Dark Nights of the Whole October 18, 2011Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Odd, Toulouse Street.
Who knows what people think when I start posting up videos as I did last night. I used to do this a lot more frequently when this was my backup blog to Wet Bank Guide, the location one blog reviewer said I “let my freak flag fly.” We could argue the merit of song lyric versus “Poetry” (insert imaginary hands wiggling quote fingers). It’s not worth the bother. Either you think Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits are poets or you do not, and I’m probably not going to change your mind (although I would welcome the opportunity to try, provided you pick up at least every other round).
Last night on a lark I went to The Writer’s Block, an outdoor reading hosted by Kate Smash on the amphitheater steps across from Jackson Square. This was all well and good, and I had a great time and felt welcomed at the new guy to what appears to be a well-established small group of regulars, mostly in their twenties.
As usual, going to such events at night leaves me with my mind spinning on hyper-drive, no where near ready for bed, so I gladly accepted their suggestion that I join them for a drink after. A couple of grogs later at The John, an interesting joint on Frenchman where the table tops look like the covers of toilet seats, and the strong pours are served cheap in Mason jars, I finally headed home to get some sleep but the combination of poetry, conversation and rum left me just as energized as when we set off for the bar.
That’s when I’m most likely to fire up Radio Free Toulouse Street; the other circumstance being late night (sometime all night) technical work conference calls, the sort scheduled to make changes when it will not disrupt customers. (The longest one I suffered through lasted 17 hours, and pretty much ruined a Father’s Day. By the time I got off that call, I had my special breakfast for an early afternoon lunch and promptly fell asleep in front of my DVD present movie.
Now that I have something like a “brand” in Toulouse Street (having displaced the Doobie Brothers as the top return for a Google search of that phrase) and another in Odd Words, I wonder sometime if I’m doomed to start yet another blog where I can post these sort of things, or perhaps a Tumblr, a platform I have tried to stay away from. (I have, for the record, a pretty sizable stable of blogs already, although most are updated infrequently, and consist of posting poems and copyright law be damned, by writers I like.
I probably shouldn’t start another blog. I’m already stretched so thin the next step down from human crepe is grease in the bottom of the pan, a particularly unappetizing analogy. So if you’re here for the
beer literature and pretzels occasional Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans posts, I guess you’ll just have to put up with my taste in music. You can always avail yourself of the scroll bar.
Then again you might be missing an important element in what is essentially a story, a narrative of transformation referenced in the quote at right by Samuel Beckett. Perhaps to make that point more clear, I will move that little box up above the book ads and remove the link to the mostly abandoned poetry blog (I post those elsewhere, in semi-private, as most dead tree publications treat posting to the Internet as “previously published” and disqualifying.) Spending the night in the company of a gaggle of twenty-somethings, that moment when I made some remark about being the “old fart” at the table that brought an Odd, snappish reaction from one of them. Fifty three, my job descending under the event horizon, as much as anyone at that table looking at a whole new life to build, with more experience to my credit but less breath.
Everything is story: we tell them to live. They are as necessary as air. The longer posts, the snippets of quote or poetry, the songs, the impromptu photo of the cemetery, all are part of the narrative of a man just past midlife, racing at once towards and away from death down a path into the unknown.
Like most children of the Transistor Age (and you’re still living in it, they’ve just gotten much smaller, millions on a chip) music has been an integral part of my life since I got my first AM pocket radio for a present in 1963, just in time for the British Invasion. Steve Jobs recognized the centrality of music, of an imagined sound track to your lives, in the invention of the i-Pod. Walt Disney and his cousins in faux towne center shopping malls were ahead of even Jobs, providing not just musak background music but often something that added to the particular ambiance of the setting.
People of my parents generation (the mid-Century “Greatest Generation”) had perhaps “Their Song”, the one they heard while courting and perhaps danced to at their wedding. Baby Boomers and the alphabet soup of following cohorts have entire soundtracks, songs associated with moments or entire periods of their life. People of my age used to think of themselves as either Beatle-men or Stones-men. (My perfectly Gemini answer is often yes: my inner Beatles-man, laid back and thoughtful, led me down to last night’s reading. My inner Stones-man led me to The John, and a second drink when I probably should have taken off for home. I think it was my inner Zappa/Beefheart man who took control of the turntable last night, but there is a sense to what I posted. There always is.)
Another correct answer to the Beatles or Stones question is: The WHO. (or sometimes, The Kinks. Double Gemini whammy). For now I will let my inner Zappa/Beefheart reject the famous Smothers Brothers’s appearance of The WHO, with the off-cue explosion that permanently damaged Pete Townsend’s hearing, in favor of Patti–I’m no longer ready to die before I get old; I think Patti’s sentiment better fits this point in my life–and send you off to think about how music plays in the narrative of you own life, the moments when Cue Music is the unwritten stage direction.