Filth and Beauty

Halloween music and madness, post weekend blues, and the sweet toxic smell of burning

It’s the Wednesday before Halloween and I’m considering entering into the fray this coming Friday. The annual Pinhead outing at Duffy’s also features the hot new up-and-comers Trox and the Terribles as well as a mysterious, heretofore unknown group called Her Tragic Mistake. But we’ll see. The endeavor would involve me leaving our little cocoon of tranquility and navigating the carcass littered death alley that is Highway 99, bombing south for twenty five miles, and then figuring out how to get back once the debris has settled and the evening is over. The risk/reward ratio is already playing itself over in my spinning head. The deciding factor will inevitably rest on how many beers or bottles of wine I’ve consumed by seven o’clock on Friday evening.

Speaking of the wine, Trish and I split a bottle of the home-made “Erpino Plum” the other afternoon. It is a dark red, sweet, strong wine. If my calculations are correct it clocks in at around 14% alcohol by volume—towards the top of the scale before the yeast can no longer survive and fermentation stops. Our field test would bear out the strong proof, as Trish ended up having to take a nap, while I wobbled around in the yard for a few hours and forgot myself.

Solar Estates

I had the chance to sit down with Aric Jeffries (formerly French Reform) and Ashley Penning, two members of Jeffries’ latest musical project, Solar Estates. The interview appears in this issue and I hope you find it as interesting as I did. The band will be making their first live appearance on Saturday at the 1078 Gallery, so be sure to check them out.

Monday Night Madness

If you pick this paper up on Monday there’s another rock show happening tonight at Duffy’s—the perfect opportunity to shake off the weekend cobwebs with some sweet music. Corners and Drinking Flowers, two Lolipop artists that combine surf, rock, and psychedelia into sweet, soothing sounds, will be passing through town and playing for your listening pleasure. My own little combo the Vesuvians is opening up the show, so stop by and say hello.

The Sweet Smell of Smoke

I can smell smoke in the air this morning, meaning either there has been a tragic fire somewhere, or, more likely, the fire department has finally lifted the summer-long burn ban. I’ve got several piles of brush and deadfall scattered throughout the yard, and a half a can of diesel fuel floating around somewhere. If the telephone gives me the green light, I guess you know what I’m going to be doing with my day.

Life is chaos. Life is tragedy. It is death and birth and re-death and re-birth. It is constant cleansing and renewal; it is utter degradation and decay. It is filth and beauty. Everything we know is wrong; everything wrong is right. The smoke smell has a toxic tinge to it, and I’m starting to wonder what it is that is burning.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.