Sunday, October 08, 2006

I attended the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco's Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park yesterday. I went to see Billy Bragg, and he was fucking brilliant!

This was my first time ever seeing him, and he impressed me so much. I knew he was a longtime political activist and "socialist agitator" -- his 1991 hit song, "Sexuality" about throwing off oppressive ideas about sex and society was my first introduction to him as a high school student -- but I was not prepared for his eloquence, charm, and sincerity. His whole set was a joy, but most enjoyable was a song he did with a songwriter's workshop prior to his full set called "Bush War (bourgeois) Blues," which, incidentally, he said he will be making available as a free download on his download page. As he sang, with the Fleet Week jets periodically screaming overhead, it was absolutely unreal.

I also saw Guy Clark and Verlon Thompson before Bragg. They did a heartbreaking song that I don't know the name of but was about a man whose one true love was for a woman he longed to marry, but who was a prostitute and didn't want to marry him. The man died (heartbroken, of course -- this is country after all) and the only woman who cried at his funeral was his one true love. The song had the refrain, "He always said heaven was a Dallas whore." You may have to take my word for it, but it was beautiful.

It was such a beautiful, sunny day on the grass (or, tarp and blanket, rather). And my new fantastic neighbor friend Richard, who grew up in Hong Kong and the Isle of Man, and as such wanted to treat us to a proper sunny garden party English drink, brought Pimm's to share. Also my first time with a proper "Pimm's Cup" -- Pimm's, lemon-lime, mint, cucumber slice, orange slice, and lemon slice -- and it was lovely.

Today Trevor and I took some time to take a long walk in the gorgeous sunshine, have sushi, and get some maple-pinenut praline and earl grey ice cream from Ici. Bliss.

NP: The Sisters of Mercy, First and Last and Always. Currently, "A Rock and a Hard Place."

This is one of my all-time favorite albums. Lyrically and instrumentally, it is practically flawless, save for a little bit of goth pretension (that I have to admit I still LOVE anyway):

Hit up
Steel in hand
Lit up
Like candles
Like Catherine Wheels
Nothing but the knife to live for
One life, all I need
Give me one good reason
Give me more

But then there are also those lyrics that just penetrate your soul as well:

A rock and a hard place await for for me
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
Everything I ever did right or wrong
Hid out of sight where I belong, belong

Er, okay, maybe that's also a bit of goth pretension, hey? No matter, classic album all the same.

Oops, almost forgot my scary bit for my October posts. How about in honor of the Sisters, and Billy Bragg taking on the blood for oil money neocons, I leave you with the lyrics to First and Last and Always' opening song, "Black Planet."

Cheating, I know, but this song points out not only our scary enemies but what scary reality we could be barreling rather than slightly barreling toward if we give up fighting for the health of our planet. And for you scary classicists calling foul, I will leave you with this thought: with Apocalypse, comes zombies.

I absolutely hate the living dead, which is okay, because the living dead hate the living, um, alive. Except for their brains (EEEK!). Paralyzed by fear, I am, by brain-eaters. *shiver* And no one likes catastrophic destruction involving toxic environments, chaos, and helpless confused humans more than the living dead. Chew on that if you still want a Ford Expedition and haven't changed your party registration to Green yet.


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