20 February 2008

A Shot of...Oh, Henry...is in Order

Woe is flippin' me today, but tomorrow will be damn better.

So this week's been a tanker so far. It's Invasion of the Obvious Idiots during the daytime hours, and as Idiots are prone to doing, they didn't pass around the memo celebrating this event to all of us in the Common and Slightly Higher groups. (As a member of the Common contingent, I verified this with the Slightly Higher group...nope, no memo.)

I don't care if there is a lunar eclipse, or even if there is a full moon. I don't really even care that even now someone from my country is trying to play Space Invaders in the sky, trying to shoot down a 'rogue' non-functioning satellite.

What I do care about is having to explain to the drive-through waitress at Hardees® that unsweetened tea is not the same as sweetened tea, but half dumped out with only more ice to 'dilute' it at some point long after I'm thirsty. What I do care about is having to listen to how, as a woman, the everlasting arguments that I must support a candidate that I still have objections with because I 'am one of the oppressed'...especially when I'm still undecisive about the whole damn lot of them and wasn't even really aware I was 'oppressed'. What I do care about is how we (the collective 'We', as in the "We, the People..." stand) are still debating about America is in the midst of some economic slump (ahem, recession) or not (can't speak for the wealthier folk, but my gas has went up 10 cents a gallon since last week, milk's up about 60 cents a gallon since last July, and my fresh fruit consumption is directly proportional to the transportation costs of said fruit, thereby decreasing my expendable income greatly...yeah, I'd say my people are definitely feeling the pinch.)

Some days the small things really irritate me, some days the big things just seem to snowball. And some days, like all four days into this week so far, I experience the Perfect Trifecta of Agitation. (Cherry on top: And I've had a migraine today, too.)

It's also Survival of the Unrepentant Cold season. I'm still struggling with a cold that I caught over my birthday weekend, that took me out of commission for about two additional unscheduled days, and has since been brought into the office through an additional couple of victims...just to make damn sure no one missed out on the joy. Flu shot, no flu shot, clinic staff, administrative staff...this year it doesn't seem to matter whose number got called as we've all become lottery winners. Doesn't help that on the 11th it was sunny and low 60s outside, but by last Wednesday night we had snow (again). Today I was driving around with the windows rolled down during lunch and it was low 60s, while listening to the radio predicting a 'weather event' (Southern meteorological speak for they don't really know what will happen as far as snow and sleet falling, but they want to cover their asses still the same so no one gets too ambitious with their driving) will likely occur tomorrow night.

God (no matter what/whom that may be for you) Save Us, The Potent Poet of Punk is coming to town. Henry Rollins. (Just in from Africa, doing his North American jaunt, before Europe and then Australia. Hard traveler he is. Catch a show of his if you can.) Arguably one of the greatest 'contrarian thinkers' (or maybe that's just 'questioning and inquisitive thinkers') of my generation and those other age gaps, about 20 years in either direction. 'Liking him' is not required, 'thinking with him' is. Or don't think with him if you like, but you won't enjoy the show nearly as much if you 'tune out'.

After a small amount of praying and scouting out the land that is Craigslist, I found salvation and scored a ticket to tomorrow's sold out show of Henry Rollins' 'Provoked' tour. (By my own admission, I forgot completely about the date and when I looked around for tickets, distressingly discovered that the show was sold out. Luckily for me, someone couldn't go and had a single for the cause, and for only the asking price, not even a 'meet-up convenience fee'). The show will be held at The Lincoln Theatre (which I've determined I should support more when I'm over in Raleigh), home of the good watching balcony above and the Magic Hat Jinx beer down at the bar area below. (First time I'll be back there since the Nashville Pussy, Hank Williams III & Assjack, and Reverend Horton Heat show reviewed previously.) With any luck, the bar won't run out of beverages for Henry's show. But, then again, it has been one helluva week, and maybe I'm not the only one complaining.

Dunno yet about picture taking possibilities, but I'm hoping for an autograph session afterwards. Question: buy one of his works and have him sign that (which seems a bit too 'traditional'), or buy one of his works (gotta support the Poet), but have him sign another book instead. "Bush's Brain"? "1984" by Orwell? Perhaps a longtime personal fave, Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"? Chronically indecisive as I am, this one is tough. If I can get either a picture or an autograph, I will certainly share my adventures here. That is, after I learn a thing or two from Monsieur Henri's spoken word campaign.

And, that is, after whatever the hell we get from the unspecified 'weather event' tomorrow night, too.

UPDATE: Henry's show was magnificent, as he did close to four hours onstage and solo...no opening act, no music, nothing but the Master...and that was before he stayed around to meet and sign autographs with his fans. While the weather outside was not terribly cooperative, the show was still standing-room only and I met some fellow fans who have driven from states away to make the show. The subject matter ranged from everything from taking a recent holiday in Pakistan during the assassination fallout of Ms Bhutto, to making movies based 'at the Gates of Hell' with Cuba Gooding, Jr., to the history of his fan love affair with Van Halen (which, as a person who's first ever rock show was watching Van Halen with David Lee Roth at age eight years old, was especially funny), to the lack of personal responsibility we all are ignoring in developing, challenging, and improving ourselves to be better people.

Henry's longest segment...about living the dream of being the 'stand-in' vocalist for a cancer benefit concert with his all-time favourite band, The Ruts...is simply not to be missed. The benefit was for the lead guitarist of the band, Paul Fox, who played with extreme pain and agony in doing this reunion gig, and that sacrifice clearly resonated not only with his many Ruts fans, but especially with Henry. Several months after the fact, Henry's description of where and how the gig went down is as fresh and honest and heartfelt as if it happened yesterday...and it is clear how humbled Henry was to even be invited to the event, let alone stand in and man the mike for this last great Ruts hurrah. Honestly, people, how many of us ever get to live that dream??

Henry Rollins performing "Something That I Said" with The Ruts, 16 July 2007, at the Paul Fox Cancer Benefit Concert. Video courtesy of YouTube.

As much love and respect as I throw Henry's way for speaking his mind and being separate and totally unequal to the rest of us, at the end of the night, that 'barrier' between he and his fans always comes down: in the end, he's just a fan of other things, other music, other ways of life, himself. He still challenges his thought process, and encourages us to all do the same. He still asks the "why not?" when everyone else his age, and sometimes even much younger, wants to ask "why?" He understands this, as far as we all know, is just the one go around we get...why not go for it and 'make Life regret you were born?' (approximate quote, not sure completely verbatim) God Bless Master Rollins...and he was even decent enough to chat some and sign two books for me, as he did for so many others: my latest addition of his written works, "A Dull Roar" for a gift, and also my old standby fave copy of Huxley's "Brave New World".

A great and memorable night, served up by a great and dynamic mind.

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