Sorting Out September*

September 6, 2012

Though it’s still quite summer during the day, the morning commute through the backroads has been one with less light and a slight chill in the air.

The chill is unmistakeably September.

As a kid, September meant that – like it or not – you were entrenched in the school year. Summer wasn’t coming back for months and months and months…

But, we would still try to squeeze as much time outside as possible, playing some hoops or football in someone’s yard until the dark ended the festivities earlier and earlier each night.

Of course, there was something about sleeping with the windows open in September. Following the heat of summer, the cool air induced drowsiness so effortlessly and completely that Pfizer or Merck would drown kittens to be able to replicate it in pill form.

Some Septembers, the night would be accompanied by the hum of machinary harvesting the crop late into the evening in the cornfield across the road. If that wasn’t the case, there was always the whisper from the interstate a mile or so down that same road.

It was a pleasant way to be lulled to dream.

And, September was a month for spectacular visuals, especially in our rural, Midwestern town.

September now brings the annual re-examination of the events that kickstarted this whole Orwellian misadventure known as The War On Terror.

And, since I no longer live in the Midwest, I haven’t gotten the full-blown autumn experience in two decades. There’s still color, but the season is far less defined.

Yeah, September is a mixed bag, man.

Perusing the files, there wasn’t much in the way of September songs that moved me. When in doubt, head for the ’80s, so here are four songs from Billboard magazine’s chart for the first week of September, 1980 – some I remember from the time, others whose acquaintence I’d make later…

Willie Nelson – On The Road Again
from Honeysuckle Rose soundtrack (1980)

I keep threatening – much to Paloma’s dismay – to cast a write-in vote for The Red-Headed Stranger in this November’s presidential election.

(and wouldn’t On The Road Again make a fine campaign song? – run, Willie, run)

Genesis – Turn It On Again
from Duke (1980)

From …And Then There Were Three… – with the wonderful Follow You Follow Me – through 1983’s self-titled album, Genesis deftly balanced their progressive past with the band’s more pop future.

Listening to the driving Turn It On Again for the first time in some time, I realize how cool of a sound Genesis had during those years.

Split Enz – I Got You
from True Colours (1980)

When Paloma and I started buying vinyl a few years ago, there was an initial burst of excitement. Paloma, in a fit of her enthusiasm which I adore, purchased ten albums by Split Enz knowing no more than a handful of songs by the Kiwi act.

It was a decision she regretted – “The members of Split Enz don’t even have as many Split Enz albums as we do.” – but the playfully creepy I Got You is still a classic from the period.

AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
from Back In Black (1980)

Did people at the time realize what a perfect rock song that AC/DC had given the world with You Shook Me All Night Long?

It’s still an arresting three and a half minutes of bravado, lust, and adrenaline.

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Egypt

February 2, 2011

I’ve noticed that less than half of the things I begin to scribble end up posted here.

Most of these discarded efforts don’t get beyond a few lines and sometimes there is nothing more than a few cryptic words that meant something momentarily important to me.

(for Seinfeld fans, it’s a “flaming globes of Sigmond!” moment)

Then, there are times when something gets lodged in my head like some cranial hairball that just won’t dislodge. No matter how much I might attempt to zig or zag my thoughts to a different subject, they return to that word, phrase, or idea and there’s no moving on until it’s addressed.

The past few days, each time I’ve sat down to scrawl something, the events in Egypt bob to the surface. Most of the reading I’ve done this past week has been done following the Egyptian revolution and I’ve watched plenty of the televised coverage.

I feel comfortable enough to discuss the subject and I know Mohamed ElBaradei from Omar Suleiman and would have no trouble finding Alexandria on a map, but the simple fact is we won’t know how this plays out ’til we get there.

So, I keep thinking of a waterlogged afternoon while I was living in London in the late ’90s. Sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for the deluge to subside, I struck up a conversation with three kids, students, also waiting out the downpour.

The three could have been college kids on a campus in the States – they had the garb and pop culture savvy – but the trio was from Egypt.

I couldn’t have spoken with them for more than fifteen minutes and I couldn’t tell you what we discussed as it was nothing more than rainy day, coffee shop small talk.

But I do remember their thoughts on the US as if the conversation was yesterday. Though they had issues with the meddling of the American government in various countries including their own homeland, there was nothing but affection for the American people.

It seemed important to them that I understood this sentiment and it was reiterated several times.

The rain ended, one of them bummed a smoke, and we parted ways.

And as I watch the throngs of people in footage from Tahrir Square, I can’t help but wonder if any of those three kids might be there.

Patti Smith – People Have The Power
from Dream Of Life

“People have the power
The power to dream
To rule
To wrestle the world from fools.”


Sorting Out September

September 1, 2010

Though it’s still quite summer during the day, the morning commute through the backroads has been one with less light and a slight chill in the air.

The chill is unmistakeably September.

As a kid, September meant that – like it or not – you were entrenched in the school year. Summer wasn’t coming back for months and months and months…

But, we would still try to squeeze as much time outside as possible, playing some hoops or football in someone’s yard until the dark ended the festivities earlier and earlier each night.

Of course, there was something about sleeping with the windows open in September. Following the heat of summer, the cool air induced drowsiness so effortlessly and completely that Pfizer or Merck would drown kittens to be able to replicate it in pill form.

Some Septembers, the night would be accompanied by the hum of machinary harvesting the crop late into the evening in the cornfield across the road. If that wasn’t the case, there was always the whisper from the interstate a mile or so down that same road.

It was a pleasant way to be lulled to dream.

And, September was a month for spectacular visuals, especially in our rural, Midwestern town.

September now brings the annual re-examination of the events that kickstarted this whole Orwellian misadventure known as The War On Terror.

And, since I no longer live in the Midwest, I haven’t gotten the full-blown autumn experience in two decades. There’s still color, but the season is far less defined.

Yeah, September is a mixed bag, man.

Perusing the files, there wasn’t much in the way of September songs that moved me. When in doubt, head for the ’80s, so here are four songs from Billboard magazine’s chart for the first week of September, 1980 – some I remember from the time, others whose acquaintence I’d make later…

Willie Nelson – On The Road Again
from The Essential Willie Nelson

There needs to be a Willie Nelson fantasy resort. Who wouldn’t pay good money to spend a week living like Willie?

Get up early tomorrow, shower, dress semi-presently, engage traffic, and spend nine hours being a drone or get up considerably later, put the hair in pigtails, let someone else pilot the biofuel bus, and inhale.

Not a difficult choice there.

Genesis – Turn It On Again
from Duke

From …And Then There Were Three… – with the wonderful Follow You Follow Me – through 1983’s self-titled album, Genesis deftly balanced their progressive past with the band’s more pop future.

Listening to the driving Turn It On Again for the first time in some time, I realize how cool of a sound Genesis had during those years.

Split Enz – I Got You
from The Best Of Split Enz

When Paloma and I started buying vinyl two years ago, there was an initial burst of excitement. Paloma, in a fit of her enthusiasm which I adore, purchased ten albums by Split Enz knowing no more than a handful of songs by the Kiwi act.

It was a decision she regretted – “The members of Split Enz don’t even have as many Split Enz albums as we do.” – but the playfully creepy I Got You is still a classic from the period.

Carly Simon – Jesse
from Clouds In My Coffee 1966-1996

I once asked a friend’s girlfriend if people ever noted her resemblence to Carly Simon.

She was unfamiliar with the singer, but a couple of days later, the buddy called and informed me that the girlfriend had looked up Carly on the internet; she was none too pleased with my query.

But, wasn’t she simply one of the sexiest women of the ’70s? I mean, I was twelve when Jesse was a hit and I’d figured that out. Am I wrong?

Anyhow, I dug Jesse back in the day and it’s still a fantastic song.