The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Anthony Bourdain

I had a dream on Saturday night, yes I did, but first, a little background.  When I am not writing for this blog, which, let’s face it, is most of the time, I am either working diligently in a sideways sort of fashion at the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily bread or I am going to bars and photographing the musicians playing at those bars.  Saturday was an exceptionally productive night; people were out and about, some of them were drinking heavily, and in the presence of a 1980’s cover band, a good many of them started dancing like there was no tomorrow. I am very partial to this sort of photograph. The trouble with photographing musicians in bars is that there is nothing inherently dramatic about what musicians do up on the stage. It is very much like trying to capture effect without also capturing the cause of the effect. After all, the person looking at the photograph of the musician after the fact cannot hear the music.  So what I do to compensate for this is that I try to capture the looks on the musicians’ faces as they play in order to convey the emotional intensity of people doing something they love. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t—some musicians are extravagant with their expressions, while others just look down at their instruments trying to make sure that they don’t drop notes or play in the wrong key; it is pretty hit or miss, as is almost anything so dependent on a person’s personality— but what does work on a pretty consistent basis are photographs of people dancing. Dancing means the music is hot and people are having a good time, and who doesn’t like seeing people have a good time? I know I do and I suspect you do as well. Anhedonia, like Marxism, cheese and squirrel sandwiches, and the designated hitter rule have no place in any civilized society. 

As I said, it was a productive night photographically and I got home much at a much later hour than a man my age should be getting home at. I was still wound up; watching other people have fun takes a lot out of a person, you know; and so I watched the news for an hour, which, at that time, was all about Anthony Bourdain dying in France. I finally got to bed at about five and promptly skipped all the preliminary stages of sleep and went directly to deep sleep and stayed there for a while, enjoying the ambiance of the place and the free pistachios with an equally free wine cooler, compliments of the house. Several hours later, I was sitting in my spot at the end of the bar in my favorite watering hole, drinking a Diet Coke and doing what everyone does in such a social setting: I was looking at something on my cellphone. Consequently, I paid no attention to who was coming and going; it’s a bar, after all—someone is always coming and going. A customer came in and sat at the corner and asked Corinne, the pride of Melbin, South Australia, an actual place or so Corinne tells me, for a Corona and a lemon. I looked up to ask Corinne for the bill and stopped. Anthony Bourdain was sitting at the corner of the bar looking at Corinne as she pulled the Corona out of the fridge. As I am never at a loss for words in any social situation I said, “You’re dead! What are you doing here?”  Bourdain twisted the top off of the Corona and looked at me. “Yeah, I know,” he said. “Bad decision there. What’s your excuse?”

And then I woke up.  That was three days ago and I am still wondering what my excuse is. I must have one, right?

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