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“My Evening at Work, 07/01/2018”

I am currently employed at two restaurants as a BOH “tank,” one of which restaurants is a bar and grille near the ISU campus. Today is a Monday as I am writing this, so the evening I’m discussing is the one that just happened last night, a Sunday night (I worked five to 10).
When it came time for me to put music on I went with The Very Best of Cream, 1995, Polydor, on LG/Bluetooth. I think “Wrapping Paper” came on and then that video stalled after it was over, so I had to switch to another one. I found one with fewer videos, filled with a considerable anger and ire, pushed play and heard “N.S.U.,” which is a tense little pop song about never being satisfied on which, in the second half, Eric Clapton rips into a veritable can-of-whoopa** guitar solo, leaving any and sundry completely astonished. Then, I believe, comes “Spoonful,” which is an old blues standard by I believe Howlin’ Wolf (I’m electing not to look this information up because it’s kind of beside the point of this particular post). Jack Bruce, vocalist in Cream, pronounces the following: “Could fill spoons full of diamonds / Could fill spoons full of gold / Just a little spoon of your precious love / Would satisfy my soul”. So even aside from the irony that the primary bulk of blues rock available currently to us has come from Britain [1], at least the bulk of the GOOD blues rock, with blues being a genre borne on the Mississippi Delta, we have the kind of refreshing spectacle of a black musician really coming to terms with his own desire, his own heart, framing things in respect to what is basically a white man’s world, but dwarfing its bastions by way of his own rhapsodic muse.
Cream, like a couple other British bands like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, bring over black lyrics for their own covers which can come across as awkward being as they are articulated by a White, but they must have known what they were doing, overall, or that they’d be forgiven. Either that, or they just didn’t care that they sounded ridiculous owning this black lyrics as if they were their own… that’s a distinct possibility too. I’m not really sure at this time.
In general, like usual, I forgot how good Cream is, gems emerging like “Strange Brew” and “Deserted Cities of the Heart” wielding the authority of Beatles with, like allude to earlier, a veritable back woods wolverine on lead guitar, laying complete waste to your senses and your erstwhile conception of music itself. Also I forgot how completely sketchy “Tales of Brave Ulysses” is, for Christ’s sake. Somehow, anyway, in this song that is a Cream original and not a blues cover, they utilize the blues scale toward creative phrasings and structures (not the typical 12-bar format which traditionally earmarks the genre) and somehow interweave the story of The Odyssey with this other set of imagery entirely “And you see your girl’s brown body / Dancing through the turquoise / And her footprints make you follow / Where the sky loves the sea” [2]. By the time, then, that the other segment rolls around, with the lyrics sung in a lower, softer tone and sans percussion “And the tiny purple fishes / Run laughing through your fingers / And you want to take her with you / To the high land of the winter” (the “through” kinda sounds like “true,” too), it’s clear that this psychedelic trip, both in the substance abuse and in life itself, that the band has experienced, has just really been one he** of a ride to the point where they know that to even attempt to logically explain it would be an exercise in futility.
“Badge” used to always be my favorite number on the album and indeed it does have a great guitar sound. After Cream I put on The Doors’ self-titled debut.
I’m hoping when I get off work that I can go to the bar and glug-glug that pitcher of leftover rasberry porter with my burger and fries but I go there to find 10 people all huddled around the bar and the pitcher gone, presumably consumed by another party. Immediately one girl I work with, whom I’d previously met in a bar, comes up and asks me about the burger I’m attempting to eat. Over there is another girl who talks to me all the time, beautiful, with big dark, smiling eyes and a nice bust, dressed well. Next to me, then, sits this girl who looks about 18 years old and 85 pounds, with red dreadlocks big nose and fragile jaw line and perfect legs which come to a confluence at a petite and sassy posterior. I somehow manage to eat my dinner and drink by Urban Chestnut wheat (which is as impeccable as their Fantasyland IPA, mind you) and get out of there without someone stabbing me in the back of the neck, I’m walking home and it’s 87 degrees plus humidity at 9:15 p.m. (I got off early b/c of a meeting) and this cop with no facial hair in this little golf cart thing rounds the corner driving on the sidewalk right at me, glaring at me with a face of zero affection whatsoever. I find the instance hard to believe at mutter “fu**in’ a**hole” at him under my breath, a phrase I’m pretty sure he actually heard, while he walked into some university building, still glaring at me as if I’d done something to HIM, specifically, and not just the community. I get home and polish off the seven 16-oz. Busch Lights in my fridge and eventually get to sleep, remembering to set my alarm for 10 am so I can go to my anger management class which has been assigned to me because I got in a fight with a cop in February, 2017.
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[1] As I know I state often on this blog, Jimi Hendrix in his auto bio Starting at Zero states that “I thought I could play louder over (in England), I could really get myself together over there. There wouldn’t be so many hang-ups as there were in America, you know, mental hang-ups and things like that.” Elsewhere he tells of how blues boys were basically treated like sh** in the American South mid-century, which I guess might be concordant with how black people in general were treated down there (I didn’t mean for this to turn into a Union rant… I apologize).
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[2] Sorry to veer things over to Hendrix again (maybe it’s just divine providence), but what this reminds me of is his song “Angel”: “And she told me a story yesterday / About the sweet love between the moon and the deep blue sea”.

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