Had a lovely evening having a total 80s flashback by listening to George Clinton and his Funkadelics on the river at Battery Park City. Beautiful night, meeting my new friend Nina's friends. Very nice. Also struck by how many couples there were like everywhere and feeling pretty lonely in that regard. Well, let me rephrase that: very lonely in that regard. It's been a year since B and I split and I've been really good about not getting involved with anyone during that time because I knew I needed the time.
Not sure if I should be anywhere near anyone even still and I am enjoying my friends and the freedom of singledom...but sometimes, well, I wonder...will I lose touch entirely with this side of me? I guess time will tell. It's not like anyone is in hot pursuit, believe me. I'm probably sending off death rays anyway. I don't think I even remember how to flirt. But then again I never really did flirt. Oh the whole thing is dire.
I think I'll stick with the book and my cat for now.
On another note, a wonderful musician named Lol Coxhill died this week. He played the wildest free jazz on his soprano sax you could ever imagine. I met him in London at my friend Sarah's 40th birthday party. I was feeling particularly blue - comparing and despairing, feeling like a failure, wondering why my work wasn't as successful as some other people's and why did I have to be such an experimental whack job etc., etc. when Lol began to play. The piercing yet gorgeous sounds he made hit some part of my soul, or was it simply my body or was it the ever-elusive body without organs Artaud was on about...no matter - away went the despair and in went these sounds. I was brought from despair to the sweetest kind of joy - the joy of recognition of some kind of music - not a melody, not something you can hum and indeed nothing you've ever even heard before but you know it. I was not alone.
I pretty much ran up to him after he played, and happily for me Sarah introduced us without telling me until after the fact that he was a legend. So I got to talk with him artist to artist without feeling like an ass. My favorite thing he said when we were talking about the relation of our work to the 'normal' (his to melody, mine to narrative drama) "I can play everything you know, all the traditional jazz stuff, but I don't want to." I laughed and said "Yes, I know. I'm the same way." I hoped from that conversation onward that we'd have a chance to play together someday.
He was even beginning to falter physically back then, I think it was 2005, but he would go anywhere to play with people he liked or solo. I had the great, good fortune of working with him on a piece of mine in 2008, a solo piece I was creating for a crazy show on a bus in Colchester as part of a project called Rules & Regs wherein artists are invited to created work in a month using given rules as parameters. Somehow I ended up making weird guttural sounds and wearing a Clint Eastwood mask after trying to levitate an old London red Routemaster bus...as you do. And for some reason, I thought, right: Lol. He'd be perfect for this, and he was and he got it. He kept asking me who I gigged with and if I had any records. I hadn't even performed anything in years and had never done anything remotely like this in my life, so was overwhelmed by his compliments. But that was Lol, always crazy generous, loving anyone or anything that took things to the edge, walked over the cliff, jumped and let the universe pick us up. During the intervals before and after performances he had a tendency to wander off and I would go find him. He was listening to his own music...sometimes voluntarily and by then not so voluntarily. But no matter what his state, his music was perfect and he, too, wore a Clint Eastwood mask and was delighted to be involved.
This is a man who was asked by Jimi Hendrix to play with him back in the day and right to the end showed up for the monthly London Improviser's Orchestra shows at Cafe Oto. He was a complicated guy and I don't know the ins and outs of his relationship with lots of people but to me he will always be a super-hero and I only hope he and my stepfather Tom hook up wherever they are to unite in mischief, joy and creative havoc wherever they are. Another wonderful soul I am grateful to have met and as Sarah says his existence was/is a wonder.
Here's a picture of Lol and one of me doing 'You're Dead' as part of Rules & Regs in Colchester 2008. Pics were taken by Seth Kriebel:
|me wanting to be Clint in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly - in UK|
|Lol Coxhill: jazz superhero (1932-2012)|