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On Gun Violence in America - #guncontrol NOW

Hi.  It's been awhile (a couple years in fact) since I last posted to this blog.  The latest mass shooting in the U.S. made me want to speak out.

If you look at the U.S. defense budget for 2017, it shows a figure of over $500 billion.  Do you feel safe?  How does all that money protect American citizens, when they can be mowed down by a lone gunman at a country music gig?  Maybe it's not really the citizens that money is meant to protect.  Maybe it's the system.

It's quick and easy to find articles such as this and this, following such an event, about how Democrats' efforts to enact common sense gun control laws are thwarted by the NRA and the Republicans who are beholden to them.

But that is symptomatic of a more general problem - things are the way they are, we're told, and this is the way it's always going to be.  And we, the average citizens, can't do much about it, because after all, we're just average citizens.  We're busy.  We've got …
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The Dead Man's Cake blogs - index

Hi.  My name is David Barrows, an American musician and computer geek, living in London.

When I was six years old, my mother committed suicide.  Many years later I made a music CD where I try to come to terms with this tragic event, and the issue of suicide in general, which I entitled Dead Man's Cake.  I also later blogged about it on this blog site, in a series of posts I call the "Dead Man's Cake blogs."

This page is an index to the entire series:

The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #1.
The "Dead Man's Cake" Blogs, issue #2.
The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #3.
The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #4.
The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #5.
The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #6.
The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #7.
The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #8.

Incidentally I was moved today to create this page and recap my blog series by a BBC documentary that came ou…

The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #8

It's time to wrap up this blog series.  My CD Dead Man's Cake was released in early 2012, and it's now nearly 2 years later.  It may seem like I haven't done much with the record but I'm still working on a live act, a kind of "one man band with a laptop" thing where I can render the tunes properly in a live environment.

I think it's a good record and I'd be grateful if you'd buy it; either the physical CD, which is a lovely object, or find it on iTunes, Spotify, etc.  It's essentially a creative work written to deal with a traumatic event, an attempt to create beauty from pain, as I've discussed previously.

Part of the proceeds go to mental health charities including the UK charity Sane.

Please see the previous related posts at the home page of this blog.

This post is about Tracks 5 - 11 of Dead Man's Cake.

"Don't Dwell On It David", track 5, refers to something my Dad used to say, after my Mom committed suicide.  I…

The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #7

"Dead Man's Cake" is the title track (track 4) from my 2012 CD "Dead Man's Cake".  It describes the tragic event of my mother Judy's suicide, but unlike track 3, "Judy's Mind", the song Dead Man's Cake presents a different sort of perspective.

The basic facts are that my mother, Judith Friedman Barrows, who, like my father, wrote for Hollywood television shows in the 1960s, on the night of August 19th, 1970, drove to Mt. Sinai Cemetery in North Hollywood where her father was buried, and committed suicide by taking an overdose of pills.

"Dead Man's Cake" is a metaphor for the pills, but it's also a metaphor for suicide generally.  I wrote the piece as a cautionary tale against suicide.  The chorus of the song says, "Don't you eat that Dead Man's Cake.  If you're thinking about taking your life, don't do it."

(Incidentally, if you are thinking about it, I say, don't do it.  Instead, contact…

The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #5.

The album “Dead Man’s Cake” (2012, by David Barrows) is my autobiographical narrative consisting of 11 songs which generally proceed chronologically from my childhood to the present day.  The first half of the record is about the story of my parents, my Mom’s suicide and how it affected me.  Most of the second half of the record is about how I went on to live my life afterwards.
Track 2:  Hippies On The Ranch
Hippies On The Ranchrefers to one of those fateful decisions, around 1966 or 1967, where my parents met a fellow writer at a party in L.A., who happened to be selling his ranch in Cuba, New Mexico.They were heady from their success of having sold a screenplay for fifty thousand dollars, which was a lot of money in those days.
My understanding is, they thought they could live part time in L.A., and live part time on the ranch, to draw inspiration for writing western screenplays, by actually living in the southwest.The ranch was on the edge of the village of Cuba which had a populatio…

The "Dead Man's Cake" blogs, issue #4

Dead Man’s Cake:The Songs.
The album “Dead Man’s Cake” (2012, by David Barrows) is my autobiographical narrative consisting of 11 songs which generally proceed chronologically from my childhood to the present day.The first half of the record is about the story of my parents, my Mom’s suicide and how it affected me.Most of the second half of the record is about how I went on to live my life afterwards.
Track 1:  Hollywood Sixties
Hollywood Sixties is about those years in the mid- to late 1960s when my parents, Robert Guy Barrows and Judith Friedman Barrows, enjoyed a few years of success as Hollywood television writers.They wrote individually and as a husband and wife team, for a number of famous television shows, including series like Mission Impossible, Bonanza, the Green Hornet, Daniel Boone, etc.Many of these episodes are available as part of boxed sets of those series, and there are even some complete episodes that exist on YouTube etc.
You can find references to their TV career by s…