Still Crazy After All These Years.

October 1, last Sunday, was a day that I’d been looking forward to since July, when Top Cat got us the tickets to see my long-time main Number One Rock and Roll crush, Paul Weller, who was opening his North American tour right here on the beautiful North Shore of Long Island:

Ah, what can I say about Paul Weller that you don’t already know? The Daily Telegraph explains: “Apart from David Bowie, it’s hard to think of any British solo artist who’s had as varied, long-lasting, and determinedly forward-looking a career.” Paul Weller is touring in support of his 25th studio album, called A Kind Revolution.

How much do I love Paul Weller? In my 40s, I flew to London for a weekend just to see his two shows at the Royal Albert Hall, back when I was a freelance journalist and pretty much broke all the time; I jumped onstage during the encore and danced, which made blowing my entire monthly budget totally worth it.

For this show on the beautiful Sunday evening in 2017, Top Cat had paid extra $$ for seats in the civilized section on the mezzanine but I chose to stand in the pit for two hours, right in front of the stage, where I could feast my eyes and ears upon my alternate universe third husband, at such an awkward angle that the pain in the neck still ached four days later. Totally Worth It. It was a fabulous concert.

When Paul banged out the first chords of My Ever-changing Moods, I heard a guy next to me exclaim to his girlfriend that he’s never heard Paul do that in concert so I yelled to him, “Me neither! And I’ve seen him 9 times!!” The guy gave me a high five and we both were as giddy as teenagers as Paul laid into a song that means the best time in my life in the 1980s to me:

Daylight turns to moonlight, and I’m at my best

Praising the way it all works, and gazing upon the rest

I used to wonder when I would stop hanging out in grungy concert halls, when I’d refrain from jumping up and down in the mosh pit when the band played my favorite song, or at what age I would desist in screaming for More! More! More! Well, the time for me to stop having fun wasn’t last Sunday.

The most hilarious moment in the Weller experience came early, when Top Cat and I were entering the building on the way to the concert hall. We had to pass through metal detectors, which I thought was a bit ridiculously gangsta for a venue that holds about 2500 people, for a show where the average age of the concert-goers was 55. The really funny part came when Top Cat was held up by Security, and a guy with metal detecting wand was quizzing my dear sweet husband over the Swiss Army knife in his pocket. I tried to get a souvenir photo of my trouble-making  Top Cat with his arms and legs spread eagle, but I wasn’t quite fast enough. All I got was a snap of Top Cat getting the All Clear:

So we gained entry, the concert happened, and we left at 11:30 with our ears ringing the way they do after you abuse them with music played at the same decibels level as a jet engine. It was late when we went to bed, righteously exhausted, so we did not hear the news about the shooting at a Las Vegas concert until the next morning.

I don’t know who Jason Aldean, the headliner at that festival in Las Vegas, is, but I’ve read that he’s a Country singer with a slew of Number One hits, with lots of fans who, like me on Sunday October 1, had been looking forward to this special night for a long while, who were dancing their hearts out and singing along with their favorite songs, and who were pretty stinking happy to be with a whole lot of other people who liked the same kind of good time.

They say that the shooter doesn’t fit the profile of a mass murderer. They say that because the shooter was a rich white guy the same age as my Top Cat. I wish the security at the Mandalay was as suspicious of older white guys as they were on the north shore of Long Island.

A mouthpiece for the the Fox News/Far Right said that, in America, going to a concert means you must assume the risk of ending up as one of 58 dead or 489 wounded because “that’s the price of freedom“.

We can bloviate all we want, but we all know that nothing will change. We all know that this is the America we live in now.

After all these years, there is nothing left to say.

The 58 souls we lost in Las Vegas deserve better, but so did all the other hundreds who have lost their lives going to college, going to elementary school, going to high school, going out dancing, going to work, because that’s the price of freedom.

Virginia Tech

Sandy Hook   

Pulse Nightclub

Fort Hood

San Bernardino



This is not the post that I wanted to write this week. When we get together, you and me, Dear Readers, every Friday, I like our time together to be about the grandeur that is every day life, the small, stand alone moments that literature pretends doesn’t take up 99% of being alive: doing laundry, crossing off items on the daily To Do List, running to get the camera because the cats are doing something really cute, going through the mail, watching the clock until it’s 5 o’clock and you can pour a glass of wine without feeling like you’re a degenerate, trying to find something to wear that makes you look 5 pounds thinner, making tea, looking out the window, wishing you were in London, thinking about 5 o’clock, etc.

So please join me for a rare mid-week post on Wednesday, October 11, so we can catch up on the mountainous molehills that I had planned on writing about. There will be cats.

Have a safe weekend, everyone.



32 Comments, RSS

  1. Kirra

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Paul Weller concert Vivian, I might look him up and have a listen. It’s great he’s still performing and you still get to go, I hope I can continue to see my favourite bands in the future! (I also recommend getting some fairly good quality ear plugs if your concerned about your ears at concerts).

    America is something else when it comes to guns, when they’re so easily accessible is it really a surprise that this type of thing happens….it is sad that people are regularly murdered in this way but there doesn’t seem to be anything much done to try and stop it happening. It’s hard for us across the seas to understand sometimes.

    Look forward to a mid week post!

    • Vivian

      Paul Weller is still performing and still getting great reviews on his new album from the most nasty, tribal, mean people in the world: the English. Kirra, darling, tell me, as one of my younger Commenters here, who is your all-time Rock and Roll crush, if Rock and Roll is what you kids still listen to.

      With America, it’s two steps forward (Obama, marriage equality), one step back (that big turd Der Drumpf). I hate living in the time of the One Step Back because it feels like a thousand miles way, way, way, way, back.

      • Kirra

        I will definitely check him out then! I do like Australian rock bands and also bands from USA and the UK, mainly alternative rock groups I guess, but I do love a rock show! I’m all for up the front dancing to my favourite songs too.

        You are right, the backwards steps always seem harder than the forward steps!

  2. Marg-o

    “I’m glad you made it home from the concert alive” is what we have to say these days. I call them the NRRA, the National Republican Rifle Association, and they will make sure that nothing changes. If the killing of 20 little kids at their elementary school doesn’t change gun laws nothing will any more.

    I’ll be here on Wednesday with you all, getting back to normal, no matter how abnormal it all is.

  3. The joy of musical hero worship and losing yourself in a song gives way to the horrible ghost that haunts modern day America… but what I would really like to know is when did Captain Top Cat serve in the Swiss army? Shouldn’t he have given them their knife back? Perhaps he’s light-fingered like The Artful Dodger. The only time I saw Paul Weller in concert was back in 1979 or was it 1980 – when he was the leader of The Jam. Now they were a band!

    • Vivian

      Yorkshire Pudding, in the house! That is exactly my experience of Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. A day that will live in infamy until the next mass shooting…

      You gave me a good laugh, thank you. Top Cat never goes anywhere without his Swiss Army Knife and he doesn’t even like the Swiss. Who was it said that the Swiss all acted as they were maitre d’s at a once-classy hotel restraint? Mark Twain?

      NO.Way. YOU SAW THE JAM???? I have collected every piece of vinyl that the Jam ever made once I learned that my Style Council crush had been in a previous band. Dare say that I own the most complete Paul Weller archive in the whole of the U.S.A. Believe me, no one in their right mind is impressed, but it helps me sleep at night.

  4. Casey

    It’s sad. You went to a concert just like those people in Las Vegas did, but because it’s America, not everyone came home alive.

    I do not know who Paul Weller is but I am familiar with the level of excitement that seeing your Rock God can inspire. For me, that would be Bruce Springsteen who can make a football stadium feel like a 2500 seat theater. I love the guy. So if Paul Weller does that for you I have to look him up. What do you recommend?

    • Vivian

      I’m actually glad you asked. My first Paul Weller song was Ever Changing Moods. If you You Tube it, make sure you get the kiddie with Paul on a bicycle, because he’s done some very lovely slow versions that should come AFTER you’ve heard the soul/pop version.

      Then, if possible, rent the movie Billy Elliot, and wait for the scene when poor Billy is told that he can’t go to dance class…that was the first time I heard Town Called Malice, and it was life changing.

      If your favorite Beatle was George, then all you have to do is look up pictures of Paul c. 1983-1990, and you will get what I mean.

  5. Patricia

    Thank you. Thank you to all the people who care. And thank you to all the people who are going to support candidates who won’t take donations from the NRA. So maybe we won’t see ANOTHER post about a mass shooting.

  6. Bunny

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Think about the millions of guns in household across America. Think about what it would take to change the mentality of the gun owners. To say that something should be done, and must be done, seems to be an understatement. But these situations are only increasing, and we will can only wonder, what, if anything can and will be done.
    Its sad when these things happen, buts what’s really sad is, all we can do is hope and wish they will magically stop.
    How and when are we going to take that first step?

    • Vivian

      It has to be a BIG first step. This stuff from the NRA about “studying” the issue is bullshit. It has to be a miracle, at this point.

  7. Megan

    I’m more than happy to come back on Wednesday. So glad you had a good time at the concert. Here in Australia we think we live in a free democratic country, I am horrified to hear that anyone ‘thinks’ that the price of freedom means you must assume the risk of being a casualty of a shooting at a concert. That makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. I fear nothing will ever change in America, if the shooting at Sandy Hook did not change the minds of those in charge nothing will. A great deal has changed since the constitution was written. See you on Wednesday, looking forward to seeing the cats.

    • Vivian

      Even though your country is having a bit of a struggle with equal rights for the LGBTQ community, at least you all can gather together in the open air and not pay the price. The tide of history is progressive, and Australia will get there, but we in America seem to be geniuses at going against the current.

  8. Becky

    So very sorrowful. My first thought went to those children that were slaughtered, and if those imbeciles of politicians wouldn’t stand up and take a stand then this would be an ongoing series of tragedies. Then I looked through the pictures of all those murdered and my soul hurts. I agree with Bunny, Margo, and Patricia….those politicians who are supported by the NRA should be exposed. I actually saw a list on a friend found , some of them for as little 30,000 have sold their souls so that innocent people could be killed. I don’t know if this will ever be settled, but I do know this. They WILL have to answer to a higher power ….and I think the answer that this isn’t the time to discuss it won’t fly! okay I am off the soap box…..looking forward to kitty pictures… (I just don’t tell my dog Miss Katie) and the midweek post.
    Our leaves are just beginning to turn here in Pa. have you found the perfect leaf to paint this year?

    • Vivian

      It’s still too early here on Long Island for leaf color. It was only this morning that I spotted the first glimpse of reddishness in the maples.

      I had to be respectful to the events in Las Vegas. It has hit me hard, harder than the sorrow I have felt for all the other lost lives. I was doing exactly what those in L.V. were, going to a concert, having a grand ole time, but I got to go home alive. It breaks my heart.

      • Becky

        I am sorry. I did not mean to be disrespectful to your feelings regarding Los Vegas. Sometimes I feel as though our innocence has been stolen because of these tragedies. We should not have to be anxious when attending a concert, going to school or living our lives. More often than I have to admit, when I’m in church or at a game or just walking in the mall….I wonder is there someone lurking with an unknown agenda. I know you can’t stop living but I hate it that these feelings plague me.

        • Vivian

          Oh, no! I don’t think you showed any disrespect at all! Your comment is exactly what I was feeling, mournful for everything that we’ve lost as a nation thanks to the NRA. I mean that I didn’t want to write such a sad post but those people in Las Vegas are haunting me still. I’ve been smooching the kitties extra often this week. The kitties are pure love and I need that a lot this week.

  9. I’m glad the Paul Weller show turned out so well, and I love the “moment” you shared with your fellow fan — that kind of momentary bonding is part of what makes concerts special. I’ve never seen Weller in concert but I do have one of his Style Council albums from the ’80s — “Confessions of a Pop Group,” I think. (And thanks for pointing out in your comment on my blog the other day that one of the women in the Wham! video I posted was Dee C. Lee, who sang with Weller and the Style Council, and married Weller. I had no idea!)

    As for all those faces…sobering. I can’t believe that freedom needs to be that expensive.

    • Vivian

      You’re right. It’s too high a price for a bullshit “right”.

      Dee C. Lee was such a beautiful girl (and she’s probably still gorgeous, but she isn’t a public person any more). I know way too much trivia about Paul Weller. I LOVE the Style Council; they were my first Weller encounter. I only got the Jam years and years afterwards, when that movie Billy Elliot came out and there was a great song that I’d ever heard before on the sound track and it turned out to be by this same Weller guy — Town Called Malice. That’s when I became a Jam fan too.

  10. So glad you enjoyed the Paul Weller concert.
    My heart is utterly stomped and crushed by the horror that is US- well, Republican – gun policy.
    So much that Robert and I are thinking of taking a leave of absence from the US.
    As per usual, about half the populace are civilized and lovely – but the idiot half seems to be steering the boat.
    Saw Seth Myers talk at New Yorker Festival yesterday – very interesting.
    What a sad and difficult world we live in.
    So, we should go out for tea or something civilized – or booze

    • Vivian

      Yes, let’s be cultured and sip tea of the Long Island variety. This is indeed a good time to take a breather from the U.S. and the idiots who are bent on perverting democratic institutions. If I could run anywhere, I’d hide out in Normandy, by the sea, in a walled city.

  11. Oh Vivian, my heart stopped beating, I think, when I saw the other photos of the lives lost in so many other horrible tragedies. Thank you for sharing them — a tough reminder. Although we are told “now is not the time to talk about guns,” I wonder when that time will be. For me, it was years ago. And last week.

    But I’m glad you had loads of fun at Paul Weller — and that nothing changed! All the same mash pit, happy fun. And I’m glad Top Cat was allowed to see. (I need to look back and see if he got his knife back. Gee, soon they’ll have the equivalent of the coat check room for things like Swiss Army knives.)

    I’ll look forward to Wednesday! (Oh, and if you are looking for a walled city closer to home, Old Quebec has much to offer! Plus, they’re those nice Canadians!)

  12. I too very much look forward to Wednesday. I was about to say I’m “totes excited” for it but then realized, as a non-millennial, I probably can’t pull that off.

    All I can say about all the gun/shooting ridiculousness is that in my state, where of course we have concealed carry, they have signs throughout the state capitol where you can’t take firearms. To which I say: What’s good for the dead geese should be good for the dead ganders, you assholes. I think if you’re really behind the right to bear arms then you should allow anyone armed to come in where you’re making those kinds of laws! But maybe that’s just me.

    Please excuse the swearing. It is just so hard not to swear when talking about my legislators.

  13. I am so thankful Jeanie suggested I read your blog. Our hearts just get heavier and heavier with each shooting. When will it end? Thanks for commemorating these dear ones. So happy you were able to enjoy the concert safely.

    • Vivian

      Thank you for stopping by, Marilyn. It’s going to take a lot of tea and pondering to process this sad event, and I’m not sure that tea was invented for this kind of thinking.

  14. Linda June

    A wonderful post, Vivian–clean, well written, and, as always, entertaining! I can just see you in the pit–and on stage–dancing your heart out! Didn’t you say you were working on another book (one that was rejected by your publisher [what do they know, right?]) I have your other three book–love them! Keep them coming, however you have to do it 🙂

    • Vivian

      I hear you, Miss June. I dearly want to be bitching and moaning about how hard it is to write a book, but I can’t conjure up the right project. For now, my little Monet book keeps me busy (ha! I haven’t touched it in two weeks!) but Winter is coming and I need something all-consuming to keep me warm for the next six months/three years. I will certainly let you know when inspiration strikes.

  15. Those of us opposed to the current rulings on the 2nd amendment don’t vote based on our leanings. At some point the question becomes “am I willing to vote down a candidate who doesn’t support reasonable gun control?” I’m beyond disgusted that a minority opinion can hold up sensible regulation. But my default is to move beyond disgust and work in my local community where we are awash in illegal guns. We need to ask ourselves how to: treat the most vulnerable among us, how do we alleviate suffering because it is suffering that caused this, how do we play the long game and get over 300 million guns off the streets?

    I don’t have answers. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself! Perhaps the answer lies in joy, contentment, peace and creating more of that in the world, as dopey as that sounds.Looking forward to your mid-week post.

    • Vivian

      I came across this, written by a blogger called Ms. Moon, at the end of her sad memorial for the Las Vegas victims:

      Let’s try to be one of those people who remind others that this world is not all bad.

      I think that’s the best we can do, for now.

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