R.I.P.: Sunny Murray

Every aspect of Albert Aylers’ Spiritual Unity (ESP) changed my listening life, but the biggest shift came from Sunny Murray’s drum work. I understood free jazz and I understood drum improvisation (I thought), but I still had incorrect notions about drums and time-keeping. Murray took nonstop equal-footing intermingling improvisation to a level I had never imagined. I suddenly realized drums could be melodic. That there could be intuitive mutual timekeeping. For some boneheaded reason I never picked up this obviously crucial disc.

Error corrected.

Oliver Sacks From Beyond the Grave

I’m so insanely behind in my reading that I don’t dare get this yet — but it is on the must list.

A book I ran across when all I had to do at night in Cambridge was drink or read was Sacks’s Awakenings and I didn’t put it down for a moment after I got home from work until I was finished and went back and re-read the most intense accounts. A report from a world I had only encountered in glimpses. Few years later he tripled down with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and I was a fan for good. Search “Oliver Sacks” in this blog and you’ll see he comes up more than I might think.

 

Turkeys Do Not Deserve To Be Pardoned

They’re kind of a menace, honestly.

They’re around here all the time. Have sat and shat on our roof. I watch for them nonstop, because especially groups with a couple Toms can become standout pests. You want to chase them away from any area you care about. Because if they think they can wander around with impunity, they will be back every other day.

I’ve had to smack a Tom with a broom as he raced toward me — his noise was not “gobble gobble” but a screeeeech. Now I don’t approach even a  couple of hens without a broom and waving it at them aggressively seems to work. You think they must have a communications network: “Stay away from grumpy old Miles — he’s not worth the trouble.”

Confirmation that I’m on to something.

Glory Era of Glossy

Good to recall a time when print was the powerhouse it has never been since. I was young and foolish, being shaped into a professional, so I went along with the upbeat mood: print was invincible! tech could makes pages more gorgeous than ever before! ultimately, big follies like: we don’t need no steenking subscriptions, ad revenue will never go down! online publications and social media are mere fads!

I resemble the remark that Vanity Fair was improperly revived. however — they hired me as a freelancer to do short reviews that paid the most serious scratch I had received until then. I managed a couple and a kill fee for a third when the shakeup came and the new brass shoved us out the windows. I never accepted Tina Brown’s “famous for being famous is as good as famous for accomplishments,” but I will admit that a lot of those first features in the Vanity Fair before her were a boring mess.

Don’ Count Your Calories Before They’re Whacked

Lots of good ideas and information here. I was pleased that Abby Langer endorsed my one new habit about calories — looking at the calorie estimate on the packet. I did not know, however, that the estimate could be as much as 20% off and still be legal (awk!). Also, a very well-articulated rejection of the notion that, if you exercise your glutes off, you can eat as much as you want.  “…with some apps it appears that you can negate your whole day of eating with a trip to the gym. Nope.” I wasted oceans of sweat for years after all the exercise-machine sellers pushed that notion.

(I will note that, for the first time in years, my blood pressure reading was ideal during my general check-up two weeks ago.)

Reflections on Second Life

Interesting update on, yes, quite faded “platform reality.” I stayed away from it not least because it was another way to avoid doing work and because the avatars seemed like such banal caricatures of real persons. And the idea had been around for a long time. I mean, Second Life is almost exactly what was imagined in “The Machine Stops.”

Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Pervert?

As I noted recently, comics after Jonathan Winters are off my screen. [Male ones, anyway, I know, if anything, even less about female stand-ups, but don’t have the same specific objections to them.] Nobody’s ever accused me of being humorless, so I don’t feel bad about this outlook at all. What surprises me is how much reinforcement my attitude has gotten over the years. I thought The Sophisticates was a huge indictment of all the stand-up society. When I first moved to Boston in the late ’70s, comedy clubs were undergoing quite the boom. So I went to a show, I don’t remember who. I found the atmosphere relentlessly icky. Making members of the audience uncomfortable and encouraging those who were yukking it up to look down on them was a clear component of the act. It was a divisive collective experience the opposite of what I enjoyed about music performances. The final conclusion I came to is that far too many comedians are like what I consider the utter worst kind of fiction writer — those who create feuds and disasters in their own life to use as raw material.