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
-Bertrand Russell

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

May 28, 2018 - 12:26 p.m.

Wise Madness is Now In Session

It's Memorial Day Weekend and I had nothing planned, no music and no getting together with friends. I could have gone up to the Dylan Birthday celebration at Warwick Winery with Jane, but the weather is yucky and just wasn't in the mood for that. I'm seeing the Kennedys next weekend and they are who I was most looking forward to. Then Amy posted that she was hosting an Irish Session at the Sutton Bar Room Sunday night. That gave me a chance to finally go to a session, I've been meaning to for years, and get together with a friend. It was even easy to get to, 59th Street and First Avenue. Anything on the Lexington Ave line is convenient.

I had no idea what to expect. What is a session like? I thought there's be a room someplace where the musicians jammed. That's not what it was. They were right there in a corner of the main bar room by the window. That makes sense as people walking by can see them and walk in to check them out.

I got there a half hour late, silly timing problems by me. I missed two buses attempting to post yesterday's entry. That meant hastily eating pizza at Filomena's, the excellent place a block from the bus stop. Still, I wanted to try someplace new. I arrived almost half an hour into the session. I figured that was not an issue but wasn't sure. It wasn't. I walked in and saw Amy fiddling and Tim on guitar. I didn't know Tim, but now I do. I sat down, made myself comfortable and listened. There were people being loud at the bar, so I ended up moving to a closer but less comfortable seat. Shortly after I got there Amy and Tim were joined by Greg on bodhran.

As time went on a miracle happened. The noisy crowd quieted down and started listening. It was the opposite of the all too common situation where people deliberately go to hear music but then spend their time talking and disturbing everyone else. It's a tribute to how good the music is that they won over the people that were there to drink and socialize.

There was one gentleman from County Clare who had indulged in a wee bit of spirits and was showing the effects. The band had been playing tunes, but he wanted to hear songs, the sentimental ones that people who don't know Irish music think of as Irish music. Quick think of an Irish song. He asked for the one you just thought of, Danny Boy. The band accommodated him. He and his friends were so into it and so appreciative that it became a good thing. There are no mistakes, only happy accidents. A bonus is that I heard Amy sing more than I ever had. Greg said the same thing. She sings just as would a colleen from central casting in a movie set in Ireland. Her voice sweet and clear and emotive.

Still, I preferred the sets of tunes. Sometimes they play beautiful, intricate jugs and reels. The true magic comes when the music comes from beyond the circles of the world and plays the musicians. You can hear and even see the transformation; the visible world recedes all that's left is the music. The fiddle, guitar, and bodhran become parts of one being. I've experienced this before but here I was sitting with the musicians and could see the expressions on their faces, at least when I could open my eyes. I prefer to listen with my eyes closed, sight just gets in the way of hearing.

The band played for over three hours, pretty much straight through. I found it tiring just listening. They have a lot of stamina. When the finally wrapped it up people came over and sang their well-deserved praises. One couple even asked them to play at their wedding in October.

Before I got there, I posted a picture of the 59th Street/Queensborough Bridge on Instagram and Facebook. Jill commented that I should say hi to her father. I was thinking about her. That neighborhood is where she grew up and I dropped her off there after Moxy Fruvous shows. During the music I realized that I had no ice cream in the house and I remember Jill telling me about someplace special in the neighborhood, so I texted her to find out where it was. Unfortunately, the place she told me about, Peppermint Park was gone but Serendipity by serendipity was just two blocks away. I asked Amy if she wanted to go but she had to get to Penn Station to catch a train back to the wildlands of New Jersey. Crossing the Hudson is akin to crossing the Wall from Westeros. As I had my music fix but not my getting together with friends, I walked her back to Penn Station. That gave us quality time together and I still got my ice cream Any hadn't had a chance to eat and was starving. She just wanted to get near Penn Station first to make sure she didn't miss her train. We ended up eating at Shake Shack, the one on Broadway, not the one in Penn station. I usually have different culinary tastes as my friends, Amy's fit right with mine. She was thinking shakes then saw the concretes. We ended up getting one of each and sharing. Then we got to Penn just as her train started to board; our timing was perfect. The perfect timing continued after we parted. I had just a short wait for the E train and then the 6. Best of all I had to wait only a minute for the bus back to City Island. They run once every half hour so that was fortunate.

I have my new default thing to do, go to sessions. Tell me about the best ones, preferably in the Bronx or Manhattan. If you tell me when you are going that would be even better.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

test - June 03, 2018
Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018

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Horvendile May 28, 2018
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