Welcome to my blog, "Random Scribblings." Take a trip into my stream of conscious mind and enjoy my schizophrenic rambling about my crazy life and my boyfriend and my cat. My boyfriend's name is Ethan. My cat's name is "Blog." Last night I was SO MAD because Jen and Kev didn't come to the Coldplay show! I heard they were home watching Ghost World AGAIN. Ah well hehe. Got to go, big photography final tomorrow!
freezing to death in the nuclear bunker
will change your life
May 31, 2002
May 30, 2002
Two things that make me go HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA:
1) Nate Patrin referring to the author of that article as "Punksucks Frownypants."
2) The song "Ayeyaiyai (Alpha Song)" by Power Jet, performed on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers motion picture soundtrack. This so rules, and it so shouldn't.
Going through my e-mail this afternoon, I saw something in an announcement message from They Might Be Giants: a link to a CultureDose review of No.
You'll notice that I link to CultureDose a lot. I used to write for those guys; I was an editor there and basically helped build the site from the ground up. I have many friends who are still on staff. Out of acknowledgment for all my hard work and all theirs, I'm happy to promote certain articles.
That doesn't mean I don't have qualms about the site as a whole -- the writing tends to be haphazard, pedestrian, or simply wrongheaded, worse than even Pitchfork by the power of ten. And to be perfectly straightforward, a few of the staffers just rub me the wrong way. Not news to anyone who knows me well, but there ya have it.
I have to wonder whether TMBG ever looked around the site and noticed the two pieces I wrote about them: my review of Lincoln and my recap of their McSweeney's literary evening. I'm proud of those.
May 29, 2002
Coming soon to a South Park episode near you.
I stand corrected: Today's not so bad after all. Simon Morris passes this link along: a list of favorites by the inimitable Tom Waits. Thanks, Simon; you made my day.
Wait... one more link! This is the homepage of a gentleman who left a comment on one of my mixes. I'll be listening to his show tonight, as I digest that Guardian article.
Someone read this for me and tell me if it makes any sense. Nate? Simon? (I haven't looked at it yet but I got the link from Sex and Sunshine. The article title alone inspires some perverse gut reactions within me.)
DJ Spooky's gonna be there. Maybe I'll get to tell him what I think of his buddy Jaron!
np: Talking Heads, "The Big Country"
May 28, 2002
"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" at 45 r.p.m.? What'll they think of next?
May 26, 2002
May 25, 2002
I just watched my first DVD from Netflix: MusikLaden: Ladies of Rock. Late-'70s/early-'80s performance clips from the German music show (the Krauts' answer to The Midnight Special, or more recent mini-concert programs like Reverb). It's a short disc with no features, and the only songs a rock layperson would know from the track selection are Heart's "Barracuda" and "Magic Man." Aside from that, we've got the Motels (who don't do "Only the Lonely"), Bonnie Tyler (who only does one song and guess what it isn't), and Suzi Quatro. Rockist pseudo-sociologists like yours truly will have fun, but not that much fun. Except for the Motels segment (they perform four songs) and the two nailed-into-your-eyeballs Heart classics, the DVD's pretty drab and unremarkable.
HOWEVER... the Motels were fantastic. I never knew their music outside of "Only the Lonely," didn't know anything about singer-guitarist Martha Davis, and always dismissed the Motels as one of those lame Scandal/Quarterflash prom-rock one-offs. I've gotta warn against Martha's later-'80s solo material, which tends towards the schmaltzy, but as a Motel she was quite a number: Lips like Elvis, theatrics like Ellen Foley, voice like Ronnie Spector, stage moves like Chrissie Hynde. And the other Motels were certainly not "ladies of rock," but they were a well-dressed group of guys! The requisite skinny ties and thin-lapel blazers of the era, the hairdos modeled after the less-feminine elements of Blondie. Sound: rootsy/new-wavey, like the Cars with a nice pair of headlights, some sax 'n' synth but nothing overindulgent. The Motels were (at least in this performance) a guitar band -- and as much as we take these things for granted now, it was still pretty unusual 20 years ago to see a woman playing electric guitar on TV. Never mind the stupendous amount of musically inclined females on the punk scene -- that wasn't the real world, where all anyone knew was the Go-Go's and Heart. I wonder why Martha's never mentioned in these VH1 "women in rock" specials -- probably the same reason they consider people like Gary Numan "one-hit wonders" based on nothing but their US Top 40 chart position, and barely scratch the surface of their legend or influence in the 30-second recap. Listen, kids: I've said it many times before, but DON'T LET VH1 TRY TO TELL YOU HOW TO BE HIP, BECAUSE RETRO KITSCH APPEAL OR NOT, THEY'RE STILL SLAVES TO THE BILLBOARD CHARTS.
(just downloaded: Motels, "Take the L," which has the goddamn-why-didn't-I-think-of-that refrain "Take the L out of 'lover' and it's over")
I've got another one for Freelance Hellraiser or whoever wants to take it... "The Boy is Mine" vs. "A Stroke of Genius." "Hard to Explain" takes on a whole 'nuther life sung on top of the Brandy/Monica track.
But I'd REALLY love to hear someone do a boot of Cheap Trick's "She's Tight" and the Village People's "Food Fight."
May 24, 2002
Tired of those retarded "What ____ are you?" quizzes your friends keep sending you? Here's a not-so-retarded one: the ethical philosophy selector. I'll post my results to the comments section; you can do the same if you like.
I'm not the most fervent Nick Drake kneejerker, but I've always considered Pink Moon one of those albums -- one of those special, private experiences that signal a communication between someone in distress and another whose ship drowned years ago. It's like drinking tea when you're sick, and you hold the cup to your nose so the steam can come up through your nostrils and make your eyes tear -- that tea is a remedy, it's homeopathy, your best friend when you're grouchy and curled into an antisocial knot left on the sofa to be otherwise choked on by your stupid cat. It's not modern medicine, not a multimillion-dollar miracle of research and development, not shelling out kickbacks to charlatan medics, no apple-cheeked actresses breathing easy on mountaintops as African music zoom-zoom-zooms away. And that's what I find hard to stomach about this Volkswagen business.
But what about Target using Devo's "Beautiful World"? The song's pure sarcasm, from one of the most virulently anticorporate rock bands ever to have a fleeting moment of mainstream success. Target uses the "It's a beautiful world..." refrain and leaves out the table-turner: "...for you / It's not for me." Devo and the Mothersbaugh/Casale franchise are a different story from Drake, though: They embraced media and propaganda from the very start, and used it to spread their subversive tracts about everything from the perils of mind control to the pleasures of simple sophomoric sex. Mark Mothersbaugh, now a composer for film and TV, pens advertising jingles from a lofty Hollywood perch, dropping subliminal messages into the mix whenever a Kool-Aid commercial gets too boring for him.
But that's now, and "Beautiful World" is then as recontextualized for now -- Devo were pretty radical in 1981, before they let their Rugrats boomer instincts get the better of them. Devo and Target should have nothing to do with each other! Devo is Booji Boy and "Oh, that Alan!" and Timothy Leary! So how much leeway should we give them to join the ranks of the ninnies and the twits?
May 23, 2002
As a longtime Hole apologist, I'm sorry to hear the news that they've finally called it quits.
I wish I still had the piece I attempted about what a great, theatrical, vulnerable, miserable, catchy song "Doll Parts" is. I talked about how the emotional texture of it is something any biologically adult female can relate to -- it sounds like waking up on the second day of your period, water weight bearing you down like it's a leaden anchor, cramps, blood, aches, carnage, sweating through your ripped nylon nightgown that's a size too small, your left hand smeared in illegible stamp-ink from last night's show, and every single band SUCKED and you didn't even get LAID, so today it's just you and some cigarette butts dirty clothes other crap on your bed, you're feeling ugly and fat and whorish and useless and desperately in love with someone who'd never give a second look to a filthy shrew in such a condition, and the girls with the least cake are walkin' into your bakery and sniffing around, yanking on the red-and-white string, asking for samples, and you want them to fucking DIE.
Also Hole's covers were really bang-up: Go download "Over the Edge," "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)," "Valerie Loves Me," "Unsatisfied," "Gold Dust Woman," or the more rockish version of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" that was on the Australian "Malibu" single. After you've downloaded those, read Miss Love's Usenet and AOL postings from 1994, which are a grand old rocknroll riot.
Vanilla Coke is as good as Cherry Coke. Here's hoping they keep it around.
r.e.m.IX is what's playing when you get your heart broken at a bar on the most depressing, hit-bottom night of your life as one itinerant, effluvial speck in a strobelit city with 10 million headaches waiting to strike. That is to say, it's sorta just there.
DJ Martian's blog is a bountiful resource of music news and noteworthy links. I plan to spend a lot of time there.
And I'm a total idiot for not having mentioned this article at Senses of Cinema: Jeremiah Kipp's interview with film critic Armond White. Two outspoken, erudite writers take each other on, and the product is one hellacool piece of cinecrit.
And here's one I wrote on Shohei Imamura's newest film, Warm Water Under a Red Bridge. PopMatters has been on a hiatus of sorts, but they've finally updated their film section. 'Bout time!
NYLPM on Jaron Lanier. I'm feelin' pouty cuz they didn't mention my "pretty damn deft" rebuttal of Lanier's essay.
Update: Yes they did, and there's already the requisite NYLPM snarky comment from a reader who "[hasn't] read the entire piece" but thinks I'm rewriting history with my En Vogue/Destiny's Child comparison.
Thanks for the link, Tom.
May 22, 2002
I like Tony Fletcher, but dude needs to get some permalinks! Anyway, he spills the skinny on the new internet-only R.E.M. Reveal remix, and makes it sound worth my while.
Pop Culture Junk Mail brings us more news on the Coke front: the development of Choglit. CHOGLIT??
Things are heating up in the Pepsiverse as well, as the company unveils its new line of toilet-bowl cleaner.
I should just change the name of this blog to Shakira's Pussy.
May 21, 2002
Yes. Oh yes oh yes oh yes. Ohhhhhh yes.
Oh yes... and Cheap Trick apparently put out a new remaster of Budokan. For my birthday once, my ex-boyfriend Jordan bought me the complete concert; he stole it from me soon after, though, and I haven't seen the thing in years. But even if this remaster is for the original version, it's still good news: At least I'll have something to put in my year-end top ten!
The mp3s are downloaded; the track list is in place. Once I run it through the burner, Phony Telephonia will be the greatest telecommunications-themed compilation CD-R ever to emerge from the 718 area code.
Update: It's done, and it came out beautifully. Annotations will be written, and copies will be circulated among friends. What a pal I am!
Jucifer's I Name You Destroyer. At first I was like "Iron Butterfly vs. Stacey Q?" and now I'm all "Sepultura vs. Veruca Salt." Bad? No. Umm... no, not that bad.
Welcome to the terrordome. It's 6:30 am and choppers are flying over NYC like it's the freakin' set of M.A.S.H. I got used to the planes that whirred overhead for months after 9/11, but that didn't mean it wasn't scary, wondering what could fall out of the sky, and then what....
I'm working on a doomsday CD-R that has nothing to do with the end of the world and EVERYTHING to do with ABBA's "Ring Ring" sung in German.
May 20, 2002
Drugs, middle of the night, weird time. Weird time. Been feeling sick, and that's just great. Crazy headaches. Can't hardly see straight. My brain: the summit meeting between the freaky and the deaky. The Whitney Biennial is in my head. Yeah. That's Nam June Paik in there with those (gah!) nails. If I were a work of modern art... um... I'd be one of those ugly blowup neon prints of Picasso they hang above the beds in all the rooms at the Gershwin Hotel. A ubiquitous eyesore, a party-crasher, tasteless and artless... vaguely decorative with that jaunty Groucho smile, lighting up a slapdash bedsitter with splotches of the entire day-glo inventory at the Canal St. art-supply store. What'd you be?
May 19, 2002
From my personal archive. I don't necessarily believe any of this, but I don't necessarily believe anything I write, and you shouldn't either.
There isn't any more rock. There was Chuck Berry and Little Richard and after that the form was extinct. The Stones were not a rock band; they were an art project. Punk never rocked. It was either too scrawny or too muscular or maybe even too fat. What rock was is unencapsulable and to millions of bands fuck you for trying. There was Pete Townshend but he never really rocked; he was all Tin Pan Alley. There were the garage bands and sure Roky Erickson and Kim Fowley are on the Nuggets box (the first one) but do they really belong there? Does Kim Fowley rock? Maybe not. But his legend does. Like Moulty's legend. And what's all this legend stuff anyway? Why'm I supposed to buy a myth when I can't buy a thrill? Do I really want a heaping bowlful of Joseph ("mmm mmm zzzzzz") Campbell with my spoonful of kicks? Was rock better before criticism of rock? The answer: There isn't any more rock. The day the music died, it had already been dead for two, maybe three years. But what was rock? Exactly. How can you put groin symbolism in a climate-controlled mvsevm? Junkie bizness in a commercial for something that costs six digits before the decimal? The rock might have been there, but the cultural moment is lost in a flytrap dump of the remembrance of things pissed away. As in, the aural imprint is there, but you're not! The rock is rockless. Flaccid. Soft rock for soft living. Soft cheese. A piece of Play-Doh that dribbles through your fingers as you grasp at a memory or handjob someone else's memory until it comes in your open palm, 25 cents, turn the knob, it's yours, dispose. "Rock" starts with "r" and ends with "k." So does "Ric Ocasek," who never rocked, "Rudnick," the last name of a silly theatrical doodaddler (and disco fan, lessee—Donna Summer was produced by Giorgio Moroder who produced Blondie's "Call Me" and Blondie were friends with Lester Bangs who might himself have been rock although 144 percent of the bands he covered didn't even lick the sweaty armpit of rock's staggering, vomitously incomprehensible meaning), and "Rubik," the guy behind the famous cube, and that's too high-def and new-wavish, like something David Byrne might play with while waiting for his veiny stinky cheese platter. Speaking of: "Reek." Well, as J. Geils taught us, love stinks, but nope nope nope no rock there neither. (Who did that song "Ooh, That Smell" – Skynyrd? Allmans? Fuck, olfactory sensations in song, that already becomes too conceptual, despite its potential offensiveness to hygenically obsessed, cleanliness-godliness moralistic twerps like you.) "Rook." A chess piece. Case in point: "Chess" the musical. Certain Yes and Jeff Airplane songs I could name, neither of which is dumb enough to rock, not even the Damned version of the latter (buncha Goths anyway, classical pretentions). "Rink." ("Ice Castles"? "Xanadu"?) "Rank." (Smelly? See "reek.") (Academic or sports "rank"? Well, is rock populist? Communist? Achievement-based? Dog-eat-dog? Or does its competitive nature make the rock eat itself? Ans: Yes.)
May 18, 2002
Brian G. Root read my last post and forwarded this on to me about Lanier's background. Apparently the guy's worked with Duncan Sheik, so what do I know?
Seriously... I'm not sure how much backstory I need on Lanier. If his theories are ill-founded and full of shit, why should his curriculum vitae convince me his arguments have merit? Worse yet, his c.v. fills my belly with a nasty patch of sour grapes -- how can such a bad writer be a guest editor at Spin? (Rhetorical question.)
Detritusboy links us to this open letter to DJ Spooky concerning the state of the union of blah blah blah.
The author, Jaron Lanier (oh, that's gotta be a pseudonym... it's obvious he's a groupie for teenyfolkers Evan & Jaron and Blue Oyster Cult's Allen Lanier), makes a lot of generalizations and doesn't really back 'em up.
I originally had my rebuttal to Lanier posted here, but due to its length, it really needed a page of its own. Sorry 'bout the banner ad.
May 17, 2002
My dad's new computer arrived today. He paid me $50 to set it up for him. Pretty sweet: It has a CD burner, DVD player, 17-inch (viewable) thin-panel monitor, state-of-the-art sound. I'll be taking full advantage of it -- I have a DVD player on my iMac, but since my sound card's broken (and I'd rather buy a new computer than get it fixed), the thing is useless to me. I just watched a few minutes of A Bug's Life in full-screen mode. Don't give a shit about the movie, but DVD quality makes me wanna stomp all my old VHS tapes to bits and burn them in a bonfire! Netflix, here I come!
He had his computer custom-built by a company out of California called iBuyPower. ("Dude! You're getting an iBuyPower!" Catchy.) The only major fuckup on their part is that they assigned the internal modem to a nonexistent port, but hopefully a call to tech support will straighten that out. Hopefully, they won't go belly up by tomorrow morning.
I have nothing "rock" to contribute to my "rockblog," except that I listened to The Nightfly and Marquee Moon tonight. "Friction" is my favorite song that spells out its title in the lyrics (also see: "Gloria," "Respect," and ABBA's "S.O.S.").
May 15, 2002
Punk Rock Aerobics just had its kickoff at CB's Gallery this past Saturday with special guest DJ Mike Watt. I missed seeing Watt, but the aerobics party will continue at its new home, Williamsburg's Club Luxx. Me, I hate the place and its color scheme that looks like the disposable 3-D glasses you've had under the cushions of your couch for 19 years, but I'll swallow my pride and kick it up with my Xenadrine-popping Billburg punk pals. Punk Rock Aerobics, Luxx, 256 Grand St., Brooklyn, (718) 599-1000. 2 p.m. $7.
And while we're in the neighborhood:
Pretty Girls Make Graves, a band I'm supposed to like, are hitting Northsix (yes, I hate Flash sites too) tomorrow night. Doors at 8, show at 9, tix are $8.
If you're beating on the brat in your sweats on Sunday, bring a change of clothes and strut on over the Williamsburg Bridge to Delancey Stree-ee-eet, where Joey Ramone's fans, friends, and fellow pinheads will be celebrating what would have been his 51st birthday. That's at the Bowery Ballroom, 8 p.m. Tix are $20.
Only in dreams.
Here's how it starts: a poetry class that doubles as a Taco Bell (hey, don't ask me). I friendly up to the star student, a slightly overweight Hispanic girl, and we talk about the out-of-print poetry book the professor gave her.
We end up in a bar near Central Park. We notice that the walls are lined with shelves of old beauty products -- not vintage stuff, just '80s toiletries still in their original boxes. The waiter sees my new friend looking at one box, and chats her up about it.
Then the bottle spills out on the floor, and the waiter falls under a spell that makes him mean, manipulative, and controlling (a total Gargamel). He gets everyone in the bar to perform weird rituals for his amusement, and soon everyone's as brainwashed as he is. Except my friend and I -- we're trying to remain headstrong.
We don't kill the waiter or anything cool like that... at one point, the spell wears off and we're all able to go outside again. The sun is setting over New York City.
I follow an older gay male through Central Park to the other side -- he's whining to himself that it's back to his humdrum temp job, back to his job as night receptionist at the Tibetan Society for Drug Addicts and Criminals. I introduce myself and he lets me inside his workplace, a sooty, steely building that looks more like a prison than any sort of "society."
The basement of the Society is a movie-theater lobby, kinda like the sadsack movie theater at the bottom of the Times Square Virgin Megastore. No one's there but us and the concession guy, who's very excited that Charles Nelson Reilly paid a visit earlier that day.
I don't remember much else, except:
-In the bar there was a way-'70s framed poster of David Johansen, looking hot hot hot.
-Gargamel coerced us into eating individual blades of grass, which we thought were poisonous or drugged or whatever. Nothing happened.
May 14, 2002
Jesus Dubya Christ.
Living Colour's "Open Letter to a Landlord" video comes on VH1 Classic. Song came out about '89/'90. Opening line: "You can tear a building down, but you can't erase a memory." Opening shot: the lower Manhattan skyline as seen from across the Hudson river, and those two boxy towers we've all heard so much about.
Yes, another redesign. That eyepuke orange was a little much, wasn't it? The sign for the fallout shelter in my old building was a sort of muted gray/blue/green, so that's what I went for here.
Top Two Unlikely Dylan Impressions in a Rock Song:
1) Ric Ocasek in the Cars' "Since You're Gone" (it's the way he says "Yerrrrr so treacher-ehhhhhhssss!)
2) Kim Carnes in "Bette Davis Eyes" ("Ahhhll the buhhhhhhhhys thahhhnk she's a spaaaahhhhh!")
As Nate Detritus mentions, Rockcritics.com has some new Top Fives up. I'll be posting mine later in the day.
On to my recap of last night's karaoke festivities. One word: "Surrender." (I was gonna do the lyrics from the demo, in which the narrator's father "had heard the WACs were dykes," but I forgot how that part went when I got up to sing.) Thunderous round of applause afterwards. Fave part? "We're all all right... motherfuckers!!!" Whoa boy, was I drunk. My friend did "Teenage Lobotomy," swinging the mic and pogoing around. Cute.
We bummed cigarettes from some yuppie guy at the bar, and he ended up dogging us all night. Not bad looking, but a little too sleazy and wasted for me. Aliza and I got rid of him by conspicuously making out while he was looking our way. Gawd, since when is "Can we bum a cigarette off you?" girl-code for "Your place, mine, or that bathroom over there"?
It was raining cats 'n' bats outside when we left @ 2 am. We ran down Houston St., soaking wet, screaming whatever lyrics popped into our brains ("BREAKING ROCKS IN THE... HOT SUN!!!!!!!") and talking about the band we're forming. I was wearing a very glammy scarf with peacock colors and silvery metallic threads -- I looked like fuckin' Bowie with the thing around my neck, but in the rain I had to tie it to my head, babushka-style. Not my best look. :-)
np: Cheap Trick, "Takin' Me Back"
May 13, 2002
This, this; the existences of this, this, and this; and this bit of horrifying news.
Last night's dream:
Two ex-boyfriends, two friends of ex-boyfriends, and my dad: We're all in a tacky, run-down diner on the ground floor of a dilapidated Manhattan office building. Our food takes an hour to arrive. Ex-boyfriend #1 is boring me with stories about his plans to travel to Alabama with the play he's doing. Ex-boyfriend #2's friend is singing karaoke to mid-'80s lite-rock. We've all forgotten what we've ordered, and when the food comes, mine is a turkey club deluxe. It's terrible.
My dad and I have been walking around Brooklyn in the rain all day, with no particular destination. We stop at a museum by the river, and a beggar starts following us, not giving up even after we furnish him with dollar bills. I remark that I never go to museums unless it's raining, and when I do, it's always raining when I come out. We talk about the possibility of stumbling into a couple of Polish jazz clubs after dinner, but it doesn't happen.
May 11, 2002
I love dogs; unfortunately I can't take care of one right now. But today when I was out shopping, I picked up the most pathetically adorable stuffed toy basset hound, and I've already formed a very close bond with it. Its droopy eyes and downturned mouth remind me of session-guitarist-turned-military-defense-advisor Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. Think I'll call it Jeff "Skunk" Basset Hound.
Top five exclamations in a rock song (filed by artist/title/exclamation):
1) Twisted Sister/"We're Not Gonna Take It"/"You're all worthless and weak!"
2) Bachman Turner Overdrive/"You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"/"Go to school!"*
3) Stranglers/"Walk On By"/"Just go for a stroll in the trees!"**
4) Runaways/"Born to be Bad"/"Mom, I just called to tell ya I joined a rock and roll band and I won't be coming home no more!"
5) Waitresses/"Square Pegs"/"SUSPENDED?!? Suspended for WHAT??"
*From BTO's performance on Musik Laden or one of those '70s Krautvarietyshows. I don't remember whether this utterance is on the album version as well.
**In that "English hippie" voice (I cite Neil from The Young Ones, Robyn Hitchcock on "Let's Get Really Mellow Together Baby," or the "Plah-stic" lyric in the chorus of Adam and the Ants' "Plastic Surgery," sung by the backing Ants).
Stayed up late and watched The Craft on HBO. I'm fairly sure that the last time I saw it I was stoned and licking the grease off a Domino's pizza in a dorm room somewhere in upstate New York. Hey, I dig that mid-'90s alternasoundtrack! (Letters to Cleo's cover of "Dangerous Type"? Love Spit Love doing "How Soon is Now"? Anyone who actually bought and who still owns a Letters to Cleo or Love Spit Love album raise your hands now. Don't all... raise your hands... at once.) I dig Fairuza Balk exclaiming "Punk rock!" when she sees the dykey Gillian Anderson lookalike's suicide scars. I love the lame CGI gothness of the whole thing. The lightning! The chanting! The short Catholic-school skirts! The black lipstick! The snakes!
Almost as cool as Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trickbaby.
May 10, 2002
This man's my hero. (And yes, John, the comparative essay's coming soon, along with one about the dance-floor politics of Shannon's "Let the Music Play"; I have a legitimate writing assignment to knock out this weekend, so keep your trousers up!)
I had a nightmare last night -- not just a bad dream, but the kind of dream that finds you with your heart racing when you wake up. Took place in an airport-slash-bowling-alley-slash-library-slash-entertainment-complex on Long Island (fictional; it's not JFK airport), a really ugly, utilitarian old thing. I was with my parents, but I got lost from them in a crowd assembled for an *NSync concert in the upstairs tier of this library-entertainment-etc. When I tried to leave, I became embroiled in an airport-garage crime wave -- delinquents hiding in stairwells and behind cars, beating on the unsuspecting with lead pipes, kicking the daylights out of them until they were left in a pile on the concrete. They were all over the place, and it was actually quite frightening to walk around this garage with the knowledge I might get killed. When I finally found my parents, the humidity outside had turned to rain -- pouring, disgusting rain -- and we ran to an outdoor lot to find our boxy rental car. People were running in all directions, moaning as if they were escaping a holocaust or a zombie attack. We got to the car and sped off on the Long Island Expressway. There were dead bodies, bloodied and filthy, heaped up on the side of the road on the way home.
May 09, 2002
The cynic in you must, by now, be thinking, "What are these dick head Timelords on about? They haven't told us one concrete thing to do since we've been in the studio other than, 'Leave it to the engineer and programmer!' If it was that easy, everybody would be having sodding Number Ones. This manual is a con. Just like all those 'get rich quick' and 'keep young and beautiful' books. Just another part of the late eighties sham. The fag end of Thatcherism. Full of patronising prose and cheap metaphors. I mean, for God's sake, The Timelords! They've only had the one hit and that was pure fluke. A pair of ageing fakers and now they're trying to take the piss by writing this load of crap."
Freezing to Death reader Daniel Reifferscheid throws two more coins into the fountain of phone songs:
"Time Operator" by Scott Walker- in which our hero, after having written songs about Stalin and giant sperm, tries to seduce his phone operator. He isn't British, but he might as well be.
"Woman To Woman" by Shirley Brown- sadly not an ode to lesbian sex. Rather, the last big blast of chart power from Stax records takes the form of a married woman finding a phone number whilst doing her husband's laundry and then phoning up his mistress.
Ever just get the urge to... ya know... put a pipe bomb in a stranger's mailbox, fer kicks? No? Well, me neither. My shit-list is more specific than that. But some teenage numbnut from Nowheresville thought it would be a gas to knock off a few grandmas. I turn the mic over to my friend Bill Repsher at the New York Press.
May 08, 2002
Eric Olsen is wrong, very very misguided, dare I say he's a FOOL, but his astonishingly dunderheaded opinion of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is good fer a larf.
I want to make this telephone list bigger than the world's largest ball of twine. How big is that, anyway? Let's find out.
Nate Patrin adds to the ever-growing list:
De La Soul, "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" ("Hey, how ya doin'/sorry you can't get through/but if you leave your name, and your number/then I'll get back to you")
Ludacris, "Area Codes" (not that I'm a big fan of this song, but it counts)
Pink Floyd, "Young Lust" (this is that song that ends with all the operator talk and "we have a collect call from Mr. Floyd" stuff)
Indeep, "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" ("called you on the phone, no one's home"- only a short mention, but it has phone ringing SFX)
Dead Kennedys, "Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Round" (trans-Atlantic war planning as phone sex)
A Tribe Called Quest, "Skypager" ("Conceptually, a pager is so complex/Cuz I be standin by the phone ready to flex")
Beck, "Death Is Coming To Get You" (Death does lots of nasty things, like "Throws frisbees with your records, pours blood on the walls/uses your telephone to make long-distance calls")
I wonder, does Gary Glitter have any phone songs? Or songs about internet sodomy?
May 07, 2002
Well, I did it. With suggestions from many of you, I compiled a list of telephone-related songs (internet-related songs: Brittney Cleary's "IM Me," The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince's "www.emale.com," the modem noise in the Breeders' "Cannonball"). I decided, for whatever reason, not to count They Might Be Giants' various Dial-a-Song jingles. I'm probably leaving out the most obvious songs. You send 'em, I'll post 'em.
Public Enemy -- "9-1-1 Is a Joke"
Jim Croce -- "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)"
Blondie -- "Hanging on the Telephone"
Blondie -- "Call Me"
Blondie -- "Poets Problem" ("You will write your number on the wall / I will not be there when you call")
Electric Light Orchestra -- "Telephone Line"
Meri Wilson -- "Telephone Man"
New Edition -- "Mr. Telephone Man"
ABBA -- "Ring Ring" ("Ring, ring, why don't you give me a call? / Ring, ring, the happiest sound of them all")
Tommy Tutone -- "867-5309"
Wilson Pickett -- "634-5789 (Soulsville, USA)"
Chuck Berry -- "Come On" ("Ev'ry time the phone rings, sounds like thunder / Some stupid jerk tryin' to reach another number")
The Partridge Family -- "Echo Valley 2-6809"
That Dog -- "Westside Angst" ("What about me, GTE? / Why ya gotta change my 213?")
Faster Pussycat -- "Bathroom Wall"
Pete Shelley -- "Telephone Operator"
Kraftwerk -- "The Telephone Call"
Todd Rundgren -- "Hello, It's Me" (never explicitly described as a telephone call, but what else could it be?)
Genesis -- "I Got a Line on You"
Pink Floyd -- "Nobody Home"
Prince -- "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker" ("The phone rang and she said / Whoever's calling can't be as cute as U")
Steely Dan -- "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" (which may or may not refer to a phone number)
Lou Reed -- "New York Telephone Conversation"
X -- "Your Phone's Off the Hook, But You're Not"
The Replacements -- "Answering Machine"
The Jags -- "Back of My Hand" ("I got your number / written on the back of my hand")
Modern Lovers -- "I'm Straight" ("This phone call today concerns Hippie Johnny...")
Ray Parker Jr. -- "Ghostbusters" ("Who you gonna call?")
R.E.M. -- "Star 69"
Toto -- "Hold the Line"
Stevie Wonder -- "I Just Called to Say I Love You"
City Boy -- "5705"
Sleater-Kinney -- "Call the Doctor"
The White Stripes -- "Hello Operator"
The Clash -- "London's Burning" ("Dial 99999")
Johnny Thunders -- "Chinese Rocks" ("Somebody called me on the phone / They said hey, is Dee Dee home?")
Bob Dylan -- "Highway 61" ("...a thousand telephones that won't ring")
Morrissey -- "Dial-a-Cliche"
Love -- "The Red Telephone"
Rival Schools -- "Travel by Telephone"
Tammy Wynette & George Jones -- "The Telephone Call"
Claude Francois -- "Le Telephone Pleure"
Special thanks to Simon Morris, Michael Temple, Jim Scileppi, Daniel Briney, Karen Kim, Chris Sweet, Laurie Edwards, Chris Bickel, Daniel Reifferscheid, and Dainon Moody.
May 06, 2002
What is "Hold the Line" about? Methinks the "Love isn't always on time" line in the chorus is metaphor for some manner of sexual dysfunction, and I wouldn't put it past a band who wrote an entire song about their collective hard-on for Rosanna Arquette. While we're on the subject, could Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone" allude to a similar problem? The original "Hanging" is by L.A. power-pop obscurities The Nerves, and Jack Lee's lyrics are gender-neutral. Whatever gender you choose to associate the song with, someone's hella horny. Or perhaps it's just about a telephone call. Oh, shit... I'll get back to you when I examine the lyrics of ELO's "Telephone Line" and New Edition's "Mr. Telephone Man."
Here's a question! What are your favorite telephone-related pop songs? E-mail me with your lists and I'll post 'em here.
May 05, 2002
Seafood risotto! Two loads of freshly laundered clothes! Home-recording progressive rock! Found! Two humongous books of stock color photos! An illustrated history of graphic design! (Art! Advertising! Journalism! Etc!!) A book! From Switzerland! (Coffee table.) Photographis 84: a retrospective of 1984's most striking commercial (journo, advert) photography! Cigs. Web design. Not a damn lick of music that wasn't my own. On TV, Dana Gould, laff riot.
May 03, 2002
Lou Reed beat me up. No joke. He had a Jell-o cube in his left hand, and a mini-quiche in his right. One in a napkin (greasy), one in his hand (slimy). The quiche he actually ate before he assaulted me. He had it in his mouth, clenched in his teeth, little bits of broccoli sticking out of his canines. But who am I to tell this to Lou Reed when he has to keep his head for a photo shoot, seeing how he just told me in all confidence (and it's no secret) how much he dreads any contact with the media? Well, he was standing there with broccoli in his teeth, and sliming me with this cube of red Jell-o, covered in whipped-cream residue from the Jell-o ambrosia it was once a part of -- well, I suppose you could even call it a sculpture -- at these industry parties they make sculptures out of EVERYTHING -- they'd make sculptures out of cocaine if it were just a LITTLE more pliant -- and it was so durn cute I hoped the photog would show up already and get the scene on Kodak.
Now, my hair is naturally brown, dark brown (used to be light brown when I was a kid but I don't leave the house much anymore), dyed black but brown (dark brown, used to be light brown) in the roots, and at the age of 24 I noticed my first ever real live gray hair, which looked very festive when Lou Reed beat me up, looked luverly there with the buttery broccoli mini-floret resting at peace in my 'do . I remember at one point Lou Reed's glasses almost fell off; his nose was shiny (I hope they fixed that in makeup) and the nosepiece of his glasses slid down the bridge of his nose. Quiche and Jell-o, greasy napkin and slimy hand, not the opportune sitch to readjust one's specs, speshly when you're beating up a dumb journalist ha ha ha! Worse, it was a party FOR Lou Reed, but Lou Reed couldn't remember whether it was for this one thing he was plugging or this other thing, but whoever was in charge of the music there pushed play on the tape the exact moment the rabble started to rouse, and it was in the middle of "Satellite of Love": "I've been told/That you've been bold/With Harry, Mark, and John." Lou Reed squinting to push his glasses back up. "Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday through Thursday/With Harry, Mark, and John." Lou Reed wincing with a "Jesus, did I WRITE that?" sort of pained shame. Poor Lou Reed! He looked around for help but since he couldn't remember the details of his own release party (busy guy) maybe he couldn't remember that Laurie Anderson (busy gal) was on a flight to Alaska to work on a talkpiece about the Iditerod! I was a little tipsy when Lou Reed beat me up, and I fell to the ground and had an olive coated with minced walnuts (?) stuck to the hind half of my skirt the rest of the night. When I got up and walked away he laughed. If anyone knew Lou Reed could be so giddy no one would buy his records. He still had broccoli in his teeth (someone get this man a toothpick!) and I didn't want to be the one to point it out. Later when I walked past him to leave he was staring into a cheese danish and muttering the word "Prague."
Apparently, the new movie 24 Hour Party People introduces the theory that there's a revolution in popular music every 13 years. I'd prefer to think of music on a timeline of sixes -- every 10 years since 1956, seminal events have happened in rock.
It was easy to support my idea for '56-'76. Elvis; important records by Dylan, Beatles, etc.; punk comes into full bloom in NYC and makes its way to England; Master of Puppets, License to Ill, PMRC... but it took me a while to come up with 1996 milestones.
But with a little mental elbow grease: Ramones break up, Sex Pistols reunite to do the Filthy Lucre tour, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opens (technically Dec. 24, 1995, but that's only a week off), Lilith Fair and Ozzfest tours make their debuts.
Newsworthy and culturally relevant events, for better or worse.
May 02, 2002
I Know a hundred ways to die.
I've often thought I'd try one:
Lie down beneath a motor truck
Some day when standing by one.
Or throw myself from off a bridge-
Except such things must be
So hard upon the scavengers
And men that clean the sea.
I know some poison I could drink
I've often thought I'd taste it.
But mother bought it for the sink,
And drinking it would waste it.
--Dorothy Parker, "I Know A Hundred Ways To Die"
Was talking to a friend the other day about how sometimes when we're really busy, self-involved, or mentally preoccupied with something, we sorta go off into our little cubbyholes, avoid people, just get into our own shit to an extreme that makes others feel alienated and neglected. I like to reach out to friends when I'm depressed; I'm not as antisocial as I like to pretend I am. But when I get into these states, I can only take so much, and it's not their fault if I spaz out or lapse into a morose funk. I try. You know. I try. But I like being alone; away from people; away from pushy, hypercritical, obnoxious jerks. Sometimes I need a day or two to recuperate from a nasty mood swing, a couple days where I put people's petty concerns on the back burner until I'm ready to deal with them. Leave those messages on the machine until I can handle a real conversation with someone. Leave e-mails unopened -- I don't wanna know. I don't wanna hear it. Go away. Leave 'em unanswered -- a better mood will yield a more polite response. Until then...
May 01, 2002
I bought an interesting book tonight -- something called Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave, published in conjunction with a 1988 exhibit at New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art. It covers McLaren's ties to Situationism; friendship/business partnership with Vivienne Westwood; work with the New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, and Adam and the Ants/Bow Wow Wow; and brief mention of his work as a recording artist. Not all that enlightening if you already know the history, but there are some AMAZING photos in here.
I still say McLaren gets too much credit for the "making" of the Sex Pistols -- and he knows it! They were far from being a boy-band -- they had great songs, two very magnetic and endlessly fascinating personalities, and a kickass guitar player!
I just got back from seeing Motorhead, and I've got all kinds of embarrassing amphetamine scribblings to share. But I'm still winding down, and I'm trying to piece it all together into something coherent -- I have to do that in my mind before I can do it on paper. (well, "paper").