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.