11 August 2007

cri de coeur / notes from underground

Well, I'm cooking up an entry about equestrian sculptures but it's not quite ready yet so...

I had a bunch of ideas for songs and wanted to finally lay them down in the newly dedicated Mud Room Studios but my phantom power box shit the bed rendering my microphone useless. I thought maybe it was the fuse so I took the box to Maggio and we took it apart but nothing looked wrong. So I just ordered a new one. It'll be cheaper to get a brand new one than to try and find someone to fix something like that. Oh, and I finally found a harmonica tuned to E (never realised how elusive they were) and bought some magazine with Feist on the cover. She was looking good in one of those wool cape jackets. Winter clothing is so much better. One of the reasons I can't wait for the cold to return. The moral of the story is no recording went down today and I've yet to record a single note in the newly constructed Mud Room Studios. But I've got plenty of ideas in the tank. Maggio says the new box will come in some time this week.

I went home and read a bit, finished a bottle of Riesling on an empty stomach which gave me a headache. I forgot what I did next but I know I went down to the cellar for something then I decided to take a drive with my dog. I went to the Salvation Army and browsed. For only $10.21 I left with a frugal cornucopia of wonderful goodies:

  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  • The Human Zoo by Desmond Morris
  • Notes From Underground by Dostoyevsky
  • Sophocles' Oedipus the King
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  • Alannah Myles' "Black Velvet" cassingle
  • B.A.D. II's "Rush" cassingle
  • Jackson Browne "Running On Empty" on cassette

... All for only $10.21! I wanna start a show like The Frugal Gourmet but it'll be The Frugal Lunatic and I'll just go around buying weird stuff; like an entire day of shopping for $20 and I'll come home with all these amazing books and records.

So after the Salvation Army I wandered into this antique shop down the block on 69th. I've been searching for the perfect gilded mirror. I did see this beautifully giant 17th or 18th century wall mirror. It was black with this intense gold leaf foiling all around; meticulously hand-carved. Back when these dudes were true artisans. It was really wild. Dunno where I'd put it though. Maybe the hallway?

Got into an animated conversation with the husband who owns the shop with his wife. Somehow we started talking about the price of gasoline which lead to a discussion on alternative fuels. I suggested that they could easily design a car that ran on water but the gov would never let it happen because of the money they make on oil taxes. Then we got to talkin' about corn farmers and how some celebs who buy land that was once used to farm years and years ago still collect all sorts of insane grants from the government. Its a little known but total scam where real farmers basically get fucked and the gov sanctions who grows what. There's a lot of fucked up shit going on out there. I actually wrote about it on here back in June. Then we got to talking about 401K's and the sub-prime losses and the SEC. So I told him where I worked and we laughed and by then it was time for them to close up the shop. I said thanks and left. But that mirror was really beautiful...

I realised I love Jackson Browne. I'd heard a few of his songs on the radio over the years (namely "The Load-Out/Stay") but I'd never realised who it was; for better or for worse, Jackson is one of those kinds of singers; if not the poster boy. You definitely know his songs you just may not realise its him. He writes a lot of great stuff about being on the road which I can relate to on some level. "Running On Empty" is like a greatest hits live basically and its a great fucking record.

It got me thinking about all those singer/songwriters who sort of put their heads down and wrote all this amazing music while disco was burning up the charts. Guys like JB, Warren Zevon, J.D. Souther, James Taylor, Arlo Guthrie, Jim Croce, Boz Scaggs, Cat Stevens, Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, even Tom Petty, Bruce and Elton ... I think a lot of these guys are way underrated and some their output from this time remains criminally overlooked. Suffice to say, everything from the 70's certainly didn't suck. I think that's a lame but popular misconception/ stereotype. These mid to late 70's guys maintained their identities, didn't give in to the disco thing and managed to put out some amazing music during that time; not to mention cocaine was still new and glamourous, denim was divine, eyeglasses were tinted and all my friends parents fell in love and had us! And what better fucking time could there have been than that?!

I really need to dive deeper into the 70's stuff. I've always loved the recordings from this era; especially the drums, super compressed but perfect, they hit hard and they sounded like real percussion instruments not some mechanical device, there was always piano in there and the guitars and the bass was always crunchy. So yeah, Jackson Browne rocks and the 70's definitely weren't that bad.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part: inside the Dostoyevsky book between pages 114 and 115, like a bookmark, was an old, yellowed receipt from 16 June 1976. I couldn't tell where it was from exactly but it must have been a bookstore because I can see the Dostoyevsky book new was 95¢ and theres 95¢ on the receipt (The Frugal Lunatic only paid 4¢ more for the book some 30 years later!) Whomever it was also bought some other stuff totalling $7.38. They paid with a $20 bill and got back $12.62 in change. Made me think about who this person was, where they are now, how this book got here, etc. Sort of creepy, this receipt. I wonder if this person ever even read this book. Are you out there?

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