Friday, September 26, 2014

Self Help Radio 092614: Scenes

& now! A behind-the-scenes look at Self Help Radio!

Hunh.  It's pretty much as expected: a dude playing songs from CD & a computer, occasionally pulling a microphone down & talking to it.  The programmer's booth sort of clean, but also sort of grimy.  Complete lack of charisma evident in the deejay - & furthermore, he has a face for radio.  Well.  That was exciting.

But hey!  This week's show (which was about scenes) is now available at the Self Help Radio website!  You don't have to make a scene or anything.  All the songs I played are listed below.

As always, thanks for listening!

(part one)

"That Is The Scene" Baskervilles _Baskervilles_
"At The Scene" The Dave Clark Five _The Best Of The Dave Clark Five_
"Street Scene" Leon Mitchison _Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities, Vol. 1: 1968-1974_

"The Breaking Up Scene" Honeybus _She Flies Like A Bird: The Anthology_
"Same Old Scene" Roxy Music _The Thrill Of It All_
"Crush The Scene" Tullycraft _The Singles_
"Making The Nature Scene" Sonic Youth _Confusion Is Sex_

"Hey Scenesters!" The Cribs _New Fellas_
"That Girl, That Scene" Frankie & The Heartstrings _The Days Run Away_
"This Scene Is Happening" Liquid Faeries _La-Di-Da...  So Far..._
"Hipsters, Scenesters, Teenstars & Fakers" Amy Linton & Stewart Anderson _Knowing We Was Right From Da Start_

"Freak Scene" Dinosaur Jr _Bug_
"Shirt Scene" Marc Riley With The Creepers _Shadow Figure 12"_
"Queen Of The Scene" Go-Kart Mozart _On The Hot Dog Streets_

(part two)

"Scenes" Tania Rivas _Scenes_
"The Recognition Scene" The Mountain Goats _Sweden_
"Leave The Scene Behind" The Wave Pictures _Instant Coffee Baby_

"No. 1 Hippie On The Village Scene" The Fifth Estate _Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Back!_
"The Contemporary Scene" Mood Six _A Matter Of!_
"Scream (Till You Make The Scene)" Stephin Merritt _Obscurities_
"Fight Scene" The Kamalas _The Kamalas_

"Music Scene" The Fall _Live At The Witch Trails_
"What's That Scene" Male Bonding _Endless Now_
"On The Scene" The Friggs _Rock Candy_
"Domestic Scene" The Radio Dept. _Clinging To A Scheme_

"The Crying Scene" Aztec Camera _Stray_
"I Want A New Scene" Mitch Easter _Dynamico_
"This Scene Is Dead" We Are Scientists _With Love & Squalor_

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Whither Scenes?

I feel like I've told this story before.  I've never been part of any "scene."  At best, I've been involved at some radio stations but never with the well-liked group at the center.  I did what work I could, but mostly I worked alone, & that's still true.

Never part of the scene, never one of the cool kids.

In actuality, I would never have been part of any of the cliques in high school because not only was I a fat nerd, but also I naturally gravitated toward loner status.  So I didn't even really have any nerd friends.  It's no surprise that the only people I am in communication with from my high school is a fellow who moved to Austin after ninth grade (where we reconnected in my college years) & a friend who was in the grade above me, another loner who I rarely saw at school.  My best friend in high school went to a different school in a different city; we met because of (nerds) our comic book collections.

(My loner status did keep the bullies away from me.  Attached to nothing & no-one, I wasn't much fun to pick on.)

Flash forward to sometime in 1994 or 1995.  A pretty girl who did a show at my first radio station, & who was obviously well-liked, was chatting with me about another girl at the radio station, who was involved in management, but was unattractive & overweight.  The unattractive girl had just started dating someone, a kind of clumsy, & yes, overweight, fellow, who was not well-liked.  I didn't know either of them very well.

The pretty girl said to me, "Isn't it hilarious that they're dating each other?"

I didn't get the joke.  Was something wrong with either or both of them?

"No," she said.  "She's so awful & he's so awful.  & they're dating!"

I asked for more clarification, & the pretty girl got more specific: she was referring to their weight & their general unattractiveness.  & then something hit me.

"Oh no!" I said out loud.  "I've become one of the cool kids!"

The pretty girl didn't know what I meant, so I explained: I used to be the sort of person that people like her talked about behind my back, & now I was talking about people like me behind their backs!

She quickly backpedaled, & tried to explain that she meant that they were not nice people, or kind people, or anything besides their physical unattractiveness, but I was lost in a kind of daze.  I never thought that I'd be on the other side of that world.

& I really never would - the pretty girl & I never became friends, & in fact, while I remember her first name (& not her last name), she probably doesn't remember me at all.  & she wasn't part of a scene, anyway, so this story is only peripherally related to the show this week.

Which is on tomorrow from 7am till 9am.  You can hear it live in Lexington at 88.1 on the fm dial, & live anywhere at wrfl dot fm on the computer dial.  I'll put the show up later that day on the Self Help Radio website like I do, in case you're not up early.  Because the sleeping-in scene is the one I wish I belonged to these days.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spleen Venting

The spleen is an organ.  It's on the left side of your body, protected by the ribs.  It's about as big as your fist.  I've read that it's "soft & red."  Let me ask my wife, the anatomist.  "What color is the spleen?" U ask here.  She says it's "burgundy-pinkish."  Then she adds, "It's a little purple."

The Word Detective talks about the phrase "vent one's spleen" here.  He explains, "The spleen’s job is to act as a sort of filter for the blood, but in medieval times, when each bodily organ was thought to be the home of one emotion or another, the spleen was regarded as the seat of melancholy. There was apparently a brief period later on when the spleen was suspected, improbably, of supplying humor & good cheer, but by the late 16th century it was decided that the spleen was the source of rage and ill-temper. Thus 'spleen' has for several centuries been a metaphor for 'anger,' 'resentment' & general crankiness."

I wish this blog had a more personal slant to it - I suppose it could - but maybe I'm not the entirely confessional type that I used to be, both on my radio show & on the internet.  (I used to write crazy confessional stuff on the usenet.)  I recently had an interaction with a local business that didn't quite make my blood boil, but irked me enough to write them about.

I'll speak in generalities.  I had a bad experience at the local business.  I contacted the local business by email that night, explaining the situation.  In the email, I didn't ask for anything.  I simply told the story of the shabby treatment I received & mentioned that I shopped there a lot.

I waited a week for a response.  The response from the local business, while containing something of an apology, completely belittled my experience while insisting that my email could in fact be a "teaching moment" for its employees.

I wrote back & told them that I wouldn't be patronizing the local business anymore.

It's so interesting - a franchise of a corporation would have written the most slavishly apologetic response possible.  They would have detailed the employee code of conduct & let me know how the employee involved in my bad experience would be disciplined.  They would have responded to my email within a business day & would have attempted some kind of recompense for my experience.

But this local business?  The best they could manage was a tepid apology & a shrug of the shoulders in a response as warm as a form letter.  It was astonishing.

You know, I've had issues with places before - I did go into detail on this very blog about a horrible experience with an airline a few years back.  But for some reason, I don't think much would be accomplished with venting my spleen about this local business in this manner.  I don't think it will change anything & I suppose I'm not as angry - I just feel that I shouldn't help support the place any more.

The biggest surprise is that my wife used to really love the place.  But apparently she's had bad experiences there, too.  She remarkably has agreed with my - well, it sounds like a boycott, but really it's just an ignoring - of the place.

Sorry to be vague.  Not enough spleen to vent, I guess.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Moments On Twitter

I've recently started "live tweeting" my show, which means (& who knows if I'm even using the phrase "live tweet" correctly) that I say on Twitter what I am playing when I do my show as I am playing it.  Usually it's with the hashtag "nowplaying" & I mention RFL's Twitter account (< a href="">@WRFL
) & the web page, where you can listen live: Superego.  They're crazy funny, & sharp as hell, as their bits are all improvised.  Well, after I played it, I got a note that they were following my Twitter account!  Gosh!  The proof is above.
They did soon think better of it, however, & unfollowed me almost right away, & I can't blame them, I'm nothing compared to them.  But it was fun to think they noticed me for a second!

Two of the Superegotists (do they call themselves that?) did favorite my tweet later.  That was nice.

Go listen to their podcast!  There's a new one right now, & it's great!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dead & Dying Businesses

I am strangely moved & fascinated by businesses that no longer exist - specifically ones that were seemingly ubiquitous in my childhood.  One of those was a small five-&-dime store called TG&Y.  From the time I was about 9 till the time I was about 14, my family lived in an apartment complex right next to a shopping center called Ridgewood (you can see the current businesses that occupy the place here.  To say that I was in a store or walking through the parking lot of the shopping center most days of that time would not be an exaggeration - a branch of the public library was there, as was a Minyard's supermarket, & a dollar movie theater.  & one of the stores closest to us - & frankly, easiest to shoplift from - was the TG&Y.

I can almost walk through it in my mind.  If I walked in today, I would know exactly where the toy section was.  I bought - or my mother bought for me - many Star Wars figures & accessories there.  & I stole a few more.

After we moved, I didn't find myself at that shopping center very often, & soon enough both the Minyard's & the TG&Y were gone.  The Wikipedia has a handy list of "defunct retail companies of the United States, & the sad story of TG&Y's demise can be read at the link above.  A surprise - Minyard's is not on there!  Apparently there are 13 stores left in the Dallas area!

I guess nothing lasts forever.  Even giant mainstays like K-Mart & Sears are disappearing, & luckily there are those chronicling their demise.  I am not sad about a business dying - but it does affect me in a strange way, like I have recently watched an empty office building bulldozed in my neighborhood.  There are a few photos of it somewhere on my Tumblr blog.  I wish I could've gotten some of the photos on this website featuring "dead & dying K-Mart stores."

There's a K-Mart nearby - maybe I'll go have a look around.  But I better hurry!  It looks like they're going the way of the ol' TG&Y.