Thursday, September 13, 2018

Around 4:30AM

My Mother died five years ago this December. Last night I had what I believe is the first dream I've had with her in it, at least what I can remember.

It was in flashback, my son was small, and I was trying to get some rest in the basement of her house on Long Island. All I remember was my son running around in the living room, and a group of people coming in the house, including my mom.

She came downstairs to check on me and asked how I was doing. I told her exhausted but I am not going through chemo the way you are. She could not stay, had to go back to the hospital. I could not kiss her goodbye because of her condition.

Then she left, and I woke up.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The tone I've been looking for

When people are looking through over 40 years of your life on one side of the room, and you are on the other - holding forth and making gin cocktails, it can get a bit stressful.

The Westgate Cavern was festive on Saturday night. We had a very nice party and everyone hung out in the basement this time out. People were looking through my record collection without me hovering over them, judging my life's work. I'm sure all the cool stuff they liked was added by my wife. In the end, it all worked out. The worst thing was one record being misfiled - I hope a librarian did not do that. Got to add some new vinyl as my brother's partner came to the party, gifting me of his record collection. I spent some time yesterday weeding out the duplicates and what will move along and added some cool stuff and things he had that I lost in the flood to Discogs. That Lloyd Cole Rattlesnakes record is damn good.

There's a new member of the family also. Finally bit the bullet and got a new amp. The Supro Comet is a little tube dynamo. A ten inch speaker powered by six or fourteen watts of power, and it cranks at both. Good reverb and a smooth tremolo makes it what will be the last amp I ever need.

It was a bit of adventure getting the amp. I had bought from the company before and thought I put in my new address. I did not. Saw that it was shipped to the old address and races over there right away. When I got there, the guy had his laptop open and said, "You work for Ohio State." He was googling me to find some contact info as he suspected I'd need this, and he was right. And he is an honest man, this renter of my old house. Also, apologies to all the people I spoke with at UPS over the past week. My tone was not appropriate.

So it is good, a solid party turn out despite steady rain that ranged from a hard drizzle to near biblical. The puddle in the downstairs bathroom held off forming until after everyone left.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

When I'm not attempting to burn the house down

Went to see a friend spin some records last night. Yes, it was real vinyl, playing on two turntables. None of this digital laptop deejaying. We brought in our own records, carried them into the bar and we liked it! Made me nostalgic for the old days, as such events tend to do. I miss the slip-cue, it was a lot of drunken fun.

In line at the grocery, a guy mentioned my Guitar House Workshop t-shirt. He asked my what guitars I had. Mentioned my Ibanez first, then he asked me if I played jazz. Told him I was taking lessons. Did not mention that I sucked so that's a positive.

We're having a party in two weeks, today may have been the last time I try cooking burgers in cast iron, as the house has a good amount of smoke. It should clear out in time.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Hugs and handshakes

It's a rare time when I can say I saw two of the best concerts I've seen in the past 18 years in less than a week, but it happened.

We took a road trip to Dayton to see David Byrne last Saturday. It had been over thirty years since I saw him with Talking Heads during the infamous Stop Making Sense tour in Buffalo. I was excited to see this tour as friends of mine had seen him earlier this year and had glowing reviews.

This was my first visit to the Rose Music Center and I was very impressed with the venue. Good sight lines, very good sound, friendly enough staff and the facilities were clean. Very classy.

The Sway Brothers in front of me, who stood the whole show despite having no one in front of them, were not classy at all. They were That Guy.



Despite the Dude Bros being Dude Bros, I managed to enjoy the performance. The staging was the boldest I'd ever seen - a bare stage surrounded by a grey beaded curtain on three sides. No amps, no drum risers, no cords. Just a troop of 14 musicians in synch with each other. It was magnificent. The lighting was awesome.



Byrne is still fit and in fine voice. The set was about a third of well chosen Talking Heads material and the theme was rhythm and joy. There is an underlying message though, during one song the entire band took a knee and the last song was Janelle Monae's Hell You Talmbout in which the band chanted the names of African Americans who have been murdered by police. It was a very powerful show that is just below that old Talking Heads show if I was ever to rank concerts I've been to.

It was with reservations five nights later that we went to the Basement, a venue I really do not like. When Nicole Atkins is coming through town though, you have to make the sacrifice. There was not that big of a crowd, so we managed to find a spot near the stage to see the opening band Ruby Boots. I was not familiar with her at all, but she made a more than a few fans with her strong voice and poignant songwriting. Best Australian opener I've seen since Kasey Chambers so long ago. We talked to her after the show and my wife and her bonded about Glasgow, where she's going for the first time later this year.

The Basement has this pit in front of the stage, where I have not been for a show due to my claustrophobia and not wanting to be where it's loud, but a friend of ours was down there so we gave it a shot.

We had very good stage proximity, so close that Nicole urged us all little closer after the first song.



The sound was not overpowering, there were no dude bros invading people's space or sight lines. It was a great show. It was wonderful to see Atkins after wanting to for so long. When I saw her perform the first time, on Letterman years ago, I was a fan then and there. Her voice is a gift and in a decent and kind world she should be better known.

So go out and get Goodnight Rhonda Lee.

After the show we hung out and talked to Scott, her guitarist. Very good dude who played with Ruby Boots her whole set so he pulled double duty. I have not mentioned the place was a freaking sauna and much respect for the bands to get through it.

The guitarist went for a drink and I left my wife for a moment, when I got back Nicole came out and went right toward her. She said she saw us dancing and they bonded over Scotland, I did not know her husband was Scottish. She's really cool, and genuine. Emma got the hug, I got the handshake. It helps to have a mad hot wife with a killer accent.

It was a fine, albeit an exhausting week.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The day of the day

It's been an active and at times exhausting summer. There's been travel to Buffalo and in my wife's case, Denver. Future travel to plan, along with another party.

We've seen a few concerts; Sloan and Radiohead, with a few to come - David Byrne, Nicole Atkins, John Prine, The Posies.

Been watching Taggart.

We put the teenager in underwear a couple of months ago and there have been few accidents although poop remains a mystery.

Still trying to write. Took part in a poetry slam and had a short reading that may or may not have stirred up some creativity. There's also at least one song I need to write by late September.

I strongly urge a visit to the Temple of Tolerance in Wapakoneta, Ohio if you ever have the chance.