The News This Morning
Pedestrian run down and killed over on the Manhattan West Side, at 57th and 9th Avenue. Teevee showed cops handcuffing a young black man, owner of the car.
A young girl's body was found in Jersey after she'd been murdered by a big, shaved head drug dealer and his prostitute girl friend in a sleaze bag Jersey hotel, both who looked way demented to me.
Death. All death.
Then the news from the Middle East and more death. Still fresh death everyday in Baghdad. Death in Afghanistan. Dirty death in Lebanon. Death in Israel. Death. More death.
KILL. KILL. KILL.
Then comes a warning that the East Coast is fixing to come under a 6-day heat wave with temperatures soaring up toward 100 for each of those glorious days--then the talking heads start looking serious and start talking about how easy it is to die during a heat wave, especially for old people and pets. I kid you not; their final concern was for pets being left in Beamers while their owners are shopping for luxuries. One channel had a woman on giving advice to mothers on how to not forget and leave their young children in cars during the summer heat spells. One suggestion she made was for a mother to put her purse in the backseat with her child, that way when she parks to go shopping, she'll remember she put her purse by the baby and at the same time, she'll remember the baby, too. You believe that crap? Amazing.
Death is everywhere. The world is dying, folks. Should we start the funeral already?
I'm avoiding death by reading books these days. I love reading books while it's hotter than hell. Currently, I'm reading H.D.'s fine little book, Tribute to Freud, discussing her relationship with Sigmund Freud in the thirties in Vienna and then later in London right before he DIED.
Then in the mail yesterday came a book I'd been looking forward to for a couple of years, Memos, by Charles Ives, edited by pianist John Kirkpatrick. And gee-willikers, what an awesome job of editing and compiling. There are 142 pages of these "memos" that Ives dictated to a private secretary in the 1930s as he sat down and started going over everything he'd written, which led to discussing music in general, boldly taking the stance that by God he is America's greatest composer, plus, he's also convinced himself he is definitely taking music into a different world for the first time, like atonality and quartertones, a music that would precedent both Stravinsky and Schoenberg, the darlings of the European avant garde. Ives is firm in his confidence that he is the most innovative composer in the world at the time he's dictating these memos. He understands improvisation better than Bach. Beethoven he hollers doesn't use enough chords. Critics are "ladies." [Jazz great Lester Young called nearly everybody "Lady."] Gullible people are called "Rollos," after a popular book character of Ives's youth featuring a wide-eyed conformist named Rollo. It's a marvelous book for someone like me who has been immersed in old Charles's innovations since I first heard them as a teenager.
I even went down a composed a song today based on something I learned from Ives--first it started with me playing a D-minor triad over a C-minor triad and follow a 3/4 time but using a 1 played with 3 eighth notes, then an eighth note, a 1, two eighth notes, then 3 eighth notes, a 1, then 3 eighth notes--that's the measure. It makes sense to me and I read it the same as Ives wrote it; I put my own words to it and called it "Heat Wave Warning." Meaning: how can I complain about this heat when there are people in the world as I type this running for their F-ing lives in temperatures over 100, across burning sands, barefoot on burning concrete or burning asphalt, their homes and businesses being exploded into rubble behind them--they cannot look back; you notice, people excaping such horrors of war never look back?
When Thelonious Monk was told by drummer Arthur Taylor that he felt he was lucky to have survived growing up in New York City, Monk replied, "Sure you're lucky to have survived, you're lucky to survive every second. You're facing death at all times. You don't know where it's going to come from."
When asked the question, "Do you think musicians would be interested in your music?" Monk replied, "It's vague to me how I was thinking."
It's vague to me how I'm thinking tonight. I'm going out and have a party by myself; maybe eat a freshly killed young elk doe steak: "How do you want it, Mr. thegrowlingwolf?" "Raw as a Tartar, please," will be my answer.
I'm checking out of Hotel Death and checking into Hotel Living.
It's too hot to blog.
for The Daily Growler