Capricorn 20° (January 10)
Picking up the pieces as best I might. I feel that I’m always in the same place which is getting a bit dangerous. I have to put my head down oh-so completely and not emerge at least until the end of next month, probably even longer. It truly is the only answer on all metaphysical levels. I can still make magic and increasingly so, I know, if only I put my mind to it. I don’t know how it is people can still be on social media being narcissistic or making jokes. It is just so much whistling in the grave yard to my mind. I am going to hold tight to my bootstraps and get this show on the road. I must make progress starting today and need not ever fall off the wheel. It is difficult to do all this while living in a bubble without any help with domestic pressures bearing down, but I am going to let this crucible work its alchemical magic on my in a major way. I think I’m going to stop here. I’m going to make a lovely shrimp risotto for dinner and get a chowder into works for the week ahead. Thank the gods for cooking. It is my only sanity pretty much right now.
The following blocks of text are exceprts from my first year of Blagues, nos. 1421-1425. I am reading through all of my Blagues, five per day, and posting some samples here. Now, in my sixth year of writing this Blague, by the time I get to my seventh, I will have journeyed through all the daily Blagues of my first five years. If that’s confusing I apologize. Year seven, I’ll only have to read through year six, once a day.
You really must read the previous Blague (if you haven’t) before you delve into this one because I am in some ways picking up here where I left off there; also there is a certain energetic set up, I feel, where no matter what I put down here today (and trust me I don’t know where this is going) I literally just wrote the previous one (ironically starting this new astrological year a little late) and so they might end up being, energetically, part of a piece. To be fair, as you’ll see from the previous entry, I had some thinking to do about how I got to the point of embarking on writing a fifth year of this daily Blague, including how I started the first year exploring the Sabian Symbols (the corresponding link to the first year Blague on the Sabian theme will be provided below, all year long). So today is really day two of year five of the Cosmic Blague, and the previous entry also tells you everything you need to know to understand what this thing is, has been, at various intervals, over the past four years, while I try to give focus to what this new year should bring.
I had one thought of reading ten previous Blagues a day which means I would nearly read a full year’s entries in about five weeks a year. This means that it would take about twenty weeks—five months— to catch up to where we are now, today, and then another fortnight to catch up in total. The reason for this being that: Comes a time when I have to have even a vague archival understanding of the body of text four-plus years can create; and to sort of earmark the many entries for various written purposes, heading into the future. There is a wealth of material (along with a lot of slog and drivel) accumulated now in this most Cosmic Blague. And I wouldn’t be (literally) getting the most out of it If weren’t to mind and mine it at some point. This next half a year seems as good a time as any and, here’s the rub, it should inspire the daily writing of the new Blagues moving forward. The gods help us all.
I have to work these things through you see (as little Edie as that might sound).
I remember back in the early 1980s I went to see a “Music and Lecture by Robert Fripp” at the Paradise on Comm. Ave. in Boston. He was already playing music when you walked in, electric guitar, and recording it. Then he would play back the recording and play over it and record that. I don’t know how many times he looped around adding layers, but surely several. I get it. I do want to write more material every day and yet it is so important to know what I’ve said before, what might be material for books, performance, lecture or entrepreneurial projects. I know I recorded near every thought. So it makes sense to take inventory of, and to react to and thread through the last four years for the riches and the ditches, if you will. I’m sure there are many stories upon which I can improve. And you’re likely not going to read every Blague so someone has to do it.
That said, I want get to this leg of the process for at least till the end of the month. Which was the goal: To finish up loose ends before month’s end. Then starting April 1, start this creative taking of stock, here, with the Blague, but also just, of myself, in general. At the same time, I will begin to institute some daily rituals and such in regard to promoting this pet project, something I’ve yet to do in all the last four years. Otherwise I’m drafting some books and casting some performance festivals and series and otherwise seeking to express my dual nature as thespian priest, blending performance with certain piety of a decidedly pagan variety. Promises, promises. That’s the trick you see: to creat the right kind of structure to inspire the output of your creativity, some scaffolding on which to build a real or metaphoric (as ere the twain shall meet) body of work. Tall orders always in my world; but something about me has to be towering.
So I went to get my hair cut first thing in the morning which is the only way I can since my barber is open from 8-11 o’clock, only, five mornings a week. The early-bird crowd gets there at 7:45 or even 7:30 sometimes so they can be first in line—the haircutter extraordinaire takes his time—and the early-bird crowd is impatient and can get cranky and besides, like me, they’ve already been up for hours. As a tiny cosmic joke (French: blague) Neil Young’s Old Man was playing as I entered today, as I always do, with notebook or other would-be work in hand to keep me busy during the longer waits. Today there was just a guy in the chair and nobody waiting so it was an unusually speedy affair. I love this place, and the man in charge, and I leave at least a fifty percent tip each time which still means I pay twenty five dollars for a haircut that is the best I’ve ever had. Sometimes he gets phonecalls while I’m in the chair and speaks in an elegant Cuban Spanish to loved ones while looking at me apologetically in the mirror; but he never rushes off the phone either. Time is not this man’s master. And if he has no clients by ten o’clock he is out of there, in the warmer months, heading to the beach to go fishing, presumably for dinner. I have often fantasized about secretly getting a barber’s license and then spending time here sweeping up for free, trying to get my biorhythms to align with his so that when I am in my (I think late) eighties, I might have a steady cash income and every afternoon off to, well, probably not fish but who knows…maybe.
One of the aims of this daily Blague is to illuminate the extraordinary in the ordinary. (When people say life is boring or banal I wonder to what they are comparing it.) It’s all about perspective and surprising moments alone in places such as this with people such as the master barber, going at his signature pace, sweeping up himself between clients who are divided into two distincet categories: those like me who come prepared to work or make some notes or journal or meditate; and those who fidget and audibly sigh and moan or leave without a word. The times that has happened when I’m there, the master will shoot me a smiley look in the mirror as if to say “can you believe this guy” combined with “his loss” and “some people will never understand.” I understand. I love being here. We greet each other when I arrive. We shake hands when its time for me to take the chair. He never asks “so what do you want to do”, so if you don’t want to do the same thing he always does it’s on you to speak up. I can say I want something between a trim and a cut and for some reason that makes him laugh but not in a snarky way. Leon Russell, The Moody Blues, Journey and an otherwise mixed bag of “classic rock” will play on the radio (it used to be a current pop station with “funny” DJs and terribly overproduced current music with tons of trilling and no sustained notes) and I’m grateful for the solid musical choice. There are signs (zoom in on the photo) that tell you all you need to know for this or the next time, like “please come with clean hair.” Taped onto the counter in front of you, or rather diagonal to you—he keeps you at an agle—is his name written in magic marker onto brown craft paper that is taped down with the masking variety.
One time a chatty customer who was waiting while I was in the chair realized he might have been too verbose and apologized saying, “sorry I don’t want to distract you,” to which the master responded, “I can cut his hair with my eyes closed,” which sent a multiple message that I was a regular, that he was a pro (who could not be distracted) and, mostly, that he had an intimate relationship with my head with its double cow-licks and other idiosyncracies. Angled as one is forty-five degrees counter-clockwise from the mirror, one can sometimes stare out the window in a silent daze. Here there is no compulsion to talk, a rarity in this converted master-slave relationship; the experience is never lacking conversation for us; we like each other all the more because neither of us needs to fill the air with speak which, in this setting, is always so male-posturing and staccato. I will hear other clients ask pointy or rhetorical questions to which he will respond with polite economy. But we don’t need to pretend he and I. If I think about it it makes me laugh just how rough he can be. Maybe rough is the wrong word. Let’s just say he is completely unapologetic in the way that he pushes my head down or side to side, like a parent tiger keeping its young in a desired position, primally letting it be known who, exactly, is the boss in this relationship.
I had been going there for years before I remembered that my paternal grandfather, with to whom I had the most wafer-thin exposure (never mind anything resembling a relationship), was a barber. I remember getting my first haircut ever in his shop in downtown Jersey City in the 1960s, being plopped into the child’s “chair” which was a carved wooden horse of sorts, like a Medici version of the kind of plastic horsey you could ride outside the Food Fair by dropping a thin dime in the pay-mechanism, or the ones on springs you could jolt back and forth on at day camp or at some random park, some of them having lost their tension, causing you to flop too far to and fro and thus, undesirably, also, side to side. I don’t remember getting my hair cut at my grandfather’s shop more than once or twice because I didn’t; my tiny grandfather who was fresh off the boat from Calabria was immaculately tidy and wore a blue (I think) barber coat and had a back room—sort of an apartment really—where I’d rather play. (I have not thought of this since then, until now.) There was a narrow dark hallway leading back from the shop into a room that in my recollection was a sort of kitchen. I only found out this past year from a first cousin of mine, who is always the bearer of bad news, that it was something of a front and that the whole family were each, in their full- or part-time ways, bookies.
A world away, here, is this present operation. A formica and linoleum palace of blissful peace and silent understanding. The cape is unsnapped at the neck, the talcum scented brush does its usual thing, the large oblong hand mirror is stationed behind me with a smile that says I can’t say anything but “perfect(o)” or, preferably, probably, just nod while making the acceptable male version of a yummy sound. Today I said perfect with an almost Oprah affection. These thoughts of acceptability are in my own head. I could probably preen and pucker my lips in the mirror and say “oooh, fabulous” and he wouldn’t bat an eye. Instead his would smile at me as they do each time I enter and depart.
I was supposed to have known what I was going to say before I sat down. Typically I write early in the day before the bric-o-brac of quotidien life takes it’s toll in distraction; and especially on a day like today, the day before embarking on a trip for which I have neither packed nor prepared. And now we might be singing day is done and I’m just now here, after hitting myriad marks, multiple places, lastly in the kitchen, where, as is always the case, I get my best ideas and breakthroughs, mini or large. I like the word stout because it sounds like what it is. It’s onomatopoetic and that’s always tops with me. And I did get a newsflash while sautéeing oninion and brussel sprouts with chili flakes, anchovy and spanish almonds that I had the perfect entrée into today’s Blague, which has been on my mind writing since I hadn’t done this morning. Yet somehow in the journey up the stairs to my office so-called I lost that entry point and, I know myself, I’m not going to remember what it was. Correction: I”m not going to try to remember what it was. There’s little point in so doing.
Meanwhile, yeah, I’m heading into Boston tomorrow for an event at this terribly chic shop called All Too Human in the Back Bay. It’s the only real fashion and concept store in town and we are doing these “quick-n-dirty” readings for customers who get a discount that gets donated to the newer leg of my non-profit, simply called Glow (tagline: “A Moveable Festival”) that is hinged on creating a circuit (starting) in New England where we can present our “family of artists” so that these talents have more regular gigs in the region and we find and elevate audiences in places where our progressive performers have never gone before. I’m into it! Sorry it’s hard to concentrate because of the (non-) findings of the Mueller probe, also so-called. Oy. One must now completely not give a flying fuck.
I am now in reggae heaven listening to the radio. It strikes me that the men singing, song after song, seem to be so in love with god with whiffs of narcissism; that is to say, knowing how misogynistic the culture is, the primary relationship with men (at least how I interpret their song) is with (what maybe they don’t realize is their own) higher power. Ja.Women are relegated in the culture and one has to wonder why. I think the interpretation of sex by the male has been one of domination because they enter in; when the position of the female is, as the great receptor, the prime mover who needs a second sex as fertilizer. Even a no bull-shit man isn’t wont to define himself as such. Still there is something so special about good reggae that makes it the best mood music in the world. I could really sink deep into miasma of it—very good Pisces word, miasma. I will have to use that later when I’m revisiting some Pisces material I’m working on. Just one of those pin-in-that thoughts that arise and one writes with regularity in this forum.
From Boston we will continue on to New York this week, where professional meetings await but, also, where some long overdue social time will be had. Coincidentally a Belgian friend from S’s Dries Van Noten days just emailed her to say any chance you’ll be in town as she and her Italian husband will be visiting without their children and could we possible. Well, yes, indeed we can. We will be staying at our home away from home there and it has a marvelous downstairs lobby bar and restaurant that gets very busy; but we can reserve a space I imagine. And, oh, the Belgian connection. That does bring me back to the top of today’s Blague, reminding me what I was going to lead with: In a sleepless night last night I wanted to turn on the TV. Let me begin again: I’m a sucker for overblown historical drama TV series, the likes of which appear on Starz—”White Princess”, “White Queen”, all the ancient white people, “Pillars of the Earth” and anything with a Merlin or a Louis or a Henry in it—but I’ve run out (and I draw the line at something like Spartacus because it’s really just softcore gay male (or straight women?) porn.
But I did happen upon something called Maximillian which is about the eponymous son of the Holy Roman Emporer and his relationship to Marie de Bourgogne. Anyway it is in French and German and Flemish with English subtitles and so I can watch it with the volume on one or even zero (though I do require at least hint of sound—that goes for porn, too) so as to not disturb the one lying next to me as I binge from two to five a.m. Much of it is set in Ghent, the seat of Marie’s duchy, and the sets are perfectly that breed of ornate, gothic, minutely detailed architecture that one encounters in Flanders and I was brought back to our days in Antwerp at the summation of our youth feeling and sowing our wild Belgian oats. And I was musing on the people we met and thinking about all the friends S brought into our lives from her time at Dries. And then voila, out of the blue, this person wrote this same day, someone we haven’t seen in near exactly twenty years, to say that she will be in NYC then same few days we shall be this week which I love.
The funny thing about time: Olivia de Haviland is 102. So it is really just five Olivia de Havilands ago that, in the 1450s, Maxmillian and Marie were born. And it’s only a score and twenty Olivia de Havilands ago since the advent of the hippy prince of peace. Perspective people.
We embark on a wee trip today, first to Boston, then to New York, then upstate to visit a friend whose new house we have yet to see. We have an event this evening in Boston at this terribly chic concept store where we will do “quick-n-dirty” astrology readings for the invitees. I actually enjoy these sorts of events as I find it very good exercise for our astrological minds, having to come up with a profile for person after person who sits with us for a few minutes each. I’m feeling this general uptick in interest in the Starsky + Cox brand—we seem to have become something of a “classic” for readers, especially, within the astrological community. There was a recent article in New York magazine where they asked a slew of well-known astrologers to name their top favorite books and we made it onto the list, chosen by our peers, which is extra special. Recently the site Refinery 29 “interviewed” us (and this piece is meant to appear this week). And I just did a search to see if it was posted yet and saw an article from last March pop up in the Guardian (UK) that was about how millenials are turning to astrology. We are not mentioned in the piece per se; however at the very end they list “the (astrological) app”, and “the (astrological) podcast”, and so forth and we, or rather our book Sextrology is labelled “the book” which is fairly fantastic. Anyway it’s just a vibe but I feel that there is a new momentum, resurgence, happening in our astrological world. I mean, we have plans on that score which are self-started but I’m feeling external forces rallying too—I suppose there is a connection between the two. At least that is a long-held belief and one which we proliferate. It would seem I am writing this entry to day in real-time installments—but am I? Hmmmm.
It was an easy drive up from olde Cape Cod with zero traffic and only a one or too zany Boston drivers almost crashing into us which is fewer than usual. It’s nice to have the Longfellow bridge open again so we can zip right across to Cambridge where I typically drop S. for her usual appointment there and then I sneak via Norfolk Street back to Massachusetts Avenue to cross the bridge and swing around to the Eliot aka home away from home (or one of them anyway). I have a great many ideas brewing in any case and, as with cooking, driving always inspires the going off of cartoon lightbulbs above my head, only, unlike when cooking, I can’t exactly jot anything down; so I just hope that I can remember all that’s coming up during this drive. The room was ready when I got there which is always a great boon and I packed in such a rush this morning, taking more than I need (and probably not enough in some cases) that I look forward to seeing exactly what I ended up chucking into my baggage. It will be a long night and I must pace myself today. I don’t have time for a proper meal before the event so I’m hoping that there will be some lovely finger food.
There was no food, finger or otherwise at the event. The only thing one might consume is champagne and watermelon juice, both of which will send my spiking and only one of which I will sip sparingly over the course of the evening. I wonder if you can guess for which I opted. We were early and I was wearing the only one “outfit” that I can squeeze into after this rather sedintary winter. Unlike the great S. I have not used the dark months wisely when it comes to the management of one’s weight. Oh well, I am a master illusionist at hiding the one area where all my hibernative intake takes the hit, working proportions via short square cashmere tee shirts and a buttonless, cardiganesque Margiela jacket (so-called) with its distinct non-label label designed to spark notice in the fashionisti that will assemble there, starting with the shopboys, one of whom said “I love your blazer” within the first five minutes of being in the store. Is the word blazer now literally back in fashion? It has been fifteen years at least since I even remotely resembled someone who might have a clue as to what was in vogue.
We saw a great many people all in quick succession and I was struck by how young and successful this particular succession was. It was mostly women which is typical, but there were young business owners and artists and designers and photographers and influencers and it made me realize how much Boston has changed. In our generation anyone with such ambitions wouldn’t have stayed in beantown but have high-tailed it to New York City or, perhaps, Los Angeles the second they finished school. But this group of kids have chosen to stay put here and, in our now virtual workplace, are making waves from this provincial northern perch. It cooked up some creative food for thought that’s for sure. A few of our own clients came to catch our eye, which was pretty much the extent of the interaction we could have with them as there was a queue of folk to flop down in front of us onto a pink cushioned footstool flaked with fuzzy pink pillows. All these prop elements had tags on them which, because I wasn’t thinking, I assumed meant they were for sale; it later dawned on me that they were tags from another store–Target, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack—where they were likely purchased just hours ago as set pieces for the event and the should-beremoval of the tags was lost in the last minute shuffle. Thinking Edina Monsoon leaving the entire production of a fashion show to the last minute, day of. How fashion. To be fair I think the lovely owner of the shop, who has immaculate taste and has really created something special in Boston where nothing like this any longer exists (since Louis Boston shut down), would have just returned from a whirlwind buying trip in Paris and probably Milan. Anyway the event was triumphant and she did a great job. A tenth (what she offered clients as a discount) was being donated to my non-profit Glow (“A Moveable Festival”) and I know that even the clients of ours that showed made some pricey purchases, so I look forward to seeing what kind of donation will come our way.
We stayed later than expected as people had waited so long to see us. Many people took cards from us and I have a feeling we might have a few new clients coming to see us in the weeks again which would be wonderful. Nearly nine o’clock and thank goodness we made a reservation at La Voille because I was feeling pretty faded walking back up Newbury Street—nothing some moules frîtes couldn’t cure!
A lot on my mind today. We have two regular clients in the afternoon and it’s always fun and best to see them in person. I will spend the morning getting my head around the quick trip to NYC and what should be accomplished there. The day will end with a lazy elevator down to the restaurant in the building. No strain or stress. Just focus on the work at hand which is way more than enough. I have books on the brain as we sort out the agent situation. After leaving William Morris Endeavor several years ago I swore off approaching or even thinking about agents, and we focused solely on the parts of our consultancy and brand where we had decision-making power; and since then I’ve said to myself (and aloud to one person) that if I were to work with an agent again that they would have to already know and like our work.
Recently a friend of whom I am very fond decided to make a third-act career change and become an agent as he was familiar and friends with folks who headed an agency—an agency that one of us (not me) had been eyeballing for some time and which, I later learned, had an agent whom (not me) had reached out to contact with no response back which is so typical. Our friend thought of an idea he suggested to his agency for a book on our general subject; and though it was an interesting notion it really wasn’t on brand and I had said what it was I wanted to pursue in book form, next, and that I had this giant proposal that I needed to work through with someone. As this career path is new to my friend and because I’m sure his focus is really on getting something to catch on his end I don’t think the idea we had on deck was something he was super excited about. And then out of the blue another friend said: you should work with so and so, an agent a friend of hers was signed with. An introduction was made and that desired response came back that she knew our work and was a fan and desired to meet us. Funny how the thing you say you’re holding out for can take years to materialize.
And there would be another synchronicity: We had a meeting with a top publisher at a house that would be perfect for us back in September when we were staying at the Lowell. The publisher said they did a book with these witches we know from Salem. It will turn out that the publisher we meet tomorrow will be the representation for this and other books of the same ilk. (But I don’t know that today.) We will have a lovely meal at Uni which is always such a treat and will watch a documentary on the women of Palestine and get some semblance of sleep before heading off in the early a.m.
To view the original Sabian Symbol themed 2015 Cosmic Blague corresponding to this day: Flashback! The degree point of the Sabian Symbol may at times be one degree higher than the one listed here. The Blague portrays the starting degree of for this day ( 0°, for instance), as I typically post in the morning, while the Sabian number corresponds to the end point (1°) of that same 0°-1° period. There are 360 degrees spread over 365/6 days per year—so they nearly, but not exactly, correlate.
Typos happen. I don’t have a proofreader. And I like to just write, post and go! Copyright 2020 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved. Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2020 Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox.