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"Okay, it's just another show, and it's just another magic connection between the fates and the taste of a young man. And one has every right to point out how many more useful, more conscious, more simple, more neighborly, more creative things he could have put his resources toward, including his time."

by Peter Blackburn


There I was. There I go.

He's probably the dumbest looking guy, no, not exactly dumb, just plain, but not really; perhaps just that happy-I'm-dumb kind of peaceful thing that tells you, god, he's actually, for one moment in his life, not thinking about how he appears, how white-boy he dances, how that bounce to the beat looks more like a bobbing chicken in the form of a library assistant than the in-tune, in-synch, in-the-world-in-this-incredible-moment purity that he feels flowing through him as it is. Okay, it's just another show, and it's just another magic connection between the fates and the taste of a young man. And one has every right to point out how many more useful, more conscious, more simple, more neighborly, more creative things he could have put his resources toward, including his time. He's pretty convinced, without really convening the thought, that all those things are somehow fed by, culminated in, this little flicker of his life.

It's made waiting, saving, jostling, standing, gazing about aimlessly yet hoping to project an uncommitted sense of confident anticipation, and that perpetual mind game that's been plaguing at least mankind if not humanity and certainly him since time commenced of What The Hell Do I Do With My Hands When I'm In Public? all seem quite worth doing. His mind just stops, and yet feels like it just started going, in fact. The things he can't shut off just wander off, the flow he rarely knows is suddenly all of him, and he's taken. The rise of the moment, the immediate recognition of his part in this crucial community among them there and we here. Did I always know that a bass player would add that particular, imperative system? I just noticed that there's nothing merely supportive about that drummer, he's as much a collaborator, an inventor as anyone else, even in these little moments here where he's just switching off to a cymbal and holding a single stroke off from the pattern he'd seemed to set and yet now seems to be continually reinvented. And the sense that somehow, if I hadn't listened to that song, that album, that one little passage just one more time, I wouldn't have liked every single moment of each, they would've passed unnoticed, the whole rendered useless, or at least not critical to a future synapse of wholeness such as I'm experiencing. But I did, and it seems that every smile, grimace, snorty look just beyond an instrument, a mike, a ceiling beam, the haze of blue and purple light, every one of them has just a fraction of awareness that they helped make it for me, and that I actually manifested them forward to this fret. Me with the few hundred other peculiar but persistent and now paying and praising and 'preciating folk.

It's Wilco. No it's They Might Be Giants. Oh it's Yo La Tengo. It's R.E.M. It's the Cramps, goddamnit. It's actually the Replacements, or no, It's the Jayhawks, okay it's Talking Heads. U2. Morphine. Jonathan Richman. Matthew Sweet even. Victoria Williams, yes, in the flutter and lift of spirit and knowing and pure acceptance, it is. It's definitely outdoors there in Tuatara.

The realization, the opening, this sharing thing, bound integrally with such a complete selfish floating exquisite me-ness. The intimacy and thrust of the moments of the show, which is not a show at present but rather, even if just briefly, an unperformance, a freefall, an opening, expose, risk, flood, cast of pickup sticks, as four, five, three, one, just altogether let their skin off in the faith and hope without any good reason that their blood will just keep running within their remaining bodies instead of splashing out and endlessly across the room to flatten and dry and oxidize on the floor around our feet. So much is scripted, sure, and yet it's these brief, seemingly uncaring but so desperately needing to trust in the beauty of cacophony, gestures of passive generation that sink in, splash forward, warm, valid, set in my mortar. I'm always in these moments, and when I was there, I was already in the moments when I'd recall or reconnect to them.

It swirls around me, roils, seeps, blasts, sneaks and tugs, the air grabs my body, my nods of rightness and timing and fluidity a dance in its own dreary-to-behold way. I'm not giddy but thankful that this moment is mine, only matters to me, only matters as matters, and perhaps not even that, if anyone asked any of us here, there, then, now. Including the band. I know they can't always be having this much fun, and yet they do let go, they get something great out onto us all. I see the relief, the surprise, the acknowledgement among themselves. The facial shift clearly not designed for anything else but maybe outtakes. The smirk nearly as dumb in their self-conscience as my insipid, rocking, wavering bounce in my own. But god it's great to have those spots, those impulses when none of us, or at least not me this second and perhaps not you or you or her or them in another, takes the care of it; nope, I'll wear that hairshirt later, probably pretty soon, but now, it's loosed itself, perhaps snuck through a miniscule gap in the fences and bounded off to besiege another, forgotten me entirely, until it hungers again for my easy, uneasy awareness of myself. Loosed. Yes, that's it, each of us, somehow, within the confines of some small group, some small, dark, otherwise useless place, herein loosed.

Peter Blackburn was trained as an architect, but is also a stewer, a muser, a pense, an abstracter, and, of late, a resident of the California desert.

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