Monthly Archives: January 2006

Lose This Skin

Listened to Fela on the way to work this morning. Another gray overcast day. If I had the money and my friends and family were willing, I’d relocate us somewhere to where it’s sunny and warm, most of the time. Maybe a month of snow. This place doesn’t exist, I know but it sure would be nice. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be willing to take them into consideration as we moved into our commune.

Been loading a lot of things into the Ipod. I used the Cool Edit Pro program and turned a few cassettes into files on my computer. I burned a cassette I made when I DJ’d at McSwells and my brother was in Speed the Plough in March 1987.Pretty good, starts off with PiL, goes into some South African music. An excellent mix. One of the few that I was able to pull off successfully.

As I was playing the South African piece, I was reminded about how when I first got the South African record and played along with it on the guitar. It was a wild time, for me at least. I thought I was fitting in nicely, not too obtrusive. I went to work the next day, feeling like I had accomplished something musically. I had the idea, to get a few other musicians, or merely people that played musical instruments together and jam, in an African style.

Seemed simple enough. Then Wolf Knapp entered the picture. Wolf Knapp, a young man from somewhere. He grew up all over the place, and was in the process of becoming a Jazz Queer as Ann Boyles called him. Wolf, who learned how to play Bass from the Punk Rock DIY approach, threw cold water on my dream, telling me that I could never play like those South African musicians and I was fooling myself.

That hurt. Didn’t really like Wolf much, after that. I still have a crumb from that dream, and if anyone was ever interested, I’d be into jamming with them. As long as it wasn’t Wolf. Years later, I told Jane Scarpantoni about what Wolf had said and she was a bit pissed off that someone like Wolf would dare dash someone’s dream like that. Jane was always very supportive of me, and she still is.

In fact, one of the first times I ever played live was at a showcase that Jane had at a pub called Tin Pan Alley, located in Tin Pan Alley, Times Square. WE wrote a song together and she asked me to play it with her. If she told me to jump off a bridge I’d probably do that too.

My part of the song was all about fast strumming, two chords tops. She was doing things on top of my playing with her cello. Ethereal stuff. It was over two nights, a Saturday and Sunday. The second night was the nerve wracking show though for I was playing guitar in front of 2 guys, Jim Mastro and Richard Barone from the Bongos. The Bongos were a fave rave for me for a few years in the eighties.

All I could do is strum and look at the floor, not at Jim or Richard. They were somewhat of an influence on my guitar playing and I’m not too fond of playing live anyhow. I usually wind up doing an imitation of a tree trying to scratch its trunk. Picture that visual.
Jane was wonderful and gracious and named the song we wrote, after me.

I played live a few times after that. And obviously I still have the dream of jamming with likeminded people with instruments in an African style. Fuck Wolf Knapp.

and here’s an ACTUAL JOB OFFER I received today:

Mr. Ozed,

My name is SGT Davis of the US Army. I was looking over your résumé on career builder. I am glad to inform you that we have many jobs available in the administration field. Attached is a flyer on what the Army can offer in regards to benefits. You can contact me any time at (877) 555-3279 or email me back.

SGT Davis
US Army Administration Recruiter

There is an actual flyer attached but I can’t seem to upload it. If you’d like you can email me at and I’ll send it to you.

Pearly Dewdrops Drop

Ok. This is disconcerting. I just received a DVD that I ordered. It was on my wish list for over a year at and the price kept going up up up. So I figured that no one was going to see the wish list because I never told anyone about it, and bought it for myself. The DVD is Spalding Gray, “Swimming to Cambodia”. I always loved Spalding. Found him to be very inspirational.

The disconcerting bit is the menu, Spalding’s head bobbing in and out of water with the menu selections below. Oh it’s nearly macabre. Spalding Gray killed himself by jumping into the river January 2004. It was Very sad.

I became a fan of Spalding’s in the eighties, I remember seeing the ads for his series at Lincoln Center. I didn’t know anything about him or the series but there was something about the poster that captured my imagination. I bought a ticket to see Swimming to Cambodia by myself and I was hooked. I also saw “Sex and Death to the Age Fourteen” and “Terrors of Pleasure”.

All about Spalding sitting at his desk with a notebook and a glass of water, talking. But not merely talking, taking us all on a journey in our imaginations with him as our guide on his stories. Very funny and insightful. My sister saw him once or twice in Garberville, CA, when he was laying low, doing a tour perhaps and checking out some chippies on the side. He was a man after all.

I was working at McSwells at the time and was so enthusiastic about Spalding that I turned a few other employees and bar flies onto him. They seemed to enjoy it but not like me. He really struck a chord. More info for the memory banks. Part of the philosophy that I have about no one is actually a complete person until they die. The thing is with every person you meet, you get a little something from them, be it knowing someone for decades, or just chatting with someone in an elevator for 30 seconds.

And you get a little bit from all these people and they become part of your make up. When you die you are complete and perhaps ready for the next level, if there is a next level. I never met Spalding but read most of his books and had seen a few of his shows and also been to screenings and readings that he had introduced or read at.

Bill had taken me to see Spalding in October 2003 at PS.122 in the East Village. I was prepared for what I was going to see, having read about Spalding in a copy of GQ a month earlier. He was in terrible shape. He was involved in a serious car accident in Ireland, damage to his leg, his skull and over all, his spirit. Someone had died in the accident as well I believe.

He came out on Opening Night and was merely a shell of what he once was. He spoke in a monotone, flat and lacking in energy. It seemed to be a challenge for him to even speak. It was 180 degrees from what he used to be. He didn’t really speak too long and close to the end he started to repeat himself, reading from a notebook and saying basically what he just spoke of.

I wish Bill was able to see Spalding live with all engines blazing away, the brilliance of the manner in which he told a story.

A woman seated near us said to me that she just wanted to go up and hug him. I explained to her about what I had read in GQ. She mentioned she was going to see if it was still on the newsstands. I wanted to see him again, to see how his latest monologue had progressed, but life being what it is prevented me from doing so.

I understand it had gotten better. But Spalding didn’t seem to get better and slipped into deeper crevices of depression that not even his wife or children could lift him out of. When he was reported missing I called his residence and left a message on the answering machine stating that he showed up in Garberville CA years ago, perhaps he went there again. I was only trying to help.

A few days later they pulled his body out of the river. So now I have these DVD’s of Swimming to Cambodia and Gray’s Anatomy. Not the same as seeing him on stage behind the desk but that is nowhere near as bad as not having a father or a husband or any loved one to come home to.

Waiting for some more perfect moments.