The Julian Day #5 on Reverbnation’s World Music Chart!
Pictures in grey, Dorian Grey, just me, by the sea. And I felt like a star, felt the world could go far, if they listened to what I say…” – U2
Trinity College. Old stone, arches, the Book of Kells, for a pound you can read it. Everything has a price. Music is streaming in through the corridors. Raw, but heartfelt. One o’clock, I’m late, where’s Hope in all this, crowds. The courtyard is full of hippie-ish kids, some with Mohawks and looking very down, all an extension of the Beat. Kerouac, dead in 1969. Didn’t know what he’d created.
“We’re U2 and we’re calling this one, sumthin’ like ‘Whatever happened to Pete the Chop.’” shouted the lead singer.
Like a little coal-miner he is. Coal-miner with blue eyes and soul. Awkward bunch.
“Thank you, don’t mention it… I’m pleased to meet you…” he sang.
Indeed. There’s Hope.
“Heya lovey.” Livy shouted.
Hope turned to the sound of her voice, stepped away from her contingent of all the contingents.
“Hey Liv, you mind if I call you Liv?”
“Glad you could make it. Aren’t they fuckin’ brilliant.”
“The little one’s like a sawed-off Morrison. Great sound.”
“You missed the first two but these are the best.”
“Come over with me and I’ll introduce ya to some of my friends. Might be a story here.”
“Not looking for stories at the moment. Just cruisin’’ really.”
“Just meet’em. They’re a good lot.”
“The singer keeps lookin’ at me.”
“Look back. Give’m the what for.”
Livy hung with Hope’s friends for awhile but with the volume of the music, they couldn’t speak much.
“Hope says you’re a writer.”
“With the fuckin’ New Yorker. I saw that ‘Livy on the Continent’ article. Right down on it girl, hardcore. Sort of, my ass.”
“Thanks love, but it’s really just the one so far.”
“I saw the other bits. Your core girl, core.”
Livy smiled and looked again to the stage. The singer smiled at her and said:
“This next one is for the auburn beauty at the back…
… 11’o’clock, tick tock… one two, three, four….
There was a barrage of guitar and drums. Livy could feel it coming up through her.
… it’s cold outside, it gets so hot in here. And the boys and girls collide to the music in my ears. I hear the children crying and I know it’s time to go…
… I hear the children crying, take meeee home…
Painted face, and I know we haven’t long… we thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong. I hear the children crying and I know it’s time to go… I hear the children… take me home. *
Livy’s knees went funny and she grabbed Hope by the arm and smiled.
“Seventies are about over.”
* from “11 o’clock tick tock” by U2, Island Records
“I read the news today, Oh boy”
– The Beatles
Dublin. Frenchman’s Lane. Sturdy, hardwood table conversation, firelight. Copper-covered city night, youth hostel, hostile youth, field stone fire with a bit of turf for grins. United Nations volunteer. She’s got pamphlets.
Mum, I’m just an island away…
Here she comes.
“Do you know much about the United Nations Charter?” said the United Nations volunteer, a pretty, hippy-ish young woman with brown hair.
“Not much, but I guess I’m about to,” replied Livy.
She reads from the United Nations Charter:
“to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and…”
“Sounds like perfect world stuff to me…” interjects Livy.
“Let me finish.” replied the volunteer.
“… to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and…”
“Is interesting but…”
“to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends, to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and…”
“Could you pass me my beer?”
“Here, now listen.”
“to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and…”
“Sweetheart, it’s good but you are going on.”
“Just a bit more… to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples, have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims…”
“I’ve got writing to do, do you have a card or something?”
“Well no but, are you going to the concert at Trinity College tomorrow?”
“Hadn’t heard of it but maybe, who’s playing?”
“A couple of local bands, um, the Virgin Prunes, Horslips and someone called U2.”
“Someone called U2, is it a person?
“I think it’s a band, I’ve heard they’re brilliant, just released a song on radio.”
“Maybe I’ll check it out.”
“Do. We can talk more there.”
The volunteer got up to leave and Livy stopped her.
“Thanks for the recitation love, it’s inspiring stuff, just have to let it sink in, keep up the good work.”
“Thanks, I’m Hope by the way.”
“Livy, Livy Tinsley.”
“Are you in the New Yorker?”
“Just short bits really.”
“I’m sure that’s where I saw your name. Pleasure.” she extended her hand.
“Will you be around in the morning?”
“Yeah, need to sleep in a bit. Volunteer work isn’t easy.”
“See ya in the morning. Got to write now.”
“In the morning then.”
Livy put her pencil to her mouth and stared into the fire. The light of the fire flashed in her eyes, orange and blue. United Nations, Mum.
Journal entry continued:
… just an island but it feels like a world. I’m sorry Dad’s gone. I hope you’re ok. It was symbiotic but not good. I’m sorry if you feel I’m going on. Dad had his good side but it wasn’t there much. Wished he had a boy I think. I was a grave disappointment to him but I loved him just the same. How are you Mum? I met someone in Portugal. Gave him a bit of the ice, sort of cold. But I’ve got to protect myself and I don’t want to take care of a child like you have. I realize this is a bit harsh. Be all right now Mum. Be alone in a good way. I can’t come to see you now but I will soon. Working for the New Yorker now, it’s a good gig, if I’d been a boy dad’ve been proud. There’s something coming soon. After that I’ll be able to see you. So take good care for now and when it comes I’ll be able to see you. Something good soon.
Since I’d purchased my train ticket upon arrival in Lagos, and had loosely planned to make it to Algeciras in three days to make the crossing to Morocco, I passed on the ditch-digging job. Instead I took a train to the Spanish-Portuguese border where I crossed the Guadiana by ferry. Back in Spanish-land, Andalusia, entering through the village of Ayamonte, I was able to use my marginal college Spanish. I made my way to the nearest Tabac to pick up a pack of Fortunas, then headed into town seeking cheap accommodations; a place to read, and sleep.
“No tengo mucho dinero,” I’d say.
“Lo siento amigo.”
Over the red-tiled, dusty, cut-and-dried town, the sun set low in the sky casting its solemn, pinkish hue on the suddenly omnipresent world. For a moment the villager’s faces were transformed from a Gothic, gargoyle-grey to something saintly and almost sweet, like a mosaic in the St. Apollinare. But all seemed transformed into con-men when it came to bargaining for a bed.
The topic of money snuffed out this last flicker of godliness and I decided to move on, to hitch-hike to the next town, and a possible train headed south. Tired, hollow, dull-ache, sunset, where’s home from here?, mind.
I stalked heavy-footed on my tarmac path, a narrow, two-laned, “Mexican-One”-like highway where, at the edge of town stood the broken down, empty remains of an abandoned railway station which might once have served to carry me south. I have “all the time in the world,” I thought, but do I want it?
Hitch-hiking in Andalusia is not advisable if a ride is what you’re after.
The sun sank and I waited. Cars passed. The world turned, quite a revolution.
Situated alongside a fallow field and facing west, the dying light offered a little pioneer glory to my asphalt predicament. I ate some bread and cheese, smoked a few more Fortunas, drank the rest of a two-day-old soda, and when twilight arrived, I crossed the road to the Mari-Ro hostel and bargained for a bed. The manager was an arrogant bastard but I was too tired to argue.
“Diez mil pesetas.”
Just give me a room, I thought… “esta bien,” handing him the money, “las llaves por favor… gracias,” he gave me the keys.
In bed I read the last few pages of Kundera’s, The Joke which Norbert had given me, then fell into a disjointed sleep and dreams of lepers and whorehouse red. Sweet sleep that I long for.
Morning… bright… clear… oppressive… waking… moaning… dream images… vertigo thoughts… mind.
In the morning I caught a bus in front of the hostel and headed into the fields and orchards of southern Spain and three days without sleep. The sky was grey and I’ve always had this thing about grey skies; sleepy, inward, ponderous. Cafe con leche at every stop was more than a feeble attempt to defy my mood and, mixed with a pack of cigarettes, kept me at least somewhat focused on something outside of my head.
In a cafe at the Huelva railway station I ate two ham sandwiches and went outside to read, but ended up writing a short poem.
blue fire lightning strikes desire in eyes
like red tide swells that fold & fall
then merge on the surface
wishing to be a flame
Sevilla. Waiting hours between connections. San Jose Del Cabo, that’s what it looks like. But that was another time. Just a few years ago, but another time.
A few streets away from the station I came across two Brits playing broken riffs for Spanish coin. He played and she smiled with a tin can, collecting. They’d been in Sevilla for about three weeks and were making something like three thousand pesetas a day. They slept in a van parked on the edge of town. “Lovely here,” she said over and over. Nigel offered me a turn on the guitar, then helped me muddle through a few chords of “Sweet Jane.”
“Where’re you headed chief?” he asked with a broad Lancashire accent.
“Morocco… Marrakesh. I want to be in Algeciras in a couple of days to make the crossing.”
“Not exactly the right time for a yank to be in Morocco. With the Iranian thing and bloody Ramadan. It’s a bleedin’ sin to eat during the day. Allah humma laka sumna, wa ‘ala rizqika aftarna. A lot of ‘em get barmy on you… might better hold on to your fuckin’ head.”
“Fuck it, I just want to see Marrakesh.”
“The shops are opening up, would you like an ice cream.” said Nigel’s girlfriend.
“Sure,” I said.
Over ice cream they talked about strawberry season and how they’d done pretty well as pickers. I toyed for a moment with a Kerouacean notion of joining them, but didn’t.
After the ice cream I wished them luck and headed toward the train station. Some young Spanish girls were returning to their school which stood adjacent to the platform. As they passed, some smiled, their eyes like twilight. The ancestors of Mexican girls, embroidered in the Americas with Indian motifs. I smiled back innocently.
Their latin lovers followed the line of their gaze, then looked at me with contempt.
I was hungry again so I set off across the main square in search of food. After walking the perimeter of the square I ended up in a sort of cafe across the street from the station. I ate a sort of hamburger and drank a coke and was stared at by a few very old people. It was quiet and I suspected it would be until I left. They knew and I knew that I wouldn’t be there long and soon they would be free to talk amongst themselves and perhaps guess where the fair-haired young man had come from and where he might be going and where they themselves had been but never where they might go again.
As the sun set over the Guadalquivir, a group of excited students got on the train and sat in the seats around me. Some of the girls smiled and giggled as they discovered the foreigner in their midst. The boys smiled and giggled at them. They were traveling light.
“Adonde van?” I asked.
“On a day trip to Sevilla para Museo Principal de Bellas Artes,” said one of the boys, trying out his English. “Quiere ir?” (Have you been)
“El año pasado pero… ahora voy a Morocco. Estoy en Sevilla solamente por el tren.”
“El museo es ‘brilliant,’” said one girl, “brilliant and lovely.” I found it charming how she fell into a sort of English accent when she used English words but found her overzealousness suffocating. The door had opened to continue talking to her but I went cold.
I managed to smile as I turned away and settled back in to my seat. In turning I noticed two very nice looking girls to my right. They smiled and I turned away. When I turned back toward them they were speaking between themselves, one looking into a compact and fixing her make-up. The door closed. Women felt forbidden to me. If not women, then what? Bread. Dry bread. I looked again, they were dragons. The world of the train car went away and again I was back in Anaya’s bathroom, tripping. Only this time, I was seeing Great Uncle Norman, Normy the fucking molester, and the fear that must have been on my father’s face when he was a boy and then my father yelling at me, calling me a pansy and a pussy.
The train began to move. I grabbed my notebook and wrote:
Narcissistic hedonists existing on half-tuned terms,
like germs in a culture,
like the vultures we’ve become.
We look into a mirror, not into the past, the present, nor the future, but at ourselves, fed by vanity, vanity and self-absorption.
I got up from my seat and went to the back of the car, I was on auto pilot now and not thinking just moving and only slightly interested in where I was being led. I’d made it to the back door, opened it and heard the noise of the wheels against the rails, and the wind, the wind in my face between train cars in the open, but I wanted it to be done, not all of me but a big part was ready to move on, to be done. The train was at full speed now.
Behind me the train conductor said in Spanish:
“If you jump you will most certainly die.”
Precise statement, pithy, decide.
I had to either jump or go home. At that point I wasn’t sure where home was.
I heard the words of U2’s “Into the Heart” coming from a cassette player inside the train:
“Into the heart of a child, I can stay a while, but I can’t go back.”
10 specific reasons why you should support Independent Musicians
Musicians develop their own labels for many different reasons. My reason is partly because of a challenge I took on at a young age, to take what I was told was an unmarketable instrument, the violin, and create music that expressed emotions, touched hearts, and ultimately, sold. Whatever the reason for creating their own labels, musicians sometimes forget the advantages they hold and focus instead on the multitude of challenges.
As a gentle reminder to artists as well as their potential customers, I’m sharing my personal favorite reasons why I enjoy having my own label, and why music lovers should consciously choose to buy music from independent labels.
1. Independent musicians can freely express their passion and unique talent. They can express their own personal stories, follow their own instincts, and not have to follow orders from major label executives as to what they must create. From the customer’s perspective, by exploring radio stations and other sources of independent music, they too are now free to make their own decisions as to what is hot and what is not.
2. Many of the common music distributors only offer music from major labels, and rarely do they give anything for free, no matter how many albums you download or cds you buy. An independent artist is free to be unique and generous in his sales methods. For the consumer, this can mean getting bulk discounts, coupon offers and appreciation for their repeat purchases.
3. The independent musician can communicate directly with the customer, so online sales doesn’t have to feel like an isolating experience for the artist. Many times the thrill of receiving an email directly from the musician can turn an independent label music purchaser into a devout fan.
4. Niche marketing is all the buzz these days, and nowhere is it more successful than in independent music. As an independent musician, you are free to create your own unique niche and, in the process, reach more ideal fans. As someone who buys music from an independent label, you can find it easier to discover the music that defines and expresses YOU as well.
5. By buying from independent labels, customers and musicians can share the love. Think of it this way, here’s one scenario. A music lover makes a purchase. The independent musician has total control over what is communicated in the thank-you message. The customer can write back. The musician can quote the customer in his blog, the customer basks in the glory of the personal mention and shares it with all his friends on his Facebook page. Backlinks abound. Try that when you purchase from a major label.
The above homemade video “American Pop (the wasteland)” is a tongue-in-cheek stab at the shallowness of Pop Culture and a call to action to make a difference in a political climate fraught with arrogance and indifference.
We believe popular music needs to have a deeper meaning again. By combining creative music with meaningful lyrics, we believe we are a contender to make the change. Two years ago The Julian Day created a DIY 6-song EP and it was quite well-received, even getting the attention of a record label in Ireland (Holy Grail Records).
Here’s more about us:
The Julian Day began recording immediately after the Winter Solstice of 2010 and posted their first song “Policy” on reverbnation during the first week of January, 2011. With the days growing longer, they felt something in the air. And then came the Arab Spring and The Julian Day were in what Shakespeare once called, “a fine frenzy rolling.”
Immersed at a young age in the songs of the great singer/songwriters of the 70s and the experimentation of 80s bands like New Order, U2 and Echo and The Bunnymen, The Julian Day fuses the two to offer a wholly new sound for 2014 that amps it up while stripping it down.
With The Julian Day you’ll find good songwriting mixed with just enough instrumentation to drive the songs along. Working with the idea that art is best when nothing can be added and nothing can be taken away, The Julian Day seeks to engage the listener head-on. Spare and spartanized, these songs have just the right amount of color and texture while offering brief lessons in the game of life.
I just happen to love her and had to share this:
Lorde is bourgeois, there’s no doubt. Her nonconformist stance is textbook bohemian. She’s a precocious child of middle-class comfort and high education — a “poet’s daughter,” every feature article on her notes. As a marketable countercultural figure, she’s part of a lineage that extends from Kerouac to Dylan to Patti Smith to Michael Stipe to Eddie Vedder, right down to the roots of her wild-child hair.
Musically, though, Lorde is very 21st century, because she doesn’t recognize the difference between an underground and a mainstream. The uniformly excellent songs on her debut album, Pure Heroine, gently skew the mainstream sounds of hip-hop and electronic music, opening up a space around the beats for Lorde’s voice and her words, which question the very seductions most music that sounds like hers embraces. She has a lot in common with Miley in the way her niche isn’t precisely “urban” or “alternative” or “rock”: This music doesn’t reveal roots, it explores extensions.
As Lorde became ubiquitous –- anointed by Bowie, feuding with Miley’s fellow Disney graduate Selena Gomez, dissing and later publicly pow-wowing with Taylor Swift — what she means to the Top 40 became clear. She’s the Nirvana of now. If that statement seems outrageous, consider the parallels.
Like Nirvana in 1991, Lorde brought forth something that had been incubating for a long while on the indie scene. Nirvana broke in the wake of a decade of indie bands blending punk and more melodic rock. Lorde follows edgier artists like Grimes and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, young female voices finding themselves within a forest of electronically generated sounds. Her birthplace, New Zealand, is even farther from pop’s centers of power than was the Pacific Northwest; that’s helped her image as a self-generated outsider, though in fact she’s had a development deal with Universal Records since she was 13 and wrote Pure Heroine with an older collaborator, Joel Little, who played a role not unlike the one producer Butch Vig had in Nirvana’s breakthrough. “She’s a child of the cloud,” wrote Jon Dolan in his Rolling Stone review. That’s Lorde’s true regional identity, and it produces a sound evocative of the cyberworld: pulsing ether instead of heavy Northwest rain.
Here’s another band we like:
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
– Isaac Newton, letter to Robert Hooke, 1676
How does this relate to Ticket to Ride? The following articles are about the people who inspired me to press on when I found the world ill-defined. While I idolized Hemingway and Kerouac, J.D. Salinger and Keri Hulme, Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost, the people in my next three articles were, and are, the tangible, and the most immediate, examples I have of people living lives immersed in, and in pursuit of, their respective passions. I feel very fortunate, and am thankful for, the circumstances which caused our lives to intersect. It is from their shoulders that I could see what might be instead of just what was.
Intro to “Happiness is the Warm Guns”
With it’s many quotes of, and allusions to, bands (including a cameo appearance by U2) and lyrics of the 70s, my novel, Ticket to Ride, is as much a celebration of music and musicians as it is a celebration of writers and writing. The Warm Guns are, to me, like the second coming (or third if you factor in Oasis) of the Beatles. Because of this, I feel they fit with the spirit of the book. Livy Tinsley, my female protagonist and devotee to Paul McCartney and the Beatles, would have loved these guys.
Happiness is the Warm Guns
by philip scott wikel (originally published in the Ojai Valley News)
Coming down from Ojai with a warm Santa Ana blowing at my back, I felt I was headed toward something good. In my mind I could hear the Beatles “Revolution” and as I pulled off Hwy. 33 at Main St. I found downtown Ventura flooded with the clean streetlight glow of an after-rain autumn evening and the friendly echoes of the Warm Guns streaming out from Zoey’s coffee loft.