Wednesday, July 11, 2012



Yesterday was the first day in a very long time that I didn't wish I was dead the moment I woke up, because it was a day better than Rex Manning Day. I finally got to meet one of my favorite people last night. Despite my income being incredibly low, I told myself I can't afford to miss this one. Again. Last time I had this chance, I was in Seattle. In order to have made seeing him possible, I would've had to live in my car for a month. I could have taken the hippies in the vegan cafe up on their flier requesting cooks which also included training and free room and board, which I often think about. Where would I be now had I done that? Would I be happy? Would my life be stable? There's no way that cafe still exists. Would things be wildly different? I don't know, I tell myself I can't ask those questions because it's not what I did because their cake was the worst cake I've ever tasted. Cake needs eggs and milk. They make it less brick-like and more delicious. That's why I'm not a vegan, I can taste things. So I wouldn't have made it as a vegan baker, even if I'm going to try making seitan pizza with my new found pizza dough ability. Yes, I've kept up on that resolution but I still have to perfect the cheesesteak pizza. The dough is perfect, the cheesesteak, not so much.

I've got an incredibly goofy smile in this photo. Like "I don't know where that came from" kind of smile. I spent my leadup in line going over in my head what I was going to say to this man who is more important to me than most. The dude behind me asked his friend "You going over what you're going to say?" and I thought to myself "You're going to make me fuck up!". Ultimately, I asked for the photo, an autograph and asked about what Joe Strummer would have made out of all this. Billy Bragg had an intro between songs about how music can't change the world and I wanted to know what Joe would have thought about that. After asking, I think I had a seizure, shit got spacey and I don't remember a word he said, I just remember my legs turning to jelly and next thing I'm in the parking lot texting my brother about how I asked Billy Bragg about Joe Strummer, which I'm sure made Ryan think I'm going crazy again.

Ultimately, the show was pretty great. The first set was Woody Guthrie songs because Woody would be 100 on Sunday, second set was Billy Bragg songs, but he didn't play Help Save the Youth of America, which was disappointing, but I knew there'd be perennial favorites he wouldn't play. I liked his speech about Socialism and how that word coming from him to Americans has about a different a meaning as the word football has between us. His new song about not buying tabloids journals because those guys are asshole made me happy. I like the way the English say asshole. Between sets, a man came on the stage to tell me specifically that I couldn't go to this theater on October 9th out of respect for the dead to me, despite that being a luxury that won't ever be afforded to me. I was pissed when I found out that he sang songs on the steps of the capital building because I knew that's the kind of thing he'd do, but I was preoccupied with finding food at the time so I didn't go there.

Probably my favorite story from the night was how he was originally invited to some sort of festival in Canada celebrating Woody Guthrie, which he decided to attend despite not knowing much about Woody at all. Pete Seager was there, Arlo Guthrie and several other folk singers that don't include Bob Dylan. They got to the finale, This Land is Your Land and they traded verses. It was Billy's turn and he had to blow his cover and let them know he didn't know this song because, being from England, this land wasn't his land, nor was it their land, it's America's land and it's made for them. In England, they don't know who Woody is except that his guitar said "This machine kills fascists." TL;DR Billy Bragg was worth the stress of blowing my entertainment budget for the month and I'm happy I finally got to meet him and I hope he doesn't think I'm a git for asking him about Joe Strummer and telling him that I'm glad that he exists.

said Tommy T. at 11:09 AM - #

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