My Body is a Cage

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“My body is a cage that keeps me

from dancing with the one I love”

 

Doctors search for the devil in the details and are happy when they find him

They are quick to judge and quick to blame

They have to be

Our lives depend on it (apparently, as I would find out)

Nurses save angels a ton of work

They do, as a matter of routine, things that defy the reasonable imagination of what is possible

I have respect and admiration that is beyond words

 

“I’m living in an age

That screams my name at night

But when I get to the doorway

There’s no one in sight”

 

Those haunting lines from an Arcade Fire song fire my imagination as I reflect on a week in the hospital.

Thankfully, I am on the mend; the possibility of some surgery looming but that is still up in the air as I write this.

We occupy only temporary frail vessels as we scratch our way across the surface of this planet.

Last week taught me that in a big way.

I am so glad to be back at the cave.

 

I am enjoying each breath with renewed hope and appreciation.

All that really matters is the way we treat each other.

Everything else is the filler and stuffing required to get us through the day.

I want to thank everyone that sent well-wishes while I was in the hospital, nice to know that I am not alone.

And as always, cheers from the cave!

 

 

 

 

 

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Cave Olympics- Prog-Rock

cave-medal-salute-prog

Progressive rock– the arty, pompous and always a tad snobby weird cousin of rock music. Those who like him will affectionately refer to him as a bit eccentric and an acquired taste. Those who don’t like him will call him an overblown pompous ass wallowing in mindless self reflection that is all too full of codswallop*.

*pick your favorite word here to describe senseless drivel – I always liked this one

But I digress and getting back to the music-

Both are correct descriptions.

Bands like Rush, early Genesis, and Yes- I do not like and will use the bad definition to explain why.

Bands like Pink Floyd, Supertramp and solo Peter Gabriel I like and will refer to the good definition.

Many fans will be the opposite or simply hate all of these groups for being way too much over the artsy ledge.

I am cool with that

But the winter games are still going on at the Cave and we need some medal winners

 The Bronze:

Arcade Fire.Afterlife

Before I get all my 8 or 9 readers to band together and tell me this not prog….Here is the test.

Is it artsy? Check

Is it self-important drivel and over the top in a way that angers some music fans? Check

Would you have thrown this band in with all the other progressive bands if it came out thirty years ago?

Again-Check.

And I love this song and it is my website-Just a regular guy in a regular virtual cave-so there and let’s go to silver.

The Silver:

Frank Zappa.Watermelon in Easter Hay.

Frank was a talented and thoughtful musician known for a too grotesque sense of humor. He would be a mega star today. It was nothing more outrageous than Eminem.

And the dude could play guitar.

If you got a chance to see him live then you got a chance to see something like the massive migrations of buffalo across the Great Plains before they were all gone. You got to witness something special that was normal for the time but fading fast. You got to be part of history.

I now feel like I am history! (that is good, right?)

The Gold:

Pink Floyd.Shine On You Crazy Diamond

I could write a book on what this song means to me. (maybe someday)

My favorite Pink Floyd song from my favorite Floyd record-Wish You Were Here.

This is the ultimate bromance ditty-One guy writing a song about a friend that has lost his mind but will never be considered lost. It is song of hope and a song about love and respect. Friendship is a deep and mysterious thing that this song is not afraid to expose to the light. Madness is another dark depth that few pieces of music will dare to set sail for. Just for those two reasons this song is beautiful and this version is unforgettable.

Next I will go for the “Classics” and Cheers from the Cave!

What I found in 2013- What I hated in 2013

English: Arcade Fire at the Eurockéennes of 20...
English: Arcade Fire at the Eurockéennes of 2007. Français : Le groupe Arcade Fire aux Eurockéennes de 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not good enough to hear a band and immediately place them in context of music relevance for the year. It takes a while for things to seep down into the cerebral cortex and percolate themselves out.

I will say…, however -This blog has helped me figure things out a little faster- I am more engaged than I used to be.

Here is what happened to me in 2013 as an “out of touch” rock music fan.

I’ll do 5 that caught me and 5 I hated

What I liked:

The Xx– Not a new band, but new to me as I caught the fever- Atmospheric elegant sound. Like getting lost in a really trendy fog and having someone hand you a fantastic drink that quenches the thirst and tickles the soul.

The Black KeysThey went from a band I heard of and thought they were O.K to possibly the most solid rock band of this century- I never hear a bad song from these guys and after repeated listens of their standard hits-they just gain traction.

Arcade Fire-Afterlife– I know-This is arty French hipster self-important pompous drivel—– I know that they stand opposed to everything I love about gritty down to earth rock music. But I love this song- I love it so much that I might be tempted to find a nice puffy shirt and neon pair of kicks to try and comply with their dress code and catch them at a concert this summer. I love it so much that I will try one more time to make it through the whole Reflektor album on Spotify.

Spotify-Yes, I am very late to this party. I am surprised at the amount of music available for nothing on this service. It’s like stealing as it is so much quality for nothing. (kind of like the Cave of Fame blog!)

Wrecking Ball-Miley Cyrus((((Guilty pleasure alert))))) I hated this song the first time I heard it—-I now secretly love it if my kids turn it up. I thought it was stupid that she was naked on a wrecking ball- I now understand that if you are going to be naked on a wrecking ball—-do it while you are still young! And it plays more like nudity in renaissance art to me now. (I think this Arcade Fire thing has messed up my brain)

But seriously –if Helen Mirron got on a wrecking ball with nothing but her fantastic acting skill and did a photo shoot for Vanity Fair—-all the critics would talk about what a brave and edgy cool-chick she really is—-and would trip over all the compliments that they would throw at her unbridled toes.

What I hated:

Robin-Thicke 1
Robin-Thicke 1 (Photo credit: jazzuality.com)

Robin Thicke- That blurred lines garbage is still a ripe smell in the air as we hit 2014. Also, don’t forget that he played a major role in the big twerk-off of 2013- Without him providing the “hammer” to Miley’s “nail”—-The whole thing might not have got so insane. I dislike him so much that I was tempted to browse through “Revelations” and check the attributes of the Antichrist….you know….just to rule him out in my mind because I do have some doubts.

Kiss going in the Rock and Roll hall of FameI guess they were going to break down the wall at some point to get in. It was only a matter of time before this Cleveland institution that usually gets it right caved in under the force of those boots and rabid fans.

Nostalgia  “bait and switch” – Take a band like say “Bon Jovi” with only one original member like say “John Bon Jovi” and sell it like the whole band will be there. Or the R.E.O Speedwagon-Terrible Ted  Nugent and Styx –“Mayhem of the Mid-west” tour or whatever it was called. At least Ted Nugent was a standalone product –so that was good. These old  bands that dwindle down to one or two and fight over the name to see who has the rights to a half-hearted performance of bygone hits is a bit much. You might as well go see a good cover band.

Losing Lou Reed- This was really sad because even though he was old and not in great shape- I kind of thought he would last forever.

Rush seems to be gaining power and respect. This bugs me because I may have to go back and change my post about being a Rush hater. I am now changing my position from a Rush hater to a Rush “whateverer”. I still reserve the right to dislike music fans that take it as a solid fact that dislike of Rush means no real taste in rock music. (I think my wrecking ball admission is a worse transgression)

You are never too old to Rock n’ Roll?

After attending community college part-time for longer than I want to admit and finally finishing my degree, I have learned a couple things about getting old:

  1. I am now old…A.A.R.P wants me as a member! Jamie Lee Curtis wants me to eat Greek yogurt (and I am thinking about it)
  2. So what

When you take classes with kids often half your age, you do reach a point where you just have to get over yourself and get on with it or risk not making it to the end. No one really cares about age more than yourself…As long as you focus on what you have to do and not worry about anything else, you will be O.K. That is basically it. Age only knocks you out if you let it- you can not stop it but you can stare it down until the very end.

So here is my little Rock Opera on the 5 stages of aging according to the Cave

Act  1: Denial- Forever Young

David Bowie.Changes

“Look out you Rock n rollers, pretty soon you’re gonna get older”

I did not believe this wise oracle of rock the first time I heard this line. I thought I would stay young forever. David Bowie saw it coming and tried to warn us.

Act 2: Feel it slipping-try to get it back-Slight desperation-

Weezer.The Good Life

“And I don’t wanna be an old man anymore. It’s been a year or two since I was out on the floor.
Shaking booty, making sweet love all the night…It’s time I got back to the good life”

You sense it is fading but still don’t have a grasp on it

Act 3: Wallow in memories-it may be over

Rolling Stones.Memory Motel

When Keith Richards does his vocal bit-it just takes this to another level- this is my favorite Rolling Stones song and it may be a straight-ahead country music tune. It’s got memories and pick-up trucks in it. This is a drinking song!

Age does build up a reservoir of hurt feelings to go immerse yourself in. It might seem like nice warm water, but you only need a few inches to drown in- and tears and beer can make this get to a level that will break those levees around your heart in no time. …But having said that…Wow!-this is a great song!

Act 4: Acceptance- Oh no- this is real! And happening to a person near me…in fact me, myself!

Peter Gabriel. My Body is a Cage

‘My body is a cage, it keeps me from dancing with the one I love”

When I saw Peter Gabriel perform this live in 2011, I was knocked right on my ass. The intensity he brought to this Arcade Fire song was something to watch erupt on stage. What I took away was this guy trapped in his 63 year-old body but still giving everything he had. The spirit is strong but the vehicle it operates in is getting worn. You could see it happening, and like only genius artists can do…you could feel it happening. There was this transference of emotion from the stage to the audience.

 Act 5: So what- it happens to the best of us and the worst of us-I still choose to rock n roll

Little Feat.Old Folks Boogie

“You know that you’re over the hill when your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill”

So you’re old!!—-Enjoy yourself—it will happen to the best of us in the end if we are lucky enough to make it that far.

The passage of time and the relentless scourge of gravity will hunt us down like dogs. We will be history to future generations. So let us rock while we still can!