Friday, February 13, 2015

Self Help Radio 021315: Valentine's Day 2015 - Famous Lovers

(Original image here.)

Ah, love!  What a mess it is!  & what messy lives the lovers of history & myth had!  From Adam & Eve to John & Yoko, things don't usually turn out so well.  Why do we love these stories, then?  Why do we fall in love?

None of those questions are answered on today's show (heck, none of them were even asked!) which features nothing but songs about famous lovers, as well as an interview with historian David Fruchter about his new book about love, a report by Marge Most, & an update by SHR's man in Hollywood, Mark Miller.  It will not be a good substitute for flowers & candy if your better half expects that, but it'll kill time on the drive to the fancy schmany restaurant to be sure.

The show is over at the Self Help Radio website, right at the top of the playlists.  When you click one of them, it'll ask you for a username & a password.  They're available on the page, not hard to find, but they're also SHR & selfhelp if you are impatient.  They're not a secret.  The songs I played in each half of the show are listed below.

Happy Valentine's Day!

(part one)

"Adam & Eve" Paul Anka from Paul Anka Sings His Big 15_
"Adam & Evil" Elvis Presley from Spinout_
"Adam & Eve" Bob Marley from The Great Legend Of Reggae_

"Helen & Paris" Dancing Mice from Quiz Culture_
"Pyramus & Thisbe" Lida Husik from The Return Of Red Emma_
"King Solomon's Song & Mine" Momus from Circus Maximus_
"Orpheus & Eurydice" Helen Slater from The Myths Of Ancient Greece_

"(If) Cleopatra Took A Chance" Eddie Holland from The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 2: 1962_
"Abdul & Cleopatra" Jonathan Richman from The Best Of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers (The Beserkley Years)_
"The Continuing Story Of Mary & Joseph" George Carlin from When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_
"Mary & Joseph" Richard Thompson from Henry The Human Fly_

"Héloïse & Abélard" Anna Erikssön & Mason Bendewald from Meet Me At Père Lachaise_
"Letter From Heloise To Abelard" Laura Paton from A Lover's Gift/From Her To Him_
"Abelard & Heloise" Spokane from Leisure & Other Songs_

(part two)

"Lancelot's Tune (Guinevere)" Tom Rush from Tom Rush Celebrates 50 Years Of Music_
"Beauty & The Beast" Joan Gerber from The Story Lady_
"Beauty & The Beast" David Bowie from Heroes_

"Romeo & Juliet" William Shatner from The Transformed Man_
"Romeo & Juliet" Michael & The Messengers from Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968_
"Romeo & Juliet" Dire Straits from Making Movies_

"The Legend Of Bonnie & Clyde" Merle Haggard from The Great Merle Haggard Sings_
"The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde" Georgie Fame from The British Invasion: The History Of British Rock, Vol. 5_
"A Day In The Life Of Bonnie & Clyde" Mel Torme from A Day In The Life Of Bonnie & Clyde_
"Bonnie & Clyde" Mick Harvey & Anita Lane from Intoxicated Man_

"Everyone Has Something To Hide Except Me & My Monkey" Kristin Hersh from Echo_
"The Ballad Of John & Yoko" Teenage Fanclub from Deep Fried Fanclub_

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Whither Valentine's Day 2015: Famous Lovers?

I like doing Valentine's Day shows, &, I suppose, the topics are almost limitless.  But at a certain point, panic sets in.  I've done (according to the Self Help Radio website's list of themes I've covered) eleven Valentine's Day shows (I have no idea why I didn't do one in 2006) with themes like love, hate, crushes, jealousy, boyfriends, girlfriends, love songs, lovesickness, finishing the line "love is…", & last year, valentines, but after I started gathering music for this year's show I realized I totally could've done an entire show on Romeo & Juliet without too much trouble.  & now I'm just planning on playing a few songs about them in the middle of a larger show.  Panic.  Sets.  In.

You could help, you know.  You could suggest future Valentine's Day themes.  Email ideas to me.  Respond to this blog entry.  Come to my house, slap me around a bit, & taunt me with better ideas.  Anything.  Because.  Panic.  Sets.  In.

Not right away, though, since I have a year after tomorrow to think of something else.  Tomorrow there'll be songs about all kinds of historical, mythical, & fictional lovers.  I'm a little surprised that there aren't more pop songs about Pyramus & Thisbe, but I understand I'm not in charge of the world.  Alas.

Self Help Radio's 2015 Valentine's Day show is on from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington, & online at wrfl dot fm.  I'll have it up on the Self Help Radio web place long before Valentine's Day.  I am told the show is a powerful aphrodisiac.  Or was that a prank call?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


(I found this picture here.)

There's nothing I can really say about Jon Stewart's decision to leave the Daily Show.  Actually, there's a lot of things I can say & why not say them here?

Though I think it's right & proper to continue the show, we have to admit it's going to be weird without him behind that desk.  I've watched it faithfully for a very long time now.  I started watching it way before the 2000 election - but I just read that he started in 1999.  I wasn't a regular viewer of the Craig Kilbourn version, so I must have heard some buzz about it early on.

This is how long ago it was: I was often not home at 10pm (when it aired in Texas) so I would have my VCR programmed to tape it.  I would have videotapes of the show to watch when I had time.  Videotapes!  Sometimes I'd accidentally tape over something I hadn't watched.  Those pre-DVR days were so barbaric!

I watched him during the 2000 election.  I watched him on his first show after 9/11.  I've watched him I guess fifteen years now.  It's a long relationship.  It's crazy that it will end this year.

Not that I haven't had my problems with him.  I thought the "Rally To Restore Sanity" was really dumb & ineffectual.  & most damning of all: not funny.  Politically, it might have really made a difference.  I remember the wife & I almost drove up to DC to take part in it, but when I was watching it, that Saturday morning, from home, I was so glad we didn't.  Bands I didn't like (mostly boring commercial radio fare) played for a long time before half-assed attempts to humor intending to promote reasonable discussions in the country were performed, & so fucking lame they were.  Oh my god.  A month or so later, in an off-year election that Stewart might have actually influenced, the Republican Party began its resurgence.  If Stewart didn't have his "I'm just a comedian defense" (another thing about him that I find disingenuous), he might feel a bit ashamed for wasting his considerable clout on a mostly unfunny performance at gathering of his fans.

Even though what I just wrote nearly attained the level of rant, I truly respect & admire the man.  I wish the people who should watch his show - mainly people who trust Fox News - actually did watch it, but there were times when, by sheer virtue of how he presented a story, he did enlighten me, inform me, even sometimes changed my mind.  & of course he was so very funny.  I don't think I watched one show that I thought, eh.  I always found something to laugh at.

I think my heartbreak over the end of the Colbert Report was ameliorated by the fact that he'll be back on the air soon.  I don't know what Jon Stewart intends to do - he surely isn't going to do a talk show that will compete with his friend.  I haven't seen Rosewater, but will when it comes to DVD - yet I certainly hope he won't spend the rest of his days behind a camera instead of in front of it.  As much as I love John Oliver's show on HBO, I didn't really think he was all that great when he subbed for Stewart.  I missed Jon Stewart so much that summer.

& I'll miss him more knowing he won't be on weeknights mocking the self-important & telling jokes to power after this year.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lover lover lover

I wanted to do this year's Valentine's Day show about famous lovers, & so I shall, but it hasn't been easy.  Why didn't you tell me there weren't a shit-ton of songs about Pyramus & Thisbe?  I would've believed otherwise.  In a perfect world, there'd be one by Momus & another by Belle & Sebastian.

In fact, I now wish I had promised a show just prominently featuring the word "lover."  I would most definitely have played the Leonard Cohen classic:

& maybe even mixed it up with songs like this one:

Though that may be too ridiculously suggestive for Friday morning.

I am grateful, however, that though there are famous lovers throughout history, & though there are only a few of those that have been celebrated in song, the ones that are celebrated in song have a lot of songs about them.

& because of that: I am also regretting not just doing a show about Romeo & Juliet.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Another Year, Another Groan

Last year, I wrote on the this blog why I don't watch the Grammys.  But I pay attention to the Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr, & people are talking about Grammys (which aired last night) today.

Most of the people who are talking about the Grammys are people who don't know or don't care that there's an amazing world of music out there that isn't played on top 40 radio, or on any commercial radio at all.  Those same people listen mostly (I would assume) to either whatever's on the radio now or music that meant a lot to them (which was probably also on the radio then) when they were of the age (teens to early twenties) when music seemed to mean a lot.  & when I say, "whatever's on the radio," I tend to mean, whatever's on whatever popular service people listen to, because I simply don't know.

In short, they don't listen to the sort of radio I make, or to the music one hears on the sorts of radio stations I've been on (college/community).  I have in fact been told by people (my family, acquaintances who listen to my show when they've found out I do one) that my music is "weird."  Whatever is accepted as mainstream is "not weird" to them.

I have no problem with that.  I make the assumption that, in general, that they are more passive listeners of music than I am.  They are happy to accept whatever music is placed in front of them by corporations.  They're concerned with many other things than just the music they hear (mostly csex appeal & things the artists wear & say).  They aren't aware that so much of that music is, in effect, written by committee, & designed to be catchy so it sticks in your head.  (I liken it to music for commercials, which in a way it really is.)  (Perhaps you should listen to what Bo Burnham thinks of popular music.)

I started thinking that it's interesting that a "popular" form of art is composed of a such a narrow band of people.  The sort of musical act that makes its way to the Grammys, compared to the number of musicians out there, may make the Grammy crowd the musical 1%.

My point is that I get it.  I understand that people who have a limited knowledge of, or desire to discover, the vast amount of amazing music out there, some of which will stand the test of time in ways virtually all of this year's Grammy winners & nominees won't, I understand that they listen to & like the most convenient music that exists for them.

What I don't understand is the people I know from my radio stations who obsess & reblog & defend Grammy nominees + winners.  They know much more about the 99% of the music out there that the Grammys will never acknowledge, let alone celebrate.  & I have to ask, truly: don't they listen to their own radio stations?