divisadero

i’ve had these videos on my camera forfuckingever. cause i could never get them downloaded or uploaded anywhere. well, things have managed to work out and i’ve done both. this is divisadero, as sung by liam davis and steve frisbie of frisbie. this song was both salve and wound in the days right after psych ward land, when all my world was turned upside down.

i had just gotten out of a fucking psych ward, for one. i was being told i was manic-depressive, i’d have to take psychotropics to be okay, i was taking a leave of absence of work to get my shit together, and the three people who were nearest and dearest to me were taking a leave of absence from me. i didn’t know what was up and what was down. making things all a lot more difficult in retrospect, was that i was staying dry for that summer. untreated alcoholism is a fucking bitch. especially when there’s no real spiritual solution and no fucking alcohol.

the first thing i did when i got out of the psych ward was head up to pops highwood to hear steve and liam play. kelly c picked me up in the beautiful blue old volvo and we took to the streets. and the summer of agony began. this song was a theme song for everything that was going wrong — its minor key, its achingly beautiful harmonies, the lyrics that eerily matched my current situation — “i’m in the way, so stop pretending … i’m out of sight, the better to show you what it means to be free … if you want to leave for something better…”

it turned out that my paranoid imaginings of the summer had actually manifested themselves into a self-fulfilling prophecy. two of the people i loved most loved each other, and were headed off to the land of the divisadero. they were leaving me ‘out of sight’ for ‘something better.’ and i had only frisbie lyrics with which to comfort myself. at the time, bitter comfort indeed. by the same turn, the co-writer of the song, eddie carlson, was also leaving for something and the band was doing a slow descent and morphing into something else, disintegrating only to eventually rise out of the ashes into something even better than before. just like i would.

i bear no grudge for all that happened. if everything didn’t go the way it did, i wouldn’t be sober now. i wouldn’t have the life i do now. i wouldn’t be back into a spiritual way of life with a higher power that continually amazes me. after an acoustic gig at simon’s the other night, talk turned to how long i’ve known steve and liam and talk turned to magic moments at pops and how we’d drive out there and who always came and my roommate’s name came up. they asked what she was up to. i told them and mentioned she was living in the city. looks of surprise crossed their faces and one said, “we had mad crushes on her. why isn’t ol’ girl coming to a show?” i laughed and rolled my eyes and said i didn’t know.

i don’t know much these days. but i know this is still a great song.

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