that sort of thing. Instead I reasoned out what happened and confirmed it by looking at my phone. If you read Wise Madness regularly you'll learn a lot about anxiety. That's why I write about it even when it's embarrassing. I'm always a teacher at heart; it's not what I do, it's who I am.
Beth even invited me up for dinner in the Green Room. That's important for that trip as otherwise I have to buy dinner out and eat it early before I get on the Metro North. I think of this as an easy trip but it still takes time. I take the 4 to Grand Central Station and then take the Metro North from there. It's about 45 minutes on the subway and 35 minutes on the MTN and of course I have to leave time to buy my ticket and get to the train and then walk from the Yonkers Station to the Beczak where the show was, but that's only about 5 minutes. Because of the short walk I always think of it as an easy trip. When people complain they have a 45 minute drive to a show I sneer. I'd think of that as a very convenient show.
The trip did not go as plan. The 4 ran local in Manhattan and just sat in the station for 10 minutes. I arrived at Grand Central at the exact moment the MTN train was leaving. I thought the next train was in an hour, but it was in just half an hour so that wasn't so bad as I was planning on getting there an hour early. I decided to use the time by going to a drug store and buying nasal strips. I used my phone to find a drug store. I got there and it wasn't there. It must have closed and the map wasn't closed. That meant I had to stop on the way home as I wasn't going to spend another night awake not being able to breathe.
I got to Beczak and still was able to grab dinner in the green room before reporting to marching duties. I was happy to see Jeremy Aaron who I had just met at NERFA. He sat in with Spuyten Duyvil on fiddle. He's very good.
It was a weird show for me at Urban H20 as I didn't know many people there, only two that weren't performing, Sylvia and and and, OK this is insane that I can't remember two people I got it! It was Tom. Now I'm worried I'm getting his name wrong.
The opening act was The Gaslight Tinkers. They have some sort of ray that affects my memory as I can never remember their name and I was selling their CD. I did learn two of the members name by asking 500 times each and coming up with a mnemonic, Garrett, I picture him with red hair playing third base at Shea Stadium because the third basemen against right-handed pitching on the 69 Mets was Wayne Garrett, and Peter Siegel, I even know his last name because first I think Peter and Gordon which leads me to thinking of Peter Sagal of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. That was beyond a run-on sentence but I think it's also correct and not that hard to understand. I forgot the name of the fiddler, the cute woman, the one I'm supposed to remember. I only asked her name 250 times. But I can look it up; Audrey! Ok now to think of her as a man-eating plant. Feed Me! OK Audrey next time I see you I won't know your name but I'll know that I should know it. I never met the drummer Dave. When I met the other three I asked if they were the whole band and they said, "We also have a drummer," and I said, "oh so you're all the musicians in the band. Buh duh dum!" Yes I put in the rim shot when I said it.
Beth told me that I'd like … what's their name again? This is not a joke I actually forgot, the Gaslight Tinkers. She was wrong, I love them. I knew in about eight bars they were my kind of band just from the intro to the first song. I love the way they built the layers up instrument by instrument then exploded into the body of the song. What do they do? Everything, Celtic, bluegrass, trad, Appalachian, old time, even reggae. They do it al their own way. They are a dance band and do a dance version of Woody Guthrie's I Don't Have No Home that totally transforms the song. Everyone who was standing couldn't help but move to the music. They got an immediate invite to the Budgiedome and immediate addition to my causes. If you are a presenter I'll bug you to book them and if you are a DJ I'll bug you to play them. I heard them play and now I'm a believer. I love getting excited about a new band and I'm excited about them. There is no need to listen to mediocrity, there is greatness out there, find it.
Speaking of greatness, Spuyten Duyvil. I don't get tired of them. Like the last show at Spiral Sounds the concentrated on the newest music from Social Music Hour and their first full album New Amsterdam. Why wasn't that called Niew Amsterdam?. As they did the grand finale joined by the Gaslight Tinkers and Jeremy I was so happy. Yes my life sucks, I won't recount what's wrong but I'm still lucky that I can listen to great music and have that all slip away and be lost in the now. I know that everyone can't do that. It isn't just music, there's books and movies and baseball and TV and of course friends. There are always things that can make life good.
Speaking of things that make life good I made pancakes for breakfast. How did I live most of my life not knowing how easy it is to make pancakes? The one luxury food item I buy is real maple syrup, accept no substitutes. I don't know why but coffee always tastes better after pancakes and syrup.
Tonight I'm off to see Eric Schwartz at a house concert. I haven't seen him outside of a short set at NERFA in ages.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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