Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, November 28, 2004


I think it was Susan Sontag who said that anybody being photographed is looking at death, because the photo will potentially outlive the subject. Certainly the same is true of recording -- of writing too.

This week-end I faced the abyss of recording, and I flinched.

Acchh, that's too melodramatic -- fake noble. The truth is, I have never gotten my recording life together, so the guitar tunes, which I recorded in the backroom, have a vicious electronic buzz, and the piano tunes, which I recorded in the living room, lack the buzz but feature a sub-mediocre pianist who had the vanity and laziness and foolhardiness to try to record everything live -- me.

I got almost everything recorded that I wanted, but just not as well-played as I had fancied. The folk-jazz ideal holds that any live recording records the truth of who the player is at the time. And the truth of who this player is -- well, he could use another year or six of woodshedding before hauling the piano out in public.

A couple things came out better than I had imagined. But those were the guitar tunes, and they have bad distortion. I may have figured out a solution to that, but I haven't tested it yet, and it would entail rerecording the ten tunes. I'll test the solution tomorrow night and try to record Tuesday night.

The piano tunes -- I may have another chance at them Tuesday afternoon. We'll see. Good news is: I'm liking the songs themselves.

This puts my wounded vanity in context: We found out today that a friend had a heart attack yesterday. He's in his 60s and has done nothing to change is life since his last heart attack -- still smokes, still gets no exercise, still carries a few score more pounds on him than would be good -- and this after decades of taking speed. He's more than once said, "If I'd've known I was gonna live this long, I would've taken better care of myself." So he and his friends have known that he could drop at any time. But it would still be awful to lose him -- he's a grand guy who saved my butt once when I was in deep emotional water -- he threw me a liferaft. I spoke to him on the phone today and tried to visit but he was being tested and I was with the toddling dude. The toddling dude wanted to wait -- they're friends too -- but after an hour and a half it was time to go home. I don't know whether my friend will be able to go back to work. Here's hoping so.

Other than that it's been a great holiday week-end. Building the ties that bind with family and friends. And one thing the Buddhists had damn straight right -- all of those ties, they get broken eventually, every last one of them, and the more attached you get, the more painful it can be when the attachment severs. And that is the bitter grandeur of life, that we can love with all our hearts, and that our hearts are bound to be broken.

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