I was tagged by thejodylinn!
- Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners (Brilliant Corners, 1957)
- The Kinks, Death of a Clown (BBC Sessions, 1961-1977)
- Bootsy Collins and The Funk Brothers, Do You Love Me? (Standing In The Shadows of Motown, 2002)
- Lou Reed, Dirty Blvd (New York, 1989)
- Miles Davis, Directions (Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West, 1973)
- Neil Young, Depression Blues (Lucky Thirteen, 1993)
- The Doors, The End (Absolutely Live, 1971)
- Prince and The Revolution, I Would Die 4 U (Purple Rain, 1984)
- Rush, Bravado (Roll the Bones, 1991)
- Jack Bruce, Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out of Tune (Songs for a Tailor, 1969)
That’s a pretty rad playlist! I might have to save that one. They never turn out this cool. I would like anyone who sees this to please make their own and post!
I just splashed some bourbon into my Wendy’s Frosty.
I don’t think I’ll ever need to leave the house for anything ever except more bourbon and Wendy’s Frosties.
In lieu of a suicide note, here’s a packing list for a dynamite crusade in the halcyon days of late summer:
- Convenience store hot dog
- Salted peanuts or cashews
- Mountain Dew
- Easy-peel clementine
- Candy bar (save it for last)
- Chuck Taylor high-tops
- Cut-off twelve dollar Wranglers
- Leather belt
- One-pocket tee-shirt
- Fishing hat
- Baseball glove
SUPPLIES (stowed in adventure bag of your choice)
- Cassette tapes
- Shortwave radio with tape deck and monaural speaker
- Collapsible fishing pole
- Fishing hooks
- Stick for walking and digging out worms and striking baseball
- Somebody’s mother’s car OR
- A garage sale ten-speed OR
- Hoofin’ it in the ol’ Chucks
It was 3:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, 1999, and I was putting my tools away and straightening up my workbench and looking forward to a night of bawdy revelry and noisemakers and Dick Clark counting down the final seconds when our friend Gennady Zut walked in from the cold and dusted the snow off his wool top coat. Gennady was a balalaika virtuoso and Russian immigrant who repaired fiddles for us when he wasn’t soloing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Being his first New Year’s Eve in the States and with nowhere to go and no family to spend it with he’d gotten in his rusty hatchback and maneuvered the dangerous winter roads to pay us a visit. He had a tendency to overstay his welcome and I had a party to get to and I was regretting having not locked up a half hour earlier until he produced a bottle of fine Russian vodka from his coat pocket. Dixie cups were procured from the john and a round was poured. And then another. And still another. And then Gennady told us a New Year’s Eve story.
In the late ’70s he’d been summoned to play a private New Year’s Eve concert for Leonid Brezhnev. He’d assumed it was to be at the Kremlin but when the driver picked him up he made Gennady put on a blindfold. They drove for hours and when he was finally instructed to remove the blindfold he had no idea where he was. He described this castle in the deep woods unlike anything he’d ever seen, even in fairy tales. A palace with its own power plant and water supply and defense systems, completely unconnected from anything resembling a grid. Nothing less than a Roman bacchanalia was underway inside. He never played a note. He never even removed his balalaika from its case. He was made to sit underneath a billiards table for two hours. He described for us what he heard happening atop the table but decorum prohibits repeating this portion of his story. “When I removed blindfold I was terrified of breaking my instrument,” he explained, “but within moments I was terrified for my life. I was terrified for planet. This drunken fool had access to button.” Eventually he was driven home. It was the scariest night of his life.
After two hours of vodka shots and storytelling we said goodbye to Gennady and locked the store and made our ways home. It was a perfect moment. Crystalline. A few hours later Peter Jennings was breaking down into inconsolable tears, having been up for more than a day covering the dawning of the year 2000 from every time zone. I was on a chemically-induced other planet. The ball dropped and the computers didn’t freak out and eventually we all passed out. Typical, forgettable New Year’s.
I have a bad habit of revisiting that perfect moment with Gennady. You see, not fifteen years prior I was convinced a nuclear holocaust was imminent. It was common knowledge on the playground that Reagan and Gorbachev were going to blow each other up and take all of us with them. But suddenly I found myself with this fabulous Russian musician in our music store sharing his booze on a night that everyone in the world was dancing and there was no other, no enemy, no world scapegoat. Something as hugely depressing and impossible as the Cold War was resolved over Dixie cup toasts in a tiny Motor City music store. Hope was eternal and invisible as the scenery. But then our votes didn’t count so an A-1 fool took the presidency and then Bin Laden turned airplanes into guided missiles and we were instructed to retaliate by maxing out our credit cards and we’ve been worried and broke and fighting with each other ever since. We’re a decade-and-a-half into the ass-end of a major pendulum swing that shows no sign of swinging back. I don’t think this story is being told. I don’t think people remember how close we came.
Sometimes you hide because you don’t want to be found out. Other times you hide in lieu of quitting your life. Still other times you hide while desperately hoping someone discovers you. These are the places I hide:
- Beneath the air hockey table in my grandparent’s basement, late ’70s.
- Behind my father’s swivel rocker, early ’80s. Avoiding a tooth extraction.
- On the stoop in the alley behind the Wright Opera House in Alma, Michigan. High school.
- The storage loft at work, three years ago.
- Leeward side of the cornermost giant pine tree, early ’90s. Avoiding church.
- Service stairwell of Bruske Hall. College.
- Between headphones in various lobbies. Presently.
I was tagged by my beautiful and magnificent wife, mrs-jesus.
- John Coltrane, Kulu Se Mama (The Major Works of John Coltrane)
- 311, Down (Live from 6A: Late Night with Conan O’Brien)
- The Who, Tea & Theatre (Endless Wire)
- Miles Davis, Mtume (Get Up With It)
- Leonard Cohen, Always (The Future)
- Dan Auerbach, When The Night Comes (Keep It Hid)
- The Mysterious Flying Orchestra, Nice n’ Spicy (S/T)
- Johnny Cash, In My Life (American IV: The Man Comes Around)
- Uncle Tupelo, Graveyard Shift (No Depression)
- U2, New Year’s Day (War)