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Columns > Randy Ray - Peaches En Randalia

Published: 2008/04/24
by Randy Ray

GAMEHENDGE, the sign read. Once upon a timethere was a mountain

Peaches En Randalia #26
A Phans Note: Ahhthe power of the Tall Tale in our scene. I don’t think there is anything wrong with allowing yourself to show how life evolves. I get upset with people who think that improvisational music is just a phase. You know…it’s about the PEOPLE and what they’re going through. Its about growing up and fixing one’s roof, or tending to the twinsall part of that cycle of life that drives us. I think it’s important to document how we age and how we change the way that we spend our dayswhat is important to us now and how do we move forward with the promise that our collective past will not always be viewed as the happiest days of our lives? If in doubt, READ THE BOOK!
Congratulations to Phish on their Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming Jammy Awards on May 7, at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

And now for something completely relevant…in the spirit of collaboration, we hand this months column over to the scenes red-headed king-in-exile with an excerpt from:
The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday
Once upon a time there was a mountain that rose out of a vast green forest. And in the forest there were birds and lakes and rocks and trees and rivers. The forest was also inhabited by a small group of people called the lizards. The lizards were a simple people and they had lived in the forest undisturbed for thousands of years in utter peace and tranquility. Once a year when spring came, and the first blossoms began to show, the lizards would gather at the base of the mountain, to give thanks for all that they had. They thanked the birds and they thanked the lakes and they thanked the rocks and the trees and the rivers; but most importantly, they thanked Icculus.
Icculus lived at the top of the mountain, or at least everyone thought so, for no one had actually ever seen him. But they knew he existed, because they had the Helping Friendly Book. Icculus had given the Helping Friendly Book to the Lizards thousands of years earlier as a gift. It contained all of the knowledge inherent in the universe, and had enabled the Lizards to exist in harmony with nature for years. And so they lived; until one day a traveler arrived in Gamehendge. His name was Wilson and he quickly became intrigued by the Lizards way of life. He asked if he could stay on and live in the forest; and the Lizards, who had never seen an outsider, were happy to oblige.
Wilson lived with the Lizards for a few years, studying the ways of the Helping Friendly Book, and all was well. Until one morning when they awoke and the book was gone. Wilson explained that he had hidden the book, knowing that the Lizards had become dependent on it for survival. He declared himself king and enslaved the innocent people
of Gamehendge. He cut down the trees and built a city, which he called Prussia. And in
the center of the city he built a castle, and locked in the highest tower of the castle lay the Helping Friendly Book out of the reach of the Lizards forever. But our story begins at a different time, not in Gamehendge, but on a suburban street in Long Island, and our hero is no king sitting in a castle, he is a retired colonel shaving in his bathroom.
Colonel Forbin looked square in the mirror and dragged the blade across his cold creamed skin. He saw the tired little folds of flesh that lay in a heap beneath his eyes. Fifty-two years of obedient self-restraint, of hiding his tension behind a serene veil of composure. For fifty-two years he had piled it all on the back burner, and for fifty-two years it had boiled, frothing over in a turbulent storm inside of him. It had escaped through his eyes, reacting with the cigarette smoke and the fluorescent lights and slowly accumulating into a sagging mass. He ran his dripping palm across the stubble on the nape of his neck and thought again about the door. He had discovered the door some months back on one of his ritualistic morning walks with his dog McGrupp. It had started out as a typical stroll with McGrupp bounding joyously ahead of the preoccupied colonel. As they reached the apex of the hill, he saw it and he knew it had always been there, and felt foolish for overlooking the door for so long. At first, he tried to ignore it, but he soon found that it was impossible, and slowly his newly acquired knowledge transformed his dreary life into a prison from which there was only one escape. And on this morning, Colonel Forbin stepped through the door…
TMWSIY text was originally transcribed by Matt Laurence. Corrected and modified by Darren Cokin. Thank you to that dynamic duo plus Phish.Net. Cheers to all the members of rec.music.phishthe legendary cyber doorway to Gamehendge.
And Trey being Trey…our red-headed king-in-exile passed the ball back to me…so, the setlist looks like Ranty>Trey>Tela…and the wind from beyond the mountain…it swept us away from Maine to Colorado to Wisconsin and back home to Vermont…and my soul is made of marble but in her gaze I crumble into dust…years pass but the questions outweigh the answers…is the dream gone if the circus no longer comes to town?...and drift away on the wind…who have we become and what matters to us now…the wind from beyond the mountain…will those days from tiny clubs to small theatres to abandoned airports be, truly, the Happiest Days of our lives or are we creating new ways to shape our own positive paths along this collective bit of time and space we inhabit?...drifting far from land…no longer chained to the dreams of others…forging our own share of light…shielding ourselves from the darkness…never giving up hope as we ride with the wind from beyond the mountain…

- Randy Ray stores his work at www.rmrcompany.blogspot.com.

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