Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's Thursday - Shall I Answer A Letter Today?

Boy, I would love to answer a letter today, really I would. It's just that no one has written me a letter. Well, except that person who writes me every other day to ask me if I'm bald. I fell for that once, fella. I'm not falling for that again...

All right, I'm not bald! Now leave me alone!

Grr, now he knows I'm insecure. Grrr.

I won't be able to write tomorrow because my beloved Magda is going to have knee surgery, & I'm going to be hanging out in the coolest place in the world (for catching diseases), the hospital, for most of the day. I'll disappear to do my show, but she'll be out of the OR by then & so hopped up on pain meds that she'll be discussing coevolution issues with the television & she'll not notice I'm gone. I can't tell you if any of the great contributors to Self Help Radio will be preparing a song about mistakes, since no one has so far. Maybe they'll do it by mistake. It's happened.

Those of you musical types reading this now & wondering about contributing to Self Help Radio may want to read this previous post of mine to learn how you can get your music played on the air. & for those of you who want to ask me a question, ask me a question. I answer them on Thursdays. Can it wait till Thursday? Only ask me questions that can wait till Thursday.

Or are you bored? Should I share with you a "Song Of The Day"?

Here's something you all know & love. By Iggy Pop. It's called I'm Bored from his record New Values. Click on the name to listen to it. Do it before February 15, 2007, as I'll be removing the mp3 then.

Listen tomorrow to Self Help Radio! I promise it won't be a mistake! I also promise it'll be a mistake!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Whither Mistakes?

Har har, someone over at the KOOP home page has written, in regards to my show this week: "Mistakes is the theme of this week's Self-Help Radio, hosted by a true expert on the subject, DJ Gary, Friday, 2/2, 4:30-6:00." Someone shall suffer for their impudence!

Or am I possibly doing a show about mistakes because I am the sort of person who is an expert on the subject? Or did I simply stumble on the idear of doing a show about mistakes by mistake? Make no mistake, there's a reason for a show about mistakes, & I'll get to the bottom of it. & I won't be mistaking some lame-ass "I don't know how I came up with it" commentary for a real explanation, no. This will be solid & satisfying, like a cold Snickers bar or like taking a dump in a hotel room in London.

But first: I pondered yesterday about the scale of what we might call "accidents" or "errors" or "getting something wrong," & said that I thought that mistakes were somewhere low on the list. But what is that list? Would it look something like this (from the most egregious to the least)?

Horrible Crime
Serious fuck up
Stupid motherfucking thing to do
Self-absorbed action
Faux pas
Boo boo

I tried to make it so that the categories were more or less "things that can happen by human choice" rather than accidents, & I am know thinking, lots of times things get worse after someone makes a mistake. As an example: it was a mistake to vote for Hitler in 1933, & because lots of people in Germany made that mistake (which might well be classified as a stupid motherfucking thing to do), there was a genocide. So maybe mistakes are part of a continuum of action that, if left unchecked, can continue to snowball up the ladder of bad decisions until the worst possible thing can happen. I've even thought of an example:

Let's say you're a sad & lonely boy who's just discovered masturbation. You like it so much you're doing it until you're hurting yourself. That's a boo boo. However, you live in a culture that doesn't appreciate sexual exploration & definitely doesn't talk about it, so when you attempt to talk about it to your parents, they are horrified - what a faux pas! You're not without resources, though, &, as you've kept tickling your ivory, you find that your johnson's hurting more & even changing color. You know a friend who's more enlightened, whose dad is a doctor, & you know you can ask him. But you choose not to. A mistake!

All of this is culminating in a self-absorbed barrage of guilt & shame which, as you continue to watch the infection consume your man-parts, goes from stupid motherfucking thing to do up the ladder to serious fuck-up. You've so successfully kept it hidden from everyone, including your family, that when you start punishing women for your stupidity, you are able to do it without any suspicion being drawn your way (& rape & other forms of sexual abuse are horrible crimes). In fact, as you finish law school & start a career in public office, you find that power shields you from most forms of punishment, & by the time you're a rotted-dicked congressman in the House Of Representatives, you have zero qualms authorizing a president (who went from mistake to war in no time flat) to occupy another country as the cost of your own.

Of course, this is entirely fictitious, &, as far as I know, there are no Congressmen with completely dessicated penises. I was being hypothetical & I'm sorry if I offended anyone in the Senate or the House.

I do know why I am doing this show, however. It's because Magda & I listened to the Baxendale's You Will Have Your Revenge on the way to Dallas before we went to Europe & the song "(I've Blown It) Big Time" made me think, "I should do a show about dumb mistakes." It's as simple as that. I'm just glad I don't have to do a show about dumb motherfucking things to do. That could take a while.

Ah, the Song Of The Day!

This is a sweet & shambly soul number by a quartet called Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr from a neat collection of obscure soul singles from the early 1970s called Eccentric Soul, Volume 1: The Capsoul Label. I love music that sounds like it's held together almost entirely by the faith & will of the musicians & singers involved. The song is called "You Can't Blame Me", & clicking on the name will let you hear it. I will remove this mp3 on February 14, 2007, & you can't blame me if you've missed it by then.

Tomorrow: answering letters? Might that be a mistake?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Preface To Mistakes: Does Anyone Really Want To Make A Mistake?

Someone a long time ago, someone I didn't really know & who had a magical way of thinking - not more creative, but seeing the world as populated more with fairies & karma & divine intent - whereas I am a materialist, & see the world as totally free of mystical stuffs - this person was mad at me because I did a show I called "The Broken Show." (Looking back at my playlists, I see it was one of the first shows I did in 2002 as I was beginning this whole "Self Help Radio" journey.) She said I "cursed her." What would she think about a show about mistakes & being mistaken? If she listened, would it be a mistake?

I was wondering where, in the array of fucking up, a mistake falls. Somewhere near the bottom, I'd guess; a mistake seems relatively trifling - you're gonna catch some kind of hell, but it's totally tolerable. "I made a mistake when I didn't call the wife today!" The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: "A misconception about the meaning of something; a thing incorrectly done or thought; an error of judgement." In fact, mistakes are common enough, & carry with them only mild penalties, that we must modify them with adjectives to increase their enormity: that was a big fucking mistake, dude!

But even so, certainly tragedies are not to be dismissed as "mistakes" - except by the people who want to downplay the bloody clusterfucks they've created. Ergo, the President will say, of Iraq, "Mistakes were made." But I don't think simple mistakes cause deaths.

This is, at least, the philosophy of the show on mistakes for this week. So my former acquaintance might feel it's a mistake if she happens upon Self Help Radio on Friday, but, supposing my radio show has supernatural abilities (which it doesn't), it wouldn't cause her to crash her car - but it could perhaps make her forget a meeting over the weekend. She won't be fired, but she'll be yelled at. It was a stupid mistake on her part. Not listening to the show - forgetting about the meeting. How could a radio show - even one about mistakes - cause you to make a dumb mistake? Now you just sound silly.

Look! It's the "Song Of The Day"!

For no apparent reason I was listening to Crime & The City Solution this morning, a gloomy postpunk band fronted by Simon Bonney, who could out-Nick Cave Nick Cave in the wailing & gnashing of teeth category, & whose band featured cohorts of Cave's like Rowland Howard & Mick Harvey. I was first attracted to them primarily because of the Cave-ish-ness of Bonney, but came to understand that Bonney's devotion to the darkness was more steadfast & darker than Cave's. This song is from their 1988 album Shine, & is called All Must Be Love. Click on the song's name to hear an mp3. That mp3 will be removed the day before Valentine's Day, February 13, 2007.

Tomorrow: why a show about mistakes? Am I atoning for something?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Owl Haiku Wrap-Up & Stuff

I had a great time doing the owl show & some of you had a great time writing haikus for it. If you haven't already, visit the Self Help Radio home page & read about the haiku contest. It's quickly replaced "poetry slam" as Austin's ignored poetry of choice!

Here are the winners of last week's bird-of-prey-licious owl haiku contest:


You stuffing an owl
The last night at our old place
All the light had gone


She threw a tantrum
Because her mother called her
Stupid as an owl


The back of the barn
Where I thought I heard hooting
Two eyes meeting mine


Pray, pray, bird of prey
Your prey can’t hear your wings flap
As they eat & play

As I mentioned last week, the Anonymous Limerick Writer has been writing a limerick per week based on the theme. Here's his not-very-anonymous limerick about owls:

There once was a pretentious owl
Who’d dress in a cape & a cowl
Despite his station
By reputation
He was known as an awfully foul fowl.

Thanks & congrats to all entrant & contributors.

Today's "Song Of The Day" is a direct result of me looking for crushworthy songs about crushes from my Valentine's Day show next week, which will be about crushing on people (duh). So I was listening to the BMX Bandits all morning, & I did find a song to play by them, but it won't be this song, which comes from the Serious Drugs compilation of their Creation Records run. The song is called "Next Girl" & clicking on the name will let you listen to it. This mp3 will be removed February 12, 2007, just in time to not offend Lincoln on his birthday.

Tomorrow - & most of this week - there'll be nothing but mistakes here, since that's what my show is about this week.