Aug 1, 2020

Billy's Books 37: Star Wars: Shadow Fall

Here's yet another Star Wars novel, the second in the Alphabet Squadron series, Shadow Fall. Alphabet Squadron is a New Republic fighter squadron; their boogeyman is the Shadow Wing, the Empire's hot-shot fighter squadron. This book is primarily about the "good guys'" attempt to take down the Shadow Wing. Plus, you know, a lot of politics and personal feelings and stuff.

This book shows both sides' perspectives, demonstrating that in the thick of war, there are no clear "good guys" and "bad guys". One of the pilots, Chass, who just lost her beloved music collection when her ship was destroyed, gets stranded in enemy territory. In an attempt both to lay low and possibly recruit people to fight the Empire, she joins a cult under an assumed name, Maya Hallik:

She got to pick out her meals before the faithless refugees but after the four hundred cultists who'd joined up earlier than Maya; and she was welcome to sleep indoors when the ash-sleet came down.
Chass wasn't sure if the ash-sleet had just been "sleet" before the New Republic's liberation of Catadra. She chose not to ask.
In return for the privilges of being a junior cultist, Maya Hallik was expected to join the prayer songs at dawn. (She found she recognized the melodies from songs in her lost collection, but the lyrics had been changed from paeons of ancient civilizations to pabulum about community and fellowship; each morning, she grew stiff with outrage yet nearly wept at the songs' beauty.)"

She also heard the cult leader's message:

"There's no use in distress over the return of the Empire to Catadra. One oppressor is the same as another... The New Republic differs in its words, not its deeds... Imperial soldiers openly disdained nonhumans, and the ruling class did little to intervene. But how often have we heard the New Republic chancellor talk about ending xenophobia while handing out medals to all-human death squads? We've met the New Republic's troops, and it is still the humans who outnumber the rest."

A bit of circular logic there at the end, but compelling nonetheless.

Jul 29, 2020

Sometimes I'm Sad (rough 4-track)

So I made this sloppy 4-track demo of mostly finished song.
Could use another verse? Is it a good song? Maybe. Without a proper drummer and guitarist, we may enver know. I just write and record many ideas, some of which make it. Maybe the words will change, or just a piece of the song will end up in another one. That how it goes sometimes.
As a mental excercise, it might be interesting to think of this as a conversation, perhaps between a dude and a woman he's hitting on.

Sometimes I'm Sad
Words and music by Billy Dechand, 2020

Jun 12, 2020

Nazis Are Bad (Singalong)

Last year I wrote this little song, after whatever nightmarish, proto-fascist thing happened that week. It shouldn't be necessary, but here we are. I quickly recorded this simple tune, and was later joined by Sean Dowdall, Vernon Dowdall, and Tom Latimer. Thanks fellas. It feels like a party.

Nazis Are Bad
© 2019 Billy Dechand

We seem to have reached a time when Nazis seem alright.
They're not.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.
Nazis are bad.

May 30, 2020

Billy's Books 36: Billy Budd

Here's a bit on Billy Budd by Herman Melville. It's another Melville book about sailors! In case ya don't know, Melville's most famous book was Moby Dick, which you may have heard of.

"Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins?"

In this book, our hero, Billy Budd, is actually known by his peers as The Handsome Sailor. That, and the fact that most everyone likes him, sounds like good fortune, right? Mostly. But for those who are very popular, there's always someone else trying to take them down.

May 15, 2020

Friday Lunch Concert

This was my first live stream concert (2020 May 15). The connection crapped out, segmenting into pieces. This collection reassembles them as best as possible. Here are the original four pieces.

As always, you are welcome to add to the Tip Jar.

May 7, 2020

You Tell Me / Beware of Darkness

For those of you who like to wallow in sadness, I debut my brand new guitar with two songs that seem to fit the Spring of 2020: "You Tell Me" by Paul McCartney and "Beware of Darkness" by George Harrison. I have my theories regarding whom Paul is addressing, but I doubt it was The World Before The Plague, which is how I hear it now. The George song is self-explanatory, and just a good reminder for these dark times.

Performed by Billy Dechand in Saint Louis, May 6, 2020.