Archive for the ‘Music I like’ Category

I have a lot of Christmases under my belt.

There were those when I was a kid and followed my mom’s tree-decorating dictates demanding tinsel was to be strung one … strand … at …a … time, then collected in the same fashion when the holiday finished, put away carefully, then stored for the next year. (I swear she was still using some 1958 tinsel in 2010!)

The years my first batch of children were little were at times fraught, but we always had a tree with gifts under it and Santa always did his midnight visit. We’d open gifts and such, then go to Grandma’s house for the feast that never varied. (Okay, once it varied; mom made orange jello-mold salad with carrots instead of green jello-mold salad with the alternating pineapple slice/cherry pattern we’d grown up with. She never heard the end of it … nor did she ever again try that sketchy menu change.)

When those kids were older, money was less an issue and the house was much bigger, so the tree was a sixteen-footer and decked to the halls. Gifts were more lavish and home was the gathering place for relatives from near and far. My brothers played basketball in my living room, the turkey was huge and the table could sit 25.

One Christmas found me in Australia with a family that wasn’t mine, but was still family and lovely. It was my first ‘Summer Christmas’ and a pool party was a novel idea in my mind that took a bit of adjusting to, but there were laughs and fun … and the fire to roast chestnuts was a barbecue. I had my first Pavlova that year and I heartily recommend that addition to the traditional meal no matter where you are.

Christmas in England encouraged every Dickensian fantasy I’d ever had, and my daughter’s decision to spend the holiday with me over the pond made it pretty perfect. We were introduced to crackers and crowns and the weather gave us a bit more perspective on poor old Bob Cratchit’s issues with coal.

By the time the holiday rolled around in Seychelles I was accustomed to the Beach Christmas concept and surrounded by friends. Christmas gatherings were huge affairs attended by people from many countries speaking often up to 10 languages, all bringing their own flavors in food, traditions and entertainment. One year we had Shetland Island folk songs played on mandolin and fiddle by an authentic Shetland Islander, and a fabulously funny game of euphemisms … another word for the male member, the sex act, etc. … which allowed submissions from any language.

Once Sam and Cj joined the family Christmas was again about kids.The tree went up, the house draped in various sorts of holiday tat, gifts went under the tree. We’d host a party Christmas eve, then trot up to Gay’s for what had become the traditional food Bacchanal with participation of people from all over the world. The last time this happened was 2 years ago and the festivities of the Eve and the Day included folks with roots in Seychelles, England, Kenya, South Africa, the USA, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Italy, and probably a few I’m not recalling.

Last year I was back in England to celebrate with the kids in their home-from-home. To say there was a bittersweetness to it would be an understatement, but the ‘sweet’ was very and the ‘bitter’ was easily swallowed. To Cj’s disappointment, it didn’t snow, but it was cold enough to warrant extra coal on the fire. The circle of family had expanded wonderfully and embraced all.

Yes, so many Christmases under my belt.

This one, however …

For the first time in my life I am alone for Christmas. I have already watched the 1951 version (my fav) of “A Christmas Carol” AND “It’s a Wonderful Life” as tradition dictates, but must admit that big a dose of the ‘spirit’ didn’t help much.

Yeah, yeah … I know there are a load of songs on being alone for Christmas, but listening to any of them is not on my to-do list. I’m at loose ends, confounded, stuck between I-don’t-give-a-shit and bawling.

But I’m a grownup, FFS, fully aware that for millions of people this is just another day, and millions of others haven’t one-tenth-of-one-percent of what I have to be grateful and happy for.

Thanks to the age we live in, I will Skype with my kids on Christmas Day … a gift beyond measure! I can take a bottle of wine to the beach and toast the holiday, the ocean, the sky above me and the Earth beneath my feet … and be thankful. I can reflect on Christmas Past, ponder the years, remember those who are no longer reachable by technology, and I can set my focus for the positives.

And I will do all those things. But today, the day before Christmas Eve, I’m indulging in a bit of some whine in the sun. (Poor me. What a bummer. If wishes were horses I’d be elsewhere. Etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam.)

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas filled with love and food and making merry. I will raise a glass to all with love and hope and to Christmas Yet To Come!

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Communication this morning with my friend Paul Leslie has sent me on a breadcrumb chase down memory lane.

An upcoming interview he has scheduled with Peter Noone takes me back to the early days of puberty, that transforming time of budding and busting out of childhood more formative in solid fashion than the proceeding years.

Like most young girls at the time and place, the “British Invasion” took me by a storm of hormones and set the tone for a lifelong predilection for musicians that’s plunged me into more trouble that I’m admitting today.

So many of those mop-headed young men were compelling in so many ways, and … GAWD! … were they cute! FFS, even Keith Richards was pretty at the time.

As King of Cute Mountain, Peter Noone … whose full name — Peter Blair Dennis Bernard Noone — I committed to memory … was an easy crush.

Okay, ‘Herman’s Hermits’ has a hokier-than-hell ring now, but back in the day when monikers like Beatles and Moby Grape were sigh prompters and Steppenwolf was almost OTT intellectual no one was a quick critic of band names. And it was cute.

Cute equalled perfection as estrogen production began; too much “manly” was off-putting, frightening even, for a 14-year-old whose fantasy life was still limited to snogging and maybe the occasional slow dance.

And Peter Noone was such safe fodder. With the widest, warmest smile in Pop and songs like “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”, welcoming him into the imagination was like a slide into a warm bath with a kind of hush.

As I grew up, I lost much of my taste for sugar in my tea and learned to prefer the harsh bite of lemon in tequila and men and music that could scare me just a bit, but pretty men still turn my head and a nice smile still generates heat.

Paul asked if I had a question I’d like him to pose to Peter. I can’t think of one, but it would be nice to pass along how I appreciate his contribution of sweetness to my youth.

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Photo credit: Wiki imagesA long-tailed tropic bird lifts and turns and swoops over my valley, sculpting shapes from the morning breeze while brandishing a glint of the rising sun on white wings.

It’s going to be a hot one today; clear, yet steamy with the infusion of last night’s rain upping the humidity ante considerably — not a bad thing, being good for the skin and all.

And so begins the last day of my decade that starts with a five.

In reading over words others have written on approaching senectitude I find myself nodding in agreement with some, railing against others, and taking some comfort in the idea I’m far from alone in my ponderings and in interesting company.

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. ~Oscar Wilde

I’m sixty tomorrow (Did I just write that?), still too young to use the word “spry” when self-identifying, so figure Judith Regan’s line can be useful: The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible.

I can do that. Most of the time.

Anniversaries of my birth, however, have long been cause for itchy, scratchy contemplation, and the round numbers ever more so.

There is still no cure for the common birthday.
~John Glenn

As I write, the kids are off with Gay plotting something for the occasion, their enthusiasm bubbling over, excitement erupting in giggles from Cj and admonishments from Sam to keep the bubbles as thoughts so as not to spoil surprises.

Cute and wonderful as it is, the numbers stick in my throat as Cj’s six years get multiplied by ten in my mirror and I check out my reflection for its giggle factor. Single-parenting at 60 was not in the draft of any plan I recall making, but for the life of me I can’t imagine what I’d be doing now if I didn’t have these two marvels keeping my giggle factory up and running.

It’s funny how life loops around, where a wonky trajectory leads, and how stacking decades fashions unexpected architecture that manages to weather storms, deflect shit asteroids and remain standing even with foundations set in jello.

When I indulge myself and send up birthday wish-shaped smoke signals they look like more conventional structures with security struts, corridors that lead somewhere predictable, doors that open and stay that way, closed doors with working locks, storerooms stocked with other than anxiety. But after 59 years of sending such into the cosmos I’m not expecting much more than an ash blowback.

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
~H.L. Mencken

Have I lived 59 years and 364 days unwisely? I can hear the “You betcha! You’ve done some really stupid shit!” from here, yet regrets, I have a few, but, then again, too few to mention. Rather a waste of time and energy at this point in the journey.

When looking at it all backwards it’s hard to feel remorse when what could be considered mistakes in judgement manifested in some wonderful ways. None of my children are acts of contrition and some of the dumbest things I’ve done have wrangled themselves into experiences it would not have been good to miss.

The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.
~Arthur Schopenhauer

Seems turning toward 60 I’m still gathering material … commentary to follow if there’s ever the time … and although it’s with neither enthusiasm nor delight I hit this wall — more trepidation and its accompanying angst — I have always been a fan of irony.

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Tonight's sunset.

I think of my son often, and on evenings alone on the veranda watching the sunset he comes to mind in a way that always makes me smile.

The opening line of one of Jaren’s songs, “Swedish Nutball”, resonates as the sun sinks way too fast into the western sky.

I can feel the rotation of the earth …

I pretty much stop right there, as the rest of the lyrics aren’t exactly conducive to contemplating a lovely end to a day, but there is no doubt I do … feel the rotation of the earth.

Those who’ve never seen the face of Sol plunge at speed into that end of the ocean called Horizon near the Equator are missing one of our planet’s best thrill rides.

From the first kiss of sun to sea to the last wink of brightness over Horizon’s lip all of about 4 minutes pass … the sucker drops like a stone, so fast there is no question or quibbling over just how fast this globe we’re stuck to spins. Whooooooosh!

I own a vast amount of E tickets for this ride and try not to miss it as it comes around almost exactly every twenty-four hours, year in and year out. Being four degrees south of the North/South dividing line, the time varies by no more than a few minutes. Rather than longer days and shorter nights, or vice versa, we in the middle just see the sunset swing from one area of ocean to another, then back over the course of the year. (Google “Declination” if you’re interested, as for some reason the link won’t post.)

Most days I sit and watch, either a cup of tea or glass of wine at hand, but sometimes I do choose to stand for the event. Staring at our star as it does its dip, the beautifully illustrated awareness of how bloody fast this planet spins, can almost make me dizzy.

I live on the west coast of Mahé, a situation I love since it gives me this drama rather than the early morning show of the sun doing his impression of a Pop-Tart emerging from a toaster.

I tend to avoid the bugger as much as possible during that chariot ride it takes across the sky, seeing as how fried is not my best look, but when I see him heading toward the high dive to prepare for the plunge I will drop what I’m doing to watch the form, the style and the amazing ovation the sky and clouds give once he’s gone and the way that echos across the ocean.

That the show is all mine is special, but sharing the ride makes it even better.

Here’s Jaren NOT singing about sunsets …

And, yes, what I’m thinking now, he thought of first.

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Chopin's grave: 2 June 2010

A few days ago I came across this story on the BBC about some long-lost letters from Frederic Chopin that kicked off a series of brain flares.

Six letters written by Frederic Chopin, thought to be lost in 1939, have been found and donated to a Warsaw museum dedicated to the Polish composer.

The letters, written by Chopin to his parents and sisters between 1845 and 1848, were believed lost after the outbreak of World War II.

After it emerged in 2003 that they still existed in a private collection, moves were made to secure them.

Chopin was born in Poland in 1810 but spent half of his life in France.

According to museum curator Alicja Knast, the letters were last displayed in public in Poland in 1932 and were still confirmed as being in Warsaw in 1939.

It is thought the letters went missing, like many other cultural artefacts, after the Nazis invaded Poland.

There’s a bit of family humor that came to mind immediately, as I have a step-nephew whose birth took my father in a literary direction … as was often his angle. Born to my Chinese sister, Debbie, and her Japanese husband, Dad decided the kids needed a nickname. What came to mind were a couple of James Clavell novels … Shogun and Tai-Pan, one being set in Japan, the other in China. He called the boy “Taigun”, because, as he said, “Sho-pan” wouldn’t work because he was Polish.

From there I jumped to Paris where I shot the photo you see here at the grave of the real Chopin on a day I solitarily rambled the Pére Lachaise Cemetery in the company of my son’s spirit on the first anniversary of his death … Jaren’s, not Chopin’s.

So it was the second of June last year I sat for a time at Chopin’s grave. Listening in my head to his “Nocturn”, I contemplated the accomplishments of his mere 39 years of life and, in keeping with my situation at that moment, his doomed relationship with the writer George Sand and the heartbreak that virtually ended his days as a composer … and as a man among the living.

His grave is lovely, a peaceful, perpetually flower-strewn resting place reminding all of not only the music, but also the passionate transplanted Pole amongst Parisians … his heart, by the way, rests in Poland at his wish it be removed upon his death and buried there … the complicated lover to a complicated woman.

As often is the case with artists, neither Chopin nor Sand were easy and their relationship was unconventional. She was an older woman with strong passions of her own and a long string of relationships.

“She was a thinking bosom and one who overpowered her young lovers, all Sybil — a Romantic.”
~ V.S. Pritchett

He was physically weak and needed such babying she referred to him often as her “third child” and a “beloved little corpse”.

Artistically, neither were easy:

Chopin is at the piano, quite oblivious of the fact that anyone is listening. He embarks on a sort of casual improvisation, then stops. ‘Go on, go on,’ exclaims Delacroix, ‘That’s not the end!’ ‘It’s not even a beginning. Nothing will come … nothing but reflections, shadows, shapes that won’t stay fixed. I’m trying to find the right colour, but I can’t even get the form …’ ‘You won’t find the one without the other,’ says Delacroix, ‘and both will come together.’ ‘What if I find nothing but moonlight?’ ‘Then you will have found the reflection of a reflection.’

That they lived and loved and died is history, as everything eventually becomes. Their lives were what they were, and 162 years after his death he fills me with music and sets me to pondering the bumpy, uncomfortable roads traveled and the resulting detritus of our journeys.

The news that letters have been found feels almost like a gift from that grave I visited, and I’m more than pleased that email wasn’t an option in those years between 1845 and 1848 when he wrote them.

I’ve not seen the letters, and it doesn’t matter much if I never do. Here, however, is an example of him finding the reflection of a reflection:

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Cleaning out Lent


Girls! We’re tough
we’re smart, we’re strong
and even those don’t get along
should know that cheating on the sisterhood
will never do but some ass mister good
We’re women and together we can
hold the man in a firm hand
to limits that constrict his playing
And when we share the shit he’s saying
he has no choice but to confess when
all that bullshit he’s professin’
might actually achieve some traction
to those who don’t quite get his action.

Yes, Girls! We’re tough
we’re smart, we’re strong
Could give a shit about a song
composed of lies. Don’t sing along
Instead believe your sisters good
rely upon the sisterhood
and learn the answers you must find
are for the sharing … we don’t mind …
It is so right to tell what we know
and help you to avoid the blow.
You may not thank us then, or now,
preferring to be some dumb cow
who buys it all, just laps it up
but those who have drunk from that cup
know too well that taste of poison
have heard those nasty notes of noise, and
have come out the other side
still in tact, and with our pride.

Girls! We’re tough
we’re smart, we’re strong.

Sack of shit

A sack of shit
I stepped in it
It made a mess of my shoe

Gave it a toss
Said adios
And finally I’m done with you

And now a bit of music …

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Anse Soleil rainbow

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I woke this morning to an odd dream, not unpleasant, set in Victoria Lodge, a fab Five Star B&B in North Devon that belongs to my friend, Jacqueline. It’s a beautiful place in a lovely English village on the Bristol Channel where I passed my days walking Jac’s sweetie of a greyhound through the Valley of the Rocks as I pondered my future.

Jac’s friendship and hospitality were huge gifts, and her house was my bolt-hole, a life-saving haven, a calm harbor in a storm-tossed sea.

I awoke with a smile, although wondering why such strong images of that time and place presented today …

until …

I drifted into full consciousness and realized today’s date: 2 March.

It was on this day in 2008 my husband of 15 years informed me of his betrayal and plans to hit the ejector seat button on our life together. Nope, didn’t see that coming, and the sideswipe almost send me careening off a cliff.

Mark was the man I’d left my life behind for, my trusted partner in building a future from scratch, in parenting two children, the only person I’d ever felt completely safe with.

Shit happens.

Three years have come and gone, and although I can too vividly recall the moment life’s path forked drastically I’m still following my feet. The road’s been rocky and strewn with potholes and no few twists have needed navigating, but it is what it is.

I’m surprised to find this date so deeply burned into my psyche that a dream as profound as this morning’s presents even with no conscious connection, but it’s often my inner awareness that keeps better track than my waking mind. I’m too busy to dwell upon losses and it’s the future I must look to, not the shadows of what might have been.

I’ve taken my lumps and my lessons … and the gifts that came with. I’ve had some amazing moments that could not have happened if the path had not diverted and managed to love and be loved again. There’s been music created and named for me, some magical experiences, joy-filled pauses that required a change in circumstance to occur.

Three years ago, I could no more have predicted a moonlit proposal or a romantic wander through ancient pyramids than a visit to Mars, but those happened and wouldn’t have had the shit not happened, too.

Of course, Sam and Cj are blessings, and they alone provide all the “reason” there would ever need to be for the path to have wandered where it did.

So, there are no regrets … simply memories and the knowledge that what happens, happens, and will keep on happening. There is more life behind me than ahead, but that’s no reason to live in the past. The future won’t play out as long, but I’m still in the game, and although I have no expectation that the rest of my road will be smooth there will be reasons to smile.

Today, as I remember my losses, I look forward to gains with gratitude for the fact that it’s rarely been dull.

The last year alone provided enough not-dull to spawn a raft of words (Check out “It Gets Verse”, a book of poems that spilled out in 2010.), and continues to inspire.

So, on that note, I’ll close with a bit more wisdom gathered, more experience collected, more words strung together as life goes on …


What is it with a man
who has it in his head
that no matter the hour
and the fact that I’m in bed
can’t stop his hands from dialing
my number every night
with a need to tell me often
how his life is now a fright?

I don’t want to hear his needing
or his fucking endless pleading
for the chance to maybe seeding
a new bed

He has sown those seeds to women
who have no idea he’s givin’
it about around the world from here to there
(And I wish so he’d get out my damned hair)
But me, I learned my lesson
and no longer spend time guessin’
if he’s lying or he’s truthful
cuz there’s no doubt that what’s useful
it’s the only motivation
he can bear

He’s as shallow as a puddle
and although he seems a muddle
he has all his ducks so lined up in a row
that he’s aimed upon his targets
and the women he has marks up
are too clueless in their thoughts
that he’s their beau.

He is yours if you deliver
and he’ll have you all a quiver
just as long as there’s a payoff in the end
For he goes nowhere ‘les it’s paid for
but you’re guaranteed a lay, for
he’s a horny little bugger,
(Ask his “friends”!)

So, Yo! New girls …

Never say I didn’t warn you
Give your heart and see it torn, you
should really pay attention when I say
he’s a lyin’, cheatin’ scoundrel
fewer morals than a hound, you’ll
be knowing this already in a way
But you’re probably ignoring
all the signs that you’re deploring
and pretending that I have gone away

And I have, at least I try to
but he’ll never let it lie, too
much ego in the man to let me be
Plus he loves the life that I live
and he’s hoping I might still give
him what I have, or half,
and all for free
with not even any word of
honesty, that’s just unheard of
in that world of his that’s all about “ME, ME!”

Yes … I live and learn and live some more, catch whatever stardust floats by, grasp at rainbows and ride out … and write out … the rough bits.

It is what it is, intangible and indescribable as a tint of morning.

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Jaren Eli Combes 17 Feb. 1971 - 2 June 2009

February 17, 1971
7:41 am
6 pounds 13 ounces of blue-eyed joy bouncing baby boy
Jaren Eli Combes

He should be 40 today, but he didn’t get enough time … not nearly enough.

Click here for a story about Jaren’s birth … and here for a bit about his death.

The only gift I can still give him I share with you now. The music was a Christmas gift to me a few years ago, a beautiful song I had played at Jaren’s funeral that seemed a fitting background then, and for these images of my beautiful son. It is actually called “Eternal Hug”, although I call it “Maternal Hug”, an apt summation of a mother’s love …

And some of his words that bang a gong loudly …

Out of Mind
© Jaren Eli Combes 2002

What if I cared, felt gravity
or had clever opinions?
What if I was close,
or easily reached?
Kill this separation.
I know you couldn’t know
you’d wake and tear me up
Never let it go — thought
you’d all had enough
And if there was a way
I’d fuck it up somehow
Dropped off all your screens
Don’t have to see me now

Got you to ignore
not worth it for me
seems it was contagious
Don’t try anymore
Best I believe
I got here on purpose
I know you couldn’t know
You’d wake and tear me up
Never let it go
thought you all had enough
If you gave me time to change
You’d have given up by now
And shallow as I am
Somehow I still drown.

And some of his music …

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.
~Edna St Vincent Millay

Yes … I miss you like hell, my boy. I miss you like hell …

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Although I attend well to social networking when it comes to others, I admit to falling off shamefully when it comes to my MySpace page. Today is an attempt to make up for that a bit.

While I do manage to fairly well keep up both my personal and professional facebook pages, MySpace gets shoved to the back burner, mainly because the work I do from there is species specific … it’s almost exclusively about musicians and I’ve rather gone off them lately due to a nasty taste in my mouth, the residual of scummy duplicity.

A couple of vids crossing my radar today bring slight guilt pangs of neglect, however, so it’s “contribute to MySpace day” … unofficially, of course.

I’m a strong supporter of independence in the music industry and well pleased that technology has made it easier for artists to share and spread their talent, keeping the monster that has been the record industry from dictating every who, what and where as had been the case for too long. There’s a lot of truly great stuff about, and finding and following those making it can now happen even when the band you’re presently into is on the other side of the planet and relatively unknown.

Although all strive for superstardom … and, btw, I do onesheets, bios, liner notes, etc. for those musically gifted, but literarily challenged … digital distribution offers the option of importing music without the filter of mega-companies deciding what’s available for your personal consumption. Through YouTube vids, MySpace and facebook shares bands can go viral, and thousands may be brought into the fan fold, well pleasing not only those who saw fame coming, but also the artists who start making the big bucks.

As a service to my MySpace musician clients and buddies, I’m offering up a couple of videos that could prove helpful as the illusive fame thing happens. The fact that they make me laugh … having had the sort of experiences via musicians these address … is bonus.

Oh! The groupie … and talk about that nasty taste in the mouth!

Here’s a musician’s perspective:

Here’s a hilarious take on the online version …

And for a giggle …

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Thanks completely to my dear friend Robbie, I’m now deep into Keith Richards’ “Life”. Not only am I enjoying the read, it’s setting me off in many directions through time, but criss-crossy-convoluted as Keith jumps through all of his.

I’m recalling events directly Stones involved, from the first time I saw them in concert … I must have been 13 or 14 at the time … Brian Jones was alive, of course, Jefferson Airplane opened for them, but before Grace Slick — a girl named Nicki Anderson (not sure of the spelling) sang with them then … to my personal experience with the charming Mr. Richards in New York many years later.

Also coming to mind are the times and the music, the many moments in life set against the backdrop the timeframe dictates and scored by the Rolling Stones. Although I’m not exactly chuffed by the fact that I am now a woman of a certain age, I wouldn’t trade the experiences my era provided for the perky tits of tepid Twentiesville or the smooth-faced bland of Thirtyopolis.

Nope. Although I’m quite a bit younger than Keith and without so much of the rode-hard-put-away-wet-look he’s earned and mastered, living through the time I lived provided something special.

I started young, which ended up being a good thing as by the age of 16 I’d been sent to the hinterlands. Before that, however, I was in the right place at the right time to witness the reinvention of the wheel that rolled over just about every aspect of life as it had been known, and being without much in the way of parental supervision or smarts I had access with buddies or a bus pass providing transport.

Art, literature, fashion, music … all experienced a rebirth, and what popped out was earth-shattering, unexpected. All these changes were considered by many to be mere flashes in the proverbial pan, but considering how many present-day teens flock … and pay a fortune … to hear Keith rockin’ it at 60-some, that would seem to have been a short-sighted view.

Reading through his version of life as I pass this day in paradise, though, I’m wondering how deep the impact of all that change had on me.

For sure, the image of being June to a Ward had little appeal as the world shifted from 50s dregs to 60s mania, although Ricky with the conga was pretty hot. And speaking of Ricky, Ozzie may have had the suit and the nebulous ‘job’, but when his youngest picked up a guitar … well, did they get any cuter? If anyone wanted to be Harriet, I didn’t know them.

Like every teenage girl of the time … and no few teenage boys, as well … I entertained fantasies of portions of life partnered with one of the rock gods who filled every corner of my life from the walls of my bedroom to the tunes playing endlessly everywhere. Not only were they amazing to hear and watch, creative, explosive and beautiful, they were also dangerous bad boys who literally marched to a different drummer.

I watched Jim Morrison stumble around and was enchanted. Coming across Jimi Hendrix blowin’ chips outside the Fillmore was almost a religious experience. (Apparently, it was the flu … yeah, right … ) And I still swear I levitated Country Joe McDonald three feet into the air once at the Avalon …. but the acid was really good in those days, and he didn’t seem to mind too much, although he could be grumpy.

No, there weren’t a lot of ‘nice young men’ taking the stage at that time, at least not in the classic sense of ‘nice’, and I liked that. The rude, crude and raw attracted me like a fly seeks shit and the drama of it all stripped the coating from the wires making everything alive.

What followed was a long string of musician boyfriends … mainly guitar players, although there were a few drummers mixed in, but they are a fidgety bunch … and some were very nice, polite young men who kept their manners about when my parents were looking. None were as dangerous as they appeared to be, nor mean, but some did break my heart and all required ego-feeding at regular intervals. (Funny thing is, the non-musical men had the same bloody ego issues with much the same bloody demands. Go figure. But the fact that they didn’t hang their dicks around their necks demanding adoration did make some difference.)

Gaps happened, years that had no musician serenading day-in-day-out, but soon enough … for sure … they’d pop up again. After my first divorce I went on the road with a wonderful bunch of guys … still friends after all these years … and came across more as decades passed. I fell in love with some. Some fell in love with me. All-in-all … well, it was what it was.

As regular readers know, my last relationship was with … yeah, you’ve got it — a musician … another ‘bad boy’. (And who knows if it’s really bloody over or just on pause, as the contact continues daily and the fat lady has yet to sing real loud.)

My lot now is to figure out if it’s the bad boy thing that draws me or the fucking music. Did Keith and his ilk ruin me for guys with regular jobs? Will I put up with anything as long as there are songs dedicated to me and named for me? Or … do I actually LIKE it? Can strife really be settled with a strum? Is there magic in music soothing my soul even when my nerves fray and my temper flares? Do I NEED the drama?

Reading Keith’s life reminds me that musicians aren’t “normal” people, and thinking on my life has me realizing I’m not “normal” either. As I wasn’t built for mopping in pearls, some aren’t made to put on a suit and head for a ‘job’ and a box and a handle… and maybe … just maybe … that’s okay.

OR …

Maybe it’s time I set aside my … what? fascination? attraction? tolerance? … for musicians and developed more of an appreciation for nice, for reliable & honest, for passions of a sort that don’t require being charted … for those who are satisfied being stars in their worlds and neither need nor seek wider adulation.

The rules broken by Keith Richards and the bulk of my childhood heroes left little in their wake to ski on since the ideas of happy coupledom continued to be based more on June and Ward than Mick and Marianne and that left some confusion over both goals and expectations. Sure, John and Yoko pulled it off, but for the most part musicians have not made for a whole lot of traditional relationships still thought of as ideal. In general, they are demanding, self-centered, self-indulgent, temperamental and insecure, traits that manifest in high levels of self-motivation and creativity, and in behavior not always conducive to a comfortable home life and monogamy.

I’m an artist, which means I must be crazy, and the art and crazy in others draws me … even when my art takes that infernal backseat to theirs. My art is words, and often my words are undervalued … used … considered less than what appears on canvas, sculpted, composed in notes and chords … yet demanded for adulation of all of those. Artists appreciate art and understand the requirements for creating, however, so although what I do may be seen as a useful appendage to musical endeavors it is valued and my work is validated and the processes that take me where I need to go are never questioned.

Writing happens in isolation, not on a stage in front of an audience, and kudos come … when they do … quietly and singularly –“Nice job. Really liked your story. It touched me.” — so is work requiring a different set of needs, but creation is creation, something I have a deep and abiding respect for.

I know how a book gets written, how a poem takes form, how an actor climbs into the skin of a character, even how paint can be applied to canvas with beautiful results, but musicians are versed in a language I can hear, yet never fully understand (and I don’t mean Spanish). The process of creating music seems like magic, magic that casts a spell. It always has.

Does that mean I will forever be subject to falling under the power?


Gee, thanks, Keith …

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