The last gig was a quiet, cerebral affair. It was at a bookshop. Necessity dictated. But I still felt compelled to sing. It was half restaurant style, half dancing pony. Or talking mule. I’m not a dancer, but when people come to see you play, you expect that they expect to see you sing and tell them stuff. But the cosiness of the Innerchapter Book Store and the intimacy of the space made me just want to make fluid, beautiful noise.
There was a surpise crowd. I had been hitting the Seattle open mics and was surprised to see an interested audience member from the Q Cafe open mic. This is an open mic run by the Victory Music people. I only played one song at this open mic that was very well received nonetheless. And I also had a picture drawn of me, that has become quite the treasure. I may add it to photos when I get home, which, sadly, will be soon.
This blog is all about me and frankly I am finding it boring. Like every other musician with a god awful website and vanity blog I am touting myself, inflating my works, waxing egotistical about this show, that show. I expect you to expect me to write about how good I am, and I expect you to hate that, in spite of your expectations.
What I’d like to write about is the long ribbons of dirty concrete that the bus hurtles over on its way from West Seattle to the Downtown area. I’d like to write to you about how the cranes in the harbour preside like giant emaciated dinosaur robots, standing at attention as though they are on parade. I’d like to write about the inky blackness of the deep Puget Sound, that is surprisingly clear when you’re up close to it, and how the deceptively placid surface of the water hides a maelstrom of chaotic, perfidious currents. You think you can simply row from one side of the harbour to the other, but if the tides don’t get you, the iron will. The mess of boats, cranes, sheds, dirty concrete will roll over you in its sleep and crush you like an insect.
I’d like to write to you about the mountains, and the grand old Mount Rainier, who watches over Seattle, as a constant reminder of the fragility of all this big man’s iron and concrete. As though the Duwamish people had written into its very orogeny the message – change will come to you, as it came to us. It dwarfs every billboard, every building, and makes the planes seem like gnats. It’s a volcano, don’t you know?
I’d like to write to you about the hustlers at the bus stop. The village of scam that bustles during the day, calling out for cigarettes. The toothless guy that walks down from Pike Street to Union along 3rd avenue, chanting “Cigarette cigarette cigarette…” until the game of numbers falls his way and he gets a response. He calls like a machine. He dangles his passionless voice into the street like fishing rod into a river, ever watchful for the sign of interest, then he reels in his catch.
I’d like to write to you about the changing of the guard, as the workers and day shifters leave and the sun is exchanged for the stars (although no one would know as it all happens behind the ever-present grey shroud of the Seattle clouds) and the hustlers are exchanged for the rustlers. Rowdy groups of raucous young people yelling at each other, all gangster and bravado. How the crazy folk either hide away, or grow more earnest in the placations for cigarettes, for change, for jesus, for succour or catharsis.
But I am not supposed to. This is a musician’s blog, about a musician. It must have no insight or reflection nor stray from the path of pleasantry. For that may alienate. Who it may alienate, I do not know. But like MacDonalds, or Walmart or prime time TV, I must keep these blogs about myself, my work, my sales. I must present to you the plainest of flavours, the whitest of breads, so the reader will buy all my play-sets and toys.
Buy all my play-sets and toys.
On the billboards and on all the sides of every bus in Seattle are advertisements for everything. Each of these advertisements is for a different product. A retirement village. A mobile phone company. A theme park. A food stuff. But every advertisement has one thing in common. They have a random face.
“I use X Brand phones, they keep me talking.” Random face
“Bread. It’s for eating sandwiches.” Random face. Two random faces, smiling. (What the hell is in that bread??)
“Patriot Homes. Living life to the fullest. Or what’s left of it. Now with new Memory Assist!” Random face, old.
“Keep Cool.” Random Face. “Be This.” Face. “Keep up” face “Get down” face.
Who are these people? What is it about their faces that tells me so little? What is it that makes me feel so uneasy? Why are they looking at me like that? Why is my right to respond to these faces denied? I want to ask them so many things. I want punch their noses and break their jaws.
Ah, see? Now that is the problem. That kind of attitude will not sell CD’s. It’s alien.
So it’s back to my blog. Strictly business. I have 3 days left in Seattle proper. I’m going to buy a T Shirt for someone special. Maybe go to the market. But as far as gigs are concerned, it’s aaaaaaaallllllllll over.
Thank so much every body!
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