Insomnia and Revolution

Long-time Chico icons going off-line and early morning ruminations lead to a long, hot bath

It’s 3:30am on the early morning of Saint Patrick’s Day, a.k.a. my 44th birthday. I’ve been tossing and turning in bed, occasionally regurgitating bile into my nose, and ultimately failing to get any sleep. So here I find myself sitting down in front of a computer to write this penultimate Synthesis column.

Twenty one years this weekly rag has been leaving its mark on our growing Northern California city. For twenty one years this paper has been humped along on a shoestring budget and the shoestring finally took all it could take and snapped in half. It was a good run. The farewell column is next week, but thanks to everyone who has made this paper run—from the writers to the editors to the salespeople to you the readers. It couldn’t have been done without you all.

Speaking of good runs, David Guzzetti just wrapped his long-running radio program Woody and Friends on KZFR, coincidentally also after a twenty one plus year jaunt. The final program was a gem—Guzzetti invited local musicians to fill out most of the program. The audience was treated to songs from Kyle Williams, MaMuse, Gordy “the banjologist” Ohlinger, Jim Brobeck, Scott Itamura, Bill Carter, Mackenzie Zevely Howlett, Aubrey Debauchery, Tom Haithcock, and even a couple of numbers from yours truly. Then David dedicated a short and sweet section at the end of the program to his wife Kim and son Woody. To wrap it all up the remaining musicians entered the studio en masse to sing a lovely version of “So Long.” It was an emotional scene but the emotions were primarily joy and love, tinged with just a hint of sadness. Thanks for twenty one great years David, and thanks for the occasional frittata and in-season asparagus. Marvin and I will see you soon.

Then again, maybe this isn’t a coincidence, these long-time Chico icons going off-line—revolution seems to be in the air. Aforementioned long-time music scenester Aubrey Pope a.k.a. Aubrey Debauchery is also leaving our fair burg to migrate north to Portland, Oregon. I’m not totally clear on the timeline, but I do believe Aubrey began performing back when I first came to town in the early 2000s. She could have been a high-school student then, I’m not sure. It’s been a treat to watch her progress musically and stylistically over the years: solo, with the Puke Boots, the Broken Bones, and even a brief stint playing bass in a touring metal band The Abominable Iron Sloth, if memory serves. She has also chosen to act as a mentor for aspiring contemporary high-school musicians. Full circle, revolution, giving back to the community.

Well, change can be bittersweet, but change is something we all have to get used to because it’s going to happen, whether we like it or not.

Now it’s a little after four. Everyone is asleep but my mind is racing. I think I’ll take a bath and read until it calms down, if it ever does.

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.