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.

Politicians in My Eyes

Death – Politicians in My Eyes

My dad called on Sunday to catch up and generally share his relief that Biden had won. We both said how great it will be to have scientists back in various government agencies, how nice it is to have people who respect experts and experience, who won’t foment violence amongst white supremacists, etc. It’s such a low bar at this point that just having people who speak coherently seems like a dream.

Where I parted from my dad’s assessment was his hope, or maybe even expectation, that Mitch McConnell would see that he needs to work with Biden to get things done. What possible motivation would he have for doing that, I said. He just won reelection so he’s safe for six whole years and, given his age and blue hands, he’s unlikely to run again. His entire reason for living is to obstruct anything the Democrats try to do. Dad figured that now that McConnell had gotten (stolen) his SCOTUS seats and passed tax cuts for the wealthy, he didn’t need to keep stonewalling. Pshaw, I said, the man is the single worst politician in Washington and he will stop at nothing to poison the well.

So today I read that old Turtleface is backing the lame duck’s attempts to find fraud with the results and generally stall and sow chaos. Because of course he is. He’s Moscow Mitch. I really believe he’s just as dirty with Russian money as Trump is and, quite simply, a traitor. He has no charm or knack for inspiring a following so he has decided that his current seat is the most powerful to which he can ascend and he’s going to wield it ruthlessly. I have already made donations to the two Democrats in the Georgia Senate runoff elections but I’m not holding my breath for those.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

R.E.M. – It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Oh. My. GOD. You guys. I didn’t want to be cheesy, or premature, in playing this song, but there was a LITERAL FUCKING EARTHQUAKE AT MY HOUSE THIS MORNING!!!!!!!

AN. EARTHQUAKE. Epicenter in southeastern Massachusetts. 4.0 on the Richter scale.

I am sorry, but I can NOT get over that. It was loud and rumbly, like a truck dropped a dumpster right outside our house, lasting a few seconds. It’s not like I live in California and can just overlook the symbolism here because this kind of thing happens every day. An earthquake at a place called Bliss Corner. I mean get the fuck out of here!!! There is some karma coming and I am here for it!!

I can’t wait. A woman whose parents were immigrants from India and Jamaica is going to be the Vice President after the virulently racist administration we’ve had to endure these past four years. What a giant slap in the face to Stephen Miller and all the other ghouls infecting the White House. I can’t wait to see the string of scientists and experts that are allowed to flood back into our government. A First Lady who is an educator with a PhD (and a master’s from my alma mater – we were there at the same time!). Kick that fucking Betsy DeVos to the curb, Jill! I can’t wait to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, to undo everything Cheeto has done by executive order or departmental guidelines. To return to treating our allies like allies. I read that they rang the bells in Paris and had fireworks in London (handy leftovers from Guy Fawkes Day). The bully is on his way out and the world is relieved.

It is the end of the world as we know it, and I really do feel fine.

The best version of this song is from the show I went to in Providence, RI (where they most definitely felt the earthquake today) on Black Monday, October 19, 1987, and no one can ever change my mind. I got a usb cassette player for my birthday so I can digitize my bootlegs and had intended to do that before I would post this song but was pre-empted by an actual earthquake and my need to post this song immediately!


The Brothers Johnson – Stomp!

How much do I love the videos of people celebrating and dancing in the streets? SOOO MUCH!! It’s times like this I really miss living in a big city. That collective feeling of relief and joy and just wanting to share that with people.

I spent a couple of hours this morning helping to clean out the headquarters for our local Democrats and taking all of the stuff back to people’s houses. The numbers hadn’t changed from where they were the night before and we were all fairly quiet, but calm. It felt like things were headed our way. I dropped some stuff off at one place and headed to the store. While I was in the store my phone started buzzing and my kids and husband had all texted me the news that Biden had won Pennsylvania. I thought about all of those Election Defenders and people partying outside of the Convention Center in Philadelphia to bolster the poll workers inside and drown out the Trumpsters. They brought spirit and fun and movement, while the MAGA idiots just stood there trying to look menacing and failing in the face of people just expressing happiness.

I made one more stop to drop off some signs, then headed home, got cleaned up, and changed into the most Philly t-shirt I have. I got it at a bike shop back in the 80s when I was going into the city as often as I could from my college campus out on the Main Line. It’s bright yellow and has Ben Franklin riding a bike and a Liberty Bell. I proudly put it on as a thank you to Philadelphia and those out there guarding the vote count, for getting us over the all important electoral college tipping point. As a nice little wink to them, the address of the former bike shop (now a ramen bar) is about a block away from where they were holding the outdoor dance party.

I harbor no illusions about Joe Biden being a visionary president, and we still have to fight for the two Georgia Senate seats and deal with the hated trio of McConnell, Collins, and Graham for six whole more years. We lost seats in the House. But we grabbed our nation by the scruff of its neck and yanked it back from the fascists and their ignorant, racist, bigoted supporters. We are not in the clear, those people are not going anywhere, plus there’s still the lame duck to get through. And let us not breeze past the significance of Kamala Harris. A woman, a woman of color, a daughter of immigrants, an HBCU graduate, is going to be the Vice President. This is a major slap in the face to the white supremacists that have been roaming the halls of the White House these last few years. Take that Stephen Miller!


Pylon – Cool

Ok! November 6th, three days post-election, still counting. Cool.

Obviously, yes, count every vote. Every vote counts. I am just impatient. And every minute that passes without Biden being declared the winner is another minute that Trumpsters can try and fuck it all up. Runoffs and recounts and lawsuits, oh my!

I was awakened this morning by a text from my daughter that just read, “BLUE GEORGIA!!!” đź’™ I would dearly love for Georgia to go to Biden, and even better if we can pick up those Senate seats.

It seems fortuitous that today is the official release date for the Pylon box set. I pre-ordered mine and received it early so I have already pored over the book filled with pictures and details I hadn’t seen before. The four albums, two reissues and two records of singles, b-sides, and previously unreleased songs, are beautiful. My stereo is not very high end so I can’t say that I really notice a difference between my originals and the new copies of Gyrate and Chomp but I am delighted to have them and I am really excited about the two other records, Extra, and Razz Tape. Now I have the song Cool on vinyl. I had it on the CD compilation called Hits that came out in 1989 (which is when I saw Pylon play at City Gardens and got my beloved t-shirt), but it’s great to have it included on these records. I was so happy about all this that I even posted an unflattering picture of myself in the t-shirt on Instagram. 31 years ago and today. Some things never go out of style.

If the box set is out of your price range (this was a combo birthday/Christmas present for me) you can buy Chomp and Gyrate separately and you can stream Extra and Razz Tape. Something to do while we wait for Georgia to be called. Come on!

Let’s Groove

Earth, Wind, and Fire – Let’s Groove

We got the internet back today so I had a busy day at work, which kept me from checking the election results every five minutes.

One thing I did see was the Joy to the Polls group along with Election Defenders bringing the party to the streets of Philadelphia. I love this so much. I’m not sure if they got there first or if they came to keep Trump supporters in check but they are having a disco block party outside of the place where they’re counting the mail in ballots in Philadelphia. It started yesterday with a small group of people and by this evening it was a big crowd of people, literally dancing in the streets. There were people dressed in mailbox costumes, the White House, Independence Hall (it is Philly after all) and I spied a couple of Gritty masks for good measure. It improved my mood a hundred fold.

Waiting for these results is exhausting. But watching the Joy to the Polls videos in the days of early voting just roll that party on to the places where they’re still counting, is, well, a joy! I started following them on Instagram but I think they’re probably on other platforms too. Go check it out, you’ll feel better.

What the World is Waiting For

Stone Roses – What the World is Waiting For

Our internet is still out so this morning, after briefly checking the news, I was trying to help my son get in touch with his teachers to explain why he wouldn’t be able to turn in assignments or even take a scheduled test. I figured I could delve into the minutiae of the House and Senate races later. I had a meeting at 10:30 so I moved the laptop into my office corner to get ready and that’s when I realized … my mobile data wasn’t working.

It’s one thing to be without the wifi for a day and a half but when I was actually cut off from the internet completely, I started getting pretty anxious. I could still send and receive texts but nothing else. Now is not the time to be unable to immediately bring up whatever news story I want from whatever source. And I couldn’t even do any work to take my mind off things because I had no mobile data and therefore, no hotspot!

So I got outside and went for a walk. It was warm compared to yesterday and the sun was out, everyone’s Biden signs were still out. It felt like we still have a few days to get through before the final tally and no one wanted to jeopardize our chances by removing their sign. As I’m writing this we seem to be just 6 votes shy of winning enough electoral college seats to clinch it. I am keeping my fingers crossed and going to bed. This waiting is a killer.

The National Anthem

Radiohead – The National Anthem

Since I want to believe that the absentee ballots won’t all be counted tonight, and that means we will not have answers for a while, I am not investing my emotional strength in watching the returns. I’ve glanced at social media a bit for our local info but I don’t think it will help me to sleep if I just sit here doomscrolling all night. I did my shift outside the polling place this morning, holding up the signs for the Democratic candidates and I went to the grocery store, liquor store, and pharmacy, made ratatouille in the Crock-Pot, and then pasta sauce later in the afternoon, all an attempt to keep myself occupied and not fixating on the results.

I looked at my son after dinner and I could see the dread washing over him. With our internet down he can’t even get online to play games with his friends to distract himself. Luckily we got some blank CDs in the mail today so I told him we could burn some of his recently purchased albums for the car.

It is getting harder and harder to maintain the older formats, new cars don’t come with CD players anymore and even new laptops tend not to have a disc drive. Our oldest laptop was the only computer in the house that I could wrangle into performing this task. Were it not for the goal of keeping his mind off election results, I might have gotten frustrated with all the failed attempts and waiting for it to finish, but we killed a good two hours, maybe more. We also managed to rig up my phone to the printer with an old cable and a little USB-C to USB converter so we could print out album covers. I’m so glad I never fell prey to the internet of things because what happens when all of your appliances and your door locks or whatever, are dependent on the internet working? It sucks to be without internet, don’t get me wrong. Maybe having it out isn’t all bad, though. I successfully steered my son back from the edge with this little project. We’re holding on, hope you are too.

God’s Gallipoli

Poi Dog Pondering – God’s Gallipoli

Our internet died today. Today! And the tech can’t come until Thursday. Thursday! I told the woman on the phone that I’m working from home and my son is doing school from home and can’t someone come sooner? I didn’t bother to say, the fucking election is tomorrow and I need my internet!! I mean, I have my phone. I am making this post on my phone and it can be a hotspot so I am not in the dark, but this timing is unbelievable.

I thought it was the weather at first because it was super windy out but the woman on the phone was pretty certain it’s the router/modem because she tested the line remotely and said it was working. Then she said, how old is that modem? I don’t really know but we’ve had it a long time. She clicked around some more and then she gasped, “Oh my goodness! That modem is 20 years old!!” Ok, it’s old, but it can’t be that old. We got it when we were living in our current house so at most it can be 13 years old, but I’m guessing it’s more like 7 years. Admittedly the modem wasn’t new when we got it and seven years is pretty old for a piece of technology like that. It has been crapping out frequently over the last couple of months so I’m not surprised if it is the culprit, but I have also suspected that we are using the internet far more than it is engineered to handle. Either way, the tech will come, hopefully sooner than Thursday, and something will be done to restore it.

Perhaps there’s a metaphor lurking somewhere in there for the situation the nation is staring down. Things are not going to be magically restored on election day. It will take a while longer, and definitely longer than we’d like, before we will know the outcome. There is massive uncertainty and probable unrest in the days ahead. Even in the best case scenario there is still November, December, and three weeks of January to get through. I need something to get me over the top!

I am telling myself:

Back in the ring now,
with eye held just high enough to see the prize.
Head bent forward and hip into wind as always.
Slugging it out ’til the end, the boxer.

There are a couple of versions of this song but I took this live version because man, do I miss being there. I love how the person recording it goes for the wide shot at the point in the song where experience tells me the crowd is bouncing, and they are. It’s a joy filled moment wrought from a difficult and punishing time. And the fists are pumping because so many of us know what that feels like and you’re there, surrounded by people who get it.

Leave it all on the floor. Take nothing for granted so you have no regrets. Let’s hit the nail on the head and drive that fucker home.