October 5, 2003
Good day working yesterday. Finished a Wild Bill, black and white, for a spot illustration in the book. Also started a big, ambitious rain picture of the fleeing James-Younger gang riding by a farmer in a wagon on a flooded road. The farmer is pointing ahead, while Cole Younger points the other way, as he and his brother Jim, hold Bob in the saddle. “He’s our prisoner,” Cole says. “We’re taking him to jail.” “But the jail is that way,” the farmer says, trying to be helpful. “No, we’re going the right way,” Cole says as they ride in the ditch and head for the rain soaked horizon. Some good effects, verdict still out. Worked until around six.
Made some spaghetti and watched Clint Eastwood’s take on piano blues, which is part of the Martin Scorsese special that’s running on PBS called simply The Blues. Poor Ray Charles. He once said “Quitting cigarettes was harder than kicking heroin.” Well, he didn’t quite kick it, cigs that is. In the interview with Eastwood, he’s hacking, wheezing and still smoking. However, the coolest part of the episode was a mid-sixties TV tape of Charles singing a rousing “What’d I Say?” which totally rocked. That is one of the coolest songs ever. And I also loved the Saturday Night Live parody of it when he guest-hosted and Belushi and the gang appeared with him as the Young Anglos, I think it was, and they totally milk-toasted the song, bending the chorus into “What Did I Say?” Emphasis on the correct pronunciation of “Did” rather than “What’d.” It was a perfect parody of all that wretched and wholesome Up With People and The Young Americans pap. Other than that tune (What’d I Say?), I can only take so much Blues then I zone out. Not enough structure for me. Those old blues guys play all over the time signature and as a recovering drummer, it just drives me crazy. I want to shake them and say, “Play on the damn beat, Man!” But that’s the Young Anglo in me talking.
Got up at four this morning, full of hope and ideas for the remaining paintings. Too bad I've got family commitments in town ths morning. I guess I should be thankful I have a family.
"The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect is already in the cause."
—Henri Louis Bergson
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