And thanks to the Maxwell’s situation I will be able to attend the Bob Dylan concert in Hoboken. Win!
Like a cosmic karmic slingshot.
It’s been one of those days today. And by one of those days I mean a good day. At least for me. For Bill it’s not so good. Today was the day they moved his mother into a nursing home. The Alzheimer’s has gotten worse and control of her body has been steadily decreasing. Somehow his mother knew something was going on when Bill went to get her at his cousin’s apartment and his mother had what can be called a shit fit, literally. And it was up to Bill to clean it up so Bill had to strip to his skivvies to do the dirty work.
He got it done as far as I know and now she is ensconced in a home in Washington Heights/Inwood that caters to those whose main language is Spanish. The place is near where my dear friend Jet lived and died. I haven’t been to that area in a long time, perhaps not since I cleaned out Jet’s apartment. I’m sure it’s changed somewhat, more immigrants and more Yeshiva students. I expect that I will be going with Bill from time to time to visit his mother. And I am sure Bill’s cousin and her family are greatly relieved by the turn of events.
Last night Bill was driving a bus all over the place. I stayed home. No Juan, nothing else going on. Juan has a doppelganger, a bloke named Efrain. I met Efrain a few times over the past couple of years, the first time I saw him was when he was working at the local record shop and I almost went up to him thinking he was Juan to ask what he was doing there. I held my tongue.
I saw Efrain last summer trying to get a bunch of kids to sing along to the Stooges ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and we did chat briefly while I sought electric refuge at the Guitar Bar Jr. in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Last night he posted a link to his music on the Facebook page he created for his music called ‘Rare Books’. I listened to the stream on the link and was greatly impressed. I sent him a message asking if the CD EP would be available at Guitar Bar Jr.
He replied that he would make it so. So gathering up my cushion change I was able to purchase his five song EP this afternoon. He was there with the great Karyn Kuhl who was finishing up her music for toddlers class. Karyn is also a great musician and I’ve known her for a long time, following her and the bands she’s been in since the late 1980’s. I told Efrain that I will spread the word via social media about his release and also found I was able to promote some of Karyn’s music as well. Everyone wins!
Efrain asked about my work at Maxwell’s in the past, not nowadays. I explained seeing bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and thinking they sucked, which is probably why I would not do any good in an A&R position at a record label. That was probably not a good thing to say since it shows my track record at picking bands is not stellar at all.
Still I have been playing Rare Books all afternoon since I got it and also remembered a release Efrain made a few years ago, five songs that were in a red paper bag. He is quite a talented chap and perhaps in his best interest I should slag him off, thereby putting him on the path to success much like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins.
Here is the link to Rare Books at bandcamp.com. You could (and should) stream/buy it.
And here is Efrain singing the closing song on the EP and I dedicate it to my dear Bill.
Another cold day. Sunny and cold. Out and about, in and out and now I am in. But enough about that. I got two comments for yesterday’s entry. Of course it was Annemarie and Harpy, but they count. They were confounded by the fact that I am taking a break from writing this here blog at the end of the month. I haven’t decided exactly what it is I will do. Like I wrote last night, it could be for a day, a week or a couple of months. I could have also mentioned that it could be an intermittent thing.
Meaning that I might post something every other day, if at all. I might just post photos. So you see the whole thing hasn’t been figured out and anything is possible. I’m not even sure if I will meet the 500 word quota. I have shown that I could throw down 500 words with no problem on a daily basis. There are other things going on and I just need a break. A change will do me good and perhaps when I return it won’t be so much navel gazing. Like I said, anything is possible.
When I play guitar after not playing for a while, when I get back to it after shaking off the rust, occasionally there is a new, slightly different technique. Hopefully that will be that way for writing. The gears are grinding down and some lubrication is in order. I was surprised by the fact there was not a peep regarding no more cigarettes, no more diet soda and no more Ocean Spray/Apple & Eve juices. I am grateful for the concern about the state of flux this here blog may or may not be in.
And fear not, there are over 2,000 entries posted. If you’d like you can go through the trough and drop me a line, saying this was a good one, this one sucked, this one needs some work. Much like Jimmy Seltzer (aka Peter Pepsi, aka RC Koala, aka Peter Kehoe, aka Nick Colas) would do when I was still working at the cigar shack. I do miss those brief intermittent chats with the aforementioned character and I certainly hope he is well. Texts were sent but went unanswered so it is entirely likely that I have fallen off their radar. I am out of sight so it stands to reason that I am out of mind.
There was an article on the New York Times website yesterday about how hard it is to get the most entry level job if you do not have a 4 year college degree. I related to that and posted a comment, a comment which had 175 recommendations when I last checked before the pay wall came up restricting my access. You have 10 free articles to read a month but whether a month starts at the beginning of the month or merely 30 days after reading the first article, remains to be seen.
I do not regret ending my education after high school. After all- I hated school from day one, from kindergarten to the last day of high school. How I got through those years, I’ll never know.
I did ask my friends on a Facebook page if anyone was going to see Port St. Willow on Friday night at the Mercury Lounge. One guy replied and said he was not going but wouldn’t mind reading a review of it. That is cool, an assignment of sorts, something I have been hoping for since 2005. Of course it comes near the end but it’s better than not coming at all.
01 The Boxer
It is fucking cold out today. I know its January and this is how it’s supposed to be. It was 19 degrees most of the day, perhaps hitting 22 degrees which actually felt nice. Then the wind blows in off of the river and there is nothing you can do but quicken your pace. Now it is 18 degrees and I am not going out again. And like when it is very hot outside and the brain fries and poor decisions and answers are forthcoming, it’s very much the same when it’s below freezing. No time to talk, just get the hell out of my way. I decided not to go to the supermarket and picked up some Chinese food.
I rarely eat Chinese food, but I know it’s a hot meal and at a good price. Of course I got the chicken and broccoli and forgot to request brown rice until it was too late. So white it is, or was. I hurried on home and found neighbor Frank from the second floor moving recyclables. They had really piled up and it seems like our handyman Robert is missing or not doing that job anymore. I helped Frank as much as I could and wound up putting my dinner in with the recyclables.
It took a second or two before I realized I was not holding my food anymore. Like I wrote, it’s so cold that I can’t think straight (though I never really could anyhow). I found my food and after moving and kicking a few things to the curb I bid Frank a good night and climbed the stairs to the fifth floor. It was dark in the apartment, Bill is not home yet. I got the layers of clothes off and put the food in a bowl once I got settled in. And then I promptly devoured the chicken and broccoli and white rice.
The day was spent at the cigar shop. I was running low on cigars and Shlomo did ask yesterday if I could come in for a little while. I had no problem with that, but did not anticipate sitting in the cigar shop next to a mostly ineffective space heater and still wearing my coat, over a suit jacket, over a turtleneck sweater. Shlomo was there as well, spending most of the day in the cellar with a shady guy named Moishe. He had two eyes by the way, though an eye patch would have made a difference somehow.
I chatted with Juan online. He’s going to a wedding with his boyfriend and was asking questions about these trousers going with that jacket. I did what I could and tried to steer him in the right direction. I think it worked. He wants to look nice, it’s his roommate’s brother’s wedding. I finally got myself a haircut from my barber Tony. I did that last night. Glad I did though I asked for a trim and he went way beyond a trim. I really felt the lack of hair today whenever the wind would blow in my direction.
Time Is On My Side
It’s David Bowie’s birthday. And Elvis Presley and Shirley Bassey and a whole lot of other people I am sure. But today for me it’s all about David Bowie. I only recently started appreciating Elvis Presley and that is mainly consigned to his Sun Records period. David Bowie has been part of my life for a lot longer. When I was growing up I was more into pop music, Elton and whatever was on the top 40 I guess. Sure the Beatles were around in different variations, mainly as solo acts with the Fab records being historical artifacts by the time I was aware.
The ‘bad’ kids liked David Bowie. Diamond Dogs was the big shocker, at least album cover wise despite the removal of the dog’s bollocks. I being a good boy, or rather a pussy, I stayed away from those kids who were mostly boys, squeezing a breast and copping a feel of girls that I knew most of my life. The girls seemed to allow it, at least on a class trip to the Hayden Planetarium. I guess it was the autumn of 1976 when I really heard David Bowie for the first time and I wasn’t sure if I liked it.
It was Ziggy Stardust, and most of the kids knew it. Hang On To Yourself, Suffragette City and Ziggy. I went to CYO. I didn’t really fit in with my freshman class in high school and missed the kids I went to school with for 9 years. They didn’t seem to miss me and made new friends from their new school. My high school was regional and there was no one I knew from school in my neck of the woods. And David Bowie seemed to reflect my alienation. He didn’t help and showed me how alone I really was.
It was such an unpleasant and lonely evening, seeing my former classmates growing up faster that I was and I didn’t like David Bowie for providing that soundtrack. Only a few weeks later did my sexuality come into bloom and that was a whole other nightmare with a most depressing soundtrack by Elton John, Blue Moves. To be a gay teenager in Bergen County in 1976, going to an all boy Catholic school was no fun at all and I set about constructing a closet that would provide some shelter for a few years that followed.
It was when David Bowie started getting weird to American ears, that was when I started to take interest. My brother gave me a cassette of Young Americans but I only played the first song on side A, Young Americans and the last song on side B, Fame. Oddly enough the tape folded in on itself and those two songs were the only ones playable since everything else wound up being played backwards. I also liked Golden Years and then Bowie went to Berlin and got too weird for most US fans.
I liked Low, and bought Heroes for my brother Brian (and I wound up stealing it from him years later). The first Bowie album I bought for myself was Lodger, the last in the so called Berlin Trilogy along with Low and Heroes. In 1980 I did see David Bowie on Broadway in The Elephant Man. I went with Laszlo Papp and Debbie Robinson from work and we sat in the first row center. At the end of the show, people in the second row behind us gave David roses for which David thanked us, much to the rose purchaser’s dismay.
A few years later I met my good friend Jet Watley who it turned out was quite a Bowie fan from back in those Ziggy days. He also liked T Rex and the other Glitter bands, but David Bowie was it for Jet. Jet slowly got me into Bowie, playing me certain tracks that were overlooked and unheard in the St Francis de Sales auditorium in 1976. So I began to appreciate David Bowie. Jet died a few years after that and I got most of his record collection, including Bowie, T Rex and Jobriath. And they were mainly all washed away by Hurricane Sandy last year.
Years pass, and Bowie is part of my DNA. Everyone I know likes Bowie, I like Bowie. I find myself working at Right Track Recording. I meet big names and the biggest was David Bowie. I was reminded of Karen Lynn Gorney’s character in Saturday Night Fever who worked in a recording studio much like myself. In the movie she is telling Travolta and friends about David Bowie going to her studio, but the lunkheads in Bay Ridge didn’t know who David Bowie was. I made jokes when I started in the studio about being like Karen Lynn Gorney and here I was actually meeting David Bowie.
And David Bowie and I hit it off. He always said hello and one time I recall just sitting there and chatting with him for about a half hour. Then when he left I called my sister to tell her sotto voce that I was just talking to the Thin White Duke. He was great and so nice. He had a promo cassette of the Earthling album and gave it to me, taking it back a few minutes later so he could properly autograph it for me, ‘To John- Best Wishes, David Bowie’. THAT I still have.
Around that time, or rather this time 15 years ago, David Bowie turned 50 and thanks to someone named Darrell Shines I was able to attend the show celebrating his birthday at Madison Square Garden. And David Bowie was phenomenal. It was a great show, guests like Foo Fighters, Robert Smith, Frank Black, Sonic Youth, Billy Corgan and Lou Reed all sang a song or two with David. A week later I met David again at the studio and I could not look at him the same way.
The bloke I was chatting with was David Bowie in a chair, but I had just seen David Bowie on stage, in his element and was blown away. He laughed and shrugged it off when I mentioned that so many people had ripped him off with his stage moves and manners. Obviously it was nothing he hadn’t heard or seen before.
I actually thought David Bowie’s birthday was yesterday. It is today apparently. I caught myself and posted a video about how I had the day’s wrong. Harpy posted a wish that David would record again and I posted that I guess he had retired for good, since no new music came from him in ten years. A couple of hours later, my friend John in Munich posted word of a new Bowie record.
I was taken aback and with some rapid legwork, I confirmed John’s posting. And I also posted all over Facebook, the info, the price of the single ($1.29) and the album ($13.99) available for preordering. I duly preordered. I could have gotten it for free, but opted to throw some money to the Dame. Harpy’s wish came true, a little Christmas miracle.
The song is wistful with a tint of sadness. The video is fascinating and also a bit sad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great but sounds world weary, yet hopeful. It’s only one song I heard so I don’t know what the rest of the album sounds like. I’m posting the video here in case you haven’t heard or seen it yet.
The return of the thin white Duke, throwing darts in lovers eyes.
A nice, mellow Saturday night. For the past couple of hours I’ve been playing Port St. Willow- Holiday. I obviously am enjoying it, if I wasn’t I don’t think I would have it on repeat since 4PM, and it’s now after 7PM. I read a posting from Brian Eno about Port St. Willow and since I trust Eno with regards to music I checked it out and even posted it on my Facebook page. Good ol’ Rand stepped in with the bandcamp linkage (http://music.portstwillow.com/) and I felt obliged to get a copy for myself. It was most definitely worth it.
It’s been described as sad, but I would rather say it was between words, between being awake and being asleep. It reminds me of a few things, some Radiohead, some Arcade Fire, a little bit of My Bloody Valentine. Because it’s a one man show I am tempted to compare it to Bon Iver but this is much more interesting. I tried taking a nap while it was playing in another room and had some strange short dreams that quickly dissipated once shaken awake. All the songs seem to melt into one another and this guy, Nick Principe originally from Oregon and now in Brooklyn has quite a voice and vision. And ear.
I was pretty much out and about today in Hoboken and it was almost like old home week. I saw Phil who owns the liquor store on the corner and went in and shook his hand, congratulating him on his reopening. Then I ran into Martin Kelly at CVS and while on line in that very same CVS, ran into Alison Lee whom it is always good to see. Also saw Mike Korman and his son off to some sporting event and finally Nelson, a kid who used to work at Maxwells back in the day. He was working on the floor where Julio works. So it was a mini Maxwells Old Home Week on the 4:30 Movie for an hour or so today.
Last night was extra super-duper special for Bill and myself. I am sure I wrote earlier this week about going to see Sinbad at the Apollo Theater. Bill had never been to the Apollo and I think it was my third time. We scored 5th row center seats in the orchestra which was dicey since Bill can be quite rambunctious when he laughs but compared to the other fans in the seats Bill was somewhat subdued. He laughed alright, but this was the Apollo where the audience talks back to whomever is on stage. And there was a lot of that going on, feeding Sinbad’s act.
Sinbad is pretty funny, he’s clean, doesn’t do blue. And it was a two hour show, no opening act. Classic 1970’s soul played beforehand and a few times the opening to Adore by Prince was played, then promptly shut off for the next song. The Apollo is a great theater and I am glad I was able to take Bill for his first visit. Who knows? Perhaps someday he will perform on that stage, one way or another. I don’t think I had ever seen a live comedy show before.
I did see David Brenner with Florence Henderson opening up in August 1977 with my parents in Smithville NJ. It was an interesting show and it was around the same time that David Berkowitz was caught. Smithville is an 1700’s type of village which is a tourist attraction. As far as I knew it was known for selling yards of beer, which my parents got my brother Brian for a souvenir. It sat for years gathering dust on the top of the cabinets in my parent’s house.
That was an interesting vacation with my folks. We stayed in Central NJ, went to Great Adventure and Smithville and also visited friend of my parents in Jackson. These friends had a few kids and I remember hanging out with one son in his basement bedroom listening to Neil Young. This kid was wearing gym shorts and nothing underneath, giving me an inadvertent show and a sexual awakening as well as a fetish for terry cloth gym shorts for a few months.
I think after this go round on the player, I will give Port St. Willow a break. I contacted them since I was having problems getting the tracks on my iPod. I also asked them if it’s Port Saint Willow or Port Street Willow. I need to know these things.
Alright already! It’s the day of the Hoboken Fair Rent Association benefit at Maxwell’s and I am taking part in it. I will be the first person on stage which is only right since no one knows who I am really, or at least didn’t know I could play guitar. I helped one of the organizers get it together and mentioned that if he needed someone to fill holes in the schedule I would be willing to jump in. I did not expect to receive any billing at all, and I most certainly did not expect to be called ‘Johnnie’. So it goes.
I’m anxious of course. Just a fear of failing and by failing I mean playing the wrong chords. Bill will be there recording it so I will have my very own Zapruder film happening. I’ve been practicing and I am taking a precaution of scotch taping some chords to my guitar for when I get that deer in the headlights thing going on. I will be playing rock and roll hits on the acoustic guitar and would have been fine with that if it weren’t for someone asking me why I wasn’t playing any activist songs. Threw me for a loop it did.
So in the back of my mind I can’t help but think of activist songs to play but of course I am drawing a blank and let’s face it, I’m not the best guitar player out there. As I’ve explained to Bill who is an actual musician, I am not a musician- merely someone who plays guitar. I suppose some songs I am considering playing can have an activist slant to them. At least that is what I told ol’ Melvin. Am I comfortable playing these songs? Can I actually play these songs? It seemed easier when busking and being ignored by passerby.
Like I wrote I will be playing rock and roll tunes and when you think rock and roll tunes you might think of some guy jumping about on stage like Pete Townsend or any other animated performer. Me? I have the self reputation of merely standing there and strumming, or as I like to compare it, a tree with an itch. I’ve been texting with Lois just now and she has some good ideas that I might try out. The main thing is that I just have to stay out of my own way and hopefully out of my own head.
I am anxious about something that wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and will more than likely be over with before I realize it. Why do I forget the punk ideal of getting up on stage and doing something? I know I have supported hundreds of bands when they got on stage, and I know I will have some support. Perhaps I am making too much out of this. According to Lois, I just have to own my moment and enjoy it while I can. I just have to make sure the fingers go in the right position and not try to hit those high notes.
And then there is some sort of backstage drama and I’m not even backstage. For your information there is no backstage at Maxwell’s. It’s a basement and to get to the stage you walk through the crowd. Anyway, it turns out I am not going on first. Apparently there is an act on the bill that is not for rent control and there is a desire to get them on and off the stage as soon as possible. So now I may be going on second.
I went on first and it went well. I didn’t suck is what I was told, high praise indeed! Bill was there, his recordings are posted below. Friends were there in the flesh and Facebook friends typed their well wishes, including Pedro telling me I’ve got ill talent which makes me smile. The videos are uploading now on YouTube so they should be done by tomorrow I guess. Four songs, Instant Karma, Heroes, Picture in a Frame and Heart of Glass. I was nervous but got through it safe and sound, no rotten vegetables thrown, no cat calls, so it’s all good.
This morning I had a dream of being somewhere down the Jersey shore, staying with some people I don’t know. Friends of friends. I took a bus down there to a strip mall. Annemarie was around somewhere and while waiting for Annemarie, I decided to take her jeep for a ride, then I remembered that I don’t like driving.
Then trying to get back to where I was staying I had to go in quite a roundabout route.
I started walking to the place where I was staying which turned out to be on a very steep hill by the strip mall. I had to be careful since the hill was steep enough to be fatal if I fell, though it looked like a hill that you could roll over end over end and have a good time doing so.
Then it was trying to figure out how to cross Route 17 under the Route 80 overpass while trying to get to Essex Street. Also in the dream, Dave Grohl had made an excellent sketch of a princess.
That is what I woke up to. I know, other people’s dreams are so boring and here I am telling you about mine. It was all so very Nick Colas if you ask me. It was a good night’s sleep once again and that doesn’t happen often. Not just to me but to other people, interrupted sleep sucks.
I got out of bed and made the coffee, poured the cereal and was about to step into the shower when Bill came home in dire need to use the loo, so I just sat back and had some coffee and surfed the net. I was happy he came home safe and sound and decided to do the morning routine in reverse. Coffee and cereal, then the shower. It was a thrill really. I felt like someone else, though of course I wasn’t. I was certainly no longer hungry at all as I got myself cleaner anyhow.
I did plan on going to the bibliothèque to do some volunteering but when I got there they were fully staffed and in no real need for a volunteer, plus one of the nicer people on staff seemed quite bitchy and I decided to avoid them. I asked about the Open Mic thing in the park across the street and they referred me upstairs to the two blokes who were setting the whole thing up. They seemed quite happy to have my interest and so after talking with them I headed home and got my act together so to speak.
Bill was trying to sleep but kept getting interrupted by his phone so he wasn’t having a good time of it. My playing guitar two rooms away seemed to calm his nerves and yelled his approval with each song I practiced. I was anxious of course but determined to do something. I was thinking of it being a practice for Maxwell’s on October 25. I was asked if it would be OK if I was the first onstage and I told them that I thought I was going to be first since I was the least known out of all the performers.
I also backed out of DJ’ing for that night since it would only be a song here and there between acts, and the sound booth can get crowded and I did not want to get in the sound man’s way. And the sound man usually has the songs he wants to hear, so let him. That means, with any luck, it would just be me and Bill there since it is so early. I’ll be on stage and Bill will be recording me butcher various songs. The things starts at 7:30 and I expect we’ll be back home by 8:30.
And I have no problem with that.
So I practiced before the Open Mic and decidedly did not over practice. I walked over at the end of a Flamenco act that was very good and signed the sheet. Judging by the scrawl I should have realized that there were a few children performing. First up was Rowan who sang an acapella song called Fireworks and everyone loved him.
Then a friend of one of the organizers sang two songs, talented yet maudlin. Then more kids came up and sang who knows what. I was more focused on my slot. A woman named Shana came up to buy a smoke form me and I rolled her one. She was interested in singing so I told her to sign up. She did, and then walked away. Julio, Stine and Alexander passed by on their way to meeting friends at the Path train so they didn’t stay, hence the lack of photographs.
My name was called and as I was walking up the gazebo steps I was told I could only do one song due to time constraints. Of course if I did the songs I envisioned I would have filled ten minutes probably. But since it was restricted I did the tried and true Fabs, All My Loving. Two minutes and 14 seconds I was done. I plugged the Thursday night show at Maxwells and headed off back home.
Shana’s name was called but she was nowhere around. So Sasha, the bloke who was running the show did his number, all pedal effects which sounded like Tangerine Dream or Robert Fripp. I mentioned that to Sasha and he had no idea what I was talking about which could mean he thought he was coming up with something original. And it was, just reminiscent.
07 All My Loving
Another new page, or perhaps a new chapter. Who knows? Maybe it’s still being written. Time was spent once again volunteering at the bibliothèque. It went well, the staff wish I could get hired full time, I wish I could get hired full time, but not right now I guess. It’s a good gig, I like them, they like me. Only time will tell. They’re good people, some true Hoboken characters. I spent the time today putting away books and CD’s and DV’s, and also helping out people looking for items which I was able to do since I had just put most of those items away.
As I was putting away some of the audio visual items, I started talking to a young man named Esteban. He had taken out Television- Marquee Moon last week and I checked it out for him last week, Today I asked him what he thought and he was it was too much of a guitar record, which he wasn’t looking for but liked it. I guess he didn’t have a Stan Bogdansky in his life enthusing about Tom Verlaine and company like I did back in the day. I still remember Stan singing Prove It as I waited so we could go to a show.
Esteban did ask me for some suggestions and I asked if he was into something rock and roll, or something more on the chill out side of things. He was interested in the chill out side so I suggested Brian Eno, Another Green World. Half instrumental, half with vocals. He recognized Eno as being the producer of U2 and I told him there was so much more. We talked about Talking Heads and he recognized Remain in Light, having taken it out previously. He knew Once In A Lifetime from a movie.
He almost took out Remain in Light again but found Speaking in Tongues which is good but definitely pales in comparison to Remain in Light. I described it as more of a ‘pop’ record and he sort of looked disdainful. I explained there was nothing wrong with pop music, that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were considered pop when they started, and perhaps they still are pop 50 years later. He also expressed a fondness for Blonde on Blonde having taken it out a while ago, I Want You being his favorite song.
I made a remark about Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands being 17 minutes long, and he corrected me telling me it was actually 12 minutes. He asked how I knew so much about music and I explained I have friends (Harpy & Juan) and family (Frank & Annemarie) that turn me onto music all the time, plus I suggested getting Mojo and Uncut magazines. He never heard of those and was very excited when I told him that each month the latest issues of those magazines come with free CD samplers. Sometimes new stuff sometimes old stuff on the samplers but almost all of it is very good.
I guess I will have to volunteer next Wednesday at the bibliothèque so I can find out what Esteban thought of my suggestions. He seemed like a nice enough chap. There was another patron who is trying to get every record from Rolling Stone’s issue of the best 500 albums. That seemed a bit much, but then again it Rolling Stone which is better read nowadays for Matt Taibbi’s reporting rather than music coverage. Some of the bibliothèque staff saw a flier for the Hoboken Fair Rent Association benefit on October 25 at Maxwells and wanted to know if that was me listed on the flier. It is.
So right now I am walking a tight rope. The future is uncertain as well as unwritten and out of my hands.
07 Prove It
Another day in Hoboken. Plenty of parking to be had and not much of a reason to write, except to write those 500 words and be done with it. I am still in a bit of a funk and I guess I will work my own way out of it eventually. I was pretty tired yesterday and had a nice nap in the late afternoon. And I had a dream where I had woken up from the nap and opened the door while holding the guitar as Bill walked in. Of course that didn’t happen. Bill didn’t come home until a few hours later, having had a lesson with his voice teacher in preparation for the singing of the national anthem and another song during the seventh inning stretch.
That is happening tonight at the baseball stadium of the Staten Island Yankees which is supposed to be close to the ferry terminal. I am fairly ambivalent to the whole thing. Of course seeing Bill sing is always a thrill. The national anthem takes about one minute and thirty seconds to sing. The other song, written by Irving Berlin more than likely takes about two minutes and hopefully thirty seconds to sing. It’s not one of my favorite songs and hopefully once that song is completed we can head back home.
There was a plan to see my brother Frank at Maxwells. He is going to see the dB’s and I would be going to see him, but since I am feeling the way I am feeling I would much rather just go home than do anything that involves going out. Plus as much as I like the dB’s on their records, I find them live to be rather dull. They’re all competent musicians but live there is something lacking. Of course I’ve had hit or miss experiences when going to see the dB’s which my brother brought up when we spoke the other day on the phone.
As usual writing helps me out despite my dislike of writing. To quote Dorothy Parker: “I hate having to write but love having written”. That sums it up for me basically. Last night Bill and I watched the Sound of Music. He had never seen it before from start to finish (and technically he still hasn’t since he walked in on the first half hour) and he loved it and kept thanking me for showing it to him. I enjoyed it myself but still it didn’t lift me out of my funk. Perhaps it would take something other than a movie that is almost as old as I am.
I went to bed before Bill and did not sleep that well at all. Lots of tossing and turning and not much rest in that. I could have used a few more hours but I was up before Bill and when I went out he was still asleep. And now it’s going on almost three hours with no contact from Bill. Perhaps he is still asleep. I did turn the volume up on the phone so if he decides to call I will hear it. But if he doesn’t and heads to the Staten Island Yankees game without me, well then I am off the hook and able to do nothing whatsoever which of course, is more than fine with me.
Sleep seems like the proper option which I hope to do the first chance I get, the sooner the better.
A nice day in Hoboken. Nice enough that there was plenty of parking meaning that a lot of people are out of town this week. Maybe they wanted to use their vacation time and head down the shore or wherever it is that they go. It’s been a cool day, not too hot at all. A little cloudy which could account for the cooler temperatures. On the west we have a cold front moving in with a 40% chance of a storm later in the night. Here’s your seven day forecast and now over to Knob Dore with sports. Knob?
Last night I went out again. It’s amazing the fact that in the past three days, I have gone out twice. A major accomplishment for the shut in that I seem to have become. I went to DC’s Tavern a few blocks away from my apartment to see a friend Mike play an acoustic set. I foolishly got there at 8:00 like the time was posted. You’d think that after working at Maxwells for over 10 years, I would know that the scheduled show time is hardly ever the actual time that bands or acts appear and last night was no different.
Rand and Lisa were coming and I decided to wait outside and have a smoke. The music inside was a bit too ugly for this sensitive lad and it’s one thing to sit there and listen to it and suffer but to have two good friends there to suffer with can make it somewhat enjoyable. It was actually the second time I had been to DC’s Tavern. The first time was a couple of years ago with Rand & Lois and last night was Rand and Lisa. I guess having rand there with a woman whose name starts with an ‘L’ is the way to go.
I gave Mike a bobble head Mr. Met badge for him to wear for good luck. He claimed to have a sore throat and feared he wouldn’t be able to sing the way he usually does but he was fine. There was no need for him to explain the condition of his voice but he did it anyway. DC’s Tavern is a small place and I don’t know how they could have any major events going on. It seems to want to be a roadhouse or something like that but it was cozy.
Rand and Lisa showed up right before Mike started playing. I was working on some Guinness while Rand had some wine and I don’t know what Lisa was drinking. There was a funny moment when I looked down the bar from my end of the bar and if there were a dozen people sitting, at least 10 of them had their smartphones out, texting or looking things up online. I did the same, checking in via Facebook, and posting some pictures of Mike as he played his guitar. And Mike did a very good job despite his misgivings about his voice.
We stayed for the other two singers who followed Mike. I wasn’t planning on it but since Rand and Lisa were staying I did too. Rand made a good point of how these acoustic players singing their own songs seem to sing very sad, maudlin songs. That’s no fun. Laughter between songs but the songs themselves seem to be filled with some god awful sturm und drang. I resolve not to do that if and when I start writing my own songs. I already wrote some lyrics last week, now I just have to find where I put them and then put some music to it.
Had a good walk home with Rand & Lisa afterwards, many jokes about Harry Chapin and his song ‘Taxi’, a song that qualifies as ‘deep’ when you’re 13 years old but after that it is a bit of an embarrassment. I did my busking routine this afternoon, playing for the toddlers. They just love the guitar as much as they like giving me a high five. Today’s songs were I Want to Hold Your Hand and Hateful by the Clash, in honor of Joe Strummer’s birthday. If there is an inspiration for me with regards to busking, it would be Joe Strummer.
I also had some fun today with a scam artist who was trying to get my bank info since I “expressed interest in working for his company”. The funny thing is he was emailing my general address, not the ‘official’ address that I use when sending out resumes. I get a few potential scammers a week and today was fun making them chase their tail around until they got tired and realized they weren’t getting shit from me. This guy couldn’t even tell me where the CH Foundation is or where “Social Care Families” Charity Organization might be. Sure, here’s my bank info! Tell all your scamming friends!
*not an actual song. not yet at least.
06 (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais
04 – Bhindi Bhagee
Yesterday was an epic posting wasn’t it? I guess I might write more on Mondays since I don’t write on Sundays anymore. After my epistle to Dippy I found myself immersed in a free association posting on a Facebook group for mainly gay guys (and Harpy) who are as into music as I am. I’m not alone and there are quite a few guys that love love love all types of music. This particular thread was all about connecting one YouTube clip with another. For example, someone posted Bristol Stomp by Dovells, so I posted Stompin’ at the Savoy by Benny Goodman.
Then it was Savoy Brown with Wang Dang Doodle and someone (me) posted Brown Sugar by D’Angelo which was brilliantly followed by Sweet Dreams as sung by Beverly D’Angelo in Coal Miners Daughter. I had no choice but to go for the obvious in Sweet Dreams (are made of this) by Eurythmics and since no one else followed up, I posted Dreams Never End by New Order, commenting that I guess the thread was finished. That alerted a Jersey City friend to comment ‘Nooooo!!!!’ and posted A Dream Goes on Forever by Todd Rundgren. It’s been going on like this for 24 hours.
I was up until 1:30 last night as usual but I was fully plugged into this thread and really enjoying it. It was as sociable as I got yesterday. It was too damn hot and I was too hung over for anything but that. I suppose it was a good thing that Bill went right to bed when he got home. 10 hours later I was in front of the computer screen again finding songs (the more obscure or the more clever, the better). One or two friends thought I was up all night following the thread.
I probably could have stayed up all night but at that hour of the morning there wasn’t anyone else posting and it would come across as wanking, something else that I know quite a bit about. It’s been going on most of the day. I noticed it got busy an hour or so ago, leading me to believe that guys were coming home from work and picked up on the thread. Now it’s gotten quiet after my posting following She Moved Thru the Fair by Anne Briggs I put The Bird and The Bee with My Fair Lady. My Chilltown (JC) friend posted The Birds and the Bees by Patrick & Eugene.
Anyone who knows me, knows my disdain for Pink Floyd, but it was there so I used ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene’ after about 15 minutes no one else posted so I went with a David Bowie bootleg called Uncle Floyd, a song about Floyd Vivino who hosted a TV show on UHF in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the NY/NJ area. Chilltown friend just posted A Summer Place by Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer. I’m taking a break from the thread for a little while, but since I will be sitting next to the computer, I will be notified anyway and more than likely jump right in again.
Hey, it keeps me off the street and out of trouble. I did go out today, I had to feed Lois and Fred’s cat. Stealthily walking on the shady side of the street, I got the job done and then I went to the really big supermarket in town. I do like this supermarket, mainly because everything is cheaper and there are more choices.
When I go to bed at night, since we haven’t put the air conditioner in yet, the windows are open. I’ve noticed in the past and definitely noticed lately at 1:00 in the morning or thereabouts lately there is a bird that is quite loud on my quiet street. I figured out it was a mockingbird after some online research. The nocturnal mockingbird would sing three or four times a few notes, and then do the same with different notes. It was imitating different birds throughout the night. It’s been going on for a while and I first mentioned it to downstairs neighbor Deborah last week. She heard the bird herself, but now with her air conditioning on, no more birdsongs with closed windows.
As luck would have it, after talking about it early in the day, that night there was no mockingbird. I tell Bill to keep an ear out for it when he goes to bed, and once again there are no birdsongs to be heard. The bird was back last night and I drift off to sleep listening to the birdsongs, occasionally laughing at the sound of a certain bird. I’m glad most of the people in my neighborhood have their air conditioners on so they can’t hear the bird and wouldn’t be annoyed by what to me sounds like music.
02 Mockingbird (feat. James Taylor)