Sunday, November 21, 2010


I was invited to attend a meeting in Orlando, Florida this past week, joining my colleagues from other states to talk about solving problems with a particular business sector that we are required to deal with. It was a great opportunity to learn what others do to solve problems similar to those I have to deal with on a regular basis.

Monday was spent traveling, two days of meetings, a third day attending a field trip and then returning Friday morning, in time to spend half a day in the office. The field trip was to Cape Canaveral to visit some of the launch pad complexes and other facilities that had severe environmental problems. This was a fun part of the trip in that we visited some historic locations that figured prominently in the "space race" back in the 1960's.

Hotels rise skyward
Glow in the halogen light
Palm trees silhouette

Grassy roadside ditch
Puddle reflects street light's glare
A frogs sudden splash

Lit and occupied
Stacked rooms cast their yellowed light
Everyone's alone

Gray on solid black
Moon breaks through fast moving clouds
Two cranes flying by

Tangle of forest
Gives way to their fantasy
Fueled by the dollars

Once it was so wild
Cut, cleared, leveled, blades biting deep
Stuccoed towers rise

Ponce de Leon's dream
Fountain of eternal youth
A land's sudden death

Politicians gather
Their feuding over power
People left to die

I finished reading Jon Savage's England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond sitting in my hotel room in Florida. A great read, so much so that I was very disappointed when I reached its end. It shed light on an interesting musical era that I knew little about how it all fit together, the events and performers. In an effort to keep the excitement going, I chose to listen to a live recording of the Sex Pistols this Saturday night. The show chosen was their last performance together on January 14, 1978, ending their very short, turbulent existence. A great performance that kept me dancing the whole time.

Wikipedia describes the show as follows:

Live at Winterland 1978 is a live album by Sex Pistols, first released in its entirety in 1997. The last two songs were released in 1980 by Island Records on their two-disc TROUBLEMAKERS, bookending the compilation.

This is the Sex Pistols last ever concert (before reunion in 1996), recorded in San Francisco at the Winterland Ballroom. After what would seem like closing with Anarchy in the UK, Johnny Rotten came back on stage with his bandmates already playing "No Fun", said "You'll get one number and one number only cuz I'm a lazy bastard. This is 'No Fun'."

At the end of "No Fun", Rotten says one of his more infamous quotes, with the end of the band upon him, "Ahaha, ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Good night!"

Dropped in the maelstrom
So totally unprepared
Drowning in fame's glare

Rough exterior
Posing for the audience
Forgotten boy inside

Somethings wrong with them
Genius on the precipice
Coming to an end

A little over one year later on February 2, 1979 show, the bands bass player, Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie), died of a heroin overdose. Jon Savage's book was enlightening with regard to Sid's personality, emphasizing how a young man was swept up in the events of the times, choosing to live up to his nickname for the sake of the bands public image.

Wikipedia describes that fateful event as follows:

On the evening of 1 February 1979, a small gathering to celebrate Sid's having made bail (he was arrested for a fight in a bar, already out on bail for the death of his girlfriend Nancy Spurgeon in October of 1977, mysteriously stabbed to death while Sid slept off his heroin trip in the apartment) was held at the home of his new girlfriend, Michele Robinson, with whom he had started dating the day he got out of Bellevue Hospital the previous October. Vicious was clean, having been detoxed from heroin during his time at Rikers Island. However, at the dinner gathering, his mother had some heroin delivered, against the wishes of Sid's girlfriend. The person who delivered it, Peter Kodick, came and stayed for a while. Vicious overdosed later that night. Everyone who was there that night worked together to get him up and walking around in order to revive him. Much later that night, Sid and his girlfriend fell asleep together. Vicious was discovered dead late the next morning. An autopsy confirmed that Vicious died from an accumulation of fluid in the lungs that was consistent with heroin overdose. A syringe, spoon, and heroin residue were discovered near the body. It was theorised that he had taken too much of the nearly 100%-pure heroin to shoot up the third dose himself. After his recent overdose, he should have been unconscious all night.

A few days after Vicious' cremation, his mother found a suicide note in the pocket of his jacket:

We had a death pact, and I have to keep my end of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye..

Nancy was buried in a Jewish cemetery and Vicious, who was not Jewish, could not be buried with her. Vicious' mother scattered his ashes over Nancy's grave.

Download the show here:

Next up this evening was Nirvana, their live show on February 22, 1994 in Rome, Italy. Another excellent recording, both in terms of sound quality and the bands performance. I chose this show because it was one of the last they were to perform together before Kurt Cobain was also to die from a heroin overdose. Great set list with Kurt giving it his all.

Kurt says this about bootleggers after Polly:

"I think I see a guy with a cassettaphone out there. But we all know that people who bootleg shows or sell bootleg T-shirts, their all a bunch of pedophiles, they support murder in the third world, they torture children. That's a reason not to support bootleggers."

Wikipedia describes the events of Kurt Cobain's death as follows:

On 8 April 1994, Cobain's body was discovered at his Lake Washington home by an electrician who had arrived to install a security system. Apart from a minor amount of blood coming out of Cobain's ear, the electrician reported seeing no visible signs of trauma, and initially believed that Cobain was asleep until he saw the shotgun pointing at his chin. A suicide note was found, addressed to Cobain's childhood imaginary friend "Boddah", that said, paraphrasing, "I haven't felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing . . . for too many years now". A high concentration of heroin and traces of Valium were also found in his body. Cobain's body had been lying there for days; the coroner's report estimated Cobain to have died on 5 April 1994.

Download the show here:

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