Friday, February 14, 2014

Self Help Radio 021414: Valentine's Day 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!  Here's a buncha songs about Valentine's Day, valentines, days of Valentine, & well - you get the drift.  Plus a Valentine's Day expert tells us what the day is really about.  Oh boy!

You can listen to the show all day long (starting now) at Self Help Radio Love Central.  Or you can listen to it direct-like by clicking either part I or part II.  All the love-filled songs are listed below.

Again: Happy Valentine's Day!

(part one)

"My Funny Valentine" Elvis Costello _Taking Liberties_
"Blue Valentine" Tom Waits _Blue Valentine_
"Valentines" The Real Tuesday Weld _At The End Of The World_

"Fool For A Valentine" The Gist _Fool For A Valentine_
"On A Valentine" The Morrisons _Songs From The South Of England (1986 - 1988)_
"St. Valentine's Day" The Dream Academy _A Different Kind Of Weather_
"Valentine" The Sisters Of Mercy _The Reptile House EP_

"Valentine" Psychedelic Furs _World Outside_
"St. Valentine's Day" Mekons _I Love Mekons_
"Valentine's Day" David Bowie _The Next Day_

(part two)

"Valentine's Day" Soul Merchants _1985-1987_
"Valentine's Day" The Kids Of Widney High _Act Your Age_

"Valentine" The Darling Buds _Shame On You_
"Valentine" Tsunami _Deep End_
"Everyday Is Valentine's Day" Kissing Book _Lines & Color_
"Valentine's Day" The Poconos _Days Are Getting Shorter_
"Be My Valentine Tonight" Remington Super 60 _Pling2001_
"Dear St. Valentine" Would-Be-Goods _The Morning After_
"Valentine" The School _Loveless Unbeliever_

"Black Valentine" Hey! Hello! _Hey! Hello!_
"Your Valentine (Takes Me Back In Time)" Bubblegum Lemonade _Some Like It Pop_
"My Bloody Valentine" Ratcat _Tingles_
"Valentine's Day Is Over" Billy Bragg _The Peel Sessions_

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Preface To Valentine's Day 2014: Any Good Valentine's Day Stories?

I actually don't have a lot of Valentine's Day stories because for the longest time (my first twenty years or so, & many of the years since), I didn't have the slightest chance of getting a girl to be my valentine, & when I was finally (against all odds) dating someone, I was generally with women who didn't need or want flowers, candies, jewelry, etc. - the hallmarks of the day.  I might have given one or two valentines to the woman who is now my wife - but I doubt she'd even notice if I never mentioned that tomorrow was Valentine's Day to her.

But.  I do have one dumb story.  It took place in high school.  I bought some cheap not-even-Russell-Stover boxes of chocolate at a drugstore & gave them to some girls I was fond of in my AP History class.  This was in twelfth grade, Valentine's Day 1986.  I know I gave one to a girl named Laura, who was probably the first girl I really fell in love with, & also to a girl named Carrie, who sat next to me, but I can't remember if there was anyone else in class.  I might have given one or two to a teacher I liked - but my favorite teacher was the male history teacher, & he might not have reacted well to me buying him candy.

In my senior year of high school, I would get to school early - before 7:30 - when it was easy to park & when I could go sit in the halls (hall monitors came on duty to watch the doors at 7:30) & read or study rather than hang out with a growing crowd of students waiting for the eight o'clock bell to ring & stumble miserably into first period.  At the time, one other person would wait in the halls with me: a girl named Terri, who, at some point, decided she didn't want to be my friend anymore (that's another story).  We used to chat & stuff before school started, but for a month or two we just sat silently in the halls, next to the drinking fountains (& therefore not in the view of the hall monitors), waiting for school to begin.

That day, I meant to give one of the heart-shaped boxes of candy to Terri.  I didn't know if I thought being thoughtful would repair our friendship (we reconciled over the course of a couple of weeks in the spring, although we didn't stay friends after high school) - I couldn't possibly have been that clever - I think I just thought, I like Terri, we're friends, I'm giving candy to girls (& possibly male teachers) today, I'll give her one.

I gave it to her.  She took it & said, "Thank you."  & continued ignoring me.  I went back to reading or doing homework or whatever.  After a couple of minutes, she gave the candy back to me & said, "I can't take it!  It's a farce!"  She was crying.  She went to the restroom & didn't return that morning.

(I had to look up "farce" in the dictionary later that day.)

We never spoke about it - I never brought it up - & I think I was baffled I could affect anyone in any way when I was that young & dumb.  The story has a funny postscript, though.

I was left with an extra box of candy & even I knew how lonely it would be to eat a box of valentine chocolate I had bought for myself, so when I got home, I gave it to my mother.  She was extremely happy & she almost cried herself.  That, too, was baffling to me - it was a lesson no one had taught me, least of all her - & maybe that's what moved her so: her son was being thoughtful!  Maybe she also noticed that she & I weren't as close as we had been.  In any event, wow.  She was so happy.  That was crazy.

To this day, though, I'm probably not all that thoughtful.  Some lessons can be learned only barely.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Revenge Of The Love Song!

What happens when you no longer need the love song?  You might be married - or have given up on being with another - or have given your life over to sex & death - or many other fates.  But still - as if the world is populated entirely by teenagers - the love song continues.

The love song's reach has never exceeded its grasp.  The love song goes on forever.  But lovers do not. Lovers grow old & die.  Lovers lose interest or have their love worn away.  The love song abandons old lovers because there are always new lovers growing up, feeling the urge, entering into the world of longing & desire.

Like most love, the love song is trite & banal.  Like most love, the love song is exquisite & expansive.  Like most love, the love song wants everyone to sing along.

John Lydon made sure you understand that he was not singing a love song.  Bo Burnham says the secret to the modern love song is to repeat lyrics so the song is easy to memorize.  But it helps not to overthink it.  Love songs mostly suck because most of the ideas you have about love suck.  Why else would you even listen to most of the songs on this list?  Or this list?  Or this list?  Or especially this list?

Go ahead.  Give up the love song.  Dismiss it as juvenile.  Think you've outgrown it.  Pretend to be above it.  The love song doesn't care.  It never needed you.

You needed it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dead External Drive Blues

Tuesdays are usually the days I set aside for lots of listening to music for Friday's show.  I have many songs (like most people) which I have on both DVD & on an external hard drive.  But this morning my external hard drive died.  Or something.

I have a program that I use to recover files from such things but it's slow slow slow.  I may (sigh) end up just copying from the DVDs again.  That takes a LONG TIME.  It's EXHAUSTING.

Online forums are usually of mild help but I sure wish I had a Star Trek computer that I could say "run internal diagnostic" to.  Instead, the program looking for files on the dead &/or dying external hard drive says, "Overall Progress: 0%".

In other news, despite it still being cold as fuck & snow is still everywhere, the wife & I are going to brave the unpleasant weather to see Eugene Mirman in Louisville tonight.

Boo, computer programs.  Hooray, comedy!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Table Of Contents/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


This may strike many as absurd, being that Self Help Radio is a show unlikely to be heard by many people ever in the universe ever, but I have gone & made a page on the website which lists all the themes I've explored in alphabetical order, with links to the original playlists.

But why do a thing like that?  Are there people out there who think to themselves, "I wonder if an obscure radio shows that has little or no listeners have ever done a radio show about [whatever]?"  I can understand them being interested when Bob Dylan did his theme radio show, because even though I've done many of the same themes he did, he's Bob Fucking Dylan & I'm as close to the textbook definition of insignificant as one can get.

In fact, it's safe to say, with a show that has almost no listeners, I could only do such a thing for me.

It's true.  I have been doing this ridiculous show for over eleven years now & occasionally I say to myself, "Hey! I should do a show about…!"  & often I go through the trouble of preparing it, only to realize I have in fact done it before.

For the record, I have only accidentally repeated a show once.  The theme was "trash" & I did the show in both 2004 & 2008.  I did a show about "fame" & another about "stars" (as in "movie stars") that ended up being rather similar.  But I've almost repeated a theme about two dozen times.

This handy index is available for me to double-check when I think I've come up with an idea that I have in fact had a few times before.  It's also available to folks - there's always been a few at the radio stations I've been at - who have thought they could do a better theme-oriented show than I do.  They can look at the linked playlists & sneer!

It's okay - I'm almost certain anyone could do this show better than I have.  I'm the one, however, stuck in the Self Help Radio rut, & not getting out any time soon.  Because I have to keep updating this "table of contents"!