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August 27, 2010

To Witness
Friday. Up this morning at eight after a pretty long night's sleep, having skipped out on driving east to hear and photograph the band last night. Odd night, the head finally turning around mid-evening, a run then to the supermarket for a pint of (Strawberry) ice cream and sandwich makings. I was really hungry, but still couldn't think of anything I'd be willing to eat. Even under the gun. Still, ice cream always works, seems to work, here in Oakland.

Let's see, up at eight, a nice hot bath, an hour's nap (no, I have no idea why I needed a nap either, but sleep I did), a walk to the morning café for a waffle with a sliced banana on top breakfast over the papers, thinking the walk would do me good and the coffee might do me even better. Nothing in the way of pictures, although I like the one I got up top, a snapshot of the usual subjects heading back. An odd start to a morning, one would think. One of my mornings anyway.

To Albany and a teeth cleaning, a stop by the car wash on the way back (for a car cleaning) and here now at the apartment an hour or so before heading downtown for the APL get together and a dinner later with some of the group. Good. Again, many things coming up this weekend to photograph, to get me out around and about, so I'll lay off the alcohol as best I can. I have no idea if it's been part of these recent problems, particularly since I've kept it to my two glasses of wine limit, but there's no guarantee it hasn't. We are adrift here, best to just relax and go with the current.

I've been listening to some of the Eric Clapton Crossroads albums, the DVD videos, actually. These are a series of concerts given to support Clapton's alcohol rehabilitation center in Antigua, these three DVD's the 1997, 2004 and 2007 concerts, the last one, the 2010, will be issued on DVD later this year. OK, I've always liked Clapton and all the English white boy blues stuff, like his guitar, like his tunes, don't necessarily go around starry eyed singing his praises as not everything he's done strikes a chord of understanding.

Still, after seeing the the 2010 Crossroads movie in the theater last month, after having started learning the guitar myself (on an Eric Clapton model Fender Stratocaster, of course), I've been listening (again) to some of the music that dominated my head during the late nineteen-sixties and early seventies, something I complain not having done much since. Crossroads, of course, is blues. English white boy blues, yes, but also some of the old and younger African American practitioners are featured, the inventors of the craft, from B.B. King to Robert Randolph and a whole lot of wicked folks in between.

I hadn't heard anything by Robert Randolph, Derek Trucks or Johnny Lang before seeing the movie, not to mention half a dozen others. I bought CD's by Trucks and Lang to hear more of what they're about, most of it OK, some of it very very good. We're talking about my particular tastes here. I have, for example, the Robert Johnson album (I don't think there's more than the one from that famous recording session done in a hotel room). I'm not sure if you listen to rock, blues or country you'd be unfamiliar with Robert Johnson and his deal with the Mr. Scratch at the Crossroads. And yes, I've got recordings by B.B. King, Muddy Waters and about twenty others, but compared to the stack of English guitar hero albums, they haven't had all that much of an impact.

But I've been listening. It's nice having them on DVD to watch them play, watch the fingering, watch the interplay on the stage. Will this last but another week? I have no idea, but I'd forgotten what it's like to crank the sound up (in the car, not the apartment) and really hear the notes as they're played. You see some young guy bopping down the street in his tricked out short playing high volume hip hop, the bass notes wagging the end of the car and now, for what may be a brief time, here comes an old fart playing old fart guitar at volumes to raise the dead, keeping (one hope's) his eyes on the road as the windshield glass is cracking and people are shaking their heads.

You're not doing any of that.

Wearing a white Panama hat pulled down low over the eyes is about as radical as I care to get, about as radical as I've every been able to get. I'll crank the sound up in the Element, it came with a nice sound system designed (they said) for a younger set, and let it all hang out, but on the highway with naught but the wind and the wheels there to witness.

The photograph was taken walking past the Grand Lake Theater today around noon with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 24 - 70mm f 2.8 Nikkor G lens.