Friday, October 11, 2013

Whither 1968 (Again)?

It's the eleventh anniversary of Self Help Radio!  Can you believe someone out there has allowed this show to go on for eleven years?  The quality police have been sleeping on the job,

As I was explaining yesterday, I have taken to using the anniversary of my show as a chance to revisit an old theme.  I have new themes every week; but surely something new has been recorded in the intervening years (or I've discovered something that I previously didn't know existed) that would fit an old theme.  It's a chance to re-do the show, or even undo it.

I decided to re-do my show about my favorite music from 1968, actually, by un-doing it.  That sounds better than what's really happening: I'm just playing music that I didn't play the first time around.  I'm also playing music I totally forgot about the first time around.  I didn't play anything from White Light/White Heat!  What the hell!  But my show was only an hour long then.  I say as if it's an excuse.

So you won't hear the Beatles, Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Kinks, Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, the Zombies, Can, Herbie Hancock, or Peter Br√∂tzmann tonight.  I played them the first time I did a 1968 show.  Luckily there were lots & lots of other great records (& some utterly ridiculous ones) that came out that year.  I'll be playing those!

I would also like to say out loud that reminding myself of what music I really loved from any particular year has been made sooooo easy thanks to the Rate Your Music web site.  I don't agree with probably most of their rankings but it does serve as a handy list of releases from a particular year.  It took hours off my preparation - I would otherwise have been looking at copyright notices & trying to determine from memory when something came out.

It's on tonight!  From 10pm to midnight!  88.1 fm in Lexington! online!

Listen!  It'll be a happy anniversary!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Preface To 1968: What?!? 1968 Again?!?

This week is my eleventh anniversary week.  My first official Self Help Radio show was October 9, 2002.  During this week, I revisit an old theme.

Now, eleven years make a lot of themes.  There's a lot I could revisit.  It's a hard decision to make - but I also don't want to repeat myself - some themes I might not be able to improve upon with a second chance.

I had an idea during that first year - it was actually barely four months into the show - I had no idea that I would be doing this show for eleven years! - the idea I had was that, during the week of my birthday, I would play music that I loved most from the year of my birth - & then move forward each year.  So the next year, I'd do 1969 (I was born in 1968), & the year after that, 1969, etc.

It occurred to me that I might want to revisit 1968 again.  But what did I play the first time?

"Julia" The Beatles _The Beatles_
"Weilder Of Words" Tyrannosaurus Rex _Our People Were Fair & Wore Stars In Their Hair_
"Animal Farm" The Kinks _The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society_
"Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash _Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison_

"Dear Doctor" Rolling Stones _Beggars Banquet_
"What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?" Frank Zappa _We're Only In It For The Money_
"The Way Young Lovers Do" Van Morrison _Astral Weeks_
"Maybe After He's Gone" Zombies _Odessey & Oracle_
"Uphill" Can _Delay_

"The Sorceror" Herbie Hancock _Speak Like A Child_
"Machine Gun (take two)" Peter Brötzmann Octet _Machine Gun_

I also played a Leonard Cohen song from his first album, but I have discovered that his first record was released in 1967, so I cheated on that.  Oh my.

The point is, why play it again?  & if so, what should I play?  If I've already played the music that I loved most from 1968, what comes next?  Two hours of second best?  Or what?

I'll try & answer that tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Writerly Advice

I was up at the radio station today & one of the student programmers was trying to finish an assignment for a creative writing class.  The assignment was to come up with five or so ideas for a short story.  He seemed put out, & so I suggested he write about some of the ridiculous things that had happened at the radio station.

He said that he always thought writing about his own life was lame.  That seems to be a new thing - back in the day when I wanted to be a writer, the idea was that you wrote about what you knew, & what you knew was of course your own life & experiences.

By the way, yes, I wanted to be a writer.  The writing on this blog should serve as the reason that I didn't.  I figured out before it was too late that I wasn't a very good writer at all.

Anyway, I confessed to the student that I wanted to be a writer & that all I ever really wrote about was myself.  I said, "I kind of always wanted to be like Jack London, you know, going out & having adventures that I could write about."

"Why didn't you?" he said.

"I realized," I said, "that I didn't really care too terribly much about other people & therefore couldn't muster up the interest to write about them."

That may seem a little self-involved, but it's more or less true - I could have gone out & had some kind of experience but I probably wouldn't have paid a hell of a lot of attention to the people around me & definitely wouldn't have taken the time to try to capture their dialect or the things that interested them.  Because chances are they wouldn't have interested me.  Writers, it seems, should have hungrier minds than I have.

As well, I've never been good at extracting wisdom or insight from experiences I had.  A short story of the experience would be more like a set of declarative sentences stating facts than something that wrung meaning out of a life event.  When I did try to do that, ouch, it felt forced.

Have I ever shared one of my short stories here?  They're not very good.  They all end with the protagonist (usually me) just leaving,  A cafe, a house, a room, a car.  Exiting.  In general, they have no plot, & they don't begin or end.  They just kind of stop continuing to the next page.

I urged him to write about things that happened to him, though.  What the hell.  It could just be one idea of his five.

I don't know if he took my advice.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Self Help Radio 131004: Gangs

Oh shit.  Oh shit.  I'm supposed to say something about this week's show but I haven't prepared anything.  Uh.  I did a radio show.  Um.  You know, like you do.  Like I do.  Friday I think.  What was the theme?  How the fuck should I know?  Top of the page?  Oh.  Gangs.  Yeah, it was about gangs.  It was full of songs.  I might need to change my medication.

Can we just say "it's now at the website?  What?  Tell them, not you?  Tell who?  Fuck, is this live?  What?  Part one?  Part two?  List of songs?  I have no idea what the hell I'm doing.

I only wish someone loved me.

(part one)

"That Old Gang Of Mine" Billy Murray & Ed Smalle _The Denver Nightingale_
"Construction Gang" Butterbeans & Susie _The Complete Joseph "King" Oliver Heritage 1923-1931, Volume 2_
"Heigh-Ho The Gang's All Here" Joan Crawford & Fred Astaire _The History of Pop-Radio 1933-1936_

"I'm Free From The Chain Gang Now" Jimmie Rodgers _The Singing Brakeman_
"Chain Gang Blues" Johnny Temple _Broke, Black & Blue, Vol. 4: Jumpin' At The Club Blue Flame_
"Chain Gang Boun'" Josh White _Songs For Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs & The American Left 1935-1954 CD2 Theatre & Cabaret Performers 1936-1941_
"Chain Gang" Bobby Scott _The London American Label - Year By Year - 1956_
"Chain Gang" Otis Redding _The Soul Album_

"Join The Gang" David Bowie _London Boy_
"Gangster Of Love (Pts. 1 & 2)" Jimmy Norman _What It Is! Funky Soul & Rare Grooves (1967-1977)_
"Liquid Gang" T.Rex _Zinc Alloy_
"I'm The Leader Of The Gang (I Am!)" Gary Glitter _Remember Me This Way_

"Gangsters" The Specials _The Specials_
"Plastic Gangsters" The 4-Skins _The Good, The Bad, & The 4-Skins_

(part two)

"Gangster Funk" Crime _Gangster Funk_
"Gangster Of Love" Talking Heads _Sand In The Vaseline_

"Gangsta Gangsta" NWA _Straight Outta Compton_
"Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta" Geto Boys _10th Anniversary: Rap-A-Lot Records Hip Hop_
"Gangsta Bitch" Apache _Apache Ain't Shit_

"Street Gang" A.R.E. Weapons _A.R.E. Weapons_
"First Of The Gang To Die" Morrissey _You Are The Quarry_
"Rumble With The Gang Debs" Tullycraft _Disenchanted Hearts Unite_
"Cape & Stick Gang" Momus _The Ultraconformist_

"Ol' Gang" The Fall _Levitate_
"Sheena's In A Goth Gang" The Cramps _Big Beat From Badsville_