Busking.

February 16, 2007

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Pat Dillett and I went down into the pedestrian tunnel between the 1 and the L trains on 14th street and did some recording.
This was the site of my first attempt at busking, when I was 19. I had a friend who was making a living playing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” over and over again on subway platforms. I made it all of ten minutes before I split, completely demoralized by the people rushing past without paying attention.
Now that I make a cushy living as a singer/songwriter, I make it a point to give two bucks to every busker I encounter in the subway. They’re the hardest working people in show business.
Pat held a mic up to me, and I did maybe ten songs, sometimes between trains, when the tunnel was empty, sometimes when the tunnel was full of voices and footsteps, all of which I hope made it onto the tape. I haven’t heard it yet, but there were certain seredipitous moments that I think would sound fantastic; somebody humming along tunelessly with their iPod just as I ended a song, drunk voices shouting between tunes.
I got lots of smiles, and made $3.10. Two dollar bills, four quarters, and a dime.
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I reconnected recently with my old friend Rachel Benbow Murdy. She was the girl who did the answering machine vocal on “Janine”. She is amazingly sharp, crazy, and funny. She has an incredibly precise and psychedelic view of reality. She has a fantastic gift for connecting the dots. She used to videotape conversations, years ago, when we lived together, and then watch them immediately afterwards, cackling at all the perverse cosmic connections she saw.
We both just got out of relationships. Personally, I’ve been feeling like a sexual ghost; just not interested. I’ve met some beautiful women in the past couple of months, have tried to shake myself into pursuing them, and just can’t do it.
I wrote that line in “40 Grand in the Hole,” “What is a life without my heart at risk?” because I hadn’t put my heart at risk in a long time. It is wonderful and amazing to do so, but this is an unexpected cost. I expected the pain, but not this kind of weird refractory period of being alone.
I broke up with her, then regretted it, and then she turned me down. I did it, of course, because I still love her, but also because, maybe, I just feel more comfortable being rejected than rejecting. People have been saying, “Oh, this will be good, you can write songs about it.” But I’ve been writing songs about the same kind of composite, ideal psychometaphoric-shadow-woman for a long time.
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One-Sentence German Poems:
I’ve been writing these in the morning, to keep my Deutsch sharp, and because it throws my writing mind a curveball:
Sie hat die ganze Welt gegessen (She has eaten the entire world.)
Ich habe den reinen Prunk gesucht. (I have sought pure splendor.)
Sie hat die rauhe Stimme ged