Monthly Archives: September 2002

Getting to see Sir Paul

You know, having recently acquire a pair of tickets so stardances and I could go see Paul McCartney on his latest tour of the US got me to thinking about how long, exactly, I have been influenced by the Beatles, as a Musician, as a person. When I was 6 or 7, my cousin (who at four years older was a complete Beatle freak, and owned EVERYTHING they ever produced, be it singles, EPs, lunch boxes, etc.) made two eight track tapes for me for Christmas of the Beatle albums Love Songs, Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Rock and Roll Music and most of the 45s. For a period of about five years, these were the only records I listened to, other than the occasional Elvis and Johnny Cash. I learned how to play guitar, bass, piano and organ from Beatles songbooks and records. Moreso than any other Musician, Paul McCartney influenced the bass player I am today. The funny thing is, up until about two days ago (perhaps when I bought the tickets), I typically would answer John when asked which was my “favorite” Beatle. You know, it always was Paul. It was always the melody that drew me in, that and the fact that I could actually sing like Paul – John was another matter altogether.

BTW, Paul McCartney was the FIRST person under the age of 30 EVER quoted in Life magazine. Of course, he said some inane things, like “if we gave all the world leaders LSD, this would be better planet” but THINK ABOUT IT. Before Paul McCartney, no one under 30 was considered to have an opinion worth circulating in mainstream print media. He also was one of the producers of the Monterey Pop Festival, co-introduced Indian religion to the west, has been a strong advocate of vegetarianism, and so on. He was also one of the first pop stars to get busted for drugs and have it enhance his reputation (LOL).

I know Paul has done some smarmy things (like suggesting to Michael Jackson that he go into the Music publishing business, and then letting himself get outbid for his own song collection – oh, why didn’t he and Yoko bid together on that one?), but consider this: without Paul, the Beatles probably never would have advanced beyond a teen audience, and would never have received as much mainstream airplay.

Yesterday is one of the most covered songs of all time, and was voted by VH1 viewers last year as the “greatest rock song of all time” (of course, they are VH1 viewers … their opinion should be considered in whatever light you view that sort of folk).

Some of the Paul songs that changed my life?

Helter Skelter
Oh Darling
Let It Be
Got to Get You Into My Life
All Together Now
Eleanor Rigby
Maybe I’m Amazed
Hey Jude
Why Don’t We Do It In the Road? …

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New computer

Well, I just spent a harrowing three days getting my new computer up and running. Switching from 2000 Professional to XP Professional, upgrading Office from 2000 to XP, switching from a USB modem connection to Ethernet, re-installing all my software, restoring every e-mail message, document, downloaded file and website … all this, mind you, in the midst of Tropical Storm Isidore.

No sleep for the wicked, I guess. But now I’m back up and running, and other than networking my old PC into the loop so I don’t have to fiddle with transferring EVERYTHING at once, and so I can take advantage of the additional storage space, my trials with respect to switching OS and computer and all that are coming to a close.

Now if I could just find something interesting to write about … hmmm …

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So ends another weekend. We (stardances and I) were hoping to have a quiet weekend to ourselves, just cleaning and organizing and having a very quiet, uneventful time of it. But the lives of teenagers are SO uncertain – it turns out that the Troll Queen decided to stay with us rather than visit her father this weekend. And so there were three. It wasn’t really too much noisier, however, since she had a number of activities to participate in that didn’t include us, and also had quite a bit of homework to do. We all have a bit of home work, when it comes down to it. There is so much to do around the house that needs attention.

I’ve just ordered a new computer for work (hurrah, because this one won’t run Neverwinter Nights, it’s just THAT ancient) and it should be arriving within the next five to seven days (right about the time that Hurricane Isadore will arrive, I’m sure). In preparation for that, we are trying to organize the foyer so that I can have my “office” isolated a bit more from the rest of the house; that way, everyone gets to use the front room while I’m working, and I’ll have a bit of space that I can set up as my writing area for those hours that I’m not working. Think of it as my study … I’m looking forward to figuring out all the organization, and I’m also looking forward to getting the Painting Room organized so that Star can have her bit of creative space as well. I think it will do us both a world of good. I’m thinking that what Star needs for Yule this year is a drafting table … 🙂 This weekend after payday I’m going to run out and find her a wonderful magnifying glass so she can examine the flora close up and personal…

I’ve immersed myself in a very intense reading program right now, trying to prepare myself to begin writing new material with a vengeance >:->. My current reading list is as follows:

Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. I — This is a very wonderful book. Gibbon is one of the only non-contemporary historians (a contemporary historian would be someone that wrote about their own time, like Herodotus or Julius Caesar) that wrote before this century that is still considered a valid source of information. His prose is a bit dry, but I find it good reading and his philosophical interpretation is tenable. Right now, I’ve just finished up with Severus and am heading into the first of the Barbarian incursions.

Kenneth Lyon, Hemingway — This biography is quite thick; because I am a VERY fast reader (for example, the Lord of the Rings trilogy takes me about two days to read), I like to find books with a bit of heft to them, and this one certainly fit the bill. I’ve become interested in reading about writers, and trying to figure out where they were in their lives when they wrote whatever they wrote. Hemingway is a great study in contradictions; reminds me of my father at times, and at other times, reminds me of myself, particularly at those times I don’t particularly care for myself. But his writing style I like very much. Less is more. Sometimes, much more.

Lady Charlotte Guest, The Mabinogion — A classic of Celtic mythology, albeit due to the time of its translation, perhaps a bit over romanticized. I try to keep at least one culture’s mythos nearby to dip into – Edith Hamilton’s Greek Mythology was something I had to read in high school and I’ve liked it ever since.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and English Traits — I admit it, I’m a bad scholar. I inherited the five foot shelf of books that comprise the Harvard Classics Library a few years ago, and sadly have not read too many volumes. For some reason, when I was looking for something to give my reading variety the other day, I picked up the Emerson volume. Two essays in particular, The American Scholar and Self Reliance I am particularly struck by. Many of Emerson’s interpretations of books and their uses is echoed in Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind … amazing how the course of 150 years has not changed the basic outlook for American intellectualism all that much.

e.e. cummings, 100 Selected Poems — I’ve always liked cummings as a poet, even mimicked him to some degree during my Memphis years, particularly regarding capitalization, sentence run ons, etc.

Lewis Turco, The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics — This book I highly recommend for anyone who is interested in learning about different poetic forms, particularly if you’re interested in being a poet who writes verse (i.e., lines that have a specific word count, meter, emphasis, etc.) as opposed to prose (i.e., unmetered text).

I’m still anticipating with bated breath the arrival of my two new books, Heny Miller’s On Writing and The Books in My Life. I foresee that just as he was a turning point for me at 28 (the year he started writing, too) when I first picked up the Tropics, Miller will get me started on something more grandiose that I probably can currently imagine. Through Henry Miller I started accumulating a repertoire of authors and really began to become well-read.

To close, here’s a thought from one of my journals about a year ago:

A sentence represents a period of time.
Within that period of time,
the verbs are the lessons,
and the nouns are the tests.

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