Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

Index Zazaura: 39th Birthday Edition, posted June 3, 2008 at 11:59 PM

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Oh what a terrific birthday! If this is being 39, I like it a lot. Patsy wins for being the first to say (and to sing!) happy birthday to me--at 3am this morning! And I had great shout-outs from Mom and Dad, Stephanie, Alex, Aunt Joyce, Mr. Santos, my wonderful staff, Sexy MF, Paula, Laura, Carter, Penny & Pete, and Thomas and other various random callers and well-wishers too numerous to mention. The only twinge of sadness was that it was the last of my many birthdays celebrated at Florent, which this time next year will just be memories. But a wonderful time there tonight we did indeed have.

Oh, and by the way, the Democratic party wrapped up an historic campaign by giving enough delegates to nominate Barack Obama for the Presidency! A wonderful birthday present for me--and better, I am sure, for Obama himself. What a wonderful night for America! What progress for the Democratic party! The polls against McCain are good, and McCain himself is such a whimpering little mess that I almost feel bad for him. Don't worry, I don't. It's just that seeing his sad little speech to a sad little group of supporters tonight compared with the intellectual, rhetorical, and common sense intelligence of Obama seems like making for an unfair match. Then again, Obama is black, so the cards are certainly stacked against him. But don't believe the media spin about how working-class whites won't vote for him. It's only Appalachia where that's true--and if you scratch that surface you find raw racist wounds just below the skin. But regardless, I have faith. I think he'll actually make inroads there. And anyway, he's currently ahead in national polls, and also, more importantly, he's ahead in polls tabulating the electoral college vote. (Check out this averaging of polls which results in Obama beating McCain 283 to 255). Anyway, there'll be plenty of movement up and down in the polls over the next couple of months, but I know the Democrats can win this race. After all, we must.

Anyway, back to the Index... I plan to do an entry telling you about a bunch of new albums that are out--so many good ones, and a few medium ones--but since that always takes time to put together, I want to mention one new release that's gotten under my skin in the most haunting of ways. Robert Forster, of the Go-Betweens, has a new album out. Two years ago his Go-Betweens partner Grant McLennan died quite unexpectedly. As a dedicated fan I took it harder than I do most celebrity deaths, but Forster's new music has pricked that old wound open to reveal a deep heartbreak within me I didn't know could come from the death of someone I didn't even know. On The Evangelist, Forster channels not only the Go-Betweens but McLennan himself, using three songs McLennan left unfinished at his death. One of them, Demon Days, moves me to tears over and over. It's haunted, it's awfully sad, and it's impossible to get out of your head. Somehow, the song makes this stranger's untimely death very real to me. It's a telegram from beyond our world, reminding us of what was lost when McLennan closed his eyes that final time. You can stream the whole album from the link on this page, and I encourage you to go there to listen to Demon Days, but really, just go buy the CD or download from iTunes. Forster deserves nothing less than respectful observance of this sad ritual he's created.

Let me also just mention a good book for those inclined to be interested in good writing, animal rights, or science: Elizabeth Hess's Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human. Hess is one of the first people I ever knew in New York City--a writer of great skill with a generous spirit who helped show a young poet around the art world when he first arrived here back in 1992. This new book is filled with that same generosity of spirit, sharp intelligence, and wonder. (Highly recommended specifically to Patsy, Stephanie and to Debbie M!)

Many friends and family and readers have asked about my new digs. I keep meaning to give some updates about my new borough, my new apartment, my new hood, my new domestic tranquility. But for now, just know that to have the pedestrian path of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge--especially with the fluid cinematic view from one's bicycle--as your daily commute to work, is pure bliss. I'll try to remember to take some pictures to post here.

Signing off from the first day of my 40th year. I'm David Zaza, indexing the Zazaura™ since 38 years old. Now I'm 39. Sounds like a lie. Grrr.

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