17 August 2010

Everyday I Write the F*cking Book, Okay? Nothing is Planned...

I'm not quite sure what seems more absurd…that I haven't written here since late June, that late June is already such a fossil, or that it's finally time for me to go tromping off to lot tonight, to get my summer's only phill from the Travelers' Trough.

It hasn't been the best summer, but the good man Jah has had a few slim mercies to lay upon this very good girl. I've labored to stay sane beneath a ton of anxiety, doubt, and dizzying transition; no more squeezing my freewheeling 21st century bohemian-nerd self into the sensible corporate low-heeled loafer of my old life. But alas, where does the flip-flop shod foot shuffle in a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" kinda world? It spends a lot of time dangling off the futon couch, stepping into an unknown void of future, toes wiggling vainly for footing, all the while the mind up top reeling & appealing to "superior forces" for signs of change.

Things I have had as mine to change have been few; one of them is my physical well-being. I've eaten healthy and lean all summer, and have dragged my mortal coil through umpteen iterations of introspective kickassery, including cardio kickboxing, speed walking & light weight training. I'm still sober, which, as always, takes its own share of intensely heavy lifting all its own, if engineered in a manner leaning towards consistent elevation (rather than soulless treading water on the wagon).

And finally, as ever germane to this ongoing conversation, there's been Phish.

"Hey, Phishhead!" called my friend Ian with mischievous volume, jaunting his way into a local gathering of sober folks, right in front of a rather large assemblage of über-kewl, ciggy-swiffing North Brooklyn hipsterati, myself dwelling mostly unnoticed among them (save a little shady non-anonymity in that area, displayed on a certain popular social networking portal).

"'Sup braw," I replied, flashing a "hang loose." In spite of myself, I grinned. I didn't flinch, didn't blink, just grinned. Time was, in that situation, I'd have withered, possessed of a strangely shameful conspicuousness at being an unrepentant champion of those hapless, accidental ringleaders of the "modern hippy aesthetic." But such has been the Summer of 2010, and, by now, there's no way it couldn't have happened. The likes of it may not ever happen again anytime soon, but such a proclamation, for now, shall be nothing less than second skin.

This much is obvious: whatever I may do with the endless changes I've listened to Phish go through this summer (and last year, Reunion 2009), the relationship is here to stay. And no matter what the circumstances, I don't think I'll be able to avoid for very long the fascination with their evolution. Honestly, I think that evolution could only become strange, confounding and unwieldy if, again, it should somehow end. But for now, right now, it is alive, and thriving, writhing and wriggling, rinsing and repeating, rising and self-erasing.

As of this moment, I am poised at 0:00 at the beginning of the third "Wading in the Velvet Sea" (I almost typed "Waiting in the Velvet Sea," hyulk hyulk, sorry faithful punters!) of Summer 2010, in Raleigh, NC 7/1/10. I have, until now, and until that point, listened to every single note Phish has played thus far this year. FYI: the only shows from last year's 50 I haven't yet laid ears on are shows # 1 and 3 of last year's East Coast run: believe it or not, I still haven't fully recovered from missing them, again, due to various and sundry "life circumstances"…

Yeah, I'm a little bit behind, missing 11 shows out of 27 to be exact. Not bad…I'm just past the halfway mark. Thus, I've listened to 14 shows in 9 weeks, the equivalent of seeing two straight weeks of shows, or ruminating on almost two shows a week, which is, in a sense, exactly what I've been doing. I had to take a breather for most of July, as you could imagine, especially since the end of June saw me having several royal heart attacks at the golden fungiform treasures the band began hauling out of the trove of their personal Atlantis, towards the end of the first leg of tour.

I'm just getting around to those now. Having just savored the very first recent emergence of one of my absolute favorite, lamentably awesome, weep-enducing hempseed shuffle-boogies, "Light Up or Leave Me Alone," I'm plowing bravely and itinerantly ahead on this newest, infinitely more demanding and personal version of V-T00R, headlong through my regret at having missed everything up until tonight, and tomorrow. Again, it's back to the Origin Space, moist incubator near the sea and sand…I can heal life's slings and arrows' wounds there keen. I'll sashay back into the fray, sample and survey the lot economy, make sure the Kids are Alright (I know, I know…you are), and try to raise my prime index finger up just right -- and will no doubt find what I'm looking for, hopefully for a low flat fee, and once again, tilt in through that misty door, to do what I can for the local pause of the Circus jalopy in my neck o' the brambles.

Incidentally (or not so), I've been writing the whole time I've been listening. Uhhh…doy? Why do you think I started this blog? I listen to Phish, I write. Done, and done. It's like smelling fresh bread and drooling…it just happens. And, with every strum, stumble and hum, I have amassed a pile of scribblins at least aloft of the foothills of Mt. Ranier (its snowy cap seen in the distance in the commemorative August 2009 post-Gorge photo below, Sea-Tac bound early in the morning of 8/9/01). What I've realized about this here bloggy-blog is that I don't really know how to handle it on a consistent basis. Actually, I barely know how to handle anything on a consistent basis; such is my peculiar mental eccentricity. But those things that seem native to my machinations, I do with great frequency, at an almost uncontrollable clip.

Back to Sea-Tac

In short, with these mad shavings of Phish-fuled internal chatter, I'm thinking (just thinking, mind you…for me, it goes very far…I said, for me…) of scraping it all into a book. Yes, that's right, another Phish book.

"Huh? A book about a tour?"

C'mon, people, you know how I do. The jots I have collected are quasi-prose poetry based on my life, as interwoven with this phase dancing, wincing, frowning, rewinding, calculating, gesticulating, cavitating enterprise I have embarked on with my four Soul Brothers Number 1…2, 3 and 4 (in no particular order). I'm hoping that, with sufficient encouragement and endorsement, the book will not only be the first book almost solely about the analysis of a two years of Phish shows (for musicology's sake), but the first of its kind to be written entirely on a handheld device.

That's right, kids…I have thumbed thousands and thousands of words thus far, at least 40 pages of notes, all written whilst grocery shopping, dinner-eating, subway riding, platform-waiting, street-walking, corner turning, sober-keeping and generally roustabouting New York City at large. I wouldn't be surprised, speaking of kids, if I wasn't be the first to have done this, what with their thumbs much smaller, defter and more furious than mine.

However, what I have going for me is a particularly long, keen attention-span borne of that peculiar gulf between the Age of Machines, and the Age of the Cyber-Mental Melt, which still knows the creamy aroma of historicity when it smells it. My mind, heart, fingers and ears still know what knocks us all upside our heads, and/or lures us into the moldy lair of the sometimes stinky sea creatures. The sensibility can sniff out contextual sensations worthy of voicing, for the sake of either relation, or purely sociological analysis, on the level of observing outright psychiatric gymnastics.

It should probably be stated that this blog will, as time passes, also be getting a complete overhaul, to support the deepening fathoms of ongoing scholarship and absorption. The domain has been secured, and, well...the domain has been secured! 'Nuff said for now! A redesign and some greater whiz-bang is definitely worthy of the endeavor. For a big-yet-tiny mouth such as mine, best to take it all one byte at a time...

But it's all happening, folks, and it means something. Whether it comes to fire up your Kindles, or sneaks around and tickles your Nooks, remains to be seen. Meanwhile, later, your senses may oddly tingle as I pad towards the subway, pressing play, and descending, to later emerge into late summer's fading day, to have my ears bathed in all the snowflakey, quotidian glory of the Mages' livelihood a-sway. Let's hear it for meltage, ladies and gents, Walfredo's Gaucho slant and the Sloth's clogging the Maze, and the long, daily grind through my own purple haze. No matter what the rinse may hold, hey…'scuse me while I kiss these guys. Brosephs all, they never cease to inspire. And for that, the least I can do is perspire a drip. Or a few.


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