Turned 63 this week and I didn’t feel a thing. I’ve been thinking of myself as being “63” since shortly after crossing the midpoint of the gleaming bridge (which arcs so high above the pedestrian traffic of the young) called “62,” so I’m slightly surprised that I’m not “64” already, though I’ll be thinking of myself, in that way, in roughly six months. As ever: no concessions to the legend of the Withering Blue Witch of Old Age… (I mean, a lovely Witch did touch my thingy yesterday but she was youngish, loving, sexy and beautiful and though she turned the thingy to stone for quite awhile, it all came good in the end. If you don’t do this after fucking Wife/ Husband you should: as you spoon, postcoitally, positioned behind her/him/it/ they, run your fingertips fairy-feet-lightly, in dotted lines, down the long smooth back and ass and long smooth legs and up again to neck, in a continuous loop, until one of you falls asleep ). Where was I?
I feel great at 63; really great; and after deciding to cut Sugar entirely out of my menu, early last year, I look younger than I did three or four years ago. Try it! Try two cardinal kinds of life-prolonging abstinence: cut out Big Sugar and cut out Big TV. Neither demonic monkey can be said to be on my back. Get them off yours, Comrade. I can see my cheekbones and there are no telltale hypno-spirals of poppy-goop brainwashing complicating my irises. The better you think a TV program is, the more dangerous it is as programming. Cut out all Big TV in one fell swoop in one blessed day but regarding the gustatory poisons: don’t try it Cold Turkey. The trick about these psycho-physiological things is incremental improvement. Incremental Improvement leads to Sustainable Equipoise. I’ve been erasing one bad thing from the menu at a time, in intervals of years or half-years, so c. 6 months after saying “Goodbye!” (more like “fuckoff”) to Big Sugar I said “It’s been fun, but… !” to bread, pasta, pizza dough, crackers, biscuits, wraps and all that. I’ve managed to downshift on the iffy intakes without looking like a “Holiday in Auschwitz!” postcard. Don’t do crash diets and mad exercise regimes suddenly, out of the blue (like for example if you’ve started an affair with your twenty-something secretary) because it will ruin your looks, your skin will wrinkle and sag, at best and it will stop your fucking heart as the next worse option on the list. Your heart is a motor. You must Grok the mechanism. You must Grok the electrolytic dynamic between Na and K.
Partly that heart-stopping effect is because people switch to salads, low salts, no fat when they go on these drastic (porn-fuelled?) make-overs and this bad, ideologically-deformed, mainstream medical advice, to do without what an omnivorous mammal needs, is what kills them. Salt is good (just balance it with potassium; I drink a cup of powdered wheatgrass every day), fat is good, salad is difficult for your body to break down in bulk. I eat salad as a “treat,” ironically, and never (never) with dressing. Some greens, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, cherry Roma tomatoes, various seeds and sometimes olives and/or bits of cheese. Just add salt/ pepper (unless the cheese/ olives take care of the salt). I know I’m healthy now because I actually love the flavor of Broccoli. Lightly steamed, lightly salted, a little butter.
When I was young my brain was made of Nacho Doritos. You can just about afford to be a Nacho Dorito Brain when you’re young and still running on the fumes from the leftover octanes of adolescence. Yes I still wake up with what astrophysicists call “woodies” or “morning wood” but I can remember when they were so intense that they hurt and I had to literally push the angle down (painfully) to aim the day’s first Dorito-colored urine to a target within the outer rim of the bowl (or stand down the hall while pee-arcing). The woodies remain eager but they’re much more civil now. I still don’t need glasses to read or walk or parse my dreams. It’s a trade-off: no more Snickers bars… in exchange for Eternal Life.
The year is beginning to warm up (although I know, from the past three years, that it will very probably still be rather chilly as late as the first bit of July; it’s Climate “Change,” alright, but in the opposite direction. Here’s my Insane Prediction: in fifteen years they will have figured out a way to base a highly lucrative Carbon Trading Market based on Net Carbon Positives as the goal… you heard it here first. And that will be great because THEN the mad fucks can stop spraying checkerboards in the stratosphere, at the crack of dawn, everyday, as I noticed they were doing when taking Offspring to school, years ago, to disperse the cloud cover and try to warm things up a little to align more comfortably with the propaganda scaring us with tales of deserts coming where our Malls stand now).
Uh… where was I?
The year is beginning to warm as the daylights lengthen (it was a balmy 6 degrees C. today).
I turn from the cozy Hibernia of snoring lightly, under topographical-map-like duvets, and noosing my neck in black scarves to type Avant Garde-ish novels and stories, to this: the urge to belt things out. I can sing so I should. The older I get the hotter the novelty will be. I’ve added a few notes to my range in the past ten years; really I’m a frustrated three-octave cockrock singer from the 1970s but I can’t stand those tacky, overdriven guitars…
Here I am singing Talking Heads type lyrics in a cockrock vocal range (without a mic):
Time to audition another cat-herding project of ADHD musicians who will cohere just long enough to learn 3-5 of my songs and record a cool rehearsal demo before A) getting pregnant B) being deported C) running off to the “big city” (aka London) to wait tables for the next 15 years (until old enough to question the decision). The mature musicians are often just plain beat, drained, disillusioned as hell and crawling under brick-filled baggage while the young ones are… like… younger than ever. Remember when 30 was the cut-off (as in “Never trust anyone over Thirty!”), the clearest line of demarcation between kids and not-kids? No longer. “30” in 1970 is “50” in 2022… and I’m not talking about health/ longevity. I see 50-year-olds, in certain parts of town, sluicing along beside the curb on their skateboards, in stiffened slouches, every week. Dignity? Ha.
In any case, this time I’m paying mercenaries. I’ve paid mercenaries before but this time I’m going to get better mercenaries by paying more. It will be Me, Beloved Wife, Mr. Drummer (the 5-year-old robot, a certified genius who does whatever I ask, nicely, as soon as I ask it, no grumbles or fumbles) and… dunno. Bass? Guitar? Some brass? My favorite Bass (a top notch player I never had problems with) lives in Spain, now, with two girlfriends and a baby. Wouldn’t it be cool to get an Asian Transsexual Bassist with big boobs, a stuffed crotch and a killer voice? (Writes note to self…)
In preparation for auditioning some gifted mercenaries I had to unearth an old SoundCloud account (so I can post “samples”). Digging through the melody-encrusted strata I found archaeological evidence of so many ghost projects! If I can find a real (I mean real, like, LA-real) engineer, in this otherwise-amazing city, I may take a crack at doing some of these old tunes again.
Three of the songs I found, in this dig, were for a project attempted in c. 2015 (Daughter was only 9, then!). I wrote these songs around a female singer who had a great raw voice. She didn’t need to learn to sing like those puppets do for the factory-packaged Audio-Garbage we call “Pop”… she needed to learn to make a sound, peculiar to herself, with enough force and confidence to punch a hole in the wall most listeners wear around their virtual heads. The wall of bling, boredom, tone-blindness and reflex suspicion toward Art. There are worse things than having the audience prefer some BRAND NAME VOICE to your voice but if they don’t subliminally register you as a feature of the music you’re singing at them, you’re lost. We worked on it for months. She got better and better, as a singer… and then she got pregnant.
Singer’s pregnancy wasn’t funny in and of itself but the fact that she was the fourth female singer, for whom I wrote songs, to get pregnant, midway through the project: that is worth a chuckle and an eyebrow. My version of Spinal Tap’s exploding drummer syndrome. (Well at least the kid is cute and the mother is a good mother and Life goes on and on and on and babies do, in the end, trump Art Projects but if you just postponed those babies, ladies, you could… have your cake and… you know… etc).
The first two tracks (linked below) saw me trying to gradually ease her in as a back-up singer in the studio (it was hard because the engineer had something against her); my lead vocals are actually guide vocals because I wanted to hand off the lead vocal keys to her, at some point (my natural singing voice is more… aggressive). I like the idea of sitting with the mixing board and the drum machine and a microphone, singing and button-pressing offstage (like Brian Eno with Roxy Music), where I can read the lyrics off a tablet (writing c. 2 songs a week for the past 20 years, I have trained myself to forget old material instantly, to clear the way for the new: great for being prolific, not great for memorizing wordy lyrics). I was trying different vibes, keys and tempos out for her. The third track (“White Liar”: not about race but about the degree of mendacity: an Alt Folk direction I was experimenting with, since synths are hard to compete with when you have an unsure voice) was a rehearsal I had her singing lead on. She sounds pretty good. Well, I love that track… it’s like something from another planet. It’s like 1967 and 2042 combined. You certainly can’t call it derivative. And if even just that phase of the project could have held together…
She was a brainy beauty (the second brainy beauty I wrote songs for, not counting Beloved Wife, who has the distinction of actually performing them onstage) and it would’ve been cool. Her nickname was Z. I always told Z: never try to get by on your looks. Be a talent who happens to look good and people will notice. But that kind of advice is like telling people not to eat sugar; not to watch TV, eh? Nice try, Sensei. Well, no regrets: I still have the old songs and a few dozen brand new tunes (written 2021-2022) on top of those and have the stories.
THIS SONG was the song I used to audition her, along with two other female singers (Italians), as a group, and though there are clanging notes, here and there, there is something haunting, I think, in the sound they make together and with me. Recorded in my kitchen with a flash recorder and the drummer (fucking drummers) who tried to get into her pants by texting her Sponge Bob gifs. Hers is the voice singing a kind of “Nights in White Satin” or “medieval” melody line (c-Bb-a-g-a), above the others, on the passage I’m singing the operatic notes through, and I thought the melody she came up with showed she had enormous potential. I hope she returns to singing one day (but please not in some App-artiste’s shitty Pop cage)…
Check out these other songs (before I make the files “private” again; they’ve been locked away for years)…