April 5th, 2004


Great reasons to be depressed

This last week two things have been on my mind a lot:

1. The events in Iraq.
2. My friend Janet's impending death.

I'm not feeling depressed in the sense of personal emotional distress, but these two things are the lens through which I seem to be seeing everything else. The former is an abject horror, about which I won't much comment here. Anyone who knows me even a little knows I'm a pacifist, a Democrat, and so much blah blah blah has been spilt on those topics to render anything I'd say redundant. Let me just say that current events were forseeable and preventable, and were neither forseen nor prevented for reasons of hubris and ideology.

Janet's illness was neither forseeable nor preventable. In fact quite the opposite. Why would a Quaker who has no discernable vices except a wicked wit contract an aggressive cancer? If there is a God he's not a hands-on manager, or stuff like this wouldn't happen. It is hard for me because I comprise several attributes that are at odds: I'm lazy and self-involved, I shrink from confronting deep emotions, and yet her suffering affects me deeply. I don't even know Janet that well -- Melissa has spent way more time with her over the years, and spends time out at their house every day, helping her.

It's at the point now where Janet wants to spend her remaining time with family and friends, and has given up an active campaign to try and fight the disease. I spent a little while at her house last night, and it seemed like having her family around her made it a little easier. My only hope is that she'll be able to find some joy in that, and have the burden she's bearing lifted at least for a little while before she goes.

So I don't have any great wrap-up for this little essay. I just feel like I'm not able to make things better right now, either globally or locally, and I'm mad about the lack of justice in the world, in both the political and cosmic sense.

More Arthur Russell ...

At some point apparently they repressed the "Go Bang #5/Clean on Your Bean #1" record on Sleeping
Bag, and it came in the mail today.

Both of these tracks are Francois Kevorkian remix/edits of Arthur Russell experimental disco
tracks. If you like Theo Parrish or Moodyman, this is the white, 80s downtown NY version. There's
something so home-made and offhand about these tracks, and the way that the material mutated
and was resampled over and over again. The girl singing "Bango Bango" shows up in the Todd Terry track "Bango" which is yet another remix of this same basic material.

The original Go Bang, though has great fusion-y electric piano and trombone, and trumpet and it manages to build up to its own unique lateral-thinking climax.