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.

Month: November, 2019

The Twitter Poet of Avon

When the Poet of Avon, Mr. William Shakespeare, awoke this very morning, he stumbled headfirst into brevity and with this he doomed all other English playwrights, a mostly sterile ladle of plagiarizing snakes anyhow, to keep droning on while in morbid dread of him.
As change is the arrow that wounds all except the archer, the notion of premièring himself on this afternoon, as the writer of fewest words flung him into malicious merriment.
“Let the world find its verbosity elsewhere than from me,” he said in his innovative and truncated new style. I am now and forever will be a port-wine reduction sauce of succinctness.
“Genius is the tabernacle of the boiled down,” he gloated, ” I will leave the breadth of things to the freshmen.”
“Verily,” he boasted, (a tad loudly, for his mother, now overhears him while hiding behind his bedroom door), “and forever, my creations will be posted with nails onto trees in twenty-six words and less and will be known to the audience as “tweets”.
Hearing this vow, his mother, the severely verbalized Mary Arden Shakespeare dismays. Mary was a woman who could trace her long-windedness as linearly as an erection, back to the eminent exercise of unnecessary human print, “The Doomsday Book.” She feared her son was maneuvering into a near criminal puddle of abbreviated verbal sulkiness.
She slumped, legs splayed into bunches of skirts, muttering miserably to herself, (wholly in Old English, to her credit), “I will not allow him an eternity of pithiness of verse.”
But Bill speeds by her determined to stop his life’s drudgery of taxing inventiveness before she can interfere.
“Romeo and Juliet,” was already redrafting in his mind as a love story that lasts only as long as sassafras chewing gum.
“Romeo has the scheme, parents will be sorry; R. fucks everything up, big mess, J. The End,” was all it needed to be.
Shakespeare sprints to the Stratford’s Speaker’s Corner to declare the new course for England’s scholarly conversation.
“Forever on,” Bill bellows to a gathering crowd of the muddy, toothless, and lice-infested, “ My tragedies and comedies will come to you now nailed on trees. To be read as “Twits.”
“Be it known, that if it must be said, I will say it from inside the penitentiary of twenty-six letterings or less, and all carrying a dollop of gruel for authenticity. Henceforth to be understood as my gruel tag.”
My histories, poems, and essays will remain on my Facebook page.”
William Shakespeare

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Relax to Earth


Every unsure man
drifts backward to abandoned pride.
Stopping only when his
once bright,
proud colors,
become earth.

Rock’s Most Embarrassing moment

I was the tour manager in the early seventies for a band called Genesis. During the years with Peter Gabriel. I was responsible for what is arguably rock’s most embarrassing moment.
A usual show climaxed with Gabriel, the lead singer, dressed in his “Gods of Magog” outfit, (a long velvet black cape, and a giant triangular headpiece.
He throws off his hat and cape, revealing himself in a silver jumpsuit. He finishes the song, end of the show.
We made him momentarily invisible by the detonation of a cocktail of flash and concussion grey gunpowder. The controlled explosions came from metal pods on the front lip of the stage. The audience was blinded and dazed, an excellent early rock finish.
Today this would be criminally outlawed, whereas then we distracted the fire marshall while we filled them. We never told anyone we were going to do it. One of our roadies, Geoff Banks, filled them a couple of hours before the show and would set them off electrically at the right moment.
This incident took place somewhere between 1973 and 1975, either in Cleveland, Ohio, or Berlin, Germany. Believe me, in my world, this is terrific accuracy.
Someone prophetically, (I can’t remember who), had the inspiration to “fly” Peter into the air while the audience was blinded, (This was most likely Peter himself).
He was to be “shot,” (hoisted) fifteen feet into the air by nearly invisible thin metal wires, “called flying” in those days. He would finish the song, floating in a silver jumpsuit, as the front curtain closed, end of the show. Nice.
Gabriel was to be further concealed by smoke machines (they looked like leaf blowers) and an intense fog that bubbled up by the dumping of blocks of dry ice, by hand (gloved), into buckets of water by the crew from behind the speaker stage bins. They would explode with vapor, filling, if the prevailing winds permitted, the entire stage.
Here’s how the “flying” was to work. I had brought in an “expert” who had flown Elton John and his piano into the air a few months earlier. This guy harnessed himself to the wires which connected over the truss to Gabriel. He climbed to the top of a tall ladder on stage left, out of sight, and waited. On my cue, he would leap off the ladder, and because he was the counterbalance, up our artist would go. I did the cueing only because I had no other real job, having finished my critical job of literally running around hallways closing doors so no breeze would alter the course of our stage fog.
I sweated the cue because I am not particularly musical.
Well, I thought I nailed the fucker, but I was maybe a second too soon, and shit began scattering everywhere.
Peter went up fast and, sadly, crooked. His left shoulder was at least a foot and a half higher than his right. In his shock, he dropped his live microphone launching it forward, onto the stage, where it rolled into the explosions from the gunpowder pods.
The blasting sound shot directly into the fifteen-foot audience speakers. Many of the punters, who had the misfortune to have been standing near them, are no doubt deaf today.
Meanwhile, some assholes had opened an outside door. So all my smoke was blowing backward towards the dressing rooms leaving the mayhem visible.
The flash pods ( we were later to learn from the fire dept.) had been way overloaded, thereby becoming the first actual cannon fire, during a live show, in history ( except for Beethoven in the 1800s).
Peter’s mic sound, as my luck would have it, also went through the band’s stage speakers. Tony Banks, the keyboardist, I saw out of the corner of my now tearing eyes, was in the center of the stage hitting Geoff, the explosion roadie, over the head with a tambourine, screaming, “I am deaf, you made me deaf.” All this was happening within a nightmare zone of about ten seconds.
So let me recap, seeing as we have come this far.
I have Gabriel nearly horizontal, fifteen feet in the air, with no microphone and a black cape dangling from his foot. I have the keyboardist pounding a roadie as the hapless bastard is desperately trying to extinguish the residue flames still pouring from his canisters. I have an audience in a state of stunned mass trauma, and I have smoke filling up the dressing rooms.
So what was the absolute last thing God could think of to do with me? The front curtain would not close.
In my mind’s eye, even today, this was not a tidy episode. To their credit and my forever resentment, most of the audience hung around to watch us try to cut Peter down. It took such a long time.
Steve Hackett confirmed it was 19.2.75, The Ekeberghallen, Oslo, Norway!
In the 1991 Documentary, Genesis A History Tony, Mike, and Phil remembered it with Phil Collins saying, “I turned around to the tour manager and said YOUR FIRED!

How things used to be

Memory slowly erodes and shames real life. I think this is for a reason, but I can’t come up with one. It might just be that we like it that way. How else could we get our kids to roll their eyes when we tell them about how it used to be?

Even mirrors bow to them.

I think memories must wait impatiently in lines
to be called up.
Until the last.
After all, we dream to the very end.
And things can get crowded.
There must is a special place
for the dreams of young girls though,
for even mirrors bow to them.

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.

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