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Thursday, August 19, 2010


I find television very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set
I go to the other room and read a book.
---Groucho Marx
Fog this morning, the kind you can see through for a little ways, the kind that makes a white background for shapes and images in the foreground. Saw the above out the window to the east. What sent me outside in the rain with an umbrella was the shapes of the leaves against the fog. It was Asian; Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian. Fog gives the picture a suggestion of watercolor on paper. I like everything about the fog but driving in it. I don't mind a fog with some visibility for driving. Today's was an easy fog to drive in. As long as I can see if a car is coming around the next curve, I'm ok.
Have you ever had a moment driving along in a perfectly familiar place and not know where you are? Yesterday I was driving on Wolfe Road, shortcut between Pine Swamp Road and Frasier Road going in to town. My mind was dwelling on something and I came out of it in a section of road with trees along both sides, no houses in sight. I realized all of a sudden I'd better watch it. My mind about went someplace besides driving a car 30mph, and I had no idea where I was. It was like setting me down on a mountain road anywhere in these mountains I'd never been. That was a bit alarming considering it was awhile before I knew where I was. I came around the curve and saw Betty Roupe's mailbox, Oh, Wolfe Road. Of course, it's Wolfe Road. I turned down Wolfe Road. Duh. The mind is playing tricks on me like that more and more. I don't mind it a bit. It's part of the process. Sometimes I think ginko tea might help, might taste good too. Most of the time I think it doesn't matter. Gives a bit of drama by surprise to the day. The one today was actually somewhat alarming, because it was like I'd woke from a sleep and found myself driving. I was too present in the thinking of the moment. I mean it must have been the same as dreaming awake. Mind off on its adventures while the body is driving a car.
I knew I knew where I was, but it would not come to me. I wasn't lost, but it was the same as lost when it comes to the familiar. Woods along the sides of the roads do have a way of looking alike. If I'd seen a house when snapping out of the dream, it would have been familiar. I'm not complaining about it. The momentary disorientation was fun. Like the way a house of mirrors feels walking through it. Also a little unsettling. Like, Whoa! What was that? The same has happened before and when I come out of it, I'm immediately aware of where I am. But not today. Talking, sometimes I see the next thing to say fade away before my eyes, like a big fog rolls in and it's gone. I call that falling down a groundhog hole. Today's experience was like thinking I'm awake in the morning, seeing TarBaby walk in through the open window and lie down beside me on the bed. I reach to pet him, wake up and he's gone. The very same kind of experience, but today it happened awake. Evidently awake needs qualification there, like somewhat, a little bit, slightly, only the least little bit, not at all.
Maybe in the course of this blog you can watch me slowly lose my mind. Maybe it will turn into Surrealism and that could be very interesting. To give an idea of what I mean by Surrealism, the title of one of poet Andre Breton's books was Soluble Fish. From there, anything can happen. Fairly liberating. I'm thinking Lady Gaga is today's Wendy O Williams of the Plasmatics. Another time, another style. I've discovered Plasmatics videos on YouTube and they are everything I'd want them to be. All out. Totally cut loose. The only limits being the size of the stage. Punk in the beginning was a kind of anti-commercial expression. The Plasmatics went all out commercial, were on tv, made the charts, made a lot of money really fast. They went on for about 10 years. Wendy had been a tv wrestler before she became a rock stripper. It's not quite right to call her a stripper, because she'd start a show as nearly nude as she ended. She didn't have anything to take off. I emailed my friend Lucas I went to school with, "We doubted the artistic integrity of the Plasmatics." Looking at them 35 years after, and actually seeing them for the first time in motion, only still photos before. They are delightfully outrageous.
After seeing several Plasmatics videos, I switched to Nashville Pussy. It's a Southern rock punk biker band. Plasmatics again. This time not blowing up cars and cutting up guitars with a chainsaw. After several of their videos, I went to Jane's Addiction. There was the Plasmatics again in a new style, their rebellion more in words than going at a television with a sledge hammer while the guitars are going apeshit. Perry Ferrell was Wendy O Williams in his own style. He had the same fascination with public nudity. By the end of every concert he'd be down to his bikini. He was arrested in Honolulu about 1991 for taking it off. There's more than one way to make headlines. Like take your clothes off before 50,000 people and at least a hundred cops. I dropped in on some friends a few weeks ago. Their 3 little kids were going about free of their clothing. I felt like I was at Woodstock. I esp liked Jane's Addiction's Ocean Side video, a guy on a surfboard riding a big tsunami wave from the time it's swelling up and eventually breaks, he rides in front of the foam fast as he can go, but it catches and consumes him and he comes riding out of it like it was nothing. The time I saw Jane's Addiction at Raleigh, I recall that video playing on a gigantic screen above the stage. It was unforgettable. The music is a soundtrack for that ride.
It's so great to be in a time where I don't have to go to New York to see what's going on in art. I've never had access to so much rock visuals where I can see any band I've ever heard of in concert, some like they're made with a cell phone in the audience and some with good sound and visuals. They're all good. And there are old-time bands galore, and again, some good, some bad, all good. I can't even start the thinking to figure out how all that is on YouTube is possible. But I'm still stumped by how a telephone works. It wouldn't do for me to waste time trying to figure out something like that. The big social changes occurring now seem to be of a psychological nature, finding new ways of thinking, and it's changing really fast. It's all beyond me. It's happening to the young kids, another generation gap.
I'd guestimate at least a half dozen generation gaps between me and someone graduating from high school. It's something I can't fathom from this end of it and the other can't fathom from the other end. When I'm around someone of late teens, early twenties, I see the chasm of all those generation gaps and turn my attention to staying out of them, paying them no mind, all attention to whoever it might be, the person I'm talking with, not the generation I'm talking with. We can talk easily person to person over the generation gaps such that they aren't there but in the pop culture we pay attention to. I like the younger people I know to turn me on to the music they listen to. Rufus Wainwright is a recent discovery. Without sounding at all like Dylan, he has a similar spirit to what Dylan had in his early years, plus that distinctive something that says this guy has something to say worth hearing. At the end of the day, I have to say I am truly happy among the people I know. It may not show in effervescence or effusive gushings, but I feel it inside.

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