An ear-shattering Moment in Time

Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles
November 24, 2009
7:30pm-after midnight

a Moment in Time
stretching an entire evening
more bang for your buck, not just a little 3 minutes train moment, nope
for
tonight was concert night
my son —- will be a rock star, his humble childhood goal
didn’t we all
have those
i was going to be a famous baseball star!
so
we went, drove, arrived too early, and waited in line
for a concert
Wolfmother
funny
the looks on faces, Wolfmother? they ask who are they? Do not many people know
Wolfmother how could it
be?
At first, foreboding
Like walking into a room full of harsh strangers
Been so long
since
I
went to a rock concert
those were the days!
back in my 20s I spent almost every week for 5 years
at a concert
killing my eardrums thrashing moshing drinking not sleeping
wow
was that only 20 years ago?
and I remember distinctly laughing at parents who brought their children to the concert
back then
not laughing as in LOL
but laughing, smirking, finding a sense of irony and twisted humor in that

and now it’s me
I am the parent
and bringing my future rock star son
and standing in line
and everyone seems like such a … kid
but thankfully Wolfmother attracts an older crowd
geriatric by the standards of the typical concert-goer. but older nevertheless and I don’t feel so out of place. standing in line waiting make some small conversation with a couple of dudes behind me
who are musing about Denny’s restaurants that serve
beer, told them about the one in Hollywood that actually has a bar. now that is LOL

Finally in we go! 7:30 doors open and the wild crowd is allowed to enter,
me, carrying in the printout from the online order. used to be we walked in with tickets, real tickets damnit, little piece of thick paper with printed itinerary that you
could keep for ages. or lose.
Also carrying some ridiculous overpriced shit I bought
from some Hare Krishna’s earlier. stickers and a booklet which i threw away but really should
have read
and maybe found further enlightenment even though I feel pretty fucking enlightened, thank you.
Some things have not changed they still pat you down make sure you are not carrying
a Desert Eagle or AK-47. The usherette chick with a funny ass-in-the-air walk guides us to our
seat which are wrong as we later find out when some guys try to sit down where we’re sitting
so we move down to our correct seat
aisle seats awesome!
opening bands really good or is it my absence from the
concert scene for so long
that makes every live performance
electrifying
riveting
wonderful
it’s all great even these opening acts from bands i never heard of like The Heartless Bastards love their twangy countryish
lead singing chick, she has great lungs awesome man i’m gonna
look that
up
expand my
musical collection
move aside stuff in the ipod
move over here comes the bastards

intermission, then we walk down, throngs of people, give —- 40 bucks and make him
buy the shirt
he has trouble
relaying what he wants cause it’s so loud
he has to keep repeating
resist
the parental urge to step in and do it myself
life’s lessons
#1
speak up!
we walk away with a brand spanking new Wolfmother concert shirt and
i remember all the shirts i bought
so many wore them all the time that was my
wardrobe
concert shirts
and jeans
and bad hair
but i was like 22
you could put your body through the blender at that age
and still look 22
now
44 looks like 54 even if
i don’t sleep right
44
22
so much time flies
and now
i’m the parent
who brings his child to a concert and looks elderly in comparison
as the music
blares
the amps bursting with heart-stopping bass
the smoke
the lights
the long hair
it’s all the same
for the most part
except now
cell phones all over the crowd all over
and even
during the break
you can text your message to appear on
the screen
for all to see
wow
progress or is that what it’s called progress?
texting bullshit?
i miss 1985 sometimes

and i watch
—-
the future rock star
at his first concert
he points out the guitars
and their names
and explains distortion pedals
and amps
and bass amps
and this and that
and all this stuff
i never knew back in the 80s
cause i just wanted to rock out and party and had no concept of musical-ism. nope i never knew jack about music, the mechanics
but —-
does
he takes it seriously
and i think there is wonder in his eyes
and tonight he may be smitten and pursue this as a dream
like the first time
i went to a baseball game in 1973. smitten with a dream
smitten is perfect. A goal which sustains you a passion we all must
have that
for health,
mental health.
life is important and must be taken care of you must buy buy buy houses cars wives clothes but you must
also enjoy
that which you cannot buy
passion
passion is free and i’m glad
at his young age
he’s found one
and the music is loud and our ears buzz
i warned about the buzz the semi-deafness you’ll
experience after a loud concert
these concerts are strange
when
sober
cause
cuase i never
never
saw concerts sober
all my concert memories
incomplete
hazy
smoky
fragmented
STONED
enjoyment is clearer
sharper

lastly
the familiar concert stench
after buying the t-shirt
the stench of pot ah yes the more things change the more they stay the same!
people brought cameras they brought leather jackets they brought joints!

And as the night passes and the encores begin at
11:30 I tell —- we have to leave
after the next song
this
is a school night
for both
him and I
and my normal bedtime being
10 or 10:33 zzz now it’s getting a little late
and we must pretend
that you were not out this late
for the sake of
your educational well-being
and
my blog and all it’s millions of reader (LOL) do
you think
any of your
teachers could read it
and KNOW :(
very little homework was done because you were partying with
the adults and wrapped up
in your passion which unfortunately includes no exams or quizzes or textbooks or chalkboards? It’s hard to argue with that
for your passion is certain to lead to escape from the rigor
of mundane tasks
but it’s a lesson we all learn
the hard grinding way.
Eventually life grabs you by the nuts and you have nowhere to go
but
Compliance.
Sacrifice the fight sacrifice the dream sacrifice the lofty loftiness
come down
and toil with the rest of us
who lost the dreams
for this is
dreamville
the crowds
the lights
the noise
is it reality
it’s spectacle and fanciful

but alas
we wish
to never trample on dreams
especially those of our children
so we nurture them on…good-naturedly.

The first encore song complete
we leave
and leave the crowd
and amps
and hair
behind.
Out into the
cool night air
of Wilshire and Western
And I realize, strangest of all
I enjoyed this!
I rediscovered something here this night filling in the shoes of long-ago parents I chided when I was the age of their son
and reversed the role discovered
that elation and satisfaction
is not far behind,
a job well-done.

Someone’s first concert ever and the cycle begins
And someone rebooting the second leg of the cycle
with a new perspective
and tonight
a night of introduction and rebirth.

At home, quiet, late, ready to go to bed
past midnight by now
meaning
it’s November 25.
Meaning
my birthday
synchronicity once again
for when we learned of the concert we flew ahead and knew this was the perfect venue and time and learned that it was November 24, the
day
before my birthday
and now
here in the dark ticking of the apartment and the midnight hour has passed
and my birthday dawns again, symbolizing something anything, rebirth

The Moment

And the first few minutes
of my 45th year
are spent in quiet contemplation
of all that is grand and perpetual in this life
The buzz of the concert still in my ears
I’m on a cusp…

Dying Young in the 70s and the Damn Birds Wouldn’t Shut Up!

I suppose it’s very natural, once you reach my age, to step back and begin looking at the Big Picture, usually more often than you’d like. The Big Picture. Meaning you begin appraising certain time frames which are remarkably encapsulated within the larger chunk of time which represents the historical period you’ve walked this Earth. This presents you with an unsettling perspective of just what an old fart you are becoming (and have become). I find I do this a lot in the realm of music and cultural moods.

Sometimes this shit just slaps me in the face unexpectedly…as in I was not out looking for a maudlin flashback, really. The first half of the 70s decade represents a slightly hazy memory which spanned the initial stage of my schooling and I find no joy or reward in rehashing those days, but thanks to the modern marvel that is Youtube, I cannot escape the hazy childhood escapades of my final years of the Vietnam War/Charles Mansonian era. Can’t escape it, the present will always draw you back because the past has an unrecognizable allure for those who weren’t around to experience it.

And where else but Youtube can you find a 35-year-old video of one of the most maudlin and overly sentimental songs of loss from the Nixonian decade? Is it at all possible this song would ever have seen the light of day now? I doubt it. It’s so syrupy and bursting with such Movie of the Week stomach-churning anguish that I doubt anyone struck with such a creative burp nowadays would throw themselves off a bridge before they attempted to market this treat.

I’m talking of Seasons In The Sun by Terry Jacks. Dude. I was about 10 or so when it was released and I remember it sorta vaguely and harshly. I loved the song then, and I still do. I accept it for what it is (and what it’s not) and I have no shame in admitting my heart weeps every time I hear it. It’s a private, personal, and very guilty descent into the dark closet of shameful enjoyment.

Who was this Terry Jacks and why did he have that voice? This song was made for him…no one else could have so shamelessly bellowed the lyrics

“We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun, but the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time”

over the AM airwaves or graced K-Tel vinyl.

It truly does not get any better than that! Right, yeah, you show me Rihanna or Taylor Swift trying to jam to those Beyond the Grave tunes from the post-Vietnam era!

How can you possibly go wrong with a song written from beyond the fictional grave by an imaginary but boozing, womanizing single father (whose mode of death appears to be a result of his wild lifestyle). Actually, about 5 years ago this song took on a new meaning for me. I very nearly became the guy who fondly remembered skinning his knees and hated to die just when the birds were beginning to chirp up a storm. Never had the lyrics to this ballad affected me so closely. I no longer viewed this song as just another trite dead-before-your-time melancholy parade. Nope, it was real now.

Yeah, you sing it Terry.

How far have we come in the 35 years since? Do we really have the right to cast such a judgmental eye upon Terry Jacks and his puffy hair and Kermit vocals and the distant era he seems to represent?

A morning after Moment in Time

Friday, November 20, 2009
Red Line northbound
8:30 a.m.

The good news
bad news
conundrum
and isn’t that Life really think about it
good news bad news yin yang negative positive
duality
good news yes there is that
bad news yes there is also that in equal
amounts

and some would have you think
in greater amounts

so
good news bad news
another Moment in Time, the good, there is
no
mention of jailbait…

the bad
it takes place on public transportation again haha! on the great underground roadways of LA
running up from Union Station North Hollywood
a wonderful snippet of the city as it roams northbound on
this early Friday morning
some people going to work
some people going shopping
some people going just going going
and
some
like the Hangover Kid
going home to sleep it looks like
and recover
and become human again
cuz right now, cuz, you are not human
you hop on around Wilshire or MacArthur Park maybe
sit in the sideways seat
reserved for elderly or disabled but it never makes a difference everyone sits on those but in your case you
might just be disabled today

what did you do dude?
you look like utter shit
wearing a print hoodie and semi-baggy jeans, sneakers, short short hair as if you tried the baldy look but stopped and now it’s growing back

You sit there
you carried on a nearly finished
bottle of one of those sweet and supposedly replenishing drinks an electric blue elixir but it’s nearly gone so
I guess
you drank most of it by now it’s sitting there swaying in
your stomach to the rhythm of the train as it winds its way
up through L.A.
and you catch my attention when you have your head in your hands and leaning forward and you keep sitting up, bending over to pick up the bottle but then you don’t drink, you just hold it, then
place it back on the floor, resume putting your head in your hands
and then
you do it again, you pick up that empty bottle
as if you are not sure if you want to drink any more or if you should and then you put
it back

and still holding your head in your hands
and you have
that big Bump
a fresh-looking bump
as if you just drove it off the lot all red and violet and throbbing
and you look haggard man
what kind
of night what kind of Thursday night
did you have??

And you scare me
you scare me for what you might do
because you look ill
and uncomfortable
and I’m ready to spring away if you begin to vomit. Oh pretty pretty please do not vomit
oh god
i cannot take vomit
for i have a phobia, a vomit Phobia. You know some people can faint on the sight of blood?
Well I can faint on the sight
and sound
of vomit. It’s a deeply strange psycho. problem of mine this vomit. And you
look like are close to vomit stage. The way you keep putting down
your head
in your hands as if agony of some sort
and you keep grabbing that bottle of magic blue potion
and putting it back down
and you’re fidgety and downright
sick looking

I’m so ready to flee this scene
but there
is nowhere to flee. We’re underground. The best
I can hope
is to flee this side of the car
and run to the other
but
I don’t. I can stick this out I know I can do it, a feat of psychological strength much-needed on my part to show
I can handle
the vomit god
and defy.

But I’m on edge man on edge and ready to run at the first sight of a shower of blue
squirting from your mouth. I can visualize it and
picture it and it’s this mental rehearsal that drives me crazier and makes
me tense and scared
and it’s just sick. What do they call vomit phobia? Anyone can
be vomiting, but You, you you you look like you’re close. You have a bump on your head and you are drinking hangover juice and you look like you need to pass out
and now you
keep bending in your seat and turning
and
in my jittery mind I’m convinced
you are looking for somewhere
to duck your head
for the moment
of puke. And I keep watching you from
the corner of my eye
and not looking directly because you are the Medusa of
vomit I cannot see that but if I glimpse it from the
side of my view I can
run
and you keep twisting in your seat. And leave that damn bottle alone just drink it or don’t oh lord. And I know my intuition is
UNCANNY when it comes to puke
uncanny I say.

I remember years ago years when I was young and my brother younger even and we
were driving back from Tijiuana. Ha! My parent’s station wagon, riding back, it was dark, him and me in the back
my brother sleeping because the
rear seat was folded down. I was laying there
awake.
My brother woke up.
I heard him stir.
And how is it.
I knew
I knew before he even started
I knew with no reason to think this
other than the sick
frightened sensation in my stomach
I knew he was going to vomit.
Psychic feeling.
And he did.
And suddenly as I watch you squirm in your seat with that big golf ball bump on your forehead I get
that sick intuition again. You’re going to puke damnit.
And I run. I jump out of my seat and walk to the other end of the car
and face away, out the door. So your little
uncomfortable show is out of my sight, it’s behind me. I don’t want to see I can’t…

At Hollywood and Western the train stops
I can’t look back at you
don’t can’t will not…

And your show passes me because there goes the Hangover Kid! walks past me, toward
the stairs up to street level…
Holding that bottle still
the blue potion
and you pass a couple of girls who are talking and one stops to glance at
you
and I wonder if she has any idea
the strife
you just caused aboard the train.

The Birds and the Bees, 2009 Edition: Introduction

This whole Birds and the Bees thing is such an antiquated load of…crap.

As any parent with a pre-teen child can tearfully tell you: these damn kids know way more now than we did as children of a similar age. Blame it on mass media, the internet, movies, television…who the hell knows or cares. My point is (and there is always a point) that if you think you’re going to sit down with your little innocent child and introduce him/her to the concepts of reproductive organs and their functions, you better be prepared to learn something yourself. Namely, that your child probably has a general idea of most the the stuff you’ll mention in your spiel.

Look, I’ve even fallen prey to the “not my child!” trap.

It wasn’t until the Jokes that I realizes my son has furtively attained a Master’s degree in Birds and the Bees…he was in Grad school all this time while I assumed he was still in day care!

The jokes. Not surprisingly, I’m happy to share quips about anything and everything, and frequently my humor involves something sexual. Anatomical references. I can’t help it, that’s just me. Well I notice that in the past year or less, sexual jokes I make in my son’s presence, which I would expect to draw a blank stare, instead rouse a lot of embarrassed laughter. OK. That’s clue #1. Once you start making “cum” jokes and your child busts up in laughter, you know it’s too late for the Birds and the Bees if you haven’t done so already.

Hmm perhaps perspective is in order here. Lest I give the impression that I sit around telling my son racy jokes, let me correct that: I don’t. I will admit I’m one of the crudest people you’ll meet, but even I know where to draw the line. The way the “cum” line played out: 3 of us sat at the table, my brother, my son and I. He had finished up a social studies project (Asia) and we got on the subject of Genghis Khan. I mentioned that Genghis was one of the most prolific sires in the history of man with his seed spread throughout the world. “I guess we should call him Genghis Clan,” my brother joked. That was it, all bets were off, I could not resist. “Forget that…Genghis Kum!” I retorted. The person laughing the loudest at the table…my son. I’m sure that’s still much for many people…oh well, tough shit!

Look at it this way…your kids are getting the gritty, street level lesson in Sex and all things Sexual. Even if your child doesn’t watch television or surf the net and your home has that pastoral “Little House On The Prairie” vibe, he’ll still learn everything he needs to know from his friend Timmy who has 5 older siblings and whose parents own a porn collection that would make Larry Flynt blush. You can’t shelter your child from life…live with it.

In this context, your job as a parent when it comes to matters of sex is to intervene and wipe out all traces of self-destructive and immature street level ignorance. Because even though your little baby is learning a lot, he’s probably learning a lot of trash as well. This is where you must step in…and there should be no embarrassment since everyone in the room knows what is what and you can bypass all that innocent giggly bullshit.

Which really brings me to the point of this post.

Sex is easy. A real no-brainer. Anyone can do it and everyone does. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. Hell, just look out your window and look at what’s breeding. Doesn’t that tell you enough?

Nope, you see what’s going on is that we are so fixated on trying to explain and neutralize instinctive urges to our children that we overlook those things which we do need to teach them. The sexual-social factors inherent in the lead up to the Birds and the Bees. And this is crucially different for boys and girls.

Parents in this day and age lack the ability to either instruct their young ones directly or indirectly (by example) and thus you are left with a generational train wreck which continues unabated, and while procreation is an idiot’s job, gender relations fall pitifully behind.

Boys and girls do not understand each other; and in the absence of guidance or parental wisdom (in fact, it is just the opposite as the example most parents lead by is one of cluelessness and utter helplessness), they simply carry this burden well into adulthood so they can happily and blindly breed another equally clueless brood.

Last week my son had a class project in language arts and he was paired up with a girl.. She immediately fell into the pre-teen classic daddy’s girl Prima Donna mentality. My poor son…he had no clue and he had no idea what hit him. So even though technically he probably knows where the parts go and what they do, he has no idea of the nature of woman! None at all.

And on that note, I introduce a new section to my blog, The Birds and the Bees, 2009 Edition.

Sex Education:  Because it is so much more than “A goes into B and then C happens.”