We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis Brandeis
Trickle-down economics is the first cousin of austerity economics. Austerity is nuts when so many millions are out of work. And as we’ve learned before, trickle-down is a fraud. Nothing ever trickles down. - Robert Reich, "A Story for May Day"
New Year's Day has turned into one of those crystal-perfect days, sunshine with no precipitation of any sort, just chilly enough to make one reach for a jacket, lots of light coming from all the windows in the house instead of all the electric lights... the sort of day one lives for, the sort of day one hopes for on a holiday. Call me seasonally affected if you want; I'm happy when it's sunny.
We spent a good deal of the morning working our way through Stella's rather sizable collection of recordings of klezmer music. It makes me feel like dancing (no, I don't), or playing tuba (no way), or dragging my childhood clarinet out of its case to attempt some of the instrumental leads in those klezmer dances (but I've already confronted my diminishing ability to do that, in the previous post). So I sit and tap my foot like any idiot enthusiast who never picked up an instrument in his life. But that's OK; I had a good two decades working with Isabelle Ganz in one of her numerous groups covering various aspects of the Jewish literature, in that case, Sephardic music, the music of the diaspora. I had a good ride performing that literature, and I can scarcely complain now if a few formerly working parts don't work as well. Fortunately, we live in an era when a CD or an .mp3 file can bring me Andy Statman and crew, so the music is neither gone nor forgotten.
And in a way, that's the point, for an aging musician who performs music in some specific historical tradition: the continuity, the preservation, the ongoing spinning of the creative threads that originated in a bygone time, transcend the details of when or why I decided to hang up my axe. There are plenty of younger, healthier folk with axes they clearly know how to use at least as well as I ever did. No performer ever carried a tradition by himself or herself; no tradition ever carried itself without a critical mass of involved performers. Someone will do this. That's very important to me. And if my hearing holds up, I can continue enjoying the music without expending the effort... how's that for a lazy man's attitude?
May 2010 be your best year yet, and the first of many good years.