The Sound of One Hand Laughing, Dec 07 | The Sound of One Hand Laughing


Music is the sound of silence trying to get out of its own way. A musician channels that lava flow, straddling it like a strap-on paisley tie on a church mouse’s equilibrium. Music, you see, is either no joke, or the sound of one hand laughing in a treeless forest—regardless of whose labryinth you find yourself in, or lust after. When is the last time a cryptogram upped the ante on your uncle’s underwrought overbyte?

Oblique non sequiturs aside, music, in autre mots, is a baby’s smile, a puppy’s whimper, a mother’s sigh, or a broken heart riding bareback down a many-splintered banister at the speed of light on a sinking ship in the middle of a black knight. If music had wings, Peter Pan would never have let Mary Martin don his leotards—not that there’s anything wrong with it. Let’s face it, no self-respecting muse would be caught dead wearing a pink-velvet tux in a plexiglass casket. I think it was Plato who said let he who is without sin toss the first boomerang. Or maybe it was Nicole Kidman.

Tattoos, you ask?

Of course, they are symphonic in nature. Cutting edge, they have hopefulness prickled into every slice of their merchant-sailored needlepoint. Plus, they give a certain legitimacy to the notion of free market as the World Bank of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, a place where subprime lending is never a discouraging word, and all roads lead to amber fields of grain where the deer and the antelope roam.

Don’t forget, Generation Xers have Watergate, a major recession and HIV/ AIDS as their highwater markers, Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols as their musical backdrop, and boomer/hippie/yuppies across the universe waxing ad nauseum about the Woodstock market with its 60s’ mantra “all you need is love” protruding like a red carnation from the barrel of a National Guardman’s rifle at Kent State.

That said, Thanksgiving has just passed and the Decemberist holidays are upon us. We have a lot to be thankful for, right? Right? Without boaring you with an actual litany lion, let’s just say, oil prices like gas prices like global temperatures like the cost of nation destroying, democracy spreading, Middle East refurbishing, and clash of civilizations’ spending are proving that the sky is indeed no limit when it comes to the actual repercussions of puffy chests and idea-illogical largesse. If that sounds like a barbed swipe, or kicking a failed foreign policy when it’s down, please understand, I’m no karma-karma-karma-karma-karma chameleon Johnny-come-lately to this POV.

There is no joy in this psyche’s Mudville for having preemptively predicted this collossus of an Iraq fiasco. Then again, I’m proud for banding together with a smattering of kindred People for Peace souls armed with placards out on our town square every Sunday for six months in the leadup to the invasion of Iraq, as well as trekking to the nation’s capitol in October 2002 via Greyhound, overnight and back, to march with 200,000 folks, in hopes of slowing down the mad rush towards the inevitable.

We’d ask the trillion-dollar question to anyone who would listen—what does Iraq have to do with 9/11?—-ducking the occasional bottle tossed at us from drive-bys of pro-war enthusiasts eager to kick some Arab butt for what “them people” did to us on 9/11. Never mind that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. Remember the first few years of the siege, when all that the Prez, Rummy, Cheney, or Condi had to do to silence critics of their ill-conceived, ill-managed crusade of choice was simply castigate the media for not accentuating the positive? Don’t forget, at the onset of the onslaught, 70 percent of the U.S. population were behind the self-proclaimed war president. Now 70 percent aren’t.

But hey, let’s not get lost in the past, for Kwanzaa’s sake, however instructive the past may be. Though the horizon is a fleeting thing whose hue should never be taken for granite, let’s not forget, a new year lies just around the corner, Allah willing.

It has been almost six years since The Source has allowed me to toss wet noodle metaphors against the wall to see if they stick. As always, dear reader, thank you for giving my piece a chance. I hope your patience hasn’t worn too thin too often when I wander too far afield, but then, it was Napoleon Bonaparte who said, “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

“Holy Moses,” you’re probably thinking, “what kind of person would quote Napoleon this time of year?” Well, here’s my Hallmark Campbell’s Soup soapbox derby prayer for the season, my hope, my conviction, my one-and-a-half cents’ worth:

I wish you, and yours, overflowing joy, success, and connection today and throughout the coming year. May your work be fulfilling, your dreams realized, your heart nourished and at ease, your body nurtured, whole, and healthy, your mind challenged, elevated, and at peace, your hands busy, fulfilled, and comforting, your friends and family dear, close, and vital.
Humanity faces unprecedented obstacles, certainly, but beautiful children continue to arrive on the scene every day. What a glorious challenge it is doing what we can to make their world a better place. Never let the dark clouds get you down. Remember, the sun never sets. It’s just the world spinning its wheels.

So have yourself a merry little seasonal celebration of your choice. The scary and cool thing about community is, it is what it is. It doesn’t depend upon what is is, it depends on who you are and how you deal with others. It was St. Francis of Assisi who said it is in giving we receive. I don’t know about you, but that is certainly music to my ears.

And Speaking of Music…

If you’re looking for some killer tracks to check out, or lay on peeps, here are a few of my prime ribs:

Amy Winehouse, the troubled English chanteuse, is the cat’s meow’s meow. I hope she whips her addiction demons because she is a rarified musical soul with a voice that is pantheonic. Her YouTube spots are definitely over the rainbow.

Did you happen to catch the live performance by Rihanna at the recent American Music Awards? Poured like honey into a stunning evening gown, accompanied by a large orchestra, she sang a duet with Ne-Yo, a smoldering rendition of her chart-topping single “Hate That I Love You.” Suffice to say the covergirl sings as well as she walks.

For something a little different, check out Rosé, the 2007 release of techno-infused Montreal, Quebec-based musical collective Bran Van 3000, founded by DJ James di Salvio.

Bonus head’s up: Just watched Copying Beethoven on DVD, released in 2006, starring Ed Harris and Diane Kruger. The fictionalized account of a nearly deaf Beethoven, struggling to complete his 9th Symphony with the aid of a surprise female convent copyist who unlocks the turbulent maestro’s private world, is a symphony in its own write. As moving and engaging a love story as I’ve seen in many a moon.