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
September 19, 2014 - 7:19 a.m.
I have to leave here by 8 AM and I never thought I'd be writing this morning but I am up at 6:43 so I'm going to try. Now I could use the time to make breakfast. I could use the time to shower. But I'm using it to write. I guess that shows what my fundamental need is.
Weeks ago I went to the WfUV member line, the name is a holdover from when it was a number to call, now it's a website, and I saw that tickets to see Slaid Cleaves at the Boulton Center in Bay Shore were available. I requested them and won. It's first come first serve. I expected to win as Slaid's show was grandfathered into being sponsored to the station. They rarely play his music and no longer play that kind of music. Most listeners have no idea who he is. Not only that but the Boulton Center is quite far out on the Island where listening to WFUV is problematic. I was willing to travel 1:45 to see him. Most people aren't. But even then I considered not going as it is expensive to get there, I have to take the Long Island Railroad and the amazing Amy Speace was playing at rockwood. Buying a ticket to see the Amy would have been cheaper than seeing Slaid for free. Lastly I always have trouble finding someone to go with me when I win tickets and that's a long trip to spend a day by myself. I find it stressful to even ask people to go with me as I always have trouble. But I asked Fred who lives on the South shore though thirty miles closer, and he said he'd go. That also saved me money as we took the train out to Rockeville Center and he drove the rest of the day.
I discovered Slaid way back in 2000 when he did a WfUV Required Listening show, hosted and curated by Rita Houston. In those days Slaid was the center of the kind of music the station played and he was folk famous to its listeners He might have been the first musician playing a major venue that I just walked up to and introduced myself to. I know that our first conversation was about Katz's Deli where he had just eaten. That was enough for me to bond with him as a person. I've seen him a zillion times since then. I traveled down to Baltimore to see him with Carey. He is clearly one of my musicians.
Our timing was good though not perfect. We were traveling during rush hour and used Waze to find us a route to avoid traffic. I us drive along Jones Beach. That was great. there was no traffic and beautiful scenery. Thanks to that we were early. We grabbed dinner at a dinner and got to the venue minute before doors opened. We were the first ones there.
How do I describe Slaid's music? He is the only musician I ever argued with over what genre to put him in. I think he's alt country but he disagrees. But he fits my definition. Rock is about girls and cars while country is about losing girls and fixing cars. He writes about both of those. The noted exception is Breakfast in Hell. He has a checklist to show that it is folk; let's see how many I remember.
He generally adds that when he sang it in Scotland somebody complained because only one person died. That was my favorite song on his breakthrough album, Broke Down.
The first time I saw Slaid back at that Required Listening show I went over to Rita and sound, "He's the real deal." He's still the real deal. He can write a song that is not, "I'm a sensitive guy and nobody has ever felt the things I'm feeling. His songs are stories or slices of life, not necessarily his own. They have something to say. They make you feel and make you think. And he has great taste in other people's songs. He's always done a lot of covers but they aren't of big stars. They are of his friends, usually people you wouldn't know if you don't know the Austin music scene. He also cowrites with his childhood friend, Rod Picott. I don't know who I've seen more times over the years, Slaid or Rod. I feel terrible as Rod played Wednesday and he's playing tonight and I have to miss both shows. And just to show how everything goes together. I first saw Amy Speace on a bill with Rod and when she moved to Nashville they lived on the same street. I love it when a universe comes together.
Slaid did a lot of new songs off his new album. I loved them, some of his best songs. But unfortunately when I went to buy it the line was too long. All I could do was give a quick hi and goodbye to Karen, Slaid's wife who sells his merch. We have geeked out doing merch talk. She was the first one I know to use a credit card reader. That was before the square.
Fred drove me back to Rockville Center. That's actually slower than taking the train from Bay Shore but it's cheaper. We got there early which was actually a good thing as I was able to buy Breathe Right strips as the all night CVS there. I have been having trouble sleeping the last few nights without them.
I put the train ride home to good use. I wrote a poem. I might even show it to ou tomorrow. I planned it out before then.
Even though I could breathe I had trouble sleeping last night. So I'm going to be running on fumes today and it's a long day. Well I do it at NERFA and Falcon Ridge so I can do it here. I have to end this now and get it posted if I want to stay on schedule.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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