The Future

When they served you pastry at the Cafe Rienzi, you ate the crumbs. First of all, if you were a habitue of the said establishment, you appreciated the quality. But mostly, if you were like me, the calories were an essential part of your daily intake.
As an aspiring folk singer, your music was a central part of your existence, but you were one of the thousands, and a note of music did not equate to a dollar to spend on food.
Unlike some of my friends, I could not run home on weekends or odd evenings to tank up at the family table. That was closed to me thanks to the ferocious battle that raged between my parents and me. I was fortunate in not understanding how desperate my life was. Talk about starving for your art.
New York City was full of people busy remaking themselves into new images from the old components. Most of the time, this just resulted in a rehash of the old and just as tired.
Aliases and names were fragile things in those days, and they changed quickly over a week of self-reflection and drugs. We had no flashy laminated “Government Issued ID.” We did have those on pasteboard, and the local forger in the Jeweler’s District would whip you up a new one for ten bucks.
Real change? To create that, you either have to have little attachment to the past or little history. I was fortunate I had neither.

Sound Track for Violence

A shelter for cats I’m familiar with plays music to calm and entertain the felines and two-legged staff. Researchers have composed music that they say cats appreciate. I knew this years ago. My current cat Xenia could care less about what your mp3 player is pumping out. Our dignified black cat Smidgen, enjoyed folk music played on my guitar, but my old gray cat Clancy had particular tastes in music- Warren Zevon.
Lawyers Guns and Money, Excitable Boy, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, especially Werewolves of London (…draw blood…)and many others were on his favorites playlist. He would spend time with the Grateful Dead, Lynard Skinner, or the Stones, but his perpetual favorite was Zevon.
As in many things relating to Clancy, there was a ritualized aspect to his musical appreciation: drawing blood. Yes, listening to Zevon was a combat sport for him.
It went like this you’d slide the cassette into the tape deck and start it up. Within a few minutes into the room would march Clancy. He would either jump onto the bed, desk, or his favorite Windsor chair. He’d take a deep breath and let it out while standing up on his hind legs. This prep was his challenge to you to come and get beat up. Your job was to avoid the lightning ripostes of his paws. As the music played, he tires of using just the claws and would attempt a whole body tackle of your arm with all four legs and toothy mouth. Your task was to thwart this by lightning strikes of your own. Touching lightly on his body or the back of his head, and frustrating his attempts to slash you. Laugh while doing this, and you have made the fatal error of insulting his prowess. Now he leaps for you, and it becomes a wrestling match with his objective being to immobilize your arm while he brings his hind legs into position to rabbit kick you. If you have been so incautious to engage wearing only short sleeves, you will lose the soon-to-be bloody contest. If you have avoided the clinch, you can step back while he plans the next assault. The song ends, and Clancy calmly licks your blood off his claws – mmmm, O negative an excellent vintage, 1946, I believe?
If you have erred and won this contest for some reason, Clancy’s honor requires an instant rematch. Quick, get the bouncy balls out, and challenge him to a round of slapshot Cat Hockey* in the kitchen. You might yet avoid a trip to the emergency room.

*See my post on Cat Hockey for how this game works https://loucarrerascarver.com/2020/07/21/slap-shot/

Folkie

I sat down to watch the movie ” a Mighty Wind” with some trepidation. Within moments I was groaning at the portrayals of people who were almost that of Folkies I had known. The movie cut, in a humorous way, just a little too close to the bone. The preoccupations of the performers opened to public view. The jealousies, and innuendos, it was all there. We took it so seriously, and the movie exposed how mundane we were.

It was tough to watch because I know friends who either never picked up a guitar again after their last gig or those who practiced endlessly for a gig that will never come. Think of it; thousands of folkies, male and female, practicing in their basements waiting for the Folkie Apocalypse to come. Do you think I’m joking? We may be getting old, but, Folk Music is a powerful drug.

I have not been able to watch the movie ” Inside Llewyn Davis.” Just watching the trailer gave me bad flashbacks. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Greenwich Village, and I loved my life there. But, to get shoved back inside it again. No. Much too much crazy stupidity. But oh for the beautiful afternoons, evenings, nights, and entire weeks of playing that music.

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