February 10th, 2004


friend in Kuwait

Just had an e-mail from friend L., the biology Ph.D. student called up as a reservist. She's at Camp Doha, Kuwait. She included her snail mail address; any suggestions of what I might send her? I'm thinking of "treat" kind of items more than practical ones (like lip balm or a bulletproof vest).


So last night I went ahead and impulsively watched (almost all of) my new Jonathan Richman DVD, Take Me To The Plaza:


It was most enjoyable, and a nice way to pass a tense evening. (Looks like I'll have another tense evening tonight; perhaps again I should enjoy the nutritional value of Swiss chard to bolster my system.) Jonathan isn't much of a studio musician---I'm a huge fan and usually feel lukewarm about his lp's, with some exceptions. They don't capture the joy of the guy, for the most part. But live, as long as it's a good night (he's very sensitive to the crowd feel), he's quite something.

This performance, filmed in December 2002 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, is a good one. In recent years he's toured with Tommy Larkins, the drummer (who, along with JoJo, forms the Greek chorus in There's Something About Mary), and both are in good form this night. I do miss when J. would tour by himself, though, stomping on the stage in his clunky boots, almost always wearing a horizontally stripe-y shirt, dancing about and charming the whole bar. He tried to encourage people to clap a beat for him, but Americans, he says, are too self-conscious about it; that's why he needs Tommy.

There are two interviews on the disc (one of which I watched last night) and a coupla bonus tracks I saved, too. Maybe I just love the man so much because he can't sing particularly well (some would say well at all) but he's so bloody passionate, in his small-scale ordinary person kind of way. And he does have guitar skills and a great sense of rhythms and a fondness for syncopation and --- I'll stop here.

But I could go on. Really.