Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Let Ignorance and Hate Mingle with the Dead

For me, this is the day the music died. The half-formed dream of a someday, some way Beatles Reunion ended today, thirty-five years ago when John Lennon was murdered on the streets of New York City by a miserable miscreant whose name I never type or speak because that's just why he did he did it, but I shall always remember and a whole generation will never forgive or forget.

In putting a paperclip back in the center drawer of my work desk yesterday, I saw my old audio splicing block. I've had it all my life, or just about. Actually, I got it when I was twelve purchased in a downtown music store in New Brunswick, NJ that disappeared I have no idea how many decades ago. Until now I hadn't thought about it for many years and for a moment, I forgot its name, but I have it now, "Varsity Music."

The music store, like PJ Arnold's, the George Street Playhouse, Albany Town Liquors, and Macarones' Town House Restaurant, were businesses struggling to survive, huddled together, perhaps for warmth, near the railroad station had singles, 45 rpm one song per side pieces of vinyl, posters, albums, musical instruments and supporting equipment, blank reels (but only the five inch kind on the plastic hubs, ugh!) of audio tape, and grease pencils (fancy folks called them 'china markers') and splicing blocks and splicing tape.

I smiled as I touched the block sitting in the compartment where you could store pens and pencil (it's an old desk, for an old man in an old building) back when you used those, and paper, to do work instead of the keyboard, mouse and computer workstation now sharing space in the office. 

We each have favorite songs, or TV shows, foods and movies and have memories of events associated with specific moments in our lives and as I realized this morning, a lot of mine are tied to that splicing block and to a life that's not only in the past but would be historical if it were not already obsolete.

Except this memory will last me forever. I was supposed to fly to New York City and interview Lennon, based on questions I'd created for the European record company releasing Double Fantasy. I was  on active duty in the USAF, and had a mandatory military training requirement that prevented me from going, but the label had someone ask all my questions, and then embargoed release of the answers for 48 hours so I could use them first. 

It was a remarkably generous gesture, a great plan and a real coup except 
John Lennon was murdered a day later making that interview too valuable to be a favor anymore. I understood as if I had a choice. All I could hear as I transferred the conversation to open reel to better edit it was the sound of what could and should have been. Never to be. Again. 

On a day like today, thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box, they tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe, as free as a bird.
-bill kenny

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