18 November 2009

Drink a Little Whine: Standing Still, Feelin' Meh, but Staying Vert

Maybe it's because I'm a Scorpio, and the sun is in my sign, sulking through its mid-autumn paces. It is, after all, hours before a "milestone" birthday, which means pretty much nothing, since lots of people tell me I still look like I'm in my mid-20s, generous of them...

Maybe it's the phases of the moon, which is New right now, which usually either means one of two things: 1) things are starting anew or in a weird momentary flux, or b) Phish may be starting (or ending!) a new tour. I have yet to statistically analyze this (Ooohhhh, ZZYZX? Wanna help?), but I have been fairly sure over the past decade or whatever that Phish has historically marshaled the mystical forces of Earth's natural satellite for their nefarious, alien machinations, by beginning and ending their tours on (or very close to) New, Full or Half-Moons. It's not totally uniform, but I know there's probably some tye-dyed crone hiding in a cave somewhere in Vermont, who creeps out whenever Mike does the "secret knock" (pattern of claps in "Mound"), to advise the band on such matters. Naturally, she comments, "You can't nail it everytime, because of those persnickety promoters, but you can sure try!" And I think they sure do.

Brief examples culled from tours/events past and present: Coventry in August 2004 started on 8/13/04 just a waning sliver, and ended a day before New (talk about flux, right!); 2004 Spring mini-tour started at a day before Half and two days before New; Hampton 2009's moon started a wee bit past Half waxing, and ended nearly three days pre-Full (not a nail, but for what was to come, forgivable); Phenway dropped right smack on the Half-Moon, and the 6/21/09 Alpine tour closer was one day pre-New. Throwing it back to 1996 for a random sampling, the first show of the legendary inaugural European tour started one day before the Full Moon, in its infinite creative bounty, and wrapped three days pre-full. Perhaps not a scientific theory, but I kinda buy it, magical wizards they are.

Astrologist Miz MoonCircles gives me some ideas about what I could be going through with the Dark Times falling right around now in the Dark Sign of Scorpio: 

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger — it's an appropriate tale for this Scorpio season. Few of us have made it through the last few months without having to give up something, or find a different route to what we want. And, we are feeling the crunch even more strongly while no-nonsense Saturn squares Scorpio's ruling planet, Pluto, throughout November and December. Saturn in Libra tests our relationships and ideals, and makes us face the truth about what's working and what's not. With Saturn's square to transformative Pluto, many of us are ending relationships, losing jobs or otherwise having to restructure. Yet losing something or failing to get what you want are merely road signs that say 'Wrong way...'" 

I have found myself saying sometimes post-8, "Really. What the hell? Maybe what I wanted to happen didn't happen because this is all a farce. Maybe Phish are the Underlords, and this is the everlasting spoof of what should have been my life. Maybe I'm lucky things aren't coming to fruition." D'oh!  Why does my mind think in these words? 

Anyway, I digress. Maybe it's just frayed nerves from a welter of self-exposure which is, granted, comparatively minimal, given the fact I've really only made tell of this blog to the 46 Phishheads that read #phish on Twitter (and the random confused souls who choose to follow my now-turned decidedly phishy Twitter alias, @cwade -- see @Carol_Wade if you want to hear about my non-phishy life, but I'll tell ya, for right now, you're not gonna see very much!)...but what I'm hesitating to reveal is that I've been seriously bitched-out the past few days!

I'm jealous I spent 6 years on the lam, while everyone else was cultivating their journalism careers, which I started to at 24 in 1998, but flamed out on in 2000, amid the hiatus of Phish, and the eventual post-9/11 meltdown of Wetlands. I'm aggro I couldn't touch anything Phish or jambandsy during my hiatus, lest I seriously complicate things, and compromise the hermetic seal that seemed necessary for me to get my heal on, and get to the point I'm at now; alive, and truly a sort of flower blooming into creative renaissance (aww).

I'm really burned the hell up about my experience at Festival 8 (pun phun, phmeh!), and feel like a total effin' pussbag weakling for high-tailing it the hell outta Indio early like I did. Self-care aside, and the absolute fact that I might have landed myself in the hospital if I spent even 30 minutes outside that day, I always want to be the one who goes the distance, because I think if the Overlords are watching, they'd think lowly of me if they saw me...well...truth be told...molten. I wanted to think I was too harder-than-core to get molten; but I got molten.

Then I get to read about the harder-than-core soldiers that made it to The Final Frontier, by my former boss and fellow Late-90's journalista, Shirley Halperin, in SPIN.com. Just...freaking...great. I feel so uh-shamed! Phish plays 1,400-odd shows in 20-whatever years, and I can't make it through 5 hours of ice-hauling and two days of direct sunlight, without bitching, moaning and whining about the Stones record, dumb old crap, whatever.  I AM NOT THAT MUCH OF A MILQUETOAST! I really am not that lame!

Grumblez! I am fully aware I'm in need of a high-level attitude adjustment, validity of gripes or no. My thinking is neither productive nor supportive, and I kinda knew this was potentially gonna happen at some point, such as when I was doing my spritely windmill-arms dance atop my pink cloud to "Harry Hood" in my room, listening to 6/18/09 Burgettstown for the first time. I knew it couldn't last forever, the happy-slappy, clear, open opinions, even peppered as they were with the newness and clarity of constructive criticism. I knew it was entirely possible that, by laying my proverbial shit-ass out on the line, with such alacrity as I have been here and elsewhere in my rampant, reunion-fueled Phish re-rambunction, I'd get pretty rudely slapped around by the intensity of disappointment and discomfort when things didn't go "my way." And I also knew that I'd wanna clam the hell up, and not let anyone know about it. But that's not what I did this for.

I got a horoscope off this current-affairs-type LCD screen in a pizza shop on the Upper East Side a few weeks ago, right before Festival 8. It said, "Resist temptation. Don't be afraid to take the risks, but remember, a risk is still a risk." I read that to mean: I needn't do the thing I'm used to doing, which is run away from that I hold dear, for fear of it consuming me. One of the things that both attracts me to, and repels me from Phish, is their amazing connection as a band, and as friends. Their commitment is one of the main reasons they have such dedicated phans; the authenticity is deep and inspiring, magnetic in a way that all the most well-loved bands are, because they make you want to feel "a part of" the experience they're having, the fun, the meaning, the high notes and low. They are making it worth it, so we want to make it worth it, too, because...umm...it's worth it.

So why would that repel me? Well, relationships involve risk. Intimacy can be seen as "into-me-see," where one lays it on the line and bares the squashy innards for all to see, gets vulnerable, naked, real. Umm, NUH-UH! Talkin' a good game, I always say I want this, that, and your mother. But when the rubber hits the road, can I hang?

Don't get me wrong; I have friends, and many people I hold dear. But the levels upon which Phish have allowed themselves to merge, create, sync, communicate, and -- most of all -- commit...to be totally honest (which is the point), I haven't really had the best models. The challenge to personal boundaries and management of such openness is a challenge that goes into their collaboration that must be a whole other 75% of the story of their existence as a band, that no one gets to hear about in depth. The listening exercises, the psychic tricks and mental/emotional formulae that go into fueling the persistence of energy the four guys generate is some seriously powerful shit! Got-damn! I just done un-speechified myself.

Yeah. It should also be mentioned that I received my copy of Parke Puterbaugh's eagerly-awaited, well-sussed, scarily-covered Phish biography...(drum roll)...Phish: The Biography. (I mean, are they kidding me with that photo? Seriously??! BTW, that is about the cheapest you're gonna get it online as far as I can see, without buying it from a sketchy wholesaler in New Delhi, and getting it the same day you get your Joy Box, oh snap, sorry!) Mr. Puterbaugh, court-writer extraordinaire for Phish 1.0 even drops name of my good buddy (and arch-nemesis), Jesse Jarnow, as "jamband expert and fellow scribe..." Great! More grist for my "I feel like crap about all the time I've lost" mill.

Or maybe my panties are twistin' just because Phish is hours away from starting their 2009 Fall Tour in Detroit, and I'm not there. That might have something to do with it. I got shut the phuck out for all my lottery requests (figures...the one time I actually think I might have done it right, WRONG!!!), and all last-minute manipulations would have been prohibitively stupid in the wallet department, considering the massive expenditure that Festival 8 turned out to be.

Ehh! Whatever. That's one thing I can say is a perk of seeming to be an adult human being; sometimes I can pretend to act like one, people see I can work hard and get some stuff done, and I get money for it every two weeks. When this happens, it is guaranteed that 75% of the proceeds are going to go to seeing live music. Hands down. And I think I mentioned above...it's worth it. It's all in the game.

But, one thing I will not sacrifice is my newfound lifestyle. Since it's clear to me that I need to lighten the phuck up about things (Phish included) every once in a while, I need to acknowledge my tendency to use the experience as a mind-altering substance and/or escape. Sure, going to Detroit looked good on paper, but airfare within the last week didn't fall a dime under $420.00, I swear it to you.  Over and over, flight after flight, site after site...I couldn't believe it.  If that ain't a sign from the heab'ns, I don't know what is.  Stay home for V-T00R, nutbag! Mike Says NO!!!

I did, however (yes) ophicially turn 15 a few hours ago, when I bought my phirst "girly-phan-impulse-plushie-object" -- if you can believe it, in all this time of being a phan, I have not succumbed to buying anthropomorphic animal-things to appease my inner child-phan, but walking past this little hairy Webkinz goldfish in the Duane Reade on my lunch break today, I really couldn't help but grab it.

Of course, my ultra-serious, super-judicious side stood there staring at him for 5 minutes, turning him around and around, as I scanned my interior landscape like a cyborg-cum-Vulcan, weighing the pros and cons of buying a hairy plushie fishie for myself, before my birthday tomorrow, to make up for all the weirdness I've been feeling lately, and especially to both celebrate my phandom (hell or high water, bitchez), and the start of t00r, and to have something to hang out with tonight, as I loiter around on Hoodstream with the other miscreants too broke and otherwise occupied to be at Cobo Arena tonight in Detroit.

If there's anything I'm learning from this Phish-as-training-wheels-for-my-artistic-resurrection-mojo situation (and everyday is a masters program, for realsies), it's that the more I share, the more I learn. I might not feel that great (in fact, sometimes I feel pretty freakin' stupid and lame sharing about this stuff, though I know someone(s) out there digs it). But how else can I join in on this excellent conversation, without going batshit? I talk to myself, and you, who are probably as much like me as you thought the other weirdos were at your first show. Learning to be myself at 35 years old. Priceless. And I'm bringing some companions on this ride. That is, after all, the true meaning of my School of Phish.

Welcome to the Phamily, Leemor. Maybe the simple smiles and good times aren't all wrong.  T00r on!


Richard said...

Happy birthday a few minutes in advance, mehlady.


Matt said...

I think you should go to Miami, equipped with SPF 10,000 sunscreen, and ring out this awful decade with stylee. What say you all?

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