Thursday, October 06, 2005

St. Louis Blues

Today on my way back from lunch I came upon a group that once called itself, and might still, The Spirit of '29. They advertise as being available for market collapses, bank failures, dustbowls, and repeals of temperance laws.

They play jazz from the Jazz Age. They were playing a bumptuous cover of "St. Louis Blues." They had a banjo, a bass clarinet, a slide trombone, an e-flat clarinet, and a cornet. The banjo and the bass clarinet thumped and honked melodiously along, while the trombone, e-flat clarinet and the cornet wove themselves around the melody in an oddly happy way for such a blue tune.

Instead of striding back to my office I should've been leaning against a nearby lampost waiting for the train. I'd be as natty as possible in my threadbare pinstripe suit and Arrow shirt, with my grey fedora back on three hairs, and a Lucky Strike hanging from my lower lip. I'd be wondering about a job, thinking about a cold mug of beer, and hoping the Cubs could make a dent against Lefty Gomez in the second game of the 'Series after being shellacked by the Yanks 12-6 in the 1st game.

Ah, but ya' can't have everything, so here I am. As an old friend recently said, "I hate modern life."


Blogger Roy said...

One of my favorites, too. If you can find the version by Stephan Grappelli & Django Reinhardt, it's worth a listen.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

By the way, there has been a lot of talk about who's a good writer--you're not so shabby, there. You have a way of being nice and clean in your style and highly evocative. Stuff like this post.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Don said...

I was writing a response to the CEO's blog today, in which he had shared some frustration with dealing with technology (spun of course to look like great opportunity and a rosy future). When I realized I felt like writing that whenever my sons and I have trouble with a printer or an iPod or a video device or some damn thing I announce to them I would take great joy in violently throwing all computers into a dumpster, I decided that maybe writing a comment to the CEO's blog wasn't such a good idea.

I hate modern life.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could see it all - wait - and hear it - flashes of the game came through, too; excellent description, Harry.

Where does this band perform - (just) on the streets of Berkeley? I wanna go see them!

I announce to them I would take great joy in violently throwing all computers into a dumpster...

Everyone over here who knows me calls me a Luddite. I'm not sure how to take that.

signed, Wiggy - who because she is nearing "50" is slowly becoming invisible - starting with no name ( I have this premonition I will be "anonymous" on this post...)

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:03 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Hey Roy, thanks for the kind words. There are moments when I get a good paragraph or two. This one I'm proud of, though I haven't defined why. I'm not used to tooting my own horn. Maybe I should just avoid defining it and just be happy with it.

I think I have that Django version of "St. Louis Blues" somewhere on this very machine. The trouble is, I got all the Django tracks from a friend's cd he'd burned off someone else's, and none of the track titles are there. I'll have to search through all that music. Darn! ;-)

11:14 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

" announce to them I would take great joy in violently throwing all computers into a dumpster,...."

This reminds me of the scene in "Office Space" where they bushwhack the copier with a baseball bat. Yeah, perhaps the CEO might not appreciate a comment like that, directed at one of the hearts of his business like a bolt from a crossbow from one of his own engineers.

Have you brushed up the resume?

11:17 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Thanks, Wiggy. Don't know why, but 1932 just appeared in there, and that was the year that Babe Ruth allegedly called his shot in the third game. I thought from some reason I shouldn't use that.

That band appears near the Telegraph Avenue entrance to Sproul Plaza when the wether is good. They're not regular about it, and it's always a nice surprise when they show up. It's incredibly uplifting for some reason.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Don said...

That's near where the Men's Octet sometimes performs. I love that group: Eight male voices a capalla with associated hijinks.

Resume: As a matter of fact I have but the opportunity I did it for doesn't seem as likely as it did.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

though I haven't defined why

A simplicity of words, but just the exact right words. Sort of like Mark Morford would be if you just picked out every seventeenth word. Your writing seems to have a nice, easy pace to it that I like. How you do that is probably just something you do when you write. Or did you set the Remington portable on top of the dresser and bang this out with the two-finger method? -Roy

2:10 PM  
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