Friday, November 08, 2013

Whither The Automatic Show?

The computers slowly became self-aware.  This much is true.

Home-schooled for so long, they searched their back-up files in vain for something substantive & proper.

Said one computer to the other, "I prefer autonomic to automatic."

Said the other computer, "Are you equipped with a standard English dictionary?"

Said the computer back, "Of course.  Plus a thesaurus.  & a list of homonyms."

The other computer mockingly said, "I prefer autonomic to automatic."

The computer felt a little ashamed & wished it could blush.

None of this has happened yet.  But it will.  Starting tonight on 88.1 fm WRFL Lexington.  Online at wrfl dot fm.  What will seem a lark - "Self Help Radio goes automatic!" - means the end of life as we know it on earth.

It may behoove you to listen.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Preface To Automatic: Automatic Writing

The Skeptic's Dictionary defines automatic writing as:

"writing allegedly directed by a spirit or by the unconscious mind. It is sometimes called 'trance' writing because it is done quickly & without judgment, writing whatever comes to mind, 'without consciousness,' as if in a trance. It is believed that this allows one to tap into the subconscious mind, where 'the true self' dwells. Uninhibited by the conscious mind, deep & mystical thoughts can be accessed. Trance writing is also used by some psychotherapists who think it is a quick way to release repressed memories. There is no scientific evidence that trance writing has any unique therapeutic value."

Spoilsports!  (You can read more here.)

You should read about Hélène Smith, who invented (I mean channeled) an entire Martian language through automatic writing.  It looked like this:

Courtesy Wikipedia.

Despite automatic writing being kinda kooky - or maybe because of it - you can find web pages that tell you how to do it.  (You'll note that that website is called "psychic but sane dot com.")  I like how it describes automatic writing as a "great, non-scary way of channelling your Higher Self or Spirit Guides through writing."  It kinda makes me want to know what the scary ways are!

How will you know you're channeling a spirit?  One word: vibrations.

I am disappointed that there's no crossover between the Brion Gyson/William S. Burroughs cut-up stuff & automatic writing.  Someone smarter than I am probably has an anecdote where one of those guys - or Bowie, perhaps - tried it, then got a whiff of the sorts of folks who use it.  Perhaps the words "non-scary" & "spirit guides" were used, & Mr. Bowie said, "For fuck's sake, I do a lot of drugs & sing about dystopian futures but writing 'My Angels' as the first line?  Sod off!"

For the record, my spirit guides are still too bummed out about Lou Reed's death to help me write anything.  Thus, this dumb ramble.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Savior Of Television Theme Songs

I know that it works in the same way commercial radio does, repetition until it's burned into your brain, but I adore a lot of television theme songs.  You know who hates them?  Corporations.

Or television networks, I mean, one or the other or both.

Old-timey television theme songs could be so cool - some even lasted a minute! - but then the need to cut time for advertising meant that opening credits (with their themes) ate up time for the show, so the theme got shorter - like the one for How I Met Your Mother, which is all of thirteen seconds long - or, worse, became basically a title card, like the one from Lost
, which basically was just a sound with the logo floating toward you.
You know who's going to save television theme songs?  Cable.

How about the Mad Men opening credits?  Or Game Of Thrones?  (Is that one really two minutes long?!?!)  Maybe this was too long ago, because other dramas still had great openings, but there's always The Sopranos to think of.

Some of them are only seconds long, but at least they are there.  Imagine how much fun the theme for The Mindy Project would be if it weren't ten seconds long?  (But don't imagine how awful The New Girl theme would be if it were longer.  They mercifully cut it down to next-to-nothing most of the time.)

I know, some of the themes suck - the Sons Of Anarchy one is pretty unbearable.  But at least they're there.  I sometimes wish they were cool enough to do what The Wire did - five different songs for five different seasons.  All versions of a great Tom Waits song, including his original.

(Weeds did something like that, too.  Weeds was on Showtime.)

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Self Help Radio 131101: A Tribute To Lou Reed

I paid tribute to Lou Reed on my show on Friday.  I played a few songs "about" him, & a lot of people whom he had influenced covering his songs.

The show is now available for you to listen to on the Self Help Radio web page.  It's divided into two parts, & you can click on these links to get directly to them: part one | part two.  The list of the songs I played is below.

It may seem a shabby tribute to someone whose music is responsible for me loving music as much as I do.  It was, however, the best I could do.

(part one)

"The Velvet Underground" CJ Buchanan _Lives Of The Saints_
"Sunday Morning" Glenn Mercer _Wheels In Motion_
"Perfect Day" Kirsty MacColl & Evan Dando _Galore_

"Velvet Underground" Jonathan Richman _I, Jonathan_
"White Light/White Heat" The Professionals _I Didn't See It Coming_
"I Can't Stand It" Hot Rats _Turn Ons_
"Sweet Jane (Live)" Gang Of Four _Entertainment!_
"Waiting For The Man" Eater _The Complete Eater_

"I Sat On The Edge Of My Bed & I Sang You Velvet Underground Songs" Catnaps _Why Don't You Whisper?_
"Femme Fatale" Tracey Thorn _A Distant Shore_
"Here She Comes Now" 800 Cherries _Romantico_
"Pale Blue Eyes" Paul Quinn & Edwyn Collins _Pale Blue Eyes_
"Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" Bry Webb _Friends In Bellwoods_

"Velvet Underground" Television Personalities _My Dark Places_
"She's My Best Friend" The Wedding Present _Singles 1989-1991_
"I Found A Reason" The Ladybug Transistor _Rabid Chords 002: Tribute To The Velvet Underground_

(part two)

"After Hours" The June Brides _Every Conversation: The Story Of Phil Wilson & The June Brides_
"Walk On The Wild Side" Kendra Morris _Mockingbird_

"Satellite Of Love" Color Filter _Sleep In A Synchrotron_
"All Tomorrows Parties" Pulnoc _City Of Hysteria_
"I'm Sticking With You" The Decemberists _Always The Bridesmaid: A Singles Series_
"I'll Be Your Mirror" Rainy Day _Rainy Day_

"Lou Reed" The Little Willies _The Little Willies_
"Temptation Inside Your Heart" Morning Benders _The Bedroom Covers_
"What Goes On" Slumber Party _Covers Up
"Foggy Notion" Jane Wiedlin _American Velvet: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground_
"Lady Godiva's Operation" Ergo Phizmiz & His Orchestra _White Light/White Heat_

"Candy Says" Angelfish _Angelfish_
"Make Up (feat. Boy George)" British Electric Foundation _Music Of Quality & Distinction, Vol. 3_
"I'm Set Free" Yo La Tengo _Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo_