Slint - Washer
Saturday, March 28, 2009
An Indian lady invited me to dinner and said Dr.
Suzuki would be there. He was.
Before dinner I mentioned Gertrude Stein.
Dr. Suzuki had never heard of her. I
described aspects of her work, which he said sounded
very interesting. Stimulated, I mentioned
James Joyce, whose name was also new to him.
At dinner he was unable to eat the curries
that were offered, so a few uncooked
vegetables and fruits were brought, which
he enjoyed. After dinner the talk turned
to metaphysical problems, and there were
many questions, for the hostess was a
follower of a certain Indian yogi and her
guests were more or less equally divided
between allegiance to Indian thought and to
Japanese thought. About eleven
o’clock we were out on the street walking
along, and an American lady said to Dr.
Suzuki, “How is it, Dr. Suzuki?
We spend the evening asking you
questions and nothing is decided.” Dr.
Suzuki smiled and said, “That’s why
I love philosophy: no one wins.”
- John Cage
Friday, March 27, 2009
Occasionally, we'd host concerts at our cinema, the Blue Cheer concert in 1991 was one of them. Our friend Roland was (and still is) a professional concert organizer and has worked with many big names in rock history since the late 60s. Conveniently, he got us the band and did most of the advertising, while we provided the location and the catering. (And I got to do my own self-made psychedelic light show which was pretty cool). The concert was a great success, and we made good profit selling our drinks and snacks.
But we also had an agreement with Roland that we get a certain percentage from the tickets, which amounted to about $300-400. Our partner Gisela was doing the book-keeping, and she couldn't get in touch with Roland for weeks and then months. Obviously he didn't intend to pay us!
So one evening at the cinema it was partners Gisela and Walter and then our friend Arno present, and we were enjoying the evening while our movies were running. We knew that Roland - like Arno - also worked as a taxi driver, so Gisela told us she'd been taking a taxi more often than usual in the hope to accidentally get Roland.
Well, Arno explained that you can demand a certain driver, if you like. That was the idea! So Gisela spent the whole evening calling in ordering the taxi driver Roland to our cinema. He really did have duty that night, and we could listen to all the excuses he made that he was busy, had a long distance customer, and so on. It was certain that he was not going to meet us!
Well, we gave up, when the shows at the cinema were over, and ordered a taxi to take us over to the night bar Wunderbar. On arriving there was another taxi in front of us with the same destination. And we saw the driver was Roland! Gisela jumped out of the car and ran after him. He couldn't flee since he still had to get cash from his own customer. He was full of excuses, of course, and denied that he had been avoiding us. Then and there he was forced to pay us our dues.
And we had a great time at the bar.
I have a friend whose actions
resemble overwhelming inspirations.
changing in her course,
she nevertheless does fully
whatever it is she is
doing, so that
I would say she is committed.
she told me,
not to have two
of everything, but
just one, so
that she could be utterly
When she told me this I was
I thought she was committed
in the first place,
and because I myself
feel more committed the
more diverse and multiplied my
interests and actions become.
- John Cage
Thursday, March 26, 2009
In 1949 Merce Cunningham and I went to Europe on a
Dutch boat. As we were approaching Rotterdam, the
fog became so thick that landing was delayed. To
expedite matters, the customs officials came aboard
the boat. Passengers formed into lines and one by
one were questioned. Merce Cunningham was in one
line, I was in another. I smoke a great deal,
whereas he doesn’t smoke at all. However, he was
taking five cartons of cigarettes into Europe for
me and I had that number myself. We were both
traveling through Holland to Belgium and then
France, and the customs regulations of all those
countries varied with regard to cigarettes. For
instance, you could at that time take five cartons
per person into France but only two per person into
Holland. When I got to my customs officer, all of
this was clear to both of us. Out of the goodness
of his heart, he was reluctant to deprive me of my
three extra cartons or to charge duty on them, but
he found it difficult to find an excuse for letting
me off. Finally he said, “Are you going to go out
of Holland backwards?” I said, “Yes.” He was
overjoyed. Then he said, “You can keep all the
cigarettes. Have a good trip.” I left the line and
noticed that Merce Cunningham had just reached his
customs officer and was having some trouble about
the extra cartons. So I went over and told the
official that Merce Cunningham was going to go out
of Holland backwards. He was delighted. “Oh,” he
said, “in that case there’s no problem at all.”
- John Cage
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I never had a hat,
was given a brown suede
moment I put it
on I realized
I was starved for a
it warm by putting
it on my head.
I made plans to
wear it especially
when I was going to
do any thinking.
I lost my hat.
- John Cage
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
My pal Walter is one of those friends who has provided me with an abundance of stories just from the experiences I made with him. This is one of them.
In the early 90s Walter was one of my partners founding a cinema of our own. In the beginning we all had to work additional jobs, since business was only slowly getting started. Since Walter had a night job as projectionist at a different theater, and I had a day job working as an auxiliary teacher I did most of the projectioning work at our place. But twice a week I had my evening off. Those were to be Walter's evenings.
And quite often he excused himself, so that I had to do his evenings as well. One day I got a call from one of our friends telling me Walter had an accident and couldn't work that evening and probably for the next evenings as well. He told me had broken his arm while "Fensterln"! That's the Bavarian word for secretly trying to get into a girl's room with a ladder without the parents noticing!
I thought I had heard it all concerning wild excuses, and at first I did not believe it. I also demanded to hear the story from him personally. So he did call me.
He didn't tell me the full story, though, because I got to read it in the local newspapers the next day: He was drinking at one of our favourite pubs, where a girl worked as waitress, known by many as the 'nymphomaniac'. She was always a bit too homey with guys so she did make that impression.
Obviously Walter had a few pints too many and kind of believed she was inviting him over for after the pub's closing. Her apartment was right above the pub. Of course, after closing the pub she had no intentions to spend any more time with him, said her goodbyes and left to go upstairs.
But that didn't bother Walter. Next to the pub there was a construction site, and he found a ladder there. Unfortunately, it was way too short to reach her bedroom window. Luckily he found a solution: he also found a brandnew spare door that was to be installed the next day. So he took the door, climbed up the ladder with it, prolonged the ladder by placing the door on top and went on climbing further on up. You can imagine the result.
Besides breaking his arm his head had to be stitched and he had to pay for a new house door.
M. C. Richards and David Tudor
invited several friends to
I was there and it
was a pleasure.
After dinner we
were sitting around talking.
Tudor began doing some
paper work in a corner,
to do with music,
though I’m not sure.
a while there was
a pause in the conversation,
said to David Tudor,
“Why don’t you
join the party?” He
haven’t left it.
This is how
I keep you entertained.”
- John Cage
Monday, March 23, 2009
I was surprised when
I came into Mother’s
room in the nursing home
to see that
the TV set was on.
The program was
teenagers dancing to
Mother how she liked the
I’m not fussy about
she went on,
fussy about music either.”
- John Cage