Unnoticed in Clever Worlds

The clearest description I have managed so far about my blog is that it is not about cats. In general, I find predators pretty predictable while prey on the other-hand, because they live in universes of anxiety, develop more textured personalities. I also have as a writer a deft hand when it comes to making matters worse, so of course , the already panicky are ready made for me. I will try to grow this blog into an assortment of laughs, because that is what my life has mostly taught me to do. I will use the famous people I have known to get your attention and then tell you small but many times wonderful things about them. I will never name the ones I say ugly things about but I hope you will guess who they are.

One chance to hear a song

Once upon a time, the likelihood of hearing a piece of music twice in your lifetime was slim unless you were wealthy. There was no such thing as recordings.

Things The Who Carried

We lugged this stupid Space Invaders game from show to show for an entire tour. It was Pete’s only observable outside activity. I vaguely remember it being a gift from Harvey Weinstein. Courtesy Jackie Curbishley

It may have been the same tour Roger had an epiphany regarding saving all the loose backstage wine and liquor and taking it with us. It slowed the crew’s growing intimacy with two-hundred-dollar French wines. We had to add another truck and driver.

So Townshend shows up in this gigantic puffy coat at the beginning of one winter tour. He had to wear it because it was too big to carry. We added a roadie to take it from him when he got into a limo. The kid raced to his car before he got out. He soured badly on it when he realized it had no buttons and had to be held shut. A few of us barely got any sleep because we were laughing so hard. The coat disappeared in the middle of the tour.

Rock’s Greatest Manager

Bill Curbishley, on the right, is the manager of The Who. If he had chosen to, he could have managed The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynyrd as well. He quietly changed the live music touring business, but what he enjoyed most was robbing deli’s with me on off days.

My Career

To me, my career consisted of moving each day from one bunch of people to another. The populations of these audiences ranged from 2,000 to 150,000 individuals. In each instance, almost all of them wished they were me. That never helped.

Taylor Swift and Pete Townshend

Taylor Swift savages boyfriends who cross her. There is a hazard to getting close to such a girl.

In vague comparison, if you fucked over Pete Townshend, it was time to renew your passport and run.

I listened to his music long before I knew him. When I was in college, I wouldn’t have been able to name the band individually then. It just wasn’t something I was concerned with, and I don’t think this was at all uncommon. They were simply The Who. The hardest band to remember their names were Lynard Skynyrd. I had to practice so much I got blocks.

“Can I have a word?” Townshend says to me by the hotel phone around midday.

Like some rare birds, it was uncommon to sight him until late afternoon at sound checks. It was not constitutionally a settling experience to talk to him one on one before then. For me, at first, it was a reasonable cause for dread. He made me uneasy. It took years to work that shit out. 

Bill, Jackie, and I were having a laugh in a hotel room working out a logo/poster for the upcoming Canadian leg of a Who tour when his call came.

Canada is big and mostly settled by moose. So far, we had a drawing of a giant green frog with a chunk of Canadian​ bacon in its​ mouth, hopping from city to city where we would play. The amphibian was wearing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform. He had a beaver under each arm. The bacon was my touch because I grew up eating it. 

But that phone call dampened me, so I headed down to his room.

He did not look well. He had his tea.

” Did you give me money last night?” he said without really looking up. I got the feeling that if I lied, he would be pleased.” 

Yes,” I said.

“How much?” He gutturally​ groaned when I told him.

“Fuck,” was all he said

“Who was here?” I asked.

“It doesn’t matter. I must have passed out.” He seemed to sigh.

“Want me to put Jim on it,” I said.

“No, it’s gone, thanks.”

And I left.

The Photograph

How can a photograph be art when it is confined by randomness? A song comes out of nothing. Painting is as much the hand on the brush as it is anything original or permanent. Movies manipulate atmospheres and the medium simultaneously.A camera’s image becomes art only when interpreted in the aftermath. Are photographers more critics than artists?Could it be that there are no artists at all, only reviewers?

Free Stuff

There are only two sources of available money that would give us free health care while not destroy our economy. The first is taxing the Media, and the second is confiscating the bloated Trust funds in our University system. These two alone would pay for all our free stuff. By Regis Boff

The Flames of Autumn in Pittsburgh

Some of us grew up in a different Pittsburgh.
There was an enchanting indifference to polluted air, bicycle concussions, and sugar butter white bread sandwiches.
Autumn always brought leaf burning. Our fathers would outdo each other assembling their backyard bonfires. I can still hear the crackling of parachuting flames rising high on uncalculated windy days. The sounds of my fall were racing fire engines and the desperate, muffled whimpers of men trying to beat down the brush fires they had earlier deliberately dosed with gasoline. Always with light wooden rakes.
Every year some idiot would burn down his neighbor’s house. We would run to watch and stay all day.

Harvey Weinstein and Me

I knew Harvey Weinstein. He was an emergent live show promoter in Buffalo, New York. I would pass through this market over and over again with Genesis, who would barely sell a ticket. He would always lose money. His parents and grandparents would cook the band dinner after a show.
We both started out in high school gymnasiums and old movie theaters. A decade later we were doing stadium shows with The Who and the Stones. He made money then.
Harvey was one of the promoters I trusted. I think it was because he was playing the broader game of building a sound reputation. He may have deceived me then about who he was, though I doubt it. I am not typically unaware of my surroundings.
I ran into him long after his success was apparent in the movie industry. He offered to help me, to come work for him. He told me that I should call him.
Would I have slept with him? I guess we will never know.

My Pig Joke

Pigs are convincing evidence that humans do not care about the feelings of food if it tastes good.
What follows is a joke that is more than it seems. I first heard it when I was maybe nine or ten years old. I have never heard it told again by anyone but me for sixty years. I memorized it and have used it at dinner parties to woo bright women who occasionally possessed a sense of humor. When I was young, it did not matter so much that they did. That took time.
The joke.
A guy is walking on a country road and comes to a farmhouse. On the porch sits a farmer, and next to him, relaxed a pig. The farmer was reading to it from a book. The pig snuggled tightly into him.
The pig had a wooden leg.
Curious, with reason, the traveler asked the farmer how this pig came by such a leg.
The tenant recounted to him that this pig had saved his life twice, pointing while he spoke to a burned section of the home.
“My wife and I got trapped while asleep in our bedroom as flames from the kitchen headed upstairs. This pig, ( he hugs the creature as he speaks), rushed through the fire and led us out.
The traveler​, let it be reliably​ said, was astonished and wanted to understand more clearly, of course, so he asked, “How was this pig able to run to you on such a mangled leg?”
“No, no,” the farmer insisted​, “he didn’t hurt his leg at all.”
The storyteller now warmed to his tale, “ But you know the damnedest thing happened after that. I was fishing in my boat, and this terrible rain and wind knocked me right off and into the water. Now I ain’t never been much a swimmer, and I was making a ruckus, when this pig arrived at the shore, jumped into the water, and swam back with me, my collar in his mouth. He saved my life once again.”
The farmer sat silently for an emotional minute like country people are often moved to do.
Respecting his country contemplation for as long as he could, the traveler finally could not restrain his prying. He said, maybe louder than he should have, “You know you never told me how this pig got that wooden leg.”
The farmer looked at him with an odd and amused condescension. He answered,
“Son, you just can’t eat a pig like this all at once.”

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