cor baby that’s really free…

Two books separated by years.

Songs in the Key of Z by Iriwin Chusid, yes that is his name.

Medical Grade Music by Steve Davis(yes the snooker player) and Kavus Torabi, ex Cardiac and current leader of Gong.

Both mining the outer reaches of the musical world.

I found the beginning of this post from sometime in July, it’s been awhile since I read both of these books. Reading them made me realize that while I love the outer reaches of the musical world I also truly enjoy the more popular sides, in this way I am more like Kavus than Steve, Irwin is just plain out there, if you can find the Songs in the Key of Z compilations thats a wild ride, I can enjoy XTC along with Henry Cow and I still struggle with Magma, even though I admire there tenacity and single minded allegiance to the quest. XTC and Martin Carthy make complete sense when placed next to each other and David Bowie was an alien.

I read songs in the Key of Z years ago. It brought me into the world of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and some others and caused a spate of buying used CD’s that could only be played on headphones or in the car while alone. Allowing this music to escape into the environment would cause pain to the people I lived with. The worlds of Daniel Johnston and The Shaggs colliding with Joe Meek and Tiny Tim. About the same time I read Turn On Your Mind Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock, by Jim DeRogatis. This took me down a sidetrack to the Flaming Lips, Wilco, Mercury Rev and others as well as the classic 60’s and 70’s psychedelia.

All that being said two things have happened this week, one I had the lenses in my eyes replaced with implants that was completely disorientating and is still a little weird with sensitivity to light etc. Cataracts they suck. The other thing was as I watched the light show, very weird with no lenses, the doctor was playing the Sot Bulletin by the Flaming Lips which well was psychedelic man as they say. No drugs involved, I am too much of a control freak and afraid of loss of control for the drugs or as my wife says stupid.

and that’s were they always are…

It was a small room full of smoke of one sort or another. A bottle of Wild Turkey sitting in the ashes. The shelves were full of ephemera and oddness, a Kiss magazine leaning next to a copy of Winnie the Pooh four urns with the ashes of three dogs and a father clustered together.

Mike stands, a drum kit and guitars leaning against amps.

The walls were covered in mattresses as an attempt to soundproof things, the windows were also covered, there was no ventilation and a lone fan pushed the smoke around the room.

Listen to this:

“I  was born the day they shot JFK
The way you look at me sucks me down the sidewalk
Somebody please tell this machine I’m not a machine…”

Shit thats the best song the stones never wrote, you’re welcome.

my mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west…

I started running again, it’s been slow work.

We started last year and then we had a wild fire that filled the air with smoke and along the way a flood and an icestorm that caused the trees to explode and then well it was all too much.

In the midst of all this was an election. Maybe that is what made it all too much.

I have struggled with pace. I take off too fast and then fade away, gasping along the trail like the old man I am. The answer apparently is the Grateful Dead, as Greg says when you lose the rhythm if you just keep going you’ll find another rhythm. This is the Dead philosophy it seems. I am slowly finding my/a rhythm again. Its not going to break any records but it does make me feel better and more alive and somewhat centered.

The Dead’s random shifting shuffling rhythms are the perfect pace for a 50 plus year old man to struggle his way around the trails at home, not ready to head out onto the road yet so trail running it is until the weather deteriorates to the point you have to stumble along on the asphalt because the mud is too thick. Luckily we live on enough space we have managed to carve out third of a mile circuit through the woods. It’s less embarrassing than when I will have to gasp my way past the kids waiting for the school bus.

30 plus years ago I listened to Europe ’72 sitting on the stoop and drinking Red Strip Lager. I was not a fan of the Dead really for all the reasons about the disappointment of the name until the moment China Cat Sunflower started. Then the dancing and swaying began, then there is the timeless merge into I Know You Rider, the perfect moment in the Dead canon. The perfect segue from one song to the other in jam band psychedelic cowboy perfection. In the day of drunken garden dancing it is perfect you can sway twirl and fall about in a happy state of delirium it may actually be the perfect Dead moment and makes up for all the disappointment of the name.

This is my opening track for the Dead running playlist. Sometimes as I hit some sort of stride I start thinking on those misty hazy days sitting on the stoop and dancing. Greg would insist I have no real dancing ability, I however think that my wild gyrations are a perfect accompaniment to America’s jukebox in the Dead. Michelle however still refuses to dance with me during my more expressive moments. Of course if I worried about all that I would never dance, or run for that matter. Other times I just go with the flow of the music and terrain, avoiding snags and ruts and the other dangers in some weird moment, the mist on the meadow and in the treetops and occasionally the rabbits fleeing my gasping steps.

Tomorrow however I go in for cataract surgery and they will make me stop running for an undisclosed time, undisclosed because I have not asked but I know it’s gonna happen, apparently. Apparently I will not have to wear my glasses for distance so for the first time in 45 years people will see this ugly mug without the glasses, terrifying. People keep pointing all this out as a plus but I am not so sure it is. I have been hiding behind my glasses for a long time, the little Lennon circles that go dark in the sun and make it so I can milk eye contact but others can’t, not sure what that says about me.