Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Dear Ko-Ko

Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner
Bend local treasure and Eastside apologist H. Bruce Miller compares Jack Elliott to handsome, young Nanki-Poo, the emperor's son, in Gilbert and Sullivan's fanciful The Mikado.

Nanki-Poo sings,
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la,
Of a summer of roses and wine,
Of a summer of roses and wine.
And that's what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring,
But Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko unhappily faces the prospect of having to marry a disagreeable elderly woman or suffer a painful death. He is of no mind to care for the flowers that bloom in the spring. He sings his sour rejoinder:
The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Have nothing to do with the case.
I've got to take under my wing,
Tra la,
A most unattractive old thing,
Tra la,
With a caricature of a face,
With a caricature of a face.
And that's what I mean when I say, or I sing,
"Oh, bother the flowers that bloom in the spring."
Poor Ko-Ko. We can understand his despair. The woman might live a long, long time.

But here in Bend, these showers (and sunshine) promise us a summer of roses and wine, another year of reservoirs and lakes filled with clear, fresh water for all, happy little birds and other small critters, and, yes, a whole bunch of flowers that bloom in the spring.

Tra la.

7 comments:

  1. In places that have a livable climate -- i.e., most places in the Lower 49 states -- the flowers that bloom in the spring are already blooming. Not Bend. But we might see a few crocuses by mid-May.

    Sunny and 73 in Phoenix today. They're suffering through another cold snap there.

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  2. On the other hand, Phoenix is a charmless sprawl of billboards, tacky pink stucco crap houses and suffocatingly-tedious strip malls, polo shirts and gabardine slacks -- a chunk of the San Fernando Valley tossed out into the desert and allowed to metastasize without control.

    Remind me: What's the music scene like out there again?

    Oh wait -- there isn't one.

    But your overall point -- that spring comes late to Bend -- cannot be refuted. It does come late.

    So what?

    To me, (and possibly to others as well -- chime in you two or three other lurking readers who have not yet found the courage to comment here) our late spring is not a deal-breaker: Bend has much more to offer than mild (the easy-listening music version of) weather.

    But and but. It is a matter of preference. I don't mind the weather this time of the year because ... well, this kind of weather doesn't bother me. It's wet, it's cool (the way I like my women), but it's dramatic. I like drama.

    And as someone who spent the first frickin' 58 years of his life living in SoCal, I know whereof I speak when I say that -- to me! -- Bend is nicer.

    Others may differ. You do. Which is fine -- I like you. You're a smart man, a man of letters, well-read, a snappy dresser, possessing good manners, good taste in cars, wives, and fishing tackle.

    You and I both acknowledge that that god-awful Grateful Dead music that O'Kane's plays endlessly is reason to toss one's cigar into the woodpile and set fire to the place.*

    Yet we do have different tastes: In booze, favorite opening chess moves, whether the tramp stamps on the ladies at Stars Cabaret are hot or not (they are),** whether Hard Bop sounds like a goddamn traffic jam in midtown Manhattan on a hot summer night (it does), whether cats or dogs are better (yellow Labs better than cats, cats better than other dogs).

    But. By gum and by golly I defend your grumpy right to slam the fuck out of this town as you have been here since 1943; but I will come right back at you with my Pollyannaish & pantywaistish "sunshine and rainbows" counter-attacks.

    It's a battle of the Titans, Bruce. You: Bend's arch-foe, and me, Jack, the Lord of Goody-Two-Shoe-osity.

    ==================
    * I speak in hyperbole. I would never suggest that someone set fire to O'Kanes. But I urge someone, anyone, to explain to me the unholy grip that the long-dead but probably still-stoned Jerry Garcia has on the place. Endless guitar-noodling with whiny, nasal, pitchy vocals -- no matter how pleasing they are (not) -- are insufficient reasons to keep playing that crap. It's annoying to anyone with musician's ear. Stop it. Just. Stop. It.

    ** Not to bear witness that HBM's traditionally pessimistic and dour mien has ever darkened the door at Stars. If (and I'm not admitting this has ever happened) Jack were to have found himself at Stars, his attention would be totally on the performers...which is the polite thing to do. After all.

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  3. "In places that have a livable climate -- i.e., most places in the Lower 49 states -- the flowers that bloom in the spring are already blooming."

    Ooh, ooh, wait, wait -- gotta response to this one -- (pauses to remember what it was) -- oh yeah: I'm pretty sure that between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer there are flowers blooming all over the darn place all over the place 365 days a year.

    Now tell me: in how many places between them two circles of latitudes would you care to move to?

    What I'm saying is that just because a place has a good climate doesn't necessarily mean that a First World person with discriminating taste, such as you, might care to live in.

    How poor are your tastes?

    Your move.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Remind me: What's the music scene like out there again?"

    There's probably more of the kind of music I like (jazz and classical) out there than there is in this cultural backwater.

    "You're a smart man, a man of letters, well-read, a snappy dresser, possessing good manners, good taste in cars, wives, and fishing tackle."

    And you are an excellent judge of character, sir.

    "Yet we do have different tastes: In booze, favorite opening chess moves"

    Yes, you seem to prefer the losing moves for some reason.

    "whether Hard Bop sounds like a goddamn traffic jam in midtown Manhattan on a hot summer night"

    Ah, the music of the spheres!

    "By gum and by golly I defend your grumpy right to slam the fuck out of this town as you have been here since 1943"

    Thank you. And I will defend your right to suffer through the endless gloom and chill of Bend winters for as long as you can tolerate them.

    "Now tell me: in how many places between them two circles of latitudes would you care to move to?"

    Hawaii is the only one I have personal knowledge of. I would move there in a heartbeat. Half a heartbeat.

    "How poor are your tastes? Your move."

    You yourself said my tastes are excellent. Checkmate.

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  5. And anyway, Jack, I don't see how you can call bop cacophonous when you like listening that head-banger music.

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  6. Bop explores atonality, it's edgy, intended to be difficult, and I find it irritating. A lot of virtuosoistic showing off ("Hey, look -- I can blow twelve notes [where four would do - Ed.])," boundaries pushed to the point of abrasiveness, and riffs based on odd modalities that jar the listener with refined tastes. Intentionally extreme.

    Hip-hop is sweeter, always diatonic, solid, not weird, with straightforward chord progressions and and polished performances. Not extreme.

    "Head-banger"?

    I think not.

    I offer the following proposal: put it to a vote: We submit the idea of a presentation for the next Ignite Bend event.

    "Smackdown: Hip-Hop or Hard Bop: You Decide"

    I know that Bend local and all-around swell guy Jon (of thebrewsite.com) is a promoter of the events, and should you accept my challenge, I will propose the idea to him.

    You get to pick the hip-hop samples, I pick the hard bop. The presentation, including a raising of hands from the peanut gallery must fit within a five-minute window.

    The gauntlet, he has been tossed down.

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  7. "Hip-hop is ... [n]ot extreme."

    Not interesting either. Monotonous. Uninspired. Formulaic.

    "odd modalities that jar the listener with refined tastes"

    You have one of the best musical minds of the century. The 18th century.

    "The gauntlet, he has been tossed down."

    The gauntlet has been rejected; you're proposing a rigged game. Naturally a contemporary audience (especially in Bend, Ory-gun) will prefer hip-hip. What do these yokels know from jazz? Moreover, you get to pick the bop samples, and of course you'll pick the worst shit you can find. So, no deal.

    Let me and Bob Woodward pick the bop samples and you pick the hip-hop and I might reconsider my position.

    ReplyDelete

 
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