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Vance Gilbert

Random Ranting

The Audacity of Teaching-

Look, this isn’t an advertisement. Just part of what I do.
For the last 3 years my Wednesdays have been all about students in the greater Boston area learning the folk thing from me. Most see me do my performance workshops at Falcon Ridge or Rocky Mountain Song School or the like, and approach me. I like it like that, because their interest is what drives them to take the chance to get in touch with me about coaching. And oh, they are interested. Most of my students are what we’d call semi-pro. They work a few weekends a month but maintain decent day jobs too. But they are very interested in improving their stage skills, and they see me as their guy. I am grateful, as the extra income is welcome, and the look I take at them fuels me and what I do too.

Yet how dare I? Who do I think I am, teaching others how to perform and write songs? Or how to use their voice? No one of any reputation is/are covering my tunes. I have no recording contract. I play out a fair amount, but I’m not a draw like Richard Thompson, or Martin Sexton or Ellis Paul for that matter.

I’m 50 odd years old and I do have a steady career playing and singing, but does that justify my teacher status? I suppose it does, but maybe just barely. I guess it’s like parenting or anything in which you stay one step ahead of your charges.

It doesn’t take God Perfection status to get across good information. I have forever feared that horribly cynical adage of “those that can, do - those that can’t, teach”. After a long backstage chat with Michael Bacon, Kevin’s brother, and a monumental film score guy to boot - long before little brother Kevin’s movie and singing career was marquee - well, Michael said that when he first started teaching he too felt that this was where performers went to die. He had to bail on his afternoon classes at the film score school to do this gig. Then it dawned on me that we were having this chat backstage at a pretty notable New York performance club, performer to performer, opener to closer, and I went out to do my set, on a Wednesday night, having had to cancel my students for that day.

Yeah, it was a New York crowd, and I had a great set. Teachers rocked the house.

Things That Confuse Me, Make Me Mad Or That I Just Don’t Understand -

iPads
“I have an idea”, said someone in Steve Job’s office. “Lets make a huge iPhone that you can’t use as a phone really or put into your pocket, has no handles to hold on to (like a greasy ham platter on the way to the sink after Thanksgiving dinner), that also has no real keyboard, like a laptop with no lid!!”

“Great idea!!” said someone in that office he was sleeping with.

Big Belt Buckles
I just dislike them. Tin-stamped pretension that says “Hey, looks what holds up my pants!! All that is about me is leather-looped thru this thing, three inches above my junk!”

OK, I confess, maybe it’s belts I don’t like. I’ve had a muffin top body all my life, and belts have never helped. I was ranked #1 in my city 14-and-under class in tennis with my muffin top. I ran the Boston Marathon in 1982, unofficially but finishing in 4 1/2 hours with my muffin top. I teach with my muffin top (see above). But I love cargo pants with their ever-so-forgiving elastic waistband, making me feel as if I did have a waist. Bless you, cargo pants people. Can I get a matching dress jacket with that?

Speaking Of Overweight People
We are overweight. We are always lifting (our) weight. Ergo, we are always working out. Then, aren’t we in better shape by definition? It’s just not fair.

I Watch Too Much TV

I admit it. Mostly baseball when I’m working on a new model airplane. Or any of the major tennis events. And a few select shows of my own, even less select shows with her.

That said, the KFC commercial where the grandfather and the grandson are wrestling for who gets what sides - mac & cheese versus mashed potatoes and gravy - I find very, very unsettling.

I dislike too the Heineken one with Astral Galaxy Tour singing “blah blah blah blah Golden Age...yadayadayada Broadway stage..."

Grrrr. Here’s a rewrite:

I hate swingy dittys
With a fakey voice
Tryin to sell me beer
With a lot of noise….


Nessie
Fundamentalists are using the existence of the Loch Ness monster as proof positive that evolution is a sham. That’s like a guy saying since he wears a condom and the rubber for that comes from a full-grown tree that therefore it follows that his junk is huge.

Speaking Of Junk
What do they call female parts in Michigan? Must they be called something else when crossing state lines? How would it be referred to if you were arrested on the Michigan-Ohio border? Then again, am I any better? I have used the word "junk" for both male and female do-nasty anatomy parts at least 4 times. Hypocrite.

Double Standard

Why is so little said about the killing of farmer Afrikaners by rampaging Black South Africans? Why does Wikipedia address it so carefully as compared to, say, the murder of Emmet Till or the Holocaust? Why are there so many racists sites dedicated to “see how those savage Black Africans are? They were nothing till the Dutch came...”

After all the Native Africans went through, and the Christianity dominant in both cultures, you’d thing they’d all have learned to...oh never mind.

The Avengers
Bless Joss Whedon. May you always have work and an audience half as enthusiastic as I am. Will you produce my next album? Oh, and may you always let Robert Downey Jr. come up with his own lines.

Robert Downey Jr.
Speaking of whom...Quoted somewhere, re: his politics, saying, and I paraphrase: “Once you’ve spent some time in jail, you can’t come out and remain a liberal.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but if I go to jail and I come out a Republican, I pray that I’m more like Frederick Douglass and less Herman Cain...
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updated: 5 years ago