Friday, December 28, 2007

18 Shows To Go!

Jeepers, the time is a-gettin' short. Not only is the year almost over, but I'm gettin' close to bein' done with my time at KOOP.

Today I'll be finishing my one-year commitment to doing the "Indiepop A To Z" every two months. I made a substantial dent in the Cs, but I won't be returning to this on KOOP - unless I get to sub Ear Candy again, which may happen. I am subbing Ear Candy tomorrow & continuing a to z'ing. Look, it's my OCD & I'll alphabetize if I want to.

It starts today at 4:30pm. Live on 91.7 fm in Austin, or at online. Archived as soon as I get my shit together over at Ear Candy is tomorrow at 3:30pm. Same bat channel, same bat web site.

Ah, 2007. If I didn't drink so much, I might remember some of your highlights. I do know that I continue to be fortunate to live with a lovely scientist & our six doggy catty children (the newest one, a beaglet called Winston, joined us just a few months ago), & I am pleased as punch to be associated with a wonderful radio station like KOOP, which is (as I always say) an exciting experiment in community radio. I am honestly surprised that this experiment doesn't blow up in the lab as much as your average experiments do!

Most of all, I am happy & grateful so many of you listened, called in, made requests, won shit, & gave money to KOOP in the name of my show. It warms the cockles of my heart. I am glad we got to spend some time in 2007 together. Now. Two shows & on to 2008!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Millennium Falcon

Mmm, the Millennium Falco. What a delicious space ship.

I am a total Star Trek nerd, but every time I think of the Millennium Falcon, I get a sci-fi boy's brain chubby. How I wanted that ship when I was nine! I even once had a dream that I stowed away onto it. I don't really remember the dream, but I remember how happy I was when I woke up from a dream in which I was on the Millennium Falcon. Yum.

I had a friend in high school who loved drawing the old school Enterprise (I was in high school before Star Trek The Next Generation, so there was no new Enterprise to draw at the time), & both of us expressed admiration for the Cylons' ships (though not really the Battlestars or their lame X-Wing-Fighter-ish ships) in the original Battlestar Galactica, although, just as we puzzled over why the Howells would travel on Gilligan & the Skipper's cheap ass boat rather than using their own yacht or something, we never really understood why it took three Cylons to pilot the ship when they could never win against the Colonial ships.

I am happy to read that the Falcon inspired Joss Whedon's Firefly, which is the easily the best science fiction of the past few years. I don't fall in love with space ships anymore like I did when I was a kid, but there are certain things that push my buttons - like a Proustian taste or smell - whether it's how fucking cool I thought Mr T was, or seeing the crazy trippy art of Steve Ditko (which always feels brand new to me), or seeing the Millennium Falcon. I'd accept George Lucas' facile, tedious, dull Star Wars universe if only someone would let me fly that ship once.

Mmm, Millennium Falcon. Hey, could Chewbacca come along as well. I'd need him. & maybe R2D2, just for safety's sake.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 12 - & # 13?!?!

As the year ends, I get to try to come a little closer to ending something I should've started when I was much younger & there weren't as many indiepop bands are there are now: the indiepop a to z countup. I started doing it with Jennifer on Ear Candy in 2005, & did it every two months on Self Help Radio this year, & will most probably get through the middle of the Cs before I put the project on hold for a little while.

Wait! Why on hold? Well, as I have only four more months on KOOP, I'm going to wait until I switch to podcasts in May 2008 to continue. You can wait, can't you? No? Okay, then you can go listen to those other indiepop a to z countdownups. Yeah, I thought so. Ingrate.

But Lace has asked me to sub Ear Candy this week (it's on Saturdays from 3: 30 to 5pm), so I figured I'd just continue what I started on Friday's Self Help Radio - which means three hours of indiepop c: from Cats On Fire to... what? Will I get to bands/musicians that start with ch? ci? cl? You can cut this tension with a hot butter knife you bet!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm still working on the show. Is Cibo Matto indiepop? Really? Why or why not?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Buffet

Happy holidays to everyone who comes across Self Help Radio & doesn't throw up a little inside their mouths! (Okay, happy holidays to you too. Why do you do that to yourself?)

I have just put up the two & a half hour A Very Self Help Radio Christmas over at for your holiday listening pleasure. It's bound to disturb your family in ways your sexual deviance never could. & that's saying something!

If you prefer just the music, you may want to listen to this month's Self Help Radio Extra, which is a mix of all the Christmas songs from last year without all that radio junk gunking it up.

I may not post tomorrow - I'll be with family myself - but I'll be back Wednesday. Happy holidays to everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

19 Shows To Go!

Let's fuck shit up.

Remember, today's Self Help Radio is a Christmas spectacular which includes the hour previous, which is my way of saying I am subbing "The House Call," which means this Self Help Radio Christmas has become a Very Self Help Radio Christmas. There'll be lots of Christmas music which isn't entirely right in the head, as well as giveaways, amusing anecdotes about Santa's perversions, & at the very end of the show, I'll hang a giant mistletoe over Austin & everyone'll have to make out. What fun!

I'll get the show archived in time for Christmas, I promise. Meanwhile, if you want/need/expect a Christmas mix fix, visit the Self Help Radio Extra page for last year's Christmas show as a single mix without any radio accoutrements.

See you at 3:30pm Texas time, on the radio or on the web at koop dot org!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Obligation!

I don't mean the the KOOP Anniversary Party, which got an XL recommendation, whatever that is. (I bet it's not as cool as a doctor's note. I wish I could get a doctor's note for most of my obligations. Oh! & a hall pass! Those are cool.)

That made me think about "Get Out Of Jail" free cards in Monopoly. I guess that, since most of the players end up in jail during the course of the game, it assumes that people who go crazy for real estate are all basically criminals who'll do whatever it takes. I think the game is being honest here. I am surprised.

Anyway, remember, I'm not deejaying tonight, despite what you may have heard. I started that rumor myself & it spread like wild butter. No, it's Irma from Hablando De Salud who'll be spinning the tunes in the spot where my name might once have been tossed about in a potential manner. Go see her! She's wonderful.

I must go prepare for a Christmas show... It's really the only thing I do to celebrate the birth of the little baby girl Jesus. She's pretty!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Whither A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2007?

There's such good tidings of joy & radio this week, friends & ex-lovers!

First, Self Help Radio will be extended by an hour (as opposed to being removed by court order, as you've been expecting) so you'll get sixty more minutes of Self Help Radio, which promises you, as always, lots of Gary talking mixed with fabulous music. I can't describe it better than that. I just had dental work & my mouth hurts. Also, my co-workers are unkind to me. I think I'll go home early to cry. 'Tis the season.

Second, this month's Self Help Radio Extra is actually all the songs from last year's Self Help Radio Christmas show, only this one has all the talking & announcements taken out. So if you're in the mood for a seventy-two minute mix of Christmas songs you really won't ever hear anywhere else (or at least certainly not in the order in which I have placed them), just hop over to the Self Help Radio Extrapage for downloading & play it at the next Christmas party you attend. You won't be invited back to that house ever again, but you'll enjoy irritating everyone there.

Third, you've doubtless heard about KOOP's 13th Anniversary Party, yes? You should! Austin's best radio station & a brave experiment in community radio is becoming a teenager - & you can come to the party! All the information you need is here. Come celebrate with us!

That's all. You may return to your online shopping/online porn.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Preface To A Very Self Help Radio Christmas: Donning Gay Apparel

I don't know why I like Christmas music so much. I'm not a Christian, I don't really buy anyone gifts, & I don't really enjoy being around my family at this time of year (& the feeling, more & more, appears to be mutual). But I like Christmas music. I just do. I don't know why.

Do I want to know why? I do! But how?

Most people are entirely unaware why they like what they like, says Professor Smartie of Austin's Brainiac Institute. Indeed, he says, most people have either given their taste up to an authority, like television or magazines, or they've chosen to be contrary to the "taste" of the majority of the people in the world. "The truth is," says the doc, "no one really likes anything."

"So when people tell me they like my show?" I asked.

"Oh I've heard it," he said. "It's awful."

"Don't I know!" I said.

"They're obviously trying to make someone angry," he said, "if they say they like your show."

But what about me & Christmas? If I were just being contrary, wouldn't I hate Christmas? Also, wouldn't I shave my head & paint my scrotum blue? Also, wouldn't I visit old people late at night & make hissing noises under their door so they think their radiator's on fire?

"Probably," the doctor said. "But in your case, you're accepted one authority, & only one: Bing Crosby."

"Of course!" I said. "How could I be so stupid?"

"That's a completely different question," he said. "Put another nickel in my bowl, & I'll answer it."

I have since reconsidered the good doctor's diagnosis, but that doesn't mean he's wrong, just that I'm pretty sure he's full of shit. Meanwhile, as I was listening today to the fifteenth version of "Jingle Bells" I've collected for possible play this week, I could only smille to myself & think, "I also really love cheese. I wish someone would give me some cheese for Christmas. I do love it so!"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Full Of Myrrh & Sense

I'm so excited that I get to do a two & one-half hour A Very Self Help Radio Christmas this year. I hope Richard Dawson shows up! He's always there in my dreams!

I must say, I am delighted that weirdos like you enjoy my show, & even though my favorite music of 2007 hardly ever makes anyone's top ten lists besides me own (I only have one artist listed here, although Lucky Soul would have made it if my show were longer, & I played tracks from Japancakes's cover of the entire album Loveless under my airbreaks, even though that record is silly), I am rubber & year-end-top-ten-lists are glue, so their opinions bounce off of me & stick onto people who apparently only listen to music that they're told to. Nyah.

The show itself is current available for your listening or re-listening pleasure over at The show includes frank & revealing discussions of rich people moving to Mexico, whether or not we believe Ike Turner, & what all those difficult Nobel Prizes really mean. Missing it will be the mistake you always thought you'd make.

Now, back to the annoying Christmas music. It really is like sifting through manure to find pearls. Is that how the cliche goes? Did noblewomen once hide their jewelry in shit? The world is strange.

Friday, December 14, 2007

20 Shows To Go!

I'm down to 20 shows. Holy cow!

Today's show is my favorite indie music from 2007. Is it weird that I feel completely relieved that, of the twenty or so bands I'll get to play today, only one of them made the Onion's top 25 records list?

Justin, who does the House Call before me, is also playing his favorite stuff. So how indie are we? Tune it to find out. Starting at 3:30 pm today, live on the 91.7 frequency in Austin, or at

We're so cool. & enjoy me while I last. I'm almost gone! 20 shows! That's like one third of a year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Friend Of A Friend Of A Frond

Great, now I have a ridiculous title & nothing to write about. Here's what I know about fronds, though:

A frond is a large leaf with many divisions to it, and the term is typically used for the leaves of palms, ferns or cycads.

I don't know anything about friends. Well, I know a little something about Friends, the hit television series which ran on American television from 1975 until the day before the United States went to war in Iraq. If you'll recall, it single-handedly created the paparazzi industry & it also served as replacement therapy for people who've lost the will to click.

Is it wrong that I don't think of the people who may be listening to my show as friends? Well, what if I think of you as acquaintances? Former co-workers? People with whom I served in the armed forces just right before the United States went to war in Iraq?

But if you are friend of a frond, & we're friends, your other friends might think I was a frond, to avoid them being considered the frond with whom you are friends. How do I argue that? I won't. I'll just take my leaf.

Get it? "Take my leaf"? Like take my leave? Oh I kill me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Whither Gary's Favorite Indie Music 2007?

As has previously been noted, The Self Help Radio has long been a supporter of many generous & onerous causes, including but not limited to musical endeavors. As part of this longstanding belief system, & with all respect due to doctors who operate on all manner of folk, The Self Help Radio has preceded to pretend to poll all of its programmer to determine within a 45% plus or minus accuracy whether said programmer has actually listened to let alone rated his or her (well, his) favorite music which was released in the year many have called 2007.

The results may surprise you. Four out of five of doctors who operate on all manner of folk have agreed to disagree about the nature of the results, which shall be made public in some particular order on the The Self Help Radio show this coming Friday. All press complaints & any personal, swell-scented documents may be delivered with great aplomb to this email address(es) provided in the press packet everyone should have received at the complimentary brunch. Extra silverware may be returned to the Lost &/Or Found Department located on the second shelf.

What should next your move be? Good answer! The listening pleasure of The Self Help Radio was or may one day be discussed in mixed company beneath chandeliers & over mugshots. Don't be forgettable - understand that there are moments in history at which you are attending & those which you were not invited to which. This is open to all those who have stomach, gumption, opportunity, opprobrium & wherewithal. Will you fathom the depths of The Self Help Radio? Might you even look at The Self Help Radio, then at yourself in the mirror, just to see if there's a resemblance? I know you do!

The Self Help Radio thanks you for your supplemental nature. Your name has been put in a hat & one day in the future you will be contacted by someone in the employ of a doctor who operates on all manner of folk. What happens next is entirely up to you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Preface To Gary's Favorite Indie Music Of 2007: Year End Lists & The Women Who Love Them

"The Year In Music"

JANUARY: An overhyped new record by some old dude. Giant world tour follows. Tickets top four hundred dollars each. Sponsored by Viagra. Old Dude makes lots of money.
FEBRUARY: A new hiphop record by the same dude who's made a lot of hiphop records in the past three years is released the same week as the new hiphop record by the other dude (who'll be dead by year's end) who's made even more hiphop records in the past five years, & there's a lot of news blurbs about the competition in sales. No one actually listens to the records, though some do enjoy the women in bikinis in the videos.
MARCH: Another awards show gives top awards to both an old dude (who was criminally not given this award three decades ago) & a young dude who's sold a lot of records (which no one will listen to three decades from now).
APRIL: A scantily clad, terrifyingly thin pop singer with a child creates a scandal when she endangers her child's life in some way, goes to rehab, leaves the child at rehab, shaves her head, shaves the child's head, & then breaks up some other scantily clad, terrifyingly thin pop singer's relationship. A reality show based on the event follows in the fall.
MAY: A new FCC ruling allows Clear Channel to purchase every radio station in the United States except for ten.
JUNE: Forty year anniversary of some overrated record by overrated old dudes dominates the media for a week, much to the gratitude of the current administration. Only a couple of people are strong-willed enough to look up from the nostalgiac haze to point out that the record hasn't aged well.
JULY: This year's group of "indie" musicians, picked apparently at random in a smoke-filled room by record company executives, get their break by being featured in a commercial or on a summer movie soundtrack. Of course, the ones who "make it" are not the group of musicians who truly deserve it, but the deserving musicians disqualified themselves by not signing to a major label.
AUGUST: Another old dude makes news complaining about the Internet, myspace, filesharing &/or mp3 stores online from his Malibu home as the third set of reissues of his CD catalog (feauring remixes by Moby & Radiohead!) hit the stores.
SEPTEMBER: Someone generally unimportant dies/kills self/is killed & becomes more important than they ever would have if they'd lived. This may or may not be the hiphop artist who released a new record earlier in the year.
OCTOBER: Some old dude rips off some groundbreaking hiphop/electronic/indie/world music trend & is hailed as a genius. He doesn't pay the interns who turned him onto the music (he only listens to his old stuff), but he does let them blow him.
NOVEMBER: A major musical innovator dies, but not only do the obituaries focus on the musician's "hits" & the troubles he/she had while alive, but someone unimportant - a politician, usually - dies soon after, taking the attention away from the true legend.
DECEMBER: Year end lists by famous critics will include only those records sent to the famous critics by major record companies, although, if an intern will fuck them, one of the critics may include the intern's favorite independent record as an afterthought or a "band to watch."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Early September Conjugal Visit

Yes, we have surprises in store for you this weekend only at Self Help Radio, America's favorite organic fast-food shopping emporium & home decor workshop. Using only fair-trade radio parts, Self Help Radio changes the world, one kilobyte of downloadable exacerbation at a time. Listen to what you can see if you'd only had a taste of the sweet-smelling Self Help Radio shaking your hand on the radio every week:

- Collapsible Cheese
- Martin Heidegger
- A Brief Cessation Of Hostilities
- Dimly Lit
- Vegetarian Dim Sum
- Jelly Pipeline
- Mind The Gap
- Popular Novelist On Hold

Want more? Want less? Both are available at no other cost to you than your time &/or interest over at!

Update: On Friday, December 7, 2007, Self Help Radio performed a public service & played ninety minutes of 2007's best electronica (& not, as previously reported, best erotica, sorry). If you didn't hear the show, you will be able to enjoy it as it happened in what is apparently called mp3 format over at But act soon! It may only be there for a year!

Friday, December 07, 2007

21 Shows To Go!

Eep! Time is running short! Someone needs to get me a banjo & a sentient sports car or else we'll all die!!

Yes, today is (counting down, you know) show number 21. There are only 20 shows after this. If I live that long. You never know what my enemies may be putting in my sag paneer when I'm at an Indian food buffet. All I can say is that I can't eat as much as I used to, & that may be my saving grace. Damn my foes! Can't they wait their turn?

Today's show will be my favorite electronica from the past year. As always, I will neglect to make sure that everyone knows I couldn't possibly have listened to every record put out by every electronical artist (or by every human artist making electronical music) this year. Just most of them.

Actually, I do avoid a lot of stuff. I filter. I don't listen to much that's house-y (although if they made music based on television's House, you can bet I'd listen to that) & I don't listen to a lot of techno ravey dance music. Nor ambient, although it's a fine line sometimes. I mean, what's the real difference between glitch & drill n bass? Or did I make those genres up? I can't tell any more.

Oh, you listen & decide what I like. It'll all be live today on KOOP (& online too) from 4:30 to 6pm Texas time. & then later (probably around Sunday) at & still later, repeated over & over in your head when you get to hell. Three great chances to hear!

& be sad as show 21 passes by... & my departure from the KOOP airwaves gets ever nearer...

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Last week one of my childhood heroes died. I hadn't really paid any attention to him at all in thirty years, but when I heard he was gone, I felt very, very sad.

His name was Evel but the name wasn't meant to evoke diabolical intent, just coolness. For a little fat kid in Garland, Texas, who loved comic books & science fiction, this guy sure seemed like a super hero. I wish I still had the toys I owned - the action figure on the motor cycle, the action van, the ramps - but the reason I don't is not because I outgrew them. I just played the shit out of them.

He of course wasn't a super hero. Listen to this:

Performing stunts hundreds of times, Mr. Knievel repeatedly shattered bones as well as his bikes. When he was forced to retire in 1980, he told reporters that he was “nothing but scar tissue and surgical steel.”

By his own account, he underwent as many as 15 major operations to relieve severe trauma and repair broken bones — skull, pelvis, ribs, collarbone, shoulders and hips...

He had a titanium hip and aluminum plates in his arms and a great many pins holding other bones and joints together. He was in so many accidents that he occasionally broke some of his metal parts, too.

I'm trying to remember specific moments I watched Evel Knievel jump something - like, did I see the Las Vegas jump, or the Snake River Canyon jump, live on TV? - but I don't think I ever saw anything but "best of" shots. For me, he wasn't someone you tuned into television to watch. He was captured on film doing what came natural to him, like you imagine a stray camera catches Superman flying overhead. He was someone my friends & I talked about, lied about, made up new legends about.

He was such an amazing thing to have as a kid. The New York Times obituary says he retired in 1980, which seems awful late, but by that time I was ass-deep in puberty & not really going to pay attention.

Aw, who am I kidding. Even now, if I had heard he was going to jump the Washington Monument on a Vespa, I'd have wanted to at the very least hear about it. Insert some dumb comment about his motorcycle leaping the river Styx here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Whither Gary's Favorite Electronica 2007?

Whither not?

I was going to have that be my entire entry but thought, nah. I'm not that cliched. I also thought I'd be explaining it & then have the sentence stop in the

But even that's dumb, & it makes it look like I'm writing poetry or something. Hey! I haven't thought about this in a while.

Do you have a friend
Who writes
e - m a i l
like they think
they are

That used to annoy me more than it does now. It was far more annoying in the days when people wrote real letters. You'd get a gigantic letter from someone you liked & there'd be like six words per page. If I hadn't been so damned lonely I wouldn't have written back. Where was texting when I really needed it?

An aside: Back in those days, I used to steal a lot of ideas for letters from comic books. None of my friends ever read comic books - to this day, most people still think they're for kids or something - morons - so I could write letters with weird formatting & strange ideas & nobody I knew would ever know. They'd think I was creative!

That's harder with blogs. Someone could be googling a comic book, get my blog, & the next thing you know, Warren Ellis is coming up to KOOP to kick my ass. Not that that wouldn't be cool.

Speaking of cool - when will electronic music ever get really cool? Every time it seems about to break through, some douche like Moby or those French Daft Fucks come along - or even worse, Radiohead listens to an Aphex Twin record & thinks "Duh we could do this!" - & the commercial result is icky, half-assed, lowest common denominator commercial cookie-cutter shit. Ah well. Some great folks continue to make music regardless.

& that's
my favorite electronica 2007.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Preface To Gary's Favorite Electronica 2007: My Circuit Bored

I want to publicly give thanks to electronics for enhancing my previously only chemically-enhanced lifestyle. In particular I'd like to thank electronics for high-definition school lunches. & satellite channel-changers. & my Tony Stark-flavored CPU. & instruments, like keyboards & kazoos, that can be made electric. Thanks electronics! Have some cheese on me.

I am writing this on what the gurus like to call a "computer." The electrons bouncing off its monitor into my eyes mock me, but I am used to the constant humiliation of "online gaming," so nothing burns me any more. Except the virtual fire of my hate. But that's not important right now. What's important is that eventually, when everything we predicted in romantic comedies comes true, it'll be we who are the machines, & not the machines. Nor vice versa.

For example, it was common in the 80s & before & after to forgo the risk & nuisance of having an actual drummer to use a "beat generator" or "drum machine." Famous bands like the Decaffienated Jellies & the Jean Lenin Sisters preferred the tinny, vaguely programmed sound to actual programmed tin drummers. The result? Legend! Why? Electronics! Hunh? I said Electronics! Turn up your hearing aid!

However, in recent years, the analog has made a slight comeback, also known as, it never really left but we've just noticed it again. "Analog is the new non-digital recording" has appeared on at least one bumper sticker, if that. Dance floors everywhere are a-titter, or possible a-quiver, especially when everyone pays a-ttention. When instead they dance, well, that's where electronics, & electronically-apathetic dance music heroes, shine. Literally. They shine. They have crystals & LEDs & even lightbulbs, although hopefully with a small ecological footprint or a small ecological booty so they don't track mud all over the place.

Let's hear it for electronics! Notice I didn' say "Let's see it for electronics!" That's because I do a radio show, which few people see (don't ask me how many people feel my show). I thank electronics for not only my livelihood but also for helping me make a living. Three cheers for electronics! Please push the "cheer" button three times. Then watch the screen.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Buy Lo! Sell Hi!

The robots this morning were unforgiving, or was it the cats? If I had my trusty pocket calculator, I'd be able to enumerate the humiliations & daily offenses I endure to exist to make this blog that I make to help me make my radio show. I don't do it out of "music love" or "computer love," that's for sure! I'd sooner spend time in a shop window with the other showroom dummies. But I'm no model - I don't want to spend all my time in some electric cafe being exposed to unhealthy radioactivity. It's more fun to do radio than to compute!

Anyway, leaving the man/machine behind, I do want to point out that not one but TWO of the most recent Self Help Radios are available for your listening pleasure over there at The last two shows I did in November are there, in fact. Please go listen to them & compare them to every Kraftwerk song you know.

Or did your antenna fall off when the spacelab fell on the Trans-Europe Express?

You have no excuse!

Friday, November 30, 2007

22 Shows To Go!

Vacation is over (but I'm taking the day off work anyway, because I am still a little jet lagged - all those damn time zones between here & New York!), so I'm sitting here listening to Christmas music in preparation for my World Famous Christmas Show, which I'll be doing in about a month. A month! It didn't even take Jesus a month to die on the cross!

Just got finished feeding my brood & have been going over the piles of nonsense I have for today's show about birthdays. A moderately exciting thing is happening today, besides it being Girlfriend's Birthday Eve & the general happy excitement of doing a radio show for the nice people: today I get a new apprentice!

Remember, KOOP welcomes newcomers into the station to train to be programmers twice a year, & part of the training process is to be paired with "seasoned" (that means recovering from some addiction) programmers to learn the ropes. I don't know anything about ropes, but I can tie my shoes, so I am assigned an apprentice. You may remember my apprentices from the previous season:

Gary: the rugged, no-holds-barred Midwesterner who has given me more stitches than anyone since the schoolyard bully in elementary school; &
Stephanie: the rugged, no-holds-barred chick from Houston whose inability to stop kicking me in the teeth made for hours of hilariously bloody radio.

Gary may still be around. His day job (he's the state executioner for some Middle Eastern potentate) keeps him busy, though. Stephanie, alas, had to go back to Houston because the city missed her too much. It was getting all weepy & talking with its mouth full of chocolate. What could she do?

It's bittersweet - my apprentice this week & the other one (I don't know why I always get two) next week will be the last apprentices I'll have at KOOP. But they're new! So with only 22 shows to go - wow! New voices on Self Help Radio!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bad To Verse

"This is the first vacation you didn't finish a book," says my girlfriend Magda. It's true. There was too much to do!

I didn't relax enough, but then, what else are subways for? It's my own fault. I was listening to the lovely subway song that begins, "Stand clear of the closing doors please!"

Much as I constantly confuse the names of the colors (but not the colors) orange & green, or the names of the times of day (but not the times of day) midnight & noon, I have always confused "verse" & "prose." "Prose" has never seemed prosaic to me. & "verse" sounds like an insult. So while what I am writing now is more definitely not verse, I don't really think it's prose, either. In my mind, prose rhymes. With "rose." & "nose." & "those hose."

None of which explains why I should have or could have but did not finish a book over the last five days. I also didn't finish a crossword puzzle, but that doesn't bother me, seeing the half-assed attempts to solve crushingly easy sudoko puzzles in the in-flight magazine. What a wiener was sitting in my seat before me!

Oh oh, another weird thing is religious freaks in the subway. Who lets them in there? & above the Mason-Dixon line? They were handing out Chick Tracts!

What else? A radio show tomorrow! Aha!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Whither Birthdays?

No one really cares WHY I do the shows I do, so I've sort of stopped explaining. (But my love for the word "whither" lives on.)

There are some folks at KOOP who don't understand why I pick the themes I pick, but that keeps them from listening to my show, so saying why on my obscure little blog wouldn't help.

If I must explain: Suffice it to say, it's my wonderful girlfriend Magda's birthday this week, & there are tons of songs about birthdays (literally fourteen thousand pounds of them), & I figured I'd make it a regular thing.

Here's the tagline as if I advertised the show on television:

Is it your birthday? Have you recently had a birthday? Will you have a birthday this year or have you had one already this year? Then this show is for you!

I am still in New York, waiting for my previously mentioned wonderful girlfriend to wake up so we can begin our day. While most folks might finish their nights in gotham at a bar or in jail, we found ourselves last night at a vegan cupcake shop called Babycakes. The staff there were awesome & one of them had an iPod mix better than any jukebox I've heard in the city. The only scary thing: a picture of the owner with Martha Stewart. It almost made me regurgitate my spelt.

I've also seen old friends, new friends, near-relatives, men in business suits throwing up in the subway (okay, just one of those), Rockettes, bartenders eating apples & peanut butter, academics eating raw meat, the Park Slope food co-op, and lots, lots more.

Luckily when I see, I am also there to experience.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Preface To The Birthday Show: Another Year, Another Birthday

Does New York City have a birthday? How hard can it be to find out a day when a city was born? Pretty hard, actually - online encyclopedias give years, but not specific days. This must be a sneaky way to make sure a city has a birthday all year around!

I tried to find out when my home town of Garland, Texas, was born (answer: some time in 1891), but couldn't find a specific date. I did, however, find out that Garland has a Star Trek Lane. I knew there was a reason that I came from that city!

I shall visit it when I am there in Christmastime. For I am a major Star Trek nerd.

By the by, reading about artistical forms invented in New York in the wikipedia, I am surprised that the writer does not mention comic books. I am such a comic book geek that I really do expect to see super heroes in the skies above this city. At the very least, I am waiting for someone to tell me where the Baxter Building is.

What was I talking about? Ah yes, something about birthdays. Are days of creation the same as birthdays? Do my radio shows get born every Friday, or was the show born when I did my first show? (I know that to be October 9. My show expects presents.)

I dunno. My feet are sore because my girlfriend makes me walk everywhere. I am assuming they will fall off at some point, I'll miss my plane, & people will throw coins into my foot sockets as I make my living on the subways of New York. But that hasn't happened yet. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 26, 2007

NYC 11-07

Yes, yes, I'm in New York. It's chilly but I am getting to see both the trees in Central Park change color as well as steam pour from the manholes so it doesn't bother me. It's my girlfriend's birthday so this trip is for her, & we're going places & doing things she wants.

This affects you vis-a-vis my radio show in two ways. One, I have not updated the web page or my playlists on both the KOOP page & the myspace page, & b, I have not put up an mp3 of last week's show. I know, you'll not be able to sit at work & pretend it's Friday again today, & for that I am sorry. Not terribly sorry, though. I'm in New York!

Since it's officially Magda's Birthday Week, when I get back to do Self Help Radio on Friday, the show will be about birthdays. Not just hers. If you or anyone you know have a birthday, the show will be for you.

I'll try to continue writing from NYC. I'll also try to figure out what's making those manhole covers steam...

Friday, November 23, 2007

23 Shows To Go!

Eep! The days of Self Help Radio at KOOP are dwindling! It's gotten cold outside - could it be the universe is missing me already? Or is it just "winter"? What do YOU believe?

Today at 4:30 pm (in less than an hour), Self Help Radio explores the family on our second annual Dysfunctional Family Holiday show. Don't listen to it with your family. Please.

Live in Austin on 91.7fm, live streamed everywhere at I'll archive it soon enough. Listen to the damn thing first!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey, Vine & Iron

"Egad," said Agent Trinidad, "they've closed the country!"
"Must be a national holiday," murmured Agent Spellcheck. "Let's go around back."

No one talked about the future anymore. Or if they did, they rarely did it when anyone was present.

"Try picking the lock," said Agent Trinidad.
"Can you fake a retinal scan?" shot back Agent Spellcheck.

That must be why it got so cold so fast. Or so old so fast. Like life was an aching muscle. Or a tour of duty. With overpriced convenience store coffee.

"We're fucked six ways to Sunday," said Agent Trinidad.
"Maybe not," said Agent Spellcheck. "I have a plan."

Do you remember when people wondered which would run out first, water or oil? No one said a thing about poultry. Or even bees. In case you thought they were being polite.

"A tunnel!" gasped Agent Trinidad. "How did you know that was there?"
"Easy," said Agent Spellcheck. "I built it once. For someone named Traitor."

It's not hard to hold gluey, gummy flesh, & it's not hard to learn to wait & see in the darkness. What would be nice at your earliest convenience would be something to breathe, & maybe a revival of art for art's sake.

"Don't they ever clean this fucking place up?" asked Agent Trinidad.
"Just don't get any on you," said Agent Spellcheck.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Whither Dysfunctional Family Holidays?

Let's set aside precious moments to speak directly to the concept of family as an idea if not an ideal to be thought about. Nearly all of us come from some kind of mother or father, even if they're not there at the time of our births. But whether we're an adopted or whether we're unwanted, it's most certainly true that at the end of the day, the family that we have is different than what some call "friends" or the family that we may as well choose. Didn't you have a sense from day one that you wanted to be a part of them too or rather they'd make you be a part of themselves? I mean, with some kind of function or holiday-like gathering? Surely.

But as we wrestle with the grapple of family, mostly your thoughts can sometimes turn to unhappiness or even ardor. Why wasn't I ever born! can be heard in the teenage households of these or any other times. Because often there are difficulties inherent within the generational gap between the older & the youngest. But over time some think those can be resolved with conversation & even violence. This is what makes us humanly possible.

So too the subject is apt for a radio show wherein subjects are often discussed. As I come from a family of people, I often have noticed that I have brothers & sisters. My mother, too, has been known to express herself as if she were maternally involved with me, that is to say, matronly. Perhaps you have noticed foul-ups or errors within the unity of the home, where tempers fray & the dawn never comes. In the naturalness of the scheme of things, this is to be expected even if you never saw it coming.

I therefore admonish you in strenuous overtones to understand that Self Help Radio, while making light of obvious familial circumstances, really means to be saracastical & whimsical with what could truly be painful & humiliating. It is the voice of experiential data you'll be hearing, if you must tune in, or else musical variations on the thematic nature, to wit, the mockery of family, which makes a mockery of us all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Preface To Dysfunctional Family Holiday 2007: Not Going Home For The Holidays!

When I first decided to do a show about fucked-up families & play it during the Thanksgiving holidays, I didn't think I'd want to repeat it. But I've decided to make it a yearly thing. There are just so many songs that fit in that category.

In case you didn't know, I do several "yearly" shows:
- I do a show every year on my birthday focusing on my favorite records from a year after my birth. I started in 1968 (both literally & as a year to explore on my show) & next year's will focus on 1972.
- I do a Valentine's Day show every year. Next year's will be about jealousy.
- I do a show featuring bands I like coming into town for South By Southwest. Next year's will be my last, most probably, since I'll be leaving town. Wherever I end up, I hope they have some kind of music festival. Or at least one that doesn't suck as much as Austin's does.
- I do a Halloween show. Like I just did. I also do two "favorites" shows at the end of the year, one for electronica, the other for the rest of the stuff I like. I do a Christmas show, that has won awards(*).

I'm adding two this year for the hell of it. One is the aforementioned Dysfunctional Family show. The other is a show for my beloved girlie's birthday. I did one last year & was amazed - freaked out - astonished by the number of birthday songs. So why not do it every year? It's not like it's just for her. Everybody has a birthday every year. Even Jesus!

Something else I hope to do regularly is continue making the private mixes I am calling "Self Help Radio Extra." It's a CD-length mix of tunes I like which I am putting together as a single mp3 for you to listen to while your phoning your cat, or lassoing your lifestyle, or just your average disco homework. & guess what! Just in time for the month of November, November's mix is ready for you! You can find it on the Self Help Radio Extra web page. Oh boy for you!

I'm going to go have a little sleepy now.

(*) In my head.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You May Remember Him As The Star Of That Show

Do you have a creepy obsession with alphatizing? Boy I do. I am resisting making sure that all the titles of all the posts of all this blog have covered all the letters of the alphabet. I am resisting but it's so hard.

It's almost as weird as my obsession with phrases in English used commonly or oddly. See last week's show as an example. Or even better, listen to last week's show over at The ghost of ol' Joe Pulitzer himself stopped by to haunt me. & he might have gotten away with it, too, if hadn't been for those meddling kids - & Scooby Doo!

& some words visit my head regularly without rhyme or reason (well, sometimes they rhyme). The word that keeps popping into my head today is "dainty." I don't know why. I almost titled this post "dainty." But then I thought I'd have to make you some tea, & the good china is somewhere near the bad eggs & it would requiring using my step-brother's step-ladder, which I now recall he left in the steppes of Ukraine. I guess I stepped in it that time!

Anyway, I'm not dainty, & neither are you. Do you know what's dainty? A kitten sampling a cup of tea. That's fucking dainty!

Friday, November 16, 2007

24 Shows To Go!

Is this the time in every radio show's life when everyone gets sentimental & starts to remember things kindly? Oh boy! I was such an asshole & a fuckup, I really need this!

I remember when I was 24 - it was a nice enough age for me, although I was completely messed up most of the time, not from drugs (I was still more or less "straight-edge" then) but from a broken relationship that had consumed the previous three years of my life. & that relationship's name was George W Bush.

Everything but the last part is true. But you'll forgive me, right? I only have 24 MORE SHOWS ON KOOP TO GO!

People were nice when I announced it last week, but I hope everyone understands I'm just leaving the airwaves, not the universe of making radio shows. Do you need a radio to make a radio show? I think not! Or, we'll see. It's easy to turn the radio on. It's harder to compete when you can watch entire episodes of the Daily Show online. & I'm linking to them! What an asshole & a fuckup!

Someone asked me if I am doing special things so I don't "waste" my shows - but that implies there's a finite amount. Not so! I have millions of radio shows in me. & they'll come out, like all my teeth & the majority of my colon, before I die. Just not necessarily on KOOP.

Therefore I'll be doing what come naturally - the same thing you've come to know & dread. Or, failing that, more shows about zombies & pie.

I'll see YOU at four-thirty, you sweet-smelling thing you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jump, Clarinet!

In all of the excitement over the great Nostril Hair Debacle this week (will Mitt Romney ever recover?), I have been unable to communicate with you about other, non-Self Help Radio-related radio experiences I had this weekend.

The one involving me & the transistor radio & the tub of bean dip cannot, unfortunately, be discussed in public. But I do think you can still see, in the St. David's Hospital emergency room, the chalk outlines left by the cops, & the sheer terror in the eyes of the EMTs & that nice fellow who sells the American flags. My lawyer says I apologize for all that.

But on Saturday morning, as hungover as could be, I subbed the show called "Big Band & Classic Jazz." I focused on the clarinet in the 1920s. I had fun. You can hear the show in its entirety over at Not once did I shriek that shriek which, I know, causes wolves to commit suicide. I save that for Fridays.

The next day, last Sunday, I showed up to sub Mojo Time & did a special Veteran's Day show about the post World War II blues phenomenon called "Jump Blues." It's also now available to be listened to over at I am not responsible for injuries sustained by you if, during the show, you choose to try to dance like you imagine people used to dance to jump blues. My girlfriend found that out the hard way.

Please enjoy lots of Gary on the radio. I must go now to spread rumors about my dentist. How he hates me! Well, now I'll give him a reason that has nothing to do with high fructose corn syrup!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Whither I/You/He/She/It/We/They Come(s)?

Eek! My theme this week is goofy!

Luckily it's easy to explain: I am playing songs that feature one or some of these phrases:

Here I come. Here you come. Here he comes. Here she comes. Here it comes. Here we come. Here they come.

That's all. There are lots of songs with that phrase because it's a common phrase we use in English.

(Although I won't play this song, since I played it during my "hiding" show earlier this week. I hope no one minds.)

Self Help Radio is not shackled nor trapped by the conventions of other radio shows that require their "themes" to be solid things, like the intestines or pellets or clubhouses or cheese. We attempt to expand the very idea of ideas. Everything can be a theme, especially those things that are least thematic. So we can have a phrase as a theme. Why not? It's not like there's a body out there that can tell me what I can & can't play on the radio.

Wait, I've just been informed there is such a body & it's called the FCC. But as long as my themes aren't poo, pee or graphic sex (such as sex involving poo or pee), I'm safe. Which means I won't be doing that show about hot karls any time soon. Rats. & there was this great Pat Boone song I wanted to play!

Self Help Radio is as free as any radio show can be, within the limits of the law. & maybe my own narrow world view. Oh, & within the bounds of music I deem as good. & then in the subset of music that I own. That I can remember I have when thinking about a theme. In time for the show.

As for this week's show - on Friday, here it comes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Preface To Here I/You/He/She/It/We/They Come: Uh, What The Hell?

That's right, the "theme" of this week's show is unweildily entitled "Here I/You/He/She/It/We/They Come." Perhaps it would be easier if I had written "[adverb] [pronoun] [verb]," but if I had done that, the show could mean "there you are" or "happily she dances." I wanted the show to feature prominently the construction HERE [pronoun] COME(S).

Either way, trying to explain what this week's theme is (never mind why I chose it) makes it seem like either a) I am a prim grammarian who is attempting to educate while condescending to entertain, or b) I am a lunatic who has discovered pronouns but only can understand them in the context of one sentence.

As far as I know, neither is true, although I don't sleep well & could very well be hallucinating this computer in front of me & am instead typing on my new puppy's head. I imagine that's not the case, but I can't be sure. Who sleeps well, anyway? Is that something reserved for children & puppies? I bet the war criminals that run the United States government sleep well, though. They must, knowing that they control pretty much everything. Hmmph!

But I confess I don't really understand the theme myself, or am being coy about it, so trying to explain may be more confusing. Anyway, here goes: I will be playing songs that are called &/or prominently feature the phrasal construction "here I come," "here you come," "here he comes," "here she comes," "here it comes," "here we come," or "here they come." There are, as you might imagine, a few songs that contain that phrase. I'll play the ones that I like that do.

That didn't seem so confusing. Now I shall attempt to explicate Fermat's next-to-the-last theorum. (The easy one.)

(One excuse/caveat/mea culpa/parenthetical remark: I haven't really found anything that is titled or contains the phrase "here they come," but the Monkees theme song keeps coming to mind, & I'm not going to play that, not even for money.)

It's darker earlier here. It's totally creeping me out.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Hate Inside

I am not liking myself all that much right now because I am a monstrous fuck-up, but I will just say that I baked a delicious radio show last Friday all about pie, & you can listen to it over at

Other than that, I have nothing to say. I must go beat myself up some more.

Friday, November 09, 2007

25 Shows To Go!

I announced earlier this week that, because of personal reasons that will probably include my leaving Austin, I will only be on the air on KOOP radio for one more season. (KOOP's seasons run from May to October, November to April.) This does NOT mean the end of Self Help Radio. I plan to continue to make unlistenable podcasts for as long as I have breath in my computer, & hopefully wherever I end up, there'll be some place I can ply my trade. Probably not, but a girl can dream.

So that means that I have only twenty-five more Self Help Radios on KOOP. That's insane! How many Self Help Radios have I done previously? My rough count is 248 - which means I won't get to the big three oh oh - although if you count the other shows I've subbed - including shows that no longer exist like Pot Luck & The Doctor's Office - maybe there would be close to three hundred shows...

Speaking of, this weekend I'll be doing two other shows besides today's Self Help Radio (which, you know, is all about pie!): Big Band & Classic Jazz tomorrow & Mojo Time on Sunday. My version of Big Band & Classic Jazz is going to feature the great clarinetists of early jazz, & Mojo Time will be a Veteran's Day show featuring a prominent post-World War II genre of the blues: jump blues!

So don't be sad. Just make sure you experience me while you still can. For another, you know, six months.

This is going to be the longest break-up ever.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How Long Has It Been Since I've Gotten The Wind Knocked Out Of Me?

I dunno. But what a scary feeling that is!

It's fascinating (to me) that getting the wind knocked out of you is related to hiccups. At the bottom of the page, there's a list of people who had the hiccups long-term. One dude, Charles Orborne, apparently hiccuped for 68 years. I have nightmares about that shit.

I wonder if people called him "Hiccuping Chuck."

Also, did they change the spelling to "hiccough" (even though it's always pronounced hick-up) because it somehow seems more classy? How come the Word Detective doesn't have this answer for me?

Ah, but having an emotional wind-knocked-out-of-me moment - that still happens. Ooooofff!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Whither Pie?

Who wants pie?

Pie, as many have gradually surmised, is usually only typical in the vernacular when common knowledge (or "understanding") has failed or will fail the explication. Therefore, instances of pie nominally indicate pertinent or latent failure, while the absence of pie, or the negation of the possibility of pie, should signify or herald certain success in the discussion.

Why then would most people prefer the placement of pie in the general area of the discussion?

As usual, the great philosophers of history, & their closest friends, have chosen to hedge their bets in this atomic dissection of human behavior. The great Flautis of Norma mentioned that, "Section a pie into eight, ten, twelve, a dozen slices, there is never enough pie!" (In Norma, a dozen was considerably more than twelve. He wasn't stupid or anything.)

In Germany during the Renaissance, the Ulmberg scholar Von Fredinhole declared, "The filling fills us!" (The German, "Das Fillingung Ist Uns Gefilledup!" is generally thought to be less interesting than any translation.)

Even American philosophers, usually tending bar after World War II, have evaded the question rather than answer it. "Shut your pie-hole, pie-eye! Have some pie with your pie in the sky!"

Linguists trying to find their way into the great disagreement have also sleepily missed the point: who cares where the word came from? Are those real peaches or canned?

Yet, as the pie industry overtakes the scone industry in most industrial countries, a wonderment of sorts is inevitable: if pies are outlawed, those who chose to ignore a monstrously dumb law shall enjoy the pies. But also all the cursed ignominy of pie karma. For that is the way the universe has thus far chosen to work.

As Pali Wallah Doodl, the great ascetic from several years before the birth of Chrysler, once put it: "Good heavens look at all these pies! Tell me please is there really shoo fly in the shoo fly pie? Or else may I have a slice?"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Preface To Pie: Let's Get All The Naughty Euphemisms Out Of The Way First, Shall We?

Self Help Radio is by no means related to or otherwise in cahoots with the American Pie Council. However, should they send me pies, I will not be rude & refuse to eat them. Just so they know.

Since I am not allowed to be naughty at all on the radio, except to maybe snicker a little, I won't be able to note without blushing &/or getting in trouble with the FCC that "pie" is often used as a euphemism for female genitalia. Commonly, the phrase used is "hair pie." It sounds awful when put that way, but it surely says something about how men feel & have felt about the sex of a woman if they use the word "pie" to describe it. Because pies are awesome.

Other nasty uses of the word "pie"? I am ashamed to admit there are lots. I will simply refer you to the Urban Dictionary so as not to make you blush.

Interestingly, it's also apparently used to describe a kilo of cocaine. Also delicious, but not in a way I could probably now appreciate. Damn my age!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Crosswalks: Another View

There is happy news abrewing - it's KOOP's new season! You can check out new shows & show changes over at KOOP's home page. I'm pretty excited that the show that will precede mine with be Justin's The House Call. It's a fine show, even if Justin is a weirdo.

But there is sad news - this will be my last season on KOOP. Only 25 more on-air Self Help Radios to go! I'll continue the show as a podcast as I leave KOOP & Austin, but it won't be the same as the on-air experience, & you don't like me enough to continue listening if it's just downloading. But I'll make a big deal about it anyway. I am a crybaby. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, if you missed Friday's show, you can listen to it in its entirety over at my webpage. It was fun. It had classical music & poetry. You will be sad you missed it.

As for crosswalks - who do they think they're kidding anyway?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gentle Cheese, In The Motherly Fashion

I was going to call this post "You phone-fuck like a faggot," because I was incautiously listening to the Kathy McGinty pranks at work today, but I thought you might get offended. So I won't. I don't even know what it means. I would think, actually, that homosexual men, being generally more sexually experimental than I am (& I am for the purpose of this useless conversation a representative of heterosexual men all throughout the world & time), would probably phone-fuck much better than I could or do (& I don't really phone-fuck) (I never have, actually), & therefore the comment is kind of a compliment. Unless you're offended by the word "faggot." I don't mean to use the word to offend, but in the world today, most people don't really care about intent. Words are scary. They get people angry. Some people would prefer you not even use some of them.

My own opinion is that context is everything. It's like an episode of a cop show where a hero cop is being accused of being corrupt or sexually assaulting someone or something, & the cop's superior says, "Well I've known Officer Blah for twenty years & he's never been accused of this, & so I doubt this accusation has merit." That makes total sense to me. Why jump to conclusions? Why not stand by your friends & colleagues? But most of the time people assume bad things. I think it's because we're insecure & believe even the people we're sure love us hate us. Get someone to accuse you of something awful & make sure they're able to be completely serious, & target someone you think would stand beside you through thick & thin. Nine times out of ten, only a little coaxing will make your closest friends suspect the worst about you.

No, don't do that. It's life-shattering. Instead, keep reading this blog for advice that won't be at all helpful.

I'm sure I meant to talk about something else today. But instead I feel like I've been accused of something awful, & you believe every word of it. That's what I get for dreaming of having a chest tube put in!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 11?

As the year comes to a close, my yearly promise to do an indiepop a to z every two months can also be seen as coming to a close. Or can it? Am I married to this? I am just at a Cs! What the hell?

I was thinking how much fun it would be to maintain multiple lines of stuff like this - "Country Blues A To Z" or "Electronica A To Z" or "1960s European Garage Rock A To Z." I wouldn't get any sleep at all.

But I can do it twice more this year, & maybe into the next year. I think I'm planning on it. I quite enjoy it.

Oh, & I know this Friday will be the FIRST week of November & not the LAST week of October, but I have always done a Halloween show, so I bumped the IPA2Z for a week. Didn't you love the zombie show? Then shut the hell up.

There is some BIG or possibly SAD or maybe just HUH! news about Self Help Radio coming up, but I'll wait until next week to tell it. I am simply padding my blog because I feel like I must write about two hundred words a day or else I won't be allowed to be considered a "writer" by my pretentious friends. I think I'm there, so now I need to go draw a couple of pages of a little pig walking to be considered an "animator" by my dorky friends. It's too bad there's nothing other than smoking I can do to be considered a "smoker" by my cool friends. Rats!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 11 - I Am Dumb

Oh, rats, I meant to write earlier & tell everyone that I was going to be on KVRX tonight, on the wonderful King Philip XII & Kimriffic Hour, & I was, but telling you now - since I didn't record it & KVRX doesn't archive it - is stupid. I am dumb.

Much thanks to Kim & to Philip for having this old KVRXer back in their building on their air waves. It has literally been over eight years since I had a show there & over seven since I set foot in any station called "KVRX." One of the first things I did when I walked in was find a CD I reviewed in 1994. It was a Julian Cope CD.

We talked about witches, & KOOP, & KVRX, & drug laws, & Casper the Friendly Ghost, & whether King Philip XII should have a court jester &... Well, I'm sorry you missed it. It's all my fault.

Rats. But I had such a great time, so yay! But I forgot to include you. Rats.

But yay!

Monday, October 29, 2007

When I Was Newer Waved

In the cold harbor town of Zelaot, two types of thugs rule the roost: 1) The mean kind. & 2) The asshole kind. The mean kind can be assholes, but the asshole kind are rarely mean.

It made it both hard & easy for Sheriff Dylan Lennon to show up & make the cold harbor town a warm place for the good citizens. You know, the ones who didn't lie, steal, cheat, murder, fart, cry, whoop it up, skiv, bear false witness, bear true witness, cannibalize, overcook, felch, frot or fail.

How did he do it? How did he destroy the obligatory Martian Cartel & save the small hamlet from roof rot? Easy! He used last Friday's episode of Self Help Radio!

Self Help Radio (tm) kills 99% of all household jerks DEAD. Or it could if it were made by Roctor & Bamble. Instead, it simply sounds a hell of a lot like the show as it aired the previous Friday.

Skeptical? You should be! The once-prosperous town of Zelaot sure was, & they fell into the sea!

Visit to find out how you can make a radio show work for you.

No responsible for lost items or rare blood diseases. Consult your analyst before using Self Help Radio. For copyright reasons, this program is not available on the moon.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day Of The Zombiez

This blog has two great pieces of news today.

The first piece of news is about today's Self Help Radio, which will air from 4:30 to 6:00pm CST on 91.7 fm KOOP Austin, also on the web live at (I'll archive it this weekend so you can listen, if you want, over the Halloween week.)

1) The show is about zombies. I have more songs about the living dead today than you have brains for zombies to eat. Word.

2) I have very special guests today. They are none other than the illustrious Kim & Philip from the King Philip XII & Kim-rific Hour on KVRX Tuesdays. I am a fan of their show, & they've promised to bring lots of information about zombies up to the show today & make me feel kinda dumb.

The second piece of news is something someone asked me to do a while ago & I finally got around to doing it, & I hope to do it fairly regularly (monthly to start), which is this: make a mix that is not as radio-oriented as Self Help Radio - a CD-length series of songs that sound good & taste swell on your ear buds.

Introducing: Self Help Radio EXTRA!.

It's a mix of music I've been digging lately, a lot of it new, all of it awesome. It's saved as a single mp3 so you can just listen to it as a mix - without any of the airbreaks, radio spots, or other interruptions that makes radio the truly fucking annoying medium it is. Wait. I shouldn't say such things!

Please have a taste of Self Help Radio EXTRA!, & look at the lengths I'll go to get some friends off my back.

& please listen to Self Help Radio today! It'll scare the week out of you, just in time for the Halloween weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wash This Space

I regret that I never learned how to scratch. It looks & sounds like a lot of fun. I have pretty big hands, though, & I'm old, old, old, &, as they always taught us, scratchin' is a young man's game.

God, I was such a snob when I first heard scratching. I'm actually still somewhat snobby - although I call it being OPINIONATED - but not uppity - & one way I am still snobby is I can be very dismissive of things because of context. I totally think that's valid, by the way - there's time enough to prove me wrong if you give a shit what I think, baby.

But I was like thirteen when I first heard that Grandmaster Flash song & it pains to remember my sniffly, "That's not music!" I probably also said "Hrrumph!" just like that, because I had read it in a Richie Rich comic & thought people actually said "Harrumph!" when they were indignant. What a maroon. Why didn't I get beat up more - or at all?

Anyway, this has nothing to do with what I want to tell you, but I'll tell you tomorrow. I have TWO things to tell you tomorrow. But that's tomorrow. Today - well, I'll dream that I learned how to scratch.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Whither Zombies?

The zombies will be here any minute. I have only a little time to write. To anyone out there who gets this message - Austin Texas is overrun by zombies!! & it's not even South By Southwest!

This is how we heard that it happened: It seems that, a week ago, at one of those "humorous" driver's ed classes they convince you to take to not have to pay more insurance, a group of fundamentalist evangelical born-again college Republicans & a slightly terrified group of bored hypersensitive acne-scarred virgin physicists & biology majors from several Austin universities - all of whom just happened to be there - got into a conversation about "creating life" & "the Endtimes" (a witness there said that it was like watching two groups of people who spoke different languages talking & acting like they understood one another). They apparently really hit it off.

Armed only with ideas, a Bible (curiously, that was out of ideas), & the keys to a chemistry lab, the science nerds first cooked up some meth, then, with the born-agains praying & egging them on, they apparently discovered a way to make inanimate objects come back to life. When the meth lab exploded (as meth labs must inevitably do), the bodies were mixed with the formula, & soon there were zombies rushing throughout the entire campus.

This unholy group had soon consumed most of the city below the river (which, you know, the city could totally live with), but a blockade at the bridges over Ladybird Lake failed when the zombies found a way to use the little paddleboats to cross. Also, due to a recent reenactment of the Charles Whitman shootings, & the beginning of Hunting Season, the city was experiencing a shotgun shortage.

I am currently locked in my offices, but there are zombies at the door. I've managed to meet a beautiful woman & I was thinking that, with the end being so near & all, she might be interested in some kind of relationship, but it turns out she's more attracted to my girlfriend. Just my luck. I have however managed to build a homemade taser. I am totally ready to make a run for it.

Please do NOT come to Austin unless you can help. Right now, the plan is to lead them up I-35 & get them to Georgetown where we hope they'll be meet the people who live them &, noticing all they have in common, will blend in with the population & settle down to enjoy the strip malls & chain restaurants & the endless waiting in cars in between buying stuff & sleep.

Rats! They've broken down the doors! Got to go!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Preface To Zombies: Are We Dead Yet?

I was asked by the woman with whom I live (is she a girlfriend? is she a partner? why would we give a shit about such labels?) while previewing songs for my show this week, which will be about zombies, why the songs keep mentioned shopping malls in relation to zombies. All I could say is that, in the zombie movies I've seen, the people being chased by zombies end up a lot in shopping malls. I don't know why that is. Except that it might be handy - food & weapon-wise - to be in a shopping mall when one is being chased by zombies.

Also, there is the ironic note that most shoppers in a mall are zombie-like - as close to being zombies while still alive as possible - so zombies are quite at home in a mall because it's made for zombie-ish beings.

I feel I should also point out that I've never been involved in a zombie walk. Not because I didn't want to, but because I've never been asked. But maybe I shouldn't wait to be asked - I should just get involved.

I have nothing really to say in this preface except I haven't been in a mall in probably a decade. Mostly I miss the nachos. & the bored & cute goth girls at the Body Shop. Where are their zombies, like Prince Harmings, coming to take them away?

Why do a show about zombies? Ask me tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Teeth Seem Unhappy

I had two or three comments about our dying republic, but I was instead reminded that you don't care any more - that you have in fact lost the will to want more - & also you had some interesting black & white photographs you wanted me to want you to sign - all to the tune of particularly tiresome 80's rhythm & blues - the type with lots of plunked bass sounds created by synthesizers made almost entirely out of cheese - so I decided instead to eschew the regular rant in famous of something that holds as much water as a healthy kidney: self-promotion.

Is it promotion if I just tell you what it is that I do regularly? Does it offend you if you knew I'd do it anyway?

Here it is: I do this show, about which this blog is loosely based, & every week I take this show, about which this blog is tightly biased, & archive it on a website, which was created for that purpose. That website is called & there you can find last week's show (the theme of which was "Go!" & during which I became slightly intoxicated thanks to a strange mis-use of calomine lotion) there. It should cheer you up, or, if you're sufficiently cheered up, it should depress the hell out of you.

Don't believe me? Then go listen. I'll be here when you return with your tail between your legs.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Like A Cold-Cocked Swami On The Road To Satori

Busy is my middle name. Busy busy busy. Busy busy busy are my three middle names. I like to write in this blog at least four times a week, weather permitting, but I was too busy to write yesterday. I know that made the entire state of Delaware unhappy, but, in my defense, they're not all that cheery to begin with. They only have three counties! It's like being Luxembourg!

Sanitation issues aside, I will continue my tradition of doing radio shows on Friday today as well as the eminently boring tradition of discussing what must be to you highly uninteresting dreams. To wit. I woke up less than an hour ago in which I had a dream wherein:

- I was on a plane & was conscripted to hand food out to the passengers;
- I ended up in New York with a crazy woman trapped in a giant, newly made "Hobbit Park";
- & I visited another community radio station & it was like a compound, with the people there not wanting to discuss "business" with me & what appeared to be entire families sleeping in the halls.

I could go into more details, & I will, only I won't write them down. I could also talk more about the show I will do today in about seven hours, & I will, but only on the telephone with my optometrist. What? So he cares about such things. You should be so lucky to have an eye doctor who takes an interest in something other than your eyes!

But I will say this, as I am constantly saying & as you pretend you don't hear: Self Help Radio, the "Go" show, five years on the air oh wow!, at 4:30 pm CST, live on, archived this weekend at Tune in. I am asking sweetly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Whither Go?

I started doing Self Help Radio five years ago this month. My playlists from 2002 show that I did my first Wednesday show as "Self Help Radio" on October 9. But I really had a show for a few weeks before that. I just wasn't posting playlists.

Because I am a sentimental fluff, I have decided that, every October, I'll "re-do" a show as an anniversary tribute to the show. I buy myself a nice dinner, pay a prostitute to make fun of me, & pour gasoline on myself in a room made of plastic. & if I live through it, I revisit an old theme.

Last year it was "Weekends." There's no playlist for it on my playlists from 2002 page (although mp3s of the show & the playlist are on my playlists from 2006 page) because I did it on a Friday. So too did I do this week's theme, which is an exploration of songs with the word "go" in them, on a Friday. So unless you were listening - & I know you weren't - you won't know what I played then & what I'll play now. Nyah.

Happy anniversary to me! Five years is a long time to be doing the same thing. Ah, who am I kidding. I've been doing the same thing for years. Still, happy anniversary to me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Preface To "Go!": Floss In The Pocket, Page Nine

(This is an excerpt from a novel I will write in the future when I am strapped to a chair during the Star Trek/Star Wars Wars of 2032. I will have placed it into a time capsule which I dug up in my backyard thirteen years ago. To the sound of cats sneezing.)

"Ah, the sound of cats sneezing!"

"Why do you say such things?" said I to the aetherized sky.

"Why do you require such explanations?" said the sky. Or did it?

Surely a talking sky was the least of my concerns. On a dying planet, a sky does not talk, but cries.

& on the fourth day, it rained buns.

"Is this the way you cry, my friend the talking sky?" said I to the bun-filled heavens.

"Jesus," replied the sky, "were you dropped on an obvious tree & hit every branch on the way down?"

"Let's us not argue let's," said I. "Instead, let's us listen to the music in the air let's."

But there was no more music to be heard. Instead, the avant guards made noises with the clipped samples from old, old informercials. What else could we do? We danced.

& on the seventh day, the world began its decades-long death rattle.

"Oh shit," said the sky.

But I was not sad. Not in the leastest.

"Ah," said the sky. "You fuckers with short lifespans get all the breaks."

"Tee hee," said I.

(Page ten may or may not appear some time in the past. You might want to wait, however, until it will be published nearly a quarter century from now.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

That Line That People Didn't Hear The First Time

I like to come & write in my blog on Mondays because no one really fears the monkeys like I do on a Monday. Let me rephrase that. Normally the monkeys are not "scary," yet we fear them. Isn't that what they tell you when you take your first Signs & Omens class? That fear is not at all about being scared of scary things? No? The kids these days. I tell you.

Anyway, the monkeys being at bay (wherever bay may be) (may be bay be?), I am usually, of a Monday, able to come around to your domicile or workstall & say, in my bloggish way, I know you didn't listen to my show on Friday because I saw you getting arrested on "Cops" on Saturday, but since I know you got out on bail on Sunday, I'll write to you here on Monday & tell you you can listen to the show you missed all the rest of this week, because it's available on

But I can't say that today. & it's not just because of the monkeys. Although they probably were involved with you getting arrested on Friday.

I can't say that not because there wasn't a show on Friday - there was, even though the monkeys tried to stop it, as usual - but I can't put it out there for you to listen to because it was programmed by my apprentices, & they have yet to send me their playlist. The nerve! After all I've done for them! Raising them from whelps into whippersnappers! I feel so neglected!

What I can share with you is this: I subbed Mojo Time yesterday & played lots of scratchy country blues for ninety minutes, & that show is available over at Does that make you happy? Is there anything else I can do for you?

Let me know. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Ack! Monkeys!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Except All The Runners Are Lame (Literally)

Since the show is about the weather today, can I point you at a URL where you can listen to an entire record of weather songs?

Then go here for Singing Science Records. Oh boy!

The weather is getting pretty in Texas now. I like when Austin cools down a little, when the sun is not a scorcher but a warmer. As I wrote this, I thought three things:

1) Boy, weather is kind of a dull thing to talk about.
2) But, isn't it something that we always talk about?
3) & isn't that because it's kind of like an introduction - you know, "How's the weather out there?" Or, "It looks like rain!"

Why do human beings have such a hard time talking about things that matter? Is it because we're fundamentally afraid someone will disagree with us? Or that someone will be provoking an argument?

I dunno. Tomorrow on Self Help Radio, though, we talk about the weather. Dig.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Whither The Weather?

Oh my god, thank you my apprentices for that awesome title for this blog! I know, it's a Mr Show quote, but still - how often do I get to quote Mr Show?

All I can say is, good for my apprentices! (They'll be doing the show this week, & they thought up this theme.) I mean, everyone talks about the weather, but no one does an entire radio show about it!

You should tune in! Listen to Apprentice Gary & Apprentice Stephanie do their thing! This Friday at 4:30pm CST on the air at 91.7 fm & online live at We might even have weather reports. Oh, but please god, no Weather Report. That would make me sad.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Preface To The Weather Show: A Brief History Of Apprenticing

It's often said that there are no more good ideas, or that at the very least all the best ideas have already been thunk up. Maybe so. But it seems like a lot of the good ideas haven't yet been used, so maybe the people who think up good ideas are just waiting to see the current ones get some action before working on more.

Take, for example, apprenticing. In general, we don't apprentice anymore. Or maybe we just call it "interning," since an intern can be made to do menial work & not necessarily be promised to learn a trade or craft. But surely the idea of a newcomer learning from an old hand is a good one. & it's one that seems beneficial to both - after all, if you have to teach your own work, you learn more about it, like learning a different language helps you examine your own.

Nothing I am saying here is in the least bit profound, & wouldn't be to a blacksmith in 1513. But for an enterprise as fraught with complication as "community radio," it seems like a broadcast station with virtually no paid staff, run on a shoestring budget with virtually every task done by volunteers, it seems like such an entity would want the best possible way - not to mention the cheapest & least onerous - to have brand new participants learn as quickly as possible the ins & outs of not only the mechanism for making radio, but also how the station works. Therefore: an apprenticeship system.

When I came to KOOP in 2000, the training process was perfuctory at best: three consecutive Mondays of "training," a ten question "test," & you were left to do what you needed to do as a volunteer. Most of the people who came to be "trained" left - there was nothing there to encourage your participation in KOOP except your own motivation. & by the way, there was also no reason for you to even hope to get a show, but that's another story.

I stuck it out because I love doing radio, & I'm also creepily stubborn. I became part of KOOP's Training Team & watched as dozens of great people came to KOOP & then left, simply because the station didn't have a process to nurture involvement. Surely that could be changed! Surely there was a good idea out there so we didn't have to invent one!

In 2005, I took part in a process to redefine the training system & the programming policies. You can see those policies here. One part of the policies is that now training takes a little longer than a month. More like six months. & while you're being trained, you are assigned to a current KOOP programmer - as an apprentice - to learn the ropes. You're given something to do as you become involved.

I don't know if KOOP did anything like this in its first ten or so years of existence, but boy, isn't it a good idea?

This is a long-winded way of saying that I have two great appentices this season & I am giving them my show this week. They want to do a show about the weather. Okay! I'll be there to make sure nothing gets broken - you know, except my heart - but it's all them. Ninety minutes of apprentices gone wild. & why not give them the show? How else are they gonna learn how crazily easy it is to do Self Help Radio.

Oh, wait.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bitten Too Too

The crisis that is this blog continues unto the present day. Are there no more insights from my electronic pen? Do you wish perhaps someone could put your neighborhood in context? Perhaps this can help. I can do more than this.

Or wait. You can always visit the Self Help Radio website to listen to last week's show. If you missed it. Or if you heard it. Especially if you heard it. It's more confusing the second time around.

I am public announcing something on this blog in a month's time. It will not have anything to do with a coupon. Are there other blogs you would like me to emulate? I could perhaps have more found art here. Or maybe flash movies in which you are allowed to do things "creatively" without marking up real paper from real dead trees. You can suggest whatever. I am all years.

New features! A change of cologne! A chance to win twelve dollars a minutes for forty days & forty nights! Styrofoam! Something that reminds you of something else! Redesign! Remix! Repackage! Reticence! All coming up on the new, improved Self Help Radio Blog!

Or, wait, maybe not. I've been a little tired. Also, I'm going to Dallas tomorrow & where will I get a computer then? Are you still counting my keystrokes? What a weirdo.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Best If We Don't Stand Up

Did you know? The Lucksmiths are in town tonight. It's a happy occasion, & far too rare!

& the KOOP Membership Drive continues apace. According to our website, we're at 36,000 - which means we're very close. Pledging during my show will not only give me happy shivers, but will also help the station end the drive early. So you can get back to your regularly scheduled listening. Oh boy!

We adopted a new child last week, as I detailed here, & he has already decided he doesn't respect my authority. He loves running around like an idiot, though, which makes him one of the family.

I'm not feeling terribly clever right now, but my show will be cleverly delicious tomorrow. Maybe I'll even find something nice to say here.

Instead, you can read a great column by Sam Harris. I love him.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Whither Marc Bolan & T Rex?

I love Marc Bolan. I love that he's born to boogie. I love his hippy-dippy shit & I love his crazy rock & roll songs. It's the essence of rock & roll to me. Idiosyncratic, sexy, danceable, singable, swingable. I love him so much I named one of my cats Bolan.

He died thirty years ago, killed in a car, & we lost a lot. "Life's a gas," he sang, "I hope it lasts." It doesn't, but how rare that someone can give as much to the world as Marc Bolan!

So I am celebrating him. It's also KOOP's Membership Drive. You know. Give us money. But even if you don't, know that this unbeliever is sharing something with you that's as sacred as it gets.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Preface To The Marc Bolan/T Rex Tribute: Crystals In The Urine?!?!

This is a strange & lovely collection of found photos of one woman.

I had a best friend in first grade but though he & I continued for ten more years of school together, we weren't as close as at the first. He disappeared I think around ninth grade, but we were barely more than acquaintances by then. Strangely enough, as in a weird Dickens' chapter, I ran into him in my third year of college. We became friends again, probably better friends than even first grade.

He lived in a big Austin house (rented) with squeaky hardwood floors & high ceilings, with two or three other dudes. One of them was a very big fellow who wouldn't have been out of place as the scary fat guy at a frat party, who told me once that, if you have have sex by rubbing your penis between a woman's breasts, it's called "the Hawaiian muscle fuck." (It looks like the Urban Dictionary agrees with him.) His other roommate was a skinny dude with a comical face who had apparently been to England once so he spoke with a fakey British accent & used obscure British words like "woofter" & "dosh." I don't remember either of their names.

What I do remember is the anglophile had a T Rex tape which had "Jeepster" on it (& since I liked Bowie, I already owned Electric Warrior), but also tons of other stuff that sounded nothing like the T Rex Bang A Gong rocker I knew. Later I'd find this stuff was by "Tyrranosaurus Rex," but it charmed me immensely. I stole the tape. I needed a reference point for what I'd be looking for. Anglophile suspected but had no proof.

That's when I fell in love with Marc Bolan, that tape, with songs about wizards & cats & child stars & abyssinia & apple girls & finding a little wood & having a little sleep. The tape's gone, & I haven't thought about my friend's roommates in many years. My friend is happily married with two kids.

I'm not sorry I stole the tape, though. I am sorry I lied to my friend about stealing the tape. I wonder if he even likes T Rex?

Monday, October 01, 2007

If I Wore A Weapon Like My Dear Old Dad

What did he wear? You mean, under the apron?

I am very sleepy because of the new life in our house, whose name is Winston, & who looks like this:


He's only three months old. He likes to play.

If you like to play old Self Help Radio shows, you may listen to last Friday's show over at Remember, KOOP is still having a pledge drive, so there'll be some beggin' within. I hope it makes you give my favorite radio station lots of money!.

I'm sorry I dozed off. I am sleepy. But if I wore a weapon, like my dear old dad...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why There's Flossing In This Cruel World

Manservant Ripple finds his way through the echoing, gigantic house. Sentences flow sweetly from his collapsable lungs. The master smiles to himself - he remembers why he hired Manservant Ripple; & it is still a bargain.

In the basement, Manservent Ripple conspires. The beaujolais is eminently flammable. How many more must die for the bloodlust they call capitalism to leave this vale of tears? But his is not to reason why.

In the bedroom, the mistress dreams dream of Manservant Ripple. She is ashamed of her sad lust, but she has always wanted to touch a hunchback's hump. She cries tears of perserverance.

Did you know he was married? asks the farmer. Yes, his wife lives in the hovel on the corner, next to the hovel once owned by Orson Welles, it's true. She doesn't work, no. She's a shut-in.

But is there - be honest! - is there a difference between mental illness & a love of the fine arts? A difference between a political solution to a problem & the eating of uncooked flesh? Between religion & mockery?

How he wishes he could have wounded with words, does Manservant Ripple. His wife stares at the hovel next door greedily. If they lived anywhere near the mansion, they might see the fire yet rage. But they do not.

Manservant Ripple will apply now for another job.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Whither A Tribute To Tony Wilson?

One of the students I supervise at work asked me one day how I discovered so much music in my life. She correctly observed that commercial radio is repetitive, predictable & dull, & her main response was to keep listening to the same crap she's always been listening to (which seems to be mainly "classic rock"). I thought about it & told her that there are four main ways I set about discovering music (not including listening to some kind of radio, which of course is always a crap shoot &, the older you get, the less reliable unless you find a program you really really dig):

1) Find an artist you like. Find artists he/she/they have worked with, & look for their solo/other stuff.
2) With your artist as a reference, find musicians who have emulated or are otherwise influenced by the artist you like.
3) If it's a scene, start at the epicenter & work outward.
4) Look at other music on the label that the artist you like is on.

Number 4 isn't always a good strategy (Sire Records in the 80's come immediately to mind), but there are labels, then & now, whose output for the most part is controlled by & chosen by someone with really, really good taste. The Beatles had a pretty mundane taste in music, as the other artists on Apple Records showed; but Tony Wilson, one of the founders of Factory Records, obviously knew his shit.

He was there for three main trends in British independent rock: the postpunk of Joy Division, the dance-pop of New Order, & the Madchester sound of Happy Mondays. & certainly all three sounds continue to reverberate & influence music today & will doubtless do so for the rest of our lives. I wish I could say that decisions I made about musicians had such deep & lasting effects in the world of recorded sound.

Tony Wilson's death this year at 57 from cancer was a sadness. I want to celebrate his life on Self Help Radio this Friday. I'll do it by playing a sample of the music he chose to promote & share with the world.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Preface To The Tony Wilson/Factory Records Tribute: It's So Fun Up Here At The Death Camp

Two people have played Tony Wilson in a movie - Steve Coogan in "24 Party People" & Craig Parkinson in "Control" - & that doesn't count movies that Tony Wilson himself was in. You can see that here. Not that it means anything. Just sayin'.

I know he didn't start Factory Records all on his own, but he seems most visible & his recent, tragic demise (he wasn't even 58 years old) seems to say it's time to play lots of great music from his old record label.

He possesses one of those names (you know, the ones with four syllables) in which I can sing a made-up stanza to the tune of "Frere Jacques." I do this with my animals all the time. When you read this, though, you can pretend I am singing in tune:

Tony Wilson, Tony Wilson,
We miss you, we miss you
At the hacienda, at the hacienda
Boo hoo hoo, boo hoo hoo.

I could do that shit all night long. Provided you have a four syllable name. I myself (Ga-ry Dick-er-son) & especially my girlfriend (Mag-da Much-lin-ski) are out. My animals, though, survive by a combination trick:

George & Ringo, George & Ringo
You smell bad, you smell bad
Don't be eating dog poop, don't be eating dog poop
Like your dad, like your dad.

In heaven, you know, they don't allow this sort of doggerel. So we must make use of it here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Fascination With Poorly-Written Spam Is Terrifying Me

I love reading spam. I love when my computer tells me "The Website You Are About To Visit May Be Deceptive. Continue?" It's almost like it's calling me a pussy. Google does the same thing with the "This Website May Harm Your Computer" tag on some searches. It may as well just add, "Little Girl."

I hope you're supporting KOOP Radio during our Fall 2007 Membership Drive. I know I am. I doing the best damn radio show I know how.

Want proof? Listen to last Friday's show. It was a tribute to the late, great Syd Barrett. I was forced to drink half a bottle of whiskey afterwards. It was simply that good.

I have nothing else to say. But I do have three potential spam messages to read. This bodes ill, however - one of them appears to be from my mother. & she can certainly harm my computer.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Llama Is So Llovely!

TODAY on Self Help Radio: Syd Barrett's musical masterpieces intrepreted by the ne'er-do-wells he influenced. Just so you can see his light shining through their work.

IT'S ALSO the first day of KOOP's Fall Membership Drive. I suggest you give all you can to the best radio station in Austin. Otherwise, what good are you?

I SHOULD ALSO MENTION I'll be a guest at the Coldtowne Theater's Stool Pigeon Improv Comedy Show tomorrow night (September 22) at 8pm. I'd love for you to come out & watch me be very nervous & ridiculous in front of you.

I DON'T KNOW WHY I keep capitalizing the beginnings of these sentences, but it does seem to make it more formal. Like every paragraph is the first paragraph of a book or something.

But it doesn't work the same way when you capitalize the last WORDS OF A SENTENCE.

It kinda makes you feel like you're being yelled at or somehow condescended to. That's icky.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Dreamed I Saw Syd Barrett Last Night

He was eating ice cream, & was quite old. He seemed a little alarmed when he noticed I was looking at him. I'm pretty sure it was in Manchester, & not in Cambridge, where he seems to have lived most of his life, but I'm sure I was remembering a place from the most recent "Prime Suspect." I told my girlfriend, who was well in the dream but sick in real life, I said, "That's Syd Barrett." She wanted to go up to him & thank him for writing "The Gnome," but I told her he looked uncomfortable, so she waved & smiled & we turned to go. He waved back, to Magda, not to me, but did not smile.

The dream turned into a kind of scary adventure as I raced bicycles on the highway, but I wasn't on a bicycle, I was swimming through the asphalt, kind of kicking it to make myself go.

That has nothing to do with Syd Barrett, though, but I think you're sweet to have read this far.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Whither Syd Barrett?

The truth is, I don't really care much for Pink Floyd. (I know, even typing this blasphemy has caused waves of consternation to fly through college dorms rooms all over the world.) I knew about Syd Barrett before I knew exactly what his contribution to Pink Floyd was - his name was much, much more powerful in the musical circles I was investigating than the name "Pink Floyd" was. (I kinda wish the same was true with John Lennon's name. He's so much more than a "Beatle.")

Years after I had "The Madcap Laughs" & "Opel," some friends made me listen to "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn." I confess I wasn't as charmed as I should have been. "See Emily Play," "Vegetable Man," "Arnold Layne" - those songs were much better (on first listen) than the stuff on the record. I figured it had something to do the bad influence of the rest of the band (as if they didn't play on the singles!). It took a while for me to warm up to that disc.

More than anything, though, I was impressed by the folks who were influenced by Syd Barrett - Dan Treacy, Robyn Hitchcock, Martin Newell - people whose work seemed to begin at the very moment they heard a Syd Barrett song. How could I not eventually embrace the (almost literally) crazy genius whose ideas became dreams for some many musicians I loved?

I was going to do a Syd Barrett tribute show last year (he died, you know, in July 2006) but other things intruded - & since it's been a year, & since it'll be a Membership Drive show, it can be as special as I want it to be.

More about Syd is located here. I don't know if one should feel sad about his life - I think he understood how much he meant to everyone, at least vaguely so. Instead, we should celebrate the explosive, endless creativity he unleashed into the world. I, for one, will do it on Friday.