Friday, May 29, 2009

Accident Waiting To Happen

This means two things:

1) The accident show is waiting to happen, & happen it will, accidentally on purpose tomorrow in the afternoon at!

2) I resigned from my job today. I'll expand more later, not because you care, because I know you don't, but because it will affect Self Help Radio, which may have to take a few weeks off during the summer. More on that later.

Be careful, though - there'll be an accident tomorrow. But specifically on Self Help Radio. If it's not related to Self Help Radio, that accident is NOT MY FAULT!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Darkness That Is Our 21st Century

There are apparently types of hugs between which teens differentiate. Word is that the youngsters hug all the time. Some people seem a little upset about it, mainly school administrators, who don't have enough to do while keeping an eye on all the teachers they don't let touch their students. Could it have come any sooner that someone would call it the lamest teen moral panic ever?

Remember when the choice was hugs or drugs (supposing, of course, the drug wasn't ecstasy, I guess)? Why are they upset now when it's obvious a lot of teens have made the choice they advocated (assuming, again, that it wasn't ecstasy they chose)? Or were the parents the only people who would get the hugs? Do you know how much better I would've turned out if I got physical affection from even my male friends in high school? My sweet lord.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Whither Accidents?

It's tempting to lie & say that the idea for this show is purely an accident. But it isn't. I've been wanting to collect songs about accidents because two of my favorite songs in the world are (ostensibly) about accidents.

"Accidents Will Happen" by Elvis Costello, & "Accident Waiting To Happen" by Billy Bragg.

Despite how utterly disappointing his career has been since around 1992 or 1993 (whenever Brutal Youth, his last great album, came out), Elvis Costello can still count me a trainspotting EC nerd. I recently put Imperial Bedroom on my iPod & listened to it all the way through on the way to work, probably the first time I've listened to the entire record in over a decade. "Accidents Will Happen" is the first song on Armed Forces, which many people feel is too polished & poppy, especially compared to the raw rocker This Year's Model, but, except for a couple of songs I don't care much for, the album has some of my favorite EC tunes. ("Two Little Hitlers," "Party Girl," "Moods For Moderns," well, okay, virtually everything except probably "Goon Squad" & the overplayed-as-"Alison" "Peace Love & Understanding" song.) But in addition to starting the record off with a song called "Accidents Will Happen," it's certainly no accident that EC began his album with a song that begins, "Oh, I just don't know where to begin..." Exquisite.

That would be enough of a reason to organize a show around something as silly as accidents, except...

Billy Bragg (whose artistic output took a more steep nosedive than EC's after the magnificent & near-perfect Workers' Playtime) (though, I should say, it didn't have as far to fall as EC's did) released the muddled & mostly-unlistenable Don't Try This At Home in 1991, & boy was I knocked out by the first track, which is "Accident Waiting To Happen." The rest of the record, not so much. Maybe it was just the album's title - I know he was just trying to be cute, but should the poster boy for DIY indie really have called his record DON'T Try This At Home? It's like he was deliberately gainsaying the Desperate Bicycles - & his own raison d'etre. But add in the obligatory early-90's REM appearance, add several generally not memorable songs, & it's an album that totally used up all its energy in the first track, & while I am fond of "Sexuality" because it's silly, I couldn't care less about the rest of the record.

I should note that one song that should have resonated with me is his cover of Fred Neil's "Dolphins," & if you read the Allmusic review of the record, it gives Billy Boy credit for the song, though it does correct it on other appearances. Bragg's rendition is fine, but after a tedious song called "God's Footballer," you would think someone whistling to themselves while bathing their cats was a joy.

But boy! is "Accident Waiting To Happen" a great song! & not just because I like the punning line, "You're a dedicated swallower of fascism." & this was in the days before Fox News! It sounds great, it's driving, you want to sing along.

The theme is accidents this week, but it's kind of on purpose. Didn't think I could resist making that joke did you? You don't know me at all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Preface To Accidents: Addiction Is Deadly

I've become kind of addicted to the Netflix play-movie-in-the-browser function. It's made me watch too many movies (usually while I'm doing other stuff on the computer) that I would probably NEVER watch, even if they came on television. Is it because the movies are in the background in the same way that kids of today watch stuff constantly on their computers while they do homework, twitter, chat, download porn & music & pirate movies? I always thought I was too old for this. & I do do one thing they probably don't - when I am absorbed in an email or something else that's taking my time, I tend to "rewind" the movie to see the stuff I've missed. In any event, I feel dumb because I just watched two movies that I thought were all right but didn't really want to watch & I'm late writing in this blog.

I've probably started this because my new computer has a gorgeous screen & I like to use it. I'm going to start watching my favorite pretty movies on it before too long.

I have mentioned this before (& I mention it on my show when I read something from a column) but I am a big fan of the Word Detective. I just remembered a column he wrote a while back which, unfortunately, doesn't have anything to with Netflix Instant Play (or whatever it's called) addiction. In this column, about the origins of the word "crank," he talks about words like "dial" which we still use even though we don't really use phones with dials any more. He remarks that words like "crank" & "dial" are both in "a range of terms still in common usage even though the technologies that spawned them have profoundly changed, turning words whose logic once would have been obvious into linguistic fossils." But surely there's a better name for them than "linguistic fossils"! Let's come up with one.

I thought of that because I mentioned that I "rewind" the online movies, even though there's no tape involved. Funny, yes?

Monday, May 25, 2009

This Lonely Memorial Day...

...the wife is off in West Virginia looking for a place for us to hang our hats, & I've been tending to the lazy dogs & cats & listening to lots of stuff composing this month's Self Help Radio Extra in my head. As for the outside, what is the fucking weather? I don't know your zip code, but at mine, & I quote, "ITS FUCKING HOT." The site also adds, "I recommend staying away from fat people." Though I'm not sure why. They may have some food & refreshing beverages to share!

Speaking of sharing, you do know that the long weekend didn't pass without a new Self Help Radio, didn't you? Though I couldn't make it to the indiepop gathering in San Francisco this month, I did my part by continuing the never-ending Indiepop A To Zs. It's fun! & it's sponsored by Stinky!

& speaking of fat people, I'm going to go make myself something to eat. I hope the rest of your day goes swimmingly, provided it's not humidity you're swimming through. That would mean you were somewhere near here, where, as you know, it's quite hot. I read it on a website!