Ben left work early this week because he and his wife were going to Denver for a concert. It sounded like they were off to see The Who, which might actually have been a possibility before Roger Daltrey, age 75 and still touring with the band he first joined 55 — 55! — years ago, had to cancel due to bronchitis.
But no. Ben and Kat were off to see The Hu, which is not The Who at all. I had to ask, and this is the answer I got: they’re a band from Mongolia that does throat singing in heavy-metal fashion. That certainly clears everything up, doesn’t it?
Actually, thanks to Lynn’s love of All Things Big Bang, I had seen the episode where Sheldon took up Tuvan throat singing, a guttural intonation from way back deep, not of the tongue and teeth, but the throat itself. But Mongolian heavy metal? After Ben left, Gilly and I turned to Youtube. Definitely not The Who.
Mongolia, a literal halfway around the world from here, seems also to be figuratively far removed, and this band comes across as very exotic. Their lyrics, posted in English subtitles in their videos, still weren’t making a lot of sense until I did my five minutes of research this morning.
Hu is the Monoglian root word for human being, and it belongs to the Hunnu, which we here in the West know as the Huns. The lyrics include old war cries and ancient poetry. The band, whose four members also play traditional Mongolian instruments (souped up for their heavy-metal image), all come with college educations in music.
Although together for three years, they have just released their first album, which I assume is the reason for their tour that includes the stop in Denver (at the Oriental Theatre downtown, but that’s all right; I saw the Chieftains at the old, barely-remembered Rainbow Music Hall long before they reached Red Rocks status).
One of The Hu’s songs is titled “Yuve Yuve Yu,” which, given the chorus and as near as I can piece together sounds, must be Monoglian for “How strange, how strange.”
Which is how we get to Jon Matuszczak. He lives here in Gunnison. I don’t know him, particularly, although I believe we were both in the same free library class on the American Constitution and I used to cover his kids when I was at the paper and they were in school. What I do know is that we are usually at opposite ends of the political spectrum, and if I had to hazard a guess, he and a few other attendees were in the Constitution class in an attempt to trap the teacher, a local lawyer, in her liberal bias.
For brief while Mr. Matuszczak, an inveterate letter writer (which is how I am aware of his political views), tried writing a column for the local paper, but he offended too many people, who took issue with his loose play with facts. I remember the outcry but not the specifics of the column that caused him (and perhaps the paper) to decide he should just go back to writing letters.
Mostly I ignore his letters. They always seem so angry and again, there’s that shifting of facts to suit his worldview, rather than the other way around. But for whatever reason, the one in this week’s paper caught my attention. It was short, for one thing, but he was also making a point I had just made to Kara the day before, about young climate activist Greta Thunberg using up a lot of fossil fuels flying around the world to warn people of the evils of climate change. (Yes, I remember the boat, but she’s only going to do that once.)
Now, Mr. Matuszczak and I disagree on the existence of climate change and its urgency, although I am approaching my urgency by building a house in the middle of wildlife habitat and no longer walking to work but driving. And, as George Sibley likes to rail about all the time, everything I need for my business to function has to come from without, outside this valley, much of it involving fossil fuel-derived products such as plastic. So I’m every bit as bad as the people Mr. Matuszczak takes to task for buying carbon emission indulgences.
But I do think climate change is a major, urgent problem we need to at least attempt to address, while Mr. Matuszczak (try typing that several times: s z c z — they pronounce it Ma-too-zak) gives the impression in this week’s letter that all this carbon dioxide is great for the plants that will take it in and spit out oxygen. (No discussion of deforestation included.)
We’re not going to agree there, but when he notes that most of the attendees at a recent United Nations meeting flew in private jets, a claim I make no attempt to verify . . . well, I flash back to the Headwaters Conference long ago, where “environmentalist” Rod Nash flew in on a private jet and touted his personal speedboat while railing at the rest of us to be environmentally conscious.
If I were going to take conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly to task (as I did — not that she was aware of it) for making big money once upon a time going around the country lecturing women how their place was in the home, a place she rarely was — hypocrisy is as hypocrisy does, and I should not be picking and choosing my hypocrites.
So while I disagree with Mr. Matuszczak on climate, I find myself nodding along once he starts worrying about micro-plastic and other ocean pollution, plus the costs of feeding the Earth’s teeming billions, and “contamination of the soil, drinking water and our food chain.”
I think they’re all, including climate change, rolled into one big ball of toxic wax, while Mr. Matuszczak sees the climate part as “indoctrinating our youth.” Clearly, we’re not going to agree on too many things, and our views will remain as far apart as Colorado and Mongolia. For one unexpected moment, though, there we were, united in thought.
Concerned, now that you know about them, that you missed the Hu? Fret not: they come back to Colorado Nov. 27, appearing at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs. Get your tickets now — I understand they were sold out in Denver.