Music Quest

Been listening to special instructions and watching interstellar phenomena within the soul.  Training under the patient and wise gaze of Lucerna, Mother Mary’s Personal Assistant.  She keeps nudging me further into the cold waters of trans-personal warrior training.  It’s a side of me I’ve only just now started experiencing and accessing with an inner eye.  There’s a large shadow cast by the cloud over parts of me I never recognized, but the weather has changed and colors are clearer and sharper than I ever would have believed.

Floating around my pillow are a number of texts I’m reading, grab and seek the new game of play.  Reasoning and meditation as making mud-pies in the brain.  Themes emerge along the dream like an ultraviolet glowing cellphone from the beyond giving me the ring-tone of my self in a new looking back.  Seeds are always sprouting just when you thought the land had given up on you.  I picked up the phone even though I was busy and flipped open the communicator to the starship everywhere.  I’m busy so I’m available.

Dreamtime might be overrun with plastic shamans, but they’re an outer characteristic of the inner journey.  We all have to do time with our imagination until it can grow to fill the form we can’t see with our little light.  I’d forgotten about a sizable chunk of my New Age explorations not too long after willingly suffering The Nightmare Maize Of Singular Violation to finally understand what I was missing.  Some things you leave behind in the guiding of the divine back to the outside world.  I do appreciate the Dark Goddess returning my backpack!

I read about the Sioux keeping and releasing of souls, and reflect.  Their ways and understandings are a sound in my being rich with clues, stimulating thoughts of what a dedicated clown might accomplish despite being dazed and befuddled.  The recognition of death as an opportunity for those alive to recognize their sacredness and experience purification beyond our experience.  That to move beyond bodies—created out of the nothingness of unfathomably unlikely chance in time and space—into a larger comprehension of being as a form of non-being is natural and joyous, even though there are tears and pain.

Our dullard senses stumbling with such vast experiences of awareness, perhaps some compassion is in order for our falling down and skinning our tender mental knees and scraping of heartstrings with a rough clasping.  Our helplessness and inadequacy are stunning to those outside time and space, and evoke mercy from the most mysterious of depths; do we not ourselves rush to the side of a stranger as if they were ourselves at unusual moments?  As above, so below, as within, so without.  A mote of fire in the gloaming of our chemical stew of a brain.

I’ve been grieving and mourning, welcoming inside and treasuring, coming to the place where there is the happiness of dawning and dusking inevitable.  In a sense, this long period of overwhelmed underwhelming has been a new idea breaking out of its shell and evoking my response.  Some ecstasies are vast and immeasurable, like the numbing flash of a dunk in cold water.  I can see Molly on a beach with an empty and dripping bucket, laughing.  Yoshie covers her mouth and makes a giggly face.


Now for pizza…and margarita shooters!

I haven’t finished formulating my disclaimer policy and category yet, so here’s a little aside.  There’s a random drawing associated with doing a review of the music I’m about to rap on.

I asked Solarbird to leave me out of the drawing.  I’m doing this review because she put out the request and I dig her style.  Freedom of expression is a big deal for me, and I want to be as honest and upfront as possible without any nagging thoughts of “a winnar is me” syndrome.

Free is a very good price for the personal touch of music, a novel or a picture of cats; but nothing is what I work for at times and this is one of those times.

Now, on with the show!

I’ve followed Solarbird from long distance sensor scans.  She’s intrigued me with her busking at outdoor markets and fairs in the Northwest.  There was a video of her performing which I thought was pretty good.  Hey, performing in front of crowds on the wind’s good humor is no mean task.

For a while now she’s been getting serious about sound and recording quality, doing a lot of preparatory work herself while working double time on her music.  Whoa, this could be a special treat.  I’ve been waiting like a coiled eel to strike when the yummy morsels are released for tasting.

062_crimeandtheforcesofevilSo, what do we have here?

I have to say that the name Crime and the Forces of Evil is a pretty powerful and awesome name.  The title of the CD, “Sketchy Characters” conjures images of bold-faced loonies and not-eating-with-both-hands oddballs of questionable habits.

The music is essentially four songs of a folk instrumentation with an elf singing vocals.  Not much crime or evil though, and only one sketchy character—but she’s enough!

The mere fact of vocals caught me off guard. The expectations I built up for myself were that this would be instrumental.  Shows you how pesky one’s preconceptions can be!

I dislike the vocals.  They totally kill the music for me.  The singer’s voice just doesn’t blend well with the instruments.  The sound drowns out the music and even the singer’s own lyrics.

In all honesty it might be my creative agenda talking here.  With a different sound or approach this singer could work for me.  She sounds detached from the rest of the ensemble and out of sorts with herself—which might be the point!  Maybe a Frank Zappa angle would work better.

I listened through again to pick up the lyrics and they held up—I like them. Maybe with a different approach they’d pack more punch.  See, my creative agenda is about extremes of emotion and atmospherics—I want to be thrilled and have an out of body experience.  Songs like “Artefacts (You’ll Never See)” and “When You Leave” could hit any number of nerves with the right delivery—the absurd, the bitter, or the heartfelt.

The last track, “Cascadia (How I Have Missed You)” is purely instrumental (whew!).  Without that annoying elf eating into my brain I could see what’s going on inside the meat and potatoes.  I enjoyed this one.  Reminded me of meaningful, passionate times.

Maybe it’s my own nostalgia for the Northwest (a deeply personal thing for me) as telegraphed by the title that is influencing me.  But on another level, instrumental pieces with a title allow for those who wish only to dream and experience their own inner strength.  I think this is the musicing direction Solarbird should explore.

In other words, what if crime and the forces of evil is about the supreme crime—daring to feel and inspire others to find their own introversions of discovery?

Solarbird has mentioned before in her website that confidence is her boogey.  Maybe; I’m unsure of that—It takes a crumb of confidence at least to stand up on stage, to release one’s work out for all of us to respond with our own lifeforce.  Rather, I sense that there’s a vein of dirty, angry, elemental energy waiting to be recognized to unlock a latent passion.

See, I understand self-doubt as it refers to Cascadia—wanting to belt loose and express how I feel yet not knowing fully in the back of my mind if I have a right to those feelings.  How to remove that blockage and respond with clarity how I have missed that place from the bottom of my pond.  No easy thing.

Is that cranky elf a guardian? A guide? A foe?  I’m looking at my sylvan friend and striving to hear her words more clearly.  Oh, if she were only less sketchy!  What if I the listener am of the aforementioned forces of evil and don’t deserve to enter the glades and hear the words?

Yet then there is the lone musical piece that says nothing and therefore need not say anything else.  An invitation? Surrender? A confession?  Hopefully the full-length album will offer a more complete picture. This four-piece set is still in The Dip.


Way back in the days of great doom there used to be this crazy cable station that played music videos all the time.  For those of us too poor to afford access to this fountain of culture, there were television shows with videos.  That is, when you didn’t have to pay cable companies for the privilege of television with commercials.

One such television show was Friday Night Videos. They showed many if not most of the popular videos, along with a handful of oddities.  Had a rockin’ intro too.  It was like a weekly ritual with my folks and me for a while.

Friday Night Videos disappeared. But it was okay because the crazy cable station moved down to the level of “standard fare” and I could see videos galore. It was a golden age of seeing what was happening in music for me.

Then a strange thing happened–the cable channel began mixing shows in with the videos. At first it was edgy programming like Beavis and Butthead and The Maxx. But slowly, those videos faded away until all that was on were fake reality programs and weird attempts at gameshows.  The videos disappeared.

Rumor had it they’d moved to a clone station somewhere.  They lost me.  See, this thing called the Internet had become the place to hang out and hear the latest.  I remember when I first heard of MP3—I thought it was crap and would never catch on (dial-up was still the rule then).

My folks got rid of their cable subscription.  The free channels are awesome, because they aren’t beholden to the big corporations (there’s no money in “only commercials TV”) and you can see things you don’t normally see anymore.  Local stuff.  Personal stuff. International stuff that isn’t whitewashed with Hollywood phony baloney culture.

I don’t miss the cable.  The other day, Comcast came through the neighborhood with a two-man team.  They sent one guy one day and the other guy the next day—my guess is to wear down resistance and get past first-impression blocks due to psychology incompatibilities.  They were hyper aggressive and refused to take no for an answer, trying to barge in and sign us up.

See, when I had Comcast their service was horrible and their product stunk.  I’ll never go to them again, even if it means no television.  All these tactics do is remind me how much I hate them and never want to hear from them again.  It also makes me laugh because if this is their new tactic—they are desperate for cash and just don’t get why.

The new economy is about consumers getting what they want, when they want it.  You can’t ram stuff down our throats anymore.  Unwanted, irrelevant, inconvenient come-ons and advertising gets NO PLAY with me.  And from the attitudes of these guys, and the look on their faces when I said I only watch Netflix or the Internet, I can tell I’m not alone.

K, the folks, and I sat down on Friday and watched a free television program come on.  Two hours of videos, from mainstream acts to obscure weirdoes and local artists.  It blew our minds how cool this stuff was.  Friday Night Videos is gone, but its spirit is back and better than ever.  We sat down as a family and watched with an excitement we haven’t felt in years.

Rock on UFO Girl, rock on.

061_the_new_literacyAll right, enough already!  The sexual tension between these two forms is driving me nuts.  Nobody buys this mutual dislike as anything but a prelude to getting a room and making babies.  Get on with it!

For a long time we had a bunch of privileged intellectuals manufacturing consent by dividing the peanut butter and the celery between LIT and RACY, also known as high and low literature.  The “stuff that matters” from the unwashed laundry of the masses who don’t count because they are the bewildered herd and must be told what to value.

Along comes the E in Ebook and all of a sudden Pbooks are revealed for what they are—form, not the actual consciousness that inspires culture.  The entire social control mechanism that maintains access to distribution to consciousness is laid bare.  People naturally begin to ask questions, particularly those in the bewildered herd who have never known expression before.

That delicious E is the hammer in the Apple ad.  Thor’s hammer, the bolt of the storm that is the Aquarian lightning age, connecting thought.  The contact that is the point of all literature both high and low, author and reader touching each other, both one and apart, oscillating in response.  AUM.

In that moment of explosion, she joins the LIT and the RACY into LITERACY, one of the more stunning discoveries of this medieval age of thinking.  Now paper (earth) can be thought (air) and vice versa.

This is an unavoidable revolution in consciousness occurring right before our eyes.  As this bolt of electricity strikes earth and ignites a firestorm in the forest of paper, a lot of people are going to have to flee for their lives as their comfortable burrows and nests burn to the ground.

Make no mistake; this is a painful thing for a lot of ordinary folks who depend on the old growth forest for their lives.  But understand those who welcome the change as well as those who cringe in the foliage.  Everybody, and I mean EVERY BODY on any side of the fence is in on this.  We all get to participate as the forest burns down around our ears.  Open your heart and listen to the things you haven’t heard.

I emphasize with the struggle; those about to be hurt by the flames could be me, or someone I care about.  I’m excited and terrified both—where do I run?  Where do you run?  Who is already cut off from the lake—wait, is this the dry season?  That cave a safe haven or a future oven filled with smoke?  What is right action?  Shock the monkey!

It is a time for fear.

The copyright-royalty model is outdated and inefficient.  It is primarily a system for putting access to the forms of consciousness into the hands of concentrated centers of impersonal power, justified by projecting an image of the properly compensated and approved artist for their labors.

Don’t delve too far into that model—for every lucky artist you’ll find thousands ripped off, their rights in the vault of some conceptual entity that doesn’t count as a moral agent.  The millions who don’t get to participate at all because only “artists” can do that stuff?  They get to pay to know what they think.

Alternate economic models and mechanisms of access have been out for years.  Novels were the death of real books, just as recordable audiotape was the death of records and libraries would destroy bookstores.  Those with privilege, who stand to lose the most by sharing, always cry bitterly when community insists that people raise their standard of living more humanely.  Specialists are going to have to share their space with more generalists.

Access to data is still affected by class.  The decline of fossil fuels and rare metals leads to a cage match between military contracts and consumer electronic manufacturers.  The iron rule of oligarchy always obtains.  But humans are naturally moral and strive for freedom.  The human condition is nature’s way of making us figure it out.

The Kindle and the iPad are already ancient history.  You think that’s what the kids are using?  I’ll let that one be a surprise.  Developers hate Apple.  Who is going to put Ebooks in the hands of starving villagers with a credit card?

The price for everything is inflated.  People want what they want now and they want to pay what they want to pay.  You going to tell the vast majority of mindless beasts how to think?  Good luck!  Prices will have to fall and the money to be made will shrink.  Subscriptions and proprietary ala Carte tollbooths are yesterday’s memories.  Get used to it, what you think is right doesn’t matter.

How are you going to control the exchange of thoughts?  No, seriously?  Actions can be directed with a truncheon or a lawsuit, but you going to tell people what to do with their thoughts?  Even brutal dictatorships let people think what they want as long as they obey.  Rust always trumps the iron rule in the end.

Nobody can predict the future.  If you think that’s what I’m doing you aren’t paying attention.  Invigorated by the conflagration, the forest will grow back.  The new life is always greater than the old.  The status quo is death; plenty of new species will migrate to fill the void.  That’s the scary thought—who will be the new neighbor?  Won’t you be my neighbor?

The playing field gained a new dimension as well as a new form.  This isn’t squeezing anything out; it’s rather that the old way of doing things is not going to dominate any more.  It will have to content itself with being a smaller fraction of a greater whole.

Yes, this means even the crap gets a say.  Or do you mean “the crap we don’t approve of”?  I say let the crap hounds have their say and show us what they got.  If they can’t ante up they’ll make for some fine fertilizer in the new forest.  Freedom of speech means the right to participate alongside the great names and have your turn to speak—look at any sportscaster program with call-ins.

All of us start at the Level Zero crap hound bottom.  Never forget we all begin in ignorance and grow according to many variables outside our conscious control.  It’s in all our interests to create ecosystems of variable creative exploration.  It’ll do both the wizards and the crap hounds some good.

Physical objects are totems to show allegiance.  Don’t underestimate that.  Also keep in mind that whatever is not nailed down is mine and whatever I can pry loose is not nailed down.  Thoughts want to be free, so let them be so!  Air always escapes a prison.  The point is to hook up people who have an affinity with your thoughts and gratify them with stuff they actually want.

Youth culture is already doing this.  They grow up with everything that ever was at their fingertips, creating their own wants and satisfying their own curiosity.  Literacy is exploding like a thunderbolt.  Get out of the way if you can’t lend a hand.

Doomsday fantasies of resentment can eat my shorts.  We’re already there.  The hum of the lightning age moves through an emerging electro-agrarianism that will bring both a shadow we’ve never encountered before and a worldwide literacy the likes of which cannot be conceived of.

Just wait until you see the child Pbook and Ebook make together.

The hybrid is the message of the savior of humanity, believe it!

Out on the loch state of mind in the lifeboat, I pried open The Accumulator and rummaged around.  Seems like the memories of an old flame stirred the pot and brought a few things to the surface into clearer vision.

It appears I wrote a journal entry about the incredible day I had smoked oysters. That moment moved me so strongly I had to set it down on paper lest I forget the intensity of it.

From the meeting at the bus stop—she having first done a morning walk in the woods to think us over—I dodging a dear friend’s photo meeting so I could get up early (eleven AM is early for me) and be on time.

Together through a long day on the town worthy of a dozen dates.  On into a night of just two people talking and sharing a connection.  To the kiss goodnight keeping me from getting to sleep until five AM (thus having to write it all out of my system).

But even before that day, a journal entry about the kiss.  The first one, soft and wonderful beyond imagining.  Opening my heart and sending me straight to the bottom that would become a return to the surface. Then I realize I’m flooded with memories, reading a non-linear journal moving back and forth between moments in time and space to tell me what I have forgotten.

See, I built this inner space communications module, an interocitor if you will, out of cardboard and magic markers. But as my friend Xtine would say, the model kits we see in the store don’t quite make the grade. What we have inside is the real thing.

Back when I was on UFO Girl’s ship of the I-magination there was alien and earthling co-contamination. See, if I could build an advanced organic technology at eight years old then it stands to reason I might be able to develop and improve upon that model in some capacity. Completing the picture by sticking an antenna on the whole thing to get better reception.

So there’s that musical pattern playing on my viewscreen now in sound and sight, accessed by looking in an old memory constellation of love—what else are spaceships powered by?


Hek yeah, my music quest demands that I answer this one.  Yes.  Yes!

Good ol’ UFO Girl, crazy as she is, left musical messages for me during that time for me to find now. It’s like opening a time torpedo.  “This is how you put the antenna on,” followed by “This is how you look into your brain and extract materials for analysis.”

Because hidden within the nuances of my life, powered by the completed harmony of an array of musical meditations, she’s hidden the plans for me to build my own flying saucer.

That was some kiss my old flame and I shared.

Now that the Celtic New Year has started up, it appears that the seas have calmed for a while.  Into this spare time I’ve been practicing my physical routines and learning the recorder.  Got to keep up the psychic kung fu training for Mother Mary’s Personal Assistant.

She upped the ante last week and I felt it in my ankle (which made me think of Xtine’s current ankle recovery mode), plus I got smoked in recorder practice.  If I wasn’t dedicated this is where I’d be getting real discouraged about now.

But I’m committed to the routines.  I know from past experience you have to go for the long haul with these kinds of lessons.  And I’m learning a lot about undeveloped aspects of my mind and body.  This gets me from the blind side but it’s good training.

The activity has inspired K to try some new bread kung fu.  She’s been experimenting with sour dough batches.  Starting them, nourishing them until the generations of yeast get attuned to their environment, and drawing out of them various flavors.  Then having to bake loaves of bread out of the mix.

Side benefit—some of the tastiest pancakes I have ever had.  Dense and absorbent enough to handle syrup, but still light and fluffy enough to cut with a fork.  They practically leap into my mouth they are so darn good.

The killer bees have settled into the new honeycomb hideout nicely.  They’ve kept to themselves, mutating and self-directing their destiny in mysterious ways.  I got the bonus round too—Lucerna (that’s MMPA’s name) got me seriously hooked onto raw and rough honey now.  All the granules of pollen and other goodies on top make for some wicked honey-tea.  She said I’d been taking such good care of the bees, that this clue got unlocked as a special maneuver.

Plus, she helped me locate my beloved Portland-Oregon black with white trim alpaca sweater, which had been missing after the first year in the haunted house.  Just in time for winter, so warm and snuggly soft is this wonderful garment.  Whoo!  I guess I need all this training and recovery.  Got work to do after all.

Prepare yourselves; this story is a long one. Go get a tasty beverage, and come back when you’re ready for the haul.

Mercury delivers an invitation
It’s taken me a few days to recover from the physical exhaustion and make sense of the psychological contents. Just in time for October, a Celtic New Year dawning as an old one draws to a close. A year filled with a series of transformative changes that happen once in a lifetime, if at all.

A lot in this post is difficult to say, because I have friends who love me and who enjoy U2 regardless of my personal journey and changed outlook. Yet, I owe them a lot. They’re part of the reason I’m in the psychic place I am now. It’s not easy being green, but I’m coping.

My friend Liephus, crafty Gemini that he is, got his hands on two general admission tickets to U2 at FedEx Field in Maryland. Without having to pay a scalper. He just has that kind of keen luck when it comes to these sorts of things. For example, he obtained good seats for a Baltimore concert during the Elevation Tour.

He calls me up with like two days notice. I have to laugh at the ironic randomness of it all. Back when I adored U2, I couldn’t get a ticket to save my life. Now (relatively) cheap and awesome tickets offer themselves to me as easy as pie. I’m pleased to say yes, because this promises to be interesting, given how I’ve explored my feelings for the group over the last year.

There’s a post I’m mulling over, on how exposure to UFO Girl adjusted my nervous system to pick up the effectively-infinite music of subspace radio. The narrative quest of seeking out alchemical, musical formulas and reclaiming our own soundtrack is difficult work. It’s relevant here because it’s allowed me to notice how we project onto rock stars our own need to shine and receive adulation, and how that makes us vulnerable to psychic contagions.

A locust on the windshield
Before I head out, my folks and K worry about the plans I’ve made to meet up with Liephus. We have a bit of an irrational row over it, which strikes me as odd. I know this is an adventure springing up out of the unconscious, and I’m aware of the potential for it to be impersonal. I take it as a sign to be cautious, because strange things are afoot.

As I drive out I notice a locust walking on my windshield. The synchronicity is not lost on me. The contagion of possession is already in the air. I resolve myself to be safe and to be a good locust. I direct power to deflectors, maneuvers and sensors. Hope they hold up to any magnetic radiation going on.

Liephus, my Hermes guide through this journey, is in good spirits. It’s good to hang out with him and catch up. We don’t get to do enough of it these days. Though perhaps just as my super-duper, techno-webmaster friend (who calls himself Turtle) was able to bust through the reefs to have lunch with me, so too is Liephus able to drop a line. With Liephus it’s all about the funny, as my pal Alexi can attest.

Arriving at the venue, I’m reminded of the coliseums of ages past. Bread and Circuses. Mass entertainment, controlled by a vast infrastructure of minders. Activists ply the crowd for signatures of interest in causes, as if a large gathering of people attending a performance in pursuit of a shared interest in a particular kind of happiness weren’t a dissident act.

A helicopter hovers overhead wasting fuel. A radio station reports on the event—I sometimes forget there ever was such a thing as radio. It’s been so co-opted by our owners I haven’t willingly listened in years. Blackberry, one of the official sponsors, is busy making their presence known with advertisements and salesfolk, who seek marks in the audience willing to take download suggestions.

I have a feeling that I’m likely one of the few people without a cell phone. It’s a double-edged sword, but here the mass-presence of such devices in a large group strikes me as fascinating. Each of us carrying our own personal computer, tracking device, telepathic connection to the collective, entertainment unit, information retrieval service and camera. Mephistopheles has wrought well on his end of the bargain.

What strikes me most however, is the sheer amount of energy all this consumes. The carbon footprint (whatever that really means) must be enormous.

Lefsetz talks about how the concert business might be in trouble as people make concert-going a once-a-year kind of thing rather than a monthly form of entertainment. His arguments tend to be based on price, aging super-acts that won’t be replaced, and a change in cultural pursuits.

He might be on to something—that’s certainly a phenomena that’s happened to me with movies—a once a year thing. And it’s interesting to me to consider how the decline of oil will affect this kind of public event. However, those are all external considerations. On a personal level, this grand spectacle reminds me of a long, dark parade. With everyone going under the knife to keep it going—the act, the audience, the backroom puppeteers—even me.

Into the lowest level
Liephus and I descend into the general admission pit. We manage to take up a position close to the circular walkway, with an excellent view of the stage. I prefer to be on my feet so I can dance, and close enough to the performers that I feel involved. So the situation is shaping up to be ideal.

It’s an international audience, a variety of classes and walks of life represented. There’s a group of Brazilians in front of us all chilling out and speaking amongst themselves. Behind us is a small, tight-knit group of Germans being stoic but probably enjoying themselves just the same. There’s a father with his young son. Teenagers, old timers, yuppies, working class. There are famous people up in the suites above us too. Good times.

The stage is dominated by a huge structure held overhead by four supports. A circular, stretchable dot matrix kind of video screen hovers above with a weird spike in the middle full of lights. In each of the legs three men in capsules hang suspended by chains to shine colored lights on the stage.

I read that it’s called “the claw”. I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly is a weird structure. Reminding me of a four-legged spider. Maybe it’s supposed to be a spaceship and that’s what Bono was referring to during the night when he talked about taking off in one. My thought was the band built the thing out of recycled parts from the Pop-Mart tour to try and make back some of the money they supposedly lost on that tour.

There’s an ugly incident while we’re waiting the two hours for the show to start. A young drunken marine accompanied by a chaperone buddy begins hassling the crowd around him, nearly picking a fight with one of the Brazilians. This tall guy comes over and sternly warns the drunk to behave himself. I catch snippets of conversation that the guy is an officer and understands the drunk’s troubles, but he needs to behave.

It’s a tense scene. I’m on the lookout for a yellow-jacket to flag over, but of course there’s never one around when you need one. I just hope that whatever starts I can dodge it long enough for the crowd to immobilize the drunk (and his friend if he joins in).

The guy is already in the unreliable word salad of extreme drunkeness, but I catch him going off about having to go to Afghanistan. I’d be getting drunk too if that was in my cards, so if it’s true I emphasize. Despair at the real possibility of being stuffed in a pine box is no joke. But I exert all my psychic thoughts towards diffusion and avoidance. I do not need possession here, now.

Time is on my side, and they disappear. When you’re that drunk it’s a countdown to the toilet and/or unconsciousness. It does leave me thinking. Here I am attending a concert suffused with causes supported by the act, yet there are wars of criminal aggression going on right now in two countries, with a third still a possibility. Two Vietnams for the price of one, with a bonus round in the wings.

Losing the scent
The opening act was Muse. I hadn’t heard of them before until I looked up who was opening this concert, and I didn’t get a chance to YouTube them, so I didn’t know what to expect.

There were a fair number of fans in the audience familiar with them. Objectively I’d say they were good. Certainly leagues above Fun Lovin’ Criminals who opened for the concert I saw in 1997. I think they performed their task of warming up the audience very well.

Lots of bombast and heavy guitar riffs. Plenty of energy and enthusiasm. At times I picked up Van Halen and Metallica influences. But I found them forgettable. I guess “good” nowadays just means playing your own instruments.

Later in the concert Bono would thank Muse for opening for them, going on at length about how Muse was a number 1 band, about to be number 1 in the country. I wish he hadn’t said that. Because if that’s true, I couldn’t help but think U2 was more associating themselves with a relevant trend than offering a lesser-known band a chance at publicity.

After another period of waiting, U2 came on the scene. Finally! I’d only been standing patiently by for hours and boy were my dogs killing me. I was jonesin’ for a pick-me-up, but alas. Because Liephus and I were packed in by the crowd, and basically not motivated enough to go through the pay-drink-potty-repeat cycle, we hadn’t been hitting the vendors. I found this a strange development, because I usually enjoy a certain amount of inebriation during a concert. I took it as a sign I was meant to observe this event with sensors on full.

Larry the drummer came on stage first, which was a nice touch as he was the guy who started the band. The view was pretty good. Not close enough for a personal space connection, but definitely in the same room. The possibility of a human contact is at least conceivable. I’m as close as I’ve ever come in physical space-time to people I’ve looked up to.

The sound system is not so hot. Too much hard base and not enough clarity. I thought it was just Muse’s style, but once U2 get going I see the system is set up a certain way. If you don’t know the song you can’t understand the lyrics at all. I recognize the songs off the new album from the basic melodies, but that’s about it.

Bono’s voice is poor. I swear at times it sounds like a tinny squeak, as if he’s some kind of munchkin. His vocal range is shot. Worse than that, his charisma is way off base tonight. The show comes to a halt several times during the show so he can slap his gums about some soap box issue he wants to go on about. Dude, shut up and sing. Stop breaking the flow and harshing my mellow man.

The worst thing for me is many of the songs segue into other popular songs. For example, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For turns into Stand By Me. I really hate this kind of approach. It hearkens back to Rattle and Hum, when U2 were accused of ingratiating themselves with various rock acts. It never comes off well here, I feel like they are trying to convince me how big time they are.

Dude, I know you’re big time. You don’t have to prove a thing. This makes me feel cheap.

The bassist Adam walks calmly about the paths assigned to him. He’s a Pisces so I feel a kinship with him, even if it’s unconscious. I dig how he walks about, showing his skill without much ado. It may just be cocky smugness, but it also might be the ability to just enjoy what he does and keep the whole thing together with tremendous art. I like what he’s doing the most—covering the gaps and keeping the show moving along with understated skill.

But I’m focusing on external realities here.

Into the death
I used to be just a concert participationist. That is, I relied on the artist(s) to send the message to me and I would do anything they asked to keep the energy flowing. Not anymore.

Over the last year I’ve discovered a quality within me, a psychological power to draw upon deep resources and share strength. One of the ways this expresses itself is when I go to concerts. I don’t just receive, I give. The artists reflect back to the audience their own need to experience being alive. And there I am, reflecting back to the artist that what they do is sacred, needed, beyond the infinite.

At first, the band members pick up on the unseen energy streaming towards them, nourishing them with encouragement. The first few songs, I see in their body language that they recognize something’s different. It’s kind of cool, because your psychology isn’t what most people are expressing, and that makes an impact.

When I saw Bob Dylan in concert, he turned towards me and reflected my giving back at me. I had to stop, and was arrested by a timeless moment, the moment of true art. Artist and audience on the fulcrum together. How cool is that?!

After a few songs, the band members (who I believe are all pretty tight and attuned to each other, as all long-lived bands probably are) start to dodge me. I can sense it. They don’t want my energy at all. Which is both weird and disappointing. I’m not being rational here at all; it’s a fantasy in my head, yet external reality matches the internal dialogue. I let go of my efforts and let the performance unfold without my input. There’s no room for it here.

Bono often exhorts the audience to clap hands, make peace signs, or sing along at select points. I refuse to participate. I am not of the crowd even though I am. Am I a damned betrayer? A voice inside me says “No, you are true, even thought it pains you.” It feels too much like audience manipulation to me, as if we were all at a 1984 Save For Hate Week rally, responding to the unspoken contract of words and gestures to act on automatic.

I also refuse to look at the bright screen up above, even though now I can hardly see the band because of their dodge. I force myself to look away from the programmed electric spectacle and seek out the real people behind the performance. I insist on a human experience. But they flee.

It’s as if the audience move to hide the performers when they might have to show themselves. People taking constant pictures with their cellphones and digital cameras, as if they could not hold this moment in their hearts even if they wished it.

The capturing behavior of the personal cameras make me think of the dearly departed George Carlin who commented on this very phenomenon. “How can people be nostalgic about such a concept as ‘a little while ago’?” But this is how people are now.

Yet I am moved by the songs that break through the inauthentic lifelessness of the wasteland to bear witness to living. Then I make my own devil sign as if I’m at a heavy metal concert. Considering the storm of heavy base this is not inappropriate. I sing aloud to myself.

Yet I know the double meaning of the sign. I am hexing as well as representing. I am crossing lines and upholding them. Those around me are confused and reassured because I’m giving mixed signals. I am anguished, however. To be both at one with the group and yet be apart from them is the suffering of the rebel. Strong and weak at both times, having to live on both sides of the line without comfort. I’d rather be part of the crowd, they must be going somewhere.

There is a sensation that I recognize as being part of the greater me of me. An experience that speaks to me a living spirit’s bridge to the time and space of now which I must inhabit between two points. That sensation comes to my attention now. I hadn’t expected it to appear here in this place, but it does so now, and I wait for it to give me a clue as to why I’m here. Who am I that I should be here now, in this dark parade, witnessing and consciously regarding.

I am not here in my heart even though I wish to be with those who are enjoying the concert with all my being. Am I spoilsport? “No, you are a true fan.” Have I changed? “Yes.” Has the band changed? “Yes.” I put my hands in my pockets and touch K’s talisman to reassure myself. Her caring for me I imagine will help me see this through.

Out of the depths, I try to remember a song I wish U2 would play right about now, but it eludes me. I spend the rest of the concert at intervals trying to remember the name, even though the lyrics come to mind.

And what am I to do?
What in the world am I to say?

I despair, because I know there was a time when U2 was a measure by which I knew myself. I could listen to almost anything of theirs and go to my happy place.

Then the highlight of the evening. U2 plays The Unforgettable Fire, without any crap, and for a single song I am reminded of the times when this passion of mine was true and boundless. I close my eyes and dance, back in my own Lorien and Revelstone.

Don’t push me too far, don’t push me too far, tonight

Am I pushing? “Yes.” What am I pushing? “Yourself, with expectations that are no longer appropriate.”

I’m only asking but I think you know
Come on take me away, come on take me home again.

What’s being asked? “To let go.” What am I taking home tonight? “A piece of yourself from this parade.”

I suddenly realize the last 3 albums of U2 have sucked for me. I’m in a slow fade out. Every concert I go to from now on will only have more and more sucky songs that I don’t like, the ones I do connect with slowly disappearing. Save for moments like these where some small crumb will remind me of times long gone by.

I understand now some of what Galadriel meant when she said she passed the test, and would diminish to go into the west, and remain herself. This isn’t an unfamiliar experience. I’ve already dealt with it somewhat in the decline of my favorite roleplaying game, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. But that is a post and a story for another time.

Do I really want to go through life on the “Fun-never” principle? That is, 95% crap to get 5% payoff? That seems to be what the times are all about now. But I have seen how it doesn’t have to be that way. I took it for granted before, but this time I see it. Freedom and responsibility at the same time. I want “Fun-now.”

No one wants to believe when their time has come, but now I am forced to believe!

Ashes, ashes
I’m sober, which I’d rather not be. My body is starting to feel the effects of this experience. My feet hurt with the hours of standing and dancing upright. Hunger and thirst start to gnaw their way to my attention. I’m a fasting hermit, sacrificing physical comforts for the sake of a numinous experience. That’s when the visions start to dance at the edges of my eyesight.

The tall guy who diffused the ugly situation earlier alternates between watching me warily and genuinely enjoying the concert. I don’t blame him for being cautious. My body language must be confusing people. I notice that a space is opening up around me, as often happens in concerts. People start to get the message that I’m different. That I’m here on weird business.

Out of the corner of my eyes Bono’s face becomes that of a ghastly insect. Well, he has played the part of a character known as “the Fly” in years past. He walks by on the walkway, trying to get people to throw their hands up. They do, but I hide behind them, I no longer want him to notice me.

In fact I can’t stand him when he speaks in between songs. He stumbles over his words as if he were a two year old; making statements about the world that seem so phony or off base I want to cringe. Near the end of the concert, for the encore, he comes out dressed in a suit covered in lasers and I look away as if he were trying to blind me with the stupidity of his costume.

The lights dim, and he asks everyone to light up their cell phone. He’s making a point about all of us being pieces of some big happy galaxy of stars or some such platitude. But I have no such tool. I am dark matter, a dark star, a dog star moving through the audience without a technological marker. It’s an incredibly disheartening and isolating a moment for me.

Bono sings One and Ultraviolet (Light My Way) during the encore. The first sounds like an accusation, the second a plea of grief.

Did I disappoint you?
Did I leave a bad taste in your mouth?

I admit, my mouth tastes like a skid mark right about now.

I remember when we could sleep on stones
But now we lay together in whispers and moans

The sensation is present again, so I strive to pay attention. There’s a message here that seems to be saying, “Come back to us, we are lost.”

Bono went off near the start of the concert about the band having a spaceship, which wouldn’t leave without the audience. I recoiled. I’m not looking for some fantastical escape plan. No one here gets out alive! I did the UFO escape back when I did X-Day 1996. The real life space program has run its race and there’s no golden ticket dude.

How would I come back to anyone who was lost? “Hear what is said.” Where am I? “At a crossroads.” Aren’t I already there? “Yes.” One foot in the real, one in the unreal? “Yes, now move your wounded, aching feet back and forth to the sound that approaches.” Is this a temptation? “Yes, this is a dangerous moment, as crossroads are.”

I am moved to imagine myself turning back to rescue souls still in darkness. But this spaceship ain’t me, it’s a savior fantasy the kind my false idol might indulge in. I’d love to fly high—I reach my hands to the sky like branches, but my feet dig into the earth like roots in pain.

Xtine once asked me in a letter to teach her. She had nothing to give, no wisdom or insight. I was so angry then, because I wanted someone to be my teacher, not be one myself. Now I’m looking at another teacher and finding I can’t stand the sight of him. Is this really the me that I wanted to be, could have been, wasn’t, is?

“You caught a glimpse of yourself, sought after it with all your heart, and now you have it”.

What the Hek do I know? “Enough to wrestle with this telling.” I had to be my own teacher, even as my false idols ran out of mojo, leaving me to face the nothingness of the real me. But how do I handle being this sucky? “You have something in you to see this through.”

As Bono starts up the last song of the evening (I peeked at the previous setlists online so I know what the odds are of various songs being played), there’s another song I wish he’d sing. But Acrobat is too real for this moment, too off the chart to be honored now. Bono sings the words to a crappy song I can’t stand, but I hear the song I really long for:

And I’d join the movement if there was one I could believe in
Yeah I’d break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive in

Whatever it is I’m going through, it’s right on. The sensation has delivered the message, now it’s up to me to understand. I believe it’s time for me to separate from this parade, before I plunge into a madness of sadness. Even though I’m wounded by the change in U2, can never go back, am fearfully worried by this strange experience, still I believe in what is occurring. Maybe I’m the only person free to act.

What will we do now that its all been said
No new ideas in the house and every book has been read

The magic has gone away, all things that could have been done have been done, there is naught left to do but die a little bit to myself. The earlier lyrics of New Year’s Day come back to me, and I go back to the beginning, back to the first U2 song I ever heard.

I—I will begin again.
I—I *will* begin again.

I willingly accept this passing away and give away my fantasies of U2. Then I aim psychic torpedoes at each of the band members in turn. Lock on. Fire. Blasts of energy bounce off their deflectors (I’m nobody, and they’re imbued with archetypal energy after all), then I watch as my vision blacks out, the entire dark parade collapsing like a paper doll (or a dry layer of skin) and burning away to ashes. A piece of me is gone forever now.

From a nest of myrrh
The lights of the stadium burn like flares, the half moon bright in the night sky. I’m back in the real world with both feet, which ache so bad I fear I will collapse. Luckily, my guide Liephus is there and he steadies me with his awesome mirth. I take steps and manage to hobble towards the exit as the crowd disperses.

I take a step, then another. Just as thunder boomed when I walked out the door of the haunted house, my deafened ears echo with silence as I depart the dark parade both externally and internally. There’s a echoing final tremor in my soul.

I leave the dark parade as if I were freed from a prison of the self. Crowds everywhere, vehicles, life continues. They may as well be symbols of life energy freed up by the end of the parade. I know that it wasn’t me. But part of me can’t help but feeling I’ve broken a spell, and souls are released into the night to live their lives again. Or at least my soul is my own, and the exodus mirrors the vast energies of my heart flowing back into the world.

The return home is not unlike a reminder of the continuing struggle of life. Hordes of people stuffed into metal subway coffins like sardines in industry. Not unlike the line of students marching into the meat-grinder / brick-maker machine from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This is the ultimate face and fate of the rebellion and social consciousness U2 peddles.

Yet everything proceeds as if it were a dream. A silent song of witness bears me along and I behold with detachment and the fear/desire of being alive—threats of harm, disappointment, hopes that something important will break through.

For a moment, I recognize how many songs, friends and clues have been given to me that I might survive this very night and understand. It’s a sign of a process within me, a culminating act of personal discovery that has been building for years to emerge into consciousness.

Liephus and I reach the end of the line and part ways. I’m so grateful to him for being my guide, but I don’t know how to express it without sounding dumb. So I get in my beaten down, smoke belching car and drive home.

A need arises in me to make a conscious choice as to what the experience means, now that I witnessed a strange eruption from the unconscious, this dark parade. It is not enough to view the contents of the deep, one is called to make sense of them even if one does not hope to be right about the sense.

“Return. Shine.”

The song I’ve been trying to remember comes to me at last. Rejoice from the October album, the last U2 album I ever bought that I liked.

I can’t change the world
But I can change the world in me
If I rejoice

My journey started in 1983, bloomed in 1987, crested in 1997, weakened in 2000, and ended in 2009. And I enter October, the Celtic New Year, having completed a cycle so profound I can scarcely begin to comprehend it.

I should be upset. Instead I’m joyful. The journey is complete. I make my own music now, and I dance to the concert of my heart. That’s stuff I’ve been working on for a while.

Back at home, K and the kitties welcome me with their awesome vitality, even though it’s late. My mom dropped by and left a delicious dinner for me in the fridge. RC Cola and fried chicken spaghetti, yeah! I feel like Max from Where The Wild Things Are at the end of the story, safe at home to rest, having gone through the darkness and returned to find everything in its right place.

I crash hard. But I dream just the same, at first peaceful and incomprehensible, as if the dream itself is a part of what I am seeing. I’m in high school freshman gym class, sitting in the lines we used to while waiting for class to start, bored and constrained by rules.

Then a spirit wells up inside me and I spring to my feet. I dance, moving and flying like a wild dervish, defying gravity and convention alike while the song Rejoice resonates in my dream. Joyous feelings course through me, and the walls of my high school gym are replaced by a vast expanse of mountains in a high valley.

The last thing I remember before I wake up is that I’m about to do wonderful things and I know it because I and my song are together, flying in the same direction.

The new honeycomb hideout has an interesting feature in the backyard.  Our neighbor has placed a statue of Mother Mary on a pedestal, flanked on either side by golden angels blaring trumpets.  So every time I look outside, her head pokes above the fence to keep an eye on me, angels blaring away on their trumpets.  Talk about having a sacred and watchful eye on one’s self.

There’s a catnip plant for the kitties in the front yard.  Since we moved in it’s been taking off like gangbusters.  We give the kitties a leaf each now and then, but only as a special treat.  I swear, right off the plant the cats go right to their happy place and purr contentedly.  I mean, when you have Cat Town, after two years of haunted house duty, I’d be a honey tiger too.

I’m guessing that in a while the kitties will be adapted to the new wonder and begin bugging us with new ideas.  But for now I’m so happy to have them on a peaceful recovery.  Who knows how many zomboids and ghostaloos they lazored for us when the hell house was in full effect.

Mother Mary’s short duration personal assistant came by the other day.  She had with her a bottle of RC cola and a pack of ice.  Whoa, our haunted freezer refused to accept ice bags, as it was dimensionally not set up for anything beyond TV dinner sized.  She pours me a tall glass of RC on ice and pushes the sudsy spray right up to my nose.

“Close your eyes and sniff,” she says.

Oh man, I forgot how much fun it is to bring the suds of an icy poured drink up to your nose and let the bubbles tickle your spine.  It’s like a fizzy lifting alchemy, making your nose sticky and damp at the same time as the noise crackles in your ears.

“Have you been doing your exercises?”

Uh, like no.  Kind of been in emergency evacuate mode.  Still recovering.  She rolls with it, tells me I’ll be get back to my body awareness exercises once I’m ready.  In the meantime, she prescribes a musical training to supplement my psychic kung fu.  Says I have to complete the gaps in my wholeness.  This I won’t be able to get away from, she says.  I’m like, yeah cool, I’m committed.

She laughs.  All I had to do was say yes.  The rest will handle itself.

I guess so!  She’s got things to do, people to see, so we cut it short.  Outside, cicadas are chirring like nobody’s business.  I spot a discarded cicada exoskeleton on the exploding-with-growth tomato plant in the front yard as I wave to her.

Which is funny, because a friend of mine was just complaining about how cicadas keep showing up in the literature he’s been reading, as symbols of remembrance–days when one was young.  I do admit there’s something primal about cicadas.  But my youthful nostalgia evocative sound is trucks on a highway.  Sends me back to when I lived in a car.

And fizzy cola on the nose is also an evocative sensation for me.  As a kid I would run right up to glasses and yell, “suds!”  So maybe that’s the lesson.  Getting back in touch, after being in the hopper for two years.

036_daathiandoorway.jpgFor a long while, I stare at the gaping hole in the wall.  My Bad Ronald has always been able to use his secret doors to come and go in my brain’s main corridors.  So the irrational fear in my gut that he will escape and attack me like the evil baby in It’s Alive is the fear I feel everyday about being alive.  Will Bad Ronald pull my strings?

In a strange way, I’ve busted out of the prison my Bad Ronald found himself in for him, sparing him the tragic and sad ending at the end of the Bad Ronald movie.  But in a sense that makes me a Bad Ronald.  I’ve willingly participated in the drama of a part I normally wouldn’t want to associate myself with.

I don’t think I can expect him to show himself just yet, even though I sense him lurking just out of sight like a black shirted, human sized leprechaun in black pants I once dreamt about.

Time to let myself be drawn back in.  Candle in one hand, slapstick in the other, its time to get busy.  I don’t think this is over yet.

There are these stony stairs in the between-brain hallways that weren’t there before.  I hear a repulsive, but beautiful voice singing in echoes through a deep, watery cavern below the halls.  I swear I can smell and hear the sea.

A peculiar rage comes over me, and an unbearable hunger, as if my stomach were running on empty for hours.  My ears begin to itch furiously.  For a moment I’m too out of my mind to take in the surroundings I find myself in.

I hear a deep, resounding noise out in the faraway ocean.  I realize something out there is answering the singing in the cavern.  My Bad Ronald sings in dark caves, and ocean creatures, maybe even sea serpents, talk back to him.

I listen, and lose myself in the mysterious between-brain below-hall cavern near the sea.  My Bad Ronald ain’t so bad.

A couple of months ago, I went on about how I wanted to find the music.  Even though I had failed to find it in the heroes I had hoped would manifest it in real life.  I was free to break away and find what I was missing on my own.

It really crushed me to find out that I shouldn’t hold up regular people, even exemplary people, up to a standard of heroic coolness.  We need people to manifest the hero for us, even if it isn’t real or true.

There was a wound in me.  How to find the sound of the secret in my being, when I couldn’t even make music myself?  What to do when the only skill I have is the tendency to grope for what is personally healthy?  The beauty of what is deep for this blessing magic goes back and deeper than I can imagine.

I mean that.  You want me to testify, I can explain it back to the dinosaurs.

There is a sequential beauty and an intention to manifest truth behind the music of our lives that exists despite our experience.

It is with that faith that I went about searching.  If my role models couldn’t provide what I needed, then I needed to find it myself.  If you seek, you will find clues.  And so I found a few small signs and landmarks in the Internets.

Secrets and mysteries revealed themselves to me once my allegiance to music was undecided.  A little birdie sent me a message.  Check these groups out, she said.  And so I did.

  • Comsat Angels – Before U2 was famous, they opened for this band once.  They have a dark sound that mixes well with what I like.
  • Echo and the Bunnymen – Edgy and emotional.  This group has several albums that make me feel super dudely.
  • Big Country – Perhaps a little too dramatic at times to be useful in my life experiences.  I like how they make me feel though.
  • The Sound – Wordy and intentional.  Their intentions are worth listening to and making thoughts out of.  I realize I need to know more.

These bands and their past attempts to find the truth helped me through a dense quasar of my own personal seaweed tangles.

No.  Really.  I found alchemical formulas that would not have revealed themselves to me unless I had been serious.  These groups would not mean anything to me unless I had abandoned what I believed was real.

What was it I was seeking?  If only my friends back then could have made it all better!  Stand back, my dearest friends.  I was not well.  Let me be, and see if I get better.

Nature.  Instinct.  Intuition.

Music is the right way for me to figure stuff out.  Isn’t that weird?

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