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
February 01, 2015 - 1:03 p.m.
I did something yesterday so you'll be spared hearing about my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think my midnight snack will work its way in the narrative.
Last night I went to a show where I wasn't twice as old as the band and most people in the audience. I went to a show where I was three times as old as at least one person in the band. How did that happen? something like 12 years ago I read about the Trachtenburg Family slideshow players. I went to see them and became a fan. It featured the 9-yar-old daughter Rachel on drums. As a teen Rachel formed her own band Supercute with her friend Julia Cumming. Now Julia is in a new band, Sunflower Bean playing bass and singing. That's who I saw. Oddly I know her father Alec through a totally different route, satiric Jewish music. The world is very strange.
Anyway I liked what I heard from Sunflower Bean online and decided to give them a try. So last night I headed to Baby is Alright, a venue near the Williamsburg Bridge, a block from Peter Luger's. The showtime was listed as 8 PM. I felt it wasn't necessary to get there early. I took a bus that would get me there just a few minutes early or at least I tried too. Too bad I'm an idiot. I was lost in fault and found myself in the subway not the bus stop before. Now remember I use the MTA website to know exactly when the bus is coming. Going to the subway made me late. But I do give myself a margin of error. When I emerged from the subway the bus was still at the stop. I ran to catch it. I did! There was a red light it couldn't move. I knocked on the door … and the bus drive wouldn't let me in. The light had just changed. I wasn't slowing the bus down at all but he wouldn't open the door. I was annoyed to say the least. But there was another bus right behind it. So it just cost me a few minutes. I made it there exactly at eight. And of course discovered that was when doors were. And of course doors were late. Now it was cold so I was bundled up. They had a coat check. I decided to check my coat but not my bag and to put my sweater in my bag. I took off the coat, and put it on the floor. I took off my sweater and when I did I knocked my glasses off. It was dark. I am pretty much blind without my glasses. I could not see them at all. I didn't hear them hit the ground so I thought they were likely on my jacket but couldn't see them. I was afraid somebody would step on them. I did the only thing I could think of. I asked a sighted person to help me find them. He did, or she did. Two people helped.
Door opened a little after that. I didn't fight the kids to stand up front and took a spot where I could lean against a railing and sit while waiting. The music didn't start till nine. The only ones I knew there were Julia and her father Alec. I didn't see him but Julia spotted me and came over to say hi.
There were three bands before Sunflower Bean. I won't say too much about them. I am very much not the target audience. The first band played music that I think might be electronic dance music but I don't really know. The next too were rock. Sunflower Bean I rock too. But they are different and one thing I noticed was that the other bands leave no space between the notes. There is a constant high volume level I found that makes the music uninteresting. The crowd seemed to love it so I take it they disagree. I will say that I don’t' understand it, not that it' bad.
I will say that Sunflower Bean was good. There sound would not be out of place at the old Fillmore. Of course I never went to the Fillmore East but I've seen who played there and seen film of it. But it clearly was not dated. The kids loved it too. It's what psychedelic rock would have evolved into if it remained a thing. Never trust me too much on music genres. With most I judge by feel. OK you can trust me I just don't know why you can trust me.
Whatever they played it was music I could relate to. I moved up when they started. I wanted to be able to see them I made it to the second row by the end of their set. I was surrounded by a sea of teens and early twenties. You can't let those things bother you. Then people started to mosh. I was right on the boundary On the right they were moshing. On the left they weren't. so people would bang into me and I had no way of moving to avoid it. I didn't really mind, It just made it even more difficult to take pictures. I tried and failed. the big problem was the light. There were spotlights but they were behind the stage shining into the audience's eyes. I just don't get that. Too bad too as they looked good.
I had but one criticism, the mix. I've heard her do other things and Julia has a hell of a voice. Yet in the mix I could never make out the words above of the instruments. What I'd have liked is if it were more like Grace Slick's voice rising above Jefferson Airplane. Jorma and Jack could play but they knew you had to hear the voice above all. The guitar player sang lead vocals too. He was somewhat easier to hear and I bet he's good too. But I still couldn't hear enough to judge. What did get through for both of them is rock and roll energy. It would suffice. Dayanu.
I kept to myself at the show. Who wants to be the creepy old guy talking to the kids. So what happened? When I was sitting on the floor texting on my phone with Katrina between sets a kid, Barry, sat down next to me to talk. I wonder what that was about. Are you impressed I remembered his name? I am. Was he just trying to be nice? I think so. I never get why people always worry about the next generation. The kids are alright. They always are. And I should add that Julia is a mensch. I loved discovering that was a gender free term.
After the show I got my coat and checked to see when the next bus was coming. I caught it at the terminal. The website said, "one stop away plus wait at the terminal." I ran the three blocks to catch it. I must have just missed it. The next bus was three miles away. It was 19˚. I figured I'd wait in the McDonalds across the street. It was closed. But the Dunkin' Donuts across the street from that was open. I got a hot chocolate. When I went to sit down they announced they were closing and threw me out. So I went back to the bus stop to wait 25 minutes. What I discovered is that I know how to dress for weather. I was not cold at all. Thermal socks are the best thing in the world.
Sunflower Bean didn't get onstage till 11:.00, I caught the 12:25 bus. I got home a little after 1:00. I was hungry, I had a late snack. I told you I'd mention that. I had a banana. I had a pretty strong allergic reaction to it. What's that about. It happened before and I gave up bananas. Tried it again and the allergy was gone Now it's back. All bananas are clones of each other There should not be different proteins in them. And there's a thick peel so it should have nothing to do with pesticides on the surface. I think it might just be my body reacting differently.
Today's the Superbowl. I don't have a TV so I won't be watching. I don't have plans either. That might end up bothering me. I am not a big football fan and have made plans during the game. But to sit home alone isn't different.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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