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Passions of Caleists.

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1 Passions of Caleists. on Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:54 pm

Recent Paris 1919 gigs at Cardiff and London: MIddle front row seats: And – What do I get out of a John Cale gig? Simple answer: it’s a way of life. Because . . . as soon as I’ve got my concert ticket, which is usually months before the gig, I breathe a little easier. You know what I mean, I can just relax for a day or two. Take it easy. But not for too long. And never ‘cool’. ‘Cool’ is dead. Dead friends are ‘cool’. After a day or two the hotel is booked and train tickets are sorted. On the third day I print out the lyrics of the album, and play it endlessly until all the songs are well embedded in the head; meshed in the mush, so to speak. I learn the lyrics and how to play each song on the piano. Out in the fields I sing. Around the house I sing. But usually in the fields. I live in the middle of nowhere.

Back at the computer there’s a buzz among Caleists and with each passing week it builds to a near frenzy. I forget about Paris 1919 and start singing Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, and in my best Dylan Thomas voice, start reciting it: to the dogs. And whilst on the subject of that song – it’s a difficult one to sing and play on the piano at the same time. Awkward co-ordination. Does anyone else here play piano? Fur Elise? Chopsticks? It’s mind-boggling watching Cale perform it. And I don’t mean Chopsticks. Saw him do a Fragments version on a grand piano in London in 2001: and he did it so easily. Of course he does. Practice makes perfect. Though, with me it’s more of a, ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better’. He is master and me a mere dog.

Days pass and I become more edgy – getting back to my usual jangly self: how I loathe the springtime (don’t ask – migraines), and my Rockpalast, Essen, 14/10/84 video gets some lengthy plays. And while the dogs are under the table with their ears spread across the floor and their sad eyes looking up at me, I’m coffee beans-ing it up with, “Augustus Pinochet, take coffee with me. Augustus, will you drink my coffee? I Claudius: you Augustus” . . . and I realise that it’s now only days until that Cale gig.

I get nervous. Basket case. Hysterical. Skittish. Wired. You know? But I am not a complete nutcase, I am a Caleist. And Caleists are passionate people. They can’t hide their feelings. Especially when the day of the gig has arrived.

(Panting now – pausing and posting)

Zig cheers

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2 Re: Passions of Caleists. on Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:22 pm

You took me by surprise, Zig. I always thought that coolness was one of the essential requirements for a Caleist, just because that was the impression I got from the Maestro himself. He seems more a rock than to rock on stage. Now you say Caleists are passionate folks? Oh, good. Then I no longer have to hide my jumbled emotions.

Let's see if I can put them into words in a later post.

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3 Re: Passions of Caleists. on Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:51 pm

Isabel, you’re probably right when you speak of coolness as being one of the essential requirements of a Caleist. I tend to blurt things out without thinking. And I’m forever contradicting myself. When I used the word ‘cool’ I was speaking for myself. I can't be cool. Well, I never consider myself as cool. I’m too excited. But maybe that’s cool. What is cool? Another one is 'chill' – I can't chill either. What’s wrong with me. I start laughing. I crack up. It all seems so pretentious – for me, anyway. I’m old and grumpy, eh. Booo. Music is the main thing. Cale’s music. But, I’ve met you twice. And Cardiff Coal Exchange was brilliant! And didn’t we laugh! Remember me joking about John, “Not as tall as I thought he’d be.” Great fun.

Okay, well I guess that with my indistinct notion of cool – I’m cool.

Zig cyclops

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4 Re: Passions of Caleists. on Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:56 pm

Hi! From what I’ve seen of the Caleists I’ve come across at concerts, their coolness has been replaced by furtiveness because of the microphones they carry as tapers. Cool?

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