Roadshow: Landscape With Drums by Neil Peart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well, I suppose I eventually had to be done savoring this one. Neil Peart died on January 7th and I still had this unread on my shelf. There are three more travelogue/memoirs that I must find but for now, I say goodbye with this one. With the backdrops of Rush’s R30 tour and the countrysides he rode through on his motorcycle, Peart’s prosaic skill rolls smoothly, if punctuated with stops of interests. I have thought that Peart saw a lot – he rode more than 200,000 miles on his motorcycle as of that writing – but he seemed to only observe the things that mattered to him. I can appreciate that. I’ve found myself doing much the same in the past 20 or so years. And as with his previous books he recounts some of those observations here. I flagged several dozen lines and passages, and as is usual, I’ll have to sift for what I share here … his chapters are long! … but I’ll start with the first few paragraphs of his epilogue “on with the story”:
On a tour of fifty-seven shows, in nine countries, I played in front of 544,525 people, and went through 257 pairs of drumsticks, one 20-inch cymbal, three 18-inch cymbals, six 16-inch cymbals, two China cymbals, fifteen drumheads, 21,000 motorcycle miles, nineteen countries, twelve oil changes, five sets of tires, one lost luggage case (including Patek Philippe watch and Cartier engagement ring – as Michael suspected, my fickle Good Samaritan must have found them and changed his mind; he never did call back), thirty-four bottles of The Macallan (my riding partners helped), four cartons of Red Apples (ditto), 18,617 words of journal notes, an immeasurable outpouring of physical and mental energy, and an undetermined amount of hearing loss.
I celebrated my fifty-second birthday, almost forty years of drumming, thirty years of making music with Rush, twenty years of bicycling, ten years and almost 200,000 miles of motorcycling, and four years of marriage.
I laughed, I cried, I ached, I sweated, I despaired, I was joyful, I was miserable, I hated it, I loved it, I made friends, I made enemies, I made music, I made gas money, I made time to live and love.
Still confounds me that a man who thinks the way he does, reads what he does, appreciates the finer things of life – The Macallan! – can smoke “Red Apples”, but it was his life and not mine. Continue reading
Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father by Stephen Fried
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I admit that like I suppose many, I knew little of Benjamin Rush. Now, thanks to First to Read and the publisher, I know more through an Uncorrected Proof ebook of this book. Stephen Fried has compiled a lengthy, and informative, story of Rush’s life. It’s an easy read, if, as I noted, lengthy, and it flows well. Fried even offers a couple of cliffhanger teasers (more on that…)
It must have taken an extraordinary amount of time, reading and distillation to go through the seemingly mountainous volume of letters and writings of Rush. Continue reading
I got an advance, pre-publication look at In Their Lives – a book in which the editors asked people to write stories about their favorite Beatles songs. As I read it, I reflected on my own Beatles experience. As with many things, I don’t have a favorite. I think “favorites” are self-limiting.
But I do have stories (surprise!) of how I came to know The Beatles. Continue reading
In May, WordPress congratulated me on being with them five years. I thought it rather ungrateful of me that in all that time I had logged fewer than 100 posts, so I resolved to see if I could write a post every day in July.
Hence (interesting word that people try to work into conversation) the flurrious (interesting just-coined word that no one tries to work into conversation) fury of a post a day for the past 16 days.
Andrea chuckles at my occasional obsessions. I’m certainly not OCD – my Attention D-something non-Disorder wouldn’t allow that. Hyper-focus at times? maybe, but the “obsessions” are of an entirely different sort.
Like when I decided to watch all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone in their original airing order. That obsession took more than two and a half years!
- listening to all of Mozart’s symphonies or all of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies in order
- the entire Rush catalog in order of release, including solo albums (and in the case of Neil Peart, his contributions on a Buddy Rich tribute)
- entire Pink Floyd catalog – including their movie scores
Another peculiarity is my stubbornness when it comes to books…no matter how bad (William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Glenn Beck’s Arguing with Idiots immediately spring to mind) a book is, I usually slog through it to the bitter end. In the case of Gibson…I couldn’t, but with Beck I endured the loss of many brain cells finishing it.
Another obsession that eventually fell by the wayside was buying a local newspaper for each son on his birthday (including their days of birth). I wanted them to have a semi-capsule of what was going on in the world and how much things cost at the time for each birthday.
These quirks are nutty to some, but not to me. So, my writing a blog post a day for July is a test to see if I could (I’ve been sorely tempted to stop a few times already) and to give myself perspective on those who do write everyday. It’s not easy…especially if you have a job and a life.