There Goes Simon’s Rhymin’

We voted this morning (Yes, Yes, Yes and Mr. Baker is toast and even better there was no doughnut table to guilt-trip you about not donating something to the polling-place school).

Then I did my initial listen to what, for now anyway, is Paul Simon’s final album, In the Blue Light. And it felt like closing a circle.

Back in Park Senior High, the simpering set adored Simon & Garfunkel, but I thought “Parsley” puke and even “Sounds of Silence” too quivering-nerve. “Bridge Over” was impossible to scoff away, however, and did provide my first revelation: the simp set was in love with Artie and Paul was ready to divorce all of them.

I think the Dean has had a damn-near-perfect ear for Simon through the decades and we responded to identical same tracks. Except that I always adored “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor,” which came out the year I became an official adult and started living in my own apartment. Yeah, here’s somebody mirroring my mind. But I did have trouble with “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War” — thought it was abstruse. I have not checked to see how much lyrics were modified, but sure enough, this is now a masterful metaphysician operation.

Biggest stinko of the whole set (I’ve listened to it twice and realized I did not even grok this cut the first time through) is that “Love” is track #2. It’s a plain regression to S&G manners and mores and even language. Worst of all, it confirms that part of Simon still respects simp swill. And if “The Teacher” is clearer than it used to be, I still can’t bother to pierce its opaque. It is abstruse.

“Darling Lorraine” is a casually complex example of the Simon the old pimple farms would never grasp — he became an adult, even a weathered adult, not just a pop star with years heaped on him. “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” pulls back every lonely era of my life and best of all “Can’t Run But” delights me anew as a twittering and trumpeting machine that radiates the sensibility of the saints.

Thanks for the trip.

Fred W. McDarrah: “New York Scenes”

A superb hardcover presentation I am proud to own.

In sunny moments, I remember how seeing many of these for the first time on microfilm at Montana State University Library thrilled and excited me — this was how this world hidden by my isolated Montana culture looked!

In dreary afternoons like today’s, it can suggest not only a vanished world but a broken, or at least unfulfilled, promise: American bohemia would last forever; there was always going to be places, more and more maybe, where you could run wild and break the rules if you did it with grace and style. But true mass bohemia ruins the phenomenon. And the decline and fall of the Establishment made the rebellions empty.

In calm evenings like this, I can settle on being grateful that I met Beat writer stars Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsburg and found the latter to be especially funny, entertaining, wonderful in a rowdy Montana bar and even a wise, guru-type person. He conveyed a lasting impression of the freedom Beat and Hippie granted youth.

Oh, and the book includes a marvelous photo I had not seen of Leonard Cohen right before his first NY performance.

Hail and Farewell and Welcome To Tomorrow: Peter Margasak

Your work in the Reader prompted us at Rock.com to make you a key outside-the-office voice.

It was a joy to labor with you on the long-gone dream of the music-magazine internet.

(This guy was an insanely easy edit, btw. Just fun conversations and you have a perfectly clear, vivid and balanced essay at the end.)

R.I.P.: Village Voice

This time it looks permanent. Would be tough to convey to someone in their 20s how much freedom and excitement alternative newspapers once delivered weekly. The Boston Phoenix was my main operation, of course, but I considered the Voice my second home.

Then again, the building has been crumbling for a long time. My best memories of the Voice now feel distant. And one of the last is bitter — I was suddenly not invited to participate in the annual Pazz and Jop Poll, for reasons I have never been able to find out (I certainly didn’t stop writing about music).

But I’d rather focus on the fond recollections. Getting my copy in the mail, finding my article and admiring the wild and way-out illustrations Joe Levy would occasionally commission for my reviews. Good times.