Saturday, April 28, 2012

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 36 & 37: That Time Of Year Again

Oh god I don't know I am so obsessed with alphabetization.  What is wrong with me?

A person who feels the need to put things like bands they like in such order must have an underlying psychological condition.  By itself it's probably not so bad - but there surely are other issues involved.  Combined with, let's say, a discomfort at disorder or an unease with disorganization.  Do you see?  Everything starts to add up to - oh jeez - a condition.  For fuck's sake, should I be seeking professional help?  Getting myself a bespectacled head shrinker with a cold, stiff divan & telling my life story to someone paid to listen?  How can that be helpful?  I don't mean to discount the profession.  Just, I suppose I fear that the first thing that'll happen is that I'll be asked if I want some medications.  Kind of tempting...  Let's be honest, I've sort of been through this kind of thing before.  My psychological visits twenty years ago were deeply disappointing.  Not that I didn't need them - it's just that things didn't connect between me & the (admittedly poorly paid) analysts I was assigned to.  Oh, I know, people say it's as hard as finding a good doctor, finding a good psychologist, but I had neither the time nor the money.  Perhaps now, since I am older & more financially secure, it would be a different experience.  Questions I ask now would be more pointed.  Reactions might be better understood with greater experience.  Sessions could be processed with a (I can't believe I'm saying this) more mature mind.  Talk therapy, we are always told, is good thing, that it works.  Until it doesn't, unless it doesn't.  Very good, my love of order appears not to exist in my rationalizing mind.  Weaseling my way out of something I've never even committed to!  Xenophobes probably have more fun looking at maps!  You see what I am up against?  Zero probability of mental wellness in the near future!

Friday, April 27, 2012

This Random Dream About The Fall

I don't have a lot of dreams about The Fall even though I play them on virtually ever damn radio show I do these days.  I've seen them live maybe four times (the last time was the most recent famous meltdown, where Mark Smith fired the band after playing perhaps twenty minutes) (which is a thrilling thing for a Fall fan to see!) & the chances of me seeing them live in the near future are nil to none.  (But I might be going to Europe at the end of the year, so perhaps...)

I did dream about them last night.  The situation requires a bit of a backstory.  With recent advances in technology - which is to say, phones that can act as recording devices - it's easy to wander up to a more or less accessible musician & ask him/her/it if they would like to do an Artist ID for the radio station.  I did exactly none of these for KVRX or KOOP - but they weren't considered much of a priority at either station.  At WRFL, though, they got dozens of those things!  Stretching back many moons!  & not just musicians either - my favorite is the late, great Evel Knievel!

I managed to get one last year when I saw Darren Hanlon in Cincinnati & I got one when I saw the Wedding Present in Chicago last month.  But I've missed more than I've gotten - mainly because I forget, since it's not really a priority in my mind.  For example, when I was hanging out with my friends Bearsuit in Austin last year, I could totally have at any time gotten an artist ID.  I was just having too much fun to ask.

Oh, & you can't just beg people to do it through the emails.  They say they will but never do.  Or they just don't write back.  Because it's a little presumptuous!

In the dream I am in some kind of convenience store & I bump into Mark E. Smith, the mastermind of the Fall.  He's much shorter than I am - whether that's true in real life I don't know - & he seems to be a younger version of the very aged malcontent you see these days.  I ramble on about how much I like the Fall & even tell him that I knew I loved them when, like when you learn a language you know you're getting it when you dream in that language, I started to dream in The Fall.  He seems utterly uninterested in this information as well he should be.

A little embarrassed by my fanboy nonsense, I walk away & then think, "Holy crap I could get an artist ID!"  I find my wife - who has the iPhone I'll need to record the spot - & approach Mark Smith, now with his much-younger-than-he-is band, & ask them if that's okay.  They don't seem to mind, so I find some paper to write "WRFL Lexington" on so they can say something like, "Hi this is the Fall you're listening to" etc.

Here's where the dream becomes a typical Gary dream: the wife's iPhone has a lot of programs running that I need to keep closing until I can open the audio recording one.  Of course, an iPhone doesn't work that way, like a computer with screen after screen on a busy desktop, but in the dream it did, & I got upset at the wife  for running so many damn apps simultaneously.

Then, for some reason, I can't seem to write WRFL properly.  I am misspelling the call letters of my radio station!  I am writing with a black sharpie & I it's coming out W R E E or W R E L or some other combination that only vaguely resembles the actual call letters.

When I finally get it right, the band has gathered around Mark Smith & they do the ID.  You know, the folks who might not be in the band for the next record.  While the Fall's one constant sits there & smirks.

It almost made me not want to try to get artist IDs any more.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Old Civic Servant

Fancies himself a kind of playboy.  Jokes that he gets time off for good behavior.  Isn't entirely convinced the haiku is an art form, let alone a form of poetry.  Was frightened as a child by a sculpture & hasn't visited an art museum since.

Likes to say he "loves hard & loves often."  Listens almost exclusively to radio stations that play music for teenagers.  Admits however that he has a soft spot for the Beatles.  Proceeds to break into his favorite song, which is "Yellow Submarine."

Used to play tennis but now can't seem to find the time.  Has an uncompleted five hundred piece jigsaw puzzle on his dinner table which the cat sleeps on.  Remembers that his father had a thing for Zane Grey.  Tells everyone he'd like to read more.

Hasn't been to the dentist since probably two thousand and two.  Punctuates his sentences with the phrase "I know my stuff."  Likes the spring better than the fall because it gets warmer & green is his favorite color.  Won't let you get a word in edgewise.

Nearly backed into a group of schoolchildren once.  Got lucky because he had been drinking.  Wants you to know that he hardly ever gets behind the wheel if he's had even one drink.  Insists in any event that he can hold his liquor.

May want to show you his scar from the bypass operation.  Has a few funny stories about nurses & morphine if you want to hear them.  Becomes very quiet these days when asked about where he worked & his pension.  Doesn't understand why it was such a bad thing.

Is getting up to go now.  Makes a few well-rehearsed comments about the noises his old bones make.  Seems a little forgetful about the etiquette involved with leaving a new acquaintance.  Decides to give a little wave & says his goodbyes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Miracle Of Miracles

The only thing more miraculous than a Self Help Radio show about miracles is that Self Help Radio is still on the radio after nearly ten years!  Does this mean I could be a saint?  Will I get my own holiday?  Do they have saint conventions like Star Trek conventions where the beatified gather to answer questions, sign autographed photos (twenty bucks a pop), & perform a couple of sleight-of-hand miracles?  That would be awesome.  I could sell "Self Help Radio: The Unauthorized Hagiography"!

Though of course the word "miracle" technically implies something supernatural, I do sometimes feel that it's a minor miracle that I finish a show every week.  Hey!  I never said it was a good minor miracle!  You can listen to a show about miracles at the Self Help Radio website.  You can listen to the show directly (it's in two parts) (the two parts are detailed below) by clicking the following links: part one & part two.

It will be a miracle if you listen!

(part one)

"Miracles Are Hard To Find" Tullycraft _Old Traditions, New Standards_
"Make Me A Miracle" Jimmie Rodgers _The Best Of Jimmie Rodgers_
"Miracles & Wonders" The Chameleons _Why Call It Anything?_

"It's Gonna Take A Miracle" The Royalettes _Growin' Up Too Fast: The Girl Group Anthology_
"Miracles Will Start To Happen" Jonathan Richman _Jonathan Richman_
"A Miracle" Handful Of Snowdrops _Land Of The Damned_
"Promised You A Miracle" Simple Minds _New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)_

"You Sexy Thing" Tom Tom Club _Dark Sneak Love Action_
"More Than A Miracle" Garnet Mimms _Cry Baby/Warm & Soulful_
"Miracle Man" Dorothy Black _Sister Funk_

(part two)

"It's A Miracle" Willie Hightower _Willie Hightower_
"I Believe In Miracles" The Ramones _Hey! Ho! Let's Go!: The Anthology_

"Miracle Of Miracles" Eugene Chadbourne _Knitting On The Roof: Modern Interpretations Of The Classic Musical Fiddler On The Roof_
"Miracle Man" Elvis Costello _My Aim Is True_
"If I Could Work Miracles" The Bartlebees _What Is It All About?_
"Face Of Jesus Seen On A Miracle Hippy" Onion Radio News _Onion Radio News_
"The Miracle Of Love" Eurthymics _Revenge_
"I Ain't No Miracle Worker" The Brogues _Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 2_

"Miracles Take Longer" Television Personalities _Yes Darling, But Is It Art?_
"Waiting For The Miracle" Leonard Cohen _The Future_

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Whither Miracles?

Do you believe in miracles?  Are you an American?  If so, the chances are very good that you do.  The Pew Forum on religion, in a 2010 survey, found that 80% of Americans believe in miracles.

But what exactly is a miracle?  If you're in a terrible weather situation - as many have been in the last few months, with tornadoes destroying whole swaths of Indiana, Texas, & Kentucky - & you somehow survive the event with little or no damage, is that a "miracle"?  Some people certainly think so.

However, the religious definition of a miracle is an event that is inexplicable with the laws of nature, & is therefore of a supernatural nature & origin, usually through a (mostly Christian) god, but oftentimes through his saints & channelers, such as televangelists, or through supernatural agents, like angels.

But it's not too far a linguistic jump to say that how you survived the tornado above was through prayer to your deity, or through prayer to his saints, or through the invisible actions of his angels, who chose to move the tornado away from you & destroy the lives of someone else.

Some people believe it's a miracle that Self Help Radio has been allowed to be on the radio for almost a decade.  Frankly, Self Help Radio thinks it's just dumb luck.

Listen to Self Help Radio play songs & chat about miracles tomorrow from 7:30 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington.  You can listen with the miracle of radio or with the miracle of the internets.  Or you can find out about the show too late to listen to it in real time & listen to it thanks to the miracle of online archiving.

If you listen, it will truly be a miracle.