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August 29, 2011


I once read about David L. Lander -- Squiggy to Michael McKean's Lenny -- who has had MS for some time now. Early on, when he was losing motor control and slurring his words, he was afraid that if people found out he was sick he'd never work again, so he preferred that people think he was drunk.

So I guess it all depends, he said sagely.

The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored and we are a large part of why that has happened.

You know, lj, I appreciate the subtlety of your writings and the way you sidle up to the point of your posts.

Glenn Campbell has Alzheimers Disease.

Very underrated, facile guitar player. I mean, really good. Wonderful voice, able to harmonize under Brian Wilson's five-part harmonies with the Beach Boys for a short time. The perfect voice for Jimmy Webb to latch on to for those great songs.

A workmanlike musician. Collaborated with everyone; from Shindig to whatever.

Man, that is sad.

What's next -- Ringo has the Marbel virus?

By the way, this: "share song-writing credits for five songs on the album."

Yeah, well, Brian Wilson wrote "Surf's Up", a gorgeous piece of art, while sitting in a sandbox in his living room with a stick between his teeth and gibbering "Daddy effed me over", with the additional insult that Mike Love thought it didn't sound enough like "Papa ooh Mau Mau" for the pop market, the dumbsh*t libertarian.

I'm extremely sorry to hear about Campbell. I hate to differ with the Count, but Campbell was well beyond workmanlike. The man was, and likely still is, an absolutely ass-kicking guitar player.

The Wrecking Crew were absolute A-list pop royalty. Serious, brilliant players. They could turn absolute musical turds into gold. Funny as hell.

Hard-working cats, too. As an aside, it cracks me up when I read about folks in finance b**ching because they're working long hours and not getting big enough bonuses. Every working musician I know will work 12 hour days, 7 days a week, and smile.

I have a reply to this:

how can he be the co-composer of 5 of the songs on the album.

I guess you could read this as Raymond being basically the ghost writer of the tunes, with Campbell contributing not much more than his name.

But I think that's actually unlikely. The reality is that music comes from a different part of our consciousness.

It makes total sense to me that Campbell can continue to be a freaking brilliant musician, while suffering the cognitive trauma that comes with Alzheimers.

This is kind of deep water to paddle around in, but IMO our understanding of the depth and complexity of our consciousness as humans is severely, and IMO kind of tragically, limited by the empirical focus of modern life.

It's likely that the last thing Campbell will lose is his musical intelligence. He may never lose it, even if he forgets his own damned name.

Absolutely no disagreement, Russell, on Campbell's guitar playing, which I think I expressed, though not as well as what Russell said.

By workmanlike, I mean, brilliant at 3.23 am with the Wrecking Crew, any time, any place, just for the fun skill of it, and giving it all for whomever was fronting.

But underrated as a guitar player, among the crew out there who only remember "Wichita Lineman" and never wrecked anything so well as they did.

But you take it

brilliant at 3.23 am with the Wrecking Crew, any time, any place, just for the fun skill of it, and giving it all for whomever was fronting.

Now that's what I'm talking about!!

There are a lot of folks like this. Funk Brothers in Detroit, the Swampers in Muscle Shoals, the collection of brilliant unassuming casual virtuosos that make up the rotating pools of session players in LA, NYC, Nashville, and a handful of other American cities.

What the Count said here is perfectly and exactly so. I think I may need to bronze it.

On the topic of "view of an outsider", I went to hear a friend play in a local club last night. My buddy was on Hammond B3, plus drums, plus trumpet and tenor.

The drummer was an English guy. A brilliant, extremely accomplished, actually quite famous drummer. You might not recognize his name, but I can almost guarantee that you've heard his playing.

It was basically a jazz gig.

I could not get my head around what the drummer was playing. It was extremely skillful, very creative and interesting, very cool in many ways.

But it was, to me, jarringly odd. The stuff he was playing was all good and often pretty hip, but it was jumbled up in a weird way. He would play a very cool thing, at a very uncool time.

It was like listening to somebody speaking English words, and even mostly English syntax, and saying intelligent things, but saying them at times and contexts that rendered them bizarrely inappropriate.

I couldn't understand what it was that he was *hearing*, that would lead him to make the choices he was making.

I'm re-reading, for the nth time, John Chernoff's "African Rhythm and African Sensibility". Early in the book Chernoff describes a very basic, and very ubiquitous, difference in how Africans and Westerners experience the basic rhythmic pulse in music.

When listening to music in 4/4 time, Westerners will clap on 1 and 3. If 3/4 time, Westerners will clap on 1.

Africans, on 2 and 4, or 2 and 3.

Same music, but people hear different things.

If you want to get inside a culture, the nut to crack is the art. Music, visual art, poetry, dance. When you understand what people think are beautiful and meaningful, you have their mind.

The particular point LJ raises here is very interesting, I think:

I feel that if this were in a US paper, there would be the desire to frame this as the answer to an explicit question, whereas here, the question is in the background and only comes up when you reflect on the piece

My thought about this is that British people, on the whole, and British culture, values discretion and basic decency more highly than we do.

OK, so they show boobs on page 6. But other than that, I mean.

LJ, thanks for continuing to look well below the surface. I mean this in a completely complimentary way: you make my head hurt sometimes. Thinkiness does that to me.

Yes, russell, but they are decent boobs, so ... English :)

We think of ourselves as a single entity, but watching a someone disappear into Alzheimer's challenges that notion. My father started treatment for Alzheimer's four years ago. In person he no longer has any idea who I am but when we speak on the phone he immediately recognizes my voice and knows our relationship. He will ask me the way to the restroom in the house he where he has lived for the last 20+ years, yet last weekend we talked about the repairs I am making on my tractor/backhoe and he still knows diesel mechanics better than I.

Baskaborr, I'm sorry about your father with Alzheimer's. I'll echo russell's thoughts about Alzheimer's with my observation that music is one of the things that was still intact in my friend with Alzheimer's. Humor was another thing. It's hard to get through a loved one's Alzheimer's (or other dementia), but it's an incredible opportunity to learn some things about the person, and to love that person finally.

Given that the boobs are traditionally on page 3, page 6 is clearly a sign of decency and restraint.

We subscribe to the Guardian Weekly mostly for its much clearer coverage of US events.

Also, because of past history of empire, it considers world news important.

Correction, Hartmut. They show breasts on p3. Boobs are normally on the front page, under "politics."

I thought those were the boobies (German: Tölpel, which also means idiot/moron/twit)

I recently heard a report">http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/08/21/139797360/cuddling-with-9-smooching-with-8-winking-at-7?ft=1&f=1130">report of a "what's your favorite number" survey on NPR.

It seems 5319009 is popular these days (upside down on a calculator: "boobies").

Same music, but people hear different things.

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