Tag Archives: jim morrison

More About Heading West

Michael (6)Recently, the editorial ‘We’ left the East Coast and headed west. “The west is the best,” Jim Morrison said. It is true and it is also kind of sad. After fifty-six years in the same time zone, the Eastern Standard Zone lost the fun it used to be.
Personally, we first heard rock and roll in New York, as Roy Orbison exposed his whiney heart over radio in my parent’s old Desoto singing Born On The Wind. At five years old, we watched the Beatles arrive at Shea Stadium on the tv and the resulting new British revolution followed on the screen. In our teens we spat at the stage of CBGB, pogoed and slammed.
New York City, the City that never sleeps must have been napping when the Hip Train arrived in Colorado and Washington with legal weed. How can it
be the hippest city in the world when the most delectable commodities are easier to get here in the west? Our eyes moisten with tears of sorrow when we consider this. We think of the swinging forties and fifties when the Rat Pack ruled the dark streets and the punk rock in the seventies that restarted the heart of rock and roll in the face of the disco machine uptown at Studio 54.
Recently, the editorial ‘We’ left the East Coast and headed west. “The west is the best,” Jim Morrison said. It is true and it is also kind of sad. After fifty-six years in the same time zone, the Eastern Standard Zone lost the fun it used to be.
Personally, we first heard rock and roll in New York, as Roy Orbison exposed his whiney heart over radio in my parent’s old Desoto singing Born On The Wind. At five years old, we watched the Beatles arrive at Shea Stadium on the tv and the resulting new british revolution followed on the screen. In our teens we spat at the stage of CBGB, pogoed and slammed.
New York City, the City that never sleeps must have been napping when the Hip Train arrived in Colorado and Washington with legal weed. How can it
be the hippest city in the world when the most delectable commodities are easier to get here in the west? Our eyes moisten with tears of sorrow when we consider this anomaly. We think of the swinging forties and fifties when the Rat Pack ruled the dark streets and the punk rock in the seventies that restarted the heart of rock and roll in the face of the disco machine uptown at Studio 54.
We miss the dirty old New York City of our youth with her dirty pavements, leering pervs and beggars with outstretched hands. They brought a sense of danger that seemed vital to the city, like the visage of Moondog standing on Sixth Avenue shouting his poetry and scaring more timid foot traffic to the other side of the street with his two-horned Viking helmet. Philadelphia still sports a layer of dirt on it but Disney constipated the Big Apple by cleaning up Times Square, the once-beloved center of sleaze. The last time we walked down to Greenwich Village and got thirsty for a beer, we had to walk eight blocks…eight blocks!!! In NYC for a beer? The real indignity came with viewing the Lower East Side out the window of an Applebee’s because that was all we could find.
The Globe Marquee In Times SquareAnd what happened to the 25 Cent XXX Sex Show on Forty Second Street? As bad as it turned out to be, how could anybody resist finding out how much of a show you get for a quarter?
Well, now we reside in Washington, home state of the most prolific serial killers. The Son of Sam fell far short of some of the body counts we see here. To the south a couple of states, we have California so that gives us our minimum daily requirement of nearby whack-jobs. What is the difference between bad behavior at the Jersey Shore and bad behavior in LA? LA dresses it up better and has blondes. It all comes out the same on TMZ, though.
We arrived here at 70 miles per hour. That, in itself, tells volumes about the gap between coasts. We crossed some areas in Montana where there was no speed limit whatsoever. At 70 mph, we do not feel inclined to speed. Therefore, the police have no need to pull us over. If they did, they would find something that is legal, anyway. When they put out the DUI patrols here, they are kind enough to tell you which night of the week and during which hours on which road. That is so kind!
In fact, if we do not agree with the way things are run, they even have legally assisted suicide! How can we go wrong?
Some eastern states go to 65 mph but the norm is the old ‘stay alive at fifty-five’. Go 65mph there and they have a good reason to stop you. Take Pennsylvania (please…haha), if you are stopped and ‘suspected’ of being high on marijuana, you must consent to the urine test. The test used by the state police is so sensitive that it can spot the tiniest amount of THC metabolites in urine so that it can even turn positive if you smoked six months ago. If you prove positive you lose the license, get the fine, etc…if you refuse, you get the same thing…not nice!
No such things happen here. There also seems to be a great paranoia in the east. Before we left and as we packed, we heard numerous friends and associates warn us about the dangers on the road. “Keep your guns in the storage locker!” “Don’t keep any paraphernalia on you!” “Remember the facial recognition scanners every mile along the road!”
We left with two shotguns and a rifle lying right behind the seat under the open case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, which we drank all the way from Harrisburg to the bottom of Lake Michigan one June night and did not see a single police until we waved at one in a rest stop outside of Fargo. There is really nothing new to be scared of on the road. Take it from us, it’s the same old road. Be free.
Here, hitch-hikers still stick their thumbs out and serial killers smile at them. Beggars guard entrances to the shopping areas, mostly young methed-out tweakers with nothing to look forward to. Older ones drifted north after then-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani solved the city’s homeless ‘problem’ by rounding up everybody in the parks and giving them a free bus ticket to LA, but only if they promised not to return. So we have all types here.
Most exciting, just to the south in Portland, the city hums with activity. We can feel the energy and a scene is taking place there…either that or the place is loaded with poseurs. From the many small music magazines we see, we know Portland has tons of small venues with live shows every night. Big acts tend to play Seattle and skip down to Cali. The scene in Portland feels organic, the visiting acts at local clubs seem to be an esoteric mix which blends with and compliments all of the fresh new faces releasing new songs on vinyl and playing crowded gigs.
Where can we get the best price for our old vinyl? Portland, of course. So many record and alternative book stores line the streets here that it reminds us of the Village in the old days, before Bleeker Bob’s and other old rare record/cd haunts vanished. If we sell an LP in Portland we get cash as opposed to the dreaded store credit, which has so often dampened our spirits. We take the cash and go to small clubs where the vibe reaches out from the city center into outlying neighborhoods.
Count up the clubs and the acts per night and we do not think NYC can keep up, not with the rock and roll end of things. We feel the loose, mellow, friendly haze of the current heroin epidemic there, as well. Funny how those things seem to keep time with each other.
Seriously, though, the scene in Portland, so robust you can taste it, may just break out and unleash a new twist, a new alternative to alternative, a fresh coat of paint to a passe’ form of music. What is happening in rock and roll right now? Who is hot? Where is the innovation? When did we last see a ‘movement?’ Was that way back when grunge hit?
The biggest sellers remain in place from the sixties, seventies and eighties. The geezers sell more ducats than youths do and that is wrong. College students listen to Pink Floyd and the Beatles. These may be old bands but soon we ought to be hearing from the young and angry again, unless rock and roll really is dead.
We’ll be sitting right here, watching from up close.
See ya!

We miss the dirty old New York City of our youth with her dirty pavements, leering pervs and beggars with outstretched hands. They brought a sense of danger that seemed vital to the city, like the visage of Moondog standing on Sixth Avenue shouting his poetry and scaring more timid foot traffic to the other side of the street with his two-horned Viking helmet. Philadelphia still sports a layer of dirt on it but Disney constipated the Big Apple by cleaning up Times Square, the once-beloved center of sleaze. The last time we walked down to Greenwich Village and got thirsty for a beer, we had to walk eight blocks…eight blocks!!! In NYC for a beer? The real indignity came with viewing the Lower East Side out the window of an Applebee’s because that was all we could find.
And what happened to the 25 Cent XXX Sex Show on Forty Second Street? As bad as it turned out to be, how could anybody resist finding out how much of a show you get for a quarter?
Well, now we reside in Washington, home state of the most prolific serial killers. The Son of Sam fell far short of some of the body counts we see here. To the south a couple of states, we have California so that gives us our minimum daily requirement of nearby whack-jobs. What is the difference between bad behavior at the Jersey Shore and bad behavior in LA? LA dresses it up better and has blondes. It all comes out the same on TMZ, though.
We arrived here at 70 miles per hour. That, in itself, tells volumes about the gap between coasts. We crossed some areas in Montana where there was no speed limit whatsoever. At 70 mph, we do not feel inclined to speed. Therefore, the police have no need to pull us over. If they did, they would find something that is legal, anyway. When they put out the DUI patrols here, they are kind enough to tell you which night of the week and during which hours on which road. That is so kind!
In fact, if we do not agree with the way things are run, they even have legally assisted suicide! How can we go wrong?
Some eastern states go to 65 mph but the norm is the old ‘stay alive at fifty-five’. Go 65mph there and they have a good reason to stop you. Take Pennsylvania (please…haha), if you are stopped and ‘suspected’ of being high on marijuana, you must consent to the urine test. The test used by the state police is so sensitive that it can spot the tiniest amount of THC metabolites in urine so that it can even turn positive if you smoked six months ago. If you prove positive you lose the license, get the fine, etc…if you refuse, you get the same thing…not nice!
No such things happen here. There also seems to be a great paranoia in the east. Before we left and as we packed, we heard numerous friends and associates warn us about the dangers on the road. “Keep your guns in the storage locker!” “Don’t keep any paraphernalia on you!” “Remember the facial recognition scanners every mile along the road!”
We left with two shotguns and a rifle lying right behind the seat under the open case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, which we drank all the way from Harrisburg to the bottom of Lake Michigan one June night and did not see a single police until we waved at one in a rest stop outside of Fargo. There is really nothing new to be scared of on the road. Take it from us, it’s the same old road. Be free.
images0O5COR7XHere, hitch-hikers still stick their thumbs out and serial killers smile at them. Beggars guard entrances to the shopping areas, mostly young methed-out tweakers with nothing to look forward to. Older ones drifted north after then-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani solved the city’s homeless ‘problem’ by rounding up everybody in the parks and giving them a free bus ticket to LA, but only if they promised not to return. So we have all types here.
Most exciting, just to the south in Portland, the city hums with activity. We can feel the energy and a scene is taking place there…either that or the place is loaded with poseurs. From the many small music magazines we see, we know Portland has tons of small venues with live shows every night. Big acts tend to play Seattle and skip down to Cali. The scene in Portland feels organic, the visiting acts at local clubs seem to be an esoteric mix which blends with and compliments all of the fresh new faces releasing new songs on vinyl and playing crowded gigs.
Where can we get the best price for our old vinyl? Portland, of course. So many record and alternative book stores line the streets here that it reminds us of the Village in the old days, before Bleeker Bob’s and other old rare record/cd haunts vanished. If we sell an LP in Portland we get cash as opposed to the dreaded store credit, which has so often dampened our spirits. We take the cash and go to small clubs where the vibe reaches out from the city center into outlying neighborhoods.
Count up the clubs and the acts per night and we do not think NYC can keep up, not with the rock and roll end of things. We feel the loose, mellow, friendly haze of the current heroin epidemic there, as well. Funny how those things seem to keep time with each other.
Seriously, though, the scene in Portland, so robust you can taste it, may just break out and unleash a new twist, a new alternative to alternative, a fresh coat of paint to a passe’ form of music. What is happening in rock and roll right now? Who is hot? Where is the innovation? When did we last see a ‘movement?’ Was that way back when grunge hit?
The biggest sellers remain in place from the sixties, seventies and eighties. The geezers sell more ducats than youths do and that is wrong. College students listen to Pink Floyd and the Beatles. These may be old bands but soon we ought to be hearing from the young and angry again, unless rock and roll really is dead.
We’ll be sitting right here, watching from up close.
See ya!

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Michaelmas and ‘Featured Abuser’ Arthur Rimbaud

     Hello, Abuserinos!

     As today is Michaelmas, our favorite Feast Day, we are having trouble wrapping our collective minds around a suitable topic for the ever-scintillating subject of abusing ourselves.       

     Michaelmas, not really celebrated in America, honors the Holy Saint Michael the ArchAngel, who gave old God a hand by throwing Satan into Hell. It is the only ‘Mas’ you will find in the english dictionary aside from Christmas. Christ and I have the concession on the Mas business. When collecting free birthday drinks at various wateringholes, I often throw in the fact that me and Jesus are the only two guys with our birthdays in Websters, which usually leads to an argument and results in me getting yet another free drink when I hold my driver’s license up and match the date with Webster.

     In England and Ireland, the Michaelmas Daisy is blooming right about now, a fact that brings me great solace.

     But enough of that. I am nothing. Twenty or thirty years and I will be lost to obscurity, even moreso than I am now. That did not happen to Arthur Rimbaud, though. He became more and more popular after he died.

     Born in 1854, he was a passionate and bright young man who astounded his teachers and, in his teens, set 19th Century French poetry on its ear. He won awards, won acclaim and quit writing poetry before he was twenty, in favor of gaining personal experience – the ultimate goal of the poet. He ended up running guns and slaves in Africa, losing a leg and dying at age 37 – done in by cancer.

     His mother found him trying. He exhibited great genius from an early age but also drank alcohol, stole from shops, cursed and wrote foul, scatalogical verse. He took great pride in having no pride in his appearance. Dirty, disheveled, smelling of drink, one day somebody told him he had lice in his hair. Acknowledging the presence of the itchy mites, he replied that he cultivated them in his scalp and kept them handy so he could throw them on passing clergymen. He ran away from home often, to escape the wrath of his mother. He usually ended up on the streets of Paris.

     Once, he was taken in by Paul Verlaine, a leading Symbolist poet who’s talent was soon eclipsed by that of his young friend. Though Verlaine was married, he entered into a sexual relationship with the boy. He left his wife and the two poets moved into a basement together (as is mentioned in Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue). 

     They shared a love of hashish and absinthe and shocked the society of poets around them with their frequent indulgence. The relationship, as Rimbaud, was highly volatile and ended with Verlaine shooting Rimbaud in the wrist at a hotel in Brussels. Verlaine ended up in prison for two years and Rimbaud returned home to write A Season In Hell, a book of prose poetry which established him as a master, a pre-eminent writer of the Symbolist Movement. He is also known as a leading writer of the Decadent Movement, the Beauty Movement and subsequently influenced Dadaism and Surrealism, to the extent no other man achieved. He finished writing at age 19.    

      In Rimbaud’s poems, we see the first fusion of word and colour – the absinthian dream that certain sounds lay inert in the Word and had the power to invoke those colours in the mind of the reader, when repeated. This is something LSD users caught onto a hundred years later. Speaking of which, we hear many infuential artists speak of the debt they owe to Rimbaud. If the hippies were “Woody’s Children” (see Woodrow Wilson Guthrie), then who were Rimbaud’s children but Bob Dylan, John Steinbeck,  Patti Smith, Jim Morrison, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William S Burroughs, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen – his influence is almost too deep to be felt, all these years later, but the fibre of his spirit hides in the cloth of all true art produced today.

     Here are a few good quotes from Arthur Rimbaud. His birthday will be soon, October 20…

     “Genius is the recovery of childhood at will.”

     “I played sly tricks on madness.”

     “Morality is the weakness of the brain.”

     “Life is the farce which everyone has to perform.”

     “I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance.”

     Please read more about Rimbaud. This blog was not nearly enough to do him the justice he deserves. He will enrich your life and make you see things differently. He is a drug.

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