November 2000

Lately, I've been listening to a ton of Richard and Linda Thompson stuff. My friend Dathilacha turned me onto them years ago. Recently, he has been my Fairport Convention guru because he loves Sandy Denny. And now I do too. He suggested "Whispering Grass," "Farewell, Farewell,""Who Knows Where the Time Goes" (which is particularly attractive to me because I have a totally spastic relation to time--ask anyone who has waited hours for me to show up somewhere), "Autopsy," "Si Tu Dois Partir" (which is the french translation of dylan:if you gotta go, go now, or else you got to stay all night.

i'm not trying to make you do anything you never done before
it's just that i will be sleeping soon
and it'll be too dark for you to find the door

or, il sera trop noir pour trouver la porte)

OR pretty much anything on Unhalfbricking(Jeopardy points: the title of the LP came from a word that was made up in a Scrabble game that was played to kill time on tour and it just kind of stuck and became the title of the LP). I was completely hooked on this whole Sandy Denny/Fairport Convention thing. Then LordOuch subtly mentioned that maybe I would want to know that Fairport Convention is sort of associated with "fantasy s/f" and the Celtic Fringe and maybe I was not aware of this. I wasn't. Last night, I downloaded "Tam Lin" from Napster. I had strange dreams about Irish dwarves and trolls and weird little Celtic thingys. I became worried that I was going down the stoney end and pretty soon I would be playing RPGs and dreaming of unicorns and dragons. I checked out some Sandy Denny tribute pages. She is the considered a bit of a waif (right now the most dreaded thing in my life is waif worship--so easy to like waify things...waify guys are cool cuz they are a genderfuck, but girls are like fair maidens with a bit of a quirk and everyone loves them cuz they aren't "difficult" and there is more to it...maybe I'll come back to that--oh I know, you await me v. waifs with baited breath!!! It's the next WWF SMACKDOWN!) and people post bad poetry about her and her songs. And immediately I thought, Stevie Nicks (I am a bit of an obsessive Stevie Nicks person...I don't go in for all the moonbeamie, dreamer, blue lamp shit..but people who do amuse me). Then I found that Sandy Denny's last concert was called "Gold Dust" so what does that make Sandy Denny? The Gold Dust Woman...hahaha right? No.

Back to "Tam Lin," a song filled with Celtic Overkill. Knights, maidens, faerie queens, newts, snakes, people turning into trees, and LordOuch warns "faeries and unicorns... (ala 'fantasy' and crap like THAT) and your eternal golden braid will unravel and turn into A CELTIC KNOT!" Of course by then the celtic knot came crashing right into my lap when i was forced to run as fast "can go as she" from young Tam Lin...the celtic myst came down...and i thought "why came you here to dwell?" But I loved the other stuff I heard despite the fact that Tam Lin is like "Rhiannon" on acid or something...and it scared me. BUT it forced me to open my eyes about this Sandy Denny worship thing and her hopeless dreamer, aerie faerie, wood nymph fanatics. So I email Dathilacha, my Fairport Convention/Sandy Denny guru about trying to untangle the Celtic Tam Lin knot. First never mention Stevie Nicks to someone who has seen Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green playing and loves John Mayhall--he will deny it but he doesn't think much of Stevie so he sends me back an email that says something like you think Stevie, I think Keats (and I feel like an idiot). And encloses this incredibly long, incredibly stunning, but incredibly LONG poem by Keats called "Eve of St. Agnes"which he thinks relates to FC's interpretation of "Tam Lin."

The Eve of St. Agnes according to Dathilacha is the night when young women are given knowledge of those they will marry and the poem relates to "Tam Lin" because in the song (which is based on an old Scottish ballad) Janet becomes pregnant by the Faerie Knight Tam Lin and in order to free Tam Lin from the evil Faerie Queen, Janet must hold onto Tam Lin no matter what form he takes. Eventually, Janet's love defeats the Faerie Queen and Tam Lin is freed and becomes mortal and the baby's father and all that good stuff. Dathilacha emails me all day helping me to understand the song and the myths and the poem and all this stuff that is completely foreign to me (hell, I just came to understand the myth of Rhiannon last year, what do you want from me?). I'm like Sleater-Kinney requires no Keatsian knowledge whatsoever, maybe I should just go back to them. But I love most of the Sandy Denny stuff I hear, so I am patient and listen and learn and I have now found myself appreciating "Tam Lin". I am ordering Celtic Knot jewelry right now!

Dathilacha is beyond intelligent, he is into a whole other realm of knowledge. I used to work with him for a long time. Our desks faced one another and we would pop up and discuss everything in the world all day long. We once had a discussion about the Rolling Stones that lasted an entire working day. Our co-worker Soomerki went to lunch and we'd already been working the topic to death since morning, when she came back from lunch, we hadn't moved and we were still talking about the Stones. Everyone used to laugh, but I loved it. When Dathilacha left to work elsewhere it was one of the saddest days of my life. I am so happy to get e-mail period, but from him, I live for it. So when it took 21 very patient e-mails from him before I was ready to conceed that I "got" "Tam Lin" and that it wasn't just Celtic Crap (even if it is listed in the FAQ of the "Sci Fi in music mailing list"), I was grateful.

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Karl Marx, "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Napoleon Bonaparte"

Obviously, someone only heard part of my prayer for Gore. And yesterday I was telling friends, I hope that the election gets split between the popular and electoral so people will want to abolish the silly electoral college. NOW, I take that back. This sucks. I always knew that I didn't particularly like the state of Florida. An entire Republican government? (Wanna do something about all these stupid stories of voter fraud? Click Here )This old friend of mine (who I haven't talked to in a while either) Chip called me at about 4am talking about a Brown Shirt Uprising and wanting to kill Nader (I don't know, I am not sure many of the Nader voters were ever going to vote for Gore). Creemie is looking for cyanide pills. I am considering how to launch some sort of coup. But mostly, I am crushingly disgusted and I can't even think about what sort of a nightmare this is going to be for the next 4 or more years. I truly do not get the Bush Jr. appeal at all. The state of Texas had something special in Ann Richards, if you ask me.

Yesterday, I was feeling sort of confident. I had lunch with Anthony and he works in this building that houses the Carpenter's Union in the city and it was so great seeing all these big burly guys carrying around Gore/Lieberman and Hillary flyers. And me, I'm an old Democratic fancier. My mother constantly tries to tell me how corrupt and awful those machines were, but maybe it is because I read labor histories and stuff, but they seem to have helped a ton of people(alright, they were racist, sexist, ethnophobic and all that crap). The sight of those labor democratic voters warmed my heart. And here in the tri-state area, it was a landslide for Gore/Lieberman. So either we launch a coup (personally, I blame the World Series, everyone hates NY but after that...they REALLY hate NY and so they voted for Bush because he is not New York, not smart, not sophisticated--he is dumb and white and the rest of the country is afraid of NYCs multi-culti Crock Pot image) or we become our own country. We might consider adding Minnesota, California, Washington State (any state that was not red on the map last night). Uggh...

But the one bright spot is that Hillary won! I am going to focus on that and hold on to that historic victory. Her victory speech was great. She is such a better speaker now. And Charles Rangle is head of the Ways and Means Committee in the House (I think) Anthony told me, John Corzine won, so the election is not a total loss. We can still fuck things up, but Bush will be like Ford...he can just tell the entire area to drop dead. He doesn't need us.

One of the people on one of the many mailing lists I am on had a suggestion about how to deal with a Bush/Cheney win. He is a Nader-ite and he suggested getting involved in the Green Party movement. I have already mentioned my Green Party skepticism. But the suggestion to get involved and make a difference in someone's life is a good one. So I am vowing to do this, as soon as I can detach the keyboard from my fingers. Anthony told me about this website Helping.Orgthat can assist in finding volunteer opportunities near you.

You've been with the professors
And they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You've been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well read
It's well known

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Bob Dylan,"Ballad of a Thin Man"

I have been having immense guilt about the election mess. I have been sending out E-Mails about demos, e-mail campaigns, etc. ad infinitum to all my friends and acquaintances. I know it is not my fault but I can't help it--the days before the election I was such a twit going on about how I thought the vote should be split between the electoral and popular so that people can see that we do not have a democracy where one person gets one vote. Instead we have an archaic system whereby the "founding fathers" (who set up an oligarchy anyway) made it so that "population centers" or cities are not given the same vote as rural areas. The belief was and still is for a lot of people is that the cities are filled with degenerates and immigrants who don't deserve to pick the next president. Rural American knows better and is more American so the electoral college gives them the chance to "veto" whatever happens in the cities through "proportional" representation. That is what happenend in this election. Gore carried almost every major city, but Bush won "middle America." It is repulsive and gross. And this is how I know that my god mocks me because instead of letting Gore win, it decided to go with my I hope the vote is split wish. So my response to this whole careful what you wish for.

Saturday, Creemie and I attended a demo in Times Square to protest all the voodoo demographics of the electoral college and the monkey business going on with the vote tallies. She told me that my girl Hillary has announced that she is going to sponsor a bill to pass a Constitutional Amendment to get rid of the electoral college. I haven't seen this. But I hope it is true. Creemie is feeling guilty for voting for Nader (which is dumb) and I am feeling guilty for well you we were the only two out of a planned group of 5 or so to ACTUALLY attend the demo. The demo was completely surreal. It was poorly organized. A bunch of people (probably about 300 or so) standing on a sidewalk in front of the Virgin Megastore while some guy and an accompanying woman passed a bullhorn between them and incited the crowd to chant things like "Hey Bush, You're Democracy's Hypocracy!" and others that I can't remember. I felt like an idiot in front of the Virgin Megastore (and the owner of the store is a British Labor Party supporter anyway), underneath a sign for the band Orgy!! But what can you do? I got to the demo a half hour late (of course) and when I was on the bus in traffic outside the Lincoln Tunnel, the bus was about to go through the tube when all of a sudden everything just stopped! Nothing was moving! I whipped out my phone and called Creemie. "Are you blocking traffic at the Tunnel?," I asked excitedly. "No, there are like 12 people here," she responded. So I told her not to let anyone leave yet because I was on my way and I wanted to scream and yell and be released from my guilt.

We did have a good chance to block traffic though. When I first got to the demo, there weren't all that many cops there and they left the street completely unguarded. Creemie and I have been to many a demo before as we were both very active in ACT UP (maybe I will tell you about how my phone used to tapped and stuff...later) and I've had civil disobedience training and peace marshall training so I know a thing or two about how to effectively demonstrate (well that and I've been arrested at demos before...important thing to know about that--bring ID, you get released faster) AND we could have linked hands and sat down in the intersection and blocked traffic in Times Square. Which would have been a better way to make the point than just walking on the sidewalk and then moving to where ever it was the cops wanted us to go. What most people don't know (especially the ones who "organized" this demo)is that one can block traffic and then the police will warn you that if you don't move you will be arrested, and then you can get up and leave without being arrested but you have made your point. The police do not want to arrest you, so they will accomodate you for a bit...but one always has to suffer the lame cop attempts to try and scare you into thinking they will make arrests. Allright, enough Monday morning quarterbacking this whole thing. I will just add that the entire time, I did try and incite people to take the street, but no one was interested and I think Creemie was ready to hit me if I said, we should be blocking traffic one more time.

I have one bone to pick with some of the anti-Bush rhetoric. It is this: people who attack his drug and alcohol use (the DUI thingy is another matter). First, the Republicans attacked Clinton for pot use, and the Dems defended him. Now, the Dems are attacking Bush for being a recovered alcoholic. When I first arrived at the demonstration, this really nice seeming guy handed me a sign to hold because I didn't have one. It read something like "Bush blows Coke and his father's lawyers bail him out, Bush blows election and his fathers lawyers bail him out." And I got sick looking that sign. I rolled it back up and gave it to the bewildered looking guy. Then Creemie goes to him something like "she's not one to throw rocks at someone else's drug use." Which was funny-- sad and funny. As someone who has wrestled similar demons as his, I feel enormous empathy for GWB and as someone who has lived with alcoholic parents, I empathize with his family as well. In the past weeks, I have heard any number of recovering alcoholics and addicts express their sympathy for Bush and have heard "Another Alkie for an Alkie" jokes about how people were going to vote for him based on this identification. That only made me sick. And it makes me hate the club I joined (but I can't be judgemental). I HATE that people have made this an issue and choose to focus on it, when there are other more important ones. So move on from this one already (unless you want to talk about the fact that Bush has cut funding for treatment programs for addicts and sends them off to jail and boot camps).

more November 2000