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"Our Big Night Out"

Last night our drummer and friend, Randy Rich, took us out 
for our anniversary, which is Friday, October 7th. 

We went to a little beer and wine joint 
to see and hear a 15 piece avant garde jazz band. 
The décor was “Early Dumpster”, 
and we were the oldest people for miles. 

A lot of the young guys wore long baggy tee shirts 
and ankle length shorts, like Charlie Brown. 
Why do grown men want to look like six year old boys? 

One customer had a six-inch high, pure white, Mohawk haircut, 
that looked like the saw at Home Depot. 

The girls wore low-slung jeans, 
featuring attractive rolls of bare fat at the tops, 
and tattoos galore. 
The girl in front of us 
had the AAA Southeastern USA map tattooed on her back, 
in case she got lost. 

They were a small but friendly group. 
Empty heads waiting for information. 
You could look in their eyes 
and see that nobody was at the wheel. 

There was no furniture there, 
except for a few barstools and some table games, 
so, like the grandfather clock, 
we stood ninety years on the cement floor. 

The band started at 10, 
so we bought a couple of non-alcoholic beers, 
and put cotton in our ears for safekeeping. 

The acoustics rolled all the sound into one big lump of decibels, 
so I can’t really judge the music with any fairness. 
I do know that every member of the band is a professor of music, 
and the leader and arranger, 82 year old Sam Rivers, 
is known and lauded worldwide, 
as one of the great jazz innovators. 

The band just happens to live in Orlando, 
and rehearses at this little bar, 
which charges fans to get in. 
A girl put white bracelets on our wrists at the door, 
in case we escaped. 

I know the band is excellent, 
which only makes me feel dumber, 
because I could never catch up to what they were playing. 

The drummer was the best I’ve ever seen, 
and the bass man was all over the place, 
playing lead bass. 

Historically, oafs like me have not appreciated new music. 
Classical composer Gustav Mahler 
was considered noise by his contemporaries. 
Now, after all these years, 
he’s recognized as one of the greats. 
This may be Sam Rivers’ fate. 
He’s too far ahead of his time. 
Our ears and brains need to evolve more to appreciate him. 
I wish him all good things 
and thank him for not selling out. 
I know how hard it is to be different. 

I’m embarrassed to admit 
that much of it sounded to me like the mental hospital orchestra 
rehearsing “Flight of the Bumblebee”. 
But the beat and excitement were real, 
and, all in all, we did enjoy the experience. 

During intermission, 
a geek armed with an electric guitar was allowed to play for free. 
They should have made him an offer to leave. 
He assaulted the strings for an hour, 
on the same three notes, 
without letting go of a single musical idea. 
The best part was when he got his thumb caught in the strings. 
He eventually stopped, 
shook the saliva from his instrument, 
and the patrons drifted back into the room. 

This morning is like Old Home Week… 
I feel old, I’m home, and the fun has left me weak. 

Copyright © October 6, 2005 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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