Thursday, January 16, 2020

Lucky 13

Thus begins the 13th edition of the Lounge. It was on this day thirteen years ago that i began this little experiment with a Declaration of Impotence. Little did i know how fitting the title of that first post would be. Of course it takes a special sort of masochist to keep up this endeavour over so long a period of time. I'm not sure what that speaks to? mental illness? lack of a social life? the existence of a suburban loner tucked away in a downstairs room and pondering the nooks and crannies of his own navel? I don't know. All i do know is that i keep doing it and most likely will keep doing it even though better ones than moi have gone by the wayside. I'd like to think i've somehow gotten a little better at this stuff but let's face the brutal and honest facts of it. 90% of the posts on here are absolute dog shit, the other 10% qualify as decent and mildly amusing, but fret not dear reader. I'm still standing.

So what exactly has taken place over the last 13 years? Well i like to call it life. There have been births and deaths and re-births, when this whole thing started my boy Nick Disaster hadn't been born and the I-mac was 6 months old, i was a 36 year old coming off a couple year stint with blow and soon to be sliding toward a mild but manageable bout with pills. I was still having wicked hangovers and wondering on certain mornings if that wasn't my liver staring back at me from the toilet, the head pounding and the body shaking and the ever present thought that i was never going to learn. Ah but learn i did and some six odd years ago i told myself i would never have another hangover again... and i haven't. I basically quit drinking except for the odd beer and got back to my psychedelic roots of cannabis and shrooms, and that as Bobby Frost once said, has made all the difference. I understand that i'm a completely different animal than the one who began this gig, where once i had an almost pathological need to run the streets i now have this burning desire to be close to my boyos. To walk the house and listen to the ruckus they make before seeing them off to bed and sitting in my little room, smiling at the thought of them. There are not two humans alive that i've ever loved more than the boyos, i'm a fucking cream puff when it comes to them, i get pissed and they drive me crazy but it's almost impossible for me to stay angry for more than five minutes, i often find myself watching in awe as they do the simplest of things, i find myself gazing at them and smiling and thinking, them there is me boyos and i understand the full circle that has taken place from my father to me to my sons. And it blows my fucking mind and bursts my chest with what the shrinks would call unconditional love. 

Over the last thirteen years i've lost cats and friends (both physically and metaphorically) and my father. Each and every loss has taught me something and in each and every loss there is a light that goes with the darkness. I'm coming to a better understanding of how shit works... or at least i like to pretend i am, i can understand and accept my failures, can work on my flaws while knowing that i'll most likely never correct them all, but it's not perfection that i'm after, it's the process as they say, the effort in doing and not sitting idly by (while all the while doing my best to sit idly by while the world rushes around) and whining about the state of this or that or the other because when it all comes down and that void is waiting for you to slide into it nothing will matter except, to steal some Hank, how well you walked through the fire. Did you live the time you had or did you just exist? Like Mark Renton i've chosen life, to make each and every day an art, the art of living, be it washing the floors or pissing around at the typer, be it conversations with the boyos or wiggling my toes, watching the clouds, admiring the stars, listening to the leaves in the trees, being kind to my cats and the animals of the world while doing my best to tolerate the humans who chronically fuck up the planet and their lives, i attempt to do my best knowing full well that i will not always be able to do so and that's okay. I'm a human too.

And so i begin Lucky 13. What that means? i have no idea. There's no use looking into the future as i can only worry about the now, my ass in this seat and the little blinking light. If there were ever delusions of grandeur in this exercise they have long since faded. It's most likely why i'm still here. When this goes dark you can look for my obit but until then i will document the thoughts and life of an ordinary man. It will be boring and riveting and happy and sad, there will by joy and pain, blissful highs and crushing lows. There is nothing perfect in this world and as a deeply flawed and fucked up human being i know that all too well, but i'm trying Ringo, i'm trying real hard to be the shepherd. For anyone still reading, thanks, i do appreciate it... Now on with the show. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Happy Birthday Mr. Jones

I was probably around 8 years old when my big sis got the Diamond Dogs record for xmas one year. She was six years older than me and had some wicked good taste in music, David Bowie being one of her favorites way back when (and still to this day.) The gatefold cover of a half Dave/ have Dog freaked me the fuck out. I was fascinated by this weird bit of art, i had no idea what the music might have sounded like but i didn't care, it was this drawing of the Dave Dog that had me both fascinated and repulsed and intrigued. I remember sneaking into her room to look at it since little brothers were not normally welcome in big sisters rooms.

Fast forward to high school and the kid who fell in love with the Smiths and Joy Division followed the influence and was soon immersing himself in both Bowie and Iggy Pop. Needless to say this put me at odds with most of my working class suburban classmates but i was the type to say fuck them. All the really good looking girls, the ones i found attractive, were into more than Zeppelin and hair metal, i was chasing the John Hughes dream and between the mortician's daughter and a petite blonde i had all the crushes i could handle.

Fast forward again to the summer after my second year of college, it would be the last time i ever really lived at home, i was working as a cashier at a now defunct department store called Hills and spent most of my work day trying desperately to bed the girl who worked in the fabric/sewing department. It was mid June of 1990 and being the silly fool that i was i had just blown all of my money to go see UB40 and the Smithereens. A shit show if ever there was one and something i am usually loathe to admit in public. Of course it was the same week that Bowie was in Cleveland doing two shows at the Richfield Coliseum, the second of which was on June 20th. Pre-internet if you weren't paying attention you could completely miss things, i spent a good deal of time in record stores back then but somehow the fact Bowie was playing completely eluded me. My sis had seen him on the Serious Moonlight tour and we were standing in the kitchen when she asked if i knew Bowie was in town. No i said i didn't but i was broke anyway so it didn't matter. She stopped for a moment then said, call the ticket office at the mall and see if there's any tickets left, if there are she said, i'll give you the money, call it your birthday present, you need to see Bowie. I called, there were, called a friend/co-worker to see if he could swing it, he could, then a mad dash to the basement of the May Co. dept store in Parmatown mall to snap up one of the last remaining tickets in nosebleed land. I was broke... but i was gonna see Bowie, thanks in large part to a cool as fuck big sis.

I picked up my friend One-eyed Bobby in my 78 Olds Cutlass Supreme, we pulled together what little weed and money we had, scored a case of Little Kings Cream Ale, (a case of pony bottles that is), rolled up two joints and headed off to see a hero of my teenage years. We drove out to Richfield, parked and proceeded to sit in my car and drink and smoke the joints while listening to a bevy of Bowie on the cassette player. Once properly fucked up we went in and found our seats in the second to last row completely opposite the stage. Didn't fucking matter. We were gonna see Bowie. We sat and waited. It was the Sound and Vision Tour. The houselights went down and out strolled Dave strumming an acoustic guitar and the beginning of Space Oddity, a translucent giant screen projecting a Giant Dave which the real Dave was interacting with, if was fucking mental back then, the couple a few seats over, the last two rows being rather sparsely populated in an otherwise packed arena, sparked up a joint and smiled at us and then passed it our way, we'd really made the grade...

The show blew my fucking doors off. At the end of the night he brought out Bono to cover Gloria by saying, "this song was written by an Irishman, figure it's best sung by one as well." Apparently Bono had flown in to see the stage show because it was the cutting edge stuff that they wanted to incorporate into the next U2 tour. Didn't matter to a fucked-up 19yr old though, i was sailing on the clouds and singing along as if it was the best night of my life... and to my 19yr old self it probably was. It may be a cliche to say something like this night changed my life but after that night my life had changed. Art, the making and learning and devouring of, had usurped my athletic youth. I didn't want to be like Larry Bird anymore i wanted to be like David Bowie.

When my big sis turned 50 i went out and bought the Nothing Has Changed 3CD set and sent it to her. My big sis and i have always had a strange and sometimes strained relationship, the age and gender gap being part of it i'm sure but i've told her how much some of the stuff she turned me on to has influenced my life, for better or worse i say with a laugh before adding it's her fault i'm the way i am. When my phone rang a few days after i sent it i grinned when i saw who it was, she was giddy with excitement, couldn't believe i had sent her that and she told me it was the best thing she had gotten in years, something she wouldn't have bought herself but was absolutely blown away to get. I in turn told her that ticket was one of the most important things i ever got, that the CD was the least i could do and probably paled in comparison to what she had given me. Needless to say our common bond over Bowie has gotten us through the last few years as well as bringing us a bit closer. That night changed my life. I got my big sister to thank for it.

David Jones would have been 73 today. I consider him one of the most important artists of my lifetime. He goes beyond music and the more i've read about him the more i like the man. He had his flaws but he was a beautiful human being... and these days the world could use more of those. Happy Birthday Dave.


Monday, December 23, 2019

The Mushroom Diaries - Vol. 5 - On the unexpected death of an old friend

Last night i got word that on old friend of mine had died. Fucking cancer. He was 51 with three kids, the youngest a special needs kid who he adored and from what i understand spent countless hours working with and volunteering. The word was it was a short battle. One of those times when by the time they found it there was nothing left to do. It's been mentioned before that a long time ago i was a hot shit basketball player. When my father was sick i ventured back to the old gym to watch another old friend of mine coach. He had taken over our high school team and was trying to resurrect a tired and flailing program. It was at this game when my now deceased friend came over to me to talk about my dad. He offered me a place to stay, he invited me to dinner, he hadn't seen me in twenty years and didn't have to say or do anything but he did. I'm sure he had heard the myths of El Kono that had circulated and how the once wunderkind had walked into the wilderness in search of something. Suburban gossip can reach all sorts of sordid and unexpected heights (though i'm sure not even the sewing cirlces could have dreamed up what i was up to.) Yet he still offered me a place to stay, offered to talk, offered to help. He was the most decent of human beings and that is the highest compliment.

Flashback over 30 years. The summer after i graduated my friend's father offered us a deal. We'd scrape and paint his house and in return he'd buy us tickets out to California, a place to stay, a car, the kind of shit a 17yr old kid rarely gets to do. Of course my summer was not without the usual drama and my boy here stood by and helped me navigate my stupidity. The woman who messaged me the news yesterday was my girlfriend way back then, of course the night of my graduation party she got sick and left and later that evening, early morning actually, i made sure a friend of hers got a ride home, a friend who then invited me in and took me to bed. It didn't take long for word to get out and i was busted. Oh the angst of teenage lust. Really i just didn't want to go through the summer before i left for college without an easy fuck. I was such a thoughtful young man. And so i did my best to show remorse (not the most genuine but a good enough act to keep me getting laid.) My boy here helped me devise plans and work out apologetic speeches, drove me to buy flowers, told me to write letters, it all worked to perfection. It kept me fucked through the summer. It only took 3 days to cheat on her when i got to college. Always the gentleman.

Sometime in July of '88 we flew out to California. We were met at LAX by his dad's friend who immediately drove us to a Costco type place and stocked up on Corona and wine coolers (cut me some slack i was 17.) He gave us use of his 1980-something brown Lincoln Town Car, a behemoth in which we kept a cooler full of booze in the back seat while driving around blaring Ice-T's Rhyme Pays cassette. It was here after an afternoon golfing, (i fucking detest golf by the way but our host loved it and asked us to hit the links a few times with him and since he was a nice guy we did) that i had my first foray into a strip club. Les Girls near San Diego. It's still there. It's where as a 17yr old rube i was asked out by a 23yr old stripper. Over the next couple weeks we were there so much they actually summoned me to the desk to get them coffee and drinks from a Jack in the Box across the street. They were all nude how were they gonna do it right? At least that's the line they gave me. The look on my friend's face when my name came over the sound system between dancers was priceless. After another afternoon golfing our host went back with us, after we'd basically become regulars, and laughed his ass off at how i had become the human clothes rack. Was there a reason half the girls came out and handed me there g-strings? i smiled and shrugged. It was a fine time for a 17yr old kid. We ran ball at Laguna Beach, perused the Venice boardwalk, sat in a dive bar in Newport Beach, spent days trying to pick up Cali girls who laughed at our Midwest ways. It was gorgeous.

It strange how the unexpected news of someones death, especially someone close to your age (he was a grade ahead and two years older than me) can affect you. I was stunned after i had heard and was a bit in a fog and so when the boyos were settled in for the night i took the opportunity to clear the mind. Three medium pinches of the mushroom dust and the guise of a west coast hockey game. I lay on the couch and waited for the onset, the television on mute, the lights out, the intermittent flicker of the tube, i drifted, there is a beautiful and peaceful state of consciousness that washes over one and soon i hit the button on the telly and sat in the dark listening to the sound of my breathing, listening to the general hum and buzz of the world, to the soft steps of a cat strolling by, and in it all there was everything and there was nothing and at times everything melted into one and then would slowly come back, a recognition of the sound of my breathing, the faces of the boyos, a smile on my lips, knowing that the void is out there but that there's no use in worrying about it, it'll get here when it gets here an in the meantime it's best to just ride this wave, not worrying about the end or the beginning but only where i'm at.

So to my friend, who entered the void a few days back, i hope you went easy my man, i hope the DMT flooded the mind and your were surrounded by the faces of your sons and the ones you loved. I remember looking at the blue Pacific on a ridge above Laguna Beach, i remember Les Girls and the golf and the hours of basketball practice. I remember your kindness and i remember you, for that is all we can do for those who have entered the void, remember. It was a fine time treading the terra with you so many moons ago my friend. Namaste.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Long (week in) December

It was two years ago today, damn near in the very spot that i type this, that i attempted to rise from a chair only to end up on the floor in mind-numbing pain, back spasms so painful that i would have screamed had i been able to but lucky me the pain was so intense that i mainly just laid there gritting my teeth and trying to breath. It was Sunday night and was just the beginning of a shit week. As has been documented, the Breadwinner took to the internet instead of the telephone because she was not about to spend a grand for a short ambulance trip to the ER and some Demerol for my dumb ass. No, the internet would suffice because after all it wasn't her on the floor unable to get up or move without searing pain shooting through every part of the body. As the boyos stood and cried and begged she went on about her business. That night i slept on the downstairs pull-out because i was unable to get up steps. I spent the night trying not to move and when i did i spent the next ten minutes jamming my fist into my back to quell the spasm, that's what the internet told us to do. Eight or ten hours later they finally stopped. Lucky me. For the record i haven't left the couch since that night. It's my new bed.

I spent the next two days doing as little as possible and that fine Tuesday morning i called Pops to have a good chuckle about just how much my relative worth was viewed around this place by a certain someone. There wasn't much to chuckle about though as my dad broke the news to me that he had cancer and most likely not something that could be treated. In fact he not only had one form he had two and as he stared down the end he was as calm and rational as he had always been. For my part i did my best to hold it together, telling him "i'll pretend to be tougher than i am but we'll get through this one way or the other." He said, "it's alright son, it'll be okay." We both knew what he meant and from there we had a philosophical discussion on life and death. When we hung up, i hobbled to the stereo and put on the Soft Bulletin by the Flaming Lips, sat on my couch, and cried.

One might say the last two years have been a transfomative period. I was already reading more philosophy but the steady diet of Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson and Terence McKenna increased and expanded. In came Sagan and Hitchens, a re-reading of the Upanishads and the Tao Te Ching, some Galeano, barely any fiction for a guy who spent the last 20 some odd years devouring it, some music biographies and a study of dub and reggae to balance out the heavy stuff. I spent the next nine months rehabbing a back and then a few months after saying goodbye to my father i got back in the pool.

The water has become my temple. It's where i think, it's where i feel the most relaxed, the most at home. Those first few weeks i struggled to swim 500 yards. It would take over half an hour with 30 second breaks between each 25 yard length. Today i breezed through 1500 yards in roughly the same time. Last week i swam 2100 yards in 40 and change. The breaks are few and far between now. Back then i used to go home and pass out. Now i go home and get on with all the things i have to do. Even on the days i drag myself to the pool by the time i'm 500 yards in i'm relaxed as i'll be all day. (Last Sunday morning the lifeguard couldn't figure out how to turn on the lights. It was overcast but some light was coming through the windows. It was gorgeous, the half light playing in the dusk of the water, when the lights finally came on i was almost finished but sad, i'd swim like that every day if i could, there was something there i can't put into words so we'll just call it beautiful.)

Between the water and the reading, between the weed and the shrooms, between the realization that there is only now and i should do my best to enjoy it as it comes, to not worry about what i can't control, not to worry about the things i have failed at or the things that i haven't or to put it more simply, in the words of Zen master Gendau, "If you understand, things are such as they are... if you don't understand, things are such as they are." And that is where i find myself today. There is happiness and sadness and joy and pain and without one there cannot be the other. To embrace it all is the only thing we can do and to let it flow like water not attempting to catch the good or toss away the bad, there is no point, it's impossible, all we can do is just what we do and attempt to do it with a modicum of grace and love even though sometimes we will fail wonderfully in the process.

I have this silly ritual in the pool, mainly because i'm a silly human who is prone to do silly human things. Somewhere near the end of my swim i ascribe a length or lap to certain things. It starts with a couple of goats and a dog (that the boyos were fond of in St. Lucia), then next comes my cats, living and dead, then some for Disaster, then Stretch, then Pops (which always starts with me telling him i love him and my first breath always looking to the window and the sky and clouds and trees outside) then one for the boyos and Pops together, then one more each for the boyos. These last two trips around the sun i've worked to practice patience and love and letting the anger go. I'm by no means perfect at it but i try. One could say that i've come to a better place but that wouldn't be exactly correct either. I'm just here, where i should be, doing what i do... which is really all i can do, dig?


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Wilderness Years - Hey - An Xmas Tale

Over the course of the years the holidays were often very good to me when it came to women. Not that i went out looking for anything in particular just things always seemed to fall nicely into place. Call it dumb luck if you will but i understand now that women liked me. Maybe it was my wayward self who seemed to need some guidance or maybe it was just the fact i looked like a good time to certain females. And so it was that my first Xmas back in the burgh after an ill fated stint in grad school found me staring down the prospect of a few days alone in my apartment. Now don't get the impression that this was going to be some maudlin affair, i was quite happy about the prospect of being alone in my transient hood of half-wits and low-lives all milling about and waiting for the bars to open as this was the type of neighborhood that had bars open on the birth of little ole baby Jeebus. Two months earlier i had made the acquaintance of one Hippy Jack and since then things had gone swimmingly. I had begun to save some money and had enough jack in my pocket to have a fairly swell night out any time i so chose but let's not loose the thread here

I had first met Delilah down at the shore, the infamous summer of Audrey and Elise, she was dating a co-worker/quasi friend of mine. She hailed from the fair burgh as did most of the people i ran with. She was still a kid really, 17 at the time and the guy she was dating loved to tell anyone and everyone just how much fun she was, how she liked girls as well, how in love she was with him. He had a penchant for talking like he was in the know about all things hip and cool, a bit of an opinionated dick who could be a moody prick at the Fry Hut when he didn't get his way, doing his best to ingratiate himself to the boss so that he could get the easy gigs. Back then i was the wild-eyed boy from Freecloud, the fledgling poet/painter who loved psychedelic drugs like fish loved water. The boss loved me for my innate ability to work like an ox know matter how fucked up i was and our boy, seeing this, did his best to associate himself with me whenever he could.

The beauty of the shore was the open air flop-houses that we all occupied, the old whorehouse where i lived that summer always had the door open and you could usually find someone willing to get fucked up at any time of day. I was pre-Fry Hut when i first met Delilah, grifting the graveyard shift register at the 7/11 (until of course i was seconds from getting a gun pointed at me hence my exit from that job to my next gig at the Fry Hut.) I was drifting away from our friend Angel (as in dust) and drifting into Audrey and some acid and specials (the name for the joints i rolled where i covered the paper in hash oil), listening to an inordinate amount of Pavement, the VU, and Jane's Addiction. I had a stack of books, an easel, and a stereo in my sweltering room and it was there where our boy first brought Delilah to meet me ostensibly to show off his prize.

She was already built like the proverbial brick shithouse and she batted her eyes at me and told me she had heard a lot about me, looked at the easel and some small watercolors lying about, was in awe of the books stacked up. A pile heavy on Bukowski and the Beats, mainly Burroughs and Keroauc, some Celine and Nelson Algren, gazed at the CDs and asked to play something, Jane's Addiction as it was her favorite at the time. I rolled up a bomber while her boy grabbed some beers from the fridge downstairs, whose they were i had no idea, and we settled back for a bit of session and talked. Back then i was pretty good in the conversation department. She spent a good part the gab session smiling sexily at me, i could tell i had my hooks in.

Fast forward three years. I'm back in the burgh, the weed business up and running. One day the phone rang and who should it be but Delilah. She had gotten my number from someone and she wondered if she could score some weed. She said she'd love it if we could hang out sometime as well. I said that sounded excellent and so we talked a bit and tried to work out a time when she could stop over. Seemed she was working second shift and going to school so her time was tight but it just so happened that she was off for a few days for Xmas after her shift, one Saturday Dec. 23. Great i said, why don't you swing by then. She said it wouldn't be until after 11 and i told her not to worry as i was off the next day and my roommates were all out of town. Perfect she purred into the phone.

To say the thought of taking Delilah to bed was in the back of my mind would have been a lie, it was much closer to the front. So that night, being the classy guy i was, i bought the booze she requested and grabbed a pizza. I sat and waited anxiously, doing a little last minute business, shuffling people out the door and trying not to get too fucked up in the process. Sometime after 11pm there was a knock on the door. Apparently she had hit the wrong buzzer and the gay couple who lived below let her in. She looked like sex with her pixie cut and short skirt, she shivered from the cold and i ushered her into the apartment and asked if she wanted a drink. I handed her the drink and we took a seat on the zebra and leopard print couch that my roomies and i had rescued from a curb back in October. There was one lamp on and white xmas lights that had been strung up around the living room (which of course never came down.)

It may not come as a surprise that the conversation did not last long. She was not wasting any time and as we smoked a joint she leaned over and said why don't you take this hit, took a pull, put the joint in in the ashtray, and was kissing me before i knew what happened. In fact never had i witnessed or been the object of such skill when it came to, for lack of a better word, seduction. She had maneuvered my cock out of my pants and into her mouth with such dexterity and professionalism that had i not been so presently occupied i would have stood and applauded. There is no need to go into the play by play but let's just say the zebra and leopard print couch needed to be cleaned up afterward. It was the beginning of a fine night.

Round one over we finished the joint and she stated she didn't need to be anywhere and i suggested she just stay over. Let it be said there are not many finer things in life than finishing a post coital joint with a beautiful, naked woman. She then led me down the hall to my bedroom where we fell onto my mattress on the floor. She put the stereo on softly. We rolled around until exhaustion finally took us both, passing out entangled in each other. The next morning started much like the night finished. It was a little after noon when she said she needed to get going. She stood in my room getting dressed smiling at me, i asked did she need any weed? she smiled and said no she just wanted to come over. She leaned over and kissed me and walked out the door. As i laid there listening to her shoes and the click of the door i stared at the ceiling, a content grin on my face, the sounds of xmas eve day seeping into my room. Merryfuckingchrismas indeed i thought, merryfuckingchristmas indeed.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Looking out my window on Thanksgiving morning

As i stood over the sink and watched the squirrels and the birds, gazing at the branches now swaying gently in the breeze instead of bending over in the howl of yesterday, i thought to myself i need to remember to call my dad. Then it hit me that i couldn't. There was that moment, fleeting as it was, where he was there, in his apartment in Cleveland, cigarette and shit instant coffee, the television turned on after coming home from another graveyard shift. There was a moment when i was looking forward to our conversation... and then it was gone... and my mind settled back into the now. Then Stretch bounded down the steps hungry as usual and Disaster gave me a hug and said "Happy Thanksgiving, dad". I examined his recently busted up finger and kissed his head. Then i poured another cup of coffee and went back to that window.

Friday, November 8, 2019

dcb

David Berman hung himself in the first week of August. If you don't know who David Berman is i can only suggest you find out. He wrote more great lines in one song then most of us will write in a lifetime. dcb was that fucking good.

Way back when i used to have a radio show at good old Podunk U. i used to peruse the records and get stoned in the back room, a nice pair of headphones, a turntable, a window to clandestinely ogle the co-eds. Life was grand. I stumbled upon some great bands back then. The Silver Jews was not one of them, i stumbled upon them later, reading magazines that probably no longer exist.

For a decade or so i sort of forgot about dcb and the Silver Jews. He had packed it in in 2009. He wrote a letter that had most people worried that the next time you heard of him it would be an obit. He suffered from what he called un-treatable depression, he battled drug and alcohol abuse, he battled a father who was a lobbyist for the booze and tobacco lobbies. It was a father who all but disowned him, the guy could have been set for life if he just played the game his dad wanted him to but he didn't. He bounced around, was practically homeless, at one point living above the Drag City records offices in an apartment they let him stay in. His marriage of twenty years dissolved. Then out of nowhere came a new record.

David Berman is not the greatest singer or guitar player but his songs will knock the wind right out of you. They are a strange mix of bleak and uplifting and specific but not so much that one can't apply their own meaning to it and really that's what we want from music most of the time, we want to relate it to our own lives, to soundtrack it as i say. His new band was called Purple Mountains and the record the same, as the Kid said, listening to it can sometimes feel akin to watching a snuff film. It was a goodbye. There can be no blame placed anywhere or on anyone but it's hard to imagine the people who heard it before it's release not asking him if he was going to be okay. There are some songs on this record i relate to so well it would be worrisome if not for the fact i don't suffer from depression and more just the general melancholia of a sometimes delicate soul. David was torn up when his wife and he split. Rest assured that would not be my reaction to the same event.

And so three days before his tour David Berman hung himself.

I had been listening to the Purple Mountains record before that but it took on a whole new meaning after the news broke. I dug back into the Silver Jews catalog and was reminded of just how fucking brilliant this guy was with words. I tend to like to remember him by looking at the back of the Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea cover, a smiling and happy guy playing music and singing with his wife and band. Now the music and his book of poems are all we have left. Sadly that'll have to be enough. (this one here might be my favorite, it hits home a little too close sometimes but good lord god damn is it a great fucking song.)