Sunday, August 27, 2006


Caroline and I had the most delightful dinner the other night at Indochine here with my old friend, the legendary Andrew Loog Oldham, who was in town on a short visit.

I have mentioned the former Rolling Stones producer/manager/Immediate Records honcho and current Sirius Radio DJ (broadcasting all the way from his current home base in Bogota) before in earlier blogs--but really, how best to do justice to this one-man evolutionary/revolutionary absolute force of nature?

Suffice to say, in all my comings and goings doin' time on planet earth, there are only a handful of people in the music business who I can honestly say have struck me as total originals--eccentric, brilliant, larger than life characters the likes of whom I never have before encountered--and most likely, never will again.

Don Van Vliet (a/k/a Captain Beefheart) is one, Vivian Stanshall (Bonzo Dog Band) another, Arthur Russell (minimalist dance/pop genius) a third--and Andrew Loog Oldham? Not being a musician himself (unless you count the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra albums, from one of which the sample that fuels The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" derives), he stands apart from them, and yet is of them, and in a sense bee/gat them--having almost single-handedly created the conditions under which their art could flourish, by thoroughly shaking up and re-inventing the moribund pop music business from the ground up in the early 60's...

Plus his productions from the Golden Age of the Rolling Stones, including "The Last Time", "Satisfaction", "As Tears Go By", "Get Off My Cloud", "Let's Spend the Night Together", "Paint It, Black", "Mother's Little Helper", and most especially, "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow", stand as eternal, neo- Wagnerian monuments of magnificent sonic architecture on the Rebellious Jukebox of all time's mind (don't forget, his production company was at one time called Impact Sound)...

Anyway, Andrew was in town to do (amongst other things) a 4 hour interview with Little Steven on working with the Stones for an upcoming Sirius special--and not having seen him for many a year I am delighted to report that he looked absolutely fantastic, immaculately kitted out in a pin-striped summer seersucker jacket on one occasion and dark-jacketed with a baby blue beveled tie worn over a baby blue shirt on another--

and the Loog was in rare form indeed, both at the lunch I had with him earlier this week at Un, Deux, Trois (his former surrogate office/hangout during the on-again off-again times he lived in NYC) and at Indochine--and I can't really do jutice to his manic, scurrillous, nonstop verbal shpritz, which skewered current and ancient sacred pop cows left and right and had me, Caroline, Billboard's Jim Bessman and Andrew's young filmmaker friend rolling on the floor--except to say he delivered like a Gatling gun one hilarious, penetrating pop apercu after another...

Andrews' still got It, in spades...and boy does the world need it, now more than ever--I urge you to please seek out his double-barrelled autobiography "Stoned" and "2Stoned", both volumes of which are available on, and catch his Sirius Radio show from noon to 3pm and 6 to 8pm every Saturday on Little Steven's Underground Garage network there on Sirius Channel 25) lovers, record collctors and pop historians are currently bootlegging airchecks of his show, prizing them as the Grail, and circulating and passing them around like samizdat literaure...



ps another old friend the songwriter, producer and guitarist Jon Tiven and his wife Sally were up from Nashville this week backing their latest collaborator P.F. Sloan on guitar and bass respectively at a showcase for his new album (which Jon produced) at Joe's Pub. P.F. Sloan is the guy responsible for writing (with his then partner Steve Barri) such fondly recalled classics as "Secret Agent Man" and the eternal "Eve of Destruction", and he was making a rare live appearance in NYC, his first in many years, in support of his new album (he was in good voice, and his band was rocking, with alternating drummers, including Dennis Diken from The Smithereens). Jon (who's written hits for Buddy Guy and Robert Cray among others) and Sally both looked great Quite a few folks came to check this gig out--including former Zoo World editor/ Columbia Records publicity maven Arthur Levy, music writer Billy Altman, Harmonia Mundi's Rene Goiffon and wife just in from Paris, industry vet Bruce Dickinson, fondly remembered Ordinaires drummer Joe Dizney, and Joe's Pub booker and all around good guy Bill Bragin, with whom I shared a smile over the fact that the Dylanesque singer/songwriter in shades only once removed his harmonica holder during his entire hour-plus set...


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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Never Drink...Wine

Semi-recovered now from a little Bacardi-fueled weekend jaunt to lovely Romania, a country I was fascinated by as a lad due to its deep Dracula connection--Voivode Drak-cool, whose dark mythopoetic shadow loomed large in my youthful cosmogony (it's true, at a tender age I knew deep down-- "where the wild things are"-- that when I grew up, I wanted to be either a vampire or a rabbi...)

My own earliest libidinous stirrings were engendered/provoked by the 1960 black and white cinema spectacle of #1 alltime femme fatale luscious Barbara Steele gasping writhing and heaving on her slab in Mario Bava's "La Maschera del Demonio" a/k/a "Black Sunday", commanding Dr, Kruvajan to embrace her ("the grave's a fine and proper place" indeed--speaking of which, one fondly recalls the Fantasy Lp cover for "The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce", which depicts Lenny's Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe du Forest Lawn in lurid, appropriately nauseating 50's color supplement tones)...

I was also hooked by Bram Stoker's florid description of the stalking and virtual rape of Renfield by the 3 weird sister predators who inhabit Castle Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola made quite a meal of this in his '92 take on the Count, where one of the 3 vampirellas who molests Keanu Reeves is portrayed by a then relatively unknown Monica Bellucci--but nothing really beats the heat generated by foaming-at-the-fangs Christopher Lee and his fetching toothsome brides in the '57 House of Hammer's "Horror of Dracula").

"Blood is the rose of mysterious union"...

Back to the present-- this here jetski to Romania was a quickie :-)...and due to the security snafu at Heathrow my 8pm flight from JFK on Thursday night was delayed for hours, meaning I would miss my Saturday morning London to Bucharest after frantically searching for an alternate flight route for an hour, I eventually located an 11pm Austrian Airlines NY to Vienna flight with an ongoing connection to Bucharest at 1:30pm the next day...and was cosmically thwarted again as the heavens came tumbling down, down just as we pulled into JFK at 9pm for check-in...the sky was crying for sure, the torrential rain, thunder and lightning delaying my flight for 3 more tedious hours.. finally we took off around 2:30am, and thus I missed my connecting flight in Vienna...I finally pulled into Bucharest at 11pm Friday night on a late flight out of Vienna after enduring the rather spartan hospitality of the Wien Flughafen departure lounge for 5 long hours :-(:-(:-(

But--things perked up considerably upon clearing customs in Bucharest, and my spirits soared once more--as awaiting me outside was a mysterious black coach and horses with a pale, cadaverous, top-hatted livery driver up top...

Actually it was a looooong stretch limo, a white one with "Bacardi B-Live" emblazoned on the side... and inside the plush leather upholstered interior--replete with slowly changing fibre-optic psychedelic lighting, and the requisite ice buckets/fluted champagne glasses/lavishly stocked mini-bar/color tv dvd player and cd stereo (and lotsa Bacardi of course)-- was sexy London fire-dancer Katie and a new acquaintance, the beautiful Swedish VJ Anna, both of whom had flown out of Heathrow successfully that morning and had been cruising around Bucharest for hours waiting for me to show--

The gals proved delightful traveling companions for the next 3 hours as our chauffeur packed my '66 Strat, my Monster Case (Jason Candler calls it "Henry", Richard 'Faust' Mader "The Flying Mary") and my various Gladstone bags in the boot and together we sailed into the mystic, the starry black night enshrouding the largely unseen-to-these-eyes-to-this-day (sad to say) city of Bucharest, accelerating to comfortable cruising speed and hurtling on down the highway through the Borgo Pass (just kidding) en route to Mamaia, the largest resort town on the Black Sea (Jerry Harrison told me to keep an eye out for beachfront property on this trip, as apparently you can still find on the Black Sea beaches of Romania and Bulgaria some of the coolest and cheapest beachfront for sale in the world--true also of Cambodia apparently) ... we made our driver stop at several 24-hour gas stations to pick up necessary vittles (a/k/a rider food) like crisps, nuts, fruit, chocolate, and sandwiches, then busted out the rum and coke(s) and Kristal and some other unnameable pick-me-ups and yes by G my mood doth improveth considerably, I could--finally--really relax, stretch out, and luxuriate in the splendid feeling of yet another stealth crossing of yet another border, and Katie and Anna were excellent company indeed throughout the night...

Nuts, anyone? Gary and fire-dancer Katie, limo ride from Bucharest to the Black Sea, 8/11/06

Gary and VJ Anna on the road to Mamaia Romania

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

We pulled into Mamaia by the sea at 2am, and I was riveted immediately by the visible non-stop action going on/ going down on both sides of the main drag which abutted the beach front--think Italian Riviera with a smidgeon of Croatia's Istrian seacoast resort villages thrown into the mix, and you wouldn't be far off the map--winking and blinking garish neon casinos, throbbing mating ritual-type clubs, and glitzed-out holiday hotels stretched along the sea coast for miles, tanned and buffed beach boyz 'n gurls were observed in various states of deshabille bopping in full-on party mode down the boulevards (Friday night in full effect here for sure)...our limo eventually pulled into the Hotel Malibu, and the flirtatious check-in clerk at the front desk gifted me with a largish suite replete with Jacuzzi and a spectacular view--and after checking out the hotel's outdoor disco-on-the-beach, and after dipping my big toe into the Black Sea for a temperature check (not too cold at all), I collapsed and passed out on the kingsize bed with the tv on--and after being up straight and not so for about 48 hours, it was good brothers and sisters-- it was good...

Woke to a sunny sky-blue summer morning in Mamaia (cue Jonathan Richman's "Summer Morning" here), Cosmo was due to arrive later that day with our percussionist Shovell and head straight from the airport to our afternoon soundcheck at the Kristal Club-- but lo she and he and new female tour manager Danielle were grounded in London as BA canceled more outbound flights at Heathrow...

So bereft of our fearless female leader me and Katie and Anna headed over to the club with our man Yasmin from Bacardi Vienna who came along for the lig...and after setting up my gear on a stage in front of the DJ booth and having Anna subbing for Cosmo preview the tracks over the house PA (which would have to be played as mp3's not turntabled vinyl, tracks which would not get the benefit of the tender ministrations of Cosmo's talented hands mixing and blending them) we headed for a stroll down the beach and a sumptuous lunch at an outdoor Italian joint called La Fattoria (this is Roman-ia, remember?)...

Soundcheck, Kristal Club

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

then it was back to the Malibu for a swim and some sun on the hotel's topless/stopless private beach...and then we made a final return to the Kristal Club at 9pm where we hunkered down for the night while the tech support crew did last minute adjustments to their laser light show, 20 vid screens, artifical waterfalls etc., Katie set up her pyrotechnic Poi paraphernalia, and I clocked the local DJ who had a bad Sasha and Digweed jones...

Hotel Malibu beach

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

I then shmoozed/made the nice with the uniformidable Bacardi meat 'n greet girls, local babes who resembled nothing so much as elegant, fine racehorses (not an ounce of body fat on their tall, lanky perfectly pouting Eastern European frames)...the girls were later to semi-rudely nudge Katie off the runway o'er-arching one of the indoor pools in front of the bandstand (from where I could observe Katie twirling and breathing fire during our show), girls just wanted to strut their considerable stuff and dance and prance to the sub-Digweed jive the house dj kept pushing on everyone... their dancing was so-so, but eye-candy for sure, as they kept changing their uniforms upstairs off the chill-out lounges, and had now morphed into twinkling visions in white...

We three finally went on at 2am Sunday morning, my guitar brashly blasting forth over the super-cranked rhythm tracks, a clarion call that immediately gathered up my now customary contingent of air guitar players and entranced dancers to the edge of the stage scoping every flick of my wrist...and so it went for a couple hours although we were asked to depart for a break in the middle while they brought back the house dj for some more mindless click and thuddery for fear our little momente musicale would actually lose some of the crowd, but yea verily upon hitting again around 3:30am we stellar got our groove back and I got the best crowd reaction yet from these Carpathian Children of the Night, sensuous male/female Corybantic ravers gathered directly in front of me and rockin' in rhythm, it's always such a pleasure to adjust and direct my guitar's trajectory and play directly to Faces and Bodies up close and personal in the crowd (my aim is true...)

Bacardi poster boy Gary

Bacardi poster girl Katie

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

Breakdown time. me on the cusp of exhaustion, a quick return to the hotel for a shower and 20 minute nap--

and then it was "get back in the van" (I mean limo) and the 3 of us stretched out on the long leather divans in back to nap as one as the sun came up and suddenly it was 3 hours later and we were somehow at the airport and I said goodbye to my two compatriots and bleerily made my way onto the Austrian Airlines flight back to Vienna and yes! Yasmin had booked me into Business Class-- and having 4 hours to kill once I got to Wien I decided to take a 20 minute fast train from the bowels of the airport into the city center but as it was Sunday Vienna's peepers be tight shut in the main but I had little trouble finding a nice clean doner 'n wurst stand and feasted on an excellent brat mit brot und senf (White's Deli in New Haven used to have a little paper sign at each table advertising their specialty: "Fat Frank on a Hard Roll"--not a bad meta-description of my Yale buddy Frank Jones, who began his History Dept. senior essay with the sagacious-in-retrospect line: "History has all too often witnessed the gallopings and horn-blowings of many would-be conquerors..."--which brings a smile... and which applies equally to both sides along the Great Divide).

Wandering the empty Viennese streets I went to say a few (right) at the magnificently appointed Rochuskirche, circa 1721, one of the few joints (sorry--Houses of Worship) that was actually open there on a Sunday --said Kirche literally just down the block from 2 other Houses of the Hol(e)y, namely: a joint called Diarchy (a Goth "latex, corsets and fetish" boutique)--and also, the local "Head and Grow Shop" (a one-stop for Sensi Seeds, and related horticultural implements for the gentleman farmer)... I love Vienna!

But now it was time to head-on back, and, repeating my moves in reverse, I was directed onto the ostensibly correct underground train to the airport by an ever-so-helpful ticket seller, and after comfortably dozing off under the influence of severe jetlag (some of which was still residuum from my Indian odyssey of a few weeks ago), I woke to find myself in the charming little town of Medling-- miles and miles and miles away from the Vienna Flughafen...

and mad-dashing out of the station with only an hour to spare before my flight, I very very luckily found a taxi driver who actually was equipped to take Master(card) as I was clean out of euros and honking down the highway barely made it to the airport in the nick of etc., had the best flight back to NYC in Bizness class, serious bliss-ness, best food ever on a plane trip in oh 16 years of doing this to death on a fulltime basis, truly world-class service and then some and I relaxed reclined and read from Bulkagov's "The Master and Margarita"-- where it is writ large in the voice of a mysterious stranger (please allow me to introduce myself):

"You might ask, who governs the life of men and, generally, the entire situation here on earth?"

And here I am at the end of my spiel-sang(uin), to remind you that when in Romania--

Do as the Romanians do...

"For the blood is the life...Mr. Renfield."



ps. Please please please check out James Hillman's "A Terrible Love of War", which my Swedish friend Bertil hipped me to (you can order it for a pittance at is the former head of the CG Jung Institute and the visiting prof who astutely recognized the transcendent quality of Skip James' voice many many years ago at Yale when we played Skip's music to him, as described in one of my March blogs last year...

His book is probably the most lucid account of the current Mars madness ensorceling/afflicting our planet currently...Hillman's is a voice of clarity and sanity in a wilderness of agitprop noise coming from both sides of the fence...

pss. Web-mistress Tanya is assiduously booting up shots from my recent India trip a couple blogs back here...more photos coming soon...

pss. The Dracula/Renfield Master/Slave Diarchy is amusingly expostulated as a gay s&m relationship here ("and you need a fly's eye to see it")

pssst: re the Bulkagov line quoted above--check the colloquy of Dylan and Ed Bradley as reported in my blog of 9/08/05


Blogger munchhausen said...

Hallo Gary!
Good Summer from a "sempiternum" fan of your work. ( I refer to the Lps and Lives with Jeff, above all )
I think that your '66 Strat may be considered a terroristic weapon, on a plane. So, be carefull with your magical guitarness:-)

( Italy )

8/17/2006 5:00 PM  
Anonymous slystone said...

Hi Gary,
sorry for this off-topic..
but, I'm too curious to know.. :)

have you ever met Hasil Adkins?

8/25/2006 4:47 AM  
Blogger Gary Lucas said...

thanks for the nice words mr. munchausen--but i come in peace (yeahhh...)

nope, slystone--never met hasil adkins, but i dig "the hunch"!

and i only want to see those pics if they're of monica bellucci!


8/25/2006 8:44 AM  

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Love is the Law

Summer bloody summer--fresh on the heels of Syd Barrett's untimely demise (one shudders to think this, but as a notorious recluse for years, one wonders if Syd had trouble bearing all the recent good a play as Tom Stoppard's "Rock 'n Roll" is--and it's pretty damn good--it does indeed recount Syd's tragic decline) comes news of Arthur Lee's passing--another 60's titan come to clay.

And there was a Floyd/Love connection you know, once upon a time...Syd's monumental "Interstellar Overdrive" riff was derived from Pink Floyd's then manager Peter Jenner humming the descending sinuous raga-scale of Burt Bacharach's "My Little Red Book" --as recorded by Arthur Lee and Love in 1966-- to Syd upon Jenner's returning from a trip to the US, humming it at Syd's request in order to give him a notion as to what the cool American underground bands of the time (ie, the competition) were up to:

There ain't no girl in my little red book
Who could ever replace your charms

And Syd being Syd, he filtered and upended this second-hand, hummed riff, slowed it down, and mutated it into the cold proto-metallic shards of "Interstellar Overdrive"--where it's done its time, served it well, as the basis for such disparate tunes as Deep Purple's "Space Truckin' "and Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up".

I pointed out this Syd Barrett/Love connection a few years ago at a tribute to Burt Bacharach at the Knitting Factory, where I shared a bill with Eugene Chadbourne and we did a mad acoustic duo strum-through of "My Little Red Book" which segued into "Interstellar Overdrive" ( the title of which Syd most likely copped from Sun Ra's "Interstellar Low-Ways", another tune I've covered, on my album "Evangeline"--also live with Church of the Blood, my trio with Lukas Ligeti and James Ilgenfritz). Syd's title was in turn copped by William Gibson for his "Mona Lisa Overdrive" book.

And so it goes...

Yesterday morning I woke to the sad news of the sudden, unexpected passing of my old friend David Walley well before his time, from cardiac arrest--David was a brilliant music writer and social critic, the author of the first book about Frank Zappa, "No Commercial Potential", and an Ernie Kovacs biography. And he was about to see publication of a manuscript he'd been working on for 5 years.

Blood in my love in the terrible summer
Blood in the streets its up to my ankles

-- Jim Morrison's lyric from The Doors' "Peace Frog", which is about as good a summation of how I'm feeling these days vis a vis the reciprocal death-dealing currently on display just over the horizon...

Anyway I'm off in a few hours to Romania for a rave with Cosmo, in Mamaia--

Praying for peace,

while playing like a mofo...




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Thursday, August 03, 2006


India, mmmmmm...

...let me count the ways, thoroughly enchanting country, friendliest people I've ever met in I dont know, 25 or so countries I've performed in in lo these 16 years or so of active touring... in fact I'd say my favorite new country to visit/play in alongside Russia.

Caroline and I just got back after a marathon 25 hour schlep from Hyderabad to Mumbai to London to NYC, and we're still buzzing...our most memorable holiday after 22 years of connubial diss (I mean bliss!), South Goa near Palolem Beach a little bit of the Far Side of Paradise on the Arabian Sea, hanging there during the monsoon season didn't put a damper on our official holiday time after my Bacardi Hyderabad gig at all and actually cooled things down some/provided a respite from the unforgiving sun...and inspired some ecstatic new music I'm now in the process of teaching to Gods and Monsters...

Palolem Beach, Goa

Bargaining on the beach, Palolem

Bhaji on the Beach, Palolem


Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

between sunning and swimming we took several long meandering drives exploring the verdant lush countryside, and visited Old Goa where we paid homage to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, the Portugese Catholic missionary whose mummified remains are preserved in a glass casket and put on display once a year, our visit happened to coincide with this annual event which brought a million or so visitors there the week before according to the local papers--and at the urging of my good friend and SFX namesake the Catholic mystic playwright Francis Xavier McCarthy (check my blog account of our visit to London's Royal Festival Hall for the Cream reunion last spring) we visited the church and saw his glassy bier, upstairs were enormous creepy Dali-esque paintings depicting the life of the Saint which I was not allowed to photograph unfortunately, meanwhile Caroline having acquired a digital camera recently must have snapped a couple thousand photos on this trip some of which I hope to get round to putting up here sooner than later so watch this space...

Hotel pool in Goa

Caroline shows off her henna mendi, Goa hotel

Caroline on Canacona Beach, Goa

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

another highlight of this phase of my 3 week India escapade was attending several days of a lavish 7-day Indian Monsoon Wedding in progress when we got there, where the well to do parents of the bride flew in at least a hundred or so family members and friends from their residence in Dubai...the bride's charming great uncle Sunil met us one night in the business center of our hotel where were doing our internet checking ritual, started chatting us up as friendly people do--and delighted to discover that Caroline originally hailed from Swiss Cottage (he was originally from Maida Vale) invited us to several spectacularly over-the-top feasts and parties replete with fortune tellers, live music, DJs, friends of the newly weds disco-dancing/ acting out a pantomime depicting the history of the couple's engagement, their courtship ritual etc. like a Bollywood production number (great cable tv there, about 15 channels devoted to non-stop Bollywood musicals), it was fun and games galore (and Caroline got a temporary henna'ed hand tattoo)--and then eventually the wedding itself which was unlike anything I'd ever experienced in that department, a marching brass band in full Indian military drag turned up to make a big bad noise and to lead the guests in a mad processional march into the wedding proper, people sat and chatted loudly throughout the many hours long drawn out ceremonial tableau and dozed off and went out for Chai Tea Marsala and for a couple hours nap and returned to watch the bride and groom bedizened in beautiful ancient ceremonial regalia make their vows (seems everyone brought with them about 20 changes of sari and evening dress which they proceeded to display throughout the week)--we felt quite privileged to be a part of the event, never of us had ever seen or been privy to a wedding remotely like this anywhere (must have cost a cool mill at least) and the other guests were quite friendly and solicitous once they got used to our presence there (the skeletons at the feast) and really went out of their way to make us feel part of the extended wedding family by the end...

Hindu wedding, Goa

Wedding party

Wedding party dance

Wedding dance depicting couple's engagement

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

yes Goa was really cool but after 10 days of sybaritic decadence (only marred every time I read a newspaper or turned on CNN) it was time to head north--


City Palace, Udaipur

View from City Palace of Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur

Open air market, Udaipur

Holy hipster, Shortcut and unidentified, Udaipur

Shokat and Gary and Shokat's amazing moto-rickshaw

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

and I can honestly say that NOTHING really prepared us for the delights and charms of Rajahstan's Udaipur--the Jewel in the Crown, fairytale "City of the Lakes", lush rolling hills and dales, glistening palaces perched on mountainsides and freestanding in the middle of pearly lakes, ancient Hindu temples, peacocks monkeys elephants camels wild deer wild boar cows and water buffalos abounding/roaming freely everywhere --absolutely mystical/transcendent countryside (thank you Inderbir for the timely tip which I am happy to pass along to you dear reader "if you ever plan to motor East...")

Peacock unfurled, Maharanah's Summer Palace gardens

Peacock Hunt, Udaipur

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

we hookled up early on with Shokat ("Short Cut"), the owner/daredevil driver of a motorized rickshaw, which was really the way to go, he zipped us about in and out of the winding narrow city alleyways and backstreets that snake through Udaipur and which a normal taxi couldn't negotiate with the offhand finesse of a street magician, climbing far up into the hills to the astral heights of the Monsoon Palace one morning with its see for miles view of an edenic mountainous terrain and rubbed shoulders with approaching storm clouds, on the way down the mountain a family of about 15 long-tailed monkeys dropped out of a tree directly ahead of us and preened and groomed themselves on the guardrail overlooking the vertiginous drop into the forested nature preserve far below-- we stopped and gazed in wonderment as one mama monkey suckled her little humanoid baby while the rest of the family hopped down around them from the huge overhanging tree, seemingly oblivious to us, but we got just a shade too close--and then suddnely big daddy grimaced and bared his teeth fiercely and hissed at us loudly (not unlike the opening sequence of Kubrick's 2001) and we left very quickly indeed!

Attack monkey and child, and a solo monkey, Monsoon Palace Nature Preserve, Udaipur 7/25/06

Gary and Caroline, Monsoon Palace Nature Preserve, Udaipur

Do the camel walk, Udaipur

Sacred cow, Udaipur

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

Shokat filled our days with a riot of new vistas sounds scents and colours, a kaleidoscopic jumble of pleasing sensory overload, coltranesque impressions that when I (eventually) get over my jetlag I'll be able to happily sort through better--

Hermaphroditic dancers at Festival of Balaji, Udaipur, 7/28/06

Gary and Caroline, gateway to street Festival of Balaji

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

but other standouts were a late humid evening visit to a Hindu street fair in honor of the god Balaji, fairy lights festooning the ancient street lamps, hanging over tents, a chaotic crowd milling about this marketplace by day, small tabernacles set up housing iconic representations of Balaji. a big family night out as a large crowd gathered to watch two hermaphodritic dancers in beautiful silk robes whirling gaily in front of a low stage filled with Indian street musicians crouching over their instruments, making a wonderful thumping drone, a hypnotic cermonial fog of nightmusic, tabla, shenai, electric zithers, harmoniums and ecstatic vocal melismas pouring forth from the small stage like nothing I'd ever heard before (really)--and I strolled up to watch them play upclose, first hand, and caught their eyes, and they smiled broadly and gave me the thumbs up sign of recognition for my avid obvious appreciation of the splendid music they were producing (and perhaps they recognized a fellow musician there)...ahhhhhhhh, it was all too much, really, as the george harrisong goes, on that level of ecstatic devotional joy

On the road to the Nagda Temple

7th century Nagda Temple outside Udaipur

Erotic stone frieze, Nagda Temple

Erotic stone carvings, Nagda Temple

Nagda Temple

Outside Nagda Temple

Goat run outside Nagda

Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

the next day we visited the 6th century Nagda Temple some miles outside Udaipur in the hills, a protected world heritage site that just destroyed me, in the rainy mist of another time another place we climbed up the temple steps onto a plateau of stone housing a cluster of fantastical intricately carved stone temples depicting Shiva and Vishnu and Kali and scenes from the Kama Sutra, a temple that took 350 years to carve, a mind-boggling marvel...this was followed with a visit to the very active Eklingji Temple of Shiva in the village not far from Nagda, and as it was Saturday it was filled with late afternoon worshippers, and we got a very brilliant knowledgeable young guide with an MA from Udaipur University who showed us every nook and cranny of (again) another fantastically carved stone gated enclave, I noticed a peacock perched harmoniously atop the main spire of Shiva's temple when we got there (fabulous peacocks--40 or so of them, the old caretaker told us--roamed the thick forested grounds behind our hotel, which overlooked Lake Pichora-- lake of the famous Floating Palace Hotel, lake where Roger Moore wrestled a croc in Ocotpussy--grounds which abutted the Maharanah of Rajahstan's summer retreat, where they rent out temple-like villas each with its own marble swimming pool to private guests for 3 G's a night--Blair was a guest there last year--Caroline and I went out each morning after breakie to watch them unfurling their feathered plumage), a peacock who fluttered from on high overhead and presided regally over this temple of Shiva throughout our visit there, I got into a spirited discussion with our guide about Shakti (goddess of Power, and spiritual/sexual Female energy of the universe) and told him about the Shekinah, in my opinion Shakti's Jewish counterpart/variant on the same theme (check out my instrumental "Shekinah" from my album "Busy Being Born") (our guide said both Sting and Paul McCartney had visited the temple recently, Paul in the company of pre-divorce Heather Mills)...

Lake Pichola, Udaipur India 7/26/06 | Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

what can I say--this was the Best trip I've ever been on, and the best holiday...and I will gladly return...



ps read about Syd Barrett's passing the day after we arrived in Mumbai, so I've put up a little tribute on my homepage...really sad, Syd was a huge influence on me in my youth...and as I wrote in an earlier posting about Tom Stoppard's new play "Rock 'n Roll" which posits Syd as a wraithlike Pan-Piper at the Gates of Dawn prefiguring the evolutionary shift in consciousness that helped ushed in the Czech Republic's Velvet the play over my holiday in a paperback edition from Faber and Faber (TS Eliot and Pete Townshend's old joint)--and while a bit schematic it's a good 'un overall I'd say...

"Lime and limpid green the sound's around me icy waters underground..."


Blogger universalhindu said...

nice writing or great writing?
you should have visited southern parts also

let me tell about
hindu love service awareness unity growth

8/07/2006 12:24 PM  

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