Saturday, December 28, 2013


             I have a cold.  There are more important things happening in the world, but here the headlines have been about the war going on in my sinuses.  But the worst is past.  I cannot talk today – I squeak like a kid whose voice is changing and really cannot talk.  Couldn’t yesterday either.  But then my head was stuffier, and now my voice is squeakier.  I’m staying home so I don’t make other people sick.  And I’m exhausted.  I drank two strong cups of coffee this morning, then I just sat there.  Hmmm. When I have no energy, it means I’m ill.  I am glad this is Saturday, and New Year’s Eve is Tuesday!  So much can happen to a non-serious illness in four days (like it can Die).  I look forward to the return to ground level.
Projects planned: new band, friendships, hangouts, new radio show, new TV show, new schedule.  The old things?  Still all over the place!  Anything that is not determinedly and consciously New remains (out of habit) Old.  When you’ve done something a thousand times, it becomes a habit.  I’m set in my ways, my days resemble each other, my problems rarely get worse or better.  (Okay, let me qualify that: arthritis gets worse, colds get better.)  I keep learning as my body keeps wearing out.  Now for a girlfriend, and possibly a  new job!  I’ll tell you about those when they happen.  
[I would like to be young again.  “Waiter! Waiter!”  Aw, he can’t hear me.]  
I am comforted by the thought of how baffled and scared most teenagers are inside.  When I meet teenagers I want to tell them: “The things you worry most about every day are going to turn out to be absolutely nothing.  You will be amazed.  What you should worry about has nothing to do with any of those things.  And brush your teeth - you’ll be glad you did.”
I did not take good care of my teeth.  I don’t seem to have taken care of my hearing, either…I have two modern hearing aids which enable me to sing better than I have for decades.  I just hadn’t known what everyone else was hearing.  I now know that my guitar was strident, and my voice harsh, because I was adjusting it all for my bad ears.  I didn’t find this out for a long time.  Now I can distinguish between a careless note and a sweet note.  I can play with them, work with them; my voice has become an actual instrument.  I took a half dozen voice lessons, but they were hard to absorb and actualize until I could truly hear myself.   ($1300 in each ear, and if I had not become poor enough to qualify for full medical coverage, and if my hearing had not been so bad that I qualified for hearing aids, I could never have afforded these.  What a world.)
I had what I call a “singer-songwriter” voice.  It can have a lot of character, is often a wonderful instrument for heartfelt sentiment, and serves to put the song over, but it clearly sounds different than the voice of someone who would win that job if auditions had been held. 
When a group has a singer who is as good as the guitar player or the drummer, it’s great – often these are people who called, auditioned, showed up and turned out to be the best.  That’s a Singer.  I can tell when a singer wrote his song, because no one would hire a singer with such an idiosyncratic voice.  There are many bands with singer-songwriter voices.
Exceptions: The Doors, U2, Pearl Jam, Queen, The Beatles – there certainly are great singers in bands singing their own songs.  But most bands have the writer as the singer, and it shows.  Why not?  Extreme example – Dylan. 
Looking forward to starting the new TV program, but I need to get someone else involved.  Interviews, even just conceptual art will help (someone walking back and forth behind me as I talk?)  and it’s going to be great.  Not just me in a studio this time.  Guests are coming.

Also looking forward to my new radio show on The Radiator, transmitting from a studio only three blocks from here.  I'll play songs most people have never heard: songs that influenced the music they have heard.  Roots.  Importantly, I want to play what they might never hear elsewhere.  Name of show…”Before That”, “Long Ago” “Outsider Pop”, “Rock History, Early”, “It's All Good”?  Must think.
Soon come. 
Ready for New Year’s Eve!  It’s predicted to be about zero degrees, so I may have quite a bunch of people up here huddling from the cold and watching the fireworks out my window with coffee, tea, cocoa, or whatever drinks they are bringing.  Can’t afford a bar this year – my apologies. 
I hope you all had a great holiday, and have a happy new year too!  If you’re nearby, I look forward to seeing you.  There is music in town before and after (3:00 PM at Red Square - Steph Pappas will be there weaving her spell, and at 9:00 PM I believe Brett Hughes will preside over honky-tonk at Radio Bean.)  The whole night is a gigantic sandwich.  Also an epic arctic expedition…be well!  Stay warm! 
I have been re-reading a William Kotzwinkle book I loved when I read it decades ago – a dreamlike detective novel entitled “Fata Morgana”.  I have a book about Jewish Resistance in WWII, a history of Chess Records, and a history of the Procul Harum, one of my favorite bands ever.
Happy year’s end.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I would never set off Fireworks.  My best friend in high school had scars on his hand from a firecracker, that stuff is dangerous, and people likely to be playing with fireworks late at night after drinking are not all that careful.  I wouldn’t do it, though I don’t drink. 

The party is to see the Fireworks, which occur as early as 7:00 PM, and then again at midnight. The early one is good for all those parents with little kids, marching around all day and night.  But some older people want to be watching a movie or doing something even better at midnight.  They need not stand in the cold.  I’m an early fireworks guy.  (It is due to a job which involved working on New Year’s Eves, which I had long ago.)  It’s nice to hear them in the distance at midnight.  But I’ll tell you – the view here is so great I’ll be watching the midnight one also, whether anyone’s left at the party or not.  Wow. 
It’s interesting to see it for the first time – it’ll happen twice a year from now on.  Crowds, and I mean thousands, of people coming down my street, right past the building, voices floating and jabbering and occasionally shooting up like an arrow, signifying that someone feels that they’re in a big city, alienated, just passing through – as if he or she has no idea if anyone lives here, or whether their voices are loud or soft.  Perhaps a few will peel out of the crowd and come up to see out the window with us. They have been invited, plus friends.  That has been accomplished. 
The tricky thing is to buy the right amount of food and drink.  Worst case scenarios one and two: lots of drinks left which you would never drink, along with bread and cheese and vegetable dip you must eat for a week.  Two: enough folks show up that you run out of things immediately. Followed by mad scramble to nearby store, thank god there is one.  But look like clown, some party ha ha.  There they are, my two scenarios: king of leftovers, na├»ve socialite does faceplant. I could use a nice revelation, or epiphany.  Keep yer eye upon the weather and yer hand upon the wheel.  Meanwhile, we’re expecting a big snowstorm to commence tonight.  Good night and good luck.

So I’m having a Fireworks Party on New Year’s Eve, which is to say I have a view that will allow a lucky gracious, spacious few (or dense intimate larger crowd of many) to gaze out the window on what could be an outstandingly cold and/or windy night, and see the fireworks while sipping hot cocoa or whatever.  I used to do that when I had another apartment in Burlington, long ago.  From that one you could see about 2 to 5 degrees of lake on the horizon, and basically see the fireworks.  Now I have about 100 degrees of lake.  Yah. I will See them.

I have an event page for this party on FaceBook.  The page has a mind of its own.
Facebook makes it like a contest.  "Who's going?  Who's maybe?  Who else is invited?A gossip magazine.  What do I need this for?  They offer gimmicks - sending reminders to everyone I've already invited, to "promote the event".  Fugedaboudit.  Some people might show up even if it's nice out, but  basically it's a question of the weather, and how closely people are negotiating a frantic First Night schedule.  I've many times attended First Night, and I have seen much happen - often choosing from ten ensembles playing simultaneously in ten venues.  One misses most of it, no matter what.  I enjoy the celebration more when the weather isn't miserable.  I have about ten buttons. Several times I helped out as a volunteer. 

It's a big deal - especially on a truly cold, inhospitable night.  Ah yes - six years ago, I spent New Year's Eve being a job coach, retrieving shopping carts from a Shaw's parking lot on a busy evening.  Moving clusters of six or eight is usual.  Eight gets to be too many, as you're getting tired.  That New Year's Eve, it was hailing, sleeting, snowing and raining.  We pushed those carts through six inches of slush.  We might as well have been pushing them on the beach.  Memories...

But most New Year's Eves, when you go out to do something, are great, and some are truly outstanding.

May your New Year's Eve be truly outstanding, and the entire year to follow.  I'll throw that in as a bonus.

Friday, December 13, 2013


So much has happened (mentally) in the last few weeks, that some of it I won’t be able to tell you.  I mean when you’re dealing with big companies that screw you it’s better not to name names, cause it gets legal – or illegal - call it either.  No names.  It will be interesting to see  if I can tell this story so abstractly that you really won’t know who I’m talking about.  Oops, a company is not a who, it’s a what.  But right now it’s really late cause I attended two parties tonight, both of which were really nice, and did other things today as well, and it’s just too late to tell you today.  So much to do, so little time.  I see you tomorrow.  This post will be scrolled below the one telling the story, and will seem so pointless.  And on that note, good night.