Peeking Over The Edge

Peeking Over The Edge – June 28th, 2003

“fear
when did you appear?
when did I invite
your darkness into my thoughts?
love,
it scares me more than death itself
if I let go will I fall and fall
and fall?

I have yet to outrun the wind
I have yet to remove
plasters from old wounds
’cause with every breath I take
I inhale you, Fear

chance
may have walked with me more than once
but you were with me
no, you would not leave my side
and dreams,
they used to come to come to me with fine ideas
but all the gifts they bore
were left untouched, untried

I have yet to outrun the wind
I have yet to remove
plasters from old wounds
I have yet to outrun the wind
I have yet to taste freedom
’cause with every breath I take
I inhale you, Fear”

Serina Jung – “Fear”

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“i’m scared of swimming in the sea,
dark shapes moving under me
every fear i swallow makes me small
inconsequential things occur
alarms are triggered
memories stir
it’s not the way it has to be
i’m afraid of what i do not know
i hate being undermined
i’m afraid i can be devil man
and i’m scared to be divine
don’t mess with me my fuse is short
beneath this skin these fragments caught
when i allow it to be
there’s no control over me
i have my fears
but they do not have me
walking through the undergrowth, to the house in the woods
the deeper I go, the darker it gets
i peer through the window
knock at the door
and the monster i was
so afraid of
lies curled up on the floor
is curled up on the floor just like a baby boy
i cry until i laugh
i’m afraid of being mothered
with my balls shut in the pen
i’m afraid of loving women
and i’m scared of loving men
flashbacks coming in every night
don’t tell me everything’s alright
when I allow it to be
it has no control over me
i own my fear
so it doesn’t own me
walking through the undergrowth, to the house in the woods
the deeper i go, the darker it gets
i peer through the window
knock at the door
and the monster i was
so afraid of
lies curled up on the floor
is curled up on the floor just like a baby boy
i cry until i laugh

Peter Gabriel – “Darkness”

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My good friend Kristy Borkes (who runs a nifty web site at www.voicechasers.org) sent me a link recently (it has since vanished) in an apparent effort to goad me into flinging myself off the side of a building. The link described a new thrill ride that they’re developing for the top of the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, which is already home to two hair-raising attractions. After getting a gander at the computer-generated renderings of this contraption that purports to slide you over the edge of the observation deck, dangling you 920 feet over the Las Vegas Strip, I took pause for the first time in 36 years of thrillseeking and thought not if it would help the fucking space program. The tower has had its run of bad luck. It makes you wonder if the land isn’t cursed; the result of some gangster’s ignoble burial on that tract of land when it was “down the road a ways” from the main strip. Wondering. I mean seriously, as they were constructing the mammoth structure, it caught fire while welding took place at the top and the whole damn thing went up like a roman candle. Later, the rollercoaster that had been installed at the top of the 920-foot needle threw a drive shaft through the observation glass that houses a buffet restaurant. The entire peak compresses and bounces when the Big Shot drop ride fires passengers over a thousand feet into the air; an unnerving sensation enough. Now, they want to toss you over the edge? What will they think of next? My own fears of death, pain and growing up have all withered up and blown away, so perhaps when we return to producing the Coast-2-Coast Coaster Tour, this will be one of the doozies on our hit list.

I saw Peter Gabriel on the 1988 Amnesty International Tour at Oakland Coliseum with then-girlfriend Lara Flexer and it was an incredibly memorable experience. From pushing her over the wall to security personnel because of the crushing crowds (she was only 4′ 11″) to Peter’s amazing display of fan trust during “Lay Your Hands On Me” when he allowed the crowd to pass him around on their hands. As a well-documented multi-media visionary, Gabriel knows the definition of “live stage show” and his spectacles are always awe-inspiring and exciting pageants to behold. His web site (www.petergabriel.com) offers a scintillating peek into the current “Growing Up Live” tour that has been wowing audiences around the globe, but then again Pete’s a global kind of guy.

A couple of weeks ago, some good friends and I all converged upon Singer Island, Florida in preparation for our “Peter Gabriel Adventure Weekend” which included a full-day of fun in the sun and an evening with the Head Lunatic himself at the Coral Sky
Amphitheater. Needless to say, Gabriel and crew put on a such an amazing show that it was easy to forgive the venues flat stage, which prevented us from experiencing the much talked about shows-in-the-round with their elaborate stage props. Not that this show was without its set pieces. Peter appeared within the inflatable Zorb during “Growing Up”, dueled with daughter Melanie on Segway scooters throughout “Games Without Frontiers” and presented an intense light show that truly benefitted from the big, beautiful full moon that cast bountiful light upon the proceedings. There was a palpable joy vibration up on the hillside at the back of the open-air theater; we danced upon the hill to the old favorites, singing along with the words. We returned to our seats just under the half-roof and passed around joints somewhat surreptitiously, focusing intently on the new tunes as they came to life before our delighted eyes. This is a guy who’s been pushing the envelope since appearing as the frontman for Genesis for crying out loud, we left the show better for living and for sharing the experience with so many people who seemed to have discovered some of the mysteries of Life. Sure, there were a few assholes here and there, but more on that later.

There’s a murmur passing through the core of humanity, particularly the centers of industry and society that have found themselves far removed from their spirituality. This New Spirituality has no denomination and no ill intention, it is born of pure love and awareness of a greater force that binds us. It’s an ever-growing collective of people who have awakened as if from a deep sleep, taken a look around and said “oh, I get it.

Conversations with strangers aren’t what they used to be, it seems. There’s surprising depth and intimacy in some encounters with the added kicker that it doesn’t seem unsettling to be sharing such insights with people that you barely know. It’s almost easy. Something’s unwinding and unfurling through the fiber of existence, like a rolling call sounding eternal reveille. It’s been coming for some time, a doppler effect that is progressively getting stronger because it’s finding more widespread support. I hear it in some of the music that I listen to, see it in many of the films that I see, read it in just the darndest places. Little keys and coins like trinkets and rewards in a video game, just peeking out and showing up. Hi. You’re doing good. Keep going.

Jae’s had this book in her collection called “The Game Of Life & How To Play It” by Florence Scovel Shinn. I took it with me to Singer Island, the place where I took in Brian Weiss’ “Many Lives and Many Masters” over a year ago. Interesting to see from whence you’ve come. You get to a certain level, like on an elevator, you’re so used to working in five-story buildings and then all of a sudden, one day – you have to take a trip to the 20th floor for some reason all of a sudden, you see the city down below as you’ve never seen it before. That’s life. Always riding elevators. Some amazing elevators. To walk in a world without fear. My sincerest wishes to you, dear reader, that your own elevator stops at every floor. There are so many interesting things to see when the doors slide open.

The Asshole Inside

What makes it easier to understand the human condition and the need to love everyone unconditionally is the realization that every single one of us is an asshole. Some are better at hiding it than others, it’s all a matter of filters and switches. Why, if everyone simply and plainly spoke their first thoughts, no matter what they were, the world would be a much different place, would it not? If every person, in wanton fashion, just did the first thing they wanted to do, with no restraint, we’d be in a much different pickle, no? What if the mind, as quick as it could come up with a thought, flung that thought through space and into the mind of another person? How many times have you caught yourself thinking the most hateful thing towards another? Literally, saw violent pictures of flaming death or artful decapitation, lurid fantasies of agonizing revenge? Lustful thoughts? Immediate, sexual, mindpictures that appear intangibly on your brain-radar and offer you a rise. Judgments? Ever feel a racial slur slide across the back of your brain, you’d dare not utter it to the person that sparked the slur, but it’s there and you know it, maybe you’re ashamed for feeling it, but there it is. You quickly cover it up with something else upstairs, or maybe you don’t. Maybe you say it. It’s a fine line between the thought and the deed. What if those private, intimate, uncensored thoughts and feelings were suddenly laid bare for all the world to see and react to? Worst of all, you find that the objective now is to suppress those innermost of urges because you just lost all of your protective filters. In order to come across different, you have to force yourself to think different. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Assholes abound, because we swim in a sea of them, some closeted. Private assholes. Some proud. Proud to be an asshole. Some are assholes on occasion and certainly more than a few are accidental assholes, but all are assholes one and the same. For all of the filters that we use as humans to siphon out the weirdness that is our complex mental process, there are as many shields to deflect the assholes that you can’t put up with. In all truth, there are some assholes that manage to maintain friendships with people who acknowledge that they’re assholes but don’t find it all that distressing. Like the anemone and the clownfish, like the remora and the shark, like the cleaner shrimp and the barracuda, some people have managed to build up an immunity to some assholes. In turn, the asshole has someone who will effectively watch his back, which further illustrates the point that assholes are not our enemies. They are us and we are them. We all live in Assholiness. Have mercy upon those who can’t control the flow or even attract symbiotic and sympathetic relationships. Love is the answer. That’s not to say that we should not get angry when someone is an asshole to us. When that lion roars and rears its head, it should be noted and loudly said “you’re an asshole!” true and proudly led. Now, don’t tell me that you’re not an asshole, because you’re sitting here right now, reading these words and knowing deep inside that once or twice in your life, you have been the biggest asshole known to man and if it helps you sleep at night to deny this, go right ahead and delude thyself.

It’s like speeding. Everybody speeds. If you drive and you’ve never broken the law by speeding, you’re a liar. And an asshole, for lying about it.

I just think about things in this manner. If we were all a lot less shitty to each other, we’d be well on our way towards world unity and peace. Just realize that all of your neighbors and family and co-workers are all assholes, it’s not really their fault why things go so badly sometimes because you happen to be a card-carrying asshole too. We’re all in the same boat. Let’s chill, not rock it, and take it somewhere sunny where the food is all organic and the music is all over the edge.

The Teac Trio

At some point in time, I stopped doing CD reviews because a) I didn’t feel like I could be objective when most of the bands in town were people I knew and b) who has the time anymore? The whole nature of criticism is an odd one. Typically, if someone doesn’t ask you for an opinion, you shouldn’t offer one up – or at least that’s the path of least resistance. Opinions are amazingly just like assholes in that everyone is a critic. Everyone’s got their point of view and aren’t normally shy about expressing it in one way, shape or formula. Critique seems to fall into two basic categories: constructive and destructive. Whether or not you believe in the old adage “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all” might say a lot about how you approach this particular quandary; do you say it straight or no?

This whole argument goes out the window when you’re talking about music or film submitted for review by an artist. I hold fast to the ideal that most artists put their work out there expecting it to be held up to the light and inspected, one expects some commentary to flow back or one is probably just in it for the money. If you stick a stamp on it and send it to someone, you’re definitely asking for it, so all bets are off. Those who are appointed “critics” will then chew through your work using a pre-determined set of personalized filters and, hopefully, will objectively spit out an analysis that is designed to help the average consumer along the buyers road in this huge, huge world of music. Some reviewers do a disservice to the reader by inflicting opinion or condemning elements based on prejudices of style and subject matter. Being an asshole, basically, without providing a yardstick of excellence or a fair balance of what could be done right with the next project.

I still choose not to review music. There’s a huge wealth of great music in the central Florida area and in the entire state, but we’re trying to attempt some focus here. I play in the scene, my friends play in the scene and in order to have a scene that will support local music, there needs to be a fringe network of boosters who will continue to make a case for local original music. As we continue to push for an FM radio slot to return WWRR to the airwaves (we’re not so sure about the internet radio idea), I’m working on featuring new music from respectable artists in an effort to bolster the cultural economy. In other words, we’d be so happy to get paid. On a regular basis.

In any case, my little TEAC CD player can handle three CD’s at a time, so I’m going through the new music that comes through here and just giving you the goods on the best, in my opinion. So, after reading a few of these, don’t bother calling me a “kiss-ass”. And if I’m too late with the warning and you’ve already thought that, you’re an asshole. But I love you anyway.

Eventually, I look to bring Dani-O on-board to do more objective CD reviews and more of them, as well. Send your music to:

J.O.B. Entertainment Inc.
P.O. Box 560727
Orlando, Florida 32856

We won’t feature it all, but it will go into the WWRR library and might end up showcased on one of the shows I’m developing for WRCF-TV channel 29. Here are my picks for the week:

BLUE MERIDIAN
Minerva

The newest release from much-decorated local rockers Blue Meridian is chock full of what fans have come to expect from the band: big hooks, percussive change-ups, sweet melodies and the libidinous lyrics of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Donovan Lyman. The band’s 1999 release “Brave Angel” remains the high-water mark, but a handful of the songs aboard “Minerva” resonate with the same kind of greatness. Gems include the dreamy “Silly Song” and the harmonic treat “So Sexy Avalon.” “Captain Courageous” is bold in its literary roots and its unabashed sentimentality; a sweetly moving piece of music. Lyman braves new frontiers with the spacey 60’s imagery of “Higher Than My Vertigo” and Amy Steinberg adds a Kate-Bush-ian spice to the beautifully rendered “Hallelujah Girl”. Elsewhere, it’s a commercialized, mainstreamed effort for the most part and that’s the unfortunate slide towards the center of the road for Lyman and crew, whose “Brave Angel” had teeth to spare for half of the gloss on this production. There’s a great album in BM and if Lyman can swing the bus away from the mainstream, it’ll probably be the disc that gets them finally signed. Worth a listen and worth the wait.e-mail raggedstar@aol.com

GARGAMEL!
The New Tenderness

One of the most insanely talented groups in the state takes a bold step forward with an album that is, oddly enough, full of maturity. Inching ever closer to claiming the top spot left by seminal L.A. band Oingo-Boingo, Gargamel! has evolved to the next level in their aural three-ring circus of balls-out, anything-goes music by successfully straddling the line between heavy edged mosh and funky grooves. The group has nurtured a synth-based orchestration courtesy of MVP Servobeonic Man on keyboards that aids the lurid visualization provided by Mandaddy’s incredible voice, which continues to shock and amaze. With a particular attention to melody on this outing, he evokes Danny Elfman at his most frightening and impressive, especially on the Boingo-esque “Chowder Cough” and the psychotic Zappa influences inherent in “Midget With A Leaf Blower.” Mind-bending philosophy and a free-way with an interlude make this one helluva rollercoaster ride. www.gargamel.net

Serina Jung
Sparrows

One of Jung’s songs opens this week’s column and it offers up a tantalizing glimpse into her unique storytelling perspective. Her tunes on “Sparrow” are alternately joyous and hopeless, inspecting closely the human condition and marrying it with a gorgeous palette of instruments and notes. It starts off simply enough with the folky “If I Want To” and threatens to be “another indignant chick album” in a Morrisette-ish vein, but soon the effervescent mandolin of “A Good Life (Signs Of Beauty)” announces the start of a tasty tour of titillating textures. “Sparrows” is easily my favorite local music album of 2003 so far.
The menu serves up real strings, French-inflected accordions, English horns and soprano saxophones to dramatic effect, giving most of the songs a rich and organic sound. Jung’s vocals are sometimes edgy, but mostly delivered in a full, clear and expressive range of tones. Vis a vis the weeper “Waiting For A Letter” or the Celtic sway of the gritty eye-opener “Living On The Edge” which boldly asks “what if my pulse is the only reason I’m alive?” Layered harmonies and imaginative arrangements ranging from tropical latino grooves to sweaty funk abound in this sound-feast of an album with its tales of stranded angels and life survivors. The pain is pronounced, but the resolution that beauty is “no less worthy for being difficult to find” can be found all over the bittersweet map. A real chameleon and an ace production with crack players (including axe-master Bobby Koelble) is simply the icing on the cake. Ageless and timely. www.serinajung.com

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I think that’s enough for now. Watch this space for more changes, and we’ll do the same with you. Until next time, be well, be wise and be wonderful.

“bfsig”

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