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 02, 2012 - 11:12 p.m.
I have so much to write about that I'm feeling daunted and so I haven't written anything. There in a microcosm is my problem anxiety disorder. But that's not what I'm going to talk about. I have tons of fun music to write about. I have complaints about mass transit to write about (You know I love that). I have food to write about. I have friends to write about. There are lots of cute women to write about. Hell all that's missing is baseball and dinosaurs.
I'm going to have to compress things some or I'll never get everything down but believe me the entry I've been writing in my head the last two days is brilliant. It would change your life if you read it.
Where to start? With me leaving the house on Saturday for the first part of my musical double header. I went to Bowery Electric to see Supercute and two other bands. On my calendar I had the show starting at 2:00, when I checked on the Bowery Electric's website it said 3:00. I left much later than I usually do and raced to get there exactly on time. No need. When I got there I saw that the show started at 3:30. I have no idea why the website said 3:00. There are very few seats there and I grabbed the last one that didn't have something on it. Hardly anyone was sitting, people's stuff was saving their seat. I did the same. I then went to where I could get a signal on my phone to check what time I had to leave to catch the train I needed to get to part of of the double header. As long as I was there I checked out FB and read some of the NY Times. Then I went back to my seat and encountered what I hope is a generation gap, not simple rudeness. I found a young woman sitting on my seat on the bench with my bag squashed against the wall. Good thing I didn't have anything breakable in it as she was putting her weight on it as she leaned back. I walked over to her and said, "excuse me your sitting on my things." "She said, I just moved your stuff because we wanted to sit down." Well duh. Is that an excuse? "I just took your money because I wanted to buy something." She seemed to have no idea what was wrong with what she did. Is there a new custom that people don't put there things on seats to save them but just because they didn't want to hold them at that moment? there was plenty of floor space for that. In fact I put my coat on a nearby lectern I did say that I saved the seat because I wanted to sit. . I then inexplicitly let her stay there while I stood. Finally my back got tired and I needed to sit so I told her that. She did get up without a protest though she didn't move her stuff that she had piled on my bag. I had to do that myself.
If I write in such detail about minor things I'll never finish this. This edition of Wise Madness will be 5,000 words. I might have to write multiple entries between today and tomorrow.
A little after 3:30 the first performer came on. I don't remember her name and I'm not going to look it up because I don't have great things to say about her. Not terrible, some things are positive, but I don't want it showing up when someone Google's her name.
Carey said that there are women who think they can make a career out of being cute and playing the ukulele. I don't think she is one of them but I might be wrong. She didn't even properly play the uke on most songs. She would play a sample strumming the uke, then another bowing the uke, then loop them, and sing without playing. I could write an entire entry based on that. I was thinking a lot about the dangers, not evils, dangers of looping. The problem is that it can't lead to any development. It can't help the song get from A to B. It forces the song to be a groove and abandons one of the most basic element of songwriting, harmonic development. Lou Reed can get away with that, most songwriters can't. It's working with one hand tied behind your back. Her lyrics sounded like she was trying to emulate Laura Dunn. But where Laura share's her unique vision this performer shared what she could pick up of other Laura's vision. I'm not saying she copied Laura. I doubt she ever heard Laura. It's just what it felt like.
She did one song I really liked. It was far simpler. It was a simple young adult or teen's version of her dream boyfriend. What did I like about it? The sensibility and the style. Each line had too many words in it. It was filled with parenthetical thoughts. It was a stream of consciousness. In fact it reminded me of a style I often use here. But it also felt genuine, like it was her being herself, not affecting a persona. She also played the uke live on that one. Or at least I think she did. I didn't actually notice, I just noticed I liked the song.
OK that was far too much about her but I included it because I think it is applicable to many performers. There are lessons to be learned. When she learns them she might be quite good. She has personality and perhaps something to say. She just need to avoid gimmickry.
Jason Trachtenburg from Pendulum Swings came over to talk to me while Supercute was setting up. He is the father of Rachel from Supercute so I wasn' t surprised he was there of course. I had just seen Pendulum Swings on Thursday and loved, superloved, their set. I somehow didn't get around to telling him that. Not surprising actually, when you talk to Jason the conversation moves very quickly in multiple directions. It's a big part of why I love talking to him. The conversational pinball machine works very fast with him. You know how much I love conversational pinball.
When Supercute came on he retreated to the back so Rachel wouldn't be self-conscious that he was down front. I find it hard to believe that Rachel is ever self-conscious. She's about as self possessed as an 18-year-old can be. Is today her b'day? She might be all of 19 now.
Only two thirds of Supercute was there, Rachel and Julia but they put on their usual delightful show. I was very happy that they went on at 4:00 not 4:30 like it said at the door. I was afraid I might have to miss the end of their set to catch my train. I had no need to worry as my only complaint was that there set was too short. After three or four songs Rachel said it was there last song and they'd be followed by a surprise guest. I was prepared to feel cheated but kept the faith and kept an open mind. I figured it would be someone worth seeing. It was. It was in fact still Rachel and Julia. They just transformed into their side project, a Gary Glitter tribute band. Yes two teenage girls have a Gary Glitter tribute band. I should know the name but I don't. It's Larry something or other. When they make the transformation Rachel slides over from the ukulele to the drums. I should point out that both Rachel and Julia are cute, well supercute, and they play ukuleles, but they are NOT people that think that you can make a career out of being a cute girl and playing the ukulele. What they do is art. They somehow manage to play upbeat, fun, totally sincere, teen pop while still radiating an aura of ironic detachment. Yes it seems like a contradiction and no I can't explain it any better. You have to see and hear it for yourself. It's definitely a Trachtenburg family trait. Julia must share it too.
I noticed something strange when Rachel plays drums. Her facial expressions are totally different than when she plays the uke. She goes into another zone. When she was a kid playing with the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players she had the same expressions.
The third act was quite different. For one thing they were much louder. I had to get up after the first song because my eardrums were in pain. I also couldn't make out a word the singer said. I moved to the back. Jason came over to me and hit the nail on the head. It was a return to the 90s, think Nirvana. I was never fond of Nirvana. In fact that's the era when my tastes totally diverged from the mainstream. I stopped listening to WNEW and K-Rock and listened almost exclusively to WfUV. I listened to about 4 songs then decided they weren't worth staying for and left. My next destination was New Jersey to see The Chicks with Dip's Joni Mitchell's Blue: A 40th Anniversary Celebration. I am going to leave that for my next entry.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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