Monday, October 2, 2017

Autumn Nocturne

Stop already with the non-stop praise for how glorious autumn is.

After three days of low humidity, highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s (tonight 46!) Richmond is acting like it's deep November.

I overheard a mailman yesterday talking on his phone as he worked his route and he was incredulous. "You wouldn't believe it here! It's sunny and 65 and they're walking around in hoodies and jackets," he told someone, implying that it was time to stop the madness.

Meanwhile, I'm still wearing a t-shirt and shorts and slathering on sunscreen before my daily walk. And I'm certainly still hot and sweaty when I finish, something that won't be the case come January (insert small sob for the fact that January is coming).

All the windows in my apartment have been lowered to quarter mast at night - depriving me of the sounds and breezes of the city - although I'm still able to raise them fully during the shank of the afternoon.

By late afternoon I was driving country roads to a farm for an interview, but also taking in the bucolic views as if I were just out joyriding in the sticks. All I needed was a piece of straw to chew on.

Yep, it's looking like fall out here alright.

Most interesting part of the farm was the horse cemetery, now over-planted with corn. I found it touching that farm animals have their own plot when it's time to go to that great barn beyond.

It was going on sunset by the time I returned to the city, a bit dustier but with lungs filled with county air. That meant that the temperature was also dropping quickly in that annoying way fall has. It's only October first and I'm already wearing leggings and a jean jacket, for crying out loud.

Dr. Faustus didn't sell his soul to the devil for knowledge, friends. Au contraire, he wanted endless summer.

Yes, yes, I know it's all relative. When I mentioned to my interviewee that summer should get a speeding ticket, she looked at me like I'd grown two heads. "Summer lasted forever!" she claimed. "I thought it would never end!"

If only it didn't have to. Now we're looking at heating bills and long nights and more clothing. Remind me again what's appealing about that?

With limited time before music, dinner needed to be quick and 821 Cafe not only fit the bill but cheered me up with my favorite black bean nachos at the same time. The place was quiet, in fact quieter than I've seen it in years and the TV screen was off, making for a relaxed yet cozy Sunday night vibe.

I'm devoted to 821 anyway, but I rarely get to experience it in such a low key atmosphere.

Classical Incarnations was at the Hof and already in progress when I found a seat in a room heavy on the middle age crowd and lighter on the millennials, the latter no doubt the target demo for classical music in a bar setting.

I've been going to Classical Incarnations since it began nearly 5 years ago, not every month, but often enough to appreciate small groups of classical musicians playing whatever the hell they choose to.

Like the magnificent Sonata for Flute and Piano by Otar Taktakishvili that drew spirited applause for its uniqueness and beauty. Or the rousing polka played by a brass quintet, the kind of thing suited for a German beer hall. The musicians invited the crowd to dance, but no one took them up on it.

On my way to the back at intermission, I was grabbed by a favorite couple I hadn't noticed was there. They claimed I was trying to avoid them (never!) when really I hadn't bothered looking around very hard while the music was playing.

They were just bringing me up to date when the Man About Town appeared and joined the conversation. Next thing you know, he's showing off his Ben Franklin profile and talking about why it's not worth working as a movie extra for a mere $50 a day.

A fellow Psychedelic Furs fan who'd spotted me last night (though I never laid eyes on him) made the point that they're always worth seeing, no matter the frequency. Clearly we both like frequency.

I heard about my friend's trip to the hospital after becoming dehydrated playing soccer and how his doctor had told him he was borderline obese. His wife seemed to think that he over-estimates his good health and was finally learning that he had no choice - no beer, no bread - but to start paying attention to it.

Translation: what a drag it is getting old.

But I tell you, it's not half the drag that is fall rolling in every year and harshing summer's mellow. Said no one ever, except for yours truly.

Fortunately, summer is a state of mind. Mine.


  1. Your seasonal ruminations brought to mind my favorite Icelandic girl group, Pascal Pinon, who wrote and recorded this appropo song about the seasons when they were 14!

    The pictures with the video are of them (a little older) playing at my favorite swimming pool in Reykjavík. Many a fine hour I've spent in hot-pot conversations there.

  2. What a beautiful song! Thank you for introducing me to my first Icelandic girl group...I'll need to listen to more now. PS: The glimpses of the pool are stunning!

  3. There is a veritable YouTube rabbit hole of Pascal Pinon videos one can lose oneself in. Here are two more, (after that you are on your own!):

    The Wikipedia article on Pascal Pinon gives a good overview of their career.

    The NYT recently published an excellent article about Icelandic pool culture:

  4. You are a font of information on all things Icelandic! I recall you saying it was one of your favorite places, but I never expected band recommendations.
    Here I go, down the rabbit hole...