Iris Dement in the Parking Ramp

I had a funny experience at work tonight. I’m working in one of the ramps in downtown Iowa City. In fact, I’m in my booth at this very moment. A snow storm is beginning and so it is very slow.

Earlier, a lady drove into the lane next to mine in order to use one of the self-pay stations. She had music playing which I recognized as Iris Dement, a fairly well known folk snger who is married to Greg Brown, both of whom live around here. Iris Dement has a distinctive singing style and I’d rate her voice as one of my top favorites.

The lady apparently had trouble with the self-pay machine. She backed up and pulled over into my lane. After handing me her ticket, I asked her about her listening to Iris Dement. She then asked me how I knew about her music. I told her that I’d seen her play live.

Her response was that she was Iris Dement and indeed she was. I didn’t immediately recognize her out of context. Plus, remembering faces isn’t one of my stronger abilities. So, I chatted for a moment with her. And that was that.

The incident amused me. I could recognize Iris Dement’s voice from hearing a small snippet of music, but I didn’t recognize Iris Dement herself when she was at my window talking to me. Part of the amusement also had to do with her listening to her own music. The thought didn’t occur to me that it might be Iris Dement herself driving along with an Iris Dement song playing in her own vehicle.

I admire an artist who can appreciate their own art. I’m fond of how Philip K. Dick analyzes his own fiction in his Exegesis. It always seems odd to me when a musician claims to not listen to their own music or a writer claims not to read their own writing, claiming to just produce it and never give it another thought. I find it nice to know that an artist I like apparently also likes her own art.

Anyway, that is my amusing anecdote.

17 thoughts on “Iris Dement in the Parking Ramp

  1. What an excellent story!

    Less than ten minutes before reading your post, I was watching “The Making of the album Dark Side of the Moon” on Netflix. Almost at the end of the documentary, David Gilmour (Floyd’s guitarist) says “I wish I could be someone who could put on a pair of headphones and listen to that whole album all the way through for the very first time. Of course, I never had that experience.”

    Very touching, I thought.

      • Yes, it’s good. I rated it 5 stars, but it probably got an extra star because the album’s so great. The doc on the Making of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors” is another good one that’s also on Netflix streaming right now. There’s also another one called “A Technicolor Dream” which you might find interesting. It’s about the early UK rock scene and has a lot of commentary about Pink Floyd and the mental breakdown of their first guitarist (and main creative force) Syd Barrett, due to schizophrenia possibly brought on by overindulgence in LSD.

      • Regarding artists appreciating their own work; this reminds me of when I was part of a group who played Dungeons and Dragons. In our gang, whomever was the Dungeon Master used to create their own adventures, rather than using the “canned” ones that were available. There was prestige in being in demand as a DM who could craft a good story, but the truth is, nobody liked it nearly as much as being a player! Gilmour’s comment about his own work was along those lines. It’s a lot of work to create something for others to enjoy, and in return the artist gets what? Satisfaction and money, I think, but at the price of not being able to truly experience their own creation.

        • Certainly, producing art is work, not just play. I suppose it would be harder for professional artists working to make a living to just enjoy their own art in the way others enjoy it. But I also thnk it depends on the artist. Philip K. Dick was a typical starving artist. Formost of his career, he had to pump out fiction at high speed and still barely made ends meet. Nonetheless, PKD had a way of bringing fresh eyes to his published work. He would get excited about interpreting his fiction in a way he hadn’t thought of before.

          • One interesting thing about Pink Floyd, which you’ll see in the Dark Side doumentary, is that Syd Barrett, the original founder of the band, seems to be the only member who was in it just for the artistry. The rest of the band frankly admit that, at least at first, their goal was to become rich and famous. At the first hint of success, Syd began to push back against the idea of them becoming a commercial band. He actually seemed to be sabotaging their public performances. When they later “lost” Syd to mental illness they began to move in a more accessible direction, and eventually “Dark Side” give them the fame and fortune they wanted. It’s all a very sad situation, really.

            While I was looking for other Floyd DVDs, I can across an item that might be of interest to you. Apparently, a friend of the band happened to have a home movie camera along back in 1967 when Syd tried magic mushrooms for the first time and captured 11 minutes of it on film. You can see the synopsis and reviews on amazon by searching “Syd’s First Trip”. (No link posted for obvious reasons!)

  2. Interesting. Cool. I sometimes go back and read stuff I wrote ages ago, and I often think “Dang that’s good, I could never write anything that good nowadays!” LOL!!

    Maybe the incident goes to show you that you are more an “auditory” than “visual” person. We do tend to specialize: auditory, visual, or kinesthetic — one usually predominates over the others in our remembering and experiencing.

    Do you take anything to counteract the carbon monoxide and other substances you inhale?

        • I don’t see the comment you made which my notification showed me, all I see here is your last line about the ad from Amazon. But, to answer the notification:
          No, I was spouting basic NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) insights, who got them from previous thinkers.
          And the ad got there because you probably COPIED something from somewhere on amazon, and there is software which does that to discourage plagiarism. I have it on my blog.

          • That’s interesting. I’m somewhat familiar with NLP, but I didn’t know that was the origin of the AVK etc classification system. I though Markova “discovered” it herself.

            I didn’t attempt to plagiarize anything! I copied the URL for the book on Amazon from my browser’s address bar, and when I pasted it into WordPress, I got the picture of the book and the ad to buy it along with the link. I suspect some clever geek working for the helpful folks at Amazon!

          • Let me hasten to assure you, ethicalanimals, I intended no implication YOU were trying to plagiarize anything. Sorry in cyberspace sometimes “tongue in cheek” is hard to see.
            I get the the linkback when I copy my own stuff from my blog into someplace else on the web, LOL!

            And NOW what you put in about the book showed up in a notification from this blog, though it still is not displayed HERE, and I see it wasn’t a linkback, it was a “buy” button.

            I read a little bit about the Markova book and no, not hardly did she discover that “typology.” I learned it in the early 80’s from NLP, who got it from even earlier roots. I am thinking perhaps Jung, but that’s just a guess. Maybe Milton Erickson, the hypnotherapist, who was one of NLP’s “sources.”

            Ben, good, the biologically active foods will help a lot. One can get them powdered but still “raw” as it’s the electrons in the raw food which port out the toxins. The powdered raw greens can add to the body’s ability to detox. I am not familiar with the early subtle symptoms from carbon monoxide….

            Interesting about the differences in kinds of info being retained in different ways. Auditory is my least-preferred channel, but I have an excellent auditory memory, better than most people. So the “typology” is useful, but limited, as they all are, LOL!

          • OM, I understand what you’re saying about the blog site trying to proactively prevent stolen content. Anyways, I don’t see the picture of the book or the “buy” link here anymore. Perhaps Ben cleaned them up.

          • That is odd. Because you put a link in the comment, I had to moderate it before it would show. Earlier today, I went to my comment moderate page and allowed the comment. It then showed the image and “buy” link. But now it is just showing the URL by itself. It wasn’t anything I did.

    • I’ve wondered about how my mind works in terms of auditory and visual sensory info. I think it depends.

      I’m very visual about patterns and landscapes, but not so much human faces. I tend to grok the totality of a person, rather than isolated aspects.

      As for voices, certain voices do stick in my head. Besides Iris Dement, the voices of William S. Burroughs and Terence McKnna are also stuck in my head. I’m not sure what other kinds of auditory info is likely to get stuck in a similar fashion.

      I’ve considered the fumes that inhale. The only thing I do to counteract it is to try to eat healthy including various highly nutritious foods and biologically active foods. Fortunately, working at night I don’t get as much traffic exhaust because it is never as busy as during the day.

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