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secret windows (don't look back)

I found myself in a conversation with an old friend, about the crossroads of writing, nostalgia and memory. "Distance and perspective are the upside." I said. "The slippery slope is romanticizing and being nostalgic. Well, that's the memory trap no matter who you are."
"It's funny... I spent most of my life thinking that I had a rather dull adolescence, and it's only recently that I've discovered that these stories are a lot more interesting than I gave them credit." My friend replied. I admitted that I gravitate towards stories that are based on a mistake, a lie - thinking you had some great childhood, when actually it was a shitshow, and you fantasized about being adopted but sort of blocked that out.  


The question wobbled around inside my head for a few days. Was I too fast to judge nostalgia, to quick to brush aside its sweetness, stepping over it towards something invariably darker and sadder?  On Sunday, I was walking on Kutuzovsky,…

a borrowed name (the lucky ones)

When the call came so many years ago, I hid after playing that gold guitar in the living room until I got it right. My voice sounded foreign, outside of myself. Throat beyond the old windows banging in the afternoon sun. Names were considered - Son something, after Son House. I don't even remember the particulars except that Tom Waits mentions Martin Eden in Shiver Me Timbers -
          And I know Martin Eden's
          Gonna be proud of me

I saw this name in the credits of that short film and felt right about it. It wasn't me that sang about a child and regret, about love and a soul being saved. That was Martin Ruby, all him. 

Martin went on many adventures, howling at the moon, swinging low, yelling about how the cops stole your flowers. It was a suit I could pull on, look in the mirror and see someone else. And then I could take it off, and listen to the recording at the kitchen table and feel like I was hearing it for the first time. 

We all make fun of those musicians who go by a one word name, or a changed name, a borrowed name. It is all laughable if you look at it from the easy chair. But try to stand up and wear your heart on your sleeve, warbling like a lost chickadee and you will understand far better how these things happen. We all start from somewhere, an awkward, embarrassing nest we fall from, or fly above. It is a very messy business. 

Last summer I got a fresh call, a request to do a cover of a song. All of the proceeds from the project would go to a wonderful cause, the David Shedlrick Wildlife Trust. Helping to save an endangered species is a joyous act. So, I put on Martin's suit and let the muse take the wheel. There is a moment when the song disappears - children laughing and playing take over. There is a weeping harmonica. There were lyrics I wrapped my head around, from the genius of Palaxy Tracks, the band behind all of this. The toys came out of the closet, I tried to channel the dead and the living and the dust settled. 

And then, the idea of a music video was floated. I made one n the middle of the night, after the day's work was done, after the children were sleeping, their hands like angels. 





You can donate to download here: https://palaxytracks.com













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