If It Keeps On Raining

I

Sorry I missed another week last week.

It didn’t feel right to post anything about anything as we mourned George Floyd. It didn’t feel right to post anything about anything as the world poured out into the streets in protest of another black man being killed by people we pay to protect and serve.

The global pandemic isn’t getting better, but we’ve gone back to business as usual. Or at least too many of us have.

I went back to working in an office last week. I don’t like it. It feels ridiculous. I spent 3 months holed up in my house for what? To be exposed as cases are rising? What did the last 3 fucking months even mean, then?

I’m not super close to other humans at my desk and people wear masks in meetings, so that is good. I just can’t get out of there fast enough in the afternoon. My hands are feeling the effects of being coated in gallons of sanitizer.

There is also a pretty bumpy transition from being isolated to not being isolated. I’m already an introvert.

After being in my house for 3 months, I have an appreciation for agoraphobics. I just want to be here. All the time.

Going back to a full time schedule was like being thrown in the deep end of the pool to learn to swim. I’m still not okay with it.

So, the world is on fire.

Racism and ugliness are presented to us on a daily basis.

It doesn’t appear that the police have slowed down on killing black men since George Floyd was crushed to death.

We’re dying from a virus and we still have to deal with the stupid president.

If it keeps on raining, the levee’s gonna break.

Which brings me to this.

In the midst of this fucking global shitshow, Randy and I discovered a Youtube channel that we cannot get enough of. Jamal AKA Jamel. His show is called Reactions and he watches music videos and, well, reacts to them.

I could try all day long and still not tell you how very much I love this man. He is genuine and you can feel his appreciation of all the music. He exudes kindness and openness.

For me, it’s like getting to hear songs that I’ve known for decades again for the first time. I watched him listen to When The Levee Breaks and actually laughed in places. I knew what was coming up and I knew  I was going to get to see him light up. It made me feel so good to watch him that I’ve cried more than once. I laughed more, though.

Laughing is good.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to revisit these old classics and hear and see them through someone else’s experience. The universe has been a total dick lately, but I’m counting finding this young man as a gift from the universe.

As an added bonus, I learned something huge from watching his videos. We watched his reaction to Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones which included the lyrics.

I have always loved this song. Merry Clayton owns this song. Her backup vocals are amazing. But did I hear them right? No. No, I did not. All these years, I thought she was singing “Ohhh, children” not “War children”. I also thought she was singing “Heeeey baby…it’s just a shot away” not “Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away”.

Well, the words make the song a tad bit more dark, doesn’t it?

Also, it doesn’t hurt to really listen to the shit you’ve been listening to for years, because it’s possible that you haven’t been hearing it.

I’m watching as I write this. I had to stop for a while and watch Born On The Bayou by Creedence Clearwater Revival and then Me And Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin. 

So, watching this channel has been a balm for both me and Randy. We have watched hours of his shows. I turned someone I work with on to him and he went down the rabbit hole as well. I was so happy to be able to share it with him.

And now I am happy to share with you. I truly hope you carve out 30 minutes or so and watch his videos.

Personally, I’d like to see him watch Know Your Rights by The Clash and Watching The Detectives by Elvis Costello.

Anyway, I am grateful for Jamal AKA Jamel and I’m glad he is on this planet. Comfort is in short supply these days.

I hope you are all finding comfort where you can.

Also, if it keeps on raining, the levee is gonna break.

#SayHisName #GeorgeFloyd #BLM #BlackLivesMatter

 

Photo courtesy of Yves Bernardi

 

 

 

 

 

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6 comments

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  • Wow, so cool! During Youtube pandemicking, I discovered Jamal, too. Their seem to be a lot of “reaction video” channels, but this is the only one I can stand, and also really enjoy. Just watched his take on “Dust in the Wind”. He is one cool, genuine person, and a great comfort, as you say.

  • Thanks for the introduction! He looks truly amazed at a lot of what he hears! Could our generation play some music or what!?! Although I’ve looked everywhere (it seems), but the long intro into When The Levee Breaks is a harmonica. Most of the YouTube videos I’ve watched start right at the beginning of the song, and on one tour, they used a Hurdy-Gurdy (yeah, I had to look it up). There are very few (just 1 that I could find) that actually showed the band playing instead of background or still pictures.

    Happy you’re back. Hope your State’s stats stay constant – unlike ours (Florida) who seem to be doubling up again.

  • I just spent an hour and a half down the Jamal AKA Jamal rabbit hole (please don’t tell my boss). Watching Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” with him was so emotional I had to follow it with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. That was wonderful – soul cleansing. Thank you.

  • Yeah, all hell has broken loose, and thank my lucky stars that we moved up on this mountainside when we did.
    And… I love that guy! He reminds me a little of another of those reaction videos I saw of someone hearing Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time. Definitely a joy to re-experience hearing powerful music for the first time.
    As for Gimme Shelter, Mark Brockwell, the other guitar player in the band I was in when I was a teenager, tried to get his girlfriend to sing those backups and she demurred because she wasn’t comfortable singing those lyrics.
    It sucks that you have to go to the office again, this shit is all happening way too soon, and what’s worse, Fergus is compounding the problem by cutting off the expanded UI benefits that have been the saving grace for the workforce in an effort to force them back to work.
    To paraphrase another Led Zeppelin song, his time is gonna come…

  • I really like how Jamal AKA Jamel is serious and thoughtful in talking about the songs he listens to, and draws on his experiences of working concerts. So many “reactions” videos on YouTube are sarcastic or just for laughs, and laughter is okay, and he does get some humor in there, but he’s very sincere, even if he slips in an occasional joke. We really could use more of that now.
    Unfortunately I think we’ve hit the point where the levee is gonna break, if it’s not already breaking. I just hope we have the good sense to put something better in its place.

By Michelle

Michelle

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