September 21, 2005

songbirds

It felt sort of like being at girlsí camp. It was dark. There were candles on the tables flickering in a way that reminded me of campfire, and a girl with a guitar singing over chitchat and laughter.

But we were in a West Village bar. Iíd come with Tanya to hear Josey Miller play, and when I leaned across the table to say it felt like camp, Tanya said, ďIntimate. I think because itís an intimate setting.Ē Maybe. But maybe it was more about something comfortable. Josey sang a few songs I knew (I particularly liked her Joni Mitchell cover) and a bunch I didnít, and the ones I didnít were just as appealing. My favorite songs are the ones that tell stories. I like wondering what really happened Ė what got ommitted and condensed to fit into a few lines that rhyme, and what my imagination does with those lines Ė what pictures it paints trying to fill in the holes. The bar was more chaotic than girlsí camp, but Josey was a voice to be reckoned with and I didnít much notice the noisy patrons or the Mets game playing in the corner.

Last week, I had the pleasure of catching Jaymayís CMJ show at the Living Room. She too was absolutely captivating, but in a completely different way. There was something so quirky and so foreign about her music, that as I listened, I couldnít help but think, ďWhat kind of person writes songs like this?Ē I have to assume that if her music is any reflection, sheís a bit of a handful. Her songs can be unsettling, evocative and sad. But simultaneously wry and funny. And very worth staying out too late on a school night.

Iím still waiting for Hillary Huffard to come out with a CD. A few months back, her cover of a Cake song surprised the hell out of me when I found myself blinking back tears. Another surprise was that she didnít have to fight to be heard in the small, noisy Saturday night bar. When she took the stage, she looked quiet and unassuming, but the moment she started singing, some quality in her voice Ė one I canít find words to name Ė silenced the crowd. Reverence, I suppose. More than once I had to reach for a cocktail napkin to wipe my eyes -- more than a little overwhelmed. You go to church for the kind of edification I felt like I got that night. Perhaps itís a good thing Hilarly doesnít have a CD; if she were readily available for my consumption, I might not know when to stop. Being moved, even toward melancholy, can be addictive.

It's no secret that I have a history of falling for musicians. There has been a drummer, a guitarist, a singer-songwriter. Actually, make that two drummers. And I think there may also be a high school band trumpet player in there somewhere. I canít really tell you what the attraction is. But after writing the above, itís pretty clear that I feel a very similar sort of pull toward talented female artists. Which makes me think my amor has everything to do with loving being touched and nothing to do with actual love. Not much of a revelation, I know. But it does help to remember, when Iím sitting in an audience, melting over some new dreamy wounded heart with a guitar, that itís just a show. I can love from the audience, or through my iPod earphones, and thatís where it stops.

I have decided that the next man I fall for will love calculus or golf or dead languages. And he will have some other way of moving me.

Posted by This Fish at September 21, 2005 11:56 PM
Comments

music definately hits an emotional chord, and I know of many others who suffer from your same affliction - with me, it's visual artists, and I see my m.o. as wanting to become as important to them as their art (which, in reality will never happen). ::sigh::

Posted by: tgov at September 22, 2005 12:47 AM

Well...I know a little calculus, play mini-golf and speak my own language with The Voices. Does that count? :)
Love your blog Heather. Hope yousa feeling better.

Posted by: Moi at September 22, 2005 01:51 AM

Typical. The nerdy calculus guy always gets the girl.

Posted by: Jack at September 22, 2005 02:35 AM

i totally picture you out one night, loving the touch that good music gives you, and a man seeing you there and realizing that you're different amongst all those others in the crowd, and finally mr. calculus and you shall meet. i just picture him seeing what we see through your writing as he watches you.

Posted by: RazDreams at September 22, 2005 04:48 AM

Yep, I'm a sucker for guys in the band. It's not as simply as loving the 'bad boy' either. Sure it started in 8th grade with New Kids on the Block...but that was teenage lust. It later went on to be more about the ability to connect with a massive audience. The purity or grittiness of a voice and if he closed his eyes when he sang. The way he wiped sweat from his brow after his drum solo. You know the drill.

As for the next guy? Beware of writers, too. Oh, and professional athletes. Trust me.

If your calculous-loving boyfriend happens to have a brother...pls send to Boston.

Posted by: The Duck at September 22, 2005 08:13 AM

I've discover that it's not always men that are the problem (no offense to any women). I have found that it is difficult as a woman to decide that you want something personal in your life that makes you feel good with another person. I think that in today's day and age, it is difficult for anyone to want to share there deepest secrets and desires. As humans we seem to all be extremely selfish in that way.

When you decide that you are ready for something great, it will find you. And they just might be a musician. It's not always the nerdy calculus guys who get the girl; they are just typically the ones who treat them best.

Posted by: Smilin.N.ny at September 22, 2005 08:52 AM

The interests you picked for this next man to have made me laugh out loud. One caveat, however: Halloween is coming, which is exactly how I ended up falling in love with an engineer!!

Posted by: PLD at September 22, 2005 09:13 AM

Or a man in uniform, who plays the guitar, and likes calculus, and speaks Greek... oh... and owns his very own chocolate factory!

Posted by: Heather Anne at September 22, 2005 09:34 AM

I always fall for the musicians. The trick is to find one that can do calculus but still play the guitar. I found one...they do actually exist.

Posted by: networkchic at September 22, 2005 09:35 AM

Is pig-latin a dead language? I guess it's a pig dead language. My point is this: I know calculus, I watch golf, and I eakspay igpay atinlay.

Of course, I'm also akentay and I'm not really an ookerlay.

You could do better.

Hello, Heather.

(Oh, and look, Heather Anne was here. Hello, Heather Anne.)

Posted by: scott at September 22, 2005 09:40 AM

OH! I'm sitting here, near tears. I know what it's like to be moved by the music. In the past year I've cried at two wedding Ava Maria's, Sting, The Violent Femmes, Willy Nelson, The Neville Brothers and La Traviatta. And my nerd gives me his hanky, which he only carries because he knows I'm going to cry, and holds my hand. I want you to have a guy with a hanky to hold your hand, you deserve it.

Posted by: elle at September 22, 2005 10:36 AM

I'm not sure you were aware, but I have a doctorate in Sanscrit and a two handicap.

Also? du=f'(x)dx=(2x-3)dx

Posted by: G at September 22, 2005 10:49 AM

Lovely post H,

I was never a musician girl, I was more of a men in uniform girl. The result was the same though...I loved, they didn't, I cried.

Then I met a wonderful, loving, goofball of a geek who has become my rock and my joy. I hope you find your own soon.

Until you do, be well Fish.

Posted by: christina at September 22, 2005 11:20 AM

I've tended to be in the Groucho Marx camp: I would never date or marry anyone who would actually want to go out with me... :) But I agree that the geekier ones are often the more interesting down the road. Better: the ones who can make you laugh!! :)

Posted by: lawyerchik1 at September 22, 2005 11:58 AM

Music is emotion, or at least a means of repeating emotions more or less at will. Hence the addictive nature of it. Good relationships are all about emotions too. What is a relationship other than a situtation where you feel safe enough to express private emotions? The very ones that the best songs are about. It's no wonder that women (and men for that matter) often feel such an attraction to musicians.

And don't think the guys in bands don't know this and exploit it. The ended up in my first rock band for very, er, auturistic reasons. The offer to join, verbatim: [C, looking up and seeing me]"...speaking of guitar players, X here needs to get laid, how would you like to be in a band?"

Posted by: Coelecanth at September 22, 2005 12:04 PM

you just watch out. the next guy you fall for will be a studly house mover.. and give you a ride on his hand-truck. you said he had to have another way of moving you.

i want you to remember this post when you are joy-riding down ramps with your new hunky beau.

Posted by: christel at September 22, 2005 03:46 PM

I married a bagpiper/singer. I don't know how it happened. I guess, it was his dreamy blue eyes.

Posted by: kassig at September 22, 2005 07:18 PM

I was trying to get a nice philosophy professor to take an interest in you, but he replied that he runs as fast as the wind. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Jennifer at September 22, 2005 09:54 PM

*calculates the area under the arc of a niblick to a spoon while chanting in Pali*

damn, three other guys beat me too it, plus they're probably closer...

Posted by: BadApple at September 22, 2005 10:36 PM

be careful what you wish for... weekends alone while he's adicted to golf is so not a good time, even if he is good with his latin.

Posted by: StephanieKlein at September 23, 2005 11:21 AM

I'm going to name my puppy, Calculus!

Posted by: Scarlet at September 23, 2005 11:45 AM

I could do calculus when I was in college, but I've long since forgotten it. I'll play put-put, but regular golf doesn't appeal to me. Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni! Unfortunately, I don't meet your gender qualification. That, and I also play the guitar and sing in a choir.

Posted by: Anna at September 23, 2005 12:57 PM

I met my husband at a concert of his.. Married him two months later. I too suffer from the sexy band guy syndrome. It's deadly. He's now on tour in Europe, and the girls go crazy for him.. Great post!

Posted by: Monica at September 23, 2005 02:48 PM

I MARRIED the nerdy calculus guy. He is a physicist. He also knows an almost dead language, Irish (Gaelic). He doesn't like golf...but 2 outta three ain't bad. I highly recommend a nerdy hubby. I also loved muscicians. 2 guitarists, a drummer and a singer songwriter...I play Irish and concert flute...so music is a sincere attraction.

Best wishes on your bicycle search...Ciao!

Posted by: Theresa at September 23, 2005 04:23 PM

If you accept setups from complete and total strangers 3000 miles away, I may have someone for you. He's smart, funny, and he can't carry a tune to save his life - but he saved me from complete humiliation by unlocking my car door (wherein my keys were unfortunately stored) with an umbrella spoke and a piece of string. The man is McGyver Incarnate.

Posted by: Moose at September 23, 2005 06:33 PM

MUSICIANS are so sexy. For me, it's all about the guitarists. But I'm not with you on the HS trumpet player. I prefer guys in "a band" not in "the band." ;)

Posted by: la.dauphine at September 25, 2005 10:46 AM

I was going to ask what you think would happen if you went to see some band and the members were all the ones you listed. Then I thought to myself...what kind of band has two drummers?

Posted by: Smitty at September 25, 2005 08:48 PM

I'm a sucker for the nerdy musicians... the engineer that is an amazing pianists, the computer geek that can carry a sweet tune while he strums his guitar... perhaps you can find someone who's the best of both worlds, I know that's what I hope to find.

Posted by: rg at September 28, 2005 11:34 AM

Yeah, I dated a couple of musicians, and they definitely were not good for my psyche. They can be so flakey.

Posted by: TCho at September 28, 2005 04:06 PM