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
March 29, 2015 - 1:06 p.m.
I have a lot to write about and a lot to do so I'm not going to post my pictures here. Sorry. Some are of cute women too. Ok saying that was just a tease. I'm better than that. Nah.
So I did some horrible procrastination and did not buy the Baseball Prospectus I need for my fantasy baseball league and so didn't submit my roster freeze list. I have to do that today. I actually planned on doing it when I left my house but when I got to Borough Hall I realized that I didn't have time and walked over to Jay Street to catch the to Rockwood Music Hall. I actually meant to leave time for dinner.
Now on to happier things, the place I had to go instead of buying the book and eating dinner. I went to Rockwood to see the Spuyten Duyvil album release show for The Social Music Hour Vol 1. Do I have to tell you that I was selling the merch? Why is merch not in the Word dictionary? Well it is now. Every day in every way I'm making Office 365 better and better.
As I was doing merch I got there early to set up. When I walked in the front door the band wasn't there. At first I saw no one. Then I see Deena, Mark and Beth's daughter, and Beth's mother who I have met eight zillion times and always talk to at show and who erases my memory of her name. But before I could say something out of the shower I heard "Gordon!" It was Joe Iadanza who produced the album and who I don't see nearly as much as I'd like. I talked to Joe then went in search of Beth and the merch. She was in the back above Rockwood 3. Their show was on stage 2. I found out that I was too late. Beth had already set up the merch! She's so industrious. I was there a half hour before the show. But then I discovered something exciting! There was food! There were pastrami egg rolls! Not having time for dinner proved a good things. I helped with the food. My original plan was to stand near the door to the back room so I could be the first one there after the show. Joe and his wife Jen had never been there before and I suggested they sit in the Statler and Waldorf seats. They were open. Jen took them. Joe didn't want to sit. Jen invited me. I couldn't resist. I watched from my favorite perch and got to know Jen. I had somehow never met her before. Of course I didn’t take a direct path there. I heard my name called, it was Kirk and he was talking to Katherine Etzel from Bobtown. She did the harmony arrangements and for the album and this show sang harmony vocals. She and Beth are two-thirds of the aforementioned cute women. Aforementioned cute women is the name of my Bangles tribute band. Katherine was pulling a Gordon. She raced from this show to see the No Fuss and Feather's Roadshow at First Acoustics. If was tempting to join her but I really couldn’t. I just saw Carolann but it's been too long since I've seen the YaYas and Karyn Oliver.
I loved the album. I have to get around to reviewing it. I have things to say. I'm going to say some of them now. What they did was perform the entire album in order. I always like shows like that. There has been a change in the Spuyten Duyvil line up. There is no longer a fiddler. Lou is sharing drumming duties with Jagoda. Last night's drummer was the latter. I've known Jagoda ages way longer than I've known Spuyten Duyvil. He used to be Amy Speace's drummer and before that he was in the Bongos. I'm pretty sure I've seen him with other people too. Pretty sure he doesn't just play with my friends.
The songs on the album are old, all but one in the public domain, but they are not old fashioned. Some are versions that I have never heard before and I've been listening to this stuff for ages. I have never not known Barbara Allen. They transform what is usually a melancholic wistful song into something downright spooky. I had images of Beth as Mrs. Lovett. They turned Stewball into a powerhouse rock song. Think what the Animals did to House of the Rising Sun and pump it up some more. You can't get further from the childlike Peter, Paul, and Mary version.
My plan was to leave the mezzanine after the second to last song. That meant knowing the penultimate song. I knew Stewball was last. I asked Jen if she knew. She said, "Is it Deena's song?" Yes Deena is a marvelous singer and I said, "Yes that's it!" Neither of us could remember what song it was. It's Make Me A Pallet. When it was done I walked downstairs. But they didn’t launch into Stewball but Fishing Blues which both Jen and I had forgotten. I can see why. It's the calm before the storm.
I actually did make a fast exit and was the first one out the door and got the merch. Beth was the second one out. I couldn't believe how fast she made it. She uncovered the food. Rockwood is THE worse place for doing merch. There's no good place for it and you do it in a different room than the show. The backroom is a bar. It's filled with people that aren't there for the show. That makes it tough. It isn't even easy to see where I was with the merch. I kept holding up a CD over my head so people could find me. But people came slow but steady. Nowadays CD release shows are not a great place for sales as so many in the audience bought the pre-orders. But sales were good. So was the food. Pastrami egg rolls from Katz's deli are amazing, especially when you dip them in mustard. I can't say more as I promised to talk more about the music than the food.
I couldn't circulate to socialize but people came to me. I talked to Bruce, Kirk, Scott, and Lisa. Is that all? I will add my usual, "People I'm forgetting. Oh and of course everyone in the band. They don't go without saying. Jim is always disappointed when I don't wear the white suit. There's a lesson to be learned there. Set the bar low. Who was it who said, "If you win 20 games one year they expect you to do it every year."
Now I didn't race to another borough for a show like Katherine but I wasn't a slacker either. At 9 PM I went back to stage 2 to see The Amigos. It's been a while since I've seen them. If you haven't been keeping off, the sax player Eddie is gone and there's now a bass player Noah and a drummer whose name I sadly don't know. I thought I was thirty years older than anyone in the audience till I spotted Lisa, so I have to amend that to twenty-five. The room was packed and the show started late. Spuyten Duyvil got off when they were supposed to but not the next band. This is my second time in a row a show at Rockwood started late. This was not as long and it wasn't as late in night so I wasn't as annoyed. I started standing right down front but when the show started I realized the sound wasn't good. The tables were not there. If I'm downstairs I set at one of the tables and it's a bit further and closer to the center. When I moved back is when I ran into Lisa. I was fortunate as not most, but all of the people in front of me were women who were shorter than me. Oh I should point out that Eddie, the sax player, and a friend took my spot near the front. Though they did stand a bit back.
This was different from the Amigos shows I've seen before. They have shifted gears. They are less folky and less goofy and more rock. That's neither a good nor a bad thing. One genre is not better than another and they are both genres that I love. They rock and rocking. This might be venue dependent. A standing venue like Rockwood 2 with a young audience is more attuned to rock. Last time I saw them at the music school they were doing very traditional music very traditionally. As long as you ignore that Sam played fiddle tunes on an accordion. Hey I did say goofy.
At the end of the show I did see one other person I know, Sasha, Justine's wife. There was too much of a crush so we didn't get to talk. Just as well as I needed to head home.
I told you before that left too late to buy my book and eat dinner. I'm still not taking proper care of myself. I'm auto-passive aggressive. And that's the right use of passive aggressive, it is used incorrectly most of the time. Passive aggression means being hostile by not doing things, thus the passive. If you are supposed to make a new pot of coffee at the office when you finish the pot but leave a drop as an excuse to say you didn't finish it, that's passive aggression .
There is always time for pedantry.
After I realized I had to go straight to the show I thought I was emotionally fine. I was thinking about something happy and weird, Carey. doing a cover version of Uncle Bonsai's, "Boys Want Sex In the Morning." But as I was walking from Borough Hall to Jay Street I started to have an anxiety attack. It was the kind I had a few years ago, .The kind where I don't get enough blood to my head. I was able to make it to the subway platform but I had to make sure to stand back from the edge as there was a real chance I'd faint. I had to make an conscious effort to get out of it. I've learned a few things since I started getting these things. Even though I hadn't been thinking about the things giving me anxiety they were still there lurking. I had to clear them.
The first thing I did was deep breathing. I mean deep, emptying my lungs then filling them. Now I get light headed from too much oxygen if I do this too long so then I switch to phase two. So you know that episode of Star Trek the Original Series where Jack the Ripper takes over the ships computer and Spock makes it calculate the exact value of pi as that would take all the computer's resources? That’s my game plan. If my brain is occupied with other things it can't worry about worrying. I was not feeling up to doing math. I had to do things that required memory not thinking. I went to poetry and song. I started with this.
Eight, sir; seven, sir;Who knows where that's from? I'm going to give the answer in a comment I'll believe you. The answer is The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. It is a song written to be an earworm. The entire idea is that you can't get it out of your head. The character in the book learns it so when telepaths are around all they'll get from him is that song. In other words it's just what I needed. Here's the other things I can remember singing or reciting.
I had plenty to write about without that episode so why include it? Because it was important to me and I try to be honest about these things. And what I did to get out of it still amuses me. You can keep your mantras. I'll take poetry and nonsense. It's all a placebo. What you say isn't important. What you are doing is hitting the control alt delete of your brain.
Wow I have little time today and much to do so I spent hours writing this. Now off to brunch.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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