Saturday, January 22, 2011

Clown Nightmare

I dunno why I want to share a video with you - I never have before - I have a different blog over at Tumblr ( where I post music videos that I am liking - but something about this silly gag reel - which doesn't have many gags but contains many images of the commercials I saw over & over when I was a kid - has fascinated me. Do they still make these sorts of commercials for kids, with characters from McDonald's in some sort of narrative form? I hardly ever ate at McDonald's when I was a kid, but not because I didn't like it. My mother didn't drive & there wasn't one within walking distance. I would have, though, mainly thanks to these commercials.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The End Of 1975

Last night, when I did this week's Self Help Radio, which was my favorite music from 1975, I got a very nice surprise. A deejay recruit named Galen came by to be trained. He had been scheduled to be trained the previous night, but had (understandably) mixed up the days. "Come by Tuesday at midnight" usually means "Wednesday morning," not "Monday morning." Technically he was wrong, but the error was perfectly natural & I was glad to help. He was a good guest & I hope he learned something about how NOT to do a radio show from my example.

He also was twelve years away from being born in 1975. I am so old.

The show ran a little long to accommodate very lengthy & awesome singles by Television & Pere Ubu - their first singles, by the way - but you should listen all the way through. The show's at self help radio dot net. It's wearing polyester & it seems to have an itchy nose, because it's scratching at it & sniffling a lot. Weird.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1975 in 2010

Tonight - in just a couple of hours actually - jeezus I better get ready - Self Help Radio explores the year 1975 in the subjective way that, well, it's the songs I liked from records that came out that year. It's not much of a history lesson. You will not learn, for example, that in 1975:

* NASA cloned the first astronaut to land on the moon!
* Disgraced Richard Nixon spent the majority of the year playing with himself!
* Elvis Presley had something to say & only Las Vegas would listen!
* Someone you know who would never admit to this wore awful clothes & did too much cocaine!
* War raged!
* Words were exchanged!
* A good time was mainly had by people in the so-called "developed" countries, while the majority of the planet lived a short, sad, terrifying, painful existence!

Really it's just about the music. Although I may share stories from when I was seven. Isn't that worth the price of admission alone? Also, the price of admission is free. On the radio at 88.1 fm in Lexington, on the line at wrfl dot fm every place in the world that the internet is on the line.

I'll archive it tomorrow on the Self Help Radio website if you can't listen. But if you don't listen, how will you know why I'll never ask Ricky Gervais to host again?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whither 1975?

Every year during my birthday week, I travel back in time to play music from my favorite records from a particular year in my life. I started in 1968, & now, seven years later, I have found myself in 1975. I didn't have a blog for the first few years I did my show, since they weren't invented yet (or maybe they were, but I didn't know about them, which is kind of the same thing, isn't it?) so there aren't entries about the first three shows I did. But for the next four, there are!

Here's Whither 1971?

Here's Whither 1972?

Here's Whither 1973?

& here's Whither 1974?, where I quote from the previous three. I will do it again next year until this blog disappears up its own asshole. (Note: there are some who would argue that this happened already, quite a while ago. If they knew this blog existed. Which they don't. You either!)

It was a tolerable year for music - Dylan released his last great record, Blood On The Tracks, for example - but if you look at some year-end lists, you see a lot of bloat. A LOT OF BLOAT. I mean Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin flavored bloat. Something was going to have to give. & it would. Next year is going to be awesome.

This year will be nice, too. 1975. The century at the three-quarters mark. Vietnam over, Nixon is disgrace. The 70's in full bloom. I wasn't paying any attention to it, of course, but I was seven. It wasn't my fault!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Preface To 1975: New Year's Eve, 1974

I don't remember much about my seventh year on this planet. When it began, I was in second grade, which was a much more comfortable time for me than first grade, because in first grade I proved to be a good test-taker & reader & the powers-that-be wanted to move me up a few grades. That terrified me. Nothing like that in second grade! Still getting good grades, but just one of the kids by then.

I remember my second grade teacher was named Mrs. Chumley, & I enjoyed her class. I seemed to have a few friends, & in the classroom there was a bathroom for one, which I preferred to "men's rooms," which my mother told me were filled with perverts. I didn't want to meet a pervert!

I have two particular memories. One day, I brought all my comic books to class. All my comic books fit in a giant paper grocery bag. I don't know why I did, I just did. Someone probably asked to see them. Maybe they didn't believe I had as many as I said I did. Maybe it was my friend Robbie Spangle. I dunno. It wasn't my friend Dale Smith, who was my best friend in first grade, & who had the best action figure collection I'd ever seen - he told me he had outgrown them. We were no longer best friends.

Also, at some point in the class, someone discovered the word "upchuck," to mean "vomit." For a very short time, until Mrs. Chumley put a stop to it, some of us would say "chuck" every time anyone said "up." As someone generally bored in class, I liked the idea of waiting to hear the word "up" to shout "chuck!" first. But, like I said, Mrs. Chumley told us to stop, so we stopped.

I do know we were probably still living in the Lockwood Arms, an apartment complex which is not call that these days. In fact, it's not entirely there - it was composed of two squares, each "side" with two floors of apartments, with a courtyard in the middle with a pool & a laundry room in each, plus areas for children to play, & at the "corners" were entrances from the parking lot that surrounded the two buildings. The facades faced the street, Kingsley Road. As I said, it's not entirely there - a fire some time ago resulted in one of the "sides" (to be precise, the far left one, if looking at the complex from the street) being demolished. I don't believe there were any plans to repair or restore it; nowadays I'm sure the apartments are government housing for the poor. Which they still have in Texas, for the time being.

The place looks like this now, from the air, according to Google maps:

I never knew the two "squares" were not of equal size. Obviously, the one side that's missing is on the right in this photo. As well, it appears they filled in the swimming pools, which I've seen before in Garland, to avoid liability & upkeep.

Also, the name has changed, to Orchard Square, which is no surprise - it pays to be "under new management" I suppose.

This is a picture of the empty side. What's fascinating about this - why it fascinates me, anyway - is that I'm pretty sure we lived in an apartment in the building that no longer exists. I remember being able to look out the window & see the little row of shops, including my favorite, Z's Pizza - across the way. I also thought I remembered a parking lot, but I don't think there was one after all. There is one now, & people can park where once I laid my head, more than thirty years ago:

We moved - just a block over, to another apartment complex - some time during my seventh year, & I know & remember this because I associate the places I lived with the grades I was in, & I didn't live in the Lockwood Arms when I was in third grade. But perhaps I can reminisce about that next year.