PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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The New Normal

Now that the damnable pandemic "is over" (I actually found myself uttering that phrase recently), I can finally take in a good old-fashioned rock show again. And I deserve it, having had 18 months of my precious early-mid-life stolen from me by the evil virus. 

Prior to the unwelcome arrival of the bug in spring 2020, I was in possession of three sets of concerts tickets, including the horn-driven afrobeat New Yorkers Antibalas, and that Australian bad seed himself, Nick Cave.

And also Pussy Riot! Having by that point in late winter spent many an hour pedaling my bicycle while wearing an un-mandated mask not unlike the variety of balaclava used by those rocking Muscovites, I could not imagine myself donning one on a sweaty rock club stage, as the anti-Putin collective did nightly whilst hollering undecipherable epithets into microphones. 

These days wearing a face covering indoors in sweaty nightclubs is pretty much required. Look, if that's what's required, I'm in. 

Tickets started going on sale in late spring,and I snapped them up for Thee Oh Sees and The Mountain Goats, even though it seemed entirely unlikely that these shows would ever happen, given the rise of the malevolent delta variant of COVID-19. The tickets represented hopes and dreams rather than actual plans.

But those awesome concerts really did happen, as did a recent show by the Garden State punk outfit Titus Andronicus at the Sinclair in Cambridge, the best venue in the history of small rock show venues. Playing their second album in its entirety, Patrick Stickles and his bandmates brought back the energy that had been missing from my very late nights for a year and a half.

Titus Andronicus at the Sinclair Club

Unlike Pussy Riot, Titus band members didn't bother wearing balaclavas or any other face coverings while bellowing into mics, but for obvious reasons indoor mask mandates don't extend to touring punk bands while they are on stage.

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Rock Show

You kids don’t know about rock shows because you were too little when rock shows were suddenly made illegal, but now they are legal again, and I have an actual ticket to one of these.

OK, not a ticket per se; I have an entry pass via an app on my phone. So cool! I almost opted for a physical ticket, mailed to me via the pony express, but I worried that the ponies wouldn’t be vaccinated and would be snorting away without masks on, spewing pony nose dew all over my precious physical ticket. Then, who knows, we all get the horse variant, and then China doesn’t allow us into their country because they start calling it the “American Horse Virus,” which causes liberal Chinese to decry the racist language against American Horses.

It could happen.

Anyway, I’m sure you remember what a rock show looks like, if you were of age before they became illegal. The sound. The lights. The beer. All of us screaming until we’re hoarse.

Maybe it is called the “American Hoarse Virus.” But that’s no better.

The best news in all of this is that the Sinclair survived. And so did The Osees!

 

 

 

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Noisy

You’d think that in this era of fan-free sporting events, I’d finally be able to hear the game announcers consistently.

In pre-COVID days, when fans could cram into arenas and drink beer until they couldn’t participate in a standing ovation, there were times when the ambient noise from the rowdy hometown partisans was more than able sound technicians could eliminate, such that hearing the play-by-play and color commentary was confounding for people who had listened to too much loud music as young drummers (not me). But it didn’t happen often, and when it did it was with actual full houses.

These crazy days stadiums and arenas are sparsely populated with fans, if populated at all. So to give the impression of impassioned fans possibly unable to stand for an ovation due to beer drinking, tipsy crowd noise is piped in, and I can’t hear the announcers again.

I’d ask if it’s just me and my bad hearing or if everyone is experiencing this annoying trend, but to be honest I’m afraid of the answer.

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Clap Trap

Of the thousands of things that this godforsaken coronavirus headache has made me appreciate about those days, not so long ago, when I could walk down the street, breathe the air in deeply, and exhale it upon just about whomever I pleased, none seem quite so unlikely to return any time soon as the live rock show.

Dammit, I had tickets to Pussy Riot! And Antibalas, if you must know. And, on just about every-other Friday night at the Lizard Lounge, Club D’elf.

Cut to this current moment in time: it is late May of 2020 and my best rock show opportunities are happening via YouTube. And that’s not going change any time soon. You can’t even go to church right now, let alone a rock concert. As God has lobbyists aplenty, I’m pretty sure churches will get the green light to change water to wine in front of a live audience well before a bunch of aged punks like X will be allowed to play the song White Girl while people scream and applaud wildly.

The fake news media is bound to claim that wild applause is not only a symptom of Covid-19, but is also a means of spreading the virus, alleging that when people smack their palms together, as they do when they see a good rock show, the dried-on virus particulates that are hidden in the creases of their palms are dispersed like sound waves into the atmosphere, where the virus particulates then deploy wings and make a bee line for random strangers’ nostrils and open mouths.

Don’t believe the hype. The germs known to be dispersed by enthusiastic applause are thought to prefer clogging up pores rather than sinus cavities, which is considered not a very effective means of infecting the host. Ergo, fear not wild applause.

Once my message gets out I suspect a goodly number of people will applaud my efforts to get rock going again. But please don’t applaud too loudly. I don’t want my pores getting any more clogged up than the already are.

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J'Biden Era Haikuage

 

People's Arms. That's right!

200 million shots

In 100 days

 

We are good people

But we still have far to go

Repair. Restore. Heal.

 

There's nothing new here

The Affordable Care Act

We're restoring it 

 

America's Day

Democracy is fragile

The world is watching 

 

Strategy is based

On Science, not politics

Truth, not denial

 

 

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