Friday, February 16, 2007

A Friday Ramble

It's cold in Austin. It's not New Hampshire cold or anything, but it's cold. Cold enough to catch cold. Since I quit smoking, I've gotten two colds, & they were of the "ow ow my sinuses hurt" variety. I never got that when I was a smoker. An EMT friend of mine once told me that it's common among medical types to note that smokers don't get colds as often as non-smokers, & she (at least) attributed it to the smoking. "But," she said, "if it kills the common cold, what else do you think it does to you?" I miss smoking in ways that I couldn't imagine, but I'm done, so I'll sniffle instead.

Today's show is about gin but I haven't had a drink in a week. Although I do plan to talk in a fakey drunk voice during the show. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. At least once I will do it. Ha!

I will also play a song by local depressive Luna Tart. She had an intermediary send me a song of hers that she didn't write for the show but that the show reminded her of. I can't resist her. If I attempt to, she sends her car & makes me watch Leni Riefenstahl movies with her all night long. I can handle her tears, I just can't handle all the mascara.

Other than that, it's just a gin show. I hope future generations will make a drinking game out of it.

& the "Song Of The Day"? Let's make it a funky instrumental. We'll take something from the guitarist Eddy Senay, off of the recently released collection Soul Preachin', which basically collects his two early 70's records. The song is called Zambezi, & yes, it's a cover of the Donny Hathaway tune, & you can click on the name to hear the song. It'll be there till March 2, 2007.

Tune it at 4:30 today, you lush. The show will be intoxicating.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Must... Answer... Letters...!

Do you want to ask me something? It's easy to just click here & write me an email. Are you afraid to ask me? Do you think I'll stink of gin? Ha! I smell of Chloroseptic!

But Harry wasn't afraid to ask. He writes:

Hello GARY
I've listened to your show all since summer, since I drive home on Fridays. What happened to Erin or Errin, the girl who talked with you through the fall? I thought she was great.

Ah, Erin, they miss you.

Well, Erin is alive & well & has not, so far as I know, driven south to live with penguins in Belize (as she has oftened told me she wants to do). Instead, she, as a trainee in KOOP's training program, has finished her apprenticeship with me, &, unfortunately, had to enter rehab. (Okay, that last part's not true.) I hope Erin will apply for her own show on KOOP, but she's always welcome back to Self Help Radio, since she always remembered to bring the bottle opener. My teeth suffer.

I hope you've noticed (have you?) that I've started to digitize my shows again. If you visit the Self Help Radio Archive Page you'll find both last week's show (about crushes) & the previous week's show (about mistakes) ready for your listening pleasure. Download them wildly.

Today's "Song Of The Day" is from the occasionally brilliant side project of the Creation Records gang called the Revolving Paint Dream from their record Mother Watch Me Burn. It's a lovely slice of translated psychedelic pop called (Burn This House) Down To The Ground & clicking on it gets a listen from you. It'll be listenable until March 1, 2007. Viva!

I'll see you tomorrow - it's a show about gin!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Whither Gin?

Happy Valentine's Day. I got the sniffles.

I confess I'm not fond of gin. I like to drink whiskey, either blended or single malt. I could drink it every day if I could drink it in moderation, but, alas, I like to drink a lot of it. My problem (if you want to call it that) is like that of someone who can't just have a bite of chocolate, or who can't eat just one potato chip. Also, I like to be drunk.

Gin is a different beast. It's a pretty good mixer with fruity or sweet stuff, which makes it great for those who are either very feminine or who have a well-developed feminine side (like the British). It's clear so it seems harmless, but people who understand liquor know that's the true danger: clear liquids hurt the most the next day. I myself have never really had incredibly cheap gin (for some reason, when people want to buy incredibly cheap booze, it's usually vodka - why is that?), but I have had different brands & none of them seem extra special. Its dryness is its most obvious charm.

So why do a show about it, then?

I think it goes back to the blues show I did about alcohol back in 2005. I called it the Labor Day Alcoholiday & I focused (obviously) on songs about the drinking. You wouldn't think that blues songs would contain so many references to alcohol. I was shocked. I thought most blues songs were about paintings. But no! There are lots of songs about alcohol! The next thing you'll tell me, then, is that blues singers were famous drinkers. Sheesh.

It stayed in the back of my mind, as a lot of stuff does (the back of my mind looks like a stinky, damp warehouse collecting nonsense for 39 long years), & I said to myself, probably while drunk (on whiskey, no doubt), "I should do a show about an alcoholic beverage!" & the first thing that came to my mind was gin. Really, it was between that & rum. I was at the time completely incapable of thinking of any word of longer than three letters. & "rye" at that time was a kind of bread.

Whether you like gin or not, however, you'll like the show. It'll make you feel all intoxicated but there'll be no hangover.

Here's a romantic "Song Of The Day" for you from the Mr T Experience about dealing with a break-up, which I'll probably have to do today since I didn't buy my girl any flowers. It's from their 1995 record ...And The Women Who Love Them & it's called Now That You Are Gone. Click on the name to listen to it, & listen to it every day until February 28, 2007, because that's when it'll go away.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Preface To Gin: An Unofficial History Of Drunken Blogs

They say - they say - that gin was invented by Dutch people in the 1600s. Some people have even said it was at around ten in the morning. Smart asses. How could the world have lived for so long without gin? & really - the Dutch? If so, why doesn't gin taste like cheese? (Although, now that I think about it, gin does taste like clogs.)

They say - they again - that Thomas Jefferson invented the blog in 1943. I believe that shit. I believe that I have read email between Lincoln & Douglas. I believe that robots control every major artificial cheese-making facility not owned by Kraft. (I believe Kraft is run by zombies.)

Thomas Jefferson, as has been previously noted by famous liars like the King & the Cartoon Bob Dylan, was a notorious drinker. That guy could guzzle gin like no one before or since. Long after he invented the blog, while he was patiently waiting for the internet to exist so he could touch up his Wikipedia entry with lies about his sexual prowess & the color of his hair, Jefferson would drink lots of gin & write, write, write. Among the most famous things he wrote while completely smashed on gin were blogs entitled: "The Declaration Of Intoxication," "The Tyranny Of The Hangover," "Why Don't I Follow Roadie Rules?", "I Am Democratically Drunk, Motherfucker," & the much-forwarded "John Adams Lives! But His Liver Is Completely Dead!"

Jefferson was a remarkable example to many of his contemporaries, so why didn't blogging catch on for over fifty years? I suspect it had to do with the fact that Jefferson couldn't spell to save his life while he was drunk. Many of his much-read blog pieces now have been copy-edited, to save him embarrassment. But it took the Lush Writings Of Jefferson Project in 2001 to bring his true genius to light. Now sober, Jefferson has disowned much of what he wrote, & continues to insist he's dead despite my beliefs.

Here's your "Song Of The Day", mistrustful ones.

It's by the amazing Josef K from the 1987 collection Young & Stupid. (Interestingly, in 1987 I was in fact young & stupid. I believe Josef K had my number. I still do.) It's the hyperactive song Heaven Sent & it should rock you in a postpunky way. Click on the name to download, & do so before February 27, because then it will go away.

Tomorrow: though it's Valentine's Day, I'll focus on gin. As it should be.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Crushing On Haikus & Wrapping Them Up

Like one of those people who keep the photo that came with the wallet, I always want to fill in blanks with the suggestions next to the blanks. For example, in the blogger window where I type, there's an option to "label" a post. The choices it gives you are: scooters, vacation, fall. I want so badly to put those labels on every post I write. Strooth.

Everyone was in the Valentine's spirit & was totally loving on me Friday, but there are only four haiku winners per show, & those winners are below, from fourth place to first:


She knows it’s bad taste
To reveal you have a crush
In a bad haiku


Too, too ecstatic
Heart & art, a crush on you,
Schoolboy to schoolgirl


Am too old to crush
What love from gay youth remains
You can’t crush from me


Tripped up, flattened, love
Head over heels over head
Crushed by your crushing

The Mystery Limericker continued to produce limericks for the show. Here's the one he sent for a show about Crushes:

There once was a stinky old lush
Whose drinking had made his face blush
“But it ain’t alcohol,”
He’d explain with a drawl,
“On cheap wine I have a big crush!”

He'll have a chance to continue to explore an alcoholical theme, because this week's show will be about gin. Bitter, dry gin. Gives you one hell of a hangover gin. Delicious when mixed with fruity or sweet drinks gin. Gin. You should write a haiku about this libation. Or perhaps you can send me a request for a song about gin. Or, if you're in a band, you could write a song about gin & I'll play it on the show! So many ways to be involved. We'll need lots of crushed ice.

This "Song Of The Day" has nothing to do with gin, except perhaps that it goes well with it. It's from a so-so remix collection from last year called Future Retro 80's: Alternative Classics Remixed & it contains a Sparks remix of a Morrissey song from his first solo record. This is one of my favorite kinds of remix - one that simply chops up the song & repeats its parts while adding a beat. It's like a musical dissection. So, without any further ado, here's Suedehead (The Sparks Remix). Click on it to hear all six & a half minutes of its glory. I'll leave it here till February 26.

Tomorrow: I drink a lot of gin & then write a short story for you.