Monday, November 09, 2009

Songs, beards and other forms of Anti-Gravity
Jennifer said as we were getting our weekend of wild celebration started on Friday night that she thinks beards make men look kind. Something about an obscured face makes the stranger focus on the quiet eyes, on not talking too much, on listening and thinking. This weekend we heard a wild man from Portland named McDougall sing a wild row of train songs to a mean claw hammer banjo, we heard David Bazan howl into the void, all solitary beards. And we listened to ZZ Top who have been growing their beards together for 30 odd years, odd years of cattle running across the stage, refusals to be interviewed, and a guitar made out of a plank from Muddy Waters’ Delta shack.
Jennifer said that the sound of the Phillip Glass Ensemble breathing when they play Symphony No. 3 and the sound of their bows on the strings underneath the music is what makes the music seem human and true. Over the past few weeks my friend Shayne Edmunds has been feeding us a steady stream of CDs which he calls things like “possibly the best album ever recorded.” Shayne collects vinyl LPs of old rhythm and blues (scratchy recordings which fuzz and pop with electricity like unique objects too hot for a phonograph needle) and turns them into CDs for people like us. One of these CDs was ZZ Top’s First Album, a first rate blues record, played by a man who learned the old songs on the knee of his family’s cleaning lady down in 1950s Texas.
Jennifer said the weight of her nearly six-digit student loan didn’t seem real until she saw that little train of zeros in the bottom right column of her 30-year payment plan on our computer. She thinks society is a giant black octopus that drapes itself over our heads and sucks life from us. And she thinks she just spent the last three years paying the octopus to let her go free. So we celebrated reinventing ourselves as debt free people for this weekend, and talked about beards, the way the scratchy recordings make music better and not from a factory, ate the finest known food in Seattle (food that tasted better because the menu told us what farm it came from on the West Coast) and danced around the second -hand furniture in our living room like primitives who had just discovered fire.
Photos from Zach Ramey and this place.


Blogger harlan barnhart said...

ZZtop rule.

8:20 PM  

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