Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jul 12 2004

I caught a ride with Sandman in his Nissan (which,…

I caught a ride with Sandman in his Nissan (which, incidentally, smells exactly like the Datsun I drove in the 80’s…must be some kind of material they’ve always used in their cars) up to our friend Jez’s housecooling party on Saturday afternoon. Jez lives in a house, a real, entire house, up in a community just off the road to Wulai. The house itself is kind of cool, with each room painted a different, vibrant color. I’m sure it was the height of luxury at one point, with parquet flooring, a wood-burning stove, balconies and porches surrounded by green mountainside vistas, but these days it’s showing its age. The flooring is scuffed and broken, the paint peeling and the floorboards missing in several places. The insects living nearby seem to think the house is theirs already, showing up in cups and on plates. I even saw some in the refridgerator.

Jez called it a housecooling party since the place was sold and he is moving out soon. I was glad I had the chance to see it before he left. We sat out on the grass of the front lawn as the barbeque warmed up, drinking vodka coolers, chatting and swatting mosquitoes as more people arrived. Dave Chen and the rest of the Muddy Basin Ramblers showed up, and Sandy got to show off the guitar he bought that afternoon. I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a Mirror Project shot. Zoe showed up with her fiddle, and soon we were jamming away, in several different styles. Several people said they were surprised how well the trumpet went with the music; I guess they were expecting something different, louder and harsher most likely. Or maybe they were just used to the arrangement Dave has traditionally used.

As we took a break for dinner, Jez mentioned that some of the neighbors used to have problems with the noise, but I noticed people across the way were actually opening their windows, and later someone was apparently trying to play their drums to the music.

In any case, after we finished the barbeque, which was good if a bit on the charred side, we moved from the dark yard inside to the red living room and continued playing. A bearded fellow showed up with his wife and several children, one of them a curious toddler who loved pushing the buttons on my trumpet. The tyke’s father pulled out a smallish guitar and proceeded to belt out an astonishing range of solos and accompaniments; it was amazing and even a little intimidating, but I saw that everyone else was just having fun with it, so I just relaxed and did the same. Songs came and went, many really, really good pieces I wanted to know the names of, but either we were off onto another piece or I was told and forgot the names of the songs without writing them down. At one point we played Tangled Up in Blue, with one verse, a solo, another verse, another solo, etc. Must have played that song for half an hour or so, but it was all brilliant and exhilerating.

Eventually Dave had to leave, and so Zoe, the bearded guy and some others started to play really fast bluegrass pieces, all sixteenth notes. It was a real challenge trying to keep up with them, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

People were leaving and things were winding down after midnight. I plugged my iPod into the speakers and shared a few things with the remaining guests, like Lift up Every Stone by John Hiatt from his “Crossing Muddy Waters” album. Jez then put on a few CD’s for us to enjoy, but we had to get going. On our careful way through the dark mountains we passed a woman dressed up for a night on the town, walking down the road.

posted by Poagao at 8:07 am  

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