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Reasons to smile
Agata of Melt-Banana
Life has changed a bit since my last return-that-wasn't quite. For one thing, I'm employed.

Here's a tip; if you want to break into a particular field, volunteer in it. It was my volunteering at the local library that got me hooked up with a library-services temp firm. I was hired on as a "loose-leaf filer" (someone who keeps law and other loose-leaf reference works current by removing old pages and inserting their replacements) with the expectation that I would get about 10 hours a week at first (not a living, but a start toward one). The next day, they found me a month-long full-time assignment at a law firm, doing a different type of work for a better hourly rate.

That just ended, but the company wants me back when the next phase of the project starts (probably in a few weeks time). So things are looking up there.

Having more money coming in than I expected prompted me to indulge in three consecutive nights of music a couple of weeks ago, nights which taken together give a pretty good picture of my listening range (if we leave jazz out of it).

Tuesday the 12th at the Middle East Upstairs was a great night for lovers of songcraft. And while support acts Dolorean and Damien Jurado did indeed offer up a lot of well-written material, it was Richard Buckner's show, at least from my POV.

I've written about him before, and seen him at least twice since then (one day I missed him due to having broken my arm that day). My admiration for what the man does with words and music has kept growing throughout that time.

Anyone with a knowledge of late 60s music knows how embarrassing lyrics can become once they begin to aspire to the status of poetry. But there are people whose mastery of language earns the adjective "poetic" honestly, and Buckner is one of that small company.And he's obviously put some thought into it; one of my favorite albums of his is "The Hill", which sets a number of selections from Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology to astonishingly gorgeous music. He only does one piece from that album in his current show (although I asked him this time if he'd consider adding "Oscar Hummel" back in sometime, so we'll see), but there are so many other great songs in his catalog that it's hard to get too upset about it.

The night after was the medical-expenses benefit for ex-SSD singer Springa. There was supposed to be a "day" and a "night" show, but they just kept going after the day show, with no separate admission. I got there just as Gang Green were finishing up; that seemed to mark a transition between a crowd that was there mostly for the hardcore, and one with a more eclectic bent. Accordingly, us latecomers got a show that ranged from the old-school punk of The Marvels and Unnatural Axe, to the countrified Wheelers and Dealers, the arty pop of Pastiche (first performance in more years than I can bring to mind right now), the garage rock ('tho that was more obvious back when they had a keyboard in the mix) of Prime Movers and the all-out r n' r assault of The Outlets, who just completely killed. Wonderful stuff all around (or almost), for a most deserving cause.

The night after that, Brian Wilson brought his lost masterpiece Smile to fruition in front of a deliriously happy Orpheum crowd. Undoubtedly, many in that crowd have been waiting for this day since we first heard rumors back in '66 about how completely out there the followup to Pet Sounds would be. "It was worth the wait" seems such a weak and insufficient way to describe how I felt in the presence of this.

Then the Sox go and win the Series!

Let's hope Kerry can keep the good news coming tonight.


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