Monday, May 11, 2009

Never Going Back Again

I sat down at my computer this morning and looked at the mess surrounding it. On top of a stack of papers that I really need to go through was a cd with my name on it. I didn't know what it was, so I slipped it into the computer. The media player opened and I was greeted by the rolling, fingerpicked guitar of Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac. Never Going Back Again.

Have you ever been greeted by a tune that fit exactly how you are feeling? This song perfectly captured how I was feeling when I woke up this morning. Sometimes, music moves us because of the way it feels. Sometimes, the lyrics of a song perfectly explains the situations you are going through....When both of those elements occur in one song, emotions are often captured in a way which is hard to describe.

Let me put it to you this way. I went out with a girl this weekend, and I also went dancing this weekend, where I spoke with many friends,who, happen to be girls. The girl that I went out with is emotionally unavailable because she has feelings for another boy. Imagine that! She likes a boy and she knows that he doesn't like her, yet she continues to pine after him. I often wonder why people choose to be in painful situations. If it was me, I would move on, and choose to be in a situation that made me happy...that's just me though. I know many people don't roll that way.

Another friend is "confused" because a boy she likes is calling her...but she knows this boy is choosing her SECOND! (He stopped calling her a few weeks ago so he could be with his ex, but now that his ex dumped him again he is calling her again...) Being second choice to a girl is not how I roll. If a girl doesn't want me, I will move on to someone else, and I won't let her "have her cake and eat it too." (which is what this dude is trying to do with my friend.)

That reminds me of the actual lyrics to the song.
She broke down and let me in, made me see where I've been.
I've been down One time, been down Two times...
I'm never going back again.

You don't know what it means to win,
Come down and see me again...
I've been down One time, I've been down Two times...
I've never going back again.

I will do you a favor and not analyze these lyrics, or how they might pertain to my life. You can all read English lit papers elsewhere. (I am sure your own analysis will conjure some interesting images...) Sparing the paper, and moving straight to the point, I will say that there are some lessons I have learned in life. One of those is that when it comes to relationships I choose to be happy, and if a situation presents an opportunity for me to be confused, sad, or experience constant unpleasant emotions, then I choose to do one thing--Never go back again.

This song might not be a jazz or blues tune, but music of all kinds can teach us great lessons...even if we are feeling a little blue during a folk song. I love the lessons music can teach us.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Satellite of Love

Yes, that's right, I'm talking the satellite of love, and no, I am not talking about that bone shaped spaceship from Mystery Science Theater of the same name. What exactly is the satellite of love? I am not exactly sure. I do know that it is an awesome tune by Mr. Lou Reed. Other than that, I am clueless on this one.

I sure hope that Lou wasn't describing one of those people who just couldn't function without their boyfriends or girlfriends. I have seen one to many people who are always hovering in close proximity to their significant other. Those kinds of satellites usually crash and burn on reentry into the real world.

I watched it for a little while. I like to watch things on tv.

Sometimes I am relegated to watching love stories on tv. There is a serious lack of a love story in my life right now.

I've been told that you've been bold

With Harry, Mark, and John (or Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, to Thursday

Being bold is what's needed if the satellite is going to continue orbiting love. People who don't act never get anywhere. Be bold or there won't ever be any love.

Satellites are cool. Lou Reed wrote a song about em, as did Dave Matthews. I think P.O.D has an album called satellite, and U2 watched ten million channels of tv on satellite feeds during their Zoo TV tour (with a prerecorded image of Lou Reed singing a duet of Satellite of Love with Bono).

I like satellites, they give me the ability to communicate through cell phones, internet, they inspire cool music and of course...I like to watch things on tv.

Try and figure out how love fits into the picture and let me know. I won't think to hard about it til then.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Freddie Freeloader

So, I was out at lunch with my sister, bro-in-law, niece, nephew, and father today. Someone bought me lunch. I wasn't too happy about it. My financial institution screwed me over, and I don't have funds or access to funds for another couple of days.

It isn't a fun situation. I don't want to feel like a freddie freeloader, or a little mooch all the time. Not that I am, but my family has given me some great opportunities to come out here and get an education. The idea is that I will be able to pay them back after school is out and I am making better money.

I don't want to froget all the cool things people have done for me to have this opportunity to have higher education. If they forget that they bought me lunch today, at least I won't. I also won't forget all the simple things others have done for me to get here as well. Hopefully in someway I will be able to help someone out like people have helped me. Let's face it. no one likes people who are nothing but Freddie Freeloaders...

I like to be therefore someday I will return the favor.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


"Nuages" is the french word for clouds. I am a creative kind of guy, and clouds have always fascinated me. Yeah, that's right, I am one of those guys who likes to lie on the grass and pick out shapes in the clouds.
"Look at that one! It looks like a horse!"
"What about that one there, it looks like a crab!"
"Dude, that one looks like your mom!"
Just kidding, I haven't seen any clouds today that look like your mom, but I have seen some interesting clouds today. Gray, ominous looking clouds, and white popcorn looking clouds have filled the sky, and through it all the sun was shining, anticipating the coming summer.

All this talk of Nuages is making me excited for the Blues In Orbit program tomorrow night. I think I will have to play Django's tune for all of you. It is one of his more reknowned tunes, and starts of hectic, almost as if the clouds are storming at the time...then without warning the tempo slows, and the song changes direction, as if the storm has broken. At this point of the song I often think about lying in the grass, a blade stuck between my teeth, enjoying where the clouds take my imagination.

My imagination has wandered lately. For the first 8 years of my swing dancing life, I danced in San Francisco. There are always clouds hovering over that city. I also danced in Sacramento for the same amount of time. They can get a cloud or two there as well. I now dance in Salt Lake City, Utah and we all know they have clouds here. This state never knows if it should rain, snow or shine.

The reason I bring this up is that the San Francisco and Sacramento dance scenes are pretty big. Salt Lake is pretty small as a scene. But, as with the clouds, I let my imagination wander. I imagine that Salt Lake can become a big dance scene. I imagine that hordes of people will migrate to the city in order to "cut a rug" on Friday nights. Just like the shapes in the clouds, there are endless possibilities to what swing dancing can be in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City's Downtown Stomp, the newest swing dance in Salt Lake, will be holding a dance and live band this weekend. There is a 40's Military theme. A fun time will be had by all. I am excited to go. This is the kind of thing this scene needs in order to consistently bring the people to the dances.

Like seeing shapes in the clouds, I am seeing what this dance scene can become and I find it fascinating. If you have a love for swing music, and dancing, come on out to the Downtown Stomp swing dance this weekend, and if it is your first time I promise to do my best to make you feel welcome...just ask for Tombstone...someone will point you in my direction.

If you aren't a dancer, but love good live music, come on out anyway, guaranteed there will be some great music, and it is always fascinating to watch swing dancers in action. If you need more information click here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Shiny Stockings

At the Downtown Stomp swing dance held in Salt Lake City, Ut on Friday May 1, 2009 we had a moment of silence for Mr. Frankie Manning. Then we all danced away to Shiny Stockings. I am sure swing scenes around the world did the same thing. Now that Frankie's funeral has passed, I wanted to throw two more clips up here for people to check out. One is a general tribute to Frankie, and the other is people dancing the Shim Sham at funeral services for Frankie.

When I pass away, I hope someone will put some Shiny Stockings on me and then lead a Shim Sham for me. This is the way to remember someone!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tombstone Blues

I am so thankful Bob Dylan wrote a blues song for was so sweet of him.

On Friday, when I woke up, I was greeted by an overnight occurence. My basement flooded. It wasn't good. I called my brother in law, and we spent half of the day cleaning up a foot of water in the basement. I couldn't find the shop vac, so we were relegated to having a couple of carpet cleaners sipping up the water off of the basement floor. I am lucky that the basement isn 't finished, and the floor is concrete, otherwise there would have been thousands of dollars worth of damage to that basement. As it stands now, there wasn't a single casualty in this potentially catastrophic event.

I may be an eventual casualty of the event. Let's just say that the odor isn't the most splendorous. In fact its downright horrible. Still, after a couple of nights it is...more than pungent. I may die soon.

One of my first thoughts about the situation is that I should write a blues tune. Having cut my teeth on the blues, I figured I should pick up my guitar or harmonica or both and play. I did do that, but I didn't have an original tune come of it. Therefore, maybe the situation wasn't bluesy enough. Not enough pain. If I wake up screaming and puking from the bog of eternal stench, then yes, it might be bluesy enough.

Either way, I felt like it was bluesy enough at the time. Guaranteed, if it wasn't, We all have had experiences in life that truly were bluesy enough to write a song about. In the meantime I will keep enjoying Dylan's tune that shares my namesake...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Baby Please Don't Leave Me

I have a love/hate relationship with Rolling Stone Magazine. I hate it because it has got to be some of the worst journalism and critical reviews of any magazine I read on a regular basis. I hate the magazine because there doesn't seem to be any true thought put into the articles.

Rolling Stone always gushes over new material from living legends. I couldn't tear my eyes away from some columns recently that were gushing over U2's new album, and a new live dvd from Pete Townshend and the Who.

Don't get me wrong, I am not indicating either way whether this new material is good or bad, but, I am not going to rave and gush about it just because the artists are living legends. It seems like only newer artists, or artists who aren't quite to living legend status yet recieve actual critiques.

Last year I read an article talking about how I should vote for Obama because the journalist had read Obama's autobiography. I don't mind someone giving me their opinion about politics...but if you are going to tell me to vote for someone, please give me a VALID reason to vote for someone. Talking about an issue or two might help, or be enough to sway me, but, unfortunately, some other guy reading Obama's autobiography isn't enough for me to buy into any politician.

These are just two reasons why I hate the magazine. I could give more examples, but I don't plan on typing that long tonight. These same examples are why I love the magazine. I can't tear my eyes away from it. It entertains me. The magazine thinks that pandering to the popsters, and hipsters will sell magazines. I don't think that way at all, in fact I wouldn't pay for it at all...but seeing as how I get to read it for free...I will be entertained and wonder where the world of journalism has gone too...

At the moment....Buddy Guy's heavy, heavy guitar line is flooding my ears. The track is so reminiscent of Jimi, and we all know that Buddy loved Jimi. As Buddy sings I can't help but think...what if some of my readers like Rolling Stone Magazine...My instant response to that is...if you do like that mag, and don't like me bashing it, well...Baby Please Don't Leave Me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Life on Mars

Mars; the red planet and the Roman God of War. Home of little green men and subject of many television shows, movies, and books. Nevermind the fact that Bowie wrote the kickin' song that this blog is named after.

Have you ever felt like two hours of your life were missing? How about years? When I woke up this morning and felt like the last month of my life was missing, I made sure to rule out little green men as the first option. Hell, I made sure to rule out little green men as any option. I quietly got ready for school and went to take two finals. The first one was for Medieval Lit, and the second was for a first year, second semester french final. That is when I knew that something was wrong. I didn't have anything relevant to say on my Medieval lit final! I always have something relevant to say! got me...maybe I don't. I do however, always have something to say. Relevancy may not be an issue for the continuous stream of vocabulary perpetually issuing from my mouth.

Could it be little green men? Did they somehow kidnap me, cut me open, sew me back up, and return me to my bed without me knowing? Again, that wasn't an option. Why? Because little green men don't exist? No...just...because.

I finished my finals, went home and turned on one of my favorite bands in the last two years. The Bad Plus. Life on Mars...a cover of Bowie, but as a jazz tune. I know what you are thinking. Jazz covers of rock songs are more terrifying than the prospect of little green men. At least with little green men, there is the possibility that one of those little guys could be a cool dude. Not so with the jazz covers of rock songs.

That thought isn't necessarily right though. There is no other way to say this. The Bad Plus rock! Check em out if you haven't...Unfortunately, listening to the Bad Plus three hours after my Medieval lit final was over didn't help me to have anything relevant to say about the subject...but I did enter the fascinating world of wonder and imagination.

What would Life on Mars be like? Could you even climb Olympus Mons (the highest known mountain in the Solar System) and survive? What would it be like to stare that face in the face? Oh come know what i mean...that one in the picture up there....If there really was life on mars do you think they like the stories about John Carter, or the Martian Chronicles? Do you feel like I have anything relevant to say at the moment?
Either way, Mars will continue to orbit the sun, I will feel like the last month of my life is missing, and I will continue to play some cool music on Blues in Orbit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Swingers Get the Blues, Too.

Frankie Manning died yesterday. he was on the verge of having his 95th birthday. He was the epitome of swingers, and swing dancing, the "Ambassador of Lindy Hop!"

Across the world, The Swingers Get the Blues, Too and this week is no exception for swingers, whether they be dancers, or musicians. Usually, Hellzappopin with the swingers, or maybe they felt like it was always A Day at the Races. Cottontail was another swingin' piece and Frankie and the rest of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers were struttin' their stuff. Blues has always been popular because everyone gets the Blues, and dancers and musicians have always had a penchant for feeling blue.

Swing and Blues, the two forms of music and dance, have always been related, and this week they come together again with the death of Mr. Manning. Take a listen to Duke's tune The Swingers Get the Blues, Too from the Blues in Orbit album. You might understand how with Frankie's passing, the swingers have got the blues, too. Yet, you might understand as well, how Frankie's legacy will keep us swingin'.

Frankie has inspired countless people, and will continue to inspire countless people. We have the music and the movie clips, as well as memories. Frankie continued to teach dancers, right up until the time of his death. The last time I saw him was in 2008 in Sacramento, California where dancers gathered to listen to his stories, dance with him, and learn from him.

Dancing has always brought happiness to my life. How could I not learn lessons of joy and happiness from a 93 year old gentleman who was still dancing? How can I not be grateful to a man who inspired other dancers? These dancers are my friends and family, and we have laughed, cried, sung and played together. Would I have these friends and family if it wasn't for Frankie Manning? In all honesty, maybe not. I do have them though, and I am grateful for them, and for Frankie.

Music has always united people, and dancers unite in unique ways (ask a few, they will be glad to share some unique experiences). Frankie loved the music, like we all do...therefore a couple of songs will be played on my show tomorrow night in tribute to Frankie. First: Shiny Stockings-it remains one of Fankie's favorite tracks. 2nd: The Swingers Get the Blues, Too...because right least for the moment the swingers have the blues.