The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Wednesday, July 10, 2002
The Cane-Bottom'd Chair

IN tattered old slippers that toast at the bars,
And a ragged old jacket perfumed with cigars,
Away from the world, and its toils and its cares,
I've a snug little kingdom up four pair of stairs.

To mount to this realm is a toil, to be sure,
But the fire there is bright and the air rather pure;
And the view I behold on a sunshiny day
Is grand through the chimney-pots over the way.

This snug little chamber is cramm'd in all nooks
With worthless old knicknacks and silly old books,
And foolish old odds and foolish old ends,
Crack'd bargains from brokers, cheap keepsakes from friends.

Old armor, prints, pictures, pipes, china (all crack'd),
Old rickety tables, and chairs broken-backed;
A two-penny treasury, wondrous to see;
What matter? 'tis pleasant to you, friend, and me.

No better divan need the Sultan require,
Than the creaking old sofa that basks by the fire;
And 'tis wonderful, surely, what music you get
From the rickety, ramshackle, wheezy spinet.

That praying-rug came from a Turcoman's camp;
By Tiber once twinkled that brazen old lamp;
A Mameluke fierce yonder dagger has drawn:
'Tis a murderous knife to toast muffins upon.

Long, long through the hours, and the night, and the chimes,
Here we talk of old books, and old friends, and old times;
As we sit in a fog made of rich Latakie,
This chamber is pleasant to you, friend, and me.

But of all the cheap treasures that garnish my nest,
There is one that I love and I cherish the best:
For the finest of couches that's padded with hair
I never would change thee, my cane-bottom'd chair.

'Tis a bandy-legg'd, high shoulder'd, worm-eaten seat,
With a creaking old back, and twisted old feet;
But since the fair morning when Fanny sat there,
I bless thee and love thee, old cane-bottom'd chair.

If chairs have but feeling, in holding such charms,
A thrill must have pass'd through your wither'd old arms!
I look'd, and I long'd, and I wish'd in despair;
I wished myself turn'd to a cane-bottom'd chair.

It was but a moment she sat in this place,
She'd a scarf on her neck, and a smile on her face;
A smile on her face, and a rose in her hair,
And she sat there and bloom'd in my cane-bottom'd chair.

And so I have valued my chair ever since,
Like the shrine of a saint, or the throne of a prince;
Saint Fanny, my patroness sweet I declare,
The queen of my heart and my cane-bottom'd chair.

When the candles burn low, and the company's gone,
In the silence of night as I sit here alone --
I sit here alone, but we yet are a pair --
My Fanny I see in my cane-bottom'd chair.

She comes from the past and revisits my room;
She looks as she then did, all beauty and bloom;
So smiling and tender, so fresh and so fair,
And yonder she sits in my cane-bottom'd chair.

William Makepeace Thackeray

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .

Something else Joni said:

I'll try to keep myself open up to you
That's a promise that I made to love
When it was new
"Just like Jericho" I said
"Let these walls come tumbling down"
I said it like I finally found the way
To keep the good feelings alive
I said it like it was something to strive for

I'll try to keep myself open up to you
And approve your self expression
I need that, too
I need your confidence, baby
And the gift of your extra time
In turn I'll give you mine
Sweet darling, it's a rich exchange
It seems to me
It's a warm arrangement!

Anyone will tell you
Just how hard it is to make and keep a friend
Maybe they'll short sell you
Or maybe it's you
Judas, in the end
When you just can no longer pretend
That you're getting what you need
Or you're giving out anything for them to grow and feed on

I'll try to keep myself open up to you
It gets easier and easier to do
Just like Jericho
Let these walls come tumbling down now
Let them fall right on the ground
Let all these dogs go running free
The wild and the gentle dogs
Kenneled in me

Some of this is for the true friends I have. The rest will hopefully come true in the nearness of time.


Currently playing: "Devil Woman" by Charles Mingus from the 1961 LP "Mingus Oh Yeah." The one Mingus record every rock bod gets into, and not coincidentally, the one which all jazzbos hate above all others. And it's the one I come back to the most, even outplaying "Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" and "Let My Children Hear Music."

Musicians: Mingus (piano & vocals); Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Booker Ervin (saxes); Jimmy Knepper (trombone); Doug Watkins (depping for CM on bass); Dannie Richmond (drums).

It's a standard blues lament, lyrically. Very minimal - "Hello Devil Woman, Goodbye Angel Woman, sure done gone been mean to me, Devil Woman gonna give me some dough, I'm just a gigolo, everywhere I go (??)" and that's about it. Up there with Nietzsche for sure (see his proto-Barthes autobiog "Beneath the Underdog" for confirmation) but there is an absolute deep melancholy about this piece. The horn riffs couldn't be more standard, but the descending chords are sad, if constantly subverted by CM's Monk-like piano stabbings. Notation-wise, Kirk's tenor solo couldn't be simpler, but it is played with such resignation and empathy. CM's piano reacts with him, but when Booker Ervin steps up for his fairly straightforward R&B tenor solo, Mingus just sticks to the block chords. Sometimes, no need to embellish. The meaning is extant. Knepper's plunger trombone soliloquy sounds as if he's singing, now mocking, now reposing.

When tedious Tories like Holland and Clapton try to persuade you that being one's baby and not meaning maybe = Radclyffe Hall-style well of loneliness, then listen to this and see what they abjectly fail to achieve.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .
I achieved my library. I am surrounded by a million books and probably a million hours of music. And I would sacrifice all of it to be surrounded by one human being.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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Out on some borderline
Some mark of inbetween
I lay down golden-in time
And woke up vanishing

Sweet bird you are
Briefer than a falling star
All these vain promises on beauty jars
Somewhere with your wings on time
You must be laughing
Behind our eyes
Calendars of our lives
Circled with compromise
Sweet bird of time and change
You must be laughing
Up on your feathers laughing

Golden in time
Cities under the sand
Power, ideals and beauty
Fading in everyone's hand

Give me some time
I feel like I'm losing mine
Out here on this horizon line
With the earth spinning
And the sky forever rushing
No one knows
They can never get that close
Guesses at most
Guesses based on what each set of time and change is touching
Guesses based on what each set of time and change is touching
Guesses based on what each set of time and change is touching

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .

I see I am not the only one with limited tolerance for trivia, not to mention music, following tragedy. Some wisdom from David Toop.

Having problems linking, so go to$118

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .
Things could be better. One hopes.

I don't know about the "Secret Life of the Office" but I certainly feel on a par with the poor call centre manager who was unsubtly edged out of the organisation. My in-tray is practically empty. There is very little to do in the "working day" now except to drear through routines. But then again the job I came to do has to all intents and purposes been done, and soon I will be too.

At least at QMH I have my own office and can shut myself away, but on the other hand it now averages two hours to travel a distance which, as the crow files, cannot be more than five or six miles. All caused by the arrogance of others who mistakenly believe that they are deserving of special treatment - arrogantly jaywalking, butting into bus lanes - whereas if they really were special, they wouldn't be crawling around the Wandsworth Bridge roundabout at 8 in the morning. They are just eating from the same plate of shit from which I am obliged to dine.

SGH is by contrast a breeze to get to, but one has to share an office there, and the days are made intolerable by having to listen to endless trivial prattle from others 'til my head is ready to explode.

I don't have much interest in anything at the moment. ILx increasingly to me is like a Pollock's toy theatre set which one has grown out of - it just does not appeal.

Longing to be out of it all. Like a beast of the field which has performed its biological duties, or has been involuntarily stripped of them due to circumstances, there comes a time when one just has to lie down and die. It can't be that far away now.

Then again, there are one or two kind souls dotted around the globe who have this crazy idea about wanting to keep me alive! :-)

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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