Thursday, February 21, 2013


Last night I dreamed -- blessed illusion --
that I had a beehive here
in my heart
and that the golden bees were making
white combs and sweet honey
from my old failures.

- Antonio Machado

February has always been challenging for me.  I know why: it's because February's not impressed with me, and has something to teach me that I don't particularly want to learn.  February's like Mary Poppins, but not the sweet, pretty, bell-voiced Poppins in the Disney movie, but rather it's the bitchy, dowdy, exasperating Mary Poppins from the books. 

But February does have one thing going for it: Jonathan Richman.

I don't go out to listen to music anymore because I'm old-ish and tired and bands playing in Athens usually start around 1:30 in the morning or something.  And just because somebody plays music out loud doesn't mean I need to be there for them to do it, regardless of whether I'd appreciate the music they're playing.

But Jonathan Richman comes almost every February, and I do need to be there for that.  Because it is, as Bryan calls it, "sacred music":

And this:

And this:

So, Bryan and I went last Friday to see him at the 40 Watt, and there were crowd-wide sing-alongs and clapping and ridiculous dancing and people grinning at each other like weirdos, and Jonathan Richman told a 20 minute story about being 16 and asking Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison about what being on drugs was like, and they gave him a bunch of homework to go out and hunt down people who knew a lot about each kind of drug he was interested in, so he just interviewed those people instead of doing the drugs.  It was boundlessly adorable. 

But here's what I want to say about February--or whatever your February is: it can be tough and disruptive and uncomfortable, but sometimes you find your very own Jonathan Richman in the midst of it.  And you got to surrender to Jonathan.  I promise, it helps.

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