Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I was unconsciously looking for something. Something that would take me out of whatever doldrums I've been in for the past week or so. My doldrums began a little after the march on City Hall, I think, and has continued with the Saints' loss this past Sunday. Once again, our local free paper hits some nails on the head - we New Orleanians do have to keep the pressure on City Hall concerning crime. My personal favorite article in the paper states the obvious, but does it so well - "...no, Ray Nagin cannot borrow a page from Sean Payton's book. He wouldn't know how to read it. The rest of us, however, the citizens of New Orleans, should take a lesson from Payton. We are the ones who must lead New Orleans now."

Duh, and, uh...duh.

So where did I try to find some kind of solace? Which diversion, among the many I have to choose from, did I go ahead and tumble into for a bit?

Try Ray Davies.

I am now listening to John Hiatt's Master of Disaster album as an antidote to Ray Davies' Other People's Lives. I've moved on from the Hiatt to some Sharon Jones. I can still handle some early Kinks' music, but barely. I want to take Davies' unauthorized autobio, X-Ray, and toss it out on the street somewhere, but it's a library book, and I'll incur fines.

The problem isn't that any of this isn't good - it is. Scary good. Davies' autobiography is a great take on his early Kinks years, and it reads a bit like a suspense novel. It is roughly seductive - in every sense of the word roughly. It ropes any unsuspecting reader into the early life of this thoroughly insecure, eccentric, talented-on-the-order-of-genius, over- and sidewise- and undersexed man-child and father, and it shakes said reader to the core. I ran out and got a Kinks' Ultimate Collection dual CD set and Other People's Lives in part because of the book, but also because of this article.

I had no clue Davies had decided to head to New Orleans as a part of the process of finding himself outside of the Kinks entity he'd been in for approximately two-thirds of his life. Having read X-Ray, I can't help but think that he'd also decided to confront his love-hate relationship with America head-on in making the decision to head down here. I'm damn sorry he got shot, but I also get the feeling he had, and still has, a real affection for the city.

Well, Ray, although you came out with a great first-ever solo album, and although you claim that the songs on it were mostly done before your NOLA trauma, I may have to set the CD aside for a while. The art and the photos on it are lush with the humidity-drenched greenery this area positively bursts with most of the year. Some of the best songs on the album move me to tears because they remind me of the way things had been around here - and they eerily foreshadow some of what has already come to these parts. It may have been a good thing you went back to north London, anyhow, because you unfortunately share a name with our ineffectual walking id of a mayor.

I shoulda known better than to find any kind of solace in a life such as yours, man. Whoops. Bad on me.

I instead found a little bit of uplift later on in the day, unintentionally, when I was telling Dan about the little guy's latest inquiries concerning his next airplane trip, which is coming up shortly after Mardi Gras. My son stumbled out of bed this morning, ate four spoonfuls of his grits, and noticed Dan's road atlas sitting on the dining table. Dan had recently made plane reservations online for a trip out to see my in-laws, and my son remembered the talk of going on airplanes.
And thus, the third degree, little guy style, began:

LG - Mommy, are we going on the plane today?
Me - No, we're going on the plane next month.
LG - Is it next month now?
Me - No, this month is January. We're leaving in February.
LG - pause
LG - When will it be next month?
Me - In another week.
LG - Are we going on the plane then?
Me - No, we're going on the plane near the end of the month, after Mardi Gras.
LG - pause
LG - When are we flying to Canada?
Me - We're not flying to Canada next month. We're going to California.
LG - Oh, to see Grandma and Grandpa?
Me - Yes.
LG - Are we flying there next week next month?
Me - No, we're flying there at the end of next month, after Mardi Gras.
LG - When's Mardi Gras?
Me - Next month.

And on, and on, and on...

Dan said I should have just told the little guy "February 20th" and left it at that. Sometimes he just has NO clue...


Adrastos said...

Nice blog. Anyone who likes the Kinks and John Hiatt is okay by me. Haven't heard Ray's newest though.

Leigh C. said...

I feel better now. I think I'm going to give Ray's latest another try, especially since some of the songs have been going through my head - specifically "Things Are Gonna Change" and "After the Fall".