birthday countdown: 13 days.
this was supposed to be a collab for Interpretations, and in a way, i guess it still is. sadly, the Interpretations project has closed up shop. but i think i'll still write about the last topic: the music or the misery.
it's a sort of chicken or egg question - which comes first, the sadness or the lyrics? i don't write music when i'm sad, just very bad poetry. for me, it's about how someone else's music speaks to me.
there are songs that make me cry every time i hear them, no matter how i'm feeling. Nina Simone's Little Boy Blue is one. the ache in her voice is almost palpable. (i'm tempted to put it on right now, but don't dare.) Richard Thompson's King of Bohemia is another one, largely because i feel like the small sad woman he wants to protect. 'let me rock you in my arms, keep you safe and small...' oh, to have a boy who felt that way about me. not that i can't live on my own, but it would be nice to come home to those arms once in a while. Treat Her Right, an early Mark Sandman project, has a couple that hit me like an arrow every time - Don't Look Back and No Reason. and the incomparable Ani DiFranco; You Had Time rings true for many reasons.
each of those songs, and many more that i can't think of off the top of my head, says something to me, either because the artist captured something true, or because the song came into my life at a time when i needed to hear those words.
on the other hand, there are times when you're already sad, and it seems like every song on the radio is speaking directly to you. ever notice that? right after a major event, notably after a relationship falls apart, it's as if the DJ knows you're having a crappy day/week/month, and plays a series of songs designed to wrench the heart strings just a little bit more, because he thinks you didn't already feel miserable enough.
sometimes, it's not even about the words, but the physical music itself. i was walking home the other night, and tripped over a thread of tape, fluttering its way down the sidewalk. seeing that poor tape splayed across the road, smashed and disregarded, i felt badly. someone had taken the time to make that mix tape, and someone else, or maybe the person who made it, was mad or depressed or just plain didn't care about that music anymore. whatever they were feeling got taken out on a defenseless tape. all that music, all that care, just shattered.
who knows. maybe the tape broke from loving overuse and just got thrown out. but the little soap opera was the first thing that ran thru my head. i still have mix tapes that friends or ex lovers made for me years and years ago. while i may not listen to them often, i keep them because they represent an emotional connection or a moment in my life that i want to remember. one of the tapes is in pretty bad shape because it's a copy of a copy, so the sound is really muzzy. but just seeing the case makes me think of the night we painted the hall that lovely shade of biscuit. a lot of paint fumes and friendship went into that night. and that tape brings it all back. i can't imagine throwing it out.
that's a lot of the reason i still have my collection of vinyl, despite not currently having a working turntable (yes, i have a broken one in my closet, and yes, i am a packrat.). i have most of the albums i bought when i was a kid, and a few that i picked up in college, and a handful rescued from my parents. they were cleaning out the cellar before they moved, and i snagged several albums, including The Weavers, Nat King Cole, Simon and Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, and the Alexander Brothers. the last one is the most important to me. i'll probably never listen to it. but i wouldn't part with it for all the tea in China. it belonged to my Aunt Sally. or at least, that's the story i remember. i don't want to ask if i have the story right. it's the story i have, and that's enough.
*sharp right hand turn* then again, sometimes the misery comes from the audience, plain and simple. i work at a couple of local venues, doing front of house for concerts. at first, it was awesome - how could it not be? i put in a little time and got to hear live music for free. that should be well worth the $35 or $85 dollars i didn't spend on a ticket, right? well, sometimes it is. *grump* other times, i want to send everyone off to a Quiet Moment in the corner to think about their lack of manners.
i'm amazed, nay, horrified by the lack of common decency displayed by any number of patrons. were you all raised in a barn? how is it that you don't understand that basic politeness will get you far further in life than yelling? here's the deal: you can start the conversation with me by yelling. chances are, i won't really want to help you all that much after that. or you could ask nicely if i could help you resolve a problem. that works. i might even upgrade your seats if you're nice. several potentially nice shows have been ruined for me by nasty patrons. i've been yelled at, shoved, had drinks dumped on me, been told i'm stupid, propositioned, and stepped on. yeesh.
the corker was this past weekend. oooo, i'm still fuming about this one. i worked the Ringo Starr show. and it was, by and large, awesome. he had Sheila E, Howard Jones, Greg Lake, Ian Hunter, and Roger Hodgson, as well as a hot session sax player - go here if you want all the details. they each did a bunch of their own songs, and i got to hear a real live Beatle sing Beatles songs. i was able to stand right at the corner of the stage for parts of it. i was loving the whole show.
and then. and then, as we were working on keeping people back on the sides of the arena, all hell broke loose. the security kid they had stationed over there was looking a bit alone - i can't for the life of me figure out why they'd put one person over there to deal with a hundred or more people. the ushers had all made their way over to help, so he had some support, which was good. he had his eye on these two guys, and i was watching them too. they stepped forward after one song, and i moved over to ask them for their tickets.
they looked at each other, and broke for the stage. i managed to grab one of them, but they made it past all of us and Up Onto The Stage! gah! ohmigod! you idiots! security had them off and out in about 5 seconds, but they managed to hug Ringo first. aughhhhhhh! *brain implodes* not only do i feel like i should have been more on top of the problem so it didn't happen, but my god - we have one dead Beatle, and one Beatle who was recently assaulted In His Home. shouldn't the security have been a bit tighter? grrrrr. *growl* aaahhhh! ohmigod. shit like that makes me crazy.
and yet, i still keep going. when you do find a good show, and the vibrations are just right, and the glow stays with you for a few days, it more than makes up for the misery.