Friday, February 20, 2015

(part 285) THE HAT








I get zero satisfaction writing what I've written about lately. On the other hand it was this blog that caused those mentioned in my most recent posts to contact me initially. What happened five years ago, and since then, as a result of my writing this blog, has now become part of the story. I quit writing here for a long time, for the most part, but lately returned to this blog as a place where I can write about my thoughts and feelings with respect to what has taken place in my life in the last few years, and more recently.


On September 28, 2014 I lost my brother Bill, and on January 15, 2015 I lost my mother. Neither of them should have died the way they did. My brother Bill, a schizophrenic, had his anti-psychotic medications cut, while he was in the hospital, by a doctor who had no experience with psychiatric patients, or their medication needs. To make matters worse, this doctor, and others, did not inform anyone in our family that this action had been taken. Needless to say, taking away a schizophrenic's medications, or altering the doses in any way, is of paramount importance. Without his medications Bill quit eating, walking, and otherwise doing the basic things a person has to do to survive. Simultaneously, my mother had had a stroke, and was recovering herself. Neither her, nor I, knew that this had happened to Bill, so nothing was done about it. We only learned of it after Bill's death, when we read the hospital medical reports. Those reports made it clear what had been done to him. My mother, who had returned home by that time, became incensed by the information and overwhelmed by grief after reading some of the reports. Within three days, she had a second stroke and was paralyzed on her entire right side. She could not walk or speak and died some 25 days later in a nursing home in San Luis Obispo. Before she had the second stroke, in the preceding three days, she wrote two poems about Bill, and drew a picture of his favorite hat. My mother was a fine writer and artist, and what I post below, and above (the hat drawing) is her last work.

about my oldest son, Bill, who died Sept. 28, 2014

                       The Hat
When you died I was in a health facility
Recovering from a long illness
When I finally came home
I had to become familiar again
With what now seemed alien and strange.
I walked through the house
Reminding myself of everything,
Walked into the living room,
And caught sight of your favorite hat
On top of a neat pile of hats
You had put on the coffee table
So you could easily pick a different one
When the mood struck you
Your favorite hat still has the shape of your head…
So familiar, so dear
And it seemed that at any moment
You might come in the door, smiling,
Carrying your bag of artwork as usual
I could see your hat, the plaid sweater you loved, your khaki shirt…
Always somehow looking stylish
Even if your clothes were old and not up-to-date
When you came in, you would always sit on the couch under the window,
Put your things on the coffee table,
And then perhaps change to a different hat…
As you so often used  to do to mark the day
A wave of sorrow swept over me
As it suddenly became real to me in my heart,
That you would never come again,
Nor would I ever again see you smile as you came in,
Nor could I ever watch you organize
Your thoughts and your things for the day
No; you are gone.
And yet your hat still sits waiting,
Not knowing you won’t come once more
And choose it from the pile
Not knowing that the world is now empty
Without you
                                                    Troy Farr, 12-19-2014         

the 2nd poem

Everything is just as you left it
Capturing a moment in time
When you thought you would be coming back
Your hats on the coffee table
Your tennis shoes and sandals underneath
And on the table, mementos you kept
A Route 66 Key chain
A sketch pad with an unfinished drawing
A notebook with things you looked at daily
Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws
Just the laws which I scanned and printed
For you, you like them so much
A selection of your own art
That was meaningful to you
Letters and keepsakes
Since you looked at this daily
Leaving it meant you thought you’d come back
But you didn’t, you couldn’t
Illness struck me first, and I couldn’t help
Then it struck you, and I couldn’t help
Two days before I came home you were gone
Now, seeing your things as you left them
Knowing you expected to come back
Knowing how temporary you thought your absence would be
Tears at my heart that I couldn’t help you
When you most needed it and I most wanted to
For the first time I wasn’t the master
Of my own life
How abandoned you must have felt!
How sad I feel to know that you were.
That I couldn’t help you
When you most needed it
And when I most wanted to help you

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

(part 284) SELFISH AS HELL

People showing up from my past was something I had not planned on, but you may think I should have expected it. I didn't really think anyone would pay attention to me, or this blog, when I began in 2007. You have to consider that I felt like a complete failure when I started all of this. My mindset was I was getting fucked by another record company the same way I had in the past. It was just the latest version of the same old thing. The difference being, that I could come and write about it on this blog, and various other places on the internet, like myspace and facebook. Any expectation that someone from my past would show up as a positive did not exist for me. I was damaged goods and knew it. I was a pissed off human being with nothing to lose. The music business didn't mean shit to me at that point, and still doesn't. I had the attitude of, "let's tell the truth about it," which I had never been able to do in the past, except to occasional individuals who might have listened for an hour or so. Whether or not anyone listened here was immaterial to doing it. It gave me an emotional release by doing it. A place to put my own decades long anger. I had been so penalized for being angry in the past, by friend and foe alike, that I needed a place of my own to vent at will, and this blog was that place.

I was not about to let the opportunity to speak out, get squelched by anyone or anything again. My experiences were real to me, and the opinions of others, which came in the form of comments about what I wrote, were damn near meaningless. I looked upon adverse reactions to what I wrote as more reason to push on and keep writing, which I did. When you have almost no self-worth, with regards to your own work, you have to make up, and remake up your mind, on an ongoing basis, and keep going forward, which I also did. In the music business, I was condemned for being pissed off, by the same people who had fucked me out of ever getting paid. On the blog I could say that and make it stick, at least in print. My only real enemy was myself. I could let the opinion of others halt me, or I could keep on going. So my daily battle was with me more than it was with anybody else. Along the way I stumbled repeatedly in my efforts to continue, but in the end I did continue, and am still here.

So if you understand, even in the slightest way, what I said here, then you will be able to understand why I say I was not expecting anyone from my past to show up and be positive about what I was doing. Negative...perhaps, but not positive. That is why I was surprised when women who I'd known in the past showed up and didn't condemn me. They'd left me in the 60's, so I figured they'd gone away for a reason, a reason that would be impossible for me to conclude had been positive. "If you liked me so goddamn much, why did you vanish one day without a word?" If you loved me, what made you throw me away? Did you ever think about how it felt to me, looked to me, what it meant to me? I seriously doubt whether you ever stopped to think about that. What I think is that you were much like me, a selfish son of a bitch who was out for yourself. What I resent is that you act as if you were pure as driven snow, and that your heart was true. Bullshit! You're heart wasn't any truer than mine was, and I was admittedly selfish as hell.


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Sunday, February 15, 2015

(part 283) ......AND HOW WE REMEMBER IT.........




Becoming involved with women from my past online presented me with a variety of problems, particularly when it came to so-called social media platforms. The reason being, was each of them became aware of each other's presence. I had nothing to hide, as I said earlier, but hadn't considered the possibility that they might not like each other at some point. I'd known each of them separately in the past, but now there was a collective intermingling taking place. Looking back on it now, I realize I blindly put my foot in it. I'd been so focused on what I was working on, before any of them showed up, that I paid no attention to the now obvious stupidity of it.

Early on it was Paula who started calling me on the telephone, just to say hi occasionally, and we'd talk about the old days in the 60's, and how we'd met. The more I talked to her, the more details I remembered about that specific time. She'd been one of the few people who was actually present at some of the "Color Him In" recording sessions, which, according to her, she remembered fondly. As for me, it was more a memory of the work I did rather than who was there.

As time went by, and the calls from Paula continued, there were conversations where I erupted in anger to some of her remarks about the old days in West Hollywood. One of them had to do with me being on the 11th story ledge, or roof, of the Continental Hyatt House on Sunset Blvd. in the 70's. She told me she'd driven by as it was happening, but said she didn't know it was me up there until later in the day. I asked her why she hadn't tried to contact me after she found out? She said she'd heard I was up on the Hyatt House demonstrating against record companies.
"What?" I yelled, "I was up there because I was going to commit suicide goddamn it!"
"I didn't know that at the time," she said, "I just heard it was a stunt."
"Well even if it was a fucking stunt, as you call it, why didn't you try to get in touch with me if you cared so fucking much?"
I never really got an answer to my question that day, but the feeling I got from that call never left me.

In another telephone conversation she told me she had been at a house in Laurel Canyon, in 1980, when I was there playing/singing with some musicians and song writers. I hadn't seen her since 1967, and had no idea she was there. According to her, as she told me about this, her hair was a different color, she'd been married, had a couple of kids, "and I was a lot older," she said.
I was pretty confused when she told me about it, and asked,
"If you knew it was me Paula, why didn't you say something?" 
"Because I didn't like the outfit I had on that day and didn't like the way I looked," she said, "so I didn't say anything, and I didn't know if you'd even remember me!"
Huh? If I cared about someone as much as she claimed to care about me, and I ran into them thirteen years later at a house in the canyon, I think I would have said something no matter how I looked, but that's me. My response to this news was that it kind of pissed me off and I said so at the time. I questioned the fact that she could care so deeply if she couldn't even say hello when she'd been in the same house with me. 

As far as Sharon went, she'd taken to emailing me on a regular basis. I couldn't handle another set of telephone calls, so I never let that get started with her as I had with Paula. Sharon also said she'd always loved me, and said she'd named her son, from her marriage to some other guy, "Jameson," but again, it was all news to me when I heard it. In both the case of Sharon and Paula there was one clear fact that stood out to me. The claim that "I was always in love with you" that I was hearing from both of them now had not been present back in the 60's. I don't mean to belittle what they said their feelings were, but history notes that both had suddenly disappeared from my life by their own choice. One day they were there and the next day they were not. So love had not been so clear back then, or so it seemed to me.

Georgianna was a different case altogether. I had had no love interest in her whatsoever, at least that I could recall. I met her in 1966 on the strip, and I only know that because I saw us together in some film footage ( still picture at top of post) from "Mondo Hollywood" on youtube. We were walking through the Beverly Hills Court House together when I was on trial for disturbing the peace at Ben Franks coffee shop on Sunset Blvd. Bob Cohen filmed some of the trial and it ended up in his movie. Other than that I have no recollection of Georgianna being in my life until 1980. But on myspace, and then facebook in 2008 onward, she acted as if we'd been life long friends. I remember thinking what is this broad's trip? Even Georgianna was surprised by the "Mondo Hollywood" pictures of her and I together, so she hadn't recalled it either, until I posted the pictures on fb.

The one thing I've learned about people from my past, without exception, is that each of them have recollections that don't square with my own. I stand on my set of facts and details regarding what I say actually took place. If someone has a different version, and I'm sure that they will, let them put it forth if they'd like, and I will post it. If they remember things differently than I do, I understand, but I am writing about what I recall. I have no need to alter anything, because the facts themselves paint an extremely clear picture.


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Friday, February 13, 2015

(part 282) NOT TOO MANY




From myspace to facebook in 2008 was a move I made, because back then, myspace was having technical problems that were horrendous. I spent more time trying to make the site work than I did using it for posting work. I know it is called social media, myspace and facebook, but socializing was not what I was doing on either of them in the beginning. They were a means to and end in my mind, and a way to post songs, and this blog, in a place where people could see and here the work I had done, and was doing. I guess some would argue that I was socializing by doing it on those venues, and I get that, but for me, in my way of thinking, myspace and fb were simply technical apparatus that I used to post work on. I did try to make contact with Joe Foster from Rev-Ola Records on myspace, but did not succeed. It wasn't until I moved to facebook that I began communicating with him at all.

On facebook, in 2008, the battle between me and Rev-Ola Records had surfaced around the internet. It was not a secret anymore, and people started choosing sides in the matter. Because of this, I came into contact with people who would have otherwise been disinterested in me all together. Joe had his own following, because of all his work, and I was quickly accumulating one because of the album "Songs Of Protest" and Joe's connection to it. There was no way to mince words about the subject. It was two distinct camps that refused to budge on either side. As I began to gain ground in the nonstop war of words, my friend's list grew and grew on fb. The more people, the louder the volume. It was the beginnings of the social part of the equation for me. By then, Paula, who followed me to facebook from myspace, had become an ardent supporter of mine, as were others. Sharon also migrated to fb, along with Georgianna.

Throughout all of this, the blog, myspace, facebook, and youtube, I suffered with 24-hour a day headaches, which I constantly complained of in writing. I made it as clear as I could to people that everything I did was under duress. I threatened to call it quits so many times I lost count, because of the headaches and the comments on the blog. The one thing I never got good at, and still haven't, were the comments from strangers about what an asshole I was for complaining about Rev-Ola Records and Joe Foster, as well as other subjects I wrote about. On facebook the same kind of comments became prevalent. I would erupt in fits of anger and attack the attackers with a vengeance. I was incensed by those who thought it fair game for Rev-Ola not to pay me for the reissue of "Songs Of Protest." I quickly acquired a reputation for verbal combat, and a willingness to delete anybody who came to my profile page to attack me or side with Joe Foster.

There was far more method than madness to this tactic than meets the eye. I figured that if asking for my share of revenue from the "Songs Of Protest" cd reissue was not getting anywhere, then I'd just flat out beat the shit out of Joe Foster and Rev-Ola verbally, and turn the whole mess into a public free-for-all.  Interestingly enough, that actually worked quite well. It didn't get me paid in dollars, but it did give me a real platform from which to speak about the subject of foreign companies reissuing American made music without payment to those who originally created it. From my standpoint I had already been ripped off by Surrey Records and Randy Wood in the 60's, and wasn't in the mood to stand around silently and let a new group of thieves do it again. So the basis of my attitude on facebook was directly linked to the fight over "Songs Of Protest."

As more and more people became aware of me through facebook, the reason for being on facebook kept changing. Other records of mine, and music I'd written and recorded in the past, that no one had ever known about, began to accumulate their own attention. In many cases there was praise for some of this work and less interest in my battle with Rev-Ola and Joe Foster. I had to learn to incorporate this other interest into my own thinking, which was, admittedly, locked into Joe Foster at the time. The more recognition there was for other work, the less my original intent meant to the world of instantaneous friends on fb. The world began shrinking there as fb increased it's reach around the world. The number of people who showed up daily was daunting to say the least. I never envisioned anything like what was happening. I had to learn how to fathom it as it was happening.

From a nobody blog to myspace, and then facebook, my life altered with each new day. I was getting a lot of friend requests and offers for interviews, but had no idea of how to deal with it. So too, another album from the 60's "Color Him In" had been reissued as a cd, and that came with it's own set problems. In 2009 I got even sicker, and had emergency surgery to remove a grapefruit sized aneurysm from my abdominal aorta. This, on top of the 24-hour daily headaches, nearly killed me. It was hard to live in my body at that point. It was like a torture chamber of pain. In the hospital, no one from San Luis Obispo came to see me, with the exception of my mother, a neighbor, and a single member of N A... It was another one of those moments in life, where I got to see who really gave a shit, and as usual the answer was, "Not too many!



It was Paula who called me when I was in the hospital. I remember being surprised at the fact that she did. I felt as though she had stepped forward from the rest of the crowd, and made her interest in me more concrete with that action. I was too sick to talk much, but it was the idea that she did it that impressed me. It made knowing her more real than just comments and messages on facebook and the blog

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

THE CHAIR

 


i took her
picture down
and put it
away in a
cabinet
along with a
small box
of trinkets
she'd sent
to me
so many
years ago,
so many
smiles ago,
so many lies ago...
i'd begun
feeling
uncomfortable
at some point
like the
other man
in her life
like a once
favorite chair
now placed
in another
room…
occasionally
she'd come
by and
sit with me
but quickly
vanish
and i would
return to
waiting
and hoping...


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(part 281) LOST TO HISTORY



So it had been the the reissue of Songs Of Protest as a cd out of England that had gotten me interested in the internet in the first place, otherwise I never would have started when I did. I came with a vengeance when I came, and was prepared to get shitty about it, and did. The reason being, Joe Foster had shined me on for five years and refused to make contact with me. My attitude had worsened overtime because of it, so my anger at him was pretty much front and center when I showed up. I used to visit sites on the internet where people talked about music and records. I happened upon one and the topic was me, and Joe Foster was their guest. I joined as a new member and started putting in my two-cents worth about Rev-Ola and Joe, and it basically blew up in my face. This happened more than once. So out of frustration I finally turned to the blog where I could say what I wanted.

I had no plan, I just started at the beginning. I hadn't asked for the blog, it was part of Google. They used to give it to you automatically when you got an gmail account. It was just there. It used to pop up all the time. A big orange and white page that sat for months with nothing on it. So that day in November of 2007 I started writing. At first it was "The Life And Times Of Bobby Jameson," which still exists, but then I got this one and called it "Bobby Jameson." I talked about being a kid in Tucson with my brother Bill, and how we liked music and learned to play. I moved it right along and wrote about going to Hollywood as a wide eyed kid with no experience of street-life or the music business. I wrote about how I made my first record and left disillusioned, and then came back a year later and hit it big.

I never really thought anyone would pay attention to what I wrote on it, but I was wrong...they did. Overtime it grew into something I'd never envisioned. People read it and left comments, and the  comments drove me crazy. I didn't know how to respond to them, so I responded to all of them, bad and good. I didn't know how to control them with settings, so they just kept coming in. At times it was like a barroom brawl on the blog. The anonymous commenters would egg me on and I'd fall for it over and over again. Many were lost over the years through editing the entire blog, but some I removed for personal reasons. Things change, people change, and feelings change. Some who
supported me years ago changed their minds about me. Got bored with of me! Got rid of me! It was a choice that was difficult for me to make, but I made it. I made it because reading some of those comments from years ago brought back memories and feelings of better times that I now question the validity of. I avoided the blog because those comments felt like lies. Perhaps they were not, but in my life too many promises were broken, and almost always by those I trusted. So the comments, certain of them, are gone by design.

The luxury of yesterday's today may at times only be seen in our tomorrows. Things that were taken for granted at one time become incredibly important later on...after they are lost to history. In my life I have witnessed this too many times, in too many ways. The soft tender voices become the crowd of naysayers and scoffers. The radiant armor tends to rust and tarnish in the dim dampness of neglect. I got here broken from the start and freely admitted it. I had no allies or compatriots, no backers or friends, no money or power, other than my words and history. I was only as good as my last write and always flawed. I came alone to do battle, not by choice so much, but by consequence. I longed always
for assistance that never came.

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