I join in this week’s salute to vidiotic musical ancient history, what with Cafe Muscato’s Petula Clark anniversary and the usual shenanigans of The Redundant Variety Hour stooping to Olivia Newton Whatever, by presenting T. Rex tearing it up with Children of the Revolution.
You can squint all you want, but eventually you have to concede lead singer Marc Bolan, partially buried under a wig he seems to have boosted from Cher, is wearing a two piece yellow miniskirt, decorated with random string.
More disturbing than his fashion choices is the spectacle of Straight White People Trying to Dance. Girl, the fucking downbeat is practically delivered by cannon shot, how can you possibly miss it? And let us not overlook the guy in the fuscia t-shirt standing perfectly still, waving his hands aimlessly as if he were trying to contact the spirit world through an invisible ouija board.
Nevertheless, a great tune, rocketing up the charts.
Secret Agent Fred convinced me to join Spotify, a music streaming site which all the hip kids have been into for years now. It’s just one of the elements of modern society I try to avoid, like anything labeled social media. I’d also like to point out here that I have now boycotted Facebook long enough that the NY Times assures us it is now considered passe. Take that, bitches.
So, Spotify and I have been struggling with each other all evening, me trying to figure out how to force it to play music I actually like and it, having snuck into my iTunes library, has decided I like country music and cheesy 80s pop. Fair enough, but why it should then produce an All Justin Timberlake, All the Time playlist for me seems baffling. I think I might like Pandora as a source much better, it operates in a much more intuitive and straight forward manner, plus I like its playlists. Spotify seems to be mostly concerned that you are listening to exactly the same tunes as all your bffs. Since I have no bffs, that is a problem.
Between avoiding Timberlake and Journey (!) I am pretty much fed up. Just now, though, we have suddenly broken through to Prince and Little Red Corvette. Well all rite, crank that bitch up. Just don’t follow this with Toto, that’s all I ask.
11:44 PM UPDATE: This just in: Pat Benatar. Heartbreaker. Bitchin’.
11:46 PM UPDATED UPDATE: Kenny Fucking Loggins. Dear god.
11:55 PM DATEUP: Human League. “Don’t You Want Me” I haven’t thought of that in a million years.
12:52 AM APDUTE: A-Ha. Take On Me. I surrender. I’m going to bed.
1:01 AM THE LAST UPDATE, I SWEAR. Psychedelic Furs! Love My Way! I’m so glad I stuck it out.
Secret Agent Fred and I shared a most amusing afternoon recently with an old friend from mrpeenee’s long gone wasted youth. We were tucked into tea at Neiman’s; it was, as I pointed out, the very heart of the One Percent Land. Tea at Neiman’s only made the conversation even odder: surrounded by the most respectable of matrons and the Very Good handbags, we traded preposterous stories about our druggy past. Preposterous because among other things, he claimed I showed up in Austin on a visit once baring nitrous oxide whippets. While it’s true there was a time when I found whippets most amusing in a conscious altering sort of way, the idea that I would cater them is not worth considering. I was poor in those days, sweetie, how on earth could I afford exotica for my friends?
My biggest problem debunking claims like this is my memory of those times is patchy, at best. Sieve-like is probably a more accurate adjective. So when these wild tales about long gone shenanigans erupt, my whole defense consists of spluttering “I did no such thing.” No one at the table even pretended to believe me.
Speaking of drugginess from days gone by, let us consider this newish, bang up version of Pink Floyd’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond. The song manages to hit both the tune’s motha-o-gawd-I-am-tripping-like-a-thousand-screaming-monkeys effect and also a nod to the very bluesy sound those incredibly white English bands were shooting for in those days. Pink Floyd, Cream, Traffic, Rolling Stones, everyone wanted to be Blind Willy Lead Foot Pig Meat Johnson.
I have not been happy the last couple of days. Yes, it’s true. Turns out Christmas is a dreary time for the recently bereaved. I miss R Man, I miss him a lot. Just earlier this month I was struck by how much better I had been feeling and then Xmas, everywhere. Even porn sites are getting in the spirit.
But you know, I am not by nature a droopy, morose Goth-y sixteen year old and so I resist. Avoiding sad songs is crucial; anything written in a minor key is deadly. You know what helps? Punk and Rockabilly, my old faves.
I had to go down to the Civic Center today to snag several more of R Man’s certified death certificates for our lawyer, for the bank, for the mutual fund. I’m not even sure what they all are for any more. Everyone I deal with demands one; I expect to need one to get on the bus soon. After he was cremated, the funeral home ask me “How many death certificates you want?” I think I said “Uhm… five?” Should anyone ever ask you that, tell them you want a fucking ream of them. Believe me, they’ll come in handy. And why didn’t the funeral guy suggest something along those lines to me? Surely he’s run into this before.
So anyway, I was in the Civic Center, an odd nexus of San Francisco. Museums and the library and homeless guys and a farmer’s market and city hall and the Bill Graham Auditorium, which was surrounded by fancy ass tour buses and big rigs, one of which just said “drums” on its side. A flotilla of trucks, an armada of buses. Literally dozens of each. Traffic had just ground down to a complete halt. Complicating the picture was Larkin Street, the main way out of there, being closed by the cops at the federal building a block away. Why? Nobody was saying and even if they had been, you couldn’t hear them over all the horns honking.
But why where all tour stuff swarming the auditorium? Darling, BRET MICHAELS. Wowzah. Did you even know he was still alive? Did you care? Indeed, but yes, on tour with his rockin’ “We’re Still not Dead” or something like that tour.
I took my death certificates (and wouldn’t that be a fine, fine band name?) and fled.
Did you know Bryan Ferry (aka“God’s Gift to My Ears”) released an album in 2007 of covers of Bob Dylan songs? The things that go on when I’m not paying attention. Having stumbledon that on Pandora radio, I wanderedover to theWikipediaarticle on Roxy Music and discovered a lot of cheap talk about the band reuniting for a new album. News that made me squeal and leave a tiny, tiny, hardly noticeable wet spot on my chair.
Then, farther down in the article Ferry casually denied that any such fabulosity was possible. From Wikiland: “However in November 2009 Ferry stated that there will be no new Roxy Music record: ‘It was overly publicised, when Brian Eno and I went into the studio together, that we were re-forming. We worked together for a few days, weeks maybe, and I decided I didn’t really want to do a Roxy thing. It’s going to be a solo record. Brian plays on a couple of tracks though.
‘I don’t think we’ll record as Roxy again… But it would be great to do some more Roxy Music concerts, although I don’t think Eno will be involved.’
Why? Because he loves to break my heart. But I continue to love him anyway. It’s the Judy Garland in me.
I know this is not incredibly original, but I was struck once again by the incongruity of Iggy Pop shilling for a cruise line with “Lust for Life.” The Nursing Home of the Sea and Iggy Pop. Doesn’t that seem like it would have been a funny joke on Saturday Night Live at one time? And now, it’s just another commercial. Cause nothing says Lust for Life like fat children going down a water slide in the pool on the Lido deck.
To be an American teenaged male and to be infatuated with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon seems inevitable. According to Wikipedia, it is the third best selling album of all time, which must mean somebody is still buying it in order to get loaded, lie in the dark and listen, just listen. I myself was 17 the month it premiered and I got it as a graduation present from high school. I thought it was perfect; I am slightly embarrassed to say how very much I still am attached to it.
The summer after high school, when the album and I were both very new, I took a road trip with my brother Ed from Houston to Seattle. He had a van he’d upholstered in baby blue shag carpet and installed a top-of-the-line 8 track stereo (it was the 70s darling, bear with me.) In an attempt to make good time, he drove though a big chunk of Texas and then handed the wheel over to me late that night in far west Texas and pointed me down Interstate 10. The eight track was positioned, for reasons that elude me, behind the driver’s seat so you couldn’t reach it to change tapes while driving. Eight track tapes are, or were, a loop; they didn’t end, they just started over. I roared off into the desert with Dark Side humming along and kept it on all the way through Texas and New Mexico while Ed snored away on the back. By the time I finally surrendered near the Arizona state line, I was hallucinating, but I knew every word on that album. I still do.
Thirty five years later, thanks to the wonder of I Tunes, I have stumbled across a most amusing album of solo piano covers of Pink Floyd songs by some group or misrceant called Vitamin Piano Series. It’s totally charming with many of the songs culled from Dark Side and most of them with an odd twist, like a jazzy Money or a even more poignant Shine on You Crazy Diamond. Sometimes I wonder if I’m still in the van,hallucinating. It could happen.
In 1982 (I know, I know, some of you weren’t even born then; others were simply not paying attention. Spare me) according to our good friends at Wikipedia the Grammy nominations for best song were:
Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) performed by Christopher Cross, (Just Like) Starting Over performed by John Lennon, Endless Love performed by Lionel Richie, Just the Two of Us performed by Bill Withers & Grover Washington, Jr.
Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes won. Maybe not paying attention wasn’t such a bad idea.
However, also in 1982, I went to a show of a performer I’d never heard of and was absolutely dazzled. Laurie Anderson and her United States tour was the smartest, wittiest, most fascinating thing I’d ever seen. Flawless. It more than just the music, which was weird and intriguing, it was the way the sounds and the visuals of the show (I think this was the one where she held a light bulb in her mouth) worked together. Listening to the album now, I can still remember how images on the screen behind her or even just phrases projected there would change the meaning of the song or make it funny or involve the audience in on the joke.
There aren’t many things I look back on as being in the right place at the exactly right time, but that show in New Orleans when I was young and interested in being wowed was one of them.
And long cars in long lines and great big signs and they all say: Hallelujah. Yodellayheehoo. Every man for himself. Ooo coo coo.