The everyday people living in a nightmare…

From a time in the wasteland of Geffen Records when Neil Young was fucking with the man and having a good time. He had his blues band the Blue Notes.

Now the record is famous for containing This Notes for You that mocked Michael Jackson in the video and anyone who took the almighty sponsorship deal. may have been banned by MTV but who really cares?

The live shows however contained two songs that highlighted the fallacy that all was well in the land of the free. Ordinary People and Crime in the City that together clock in at well over twenty minutes of truth.

The Reagan years really screwed us and got us ready for the travesty of the GOP today.

Anyway if you want a double dose of searing guitar, horns and some of Neil Young’s most relevant lyrics, well you can’t Spotify it but you can find it somewhere I am sure on the tubes of you.

Crime in the City eventually turned up on Freedom and Ordinary People on Chrome Dreams II. Strange they took so long as they are some of his best songwriting, of course anyone who has followed Neil Young’s career should be aware he is often his own worse editor.

So this all came to mind as I was listening to Eldorado, the come back EP that although recorded entirely digitally is just cooler to own as an LP and sounds fantastic. Which on some level goes to show the collector mentality.

That’s it nothing too deep!

we have all been here before…

It’s been a roller coaster of a day. We will see what tomorrow brings.

This record has been in my dna for the better part of 40 plus years. It’s hard to fathom it probably wasn’t even ten years old the first time I ever heard it and even then It was seen as old peoples music, part of the past. Now those old punks are admitting they always loved it maybe.

It’s like an old friend. I can hum along to every overblown, pretentious song on it.

Carry on “ the sky is clearing” hopeful, rejoicing, “we’ve got to carry on.”

Folk, rock, jazz, blues, country and it’s all rolled into a psychedelic haze.

“Know they love you..” Jerry pickin away in the background, yes it’s sentimental but there’s a truth there somewhere. What dreams did we pick?

For years when I had hair I really lived Almost Cut amy Hair. Until I realized that only the Cros can pull the skullet off realistically. The saddest tale I heard was Crosby talking about how they shaved his head when he was in jail in Texas.

Also I think we’ve all had the flue for Christmas at one time. Maybe that’s what o have going on right now.

“All my changes were there…” we all have that gnawing terrible homesickness at times. The need to get back to the place we are from where we became who we are or at least the seeds were planted.

4+20 still connects me to that teenager who listened to it and couldn’t imagine being so old. Now I am over twice that age and still feeling closer to that teenager in a lot of ways than my peers.

As this stupid recovery drags on I am constantly forced to consider how fragile I am as an animal and how lucky we are as a species. I am also faced with my privilege. I have good insurance and can get this work done. In the past I would’ve just gone blind in my right eye and moved on.

“Country girl I think your pretty…” I got to say this again today. When I listened to this song in Liverpool in the 80’s I had no idea that one day I would be sat on that distant west coast of America. It was a fantasy a dream of course it really was the land of dreams then instead of the waking nightmare I sometimes think it has become.

There’s a jaded bloated optimism to this record “everybody I love you…”. The sweet harmonies with Stills in the background anchoring everything with his wail.

It’s not a perfect album. It’s kind of clumsy in places and overwrought but once it connects with you it’s with you for life.

Just remember, “ we are stardust we are golden…”

live just for yourself…

Fuck it.

A set back in the eye. Position upright leaning the head to the right. This creates a slightly quizzical bemused look. Then the question how am I going to sleep this way?

If things don’t get better I’ll be having another operation and yes it’ll be under local anesthetic so I will be awake as the needles and lasers head for my eye.

On to the metronomic, repetitive joyful music of Back to Land by Wooden Shjips.

There’s also the more colorful inner sleeve.

It’s jaunty, jangly, space pop. It’s as if Marc Bolan actually got along with Dave Brock and wrote a whole album of dance oriented rock anthems for Hawkwind.

It’s the perfect music to stand naked in a rain storm and dance and sway in the mud. There’s also no need to worry about lyrics as they are so spaced out and mumbled it could be anything good old Ripley is burbling into the microphone.

It made me feel better.

can we make it last? like a musical ride….

I’m here half blind hoping for a Crazy Horse tour, once Nils is done with Bruce I’m hoping.

Until that blessed time I will have to be content with Neil’s seeming willingness to get his music out there on a fairly regular basis. Which brings me to Noise and Flowers.

It’s a good placeholder until something better may come along. Promise of the Real are good but no Crazy Horse or Stray Gators or any number of backing bands. They have obviously made Neil delve into his back catalogue and play songs that deserve to be played. They do a handsome job at getting the old man to up his game. They manage to juggle the set list etc. it’s good to hear Field of Opportunity and On the Beach and all those great songs.

There’s obviously a connection. Live it’s a good experience. Even the time I saw them and was sat in the bleachers with my ass getting numb it was phenomenal. I even like Earth and the monkeys man.

What gets me is the false endings. Yes on this album they are not so prevalent but Rockin In The Free World didn’t need it. With the horse it’s not a false ending it seems like it’s all part of that one song. With Promise of the Real it’s like the old master is toying with them and they just haven’t got the joke.

It’s a really good album with many of the songs you want to hear, you will never get all of them there are too many. The band do justice to the songs and Neil’s in good voice and is playing his heart out.

Maybe if this wasn’t sandwiched amongst all those stellar archive releases it may have shone better.

I have no regrets buying this, would buy it again and I’ve played it three or four times. I just hanker for something a little more ragged and rusty and loose.

let us talk of some trivial things we like…

I’ve been thinking about aging. I just had a friend hit 55 and I thought wow that’s old. Then I realized he was younger than me. Truth be told I feel about 14 in my head but things are slowing down. I can’t run as fast or as far or far as fast if that makes sense. I’ve been getting tired earlier in the day and I groan when I stand up. I’m also getting thicker around the middle. I somehow this year also justified the purchase of an e-bike. Power assist, no longer do I go anywhere on wheels fully under my own power.

For awhile I’ve been observing the slowing down of my body. It’s kind of a pain,literally it’s painful.

I’ve been watching people my age. Observing them as they communicate, interact with younger people and move through the world. It’s a little disconcerting. It seems true that as we get older we want to hold on to what we have. This seems to encourage the older to become more conservative. Maybe become more suspicious of the young, jealous of their youth and vibrancy.

I don’t want to be one of those complainers. I don’t want to become more conservative in any way. I don’t want to be jealous of the youth.

This morning, four days or so after I began writing this I woke up. I had the smell of campfires and beer and lentil curry in the air. I had the barely remembered sound of a bass heavy tune in my back brain and could feel hair over my face. I was disoriented confused looking around at the four walls of my room expecting to see the green and orange walls of the festival frame tent.

The only thing that was real was the feeling of hair over my face. Not mine. That’s long gone but my wife’s thick mane of blonde hair had come loose of its retaining hair tie and was attempting to simultaneously strangle and smother me.

I lay in bed and pondered where this all came from.

It’s July. Festival season. Not the bloated experience festivals have become, but the lean mean growing up machines they were in my youth. Safe places to hang out, yes bad things happened but it was a freer time that Maggie ended in ‘85 they still hung on until they became corporate events with privileged glamping experiences and meet and greets with the stars. This is a time I often get restless, wanting to stand in a field and listen to music, go on an adventure, kayak, bike go off-road. We have a family vacation planned in Central Oregon, cave exploring, float the river, canoe, bike, hike, go to the lava fields and see what happens, it will be the first time together in a long time, eight of us including girlfriends and grand kid.

Six days or so after those four days. That’s ten days since I started writing this. Maybe.

We rented a really nice house, big enough for everyone, so it has no AC who really needs this? Until the heat is going to be 104 degrees Fahrenheit plus for the entire five days we had planned, the house had no fans and was as often the case in Central Oregon completely unshaded by anything. Suddenly things started coming up, work commitments for kids, accidents and emergencies that made travel difficult in the extended connections any family has and of course the crushing heat. The rental people turned up with some fans eventually but the heat was such that there was no joy to be had in the middle of the day unless you could find a cool bend in the river to wallow and stay out of the sun, The realities of the fragile nature of our planet came crushing down upon us, at nine pm it was still high 80’s but had cooled enough to eat. So it wasn’t the vacation we had planned, but that’s what happens when you try and organize so many people all at once at short notice. So eight turned to four and we had as good a time as we could in the rivers and lakes of Central Oregon, at times it turned into survival, enough cool water, cold fruit, is the dog okay, is it too hot, apply more sunscreen, find the shade, smile it’s a vacation(?)

Suddenly on the second to last day I noticed some floaters in my right eye, okay they will go away, it’s nothing, towards the end of the day there was a significant change in vision in my right eye, okay it’ll be alright in the morning. But it wasn’t. So I called the ever helpful advice nurse at 4am the next morning, one of the advantages of old age is waking up early for all sorts of reasons. She listened, hhhmmm, let me check with the consulting doctor… Shit, that doesn’t sound good. “We’ve decided you should go to the emergency room, don’t wait for urgent care…” I woke Michelle up, made coffee (don’t ask) and we head out. It was 4:30am so we figured plenty of time to get back doe check out.

I’ve never been to the Emergency Room for myself, usually you sit around in the waiting area for hours doing nothing feeling foolish. This time I was whisked into a room before the paperwork was completed, hooked up to countless cables and machines, testing my heart, car scan blood drawn IV in, “what the fuck” these crazy professionals are trying to figure out what’s wrong. Poke your tongue out smile all sorts of weird requests, until they tell me they are worried I am having a stroke or heart attack. Suddenly its all real sitting in bed waiting, no food, no drink, prodded poked, questioned, damn am I going to make it, I feel fine apart from this eye thing man, is this all necessary? Michelle is being all strong in the corner and all the time we are dealing with the rental company who shat they can’t extend check out, someone else is moving in when we leave. ” You’re going to have to go and pack up and get out of the house, I’ll be fine.” not sure if I ‘m lying. So now you are all alone in this bed in the ER. sounds of crying, vomiting, the life flight chopper arriving, scurrying shooting, the understaffed overworked nurses being so caring. So I sat there and watched the English Women win the Euro’s trying to distract myself from what may be happening, I feel fine apart from this eye thing.

Seven hours later, I am not having a heart attack or a stroke, appointment made with the on-call ophthalmologist, turns out I have a detached retina, okay that’s less than a heart attack or stroke. It needs immediate surgery, well tomorrow, then you may have to stay in Bend for 10 days or so!!! How can I do that? We have commitments to family not just work.

The ophthalmologist calls my provider with me, eventually after a beaurocratic nightmare we get to the retina guy, who knew, appointment made 8am the next day, not the best idea to take off on a 3 hour drive but what choice is there? Okay well lie on your right side! How do I do that in a pick up truck? Do your best or you could go blind in that eye if it gets too bad. The next three hours are some of the most uncomfortable rides of my life, no AC in my sons truck, seat won’t recline it’s an old style pick up, doing my best to stay flat on my right, fearful of watching that curtain close over my right eye, fear. heat, discomfort. Michelle hates driving this truck, is it going to be alright, slightly dehydrated, no don’t stop for drinks or food lets get home. I was told not to eat after 10 pm so I could have surgery. It’s considered emergency surgery.

Getting home, stay on the right, keep the eyes closed, rehydrate, eat bad fast food it’s all there is right now. It’s going to be okay.

See the surgeon, come back in five hours, go home, no eating, sip water, don’t panic, you have two eyes, I could watch the curtain slowly move over my right eye. The surgery will be fine don’t worry, you will have to have a specific position once it’s over. They will spot weld the retina in place with a laser and then put a gas bubble in there to hold it in place, it’ll be okay, it dissipates, its routine, emergency only in being time sensitive.

So here am I sleeping sitting up. Unable to drive, lift anything, carry anything, move my head fast or see out of my right eye right now. I also am not able to go above two thousand feet or the gas in my eye will expand. That’s changing as the gas bubble evaporates/dissipates or whatever. I can’t do all the things I had planned as I may go blind. I can’t work as I can’t get there and my left eye gets tired because it’s doing all the work.

Getting older sucks but I’m still 14 in my head…

This is the crap I’ve been listening to today what else is there to do?