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

December 20, 2013 - 2:32 p.m.

Isle of Misfit Toys and Tiny Instruments

Even though I've been in a pretty good mental state this week it's been something of an artificial good state that requires constant maintenance on my part. That makes it hard to get things done. So yesterday I did do my laundry and go shopping but I did not make it to the post office. I timed things perfectly. I got back to my room, put away the groceries and headed to The Rock Shop In Park Slope. That's one of the easiest venues for me to get to. it takes about 20 minutes. The show was at 8:00 and I walked in at 8:00. I was worried about being late but not really as that happens every time I go. And as always happens, I was the first one there. And I discovered that the band I went to see, Toys and Tiny Instruments was on last, not first.. That meant going on at 10 so eating after the show was nixed. I got my hand stamped and went in search of food. I went to a Greek diner a block away. My dinner, a burger and fries, was nothing special but I want to talk about the music played. I heard some awful song that I have heard to often. I knew that WfUV played it and figured, "This must be Royal by Lorde. It never makes an impression on me. It's just one of the bad songs I ignore. It was followed by another song I'm pretty sure I heard on WFUV followed by some hip hop song. it was a top 40 station that for two songs was indistinguishable from WfUV. The reason you give to a public station is to hear music you otherwise would not hear. Not music you hear in the background in diners. As much as I love the people at WfUV I would stop contributing and volunteering if it weren't for the weekend programming.

Then I went back to the Rock Shop and the music had started. The first act was Susan Hwang and the Relastics.. Susan needs to be written about.

As you can sort of see the band is Susan on accordion. Three women on backing vocals, and a guy on the drums. The Rock Shop has the worst lighting of any venue. As you can see there are lights on the stage shining into the eyes of the audience. All you can often make out is a silhouette. I digitally enhanced that image.

But that's not my point. My point is Susan. The musicianship is workmanlike. The harmonies are not inventive or beautiful but certainly unusual. So why do I have to talk about her? She did a song about a George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and followed it with one about Richard Feynman! She's my people! This is nerdtastic music. She should be at W00tstock. You hear that Paul & Storm? This was not just music it was performance art. The Relastics acted things out. They even dressed to a theme, favorite children's program or first kiss. I realized that it didn't sound like neuromusic but it follows my definition of neuromusic; music that creates its own aesthetic. So now I'm going to have to reconsider things and include subgenres. Mucca Pazza is not just a circus punk marching band but one that carries the neuromusic banner. Carey as you either coined the genre or did it jointly with me who else would fit the broader definition? As soon as I saw the accordion and heard the songs about Romero and Feynman I knew what I had to do and I did it when I talked to her during the second set. OK let's see how well you know me. What did I have to do? The way I put it to her was that I was contractually obligated to do it. Come on you know. Carey if you don't know you should hang your head in shame. Here's a hint, Carla Ulbrich should know. Yes, I proposed to her. Seth says I propose to lots of people. That's not true. I don't think I've proposed to anyone since Susan Werner at Falcon Ridge. Well maybe one person.

Susan has a project The Bushwick Book Club. Songwriters read a book then they all write songs inspired by the book. It's a brilliant idea. So brilliant that Friction Farm did something similar on their latest album, I Read Your Book.

The next act looked like this. It was a solo performer so I could move to the extreme side of the stage and get a picture without the lights in it.

I actually had no idea what she looked like till I saw the picture and enhanced it.

I'll simply say that she's a work in progress. Her songs were all too much alike but at least they were upbeat and not a drone. What would probably help the most is guitar lessons so she doesn't do exactly the same strumming on all the songs. That always seems to me that it should be the easiest thing to avoid, making all your songs sound alike, but so many songwriters don't that it must be difficult. I always get mad when people who can't do something think it is so easy for the people who can whether it be music, sports, or running a government. Things are only easy when other people are doing them.

In the break after Susan's set I talked to Tom, the drummer, from Toys and Tiny Instruments. I'm always surprised those guys know me. I've only seen them three or four times. There is something about me that sticks in people's heads. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a spiny anteater, Most people don't see those every day.

Now I might have trouble remembering their names or who plays what and I even forgot the name of the string instrument in this picture. or the name of this instrument which they play:

But I always remember that they rock! Oh do you know the name of the instrument? I actually knew it the first time I saw them then blanked it on the last few days. I'll tell you a bit later so you have time to think.
From the name, you might thing the band plays novelty songs. You'd be wrong. You might think they play neuromusic. It comes really close but you'd be wrong again What they play is straight ahead rock and roll with neuroinstruments.

From left to right that's Alessandro Tabora on kazoo! Yes kazoo, I told you these guys are great, Colin Summers (no relation to Buffy) on charango (now you know), Alec Betterley on melodic, you did all know thats a melodic, right? and Zane Van Dusen on Stylophone. Yes you can't see the stylophone, it is a tiny instrument.


In the back unseen are Tom Cryan and Chris Duffy on toy and tiny percussion. Damn, I brought my tiny percussion, my miniature tambourine, and forgot to play it.

Now these guys are more fun than a barrel of lemurs. There were kazoos, noise makers, and bottles of bubbles with wands. There were also two beach balls left over from Susan which were used to represent particles in a Feynman diagram. In other words the audience, including me of course, tossed them around. .

I started the set sitting down on the bench on the side but I couldn't stay there.
I had to get up and dance and play with the beach ball. It reminded me of seeing Moxy Frvous . It was me and a bunch of women half my age standing up front and acting like crazy people. Oh great. the video I really want to show you, the one with the audience the craziest is taking forever to upload. YouTube thinks it will take 82 more minutes. I don't have that much time. I don't know what's going on. The next best video was cut off. I think it's because I hadn't emptied the pictures on my phone in ages and it ran out of memory. What I'm going to do is make lunch and come back and see if it's done by then.. If not I'll take a shower and check again.

OK who likes this. I'm going to make some guesses on who I think would like it. Carey goes without saying and if she doesn't I'm looking for the empty pod. Then there is Marti, Shana, Lawrence, All TMBG fans, Jason, Tina, and Rachel Trachtenburg, Supercute and Pendulum Swings should do gigs with these guys, and Susie, well duh. A lot of others of you might like them. I'd love to know who does. You don't need to tell me if you don't. I am sure some of you will think I'm nuts. Well OK some of you think I'm nuts already.

So would these guys fly at NERFA? There isn't anything folk about them but folk has become the home for musicians without a home genre. Sure T&TI is rock but the instruments will throw off those with commercially let tastes.

Tonight I'm going caroling with Terre Roche. That's a tradition this Jewish atheist adores. I'm pretty sure I already have my angle for how to write about that.

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

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
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile December 20, 2013
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