The Burger King of my hometown has an in store playlist that hasn’t changed since my high school days. Really. And truly. It is an unique time capsule.
What better to embrace the weekend, than with Shostakovich, String Quartet #6 in G. The passacaglia is beautiful.
From an email about the event:
7133 MICHNA ROAD, RACINE, WI
This morning, kidlinger walks up to my desk while I work, looks at the laptop screen critically and asks: “What’s that?”
Me: “I’m listening to Shostakovich.”
Kidlinger: “He’s not one of the three killer B’s.”
Me: “True. Would you prefer to listen to Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms?”
Kidlinger: “I don’t know.”
Me: “How about some Bach… violin sonata in G minor? Something to encourage you to practice your violin.”
Kidlinger: “Yeah, that sounds good.”
 Here’s a brief bio on Shostakovich: http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/shostakovich.php
 This is not a reference to the 1991 release of Anthrax’s B-sides collection Attack of the Killer B’s. But it is a reference to the three greatest classic music composers, commonly knowns as the Three B’s, Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms. Here’s a link to recent relesases of the Three B’s from NPR’s “Music We Love Now: New Albums Of Bach, Beethoven And Brahms”: http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2013/03/18/174659127/music-we-love-now-the-3-bs-on-cd
Welcome to the relaunch of the Coffeehouse Junkie audio podcast. A lot of things have happened during that time and there is much I plan to share with you, just not in this episode.
Yes, it is true. The last two years or so I have fasted from coffee. I almost had to rename this blog and audio podcast because of it. Thankfully, my sister introduced me to Maniac Coffee Roasting in Bellingham, Washington. Specifically, the Decaf Espresso Royale blend. Check them out at ManiacCoffeeRoasting.com. They are the unofficial sponsor of this episode. If you would like to officially sponsor an episode, email me at coffeehousejunkie [at] gmail [dot] com for details. Please include “podcast” in the subject line so that your email doesn’t end up in the spam folder.
Very special thanks to Amy Annelle for granting permission to use her song “Will Try” between the segments. Years ago, the album A School of Secret Dangers introduced me to her work. If you like her song, check out Amy Annelle’s latest album The Cimarron Banks. Visit the website HighPlainsSigh.com for more info about her music or find her music on Apple iTunes.
Here’s what’s coming up in this episode:
- How long does it take to write a haiku?
- So many books, so little time
- Keep Calm and Write Something
- Last night, I fell asleep writing a poem
Beedy Eyes stops thumping the skins as Chaney sings an old Leadbelly work song as I recall the first time I heard the blues. It was somewhere between the music I heard as a child–primarily country, gospel and hymns. A skinny toe head growing up on the rolling northern prairies, I perceived the blues was somewhere between country and gospel–something you sing while dangling your feet off a hayrack weighed down with a full load, something you sing with others coming in from the field, something you sing when the sun is tilting toward the western horizon. For a young kid hearing the blues for the first time it was somewhere on my musical landscape between religious and profane, respect and discent, right and wrong, joy and despair and seemed to fit me like a glove.
The window is open to an autumn afternoon as I work on graphic design projects. I listen to Bill, Chaney and Junior sing about hard times. Neighborhood dogs barking and birds singing seem to be appropriate backup. It’s been hard times for a lot of us. The other night I walked into a friend’s home and he asked right off, with a smile, “Anything you need to repent of? We’re talking about repentance.” Yeah, I think to myself. I got a long list. There are times I want to rob and steal, cuss and swear, break stuff and hit someone and be all sizes of trouble. Hard times is life. Doing what I aught to do is not easy. Ain’t that the blues? Or is that gospel? The double edged swing of the blues kicking up the dust of life in your face, choking on pride and praying that you “remember you’re walkin’ up to heaven, don’t let nobody turn you round.”
Tomorrow, 8:30 p.m. join James McKay, Laura Hope-Gill, Caleb Beissert, Pasckie Pascua, and Aaron Price at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, 1 Page Avenue, Asheville on SEPT 11, 8:30 to 11PM. This event is free to the public. Read poet and musician bios as well as other information on the Facebook events page. Link.
Is it possible to keep secrets or hide treasure in such an open, immediate society? Think of the secrets between Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting of On Chesil Beach. It was a different time and place. Or maybe the quiet understanding between Primo and Secondo in the final moments of Big Night. Again, those were different times. A world before the internet and mobile devices and social media. Even in fictional works, you recognize how culture changes and you change with it.
My thoughts kept drifting back to that theme this weekend. A week or so ago, I opened the cardboard box to find two neat rows of artifacts from the late 1990s. Compact discs. CDs. Seems much more tangible than finding two rows of “moving picture experts group” (MPEG) files when referring to audio music. (Even composing that sentence seems clunky and unsophisticated.) This collection of music was packed into a cardboard box and was supposed to be unpacked when I relocated to Asheville. The box remained sealed like a time capsule.
My Beauty and I rented a space in Asheville that was twice the cost of our previous house and half the size. It was the most affordable place we could find at the time. A lot of boxes remained unpacked because there was no space to expand. Now as we pack things up again, I decide to keep this cardboard box open, listen to Tonic’s Lemon Parade, Goo Goo Doll’s Dizzy Up The Girl, and reflect on how different these times are compared to the late 1990s.
At that time, Bill Clinton was president of the U.S. and Boris Yeltsin was the first president of the Russian Federation. There was no Twitter revolution. Americans would get together in homes or apartments to share supper and snacks while watching the latest episode of the television shows ER, Friends or Party of Five. That was before the rise of the cult of white box worshippers  and the advent of Netflix. There seemed to be a greater sense of community. Or maybe that’s just 1990s nostalgia.
During that time, I didn’t own a personal computer or laptop. When I returned home from my job as a graphic designer, I would often read books or listened to Blues Traveler, Beth Hart or unknown indie bands like Spooky Tuesday on a CD player while I worked on illustrations or paintings. As I rediscover these albums, I recall paintings I was working on while listening to Days of the New for the first time. When I listen to Stavesacre’s album, friends I haven’t thought of in years fill my mind.
There was a specific evening with coworkers I recall. After work, we often meet up for dinner and a movie. While waiting for food to be served we were discussing the events of the day while enjoying our drinks. One coworker’s teenage daughter, who often joined us on those evenings, said, “There’s no specific movement in the 90s. Not like the 60’s or 70s. I mean, I grew up in the 90s. Even the music is boring. There’s nothing memorable about the 90s.” Maybe that’s teenage naivety, but I think there is much to remember of the late 1990s.
NOTES:  This is a reference to an article by Andrew Sullivan that I mentioned years ago in an essay, iPod, therefore iAm?.
#avlent @josepharthur does a third encore at the merc table.
@josepharthur at The Grey Eagle.