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Columns > Randy Ray - Peaches En Randalia

Published: 2008/12/22
by Randy Ray

New York, Always, in the Front Window, He Howls Expectedly. New Orleans

Peaches En Randalia #34 (2008 Greatest Hits)
Strange apparitions, continues the tour guide, film rolls completely used up when, in fact, they had only shot five to ten pictures.
do you think someone interrupts and asks the Peaches En Randalia writer.
Later, photos are developed, and the remaining shots are of them asleep, reports the tour guide.
maybe ponders the writer.
Somehow, something, or someone that once was, had taken pictures of these hotel guests while they were sleeping, states the guide. We cannot verify
Are you saying I believe someone has been in our room, too?
I dont know what you believe; do you believe in anything?
Belief, indeed. Lets begin with this rather Joycean (or Ricky Gervais?) compendium of all that is 2008 Peach-y. Im reading about the Obama juggernaut. If one were to equate it to rock n rolland one should if one is writing for a site labeled Jambands.comObama is the Beatles of what could be America and Clinton is certainly the Stones of what it really isAmerica, a powerful force that offers equality to various people with their mixed bag of cultures and yet, one cant quite get past that little unethical Native American dispersal issue. Domestically, Obama will excel. Foreign policy matters, Clinton will prevail. Meanwhile, Barack Obama is such a profound example of what America could be that one sees almost a little bit of Grateful Dead in him, regardless of Messers. Lesh, Weir, Kreutzmann and Harts endorsements. Huh? Obama represents an iconic figure that could unite a various and beleaguered band of misfits into rising above the collective mediocrity to become something much larger and good.
If that aint Chicago, as well, sitting in the middle ground between the terrible beauty and relevance of New York and the gargantuan splash and zither of El Lay, I dont know what is, man. Chicago is a good walking town but can it be the town that isnt known for the blues, bootleg whisky, corruption and the convention that damn near killed America? Can Obama seize Americasomething mentioned in Hunter S. Thompsons September 10, 1968 letter to Allard K. Lowensteinback from the sick tyrants that have so often polluted the waters of our people? This is all supposed to be about you and me, me and you, isnt it? We matter, dont we?
Ahhbut we do
IT is out there, somewhere, from San Francisco to El Lay to Chicago to Manchester to New YAWK Citay to the mythical edges of John Derhaks moe.Republic Hotel out along the coast of Maine. And I wont miss the call of that whisper spoken so softly if Im listeningsometime in the near future, on that quiet city street, outside the frames of homes that appear to have stood for two centuries and contain people with stories that reach back even further as one sees a slice of life that is equal parts Golden Americana and the sweet life that gives us all hope that this wild journey through the lyrical notes of our daily lives _is somehow worth it.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…mowing and pruningThe mowing of grass in right of ways and easements is accomplished with five tractors with bush hogs, two front deck mowers, one slope mower, and several string trimmers. Overhead vegetation is trimmed with a tractor mounted boom mower. This equipment is operated by six light equipment operators, two crew leaders, and several full time and part time laborers. _
Weird Scenes Atop the Ethereal Lawn Mower: I waited for the banging and thumping to stop, but it wouldnt. Kanye was going to have his way, and I would sit inside this train, this way station between the past and present until I had figured out that sometimes, as an artist or a scribe or a painter or a poet or a photographer or a scenemaker or a documentarian, one just needs a bubble of peaceor is it clarity that one seeks and not that moment of artistic silence? Alices rabbit hole, or that room at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Gamehendge, or Bonnaroo, or is it mythical Willoughby, a fantastical realm that only resides in ones imagination? Is imagination enough to wrest triumph from defeats grasp? I ponder these issues, sifting for gold in the deep, dark mine of my mind while continuing to enjoy timeless music, whether it is the soothing soul music of Solomon Burke, the wall-shattering sounds of Dumpstaphunk, the angelic voice of Alison Krauss wedded to the arch masculine wit and charm of Robert Plants pipes, or is it found in the new and beautiful tunes on the recent Licorice EP, shuffled into play after another listen to that glorious thunder of Phish as they skull-fuck through another fine set at the Hampton in November 1997? Questions, they say, are more important than answers, and as my nearly five-year-old son reels off another series of Why? questions, I smile, because, for him, at least, he still sees the world with the eyes of a child, and we all must return to that feeling from time to time.
Wellenough of that bit of scenic and epiphanic revelry along the 2008 River Liffey.
Speaking of all for one, and one for all, and the land of the Free, home of the Brave, and Equal Rights for Everyone, and the Happiest (Hippiest?) Days of our Livesbefore Phish, I was heavily schooled in the works of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. Despite my mothers best efforts, I jumped the Christian ship and landed in the field of hard rock. This would change slightly when I discovered the respective music of Messrs. Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan, but I held the timeless LZ songs aloft to the Valhalla Gods for eternal enshrinementand very much still do, despite my present preoccupation with what some would either call free jazz, avant-garde, organized noise, or jamband fringe musicand I find it very humorous that Ill wake up from a more current daydream, sayI wonder if the idea of a band camping in one town for a week to reduce tour expenses will work for a number of groups used to racking up triple-digit shows on the roadand still feel the pull of Zeppelin, as much as I do Messrs. Garcia, Dylan, and JEMP as the calendar pages fly from the wall like a cartoonish version of passing time and the hourglass we all dread moves ever onwards.
Little Feats Bill Payne recently said something interesting. He said that he likes people with a little bit of dust on their travelin shoes, whether its Garcia, Dylan, or you and me.
It was another moment of epiphany in 2008 that reminded me that I once left a comfortable townhouse a block away from the Pacific Ocean, to live in the deep underbelly of poverty in East L.A. What drove that decision to bunker down on Judson Street? How did those 18 months change my worldview of the haves and have nots, and the Footprints of Giants, and, alas, the stories of those whose footprints have always been forgotten by the pages of history?
Speaking of Journeys and History and Footprints of GiantsJambands.com completed its first decade of service to the heady, hippie, and musically experimental masses in 1998, and I also remembered a personal milestone. Ten years ago, on August 19, 1998, I began my first novel with a rather obscure little sentence that led to a paragraph, then to a page, and onwards, until I amassed 330 pages. 1998. Around the time that Budnick, et al were walking forwards into the Great Unknown with this site, I was taking a crack at a first novel. I unwisely promised a small group of readers that I would produce copy every day for them to read. Hence, I wrote the tome in three months to reach a rather satisfying conclusion, and my readers were pleased, and suggested that I continue with another novel. (Bastards.) And like this site, I took that second step and continued to grow within the boundaries of my resourcesstretching and expanding at times, but never forgetting that initial core audience of enthusiastic readers.

I salute this site, and I thank Mr. Budnick and his crew (perhaps, again, but gratitude is sometimes in small supplies these days in our world), while looking back at those heady, wild days of the fall of 1998. I, of course, was a young man without any responsibilities (read: small children) in that fantastic year. (Bastard.)
Soonce upon a time
MY life was filled with available down time, but alas, I did not have my three sonschildren, and not the Fred MacMurray program, or creepy Uncle Charley, for that matter. And with these children comes Great Responsibility, as the Good Doctor once told me back in the day. I must allow their little existential minds to grow and flourishone, two, and three of them (sensing the pattern?)in their own various ways, allowing them to improvise (destroy the house one room at a time) within a safe framework (the threat of uber death if all rooms are destroyed at any one time)Hell, lets face it, kids (Heck, to you urchins) I used to overdose, myself, on how I felt about something. In my writing, I would want to convey the TOTAL picture to the reader, using a very fascist narrative technique that did not give the page the life it needed so one can form an objective opinion. Readers just read the ravings of a mad man. NEW fans, unlike OLD me, may not have experienced much great live music. Younger folks need an open book to write on, not the Happy Happy Joy Joy of You had to be there, man! It was AWESOME!, or potentially worse, cloudy memories written by an over-toured veteran tossed together with a jaded, weary tone. I suppose it varies from person to person, tyke to tyke. That is the obvious thing to think, but I also feel that how one handles The Changes goes a lot further into the depths of what life is really all about. The choice to experience a feeling, or an emotion, or the impact of another living being is, indeed, a miracle. More daunting and cosmic, is to have the chance to make an impact on this astral plane, or, in this case, another person, place, or thing. There you go. Belief, indeed as we encapsulate it all:
1)Tread lightly (its all right to have an intangibly huge impact on this particular plane, i.e. kindness, but your physical carbon footprints should be smaller than a hobbits tit).
2)Back your promises (within a reasonable timeframe, i.e. include a nifty either/or option clause when you welch on your originally stated promise).
3)Be nice to your editor (he or she pays your metaphysical bills, and keeps the light on when youre struggling for the right word, i.e. Kanye=wanker).
Happy Holidays, Hippies, Rawkers, Joyceans, Larry David and Ricky Gervais Heads. May 2009 bring you tolerable answers to the heady challenges you will face.
_- Randy Ray stores his work at www.jambands.com _

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