Day 14 – a foray into pessimism

Well, Well, Well some days are heaven and some days are hell.

I got to the powell st station at about 3:45pm after I returned a couple books and cds to the library.  For as limited as the bartrain is, it can get me to lot of very useful places.

After staking out my favorite spot at powell, I set up and played through 5 songs right away.  Within that span of 14 mins, I got three dollar bills and a few handfulls of change.  That was pretty good!

But then this dude with a trumpet showed up and started blowing his trumpet down the hall from me and all the trumpet threw my shit out of wack.

I tried to wobble through a song as he kept on blowing his horn.  He was playing a Jackson Five tune of which I can’t remember the name. Finally, I packed up my stuff and went down the hall to talk to him.

“Hey man, you wanna jam?”  I asked as kindly as I could…

“Umm, umm, no I just wanna play wif myself.”

I really wanted to lay into him about the first come, first serve principles of busking.  But instead I bit my tongue.

So I went up onto the street to see if I could find any other good places to work out.  Stepping off the escalator, I was bombarded by dancers to my left, a gospel quartet to my right, and a sax player straight ahead.  The streets of San Francisco are bursting with music this summer.

I mosied up a few more blocks to the corner of Geary and Powell.  It was pretty much all tourists.  And it was wild.

I played for about 2 hours and made only two handfulls of change and no dollar bills.  It was wild and it was stingy.

Anyway, its got me in a bit of stank mood right now so I thought I would drop some Nietzsche on you.  I’m reading The Dawn of Day right now and am aghast every page turn at his pessimism.  But at the same time, he is kind of like a traffic accident that you can’t take your eyes off.  So there.

I stumbled upon this passage about music that I thought I should share.  It’s in chapter 142:  Sympathy.  I thought it was fitting that music was the only thing that distracted him from misery.

“It is music, however, more than anything else that shows us what past-masters we are in the rapid and subtle divination of feelings and sympathy; for even if music is only an imitation of an imitation of feelings, nevertheless, despite its distance and vagueness, it often enables us to participate in those feelings, so that we become sad without any reason for feeling so, like the fools that we are, merely because we hear certain sounds and rhythms that somehow or other remind us of the intonation and movements, or perhaps even only of the behaviour, of sorrowful people.  It is related of a certain Danish king that he was wrought up to such a pitch of warlike enthusiasm by the song of a minstrel that he sprang to his feet and killed five persons of his assembled court:  there was neither war nor enemy; there was rather the exact opposite; yet the power of the retrospective inference from a feeling to the cause of it was sufficiently strong in this king to overpower both his observation and his reason.  Such, however, is almost invariably the effect of music (provided that it thrills us), and we have no need of such paradoxical instances to recognise this, – the state of feeling into which music transports us is almost always in contradiction to the appearance of our actual state, and of our reasoning power which recognises this actual state and its causes.”

Nietzsche was a crazy mutherfucker.  And obviously not a musician…

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