This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Road To Somewhere Far Away (But Not So Far I Can't Make Out The End)

There are days, my friends, when I just dread getting up in the morning. These days usually turn out a whole lot better than I expect they will, because I can handle an awful lot.

Anyway, tomorrow's my day off, and I'm going to spend some of tomorrow on myself. First, I'm getting my hair did by someone named Anthony, who's supposed to be the hair-diddest. Next, I'm going to check my bike tires and then I'm off to Golden Gate Park and, sooner or later, to the beach.

After that I'll do some work, because I can't seem to get over this hump of work right now. But right now I'm listening to Paul's Boutique, because it makes me happy.

Work. I have a way of life and a reason for being, and I guess sometimes I fear that path. The straight and narrow fills me with fear.

But all paths have surprises along the way -- the lizards and snakes, the creeks and dripping mosses. And sometimes, just over a rise, a view of a valley white with buckeye blossoms, and beyond it a blue sky full of clouds all moving in one direction, and beyond that a glimpse of the sea.

In any case, tonight while stretching I heard a few numbers from Patti Smith's new album. She covers a lot of people, and she does her own thing with emotional honesty, and the songs simultaneously respect and reinvent the originals, and, and, and. Oh, and you should hear her version of "Within You and Without You"! Patti Smith feels these lyrics (you can hear this in her voice as you've never heard her before), and she maintains the rhythms of the original. In other words, Patti Smith has a poet's sensibilities.

Real poetry, in my opinion, isn't some clever, boring in-club. Real poetry is clarity and music combined.


Blogger AhvaRahn said...

your paragraph five: tremendous
i heard patti smith earlier,
on my way home from work.
It was late,
and I had to stop for gas.
She sang, Glor-eee-a. G.L.O.R.I.A.
Strange, that.

11:29 PM

Blogger ginab said...

We're hearing Patti Smith lately because she's being inducted. And GLORIA was her first recording (according to a repeat of an interview with her and Terry Gross, NPR).

I hope your hair did works fine. Yeah, the straight and narrow...don't I know it, you know? I don't know what to say except I was told when at my lowest that life is worth surviving. In otherwords, surviving is a skill and the red bows on the mud are distractions.

9:09 AM

Blogger matty said...

Oh, how I used to love Patti Smith. But, somewhere along my road -- the power and meaning in much of her work no longer touched me. I don't know.

Maybe I've not felt the rebel as of the last 10 years or so. It was about 10 years ago that I decided I no longer appreciated HORSES or RADIO ETHIOPIA the way I used to.

Still, I'm glad she is finally being inducted!

And, I'm so jealous!!! Yesterday would have been ideal for the beach! As would have today! ...I've been sick all weekend. Sleeping and aching since Friday. Sucks.

Now -- where is a picture of the new hair did!?!?!!?

An air kiss (for I would not want to make you sick, but I shall have to go to work tomorrow no matter what!!!)

8:09 PM

Blogger ing said...


Yes, I heard that on the radio, the G.L.O.R.I.A thing! I guess it was a repeat interview?! I agree, it was a little strange, but then again I never realized that Patti Smith had such a lovely voice.

I never particularly liked that Gloria song much. Did you?


My hair did is a work in progress. Right now it looks a little dorky, but me and my new miracle worker, Anthony, have a plan -- it's going to grow, and the layers are going to be much longer, and we're going to work with my reddish tones. Matty will be pleased.

Survival is a skill I never knew I had, but I'm learning that I'm pretty good at it. Really, I had no idea. I thought I'd curl up and die, but so far I've been fighting my way through it. It's weird.



Have you heard this covers album? It's not rebellious in the way you think of Patti Smith being rebellious, though some of that is still apparent. It's the vulnerable, emotional, fragile person behind the rebellion.

I didn't end up going to the beach, by the way, so no need to be jealous. I had sooooo much laundry to do, and Saturday was the only day I had to do it, so that's what I did. And some yoga, to top it all off. A perfect day, though I think I would have preferred the beach. Maybe next Saturday!

Air kiss back to you, from a safe distance. I CAN'T get sick for the next two weeks! And I need to defer my taxes, quick, mister!

9:13 PM

Blogger Dan L. said...

You are loved, here.

Thank you, by the way, for the crazy pictures of people looking like rabbits and whatever...

--Dan L.

10:20 PM

Blogger AhvaRahn said...

I guess we were all tuned in to that repeat broadcast from '96.

Growing up in and around Belfast, we were all supposed to like ‘Gloria’ –written by Belfast’s very own cantankerous wassock, Van Morrison– but it was never one of my favourites (he’s capable of genius though). Patti Smith’s version had grungy appeal but still didn’t cut it. A dear friend of mine used to serve Van ice-cream in a 50’s style cafe, and I submitted some artwork for his Irish heartbeat album. We got up close, and tried to find if there was something about the man that we were missing; we found our very own cantankerous wassock.

have a great week,
(i need to walk more)

5:58 AM

Blogger ginab said...

Survival is a skill I never knew I had, but I'm learning that I'm pretty good at it. Really, I had no idea. I thought I'd curl up and die, but so far I've been fighting my way through it. It's weird.

Really? Lots of people do it, I'm thinking most people no matter where they have arrived from (in America) do it. (Not with me ever again, but people do do it.) There's a real story in yesterday's NY Times about Iraqi Christians, about their $10k journey from Iraq to Turkey to Greece to the Netherlands to Mexico to California, just to be allowed to survive. To be given the chance. It's moving. Far more than I am at convincing or at least showing.


PS: I'm hoping that elephant guy has been bringing you all kinds of good fortune. I'm thinking he has. Or is it a she? And if not, WHY not? Please. Give her a dress!

10:43 AM

Blogger ginab said...

On GLORIA, after learning or being reminded more about Patti Smith, about the raised Jehovah's Witness in NJ and wanting to become a painter, about being able to sing only what was simple, being accompanied so simply, and about her admiration for "give it all" performers, and having it all run through T. Gross' mill or grill (well tempered), and maybe my car was running high for running low on fluids, the song sounded fresh the other day heard after noon.

raw and fresh and daring and all. I heard the "all". Oh, and she was 21. There was the youth, the quench of youth there.

i'm only thinking. I'm damn tired. Mikhail is still looking at a branch!

2:49 PM

Blogger ing said...

Dan L.

Thanks! What a sweet thing to say!



You're right, and I know that others survive and cope. I was just expressing my own view, which I continue to have -- it's mine and not someone else's, you know?

I've been fortunate to learn what I'm learning, though, that's for sure. I feel fortunate, though I wish I didn't have to get there via bad fortune. I suppose that's what the elephant is bringing me, eh? A roundabout you-will-learn-from-this?

And I'm glad that you hear what you hear in Patti Smith's rendition of Gloria. I sure enjoyed her moving story. I learned more about her, though clearly much that was new to me was old news to you.

I had a tough day today. I hope tomorrow goes better. What a handfull!

6:40 PM

Blogger ing said...

Oh, avarah, I almost skipped you!

I do love Van Morrison's songs, and I've heard that he could be kind of a wanker. I try not to think about it.

Okay, I'm back to work!

6:58 PM

Blogger ginab said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:27 PM

Blogger ginab said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:44 AM

Blogger ginab said...

Oh I nattered on earlier. Basically, you are a survivor. Life is a something of challenges. You're okay. Don't shut your friends out. Take care of all you need to take care of. I will try to see you in Spring. I will. I just got thwacked, not sure if you know it, hard by death. Happens. My car should wear a splint ;-).

Love Elizabeth II.


5:54 AM

Blogger Ticharu said...

I'll have to check out the new Patti Smith for sure... I was at her web stie a while back but I couldn't find any music on it, a small oversite perhaps. :)

9:53 AM

Blogger sombrero11 said...

I don't want this to be taken as a shot against Patti Smith at all, but I think it's bullshit that she is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and her late husband is not. I'm a big fan of the MC5, so I think they both deserve to be in there.

4:08 PM

Anonymous Meredith said...

I think things always turn out great on the days you don't expect them to because your expectations are so low to start with. I know for me if I crawl out of bed and would rather not, and really feel like I should just curl into a ball and stay there, the smallest kindnesses make me weep. And a something just "nice" seems wonderful. The important thing is to keep plodding along, one foot in front of the other, and keeping your eyes and ears wide open to every opportunity.

5:23 PM

Blogger ing said...



I hope I'm not shutting anyone out. I've been busy, night and day, for the past six weeks. Tomorrow, finally, I'm going out to see a movie. Which means I have a lot to accomplish tonight. I want to be able to relax tomorrow evening.

And yes, I know about the thwacking. I'm sorry about that, and no pressure.



Yes, do give her a listen. You'd enjoy it, I'm sure.



I imagine you've seen this, then. Why do you think the MC5 weren't inducted, too? (Just curious about your answer.)



Or maybe we should all lower our expectations? I've done this -- I've taken the pessimistic view, just in case, and then when something nice happens, it's a big surprise.

This worked for me, for a while. Then I realized that my pessimism sometimes prevented nice things from happening in the first place.

So I like your advice. I'll try to take it. Starting tomorrow.


Hey, y'all:

Guess who I met today, at the bookstore? Anne Marie! She caught me when I was feeling pretty harried, so I'm afraid my best side wasn't showing. But it sure was a nice surprise!

8:08 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Bravo to Anne Marie!!! Yeah! (I'd mentioned where you work prior to the last time she was to be in SF.) I'm glad it worked out.

8:48 PM

Blogger Anne-Marie said...


Sorry for the sudden surprise, Ing- I would have warned you via email, except I couldn't find one on your profile. It was on our way to picking up my friend's daughter at school, so not out of our way at all.

I love the fact that this city is full of bookstores- it says a lot about its culture.

11:40 AM

Blogger sombrero11 said...

Actually, I hadn't seen that video before. I'm not very YouTube savy, so I'm missing out on a lot. Thank you.

The MC5 have been nominated for the Rock Hall, but never inducted. If I had to hazard a guess as to why... well, there are a couple of factors.

First, they were not very successful commercially while the band was together. The kids love loud songs about revolution and fucking, but corportate America does not. It didn't help that their debut album was a live disk, because their two follow-up albums were unable to capture the energy of their live show, and were considered flops at the time.

Second, their initial influence was much stronger in England than in the United States. Another Detroit band, the Stooges, were a bigger influence on the punk scene in the U.S., but the MC5 were a huge influence on English punks, The Clash in particular.

2:19 PM

Blogger wallycrawler said...

MC5 was the 1st. punk band !

Way before "The Ramones" . MC5 were make'n noise . They stopped the music "Machine" . They helped kill the crap be'n force feed to the kids in the 70's & 80's . That's reason enough to not induct them . The mainstream music scene in the 70's hated the punk movement . They were looked at as trouble and unmarketable .

Except a select few , they had to suck Jann Wenner's (Rolling Stone Magazine) ass . Unfortunately Patti Smith and bands like "The Talking Heads" were give'n the boost because of that . MC5 was to dirty and rough for little Jann's taste so they were left in the dust . As for the "Clash" be'n influenced by them OK ! Maybe the attitude , but their music influence came mostly from a Caribbean flavour than an American .

So MC5 will never be inducted , who cares ! We all know what a real shadow they cast . (The Seatle sound comes to mind) .

Patti Smith in the "Rock'n Roll" hall of fame , whatever ! She was a good poet , but as a performer she was way over rated . But Jann loved her !

Wanna put a woman in there that deserves It ? Induct Liz Phair , she's influenced more women in Rock than anyone in the last 1/4 century .

5:55 AM

Blogger josh williams said...

I hope Britney gets her act together.

6:54 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Hey there mama, how'z it shakin'?

300--I'll see it after I see the painted veil on St. Pat's day/eve...with...Ken.


the MC5...had me trying to find the friend who saved my life! yep. Still searching, but in the process I found a grant opp. weird!

hoping you're well and dandy because, a-hem, you are!


9:55 PM

Blogger matty said...

I heard some of the tracks when it first came out.

I don't know -- she doesn't reach me anymore.

odd, that.

11:26 PM

Blogger ing said...

Maybe if she grew out her fingernails -- if she extended the length of her fingers like Barbara does, maybe she could reach you?

I still have images from 300 lodged in my mind, like a Spartan spear through a Persian soldier's chest. I agree with B; the star was very stiff of beard.

1:21 AM

Blogger matty said...

Oh, you might be on to something. If Patti grew out those nails and did something about that hair. Conditioner! Conditioner!

And, mini skirts with thigh high faux fur boots and a little poodle to carry around. Yes, then she might reach me.

Damn! I knew patti should have recorded that duet with Tony Bennett!

And, by the way, I agree --- MC5 has never received the recognition that they deserved/deserve. I do think it is because they never managed to scale the commercial success afforded to Patti, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Blondie and all the other rockers of the era.

But, very important. ...which is probably what drove Ms. Smith and her stubby nails toward Fred from the start. Patti loved her some cool artistes!

Oh, and I don't know. I think I might have already forgotten 300. But, yes, that beard most certainly had a boner going on. Most worrying.

3:30 PM

Blogger AhvaRahn said...

Since the is an underlying vibe on, erm, the 300, I hope you don’t mind: There was some fine artwork, a few striking images —that pan-back in a certain beard’s death scene was some kind of Christian symbolism— but the whole thing had a strong smell of propaganda to me; a modern day John Wayne movie. I’m not prudish, but if the epic proportions of violence was not enough, was it really necessary to serve it in slow motion? It was unfortunate we arrived a little bit late for “Zodiac”, which had already started.

7:49 PM

Blogger Chris Capp said...

Wow. Here I am cluelessly posting about Patti Smith, not realizing a Patti Smith (or "Tricia," as apparently all those close to her call her) party is going on over her at Ing's place! Thanks, Paul, for the heads-up.

I hadn't given Patti much thought for years before her 2003 (or 2004, I'm not sure) album, Trampin', which is simply glorious (as opposed to Gloria). She has a song titled "Blakean Year," in which she sings about her Blakean year (not surprisingly). I'm not familiar enough with William Blake's work to quite know what constitutes a Blakean year, but there is a refrain on that song that just gives me chills, lifts my heart and fills me with courage and hope:

"So throw out your stupid cloak /
Embrace all that you fear /
Joy shall conquer all despair /
In my Blakean year."

Because she believes it, I do as well.

And perhaps my favorite part of the whole CD is that in the liner notes, Patti is credited for "clarinet." I have yet to detect the reedy tones of a single clarinet blast anywhere on the record, but delight in the image of Patti, her long, grey-flecked hair falling in her face, sitting upright in a chair in a recording studio blowing earnestly into a clarinet.

She is, simply, an artist.

Happy to join the conversation here. I feel like that little bumblebee girl in the music video from the late '90s who finally finds a field where she belongs!

- Chris

7:16 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Oh, but animate you as MEEZ and your eyes will be blinking!

Neat lipstick! PINK!!! ;-)

8:21 PM

Blogger Mustafa Şenalp said...


5:20 AM

Blogger ing said...


A little conditioner never hurt anyone, but I really do think Patti Smith is too cool to have to worry about her nails, hair, boots, or doglessness. But she'd do well to add someone as cool as you to her fan base.

She did love her some way cool artistes, including the amazing Sam Shepard - wow!

As for 300, NEVER FORGET THE WOMEN OF SPARTA. Oh, and their hairless husbands, I guess.



Propaganda, yes. Although the message was a little confusing to me. I wasn't quite sure what they were trying to get across, as the whole thing was so ludicrous. I had a good laugh.

The slow motion was probably an effect meant to amaze us. Too bad it's been done and done.



I'm not sure what a Blakean year is, either -- a year marked by a creative surge that borders on religious fervor?

Whatever it means, I do love Blake's Songs of Experience.

The bumblebee girl -- was that The Lemonheads? She was adorable. Very Little Miss Sunshine. I'm so glad you found me, and I'm glad you found your clarinet player. She rocks!



Always pink, never red. Not for me. Dark lipstick makes me look like a horror film queen. I've been animated, and my eyes blink to no end.



As far as I can make out, you come from a place in Turkey called Kayseri? Here's what I came up with:

Ana gibi yar, vatan gibi diyar olmaz.

12:39 PM


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