PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Before It's Too Late

I’ve received word from my publicist that you’re wondering what my rock and roll experience was like way back in the 1990s. I’d rather not talk about it. 

OK, but just this once. The decade was progressing more or less like most decades, in fits and starts without a strong sense of how to distinguish itself from other decades in the history books, when my acerbic high school principal friend Bob reemerged into the US from Colombia, where he’d been teaching. Bedraggled and looking for work, he nevertheless came armed with word of the band Soul Coughing. I was made to pay heed – probably via a cd he had illegally smuggled through customs undeclared, that sneaky bastard! Which he then ripped so we could listen to it endlessly on our smartphones (which we had purchased on Amazon).

Anyway, I listened to the first album, Ruby Vroom, on my smartphone on and on and on in the early-mid 1990s, while driving and texting, and right around when the second album was coming out, the band played a fundraiser gig at the Middle East Club in Cambridge (that be in MA). The lineup, by order of appearance, was Dan Zanes (of Del Fuegos), the incredible Groovasaurus, now lost to history (but with videos on youtube!), Morphine Jr. (Morphine sans their injured drummer, whom the show was benefitting, but with the legendary Mark Sandman at the helm), and headlined by Soul Coughing, doing a short and spot-on set (with Doughty getting pissed at one or two choice mosh-pit bullies).

I saw Soul Coughing probably 4 or 5 times after that first show, and then they too were gone forever, living on only as a band-that-was, as front man Mike Doughty wanted nothing to do with the music or the bandmates.

Until this winter, when Doughty launched a tour in which he reprised Ruby Vroom, playing it beginning to end with the band Wheatus backing him up. To my great pleasure, he played the music with faithfulness to the original hip groove, even if his band (with little pepper on the drums!) didn’t quite manage to recreate the energy of those early years.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it, from some early iteration of the band, doing Moon Sammy. (As always, I don’t own these videos and can’t count on them sticking around forever, so watch them now).

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Much Stranger Than Fiction

I recently put an ad in the paper for someone to step up and produce one of those startlingly avant-garde, live theatrical experiences that no one can understand, about a mysterious, dark world that exists in some strange alternate reality, wherein the United States of America is still most powerful country on the globe but, alas, its duly elected leader is a complete and utter clown.

Yes, I know, sounds entirely far-fetched, as many an avant-garde producer of experimental theater has told me over cocktails in chic Manhattan eateries, but I always remind them that the world I’m asking them to create is not one that could ever actually exist on earth. The numbskull in charge of the US in this alternate reality is such a boob that, in the “real world,” he would never be elected even to some obscure county seat, like the Noxious Weed Council, let alone become president of the greatest country in the alternate world. Too infantile. Too crass.

Like, for example, he has examined all the available evidence and has concluded that the best course of action is to increase production of coal while lowering clean air and clean water standards. Because, to hell with cleanliness.

Personally, I’m all for rolling back clean standards of all sorts. I think much of the world is way too clean anyway, and the regulation continuum that supports this over-cleanliness is killing this country’s competitiveness.                                                                                    

OK, maybe this concept is a little too far-fetched for theater-goers to suspend their disbelief about, but it’s exactly the kind of asininity that alternate realities tend to spawn, and it’s this dark and brooding world I’m hoping someone out there is willing to spend a lot of time and money spinning into a completely weird, experimental, theatrical LSD trip that is so confounding that audience members run for the exits, frightened by what they see and demanding normalcy, even if it means the normalcy of the 1980s, when people like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were in office.

Now that’s strange.

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Liquid Art

Recent reports in several fake news media outlets have noted the uncanny similarities between you and me, and I totally get why that is. Our world views are both informed by an old-school brand of reach-across-the-aisle politics that’s in terribly short supply these days; as children, we both suffered immeasurably through chronic health issues that made sleep impossible until doctors took the radical approach of amputation, forcing us to go through life without benefit of tonsils; and we both are master beer brewers.

But that’s where our similarities end. Because while you have embraced the “craft beer” movement, I’ve taken the additional step of focusing my attention on the burgeoning world of Art Beer.

Look, I’m not here to complain. Sure, your “golden ale” is perhaps more khaki than gold, but that’s to be expected from the work of a craftsman. And anyway, no one is complaining about the nuances of color in your beer (except that columnist in Brewer’s Quarterly). Truth is, I’ve loudly praised your efforts and have myself called you “innovative” and “thought-provoking.”

But let’s not kid ourselves. A craft beer like your “Old Mr. Brown” is just a Saturday afternoon quaff without any hint of irony. Meanwhile, my “Stout Americain” has far too much character to be guzzled and belched out during a college football game, and provides the kind of social commentary about the relative size of the US waistline that doesn’t just entertain, but also teaches.

And isn’t that what art (beer) is supposed to do? I think so.

Is my art beer without controversy? No. But then again, if it were it probably wouldn’t be very interesting. That’s what I love about art beer: always pushing boundaries, always interacting with person doing the consuming, all while quietly and subtly getting people hammered.

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A Moving Scene

 

There is nothing I find more moving in the world than actually picking up and moving. Because when you move, all your stuff gets wrapped in puckered cloth and tied up with miles of plastic tape. And suddenly it’s a fascinating work of art. You come to see that these are not movers clomping through your home, but conceptual artists, and you finally understand Cristo and wonder, hmmm, maybe he started out as a mover.

One thing I’ve learned about moving: lots of stuff gets boxed and then forgotten, until the next move. How do I know this? As it turns out, I’ve moved before. And I will admit that I’ve stood by and watched things get boxed even though I knew full well that I would never take these things out of their dark tombs, until it would be time to move again and therefore time to open the dusty box that arrived all those years ago to see if there’s anything inside of interest. Or simply have it moved again without bothering to look inside.

I’ve seen how boxed items can sit on a shelf for years, decades even, which someone is paying for. Not as a line item per se, but paid-for by virtue of the space that your boxed junk is occupying in a corner of your attic. That space may feel free, but it’s really not. According to a dry-cleaner I went to a few times, “Nothing is free!” The dry cleaner posted this sign because apparently someone had asked her to sew a button on a blouse, but didn’t expect to pay for it.

Well, before you know it, you’re dead and your kids have to hire a guy to come and dispose of all those precious 1940s commonplace wall sconces you were unwilling to part with so they can sell your old cranky house. And after opening boxes and looking at all the rubbish therein, everyone has a good laugh, even the junk removal dude. And then they start to weep bitterly because it turns out that you really were a pretty good guy.

There’s a bad novel in there somewhere.

 

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Art
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Trumpian Tweetage Haiku Continuum

 

 

It's unlimited
Presidential harrassment
Dems are going nuts!

 

Isn't it nice when
Countries help rebuild neighbors?
Thanks to Saudi A!

 

NBC FAKE NEWS
The Harvey Weinstein Story
Look at their license?

 

Investigations
Republican Congressmen
Two wins now in doubt.

 

Dems love Sessions now
Same thing: lyin' James Comey
Saint-like. Really sick.

 

Russia: "nothing to
do with meddling." Why isn't
Hillary looked at?

 

The Special Counsel
Is UNCONSTITUTIONAL
I’ve done nothing wrong

 

 

The phony witch hunt

The soon to be released book
Looks like a big hit

 

Fake News Media

Together with the witch hunt:

My best poll numbers

 

“Caravans” coming

Must go nuclear option.

NO MORE DACA DEAL!

 

We don’t have a wall

Not going to have a country

FUND THE BORDER WALL

 

Trade Wars are good and

Easy to win. They get cute?

Don't trade; we win big!

 

Gun-adept coaches

Weapons-talented teachers

Instantly Shooting

 

Promote the Fake Book

Mentally Deranged Author

False Information

 

Now that collusion

With Russia: a total hoax

FBI/Russia

 

Kim Jong Un, I too

Have a nuclear button.

And my button works.

 

 

Tax cut/Reform bill

Massive Alaska Drilling

Incredible Year

 

 

United Nations

Sanctions on North Korea

World wants Peace, not Death

 

 

False Accusations.

Women I don't know. FAKE NEWS!

Collusion. Russia.

 

Army Navy Game

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY

Congratulations

 

Pelosi/Schumer

He's bad on Crime, Life, Border.

Vets. Guns. VOTE ROY MOORE!

 

 

Time Magazine Called

Prob'ly "Person of the Year"

I took a pass. Thanks!

 

The Christmas Story

Mother, Father, Baby Son

Jesus Christ. Bahrain.

 

Matt Lauer just fired

When will top executives

Be fired for Fake News? 

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