Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I've been an examiner of all things Pollard for fifteen years and a friend of the man for nearly as long, although I don't ever hang out because of, er, diverging lifestyles. I continue to be amazed and stoked at the sheer sonic tonnage of the output: so maybe, I've thought, I've had my era and the modern diehards who want to say things like "Coast to Coast Carpet of Love or [name of post-2005 release here] slays Under the Bushes, Under the Stars," are well within their rights to do just that: this is simply their time to gawk at a living piece of rock miracle and someday Bob's infant grandson's peers will have their time and so on and so forth.
Imagine how stoked I am, then, at the arrival of Boston Spaceships' first LP Brown Submarine, which I enjoy all the way through unreservedly in a way I have not since, I dunno, Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department, or maybe Airport 5's first one or the Soft Rock Renegades LP [and, yes, it is getting dark up here; non-Pollard completists are advised to skip all the jargon-y prattle herein]. It has that Pollardian ease of "Look what I can do without scarcely having to exert effort" but here Bob himself seems present, not like a guest on his own records as I have felt about the Tobias pastiches. It's one of those Bob records where the songs could come from any period in the last forty years, but still shine with a sense of invention and possibility.
So, um, yay!
SO much changed during the time the power was gone; strange and wonderul flora started to grow in my fridge, etc. I missed out on hundreds of posts on any variety of topics that flitted through the mead hall of my mind (and I will make it up to you, he threatened).
I will say all the ceaseless bitching from the citizenry with the power only out for eight days makes we wonder how things are going to be when things really start going haywire.
Maybe I will end up running Bartertown.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Forerunner to Warhol, great grand-pere of Jeff Koons and Damian Hirst and any other conceptualist you can think of, he stopped painting early in his career and worked/tinkered forever on his Large Glass (a picture of a chocolate grinder in sort-of gold leaf on glass, also called The Bride Stripped Bare By her Bachelors, Even), displayed ready-made, storebought objects like snowshovels and urinals as "sculpture" [hello, Jeff!], and generally was about 11,000 times smarter/funnier than anyone we'll ever meet.
What I wanted to comment on, however, is the funny-money he made for a Monte Carlo night type thing he did in the 20's. I forget what happened, everyone got to win, or came out exactly even, or something...I don't have the necessary texts here. I just want to say: check the actual money. This is the 20's, yes, surrealists coming on, etc, but what the hell???
"I know! I will make myself a beard and horns with shaving-soap foam, take a photo and put that on the five-franc certificates! Of COURSE!"
And THIS was pre-psychedelics by many, many moons. Shit hot!
Could be until September 26th, says the local news mouth-organ.
It's crazy, though - in just the nearly four days without power, kudzu has overgrown my entire building and I actually heard a neighbor asking another neighbor something and they started their sentence with "Prithee, -"
Also, how long before it's like High-Rise by JG Ballard and a war starts between the those electrified and the still-dark? I don't want to come home and find someone roasting an airedale on a spit in my front yard, thanks.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Then I remembered: they're old! Older than me, even!
Seriously, I'm glad I never heard this record before today, because I doubt I could have been ready for it. So many dark moments abutting McCartney-esque pop ones...plus they can really play. Normally I abominate anything that could be seen as vaguely proggy [see nearly every other post herein for proof!], but these kids do weird-instrumental passages about one hundred times better than the first-beard contingent like, I dunno, Blitzen Trapper or whomever is on the Pitchfork tines any given day. Plus shiny choruses abound. Wow.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
One of the required texts was The Broom of the System and it was quite enjoyable, particularly the heroine's one-legged brother LaVache ("the cow"?") who was incomprehensibly brilliant but lazy, so would write all his frat brothers' papers for them, providing they would slide drugs into a drawer he had installed in his wooden leg. "Feed the leg," he'd say, expecting a baggie of mushrooms.
The book in toto was sort of a college-age version of Duluth by Gore Vidal, with a great desert near Cleveland and all sorts of other just-slightly-off-reality ephemera all set up to obfuscate the basic plot of our heroine Lenore's Search For Love.
I quite loved this book, and still bring it up when the conversation turns to Wallace.
Plus, his excoriation of Updike in a Consider the Lobster essay almost turned me against the Bard of Shillington for about 11 seconds after reading it. Then I took a deep breath, said "what a asshole" [sic] under my breath and went out to face the day.
ALSO, reports are coming in that someone successfully bred a dog with a cat just four versts east of here, so, yeah, things are Mayan calendar-y all over.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Even when you are walking with the WALK signal at a traffic crossing, that does not mean you should walk as slowly as possible, all zombified. Step it up a little so that drivers can make a right turn on red.
Oho!, but no, drivers are not free of the lashing of my severe tongue!
1. If you are turning right into somewhere, such as a doctor's bldg or shopping center, do not come to a near-complete halt. It doesn't matter if you are old and frightened. Stay home if that's the case.
2. If you are on a highway or large street and construction has the thoroughfare going down a lane or two, if you are one of those monsters who will drive all the way up to the bottleneck (often on the shoulder, and at an excessive speed) to try to nose your way in, let it be known that I WILL NEVER LET YOU IN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Test me. Let's say I was somehow* jabbed with a curare dart, and your rude ass somehow had the antidote that would keep me alive, which would be administered on the other side of the blockage. Too bad for me, I guess, because I would still not let you in.
That's right, I'm willing to die for this.
(On a not-too-similar note, it bears mentioning that yesterday someone called attention to the fact that I will sometimes wear argyle socks and how the "preppy look" was "in this fall!" What? I have spent my entire life trying to get to a state where matters sumptuary are not an issue, and one just dresses a certain way regardless of the shifting winds of cool. Maybe in a world where people don't use turn signals there are such vague notions as fashion? Tragic!)
* that is to say, someone tried to make it seem an accident
AMERICANS HAVE NO IDEA WHO ELBOW ARE, NOR WHAT THAT PRIZE IS, OR REALLY HOW TO EVEN SPELL, ANYMOREZ!
No, seriously, sorta-known in the UK band Elbow won the "prestigious" Mercury Music Prize yesterday, which gets them about 20,000 pounds, a curry and packet of McVitie's Hobnobs.
This prize is kind of a curse, as previous winners (Gomez, e.g., or Suede (mk1), and, er, Roni Size) all tend to quickly fly apart at about 1000 mph. Still, nice to see some recognition for a band that does its own thing to a fault, and is fronted by a guy who tends toward a sort of Mario Batali-ish body type.
AND, the preview for Burn After Reading was chock full o' their lead single "Grounds for Divorce" from their "prize-winning" LP:
I remember reading the Ray Bradbury story "Dark They Were, And Golden Eyed" up there for the first time, and having it fairly knock me out. Another Martian story, but not one collected in The Martian Chronicles, this tale of Earth settlers' gradual assimilation into Martian life is at once eerie and calming. How often do you read a story where a whole family changes species and it's a happy ending?
Bradbury wrote something like 126,000 short stories and I have failed to read most of them, but this one with its Martian landscape of "cinnamon sands and wine airs" sticks in my brain, its elegiac air not forced but rather comfortable.
Plus! RB did win the Peter Sellers lookalike contest he was on his way to when the above pic was snapped!
Someone needs to go south of Dayton to the intersection of Alex-Bell and Chilton and take a picture of the street signs and the way they cross each other, so it basically says "Alex Chilton/Bell" like some old songwriting credit of yore. Take pic in Egglestonian superbright color and get it out there on the net for all to see.
As I say, someone needs to. But not me, buddy.
I WAS PLAYING D&D WHEN D&D WASN'T COOL!
I wanted to get up next to the driver (a woman!) and say "When? An hour ago?"
THEN, I noticed the v-plate:
which, on first glance, I assumed was a reference to Dance Dance Revolution!, but was in fact telling me that said driver was intending to be a Dungeon and Dragons-er forever!
I found it kind of heartening that someone still cleaves to a hobby so strongly...it makes obsessive book-hoarding seem almost normal.
Still, Dallas Egbert wept!:
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Anyway. What I mean to say is, even though he may still be plodding along writing books no one much notices, Pet Sematary is still just about the creepiest thing I have ever read, or intend to. It always reminds me of this time of year as it starts at back-to-school season, and it is unrelenting in its tracking of one family's downward spiral into (yes) horror. Just mercilessly godawful! AKA: recommended!
I was amazed. DB even keeps his verbal quirkiness to a minimum.
May not ever need to listen to it more than twice, but still. They should put that on the little shrink-wrap tag:
"May not ever need to listen to it more than twice, but still." - some dork in Ohio
Monday, September 8, 2008
Anyway, I found myself wondering if, in some string-theory-y way, there was another Today show on somewhere wherein the actually for-real talented Barry Adamson was getting his due. Barry is a protege of Nick Cave, but sort of outshines Cave by about fifty miles, says me. Sorta big-bandy/soundtracky, but all in all truly gifted in a way that the average song and dance dorks of today who show up at you local family-friendly community venues are not. And the song topics addressed tend to be a bit, I dunno, seedier:
The whole of Mr Adamson's new record is great.
This also makes we wonder why Terence Trent D'arby could have blown it so badly, but he's probably right now flying to Dubai to sing "Sign Your Name" to some princes or some such, so I will shut up.
Everything about this movie is embarrassing. I mean, it's embarrassing to watch. All the acting is uniformly overdone, the dialogue is stoopid...the already-boring-in-'93 conceit that the Japanese were going to take over the world is just stultifying in its PSA-ness. Such lines as "I had a good job out in Van Nuys..." and "Stop you sunnuvabitch!" (as spat by a running Harvey Keitel) haunt my dreams.
I really need to go buy a used DVD of this for three dollars somewhere. Just to know I have it, like a cyanide tooth...
A: "Can I help who's next?"
Attention! It's either: "May I help you?"
or "Who's next?"
or even, in a pinch, "Can I help whoever's next?" (to which a customer can mentally sneer "I dunno, can you?", but, still, it's better than nothing)
No wonder America is in so much trouble all the time.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Given my just made-up rule that mid-level celebs die in fives, who's next?
Holly from the old Price Is Right?
John "Artie Bucco" Ventimiglia?
I would guess maybe Richard "Oscar Madison" Anderson.
Anyway, be careful everyone!
Anyway, I loved Slapstick the best, though it was universally panned at the time (1976). Old Kurt himself talks, in a self-interview in Palm Sunday*, that he was devastated by the crappy reviews this one received.
To me, it is a consummate sci-fi story, in that it has about nine thousand ideas in it that each would make for a good story, yet KV shoehorns them all in into about two hundred pages: gravity used to be changeable like the weather, thus explaining how ancient peoples made such wild monuments? Check. The Chinese shrinking themselves to conserve resources and then, when they get down to microscopic level, being inhaled like dust all over the earth, causing the plague known as Green Death? Sure. Why not? Artificial families, so no one is ever alone? Just like FaceSpace! IT'S ALL COME TRUE! Sort of.
The whole thing, as fantastic as it is, is presented with a straight face, and, further, it is all an elegy to his sister. Sad and lovely.
* Palm Sunday is where he says his family back in Indianapolis was the "Von" in Vonduprin fire-door bars. Go to an old theatre and look.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Go figure that these guys hung on until 2002! Likely sat around the Fleece and Ferkin hoping someone would buy them pints. Their final, self-released Libertine is as good as the debut and the band stretches out and basically does whatever the hell they want. They sound less constrained than on the intervening Olympian follow-ups and actually seem like they are having (gasp!) fun. Check for "Walking in the Shallows" if thou dost think me a liar. This is a surprisingly great record, all the better for the fact it doesn't need to exist.
"Be My Light, Be My Guide"
[PS - A youtube commenter says: It might interest you to know that Martin Rossiter is now a music teacher in Brighton. He teaches me at college. I'd never heard of him so it's really wierd* to see him in professional videos since I know him really well. He's really good at piano and music theory, but he often makes jokes that aren't funny and laughs at himself :/
* nice spelling, prat
Do you remember a fragrance girls acquire in autumn? As you walk beside them- John Updike "In Football Season"
after school, they tighten their arms about their books and bend their heads
forward to give a more flattering attention to your words, and in the little
intimate area thus formed, carved into the clear air by an implicit crescent,
there is a complex fragrance woven of tobacco, powder, lipstick, rinsed hair,
and that perhaps imaginary and certainly elusive scent that wool, whether in the
lapels of a jacket or the nap of a sweater, seems to yield when the cloudless
fall sky like the blue bell of a vacuum lifts toward itself the glad exhalations
of all things. This fragrance, so faint and flirtatious on those afternoon walks
through the dry leaves, would be banked a thousandfold on the dark slop of the
stadium when, Friday nights, we played football in the city.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
"Um, are you open today?"
"No, we're closed. Is this an emergency?"
What exactly could constitute an emergency to a flower wholesaler?
"Yes, I forgot my 70th wedding anniversary. And to put my pants on."
"Yes, the funeral is starting and everyone brought flour (with a u) instead of flowers..."
"Seattle Slew's grandson-horse is coming for dinner and we need a wreath of roses! HURRY!"
1.) note the sincere ear-plugging, to find proper pitch
2.) Nice circle-be-unbroken folksy stances all around...
3.) Dylan is the most over-rated (yes, over-, not under-) songwriter of all time, overtaking no 2 (Lou Reed) by a mile
4.) The band members' English-lit prof aunts at Columbia or wherever are smiling wryly, glad to see the kids paying respect to the masters...
See, I can't even get my thoughts collected enough to get across to you how much this sucks, actually, as I am like a cobra spewing venom on a flatscreen, and the screen is scarcely visible for the vitriol. Regardless, the mawkish reverence in this photo is more than one man can take. This reminds me also of when I see a teenager in an AC/DC or Pink Floyd shirt or the like (even Pistols or the ubiqituous Misfits skull) I want to shake them and bring my standard scold to the fore, to wit: if it was 1971 and Who's Next was just out but you insisted on listening to music that was 30 years old, you'd be listening to Glenn Miller.
Like the man said, retro is killing culture: