the insomniac, the end

so don’t let them tell you that you can’t fight city hall. you can. and you can win, and not have that be the last of your problems by any means.

you can have a business based on a clientele that are easily drawn away by anything cheaper than what you’re doing. you can put on great shows and have bands that demand a minimum appearance fee, and be knocked on your ass by a couple keggers across town. you can have a manager that is jealous of your business and out of the blue cannot book a band to save his life.

this manager and some friends of ours (using the term loosely) at some point decided chris was an asshole and they could do better and took it upon themselves to take over the business. i know this for a fact when the landlord told us that offers had been made to rent the place — by our employees and trusted friends. trust. huh.

but that was not the last straw. that happened when small flies started to swarm out of our smelly little floor sink. turned out that the fifty-something year old pipes under the building, all the way out to the street, had collapsed. would have required digging up the whole sidewalk to make the floor sink work once again.

five grand. did we have five grand? did we even have rent? well, no. we held a benefit, ‘save the mayfair’, but i will confess to you right now that there was no mayfair-saving possible at that juncture, not unless those nights sold out like mad. they did not. it was more, save chris and karen’s ass so they don’t become homeless people as a result of this failed venture. it did keep us off the streets.

for the last shows, chris had to stop by when he had a break from driving a taxi. it was hopeless. all was lost.

we closed in may ’94.

various interests made proposals to buy/refurbish the mayfair, but none were successful. no financial insitution was willing to trust a business plan that included rebuilding, fighting city hall (again) and making the business work.

for years after the closing, i would see the articles ‘so-and-so to take over mayfair’. never happened. they boarded the place up bigtime but the homeless still made their homes there, at one point causing a major water leak that made ruins of most of the projection room and lobby.

about a year ago, before i moved back in with chris, i was out apartement hunting downtown. as i came up to the intersection of santa clara and ash, i saw the yellow police tape around the building. the streets were still wet. there was a firetruck parked up ash street.

i pulled over, or more accurately drifted to the side of the road and stopped the car in a not-quite-parked, stunned way. i got out and walked up to the building, looked through where the front doors had been and saw charred things and sky.

i cried so fucking hard.

so today i went downtown for pictures and my camera batteries were dying. i’ll probably go back and get a picture of the front some other day, but as it is, there was a hole in one of the doors — what you’re seeing there is empty space in full daylight — the outer wall is intact but everything, everything inside is gone.

i’ll leave you with another pinching judy song, land on me:


land on me

i keep thinking about that window
the one you say you always keep closed
and i wake up fully clothed
i keep thinking i should have stayed there

you say you’re gonna go down now
because he made you feel cheated
well i will be patient
and i will defeat it

you can land on me
i can’t swear it’ll feel too good for you but
you can land on me
and we’ll both taste the floor together

that whole time my house was burning
as we slithered through the subway
i heard someone who was your friend say
that reputations are just opinions

they don’t believe in california
they think it’s all just los angeles
so i come from a phantom
and the interstate sweeps me away without a trace

you can land on me
i can’t swear it’ll feel too good for you but
you can land on me
and we’ll both taste the floor together

all the time i made arrangements
hoping changing something strange was coming
what are we tonight

let me paint my disappointment
is there some color that you prefer
down in the belly of your city
i finally learned how to disappear

i keep thinking about that window
and how you don’t sleep and your eyes don’t close
i think i gotta get back there, back to the village
back to the alcoholic sunrise

you can land on me
you can land on me
you can land on me
and we’ll both taste the floor together
we’ll both kiss the floor together
we’ll both kiss the floor together
and we’ll both taste the floor together.

download the mp3 here

9 thoughts on “the insomniac, the end

  1. man, i’m so sorry to hear this. the shame is that the most painful experiences make the best stories. it’s a great story, unfortunately.

    {{{{{{kd}}}}}}

  2. you know, every time i got close to writing this, i’d get upset. when i finally got that inspiration (in the form of the music), i plowed through this and even writing the happy parts, the end was looming in my mind.

    and now that the last entry is done (except i may put up some more of the scanned newspaper articles and a couple more pictures, when i get the time) i am hardly sad anymore at all. usually going down to see the building itself would get me all misty, but not this time. i was just there for some illustrations for the story.

    i’m glad i finally got this out of my system.

  3. What a beautiful dream, kd. It lasted for a little while, at least. You’ve captured it beautifully … especially in your words and the music choices, but also in that indelible photo of a heart-shaped hole revealing an empty, shining memory.

  4. this is excellent material and it is one of the reasons i keep reading weblogs. that it is personal and told from the protagonists perspective just adds to the entire package. kd, you’re a marvelous writer and i’m glad to be in your company. thanks for sharing with us in a way that we can follow your feelings so clearly.

    that photograph of the inside through the hole has a lot of potential. 🙂 good eye!

  5. a cropped, resized version of it has already been added to the randomized images — i think it came out well considering my batteries were dying so i couldn’t use the screen on the back of the camera. i just had to guesstimate. i really like it too (thanks!)

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