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Well I went back to work today, on a Friday. No one was expecting me to come in, but still, I donned the suit and tie, looking rather sharp I might add. I also looked good on Wednesday morning but that ended badly. I slept ok last night though I did wake up before the alarm clock and could not get back to sleep.

So I got up earlier than usual which was ok. Puttered about, taking my time getting ready. Had a bowl of cereal which made me think, what if the cereal got me sick, not the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had the night before? I gambled and won. I didn’t get sick from the cereal.

I checked my email again, basically repeating the routine I did on Wednesday and was reminded of a chat I had with an online friend yesterday. He had mentioned that I seem to always be sick. He occasionally read this here blog you see.

I protested that I was sick in October, January and now in February. Not always sick. October and January were viruses, Wednesday was obviously food poisoning. Same symptoms as salmonella and with all the news about peanut butter or peanuts in general I think I put 2 and 2 together. Only it didn’t last that long.

We chatted online about a few things and I brought up my lack of self confidence. He was surprised to hear that. We had met once quite by chance on the street and I guess that’s where he got the idea that I exude self confidence. It must be the suit and tie. I wear a suit and tie and I don’t slouch when I walk, I have my chin up, eyes looking forward and I do feel confident.

ooh! it's Mister Confident!!!!

ooh! it's Mister Confident!!!!

In jeans and t shirt I slouch and generally look unkempt. It’s a good thing I suppose putting forth an air of confidence, it certainly has gotten me some good jobs. You want a good job, you gotta dress the part. At least thats how it used to be.

I’ll find out next March how that works out I guess.

But it weighed on my mind all day, my chat and the perception of being confident when behind the fabric I’m still the same old John, a neurotic, insecure mess at times.

It being a Friday, I planned on leaving early, and of course that didn’t work out. I was busy running around to the bank, to this place and that place errands for everyone. I don’t mind, it’s my job and it’s obvious, if I don’t do it, no one will.

I came in this morning and there was the mail from the past 2 days all over my desk. I sorted it out and delivered it to the proper people. I left around 3:00 this afternoon and made my way over to Bill’s building. It was around 50 degrees this afternoon so that afforded us some extra minutes together which of course was nice.

I got him a nice, cheap pair of cuff links for St. Patrick’s Day of 4 leaf clovers. I got the same for myself. It was a nice deal and I gave them to him this afternoon rather than wait. He loved them and we talked a bit about how we might spend March 17 which will be here before we know it.

No bars, we tried that last year and found every place jam packed with some charging an admission. We just walked around last year, smoking cigars and will likely do the same, staring at the visitors and the vomiters.

I was saddened and gobsmacked to read an email from Harpy yesterday, that Randall Bewley, guitarist for Pylon died the other day after having a heart attack at age 53. I met Randy a few times at McSwells when Pylon played.

Pylon was a band from Athens GA that I first saw with my brother Frank in August 1980, opening up for Talking Heads at the Wollman Rink in Central Park. I can’t say I was ‘ready’ for Pylon, I was definitely more into Talking Heads, plus there was so many people there that August night that Randy, Michael, Vanessa and Curtis from Pylon were swallowed up in that summer night.

Even though I was a big B-52’s fan, it didn’t register that Pylon were from Athens, unlike REM who a year or so later, I first saw opening up for Gang of Four and walked away from my prime spot near the stage saying ‘the only thing they have going for them is that they’re from Athens.’

Maybe a few months after that I was in that long lost record store on Second Avenue in the East Village, Free Being where I saw the cover for Chomp, Pylon’s 2nd album. I bought it just for the cover, vaguely remembering who they were and immediately loved it when I played it.

Played it for my friend Jet as well and he loved it too. Pylon was quitting the music biz at that time, it wasn’t fun anymore. They did get back together a few years later and played McSwells where I was able to DJ for the show and got Jet in to see them not long before Jet passed away.

I vaguely remember Rita having a problem with Pylon, Vanessa might have been off-putting with her style of singing after seeing them a few times opening up for some band Rita would rather be seeing, but I did thank Vanessa after a show and Rita was there and felt her opinion of Pylon was wrong since they were all such genuinely nice, sweet people.

And you could dance to their songs.

Now Randy is gone, and Pylon will be no more. He Left behind a wife and 2 kids. Notices from the B-52’s, REM and even members of Gang of Four among others have come in on various websites stating that they were one of the best bands ever and that Randy was certainly a one in a million guitarist.

Sad to see him go as he was one of the nice ones.

Ages of You

It’s Monday again. How that happened I’ll never know. Woke up to the sounds of the Rascals singing ‘It’s a beautiful morning…♫ and I searched for the snooze button while the Arif Mardin production went on. No fault of the Rascals and definitely not Arif’s fault. It was battleship gray outside once again and I just wanted to sleep. But no, work was waiting and I had to get out of bed. Made coffee, had cereal, showered and then I was out after getting dressed. I no longer hustle to get the 7:10 bus, instead I take my time and catch the 7:20 bus. Not as nice a bus, but usually less crowded.

Got to the city and for some reason I decided to play REM’s first album, Murmur on my iPod. I remember when I first got the record around the same time I got my first Walkman. It was the beginning of the cassette age for me. I wanted a Walkman for Christmas a few months before, but my father, figuring that I was mentally retarded said no. I would more than likely be crossing train tracks and playing music so loudly that I wouldn’t hear the oncoming train taking me to my death.

Instead of a Walkman I got a Sears cassette deck with an AM/FM radio. I was crestfallen that Christmas upon opening the box and instead of seeing Sony, I saw Sears. Still I had to show some gratitude and thanked both my parents for the tape deck before going up to my room and beating up my bed in frustration. I didn’t have a car at that time and still trucked around wherever it was I had to go with the tape deck cradled in my arm. It was 1983 so I was probably jazzy all the time. I walked to the 7 Eleven in the snow, just to get out of the house, just to get high.

Eventually I got a car and wound up driving the company van for the book company I worked for. On one lunch hour I decided to take my cash and go to one of the rip off shops by Grand Central where I bought a Walkman II for about $80.00. Soon enough I was putting everything on cassette and playing it wherever I would go. I wasn’t stupid enough to wear it while driving, I did have the Sears cassette deck for that.

One occasion, one of the last reunions of a sort while my mother was alive, had my parents and me with brother Brian and his then fiancée Karen driving down to Bordentown NJ. I was playing Murmur over and over, and loudly too. Loud enough for my mother to complain that I was going to go deaf playing it that loud. I grumbled and lowered the volume, staring out the window at whatever it was that we were driving past.

We made it to my cousin Eileen’s house, where we sat in her backyard and smoked cigarettes (everyone was doing it) and drank Budweiser (everyone was doing that too). Don’t remember much about going home but we made it all in one piece and didn’t get pulled over. All these memories came flooding forth while playing Murmur, which still stands up on it’s own, a near perfect record. Finally got to see REM at McSwells touring for Murmur.

It was one of the first shows that they sold tickets to, and I swear there were only about 30 people in the back room watching a shaggy Michael Stipe hang on the the microphone for dear life while tossing his curly locks to and fro. Won’t be seeing that again anytime soon. Michael Stipe with hair that is.

Here are some pics from an errand this afternoon in midtown.


Neighborhood with Slow Children

Gray Manhattan

Silver Cup Studios where Julio was working today

Kid Charlemagne

Another wet day, this time, Friday. And what a day it’s been. More on that later of course. Last night, watched Scrubs again and again and again, Daily Show which was good, Colbert Report which was really good. Also featured REM who were surprisingly very good. I used to love them way back when. When you’d be able to have a drink with them after seeing them thisclose in the back room. The first time I saw REM I hated them though, now that I think of it. They were opening up for Gang of Four at the Ritz on 11th street. They were announced as ‘from Athens, GA…REM!’

No one knew who they were, but I thought they sucked. I just wasn’t into that jungle jangle music just then. A year later yeah, but that night I was more into the jagged guitars and funky rhythms of Gang of Four. I remember leaving my spot near the stage to wander around the club muttering that if they weren’t from Athens they wouldn’t be on stage that night. A year later REM was playing McSwells. I had never been there before, didn’t know Steve Fallon or anyone else. I had tickets to see Peter Gabriel at the Palladium that night and went with an old school pal, Kevin Wagner. We also worked together for a book company.

Peter Gabriel was touring for the Shock the Monkey album and put on an excellent show. Played close to 2 hours if I recall correctly. His last song, one of the most moving songs ever, Biko was amazing and went on for about 20 minutes, lot’s of call and response, pseudo African singing from the audience. I sang along with one eye on my watch. The show ended and Kevin and I ran over to my parked car and drove over to McSwells where there was a mob at the door. Steve Fallon was only letting certain people in and took a look at me and probably thought I looked like my brother Frank (who was inside already). Needless to say, Steve didn’t let me in.

Kevin and I drove back to Bergen County where we had a late dinner at the Saddle Brook Diner. Someone we both went to school with 2 years earlier stopped by our table but didn’t recognize me and I didn’t introduce myself. Kevin was a good guy. He and his sweetheart Ann, got married and moved to Florida. Kevin and I last communicated in 2000. He wasn’t going to our high school reunion. I went and regretted going.

Last night my brother Frank had a seizure during a visit to his neurologist. If there was a place to have a seizure, a neurologist’s office has to be one of the best places. Frank’s in Englewood Hospital and so far the doctors are saying it seemed to be from a scarring from last year’s stroke rather than another stroke. He may be home again tomorrow, Saturday, though right now he has a slight fever. We’ve all been hoping that Frank is making progress, so a seizure is a set back. We don’t really know the outcome of this event yet.

The video I posted a week or so ago of Jill Bolte Taylor talking about her stroke was inspirational, then again she is a brain scientist and had a lot of information and professionals and colleagues around her. Frank doesn’t have those resources, neither do a lot of people. I’m not begrudging Jill Bolte Taylor at all, like I said, she’s an inspiration. Hopefully Frank can get back to where he was pre-stroke. It took Jill Bolte Taylor about 10 years, so I guess Frank would be able to do it in 12.

These Days

Let’s hear it for Friday! Well I’m relatively excited about it. Left work at 4:00PM. Lydia had today off and Monday too since her mother and little brother are in from Estonia. So my work load increased somewhat and I didn’t mind, made me busy and made the day go faster which is god. Lately it’s been a crawl, and I blame that on daylight savings. It’s affected my body clock so much that lately I’ve been getting up before the alarm clock. That was ok, no hustle in the morning but still I wouldn’t mind a few more minutes, even with going to sleep a little bit earlier than usual. Maybe it’s daylight savings, maybe it’s creeping decrepitude. I really couldn’t tell you. I’m reading Sherman Alexie, Flight. Good book, interesting plot, a bit violent, surprised that my sister gave it to me. It’s a good read and I’m enjoying it.

Also in the middle of the latest New Yorker which could mean I’ll be caught up when the new issue arrives. I also have two plays by Alan Bennett on loan from the Millburn Library, through the BCCLS system, an online system that allows you to borrow library materials from most of North New Jersey. I need to return The History Boys dvd to the library since the used copy I bought from Netflix arrived so I can watch it any old time that I want. Not a bad deal, it was $9.99. Alan Bennett also wrote The History Boys. He was in Beyond the Fringe with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller back in the 1960’s for those that are playing at home.

Last night I watched Lost which was pretty good, not excellent but not bad. Six more episodes until a nine month hiatus so they better get it together soon enough. After Lost, I was lost so I watched one of the Iconoclast series on the Sundance Channel. It featured Michael Stipe from REM and Mario Batali, a NY restaurateur. I used to love REM, met Michael Stipe and Peter Buck separately at McSwells back in the day. An old friend of mine, Ann Boyles used to go out with Peter Buck a long time ago. I was working the door with Ann when Peter Buck showed up. It was uncomfortable for both of them, I think especially Ann.

Stipe I met when he was singing with the Golden Palominos on hot summer night. He was gorgeous then, a bit mysterious, not aloof, Raphaelite curls drooping over his eyes when he would sing. I heard that if he didn’t know what to say to someone he would compliment their clothes. That night, Michael Stipe liked my shirt. I am fairly indifferent towards REM lately. Lost interest somewhere in the 1990’s after Automatic For The People, their last great album. My former landlord Pattie Kleinke had a fanzine at that time, but gave it up when they became super big. She felt they sold out. One of those fans that wanted them to stay small. I guess staying small is not that easy when you sign a contract with the Brothers Warner for $80 million. I don’t begrudge them anything, but they should take a break. I think they lost the plot. Maybe their big in Europe and elsewhere but I don’t think they’re all that here in the states.

I got an email from Christina Miro the other day. She was a co-worker from Wanker Banker. I think she found Jesus. Somewhere. She sent me an email warning me of the dangers of mocking god. The email included John Lennon saying in an interview in 1966 with Maureen Cleave of the Evening Standard (yes I know all these Fab facts) saying that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. It was true at that time, and maybe even today. But the email stated that since he said that, basically his murder 14 years later was justified, by god. I wrote back that it seemed like that that god was a bit mean and unforgiving. Haven’t heard from her since.

Just got a call from Chuckles who just scored the latest B-52’s from a friend in the biz. There is a plan afoot to meet up and get a burned copy. Woo hoo. I got the single, Funplex and it’s very good. Near vintage B’s. And by that I mean closer to Cosmic Thing than it is to Rock Lobster. I’m sure I’ll eventually get a legit copy and give the burned copy to some lucky reader, so keep it in your pants.

Here’s two interesting things via YouTube. Which is weirder? Let me know what you think.