Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews at 2KHz at Church Studios, Crouch End, London
There's a poem called "Late," by Jim Harrison, that Garrison Keillor included in a new poetry anthology called, "Good Poems American Places." It's featured in the third chapter, entitled, "The Place Where We Were Naked." It reads like a block of self-seriousness, of letting the vagaries of depression just pool up, but never actually get too nasty. The old man in the poem has seen a lot and he's felt hurt a lot and it appears that the only thing he has left are his dogs, his books and what's on television.
"What pleasure there is in sitting up on the sofa late at night smoking cigarettes, having a small last drink and petting the dogs, reading Virgil's sublime "Georgies," seeing a girl's bare bottom on TV that you will likely never see again in what they call real life, remembering all the details of when you were captured by the indians at age seven. They gave you time off for good behavior but never truly let you go back to your real world where cars go two ways on the same streets. The doctors will say it's bad for an old man to stay up late petting his lovely dogs. Meanwhile I look up from Virgil's farms of ancient Rome and see two women making love in a field of wildflowers. I'm not jealous of their real passion trapped as they are within a television set just as my doctors are trapped within their exhausting days and big incomes that have to be spent. Lighting a last cigarette and sipping my vodka I examine the faces of the sleeping dogs beside me, the improbable mystery of their existence, the short lives they live with an intensity unbearable to us. I have turned to them for their ancient language not my own, being quite willing to give up my language that so easily forgets the world outside itself."
Simone Felice would probably feel all kinds of shit when he reads those words of Mr. Harrison's. They very well could be the way his old man mind will be thinking someday. He seems to already have an old man mind on his new, self-titled album, out on Team Love Records. He lives out in the country, in upstate New York, and yet, there's no getting away from the way that humanity, or the lack thereof, can still have a way of gutting from afar. He peoples his songs with these characters that have loads and loads of problems - even letting the tragic life of Sharon Tate and the trainwreck of Courtney Love pop into his thoughts - and he worries about them. He reads the New York Times during his mornings and the people and their sorry stories stick with him. He remembers the names and the details and they burn. He would love to just give up that world outside itself and just be a great daddy and a great thinker, someone whose worries don't overflow from him. He can be more like Harrison's dogs - living intensely, with a purpose that's theirs and theirs alone.
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