Saturday, September 21, 2013

Idiot Wind: Kicking Back on a Saturday Night at Marlinspike Hall

It's one of those soft, breezy in-between seasons kind of nights, when the heart is wide open, the pupils large, taking in everything, understanding flowing like God's own soft sainted waters.  Makes you want to listen to that same sort of evocative, loving, welcoming feeling in a tune. So, of course, La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore being in charge of our turntable and the vinyl platters this evening, she went with the obvious, and chose the dulcet tones and subtleties of Dylan's greatest lullaby:  Idiot Wind.  She's dedicating it to anyone who needs a clue. Admittedly, she was aided in her musical choice by The Feline Triumvirate, who think that people who harm defenseless animals are not only idiots, but cowards, and probably, sociopaths.  They are feisty, our kitty crowd, and they never cease to speak truth to those-deluded-into-thinking-they-have-power.

If this introduction seems obscure to you, and even more odd than what you usually find here?  That's because I am really badmouthing a relative but using guile and subterfuge to get it done, see?  Now can we get back to pretending that this is just an average blog post and not more disappointment at the dysfunction of my genetic heritage?

No matter what, "Idiot Wind" is one of the Zimmer's best songs, a cutting edge turn of the blade that Sara never saw coming, I'm sure!  Blood on the Tracks, the album in which it first featured, was probably a total eye-opener for the lass. And if anyone knows where I can get a copy of the May 23, 1976 performance, at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado, I hear that's especially well-delivered.  Not with snark... snark is easy, common... no, we're talking smooth and well-delivered, yes, but with lip-curling, lip-smacking snarl. Snarl is... real.

Just a rhetorical... something that the cats want translated from Cyrillic Felis Cactus  into Modern English:
Is anyone really shocked that someone who would rob the woman who gave him life -- rob her of dignity as well as of tangible means of support -- would then, like a cornered man-boobed boor, take the life of someone's pet by poison?  (Don't worry, I'll leave my reprobate relatives behind, just let the bile flow, for the bile must flow, and better here than than up and down the highways of my esophagus.)

Where the cats come up with these strange rhetoricals, we don't know.  But Marmy is sporting her wrap-around shades, Dobby is sharpening his nails, and Buddy is getting a rubdown, keeping it all very loose.  I've switched over to my Bond issue Power Chair, equipped with mini-hydrogen bombs chemically designed to target low-testosterone wimpy sorts.  Fred is in total chill mode.  He keeps pointing at The Castafiore's stiletto heels, recognized as weaponry by any thinking soul, and reminding me that we are also protected by the power of our next door neighbors, the Cistercians, an enlivened group these days, really loving Pope Francis, their new El Papa Francisco .  The tone, explained Abbot Truffatore to a community gathered for the monthly Communion Wine Tasting last evening, is new: "It's like we have permission to swing away, to go for justice, so long as we remember to yodel out, 'Hey, who are we to judge, eh?' after we sink in the rear naked choke. It's a new Liberation Theology."

We understand Abbot Truffatore about as much as we do the Feline Triumvirate, or Bianca on a bender, but since we love and trust them all, we're gathering our Bear Repellent and sanctifying our loins with readings from the Good Books.  I'm reading The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Fred is enjoying the Canterbury Tales, Bianca and Sven are reading different versions of Faust, and a couple of the Perpetual Postulants and the more enervated Saturday night escapees from the Novitiate seem to have Marvel Comics tucked inside their breviaries.

I'm in the "Man's Way" section of Book II, and it's Madame Gautier who is speaking to Jane Pittman. My eyes just landed on her version of "Idiot Wind":
That's man's way. To prove something. Day in, day out he must prove he is a man. Poor Fool.
Being snarky (not snarly), I rapid-fired Fred to give me a version of "Idiot Wind" from Chaucer. He's feeling much better, by the way, and responded first with a very sexy eyebrow raise.  Then, without letting more than a second pass, he channeled the perfect 14th century zap of a verbal prat fall:
Then the Miller fell off his horse.
Ever equitable, I turned to Sven and my Dear Castafiore, noting that they were a bit more intertwined than separate authors might lead one to expect, and gave a polite cough.  "*Ack*-*Ack*," added Marmy Fluffy Butt, peering at this odd couple over her stern shades. "What," laughed Sven, "you want us to choose a passage from FAUST to encapsulate 'Idiot Wind'!  No offense, dear Prof, but don't you think that's rather... stupid?"

He had a point. He also had Goethe.  I gave Bianca the Hairy Eyeball, and she promptly stood, hoisted her bust with firmly crossed arms, and belted out you-know-what -- Gounod's precious Jewel Song.  At which point Marmy turned it over to Dylan and we all enjoyed a cold beverage.  And so it was that a soprano's "Ah ! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir..." seamlessly married with Dylan's adenoidal "Someone's got it in for me..."

I couldn't help but laugh.  Always, at moments of such intersection, I hear our gruff benefactor, Captain Haddock, crying out from the wild sea:  "She's in fine voice tonight."

The little monks, still treating their stinging baby tonsures with gentle baths of Witch Hazel, were spared quoting from their comic books, as they were saved by the bells marking the beginning of the Great Silence*.  Brother Fratulence grinned at me and waved a copy of The Hulk.

Don't let this domestic scene of Marlinspike Hall at play on a Saturday night reassure you that all anger at senseless murderous rage has been set aside.  Don't be an idiot, babe.

Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they'd cut it out quick but when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can't help it if I'm lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can't remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts
Even you yesterday you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn't believe after all these years you didn't know even me better than that
Sweet lady.

Idiot wind blowing every time your move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads heading south
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I ran into the fortune-teller who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven't known peace and quit for so long I can't remember what it's like
There's a lone soldier on the cross smoke pouring out of a boxcar door
You didn't know it you didn't think it could be done in the final end he won the wars
After losing every battle.

I woke up on the roadside daydreaming about the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are making me see stars
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
One day you'll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes
Blood on your saddle.

Idiot wind blowing through the flowers on your tomb
Blowing through the curtains in your room
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn't enough to change my heart
Now everything's a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What's good is bad what's bad is good you'll find out when you reach the top
You're on the bottom.I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can't remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed your eyes don't look
Into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone faced while the
Building burned
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees while the
Springtime turned
Slowly into autumn.

Idiot wind blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
Idiot wind blowing every time you move you teeth
You're an idiot babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I can't feel you anymore, I can't even touch the books you've read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishing I was somebody else instead
Down the highway down the tracks down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars hounded by your memory
And all you raging glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I'm finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You'll never know the hurt I suffered not the pain I raise above
And I'll never know the same about you your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Idiot wind blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We're idiots babe
It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

***  *******  ***          ***  *******  ***          ***  *******  ***

* When I used to step aside from life and go vacation in a nearby monastery (long before we moved to Tête de Hergé) twice a year, I had enough hubris to replicate the monks' hours, and kept the silences, etc. Wikipedia has an excellent tripartite explanation of the benefits of such silence -- which is far, far different from, say, the notion of "keeping quiet." Listed under the entry "Vow of Silence," are these saving graces:

  • As an aid to the practice of good, for silence is kept with Man, in order to better to speak with God, because an unguarded tongue dissipates the soul, rendering the mind almost, if not quite, incapable of prayer. The mere abstaining from speech, without this purpose, would be the "idle silence" which St. Ambrose so strongly condemns.
  • As a preventative of evil. Seneca, quoted by Thomas à Kempis, complains that "As often as I have been amongst men, I have returned less a man" (Imitation, Book I, c. 20).
  • The practice of silence involves much self-denial and restraint, and is therefore a wholesome penance, and as such is needed by all

I bring this up, of course, because this is the type of post, the type of speech, that is so raucous that one needs to accept that old and dear invitation:  "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."  [Read:  "and shut up that noisy mouth and mind..."]

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