Originally published January 30, 2014, on Tumblr.

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
‘Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii:
Look, in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d;
And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey’s statue,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.

—Wm. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

(Antony pointing out to the commoners the wounds on Caesar’s corpse at the hands of Brutus, Cassius, and the other traitors)


Heaven Lies by Minimal Man

I saw Minimal Man the first time at the Deaf Club in 1977 or so. As I recall, they were two percussionists and one guy on a small modular synthesizer twisting knobs. They were much more of  a “noise” band then: I don’t recall any vocals, and certainly no violin. But they were intense.

The Deaf Club was indeed a club for deaf people in the heart of San Francisco’s mission district, at 16th and Valencia. It was kind of a funky place on the second floor above a storefront. What was so odd about the place was that a lot of very hardcore punk bands played there and one would see a couple of nicely dressed middle-age women wearing dresses and pearls, cocktails and conversing in sign language, while a Sid Vicious clone stumbled and swerved drunkenly past them, falling down splayed across the floor while D.O.A. from Seattle blasted through a brutal punk song fifteen feet away.

Every so often, a light bulb in the middle of the ceiling would start blinking on and off slowly. I wondered about it and finally asked some punkish girl who seemed to work there. She said,“Oh, that means the phone is ringing.” I still wonder how deaf people answer the phone, esp. with D.O.A. or Minimal Man in the house.