Sleep Now in the Fire

Rage Against the Machine – Sleep Now in the Fire

Whoa. After seeing Rudy’s hair melting down his face today, along with Twitler doing whatever it takes to steal the election, I was almost spooked by this video. It was filmed in January of 2000 by Michael Moore. There’s Rudy, a smug asshole then, a dangerously stupid asshole now. There is someone at the 1:04 mark holding up a Trump for President sign something that would have seemed unbelievable twenty years ago. Freaky.

It feels like we’ve been sleeping in the fire for five years, and I🔥Am🔥So🔥Fucking🔥Tired. I just want to go to bed for one night and not feel like the country might burn down while I’m fitfully trying to sleep.

Everything in Its Right Place

Radiohead – Everything in Its Right Place

Sometime during this never-ending quarantine life we find ourselves in, my son got really into music. He had been expanding what he listened to over the past year, as one tends to do when you enter high school, but something about not being able to go out and do other things, or maybe it was burnout from too much screen time, kicked it up a level. One day he told me that he’d begun listening to whole albums, start to finish. Previously he’d just listen to songs in a playlist on shuffle.

While he certainly knew that I would go to see bands fairly often, I didn’t play a lot of music around the house. I would usually listen to my music during my commute because once I got home there was dinner to fix and eat, things to oversee that the kids were doing, picking kids up from this or that activity, etc. Generally not the kind of atmosphere that I like for listening to music. I do like having music on in the background while I’m doing things, but what I don’t like, really don’t like, is having my listening be interrupted. I don’t want to be asked a lot of questions, I don’t want to miss a chunk of a song because I have to use some noisy appliance, I want to listen (and maybe dance/sing along).

So I think it came as a real surprise to my son one day when he proudly announced, “I found an album that’s an hour and a half long and it’s only got four songs!” and I replied, “oh, is it by Godspeed You! Black Emperor?” His mouth fell open and he got a look on his face of shock and confusion. It was, in fact, their album, “Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” and he sure did not expect that his mother would know anything about it. It was a door creaking open in his mind to a view of his mother that he hadn’t really seen before.

We got him a Walkman for his birthday in the summer, something he’d been asking about since he came across a box of my cassettes when helping his sister look for some things she wanted to take back to college with her. The Guardians of the Galaxy movie had put the idea in his head, though he had expressed an interest in making tapes all the way back when I first got a used car that had a tape deck. I took him down to our local record store and he bought his first album. He found my stereo setup to be too uncomfortable so he took the money he received from his grandparents for his birthday and got a turntable he could have in his bedroom. Now he has about eight or nine records, plus I dug out my old CD Walkman and let him have that as well so he can listen to music in any format.

We get into the chats about bands he is excited about. I suggest some others he might like to check out, he gets jealous when I say, yeah, I saw them last year. He now understands that I am someone who will get this newly found importance of music in his life. The other day he asked me about Radiohead. He’d heard of them, knew they had this reputation for being a hugely influential band, but wasn’t sure where to start. Ah, my son, I have just the thing for you. Remember when I did that make-a-CD-of-this-band-like-your-house-was-on-fire challenge from a friend? I did one for Radiohead and I thought this would be the perfect introduction for him, rather than just listening to one of the Spotify playlists with all the big hits. It took me a few days to find it and today he got to listen to it. Here’s the playlist:

Radiohead – House on Fire CD

Stop Whispering – Pablo Honey
High and Dry – The Bends
Street Spirit (Fade Out) – The Bends
Airbag – OK Computer
Paranoid Android – OK Computer
Subterranean Homesick Alien – OK Computer
Let Down – OK Computer
Everything in Its Right Place – Kid A
The National Anthem – Kid A
Pyramid Song – Amnesiac
Knives Out – Amnesiac
2+2=5 – Hail to the Thief
Where I End and You – Begin Hail to the Thief
Bodysnatchers In Rainbows
Reckoner – In Rainbows
Morning Mr. Magpie – King of Limbs
Codex – King of Limbs

(this was made before Moon Shaped Pool came out)

He’s definitely going to do a deep dive into their discography now, like binge-watching a show on Netflix. Based on the CD I made, he thinks Kid A is going to be his favorite but I said, you can’t start with Kid A! You have to have some base knowledge of the band first. I allowed as how he could circle back to Pablo Honey some other time, so he started in on The Bends. He’s really looking forward to Kid A though, and I have to say, this is a great first track to get it started.


Janelle Monáe – Turntables

Finally, they’ve declared Joe Biden the winner in Georgia. Congratulations to all the organizers and activists who made it happen! Now seal the deal and send Warnock and Ossoff to the Senate. We’re behind you all the way!

Private Lives

Low Cut Connie – Private Lives

I have a soft spot for Philadelphia venues, even those I’ve never been to. There’s a couple of people I know, through Instagram mostly, who live in the Philadelphia area and they used to post pictures from shows there, in our pre-pandemic lives. A lot of those pictures were taken at a club called Boot & Saddle, which you can see in this video. One of these Instagram friends had said it was her favorite venue. Yesterday, they announced they were closing, for good.

What used to prevent me from going to shows as often as I’d like was the distance from where I live to the club. It’s the part of living in a city that I miss the most. Especially small clubs like Boot & Saddle, where the ticket prices are never that high and you can be up close to the band. Maybe I’ve just been lucky but the small venues tend to have fewer assholes too. It’s that intimate atmosphere that we love which is just impossible right now. If you have been following Save our Stages you’ve heard the venue owners say, we were the first to close and we’ll be the last to open. I’m really hoping that once we get the Toddler in Chief out of the White House they can get a number of stimulus bills passed to help keep the venues, and primarily the people who work in them, from going belly up.

The main concert promoter responsible for many of the shows I’ve been to over the past couple of years managed to host concerts out on a farm from late August through this past weekend. There were a few I was tempted to attend but they were out of my budget and even farther away. You would purchase a grid that was something like 10 feet square and could accommodate two people traveling together, each grid was spaced 10 feet from the next one, like a checkerboard, everyone had to fill in a health questionnaire and wear a mask the whole time. It wasn’t like being in a small club but it worked and they were able to employ something like 77 people to work 45 shows. But they were all bands that could bring in a big crowd. Small bands need small venues. Streaming shows from your apartment can keep musicians and their fans connected but it won’t pay their bills and the energy just isn’t the same.

When the lockdowns began back in March I still had a ticket to a show in June. That got postponed until next June. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be cancelled again, they just want to hold out until it gets closer. I swear, once it’s safe to go to shows I will never take them for granted again.