What’s Up!

One of my lifelong delightfully destructive habits.

I haven’t done a Chick Riff in a while, so I thought I’d give those interested an update on what’s been going on in my life and some idea of what I have in store for readers the rest of the year.

Work: After leaving my former employer and essentially fucking around for a year (literally and figuratively), my partner and I came up with the brilliant idea to start our own consulting practice. Our skill sets perfectly complement one another (me: strategy and marketing; she: accounting and finance) and both of us were getting calls from former customers to see if we were available for project work. She had already been working as a consultant, so once my one-year non-compete agreement expired, we decided to make it a joint venture. For the most part, it’s working out great! While we still have a few solo gigs that keep us apart, over half our clients hired us as a team, so we get to travel together and fuck each others’ brains out in hotels all over the world! Better still, we now have a partner with an executive recruiting background who can help when our analysis shows that one of the executives is a hopeless moron dragging down the company. For those of you who read the “The Offer,” the recruiter is the same woman who tried to interest me in a job and wound up becoming a whenever-you’re-in-town fuck buddy!

However, we are professionals and we do not mix business with pleasure and do not offer what would be the time of their lives to any clients.

The downside is the work involves a lot of travel, as we have clients in Europe and the Americas and it’s pretty likely we’ll be traveling to Australia later in the year. We do have limits, though: we refuse to do business with American companies or do any work on U. S. soil as long as America is run by neo-Nazi racists. We really don’t need American money to survive, and because we have a client in Toronto, we’ve even been able to catch a couple of Blue Jay games this year! The goal of this enterprise is to earn enough money to pay off the house and then get jobs in NGO’s (what Americans call nonprofits) and focus our energies on helping this forlorn world instead of facilitating profit margins.

Home: Due to the workload, I haven’t been home most of the summer, which is just fine with me—Nice sucks in the summertime. It gets too warm and humid for leather and the hordes of tourists make going out a drag. I remain delighted that we fought off the LePen neo-Nazi threat and am not at all surprised that Macron’s popularity has plummeted since taking office. The French are a very opinionated people who all think they’re right about everything, deeply skeptical about politicians and prone to get tremendously upset about things large and small. Macron has fucked up a few times—especially with that First Lady bullshit—but eventually I think he’ll grow into the job and do just fine. It also helps when your competition for attention on the larger stage include Donald Trump and Theresa May.

One weird thing happened a couple of months ago—I was recognized! It’s all because I’m a coke addict—a Diet Coke addict (what they call Coca-Cola Light in the EU). Anyway, we were going to see my cousin who lives on the other side of town and decided to walk down the Promenade so I could stop at McDonald’s and get my fix. Anyway, I had just taken my first sip when this guy came up and said, “Excuse me. Aren’t you the altrockchick?” You know that weird thing that happens sometimes when the liquid you’re drinking gets into your nasal passages? Well, that was my response—a sort of gurgling, snorting, coughing fit that lasted about thirty seconds and caused one of the staff to come up and ask if I needed any help. After I wiped my face with the napkin provided by the staff person, I looked at the poor guy—American, mid-30’s, not at all bad-looking—and said, “Yes, I guess I am!” He told me how much he loved what I do and how my jazz posts really turned him onto jazz, and I just stood there smiling, nodding, saying thank you and not really knowing what else to do until my partner read the cues, stepped in and said, “Ari, we have to go if we’re going to be there on time.” We said goodbye, I thanked him again and went on our merry way.

I know that he meant well but I’m very protective of my privacy and so I probably came off as a bit rude. Dude, if you’re reading this, I apologize for my poor manners and thank you again for the validation. But like Garbo, who never said it but should have, “I want to be alone.” I’ve got a set of Groucho glasses with mustache on order.

Baseball: This season sucks! Too many blowouts, too many home runs, horrendous pitching and at least half the division races were decided before the All-Star break! And MLB.TV has been as buggy as fuck, with lots of picture freezes and app crashes. I was hoping to write a piece on baseball this year, but this season isn’t worth the effort.

Music: All my plans were disrupted by the political madness of the first five months of 2017, so I’ve been more of a butterfly lately, going wherever my fancy takes me. I’m still upset that I didn’t get to do my annual blues jag, as I could have used the cleansing ritual after so much political nonsense. I’ve written most of the reviews you’ve seen recently on airplanes, which makes long-distance flights much more tolerable. Still, it would be nice to stay at home for a while with access to my piano so I can duplicate the musical ideas I hear in a given work to further my understanding of what the artist was trying to do.

Here are all the reviews I have in “draft” status, indicating the albums I’m most likely to review, but I’m not guaranteeing anything—my life is too over-the-map right now to predict the future with any reasonable certainty.

  • “Heroes” by David Bowie
  • Dressy Bessy (album)
  • The Best of John Lee Hooker
  • Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie
  • The Turning Point by John Mayall
  • Oremi by Angelique Kidjo
  • Amnesiac by Radiohead
  • Parallel Lines by Blondie
  • Radio City by Big Star
  • Bad Company (album)
  • Parcel of Rogues by Steeleye Span
  • Against the Streams by June Tabor
  • Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers
  • Not a Pretty Girl by Ani DiFranco
  • Complete Greatest Hits by The Cars
  • Masterpieces by Ellington
  • The Indispensable Django Reinhardt
  • The King of Limbs by Radiohead

Cheers! And to my American readers—I hope like hell you get rid of the Neo-Nazi bastards who have stolen your democracy ASAP because they are indeed sufficiently insane to take the rest of us down with them.

8 responses

  1. So cool to read that you are doing business with that particular recruiter, very happy for the three of you. I’m also very interested to see how the NGO project eventually happens, I know you and your “posse” will make a difference in whatever area(s) you choose to work in. Looking forward to your upcoming reviews (your “Workingmans Dead” review was frigging brilliant); any chance of furthur pieces on Phil Ochs?


    1. Thank you! She’s thinking about moving to France, and given all the madness in the USA, I think the likelihood is pretty strong. I’m in Montreal this week, so she’s going to pop over the border and we’ll have a good long talk about her future (among other activities).

      Phil is going to have to wait—most of his other work is understandably political, but have had my fill of politics for a while.


  2. “One weird thing happened a couple of months ago—I was recognized!”

    Weird? What with your blog’s audience being on the thousands and featuring pictures of you, I even had thought you had it coming… You’re becoming a celebrity, and a more worthy and deserving one than most! And I know success won’t spoil you! Congratulations!


    1. But, but, but . . . I live at the bottom of France, spend half my time out the country and most of my readers are Americans. Spock! What are the odds?

      Waaah! I don’t want to be a celebrity!


      1. Talk about star trekking… ;^) You may have heard about the “global village” concept, and the internet reinforces it even more. See, you live in France and most of your readers are from the USA… but you have at least one (proud) reader from far-flung Brazil!

        And by “being a celebrity” I mean being famous for the right reasons in his/her own terms, not those people who are “famous just for being famous” (as Mick Jagger sums them up) or become fodder for lazy journalism and scandal sheets. So what if you might not be seated at the same table as Lana Del Rey? You’re the ARC and that’s what counts.

        Me, I can shove false modesty aside and say I have become a cult celebrity here in Brazil and some circles abroad, thanks mainly to Kinks konnektions; e.g., I was the first one to mop up and release a kompilation of all Ray and Dave Davies songs first released to people other than the Kinks. And I have got used to people saying to me “your book about such-and-such was the first good book about music I’ve ever read”, “I became a journalist because of you”, “I want you to play bass with me on my next show”… The fruits of thirty-odd years working. Hey, a song of mine was even worthy of a page on the Alt Rock Chick web site! Now that’s the kind of celebrity I crave for.

        So be prepared to get more and more recognised in the most positive sense… Your parents and your partner will be (aren’t they already?) proud of you too. Discerning people will have more and more good words about you and your work as years roll on… And when someone spots you on the street, no answer can be better than a smile like yours!


      2. Aww, that’s sweet! I’ll try to take it in stride and maybe next time I won’t wind up with Diet Coke up my nose!


  3. “Fame” and being recognized is a weird feeling isn’t it? It’s something I struggled with and never really resolved as I am a very private person, yet onstage, I presented a highly extroverted persona. Inevitably, when I would be sighted in public I’d occasionally get people coming up to me intent on a chat or hanging out. What people consistently failed to understand and appreciate was onstage I was acting, yet the public expected me to carry on with that act off the stage. You wouldn’t believe the amount of abuse I got for it, as if I was “expected” to perform for them in the blink of an eye. I’d sense enormous resentment as they realized I was not performing and that my real self was a completely different person. If you saw Thom Yorke or Liam Gallagher (for example) on the street, you’re NOT gonna expect them to start singing for you!

    Given the world is smaller than you might think – as I spot people in the unlikeliest places – I have wondered what I would do if our paths ever crossed because I would recognize you. From my own experience and feelings, I would simply nod and smile a simple “hi” as I pass by and leave you alone to wonder who on Earth that strange guy was! I couldn’t ignore or walk straight past you because I love your writings and think you’re an interesting lady, but I think that would be the most respectful gesture I could make.


    1. Liam would probably want to punch you out, and Thom Yorke would run away in horror.

      I like your version of meeting me on the street. I was walking through Soho one evening when one of your very drunk compatriots stumbled up to me, got in my face and said, “My God, you’re a diamond!” I tried to move past him and he continued to follow and call me his beautiful diamond until I stopped suddenly and shouted “HEY!” and he stumbled away in the darkness.

      Liked by 1 person


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