good morning ~
(click the link / football field sunset)
sitting in with my buddy Ty aka Thank You Thank You tonight at the Avalon Lounge and beyond that I currently have nothing really to plug :)
While working up in the sound booth kinda somewhat bored I ask google to tell me how to make a spiral out of text. Having left one job for another I figure, hey, why not do a third job on the side. I think my copy of photoshop is out of date or whatever because all the tutorials I can find recommend steps I don't have access to in the program. The text simply won't spin the way I want it to, this could be the thing that unlocks the rest of the t-shirt I've been hired to design. And then it hits me and I start chuckling to myself: I'm literally spiraling. How can I squeeze this amusingly enough into a text message for the benefit of one of my group chats?
It was a great gig and we sprawled outdoors in the glory of the weather and heard our friend's songs bouncing off the quarry and the rocks, delightful. Afterward there is an impromptu hang at her house, the first party they've thrown there, as we later learn. We're the first to arrive so we sit in the utter darkness of the eastern Catskills and try to get a vertical video or two to load, no luck, no service. Eventually people start to show up, many of them bearing the many wonderful fruits of the various gas stations en route to the house: candy both chocolate and sour based, bags of chips and dip, ice cream, firewood, cheap beers. Our friend pulls out a bottle of wine and apologizes for the strange taste: lacking a proper stopper, she had used a jalapeño, wouldn't you know the jalapeño fell in. A tall man often described as "my most interesting friend" shows us his custom-built augmented reality rig housed in a discreet beanie - as we all take turns tripping out over how our hands look through the screen, he tells us about how he and his mom have been using this technology to swap lives. Wearing this screen, she transmitted to her son her experience of a trip to Trader Joe's and what she thought was a pleasant, helpful interaction he found to be horribly condescending and Karen-ish, a wild exercise in subjectivity. A fire begins and chairs of various types and heights are gathered from the dining room and the garage, someone cracks open the salsa: now we got a party going. The conversation flows around natural, easy, stars glimmering stereotypically through the pleasant choking smoke as it climbs the stairway to heaven.
The last two folks arrive and squeeze into the circle. To my right I begin to recognize someone I met at another after gig hang long ago and we get really deep into it. With faces only half lit by the fire we talk about vengeance and whether or not we had ever experienced it. When asked, Have you ever gotten vengeance? She tells me a story I cannot replicate here. When asked in return I cannot think of a single time when I enacted my revenge. There's a difference between satisfying closure and violent intention. Eventually she tells me about the Swedish psychological concept of "forthcoming resistance," a translated phrase that refers to that thing that very frustrating people do where they emphatically apologize for their actions but defer responsibility and skirt any actual corrective behavior. I'm sorry that happened to you and that you feel that way, but there is simply nothing I can do about it now, nor could I have prevented it any way, nor will I change my actions in the future, that kind of thing. The phrase so vividly describes an unpleasant personal interaction that I'm currently in the middle of that I am actually dumbfounded, mouth open. And then the party's over.
Our neighbors told us this thing I keep thinking about - you might assume that you'd get privacy and anonymity moving to a more rural community or a smaller town, but actually what you get is being very specifically known. Never can you fade into the grand fabric of humanity, particularly if you rock a futuristic haircut. There simply aren't that many people around and so eventually the folks at the hardware store come to know which property is yours specifically. The intimacy of the local population, then, gives you a kind of accountability by default, and when multiple people tell me that they saw me walking down Warren Street one morning I feel more observed than I do when I play on stage. I cannot, I realize, do whatever I want without felt social consequence. But if I ever had such permission, what would I even do with it?
The gig's starting a couple of hours later than advertised on a Monday night, intrigued I smile. The gig's taking place in what amounts to an abandoned bar, my smirk grows in intensity. They're selling warm beers from the pharmacy, my face reddens in delight. The first act starts and it's a fried, abrasively loud, and surprisingly groovy set of sampler beats, I fall backwards out of my chair. Sweetness in the most bombed-out storefront in the whole stockade. Everyone's nice, everyone's music is good, the wobble of the speakers kicks up the ancient dust. Maeve and I play at the end and I keep pointing my mic at their violin, capturing little glimpses of their bow strokes, bouncing through my table full of delay pedals. Together, we do one thing for 25 minutes and in that one thing there is unending richness, never a true repetition. An act of faith and an act of redemption, the best part of the music we play together is when I'm standing there, listening. Afterwards the touring acts utter a beautiful phrase: oh, aren't you going to come get subs with us? Another time, lads, this crunchy lifer now gets heartburn if he eats a big meal after midnight, plus he's got work in the morning.
But what about you? Have you ever gotten your vengeance? Are you spiraling the way you want to? Are you standing there and listening?