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FEBRUARY ENTRIES: Feb. 16 Feb. 14 Feb. 12 Feb. 10 Feb. 9 Feb. 8 Feb. 7 Feb. 3 Feb. 2
These days I am in the Mine Shaft probably more than I need to be, but what the heck, where else do you just hang out with old buddies like Glen?
February has always been a month that somehow spins my sense of being into a whirl of blahs. I don't know why...perhaps the dead of winter or the sky looks like it will fall or my bank account is plus zero or when I see myself in the mirror I wish it was somebody else or just maybe February is a shit month and always has been...none of that makes sense but that is how it is and other than laying down and accepting doom, the only thing to do is trudge on and hope for March...
It just occurred to me that this is the anniversary of something I did in 1967 that forever altered my life...I decided to join the US Army to try to improve the miserable feeling I was having at the time...kind of the old proverbial jumping out of the frying pan into the fire syndrome...well, if nothing else, that was the kind of mistake I could only make once. Now I know it is just February, and soon this evil month will be history if only I can survive it.
Finally, I am feeling reasonably healthy again--after five days of being house bound, and for the most part laying down...being sick is not something I endure well. Ruth says all men could never stand being women--probably so--whatever, life means jack all without your health.
If nothing else, being ill has made me realize (once again) I should take care of myself. It is so easy to feel that life just goes on and you are owed a quality time, but the truth is of course that at any moment in the blink of the proverbial eye, a dump-truck full of crap can totally bury your life...so I will do my best to watch out for my precious future. It is all too short.
VALENTINE DAY IN AMERICA
Ruth is always so sweet and good to me I know I am the luckiest guy in the world. For Valentine day I wanted to do something very special for her. Unfortunately the flu-bug is still with me so I didn't do much but make her a little flying heart which symbolizes what I feel for her. When I got up to make coffee this morning Ruth had placed a little symbol of her own about her love for me--now you probably will think we are both nuts, but our gifts to each other mean a whole book to us.
1. Ruth and I got together in a real sense after a six day motorcycle ride to see Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The little toy plays BORN TO BE WILD... us old folks have our fantasies too. 2. A flying heart for Ruth.
My friends John and Lindy Bolton were with us for five days and we enjoyed each others company beyond words. For John and I in particular it was touching bases and places that were profound 33 years ago and just as important now. Our eyes were tearful when we said adios...
Everything went very well as far as having some great dinners together and getting to show them around the country a little. The only downside was that Lindy became ill with some kind of bug she either got here or brought from Mexico.
A day before they left for the last leg of their journey across the west to San Francisco in a rented car, I suddenly got the bug too.
So, for the last 48 hours, I have been sweating, shivering, aching and generally filling like crap. Considering my luck, I am rarely sick so it is not so bad. Unlike so many friends this winter, I am alive and ready for another day.
Being sick was not bad the first day, so instead of working on my building project, I sat at the computer and did my taxes for 2007--a thing I hate to do like most people. But I cheated, not on my tax but how I did it. I used the online service of TURBOTAX--which seemed to work easily--well, I'll wait until I get my refund before I celebrate.
Life is becoming increasingly short. Another friend has left this world. Doug Wesley who produced and photographed the "Geezers" calendar ( http://geezers-illustrated.com/MadridCommentary.html) died a week ago from a heart attack.
When I first arrived in New Mexico in 1986 I was flat broke so always being the hungry artist I looked around for a blank wall I could stamp my CALLING CARD , announce my arrival and hopefully make a few bucks... El Madrid Lounge was the place...and a few bucks it was, very few, about $750 total for painting the entire front of the building, but as the saying goes, better than a stick in the eye.
22 years later, my old muralist friend Joe Stephenson sent me the photos below of what is left of that time. The owners painted out much of it, but the central panels of Elvis and Louie Madrid are still there.
One may wonder why there is a motorcycle cop adjacent to Elvis, and the answer is long but I will make it short. Louie was the motorcycle cop assigned to escort Elvis the first time he performed in Albuquerque in 1955. Louie said he was told to make sure Elvis didn't wiggle his naughty hips in public. Elvis and him became friends and told Louie to be sure to come back if he ever performed there again.
Elvis returned in 1957 and Louie not only escorted him around ABQ, but also guided him all the way to the state line on his way back to California.
Hence Louie and Elvis on the wall. By the way, if you look closely, the ghost of Janis Joplin stands to the left of Louie.
1. El Madrid Lounge on 1st Street, downtown ABQ. 2. Detail of Louie and Janis. 3. Detail of Elvis and his Momma.
I have written a about John and it is proper to include Lindy, his wife in the context, after all, they have been together for over 25 years, have 3 grown sons and a life full of romance and adventure. Their meeting is a tale right out of a French movie.
Perhaps that is an inadequate description to their story, but it is an indication of how it was.
John was bicycling from Italy to France, Lindy bicycling from Spain to France, and by coincidence came to the same camp ground along with several other folks. They met and were intrigued but only talked. The following day, John went his separate way, but a week later, they crossed destinies by coincidence one more time. This time their talk led to amusement, that led to a wedding some months later where I finally met the woman who would fill John's life.
They are still having road trips together and from all I could see, it looks as though that will continue to end of sunsets.
Sounds like a new religion to me...but the truth is, John inspires me and he always has...truly John is one in a million beyond a zillion and I love him. We are brothers.
We have seen the Masters. Regular guys.
1. John takes a look. 2. John looks at it all. 3. John shoots the world. 4. John sees the world.
I had dream last night about friendly snakes, that could shape their bodies like frogs, then would hop around. The reason I had the snakes was so they could catch rattlesnakes that were living inside the walls of our house. Hmmmm, I don't know what that symbolizes...
It might have been the effect of staying in the hot tub talking with John Bolton for over an hour, but probably not. Anyway, John and I sat in the tub, under the myriad sky of a trillion stars in the 23 degree night of a New Mexico winter and talked about everything from UFO's to Krishnamurti to Bennets Bar ( http://www.bestpubs.co.uk/layout0.asp?pub=105797 ) to death and resurrection. It was wonderful and nostalgic, for that is exactly what we did more than 30 years ago. Our friendship has not changed.
Below is a small part John's bio...
John Bolton trained in London and Paris. In 1991 John founded The John Bolton Theatre School which ran until 1999. He was lecturer in Acting at The Victorian College of The Arts between 1985 and 1991. He has lectured at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and The Drama Action Centre, Sydney. Over the last 20 years he has continued to perform his celebrated solo show Jumping Mouse as well as the more recent Shadows and light and The God Show. He is currently Head of Acting at The Victorian College of the Arts. [ he went back to being free-lance 2007]
Johnís awards include the Victorian College of the Arts Teaching Excellence award in 2005, The Kenneth Myer Medallion for outstanding services to theatre in Victoria in 2002, and a Green Room award for outstanding direction of My brother the fish.
He has directed plays at Playbox Theatre, Theatreworks, Festival of Dreaming in Sydney, Gasworks, Melbourne Festival fringe, Adelaide Festival fringe, Belvoir Street Theatre, Melbourne International Festival, Adelaide International Festival, Zootango Theatre in Hobart, as well as numerous overseas productions
THE ARRIVAL OF JOHN AND LINDY FROM AUSTRALIA
It has been a very pleasant and wonderful last few days of enjoying the return of old friendships, dinner parties and a few small tours of New Mexico...trying to catch up on 25 years of water under the bridge...
1. John, Lindy and Chrissie at Greyhound. 2. John and Lindy in Madrid. 3. J & L at our house. 4. John goes shopping. 5. J & L shopping. 6. Lindy at Glen and Eliane's house. 7. Ken at play. 8. John plays. 9. Ruth. 10. Lindy. 11. Glen. 12. Eliane. 13. John plays on. 14. K & L. 15. Trip to Chimayo. 16. Espanola valley. 17. Chimayo. 18. J & L in Chimayo. 19. Lindy. 20. John.
Last night Ruth, a few friends and I went to a Willy Nelson concert. Willy and his band were great. Mostly it was amazing to actually see not only a legend of contemporary America, but some one who at one time was very central to my own experience.
A Willy Nelson song called "I live One Day At A Time" was one of the first songs I performed in public zonks ago when Fred Baue and I had a folk duo called THE GAZORNBLAT REVIEW. At the time I had never heard of Willy, but Fred said he was famous and that was good enough. The song made sense to me, being it was 1969, and Vietnam was the insanity the Fred and I had both escaped.
But that was then and Willy is still Willy. I didn't have my camera with me so I used the cell phone camera and below is the event. The audience was wild about Willy and so was I. His voice is his voice, but he plays great guitar.
Actually Ruth remarked about the guitar in that it looked as beat-up as my old Gibson, who I have called Molly ever since I first got her in 1968...until Ruth, she was the only female who ever understood me...
1. Willy Nelson and band in Albuquerque. 2. Molly Gibson after being with me 40 years.
The above photo is a long time ago...back when we were all young...that is, myself and family and all of the friends we had then (1982) in Edinburgh, Scotland. Really, it seems a life ago, and it is.
Most of those people I have not seen since then, however, the couple more or less at the top and middle, was John and Lindy, and the occasion was the celebration party for their marriage.
Shortly after they moved to Australia and I moved to Corsica and we have not been in touch other than the letters exchanged. Tomorrow they shall be here after spending the last 6 weeks in Mexico.
Wow, do we have some catching up to do...John and I were the first hired members of THEATRE WORKSHOP EDINBURGH when Neil Cameron took over directorship. We performed together doing "street theater" for three years in Scotland as well as winning first place in the 1st WORLD CHILDREN'S THEATRE FESTIVAL in Hamburg, Germany in 1976.
As I said, we have a lot of catching up to do.