18 August 2009

Message To the World

What I usually bring home as a keepsake, when I travel far enough from my beer fridge to make me a tourist, is books and records. Books and records last. Even the best tourist crap ends up in the dump eventually. Books and records help me to remember my forgotten life.

Sonja and I were recently on one of the hippy islands that separate Dope City from the fucking Japanese to our west. While I was there I bought two old records and a book. Did not spend money on anything else but food and beer. Fear not though, producers of tourist crap, Sonja came home with a box of shit with your island's name on it.

The first record I tucked under my arm in a second hand shop was Mountain's "Twin Peaks." Twin Peaks has always been one of my favourite live records. Leslie West is one sick motherfucker. Years ago the record disappeared from my collection, stolen, no doubt, by one of Leslie West's sick motherfucking fans. Now I have it back.

Other record is "Blows Against the Empire" by Paul Kantner's shortlived Jefferson Starship in 1970. I was not even a teenager yet when this one came out. What I liked about Kantner (the Jefferson Airplane were my favourite American hippy band) was that he liked making music that was meant to be listened to on acid. I have some advice for you: do not take acid and listen to this record. Drink half a case of beer tonight, like I am going to, and go to bed.

The book was Ralph Steadman's "The Joke's Over." Reading Hunter and about Hunter used to always make me happy. Now Hunter has been gone awhile, reading about him makes me feel sad. I hope I will start feeling happy about Hunter again one day soon.

The island was dope. All sexy curves, salty taste, evergreen, quiet, noisy and abundant. I emptied a few pint pots of Race Rocks ale while I was there. Canadians can sure make good fucking beer.

I should point out that today's Message To the World contains three of the secrets to my good, long life. First and most important secret - Never drink more than a six-pack on Monday night. You have to give your body time to recuperate at least once a week. Reading books and listening to records are the other two.


Jon said...

I was very much a teenager when those two records came out. I have never had any use for J. Starship but I was a very small weasel when J. Airplane played for free in Central Park in NYC. I was there and Grace Slick raved about the Black Panthers and the whole thing was actually supremely cool, but it was nothing compared to the time that MOUNTAIN PLAYED AT MY HIGH SCHOOL. That's right, Lesley West was from Hackensack and some visionary genius from my High School's senior class called him up and hired him. This was a huge fucking deal as Felix Pappalardi, producer of Cream's Disraeli Gears, was in the band and Disraeli Gears was, back then, the biggest selling record in all of recorded history. Thing is that Mountain was not particularly successful when they were hired. A local band with promise and maybe a shot at the big time. By the time the dance happened Mississippi Queen was a big radio hit and Lesley West was a big rock star.

The day before the gig, he came by to scope out the Boy's Gym, where they were scheduled to play. I bumped into Lesley West as I was coming out of gym class. That's right, my 15 year old self collided with L. West, famous hefty rock star. He was wearing a very rock starrish purple fake fur coat. We exchanged words. We both said, "Scuse me man." It was a moment not to be surpassed until I bumped into Allen Ginsberg at the public library a year later.

I must say that Mountain absolutely rocked the Boy's Gym and the teacher chaperones and even a couple of local cops were on their feet and grooving- until they realized that a whole bunch of kids were giggling and pointing at them. Then they got real serious looking. It was one of the few really good times I ever had in High School.

Gazetteer said...

You wanna feel happy when you read Hunter?

Read his goddamn letters.

Best, purest, high-white light and sound of language rioting blogging I've ever read.

All done directly on paper.

And sent out into the meatworld ether in the trunk by Pony Express.

Must'a had carbons.

Sure the manic ravings to Steadman are OK, but a lot of my favorites are the ones he sent to that bastard William Kennedy.

Great, great happy-making stuff.


Frankiecon said...

Fucking Funny