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Thursday, November 11, 2004
did I ever tell you about Bloomington?
Listening to:Anita Baker
Reading:Diamond Age
Weather:49, was awesomely warm today, like 65
I lived in Bloomington IN for about a year. I went there to go to grad school at IU. I dropped out after a semester, worked for a little while, then came back to WV to play with my pal Titties in our duo Magic Bus.

Indiana was interesting. School was crazy, very academic, giant classes. I met my dear pal Bente there, we were both theory majors. I played some gigs with the Columbus Symphony, drove past John Cougar Mellencamp's (everybody out there called him Johnny Cougar) house and his white jeep on the way. In Bloomington I worked at Blooming Foods co-op. Hung out at the Runcible Spoon, the hip cafe, good omelettes. Saw Jonathan Richman play solo at the Second Story (still have my ticket stub). Went to a few excellent drag shows at Bullwinkles, where the top-notch queens from Chicago passed through. Drank the occasional Cafe Reggae at the Video Saloon upstairs.

I met some amazing people out there, one of those rare cool musician collections at a local open mic that was stumbling distance from my apartment. The bar was the Peanut Barrel. Several truly excellent songwriters, complete with all their various personal damage and great songs they wrote: One a crazy alcoholic who kept pawning his guitars (Pour Me a Lady), another a former junkie turned cop whose wife and him liked to fuck other couples when the kids were gone for the weekend (Eyes of Your Mind), a smiley country chick spending every penny she earned waiting tables on studio time chasing that giant hit in Nashville who was completely bald but wore cool curly wigs and never told (can't remember any of hers, but they were sweet), a young but aging metalhead soundman half-cherokee who practiced Tuvan throatsinging to sound more like Robert Plant (Light the Fuse and Get Away), and the deeply sexy cowboy who rode a big Kawasaki and wrote mournful songs about his youth as it slipped away (Play The Game).

There were some colorful cover singers, too, the old gin blossom guy who sang Unchained Melody a cappella, the sweet country boy Bobby Earl Conway who gave out shirts with his name on them and sang Merle Haggard and choice old Beatles. The Captain, with a big gin blossom for a nose and the remnants of a beautiful crooner's voice, his greatest hit was Unchained Melody, a cappella. We caroused every Tuesday night, drank Wild Turkey 101, listened to each other's new stuff, jammed on the classics and the sweet B sides. The cool thing was it left the bar, we actually hung out together at each other's houses all the time. It was an awesome rare scene. We all traded partners occasionally, but no hard feelings there, another rare cool aspect.

But the flatlands were just not for me. Too redneck, for one thing, and something about the landscape was just relentless. I missed the shade and nooks and crannies of the mountains. I live in the foothills of the Alleghenies, part of the Appalachian mountains. The roads are all curves, no right angles, it's so soothing somehow.

permalink posted by cat 7:44 PM

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did I ever tell you about Bloomington?