The attack on Bataclan and why it hurts my heart

Music-hall Bataclan; boulevard Voltaire; Paris
Music-hall Bataclan; boulevard Voltaire; Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of you who know me know what I like: Soccer (and, unfortunately, Aston Villa). The Georgia Bulldogs. A movie that tells a good story. The Washington Capitals. Good food. Comedy.

But above all else: Music. Especially live music.

I’ve attended hundreds of concerts, and I’m probably approaching 1,000 shows if I haven’t hit the number already. I met my wife at a concert — Marshall Crenshaw, Bamboo Room, Lake Worth, Sept. 11, 2003. (And yes, that date is 100 percent right.)

I’ve covered quite a few of these shows for a couple of media outlets — a few for Skope, a mag out of Boston, but most for the paper I work for in South Florida. It’s been a lot of fun talking about the shows I’m lucky enough to see.

So when you start looking at the names of the people who died Friday night in Paris, especially those at the Bataclan club attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert, for me, this absolutely hits home.

There was Nick Alexander, a British man who was selling merchandise at the show. Merch guys are some of the unsung heroes of the music biz — they are among those who will never get rich doing this. Many — especially those at club shows — are in it for the love and ONLY the love.

Thomas Ayad, who worked for Mercury Music Group. Fabrice Dubois, publicity guy. I’ve known some awesome publicity people and company types — yes, some are more interested in money or advancing their career, but again, so many others are interested in the artists and the love of music. So many will help you as much as they can.

Alberto Garrido. Mathieu Hoche. Cedric Maduit. Valentin Ribet. Fans. The lifeblood of live music. Bands and musicians would be nowhere without the energy they produce. It’s a tennis match — back and forth, building, ebbing, flowing, allowing for release.

See that’s the beauty of a concert — you go to just FEEL. At least I do. And when you leave, you feel INCREDIBLE. Like you could run a marathon while fighting a dragon. You don’t even need any “chemical” help — I haven’t had a drink in 15 years, and I feel that way SOBER.

Then there was Guillame Decherf. He covered music for the magazine Les Inrocks. A man with two daughters. I can’t imagine he made a lot of money doing this — I doubt he’d be happy doing this job if he did.

Again, it’s not about the money. It’s about the love. It’s about the energy.

To me, a concert is a safe place where people who’ve never met and will likely never meet again can share something extremely meaningful and personal.

And the Eagles of Death Metal show — by a band which was NOT a death metal band, by the way, but a fun, wry rock band — was the kind of show I would definitely go to.

So to hear about someone basically violating that space with bullets … I can’t understand it. It makes me so very heartsick.

But it also makes me want to go back out and cover more shows. To show those who would make me scared to go out to a concert hall, or a basketball arena, or a club that I will NEVER stop. You cannot stop me. I will never let you. It means that much to me.

Wait. They didn’t erase my blog?!

Prefab Sprout's 'Steve McQueen'. Called 'Two Wheels Good' in USA. "Stevemcqueen". Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -
Prefab Sprout’s ‘Steve McQueen’. Called ‘Two Wheels Good’ in USA. “Stevemcqueen”. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Amazed. And a little shocked.

Sure there are broken links everywhere. The Twitter handle doesn’t even apply anymore. (For those interested, it’s, although I may end up opening a new Twitter feed soon.)

So what the heck, let’s reopen this thing.

I listened to a CD I hadn’t heard in years today: Two Wheels Good by the band Prefab Sprout. Also known as Steve McQueen in the UK. (Apparently the actor’s estate didn’t want to be associated with British pop — too bad for McQueen’s people…)

Good LP. The driving force in the band, Paddy McAloon, was one of the leading lights of the sophisticated pop scene that emerged in Britain in the 1980s. Sometimes his music was more ambitious than good, but other times it hits the sweet spot. Many consider it a classic — I feel it’s close.

But it fits nicely with other stuff I liked at the time — Deacon Blue, the Adventures, etc. Strong overall. The singles were top-notch tunes — “Appetite” and “When Love Breaks Down”. Also I really enjoyed the opener “Faron”, but others like “Horsin’ Around” tried to be a mini-Bacharach suite that don’t quite come together as they should have.

Anyway, New Frontiers’ rules continue to apply:

  • This blog is about what I like: Movies, travel, music, computer games, nostalgia and just fun.
  • My hope is that this’ll also help me get things on a little more of a happier track personally. I’ve veered a little from it, and writing might just get me back to where I need to be!
  • Depending on my mood, I may veer into other areas. I’m just going to see where the day takes me. Hopefully, I won’t wait four years for my next post!

Anyway, here’s “Faron” (or “Faron Young”) from Prefab Sprout. Enjoy your day!

A film geek’s look at 2010

The great thing about 2009 in movies is that, for the most part, there always seemed to be a movie out there that interested me.

And my tastes run all over the map — but usually end up somewhere near geeky/sci-fi/comic book/comedy.

Sometimes it was a huge event film, like Star Trek, Up or The Hangover. Sometimes it was low-key, like Zombieland. Sometimes it was foreign — I thought Red Cliff was really well done. Sometimes it was a surprising choice — one of my favorite movies of the entire decade was this year’s Anvil!: The Story of Anvil. (Right now, Up In The Air is on my list, and I imagine The Book Of Eli soon will be.)

It looks like 2010 will have the same menu of quality.
Continue reading “A film geek’s look at 2010”

Reasons I love my wife: Paper towels

towelsMy wife has introduced some wonderful things into my life, not the least of which is realizing the incredible versatility of the paper towel.

Like many of you, I was brought up under the tyranny of the home-utility paper industry. That is to say, we used paper towels, but also napkins and facial tissue. We may have even at one time used the industrial-strength paper towels for big messes.

My mom brought up the idea of using paper towels as napkins, and many of your finer bar/restaurants do the same. And do you miss the napkin? Not really. The paper towel has the same function as the napkin — to wipe things up, in this case off one’s face or, if necessary, clothing.

My wife had the same idea — however, she took it to full-on everyday use. But the extension of the paper towel into the facial-tissue realm was all hers.
Continue reading “Reasons I love my wife: Paper towels”

Hail to the Redskins? Hail, no.

washington_redskins_logo1030104I’ll be honest with you. Had you told me 10 years ago that I would no longer be a Redskin fan, I’d have called you a liar and a fool.

But then, I’d never have anticipated what Daniel Snyder would’ve done to this franchise.

It started with Snyder hiring Steve Spurrier as his head coach.

Now, to many folks, Spurrier may have at the time seemed like maybe it was a good idea. Or at least interesting. To me, it meant that my mortal enemy, my nemesis, as a Georgia fan through and through, was in charge of the Redskins.

So I took my leave as a ‘Skins fan. I considered myself almost a fan in exile. I told fans I was looking for a new team, but I thought eventually I’d come back.
Continue reading “Hail to the Redskins? Hail, no.”

This blog is … alive! (again!)

aliveHey there…

So we’re changing things up a little bit here. This started out as a music-heavy blog and there’ll still be plenty of music.

But I’m taking a cue from a new favorite of mine but a blog that’s been around for a good while, Basically, Jason Kottke writes about what he likes, which covers a lot of ground: Technology, art, history and more.

So I’m basically taking the same philosophy, writing about things I like. Which are:

— Music

— Movies

— Food/restaurants

— Sports, specifically baseball, Aston Villa soccer, Georgia athletics, football and basketball in general and the Olympics

— Technology

— Social media

— Books

— Travel

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