All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open hearted
Not so coldly charted
It’s really just a question of your honesty,
Yeah your honesty
One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity
“The Spirit of Radio,” Peart 1/1/80
Monday, 1/5/15 12:33AM
I began playing guitar in August and started lessons in September. It’s going very well.
I bought it the day after checking out a band playing in the East Village (ironically, one block from my last apartment). The band’s name escapes me, as the only reason I went to see them was that they were over 40 years old. The lead singer even seemed to be over 50. I wanted to see it done.
I played drums in a band, in the late 80s, and sang lead, mid 90s. I was in my 20s then. But at 45, I wasn’t sure if audiences would show up for performers my age. People showed up to see these guys. They came when I was ready to go home, but they showed up.
All I really needed to do was look no further than my favorite band. They’re in their early 60s and are better, as well as bigger, than ever. This is what happens when we keep challenging ourselves.
Hence, my foray into learning guitar.
I’m at the point of trying to learn (most of) this song, The Spirit of Radio, which has always been my favorite Rush song. 30-some-odd years ago, I played it so many times on vinyl that, finally, when I put the needle down, it slid straight through to the next song.
The music is elite and awe-inspiring, and the lyrics are more a propos, today, given the modern day impetus for being a musician: fame and all it seems to give, rather than the love of music and your instrument. Worse now than at any time, pre-internet.
Artists are compelled to do what they do, hoping others will like it. Everyone else merely churns out profitable product.
In this sense, I am more of an artist, as a sex party host. Numbers are always good, but the only reason I’ve managed to not only continue, but to thrive in an ever-growing industry, is to keep true to the types of guys I invite, and present an environment that’s sexy and conducive to a hot and fun experience. It’s always about you guys, and it’s worked for a long time.
Eight hundred fifty blah-blah-blah parties.
Ö Ö Ö
I love being around grown men.
Almost every time I walk out of my building, or at least at some point during my outing, I look around at all the structures – the buildings, the road, the sidewalk, the sewage system, bridges, subways, etc. – and marvel at what men have built and maintain. It took me until about age 40 to allow myself to notice this, that these have been and continue to be constructed by the males of our species.
It took me so long because I was so ingrained with the notion, mostly through media, that men are not supposed to be appreciated because
they we are just so
bad. According to most commercials
and sitcoms, men are stupid, ugly, and completely incapable of doing anything
right, without the help of women, who are portrayed as smart, sophisticated and
definitely not ugly. Even the flakey
women, like Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials, are juxtaposed
against the idiot man, standing right next to her.
When I was in my second year of college, I was beginning to doubt whether I had what it took to make it all the way through to graduation (I did have it, but I was definitely on to something). My father and I never had much of a relationship (until the final three weeks of his life, while I was his caretaker and acting hospice nurse, and we more-or-less bonded), but when I told him how I was feeling, he sat down with me to talk about it.
As I recall, I suggested that I could do what my older brother was doing, to drive a truck, or something of that ilk. My brother worked for United Parcel Service. Dad explained to me that those jobs were generally given to men who were married, with children to support. I understood what he was saying, but I also thought it was unfair.
I was twenty years old. Everything seemed unfair.
But, at age 45, and with almost nine years since my father died, I get it.
A tough job like delivering packages is likely to be given to a family man, rather than an early 20s bachelor, because he’s more likely to actually show up. Whereas the bachelor might call in sick because he has a hangover and no one to tell him to get to work, the family man is probably going to make it to work that day because he’s got a family to support and a wife to nag him if he wants to stay home, hung over or not.
There’s also the notion that these companies might prefer to support men with families, and the next generation, rather than bachelorhoods and Billy’s next boozy binge.
When I see these commercials and sitcoms; when I see how men are regarded as paychecks and worker ants, stripped of personal freedoms; men not having a worthy, differing opinion, nor the ability to do most anything right; I think of how much men do for their families and for women. Way more than anything I’ve ever done or ever will do. I think about how hard they work. I think about how much money, earned by men, is spent on women (then I think of the other way, around).
I think of my own father, who worked two-and-three jobs, including legendary amounts of overtime as a cop, to support a family that said it appreciated him, but totally did not. All he was, to me, was the pain-in-the-ass breadwinner, while we lived off him, with little regard for his happiness. I’d thought I’d given him a lot of respect, but it was really just fear of him. It wasn’t appreciation, and he knew this. He lived with this.
I did wonder why he often seemed so unhappy. It’s almost as if he wasn’t permitted to be unhappy. He had a job to do.
As a teen-ager, I just wanted to be an adult because I thought then I’d have freedom (for sex, mostly). The truth is that most 16-year-olds have way more freedom than their fathers. When I came home from school, I may have had to deal with Mom because I’d had a bad grade or something, but I had a bedroom to go to, my very own space, with a door. I had my own records to listen to. When my father came home, he was likely exhausted from a 16-hour shift, had the weight of a mortgage (and myriad other expenses and responsibilities) to carry, and had to sit and talk to Mom for an hour about his day, when he most certainly would have preferred to go into a room, shut the door, and not have to re-live it.
He needed an escape. Most do. He wasn’t a machine and he certainly should never have been regarded as one.
I was the one with more freedom. My father didn’t have his own room. The only freedom he really had was in his car, during his commute. My father didn’t have anything that really belonged to him, even though he was responsible for most of the things that belonged to us, his family.
A Father’s Day card, no matter how well written, can’t possibly suffice.
He had 2 ½ years of a happy retirement in Florida, before Mom decided she wanted them to return to NY, whereby he promptly got cancer and survived for another few years. It’s not fair, but then life often isn’t fair.
Over the years, I’ve come to hope that he had a life outside of us, his family. I hope he had something to call his own. I don’t mean to suggest what it would or should have been, but I do wish that he had a place, or a person, to go to that didn't place demands and burdens on him. Maybe even appreciated him more fully.
Now, what the heck does this have to do with sex parties?
It has to do with you guys, family men or not (most of us are not). During every party, at some point, I appreciate the fact that I’m surrounded by men. In spite of what society repeatedly tells us, men aren’t bad. Men are awesome. Especially those who work in fields that don’t have air conditioning, and more especially men who have devoted their lives to other people, their families.
The only outlets most men have are sports, alcohol, religion, alcohol, politics, alcohol, porn, alcohol, and stupidity. Maybe hunting and cars.
If I can create an environment where these men find solace and kinship, away from the oppressive, ubiquitous, negative messages bombarding them hourly, and an ability to re-charge, then I have done a very good thing.
Please respect yourselves, guys. And demand it of others. No undue self-loathing in 2015!
Ö Ö Ö
One of the great things about living in Manhattan is living in a giant museum, of sorts. The things we read about, hear about, see about, are sometimes right outside our doors.
While reading the novel, Flowers for Algernon, in Central Park, I read a chapter where the main character, Charlie, happened to also be in Central Park. I was sitting on a bench, along the pond located near the southeast part of the park. It was the scene where a woman came on to him, but when he made a move, she screamed, “Rape!” The author described how he made a run for it, where he was, and the path he took. At first, I merely realized how close I was to where he was, in the story. But as he continued to run, it became clear that he chose to run along the very pond along which I sat. I stopped reading to “watch” him run right by me. Incredible.
Another time, I was reading the 9/11 Commission Report, while sitting at the southern tip of Battery Park. The chapter I happened to be reading described the path of Flight 175, as it flew south along the Hudson River, made a wide U-turn around the Statue of Liberty, then flew straight toward the South Tower. It “watched” it fly right above me. So weird.
But then this is Manhattan.
Finally (and you’re maybe wondering how this applies to the parties), Treasure Island filmed a video in my first space, in the West Village, in June of 2010. It’s called “Sperm Assault.” You’d know it from the bright green walls, giant blue grid on the ceiling, and the many plate-glass mirrors on the wall. When I play it during parties, and if we’re using one particular blue bed sheet, I point to the bed in the video and tell the guys having sex/jerking off/just sitting on the bed, here, that they’re actually on the exact same sheet used in the video.
Gets a rise out of guys. Almost every time, someone asks (jokingly, of course), if it’s been washed. I usually reply, “Do you want it to have been washed?” When they smile, I say, “Yes, about 300 times.”
Ö Ö Ö
Starting the parties at 5PM, instead of 8PM, has made a remarkable difference, particularly since we extended the party by another hour. Sometimes there aren’t that many guys in the first hour, but most times there are. The overall number has been much better, regardless. We get a second wave at 8PM, for the lights out party, downstairs. They’ve been a lot of fun and I’m very glad I finally made the change to those hours.
The Örgy Guy