The Struggle is the Achievement

In my journey of providing children with positive behavior supports, a critical piece of any success I helped to achieve is the following insight…shared with me by my first true mentor in behavior management.

  1. You cannot make anybody do anything
  2. Nobody can make you feel anything.

These insights required years, nearly decades now to sink in to the point where I mostly understand them.  This is not to say that others need the time I needed.  No, I’m saying that I needed a REALLY long time to get a point where I’m calm and comfortable within my own skin.  So, it’s me.  Not you.

That first insight seems incompatible with the actual endeavor of behavior change…but in fact it’s the key.  Let me get specific.  In your mind, visualize a person with whom you have a particular challenge.  Got it?  Let’s call that person X.  You cannot make X do anything.   Now let me expand, you cannot make X do anything X doesn’t choose to do.  Let me flip the script, X cannot make YOU do anything you don’t choose to do.  I mean, amiright?!  (I’m right.)  So what can/should you do?  Well, you need to figure that out, but here’s a valid goal: set up your relationship, decisions, and behaviors to maximize the likelihood that X will make choices that fit within the social and community boundaries you’ve set in whatever milieu you need to interact with/around X.  (I know, it’s very wordy and specific, but it kind of needs to be.  Specific and measurable at least.)

Now, comes the second insight.  And it’s a tough one.  Nobody can make you feel anything.  Your feelings…are yours.  Mine…are mine.  Surely there are things that I can say and do that you don’t like or prefer, and perhaps I say or do things that push your emotional buttons.  But your feelings are yours.  We so often blame others for our feelings.  “You made me feel X.”  It’s simply not true.  Contemplate that for just a few minutes and I think you’ll see the stark truth embedded.

So, in approaching X…it’s really important to understand that you can’t make X do anything…AND…X doesn’t control your emotions.

The problem almost always is…X absolutely believes X can control your emotions, and to some extent (…perhaps as much as totally…) you’re giving X reactions that prove X right.  Think of it like a video game…except X’s controller isn’t connected to a Wii…it’s connected to you!  X knows X can manipulate your feelings, and so X does.

Here’s another problem…once you endeavor to force X to do things by threat, punishment, reward, or any other seemingly logical means, all bets are off.  Because X absolutely doesn’t want to be controlled. (Do you want to be controlled?)  X wants to control.  (Who doesn’t want control?)  X wants a state of homeostasis in which X can relax and exist without unwanted restrictions. (Sounds great, right?)

The challenge of behavior support, particularly when we meet a particularly bright, particularly manipulative, particularly troublesome, particularly confounding individual is that we have to take some time to think about our own biases, our own theories on development and human behavior, our own emotions and baggage.  Again, I’m not judging or pointing fingers…I’m simply sharing how I came to find peace and success building relationship with and providing service to the Xs in my life.

So what’s the moral here?

Always take a good, long, gentle but honest look in the mirror before you endeavor to influence another person.  That’s one.

Look before you leap.  That’s another.  A classic.

And, as is inherent in the actual insights listed above, accept that each human, including you, has moral, emotional, and behavioral agency.

I still struggle, daily, with all of this.

The struggle is the achievement.

-G

(source)

Château Cishet (LlewDellyn 1.3)

Today, Jim schools me.

No better way to state it.

I learn about SOGIE.

That’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.  Now, there’s no great revelation having two fairly straight, completely white dudes discuss things entirely outside of their expertise or experience.  However, what you have here are two fairly straight, completely white dudes who are NOT…as you know if you’ve listened in the past or know either/both of us…stereotypically defensive, hyper-masculine, closed-minded, dogmatically-handcuffed straight white dudes.

Point is, you should listen…and if you have a relevant experience set from a marginalized/oppressed community, please comment.  Hell, I’d love to talk with you.  This is about growth, about learning, about relationship, about waking up and doing something to ensure inclusion and equality.  Really, if you feel compelled to speak, I’d love to sit down with you.

I also learn about Gregory.

That’s me.

Only my wife has been able to communicate with me about my tendency to lecture and preach.  It’s not easy to share insights with another person if that other person is not ready to hear those insights.  Also, it’s impossible to effectively communicate those insights if one is not coming from a place of loving kindness.

Well, Driven2Drink is a safe space for me, and Jim is a friend and guru of sorts in my life.

When I lecture and/or preach…the message only reaches a tiny choir, alienates a large group of people I honestly don’t want to alienate, and demeans others.  I really don’t dig on demeaning people.

I am superior to no person.  Inferior to no person.

It’s a falsehood from the jump, particularly if one’s path is toward inclusion and equality.

I know, in the past, I’ve come off as a hyper-intellectual, social justice warrior bully with a superiority complex.  I’ll likely do it again.  (I’ll try not to, though.  I’m working on it.  On me.)

However, you may call me on all of that bullshit…because that’s all it is.  A cow patty in the middle of a verdant field of possible truth…and I step in it entirely too often.

Anyway, please sit for a spell, or go for a nice hike or jog with us plugged into your ears, and listen.

We present to you, “Château Cishet (LlewDellyn 1.3).”

(oh…the final thing you hear is this totes adorbs kid)

-G

 

(source)

 

Insomnia & The Dream

There is not, for those of us who experience it, just one kind of insomnia.  There’s an insomnia, or several, for everyone.  For the anxiety-brained, the temperature-sensitive, the blood-sugar precarious, the increasingly incontinent and prostate-terrorized, nocturnal-feline harangued…I could go on, and likely you could add a category or two, but I’ve made my point.  Insomnia is a many headed hydra which can strike at any time, for any reason.

Last night, it was emotionally-charged, brain-cycling, worry-driven front-end insomnia.  You know the nights when you are exhausted…but you still lay awake for minutes or, in my case, hours batting away anxious thoughts and overwhelming emotions like mosquitoes on a sticky Summer night after a heavy rain.

But eventually…the night engulfed me, and as I drifted, perhaps never quite reaching the depths of nourishing sleep, I had the dream.

The dream.

You have your “the dream” and I have mine.

My “the dream” has not always been the same “the dream.”  Sometimes there are multiple “the dream” vignettes.  But usually, for me, I contend with one at a time.

It used to be plummeting.  Just…plummeting toward a head and neck injury.  Falling and falling and eventually landing crown first as my body jolted awake in a cold sweat.

I don’t have that “the dream” anymore.  No, there’s a new menace lurking in my unconscious neurology.

Last night it was lucid enough that I was able to remember details.  Here is what I wrote just after waking:

I’m in…I presume high school.  It’s always utterly…unfamiliar.  Lockers upon lockers, odd hallways, additions.  I can’t figure out either where the very important class where I need to be is -or- my locker.  I need the locker which has the text.  I need the text because there is an extensive reading that must be complete for said class.  At times, while searching out the impossible-to-find locker, I’m panicked.  At other times, I’m angry.  Eventually, when I realize there will be a lock on the door in which the book resides and that I do not remember the combination – I become reserved.  I seem calm on the outside.  I can even smile, chat, etc.  But forever and ever I walk through the high school maze, a sense of deep, deep dread constantly coursing through my gut.

The class…I’m later and later and later.  So I walk and search…slower and slower and slower.  Better to stall.  The lockers…as time expands, and time is expanding…slowing…they lose even familiarity.  Early in the dream, I can sense, at times, that I’m very close.  But further into the story, I encounter new lockers, red lockers, rusted lockers with lift handles, tall lockers without locks or mechanisms.  The scene changes seamlessly.  I don’t recognize differences until I’m staring at an unending line of options that are distinctly different than the unending line of options in which I’d just been wandering.  It’s like a practical joke.  And it’s not at all funny.

The lock…the fact is, although it’s clear I’ll never find the locker and I’ll never get the book and never will I enter that classroom, I don’t have even the phantom of recollection of the combination.

So why not just abandon ship?

Because in dreams, in low key nightmares, we are captive to our brains, which seem to be captive to emotions, which seem to be captive to our brains, because in dreams, in low key nightmares, we are captive to our brains, which seem to be captive to emotions, and eventually, either the dream fades as deeper sleep engulfs me (…which was not the case last night…) or I awaken (…as I did today…) and the dream can be remembered.  Recorded.

And the emotions linger.  Ominous dread in which I might drown.  I know it was a dream, but I’m skeptical.  I must have forgotten something.  That’s the only reason for the dream, right?  And I cycle for a few minutes here…until finally, homeostasis finds me and I can start the day.  Mostly calm.  Mostly.

I hate the dream…but I know it’s communicating something very important.

I’m listening.

-G

(source)

Please Come Around Here (LlewDellyn 1.2)

Performative enlightenment is not enlightenment.

A self-aggrandized mitzvah is no mitzvah.

A public soliloquy of wokeness remains sleeping.

On this podcast, Jim gave me several gifts…certainly the gift of friendship is first and foremost.  But also, a safe space in which I could explore my idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies.  And finally, insight.

Through the course of recording this podcast I grew.  Perhaps just a little bit, but a significant little bit nonetheless.

As I reviewed the conversation for editing and polishing, I grew again.  A little bit more.

I emerged a bit further from my slumber and inched forward on my path toward enlightenment.  And whether or not Jim realized it (…and the fact that he likely didn’t realize it allows me to state the following with full confidence…) he performed a mitzvah.

He’s a good boy.  A great friend.

Have a listen, will you?

 

Exile On Elm Street

I recently engaged in a comment section dialogue with two of my most dedicated readers.  One is a beloved cousin, Mike.  The other, an anonymous contributor, known as “Ralph Wiggumn,” who I quite enjoy even though I don’t know (if I know) him.

You can go back to the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Stream of Consciousness post to see the interaction if you’d like.

I blasted off the responses to each of these “constant readers,” then spent hours, likely lost sleep, thinking about my side of the interactions.

One thing became abundantly clear, before I open my mouth in a state of emotional arousal (…which is approximately always…), I should shut it approximately one second before I open it…and think.

Let the emotions settle.

THEN…speak (text, Tweet, Facebook rant, comment).

This morning, I sat with a journal and wrote the first thoughts that poured out of my fingers.  Here is what I wrote:

==========

Why must I, so often, shit on a person or piece of art to justify a connection with ANOTHER person or piece of art?

Why always the comparison?

The judgment and ranking.

Perhaps it is a human tendency…but there is also my drive to be right, to prove my intelligence, knowledge, and overall value as a human.  (i.e. my insecurities)

It’s not, often enough, enough to just be…to enjoy a piece of art, even analyze it, without then placing it on some self-created chart of: better/worse.

I recall a talk by Ram Dass in which he describes walking in the forest, seeing the vast diversity around him, then focusing on just trees.  So many different shapes, sizes, and idiosyncracies even within the same species in the same proximity.  We never look at one tree and think, “Eh…too fat,” and then another, “Such ugly bark patterning.”  No, we accept each tree as its natural self.

But with other people?  The precise opposite.  So often a judgment, a comparison, and finding a way to “win” some imagined competition.

Same with art.  Human created pieces that express the individual and, necessarily, the broader and universal species condition.

It’s all useless…and has a negative impact on health, happiness, and relationships.

========

After writing that, I geared-up and ran with The Rolling Stones, “Exile on Main Street.”  It blew me away.  And as I write this I’m listening to “Their Satanic Majesties Request.”  Aurally, it’s impressive and entirely far out.  Trippy.  Experimental.  I hear the seeds of, “Sympathy for the Devil,” that amazing use of the drum kit and percussion by Charlie Watts.  He has such a unique and unmistakable “voice” with his choices.  I can’t wait to fall in love with him just like I fell in love with Ringo after having given him zero respect or thought for decades.

My point?

If I’m losing sleep about this shit I’ve got bigger fish to fry than thoughts on Ringo and Charlie.  I envision Freddy Krueger coming to me on one of those restless nights when sleep eludes me initially and then I fall into cascading, almost psychedelic anxiety-driven dreams.  He raises the bladed glove, tips the fedora, smells my emotional state and turns around.  “Fuck that.  I don’t want that energy on my conscience.”

No, that’s not really my point.

My point is…art is art.

We’ve created entire philosophies and fields of study dedicated to making hard science of artistic expression.  It’s all bullshit.  Art is expression.  Art is experience.  Art is emotion, relationship, communication without the unwieldy, typically woefully inadequate vehicles of conventional language transmission.  To make art is to rip open one’s chest and pour one’s soul back into the universe that is the selfsame soul.

Or it’s not.  WTF do I know?!

-G

How couldn’t I?

 

We Want You Back (LlewDellyn 1.1)

Fun facts that you’ll learn today:

  1. Wilton Felder played that iconic bassline on “I Want You Back,” by the Jackson 5.
  2. Wilford Brimley, famous for diabeetus and whatnot, did not.
  3. Jaco Pistorious, influential jazz bassist, was born in Norristown, PA.
  4. Oscar Pistorious, murderous blade-legged Olympic sprinter, was not.
  5. A proper term for a cluster or group of teenagers would be: Snapchat.  (Yo, did you see that snapchat of teens?  Let me apply this annoying filter to the photo I took of them.)

I guarantee there is at least one new thing you learned here.

For that, you might consider donating as little as $1/month to our fine establishment.  Here is the patreon link.

Or, you could just have a chuckle and spread the love.

You will hear, “I Want You Back” by those five Jacksons, and also “I Like to Move It” by Reel 2 Real.  Not Will.I.Am.  Or Sacha Baron Cohen.  Or other people.

We present to you, “We Want You Back (LlewDellyn 1.1).”

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Stream of Consciousness

I listened to my first full Beatles’ album last year.

I’m 42.

I began at Abbey Road and Let It Be and moved backward, skipping over Yellow Submarine (…though “Hey Bulldog” is a badass tune…), eventually arriving at Please, Please, Me.  I spent as much time as my brain deemed necessary with each album on the way backwards.

I then listened all the way back up again.

I was absolutely hooked.

I listened with headphones, in my car, in front of the computer with those speakers and in my living room with that system.  I ran with them, I hiked with them, and I sat with them.

And very recently (…see Rolling Stone article…) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was re-released in “deluxe,” “super deluxe,” and “Jesus Christ you have that much money to waste super duper deluxxxe” boxes.  I decided to listen to the two discs included in the paupers’ deluxe version.

And I opened Microsoft Word.

And I wrote.

The first portion of this, just below, is my stream of consciousness as I listened through the remastered album.

The second, also a stream of consciousness, this time after having listened to new stereo mixes of Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever. (BTW, I loved those so much that now I’m quite interested in the stereo remix of Sgt. Pepper’s.  That only comes with the third tier deluxxxe version.  So if you have that, lend it to me, will ya?!)

And third is a collection of thoughts after I listened to the various takes on the second disc as well as the 2017.

Okay, here goes.

==========

Part 1: I listen to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Listening to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band through high quality headphones is a unique trip.

Paul is hot and heavy in my right ear, panning center to left as the harmonies kick in, the applause whispers in the left then grows almost uncomfortably loud, panning and then splitting to stereo as Ringo’s simple, beautiful vocals smooth things out on, “With a Little Help From My Friends.”  But in my left ear.  All vocals in my left ear.  Bass, centered.  Percussion fully right.  It’s all disorienting, not fully enjoyable…but I’m sticking around.

Picture yourself in a boat on a river…with tangerine trees…and marmalade skies…

John scares me.  We know his violent past.  We know he’s moving in a direction toward Buddhist pacifism, seeking forgiveness and internal homeostasis.  We know he will die tragically.  But on this track…fuck…the menace is so present in his voice.

Picture yourself in a train in a station…with plasticine porters with looking glass ties…

If I weren’t in broad daylight right now, I’d be scared.  Like, watching, “The Shining” home alone in the dark with anxiety coursing through my blood scared.

Lucy fades out.

Ahh…those choppy guitar chords.  Getting Better…all the time.  Paul, always there to pat me on the head, rub my back, and let me know that the scary monster in the closet of John’s mind is nothing to worry about.  Nothing to worry about.  Got to admit…it’s getting better.  And everything is centered here.  Nobody creeping up on me from the left, or right, or behind.  The balance is calming, even with that high pitched guitar chop.  (There’s tension there, though, George.  Where’s that tension coming from?)  Oh right, and we end on that…immediately opposing Paul’s lyric.  That choppy, high-pitched, mildly dissonant, almost out of Psycho (…the shower scene…) syncopation.

Oh, Fixing a Hole.  Perhaps Getting Better was precisely that…the transition from John’s menace to Paul’s frivolity.  No, not really frivolous though, right?  Paul’s still a serious dude.  A romantic, though.  With a cheeky side.  John has no cheek.  He’s all brain and anger and struggle and…I really identify with John.  I hear Paul, and I love Paul, but I’m like, “Jesus, man!  How to you remain so damn happy all the time?!  Balanced.  Like shit doesn’t really matter.”

This song fades out too.  I don’t love the fade.

Oh, that harpsicord.  Yay!  Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins.

Here Paul tells me, “Fuck you.  I’m deep.  There’s such depth here.  Such sadness.”  She’s leaving home is pure melancholy.  It’s like a thick wool blanket and I want to wrap myself in it…in all the tears and grief.  There’s no danger, though.  If John had written this, there would be danger.  Not a wool blanket but rather a spool of barbed wire.  But Paul?  Our baby’s gone.  There’s a tear in my eye.  How could she do this to me.  She….is leaving…home.  Christ, when he hits that note on, “Home,” I could just melt into so many years of tears.  What did we do that was wrong?  We didn’t know it was wrong.  Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy.  Something inside that was always denied for so many years.  Christ…this song is fucking beautiful.  Bye-Bye.

Mr. Kite.

This is John being frivolous.  It’s like a carnival in some episode of The Twilight Zone.  The camera spinning a lot, colors bursting, occasionally a brief scene of something quite horrible flashes by.  A face with no eyes, perhaps.  Blood pouring out of the elevators.  See?  John’s got me back at “The Shining.”  That waltz.  So creepy.  John is like Lemony Snicket.  A carnival barker to the freak show of all freak shows.  American Horror Story: Sgt. Pepper.  Run, little girl, if you can.

Oh.

The fucking sitar song.

I hate the sitar song.  Sorry, people.  This song almost ruins the entire album for me.  There are songs like, “Norweigian Wood,” in which George doesn’t shoehorn the damn thing in.  Beautiful.  Here, it doesn’t work for me.  The tabla.  It’s boring.  Tabla isn’t supposed to be boring.  This is a man out of his element emulating Ravi Shankar, et al.  Emulating badly.  Within you without you.  Well, without this song…

Imagine if Strawberry Fields actually made its way onto this album and this song slunk off like an embarrassed teenager who knows he doesn’t really belong.**

**(I’m inserting myself here, today, on 6/7/17.  Not when I wrote this, which was back on 6/3/17.  There will be growth with Within You Without You.  I will spend more time with it.  Research it a bit.  No worries people, I’ve come almost fully around on this song, and I never would have anticipated that happening.  Okay, back to your regularly schedule program…)

64.

I love this tune.  A “granny song” as John called these pieces by Paul.  Hell, even Paul apparently referred to them as “fruity old songs.”  I love this.  Both of them hold the same opinion, but John cuts with menacing sarcasm; Paul infuses playful cheekiness.

It’s totally frivolous, though.  There’s that word again.  But it is.  It serves no purpose…but to bring me joy.  And what greater purpose is there on this earth than to bring joy to another and, in the process, oneself?  None, I’d argue.  The brass.  The bassline.  Just perfect.  Will you still need me?  Will you still feed me? (We shall scrimp and saaaaaaaaaave.)  I’m dancing.  In  coffee shop.  As I write and listen.  But I get John.  Paul with that stupid smile, the shaky head at the mic.  You know?  The Paul shaky head as he moves up to the mic?  That.  And Paul…and me sometimes…just wanting to slap the smile right away.

Lovely Rita.  Paul right in the middle of my head.  Bass and vocal percussion to the right.  Vocal percussion!  Chick-a-chick-a-chick-a.  I’d never noticed that before.  Drums on the left.  Now that saloon style piano solo.  And there’s the vocal percussion again.  Like a train on the tracks.  Oh…lots of vocal percussion at the end.  Shit, How’d I miss all of this?!  Who’s beat boxing here?**

**(Today, again.  It’s John.  Of course it’s John on the VP.  Also the comb-and-tissue-paper kazoo.  Because, of course they have one of those.)

Good Morning.

I’ve always thought, “Did they add these animal sounds as a direct call to the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds?”

Oh shit, I love it when the straightforward feel changes.  It feels 4/4 but then Ringo throws in like…what is that?…6/8?  It gets so damn funky.  Odd.  Playful.  All Ringo.  Playing around with the feel.  Brilliant.

**(Apparently it’s even more complex, and differently complex, than I’m explaining above.)

But anyway, I always thought that about those animal sounds…thinking about all the stories I’ve heard and read re: Wilson loving Rubber Soul and then the Beatles loving Pet Sounds.

I don’t love the use of animal sounds in this.  I get it.  Just don’t like it.  It feels like George Martin is just showing off at this point.  What?  400 hours or so they spent on this record.

Oh fuck YES!

The Sgt. Pepper’s reprise.

Here is where I contend Ringo is the first hip-hop drummer.  This beat, the feel, is pure hip-hop.  The Beastie Boys actually sample it within Paul’s Boutique.  But this tune is Ringo’s boutique.  Now I’m all hyped up.

And what do they do?

Just slide the knife in…

…A Day in The Life.

Christ.

I heard the news today, oh boy.

This composition really is the perfect melding of John and Paul.  The feel is menacing.  Deep.  Gorgeous.  He didn’t notice that the lights had changed.  They’d seen his face before.  It’s like a glimpse of John with the anger completely washed out.  Still a crank.  Still a skeptic.  Still never quite happy.

And then…WOKE UP!  And we’re bouncing around the world with Paul.  Happy as a fucking clam, they say.  But his voice is so muted.  I never realized that.  John was crystal clear in his portion.  And Paul sounds like he’s singing through a thick wool collar.

And now…back to John’s piece, but with Paul’s energy.

I know, I’m completely leaving Ringo and George out.  One should not do this.  However, this composition is like Paul and John’s Frankenstein monster.  The seams nearly flawless, but obvious still.  And the orchestral chaos.

Final chord.

It rings out for like 30 seconds.  Like ripples in the water.**

**(45 seconds, actually.)

But wait, there’s now silence.

And here comes that fucking creepy ending.  Never goose me any other way…never goose me any other way…never goose me any other way.

(Is that what they’re saying?)

The song’s a fucking masterpiece among masterpieces.

So there it is…my thoughts moving through Sgt. Pepper’s, remastered.

Now, go listen…perhaps with new ears, new eyes, a different pair of glasses.  Have a drink or two.  And then write down what you feel, think.  I’m interested.

==========

Part 2:  I listen to Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane

Okay, I’m going to dive in to the 2017 stereo mixes of Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, both recorded in the Sgt. Pepper’s session.  Think about that?  These two songs could have, perhaps should have been on that record.  Anyway, I’m going to dive in to these mixes which are included on the bonus material of the updated Sgt. Pepper’s 50th anniversary deluxe edition.

Here goes…

Oh that mellotron.  Fuck me, right?

And John’s voice.  Ringo’s percussion immediately stands out more than I remember.  It’s all so much clearer.  It’s as if the original recording is coming through an aural fog.  This is truly cleaner.  All of the backwards percussion looping just pops.  It’s like a trippy hippie hip-hop tune. (Sorry about that alliteration, but not really sorry.) Anyway…this is the kind of shit modern hip-hop artists are doing.  Even the effects on John’s voice.  The sitar.  The horn hits.  Buh-dup!  Buh-dup!  Bah-Bah-Bah-Dahhhh!  Oh man, that reverse looping is absolutely amazing sounding.  It’s almost fresh.  This was recorded in 1967 and if you played this for a young person who had no idea, they’d believe you if you told them it’s new.  Here’s the fade in to the, “I buried Paul” bit.  Awesome.

Penny Lane.  Paul’s voice.  It’s like a hot knife through butter. (“Buttuh, I tell ya.”)   The piano chords really pop here.  I just love the stereo.  Bassline is really driving the song.  The horn arrangement, wow.  I can barely contain my smile here.  Fuck it.  I’m smiling like I just won the lottery.  Hitting the 2 minute mark here.  The Barber shaves another customer.  (ou can hear the Liverpool there.  Sooooo much!  The vowel in “cuh” rhymes with “could” and not “cud.”  I love it.)  John’s high harmony.  Like a soprano descant.  So gorgeous.  Oh shit, that key change.  YASSS!  And here’s the harmony again.  Ringo ends it with a flourish on the high hat.  Perfection.  Fucking perfection.

==========

Part 3: I listen to the second disc of the deluxe edition and have some thoughts afterward.

Some thoughts after having listened to the minimally produced takes included on the second disc.  So what we’re getting access to here are various takes of the Sgt. Pepper’s session, including several first takes.  Like, Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds.  Take 1.  It’s access to the process.  The process of revolutionary genius.  And all the while Ringo is just holding that mother fucker down.  Because that’s what Ringo does.  He holds down the fort no matter what.  No matter what.

Perhaps I need to relax into Within You Without You and experience it for the piece of revolutionary aural novelty that it was in 1967.  It’s tough, though, as a 42 year old, who has heard classical Indian music played by virtuosos.  However, listening to take 1 on this deluxe edition…wow.  With the headphones in.  The sitar flourishes are beautiful.  The percussion is really quite good.  The whole piece has a lovely feel.  And I do like the melody.  Here’s what sucks, though.  Looking at the Wikipedia page at the Personnel section.  George is singing, playing tambura, sitar, and acoustic guitar.  Great, right.  Then, the western musicians are all credited.  All. By name. Then, we get a bullet point:

  • Uncredited Indian musicians – dilrubas, table, swarmandal, tambura

So once I settle and listen to the musicianship on take one, without the western artists…just these uncredited Indian musicians and presumably George doing something.  There’s not even much sitar going on here.  Is this just George with a little tambura action and an Indian ensemble?  I think.  And…entirely uncredited.  The height of cultural inclusion, or so you’d think, and then not even giving the musicians credit.  How much did they get paid, I wonder.  Shit, now this kind of ruins the song again, and certainly puts a dent in George and the Beatles for me.  But the tune is lovely…as a first take.  In India I bet.  Pre-production.  (Does anybody out there know the story?)

Okay…so, I listened to Sgt. Peppers an additional time beyond what I wrote above…but this time in my car and turned up loud rather through headphones.  And really, that’s the ticket.  When you plug one speaker in the right ear and one in the left, the whole experience is a bit jarring.  However, when you place yourself in the perfect spot between an array of speakers…well, THAT is what Martin intended me to hear, I think.  It all works.  The movements, the space, the aural experience is exquisite.  So that’s a recommendation I have.  (This is NOT true of the 2017 stereo updates of Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever.  They sound amazing on headphones.)

Back to these early takes of the various songs.  It’s just amazing to hear them talk about things.  Work shit out.  Also, the fact that Ringo is simply always holding things down.  I know I said it before, but it’s true.  And there’s like zero production.  In these recordings I’m hearing the band, perhaps playing over previous tracks, perhaps never with all 5 men in the same room at the same time, but nonetheless it’s the instruments and the musicians with absolutely none of the production that Sgt. Pepper’s would ultimately have…and STILL, this shit is genius.  It’s so obvious how exceptionally talented they all are in any combination of together.  Amazing, really.

I mean, Good Morning Good Morning take 8.  Just John, Ringo, Paul, and George.  That’s all I’m hearing.  The song. It’s like The Beatles as a garage band.  In the garage.  And they would cause 100% of other garage bands to just hang it all up because they are THAT good.

Paul counting in Ringo on the Sgt. Pepper’s reprise.  Shit!  Again, this is a pure hip hop beat.  Pure. One two three four…and Paul hits a nice, “hey, hey” on the three-and and four-and.  So good.  You hear Paul telling Ringo, “No man, more on the bass drum.”  And then, “Yeah!” when he does it.  Immediately.  You hear George noodling around in there too…so maybe just John was missing here.  They’re a fucking killer power pop trio too.  Killer.

==========

Much love to you.  Thanks for hanging around.  If you’re here, then I can confidently tell you that you should spend some time with these two albums.  (If you have a paid streaming services like Apple Music or Google Play Music, they’re both available.)  Also, let me know what you think.  Shit, if you ever want to have a Beatles listening party, I’m all in.  I’ll bring booze.

-G

A Lovely Day (LlewDellyn 1.0)

I  know, we had Llewellynsanity, so this is technically Jim’s two-point (2.0/2.1/2.2/etc.) experience in the luxurious Driven2Drink studios and makeshift gastropub (Jen’s the chef, Greg’s the mixologist, and it’s a righteous pairing).  However, when one transcends being a mere guest, which Jim has done and likely had done during his actual one-point series, that guest gets inextricably melded with me and thus the podcast name must reflect the growth.  In this case: LlewDellyn.

Notably, you’re actually going to listening to the second thirty or so minutes of our time together.  Why?  Because I was in a bad, bad place for the first recording.  For the first and hopefully only time in the history of this podcast, I entered the recording maximally energized, opinionated, loud, and drunk.  Like, just jumped in at nearly wasted.  It wasn’t pretty.  Now, I’ve cut out bits and pieces of that recording and will be sharing them with yinz in the upcoming weeks.  Jim had the uncanny and unwitting ability to render me in an almost catatonic, absolutely incapacitated, silent laugh.  You’ll get to experience a few of those.

But for today, you get to hear Jim attempting to relate a story about Prince playing, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” with a star-studded band at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

You should actually watch it.  If you’ve never, do yourself a favor.

RIGHT HERE

Why do I qualify Jim’s action with the word, “attempting,” you might ask?

Because your humble host did everything he (…that’s me…) could to derail the train.  The whole thing ends up being quite funny.  Almost everything I wanted out of the first half hour but was unable to manage or control given my state of being and inebriation.

So here you are, we present to you, “A Lovely Day (LlewDellyn 1.0).”

And yes, you’ll hear the great Bill Withers at the end.

Have a lovely day.

(source…very cool!)