Saturday, August 22, 2015

Occasionally, I Tweet

It's true, Self Help Radio has a Twitter account.  I'm honestly not sure why.  I don't know if any radio show "live tweets" what they play - unless they're a commercial radio station whose playlist is determined by a committee or a programming manager weeks in advance - but that's mainly what I use the account for.  I don't think I'm funny or clever enough to throw out witty observations or one-liners.  & I'm not sixteen, so I'm not going to use it as little confessional snippets of what I'm up to at the moment, where I'm at, pictures of my food.  (Or is that Instagram I'm thinking of?  Anyway, I draw the line at more than four social media sites to keep up with.)

Here's an example of me trying to be funny on the Twitter, from today:

It's not all that funny, I know, but it does reflect a weird obsession I have with the story of the hack.  Yes, there's the great fun with hypocrites being outed, but I'm more fascinated by the fact that people not only feel the need to cheat but that they feel safe cheating in such a way.  I won't let third party apps have access to my Facebook account!

Whatever, I was just going to say, if you're on Twitter, & you like the show, you can "follow" it (I hate that term) (it makes me feel like I'm trying to rally troops) by going to the SHR Twitter page.  It'd be nice to have you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Self Help Radio 081815: Sand

(Original image here.)

This is true: a fellow called my show yesterday (the one I am presenting today), & said, "Are you doing a show about sand?"  I said, "Yes, yes, I am."  He said, "But why?"  & I had to laugh.  Because there's hardly ever a reason why I do a show on Self Help Radio.  No good reason, really.  I do a Valentine's Day show, a Halloween show, & a Christmas show, but very rarely does the show attach itself to an event, or anniversary, or whatever, related to the day of the show itself.  That would be even harder than to do a show about sand!

Speaking of: I think it's an okay show.  I'm on it, which brings the average down a lot, but there's also very good music (you can see the playlist below), as well as a conversation with my spiritual advisor, the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently, about the spiritual metaphors for which sand is used, & there's an interview with sand artist David M. Fruchter, & inexplicably, motel heiress Magdalena La Quinta stops by.  It was a lot of fun to do at the time, maybe it's a lot of fun to listen to.

The show is now where it ought to be, at the Self Help Radio website.  You will probably be asked for a username (it will be SHR) & a password (it will be selfhelp).  That information is on the page.  Or you can write me like some folks do, & I can tell you that way, too.

Sand! Sand everywhere! Gaah!

(part one)

"Mr. Sandman" The Puppini Sisters _Betcha Bottom Dollar_
"The Sandman" Neo Retros _Listen To Your Leader_
"Sandman's On The Rise Again" Felt _Rain Of Crystal Spires_

"Sand" Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood _Nancy & Lee_
"Sand & Sea" Frank Sinatra _The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings_
"Sand In My Shoes" Bobby Short _Saloon Singer_
"Castles In The Sand" Little Stevie Wonder _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 4: 1964_

"Cowgirl In The Sand" Neil Young _Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: Live At Massey Hall 1971_
"Clothes Of Sand" Nick Drake _Made To Love Magic_
"Sand In My Shoes" Cair Paravel _Some Other Morning_
"Every Grain Of Sand" Bob Dylan _The Bootlegs Series 1961-1991, Vol. 3_

"Men Are Building Sand" Montage _Montage_
"A Pebble In My Sand" The Fallen Angels _Washington, D.C. Garage Band Greats!_

(part two)

"(Remember) Walking In The Sand" The Shangri-La's _The Leader Of The Pack_
"White Bikini Sand" Throwing Muses _Limbo_
"Tiny Craters In The Sand" The Wave Pictures _If You Leave It Alone_

"Sandstorm In Paradise" Cleaners From Venus _In the Golden Autumn_
"Sandstorm" All Over The Place _La-Di-Da... So Far..._
"Sandstorm" Cast _All Change_
"Shifting Sands" Armitage Shanks _Bang Crash Boom!!! A PopClub Compendium_

"Man O'Sand To Girl O'Sea" The Go-Betweens _Bellavista Terrace: The Best Of The Go-Betweens_
"The Sea & The Sand" Lloyd Cole & The Commotions _Rattlesnakes_
"Kicking Sand" The Lodger _Grown-Ups_
"The Sand That Holds The Lakes In Place" His Name Is Alive _Stars On ESP_

"Sand In My Joints" Wire _Chairs Missing_
"In The Sand (Live)" Wavves _Life Sux EP_
"Sand" The Concretes _Layourbattleaxedown_

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Whither Sand?

(A closeup shot of sand from here.)

Guess what?  I can tell you exactly where I got the idea for this week's show!  It's from a song I will play today, a song you already know, that weird & wonderful Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra tune called "Sand."  Like a lot of the songs on today's show, it uses sand as a metaphor.  But I was liking it enough one afternoon that I thought, Hey, I'll do an entire show about sand.

Man, I didn't realize there were so damn many songs about sand!

Here's something you won't hear me play today: a cover of the Hazlewood/Sinatra tune.  I am in the habit of playing covers of more popular tunes, & while the tune wasn't quite what you'd call a hit - it only got to # 107 on the US charts - it's certainly aged well, & it very recognizable.  So much so that there are a few covers from the sixties, & a famous cover by Einsturzende Neubaten, & a nice cover by Howe Gelb & Lisa Germano under the name "OP8" in the 1990s, & a swell version with Holly Golightly & Billy Childish also from around that time.  For whatever reason, none of them affect me the way the original does.  I like to think of it as one of the best Leonard Cohen songs he never wrote.

So much sand!  Today on Self Help Radio from 4 to 6 pm on 88.1 fm in Lexington, & online at wrfl dot fm.  Unlike sand, there's almost no chance the show will get in your shoes, your hair, or any unusual bodily orifices.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Preface To Sand: A Sad Sandbox Story

My childhood - at least before I started school, which is to say, first grade, which was the first grade of school I attended - was fraught with accidents.  I was a clumsy, foolhardy child.  At different times, I would drink alcohol I wasn't supposed to (thinking it was juice), I would run under teens playing basketball & get my ankle stepped on, or I would crack my head on the side of a table so hard & bloodily there's still a scar there (it's actually how I measure my receding hairline).  I don't have many memories of these events, but they were fodder for "Gary is a dumbass" stories of my youth, so the stories themselves have been implanted in my brain.

One memory I do have involves a time - certainly I wasn't more than five - when I was playing in a sandbox in the apartment complex in which we lived.  I was playing with trucks, I have a sense memory of moving a truck through the sandbox while I crawled behind it on my hands & knees - one hand, of course, maneuvering the truck.  At some point, I got a big surprise - a piece of glass, from a broken soda bottle, had been hidden under the sand.  I rammed my knee right into it.

The scar that used to be there disappeared with age, so I'm not sure whether it was my right or left knee.  I do know I screamed bloody murder & there was in fact a great deal of blood.  I was taken to the nearest hospital - probably the emergency room at Parkland Hospital - where I was seen & my knee stitched up.  How many stitches?  I couldn't see through the tears.

It's an indicator at the level of poverty in which I & my family lived that one could find broken glass hidden in a sandbox.  I'm not insinuating that someone put it there deliberately.  Rather, I think that broken glass was a commonplace.  I'm sure if I could visit back there, I'd find our apartments lousy with roaches, I'd find lots of trash & litter all around (these were the days when soda cans had pull-off lids, & they were a hazard kids learned to avoid), not to mention cigarette butts.  People in drunken frolic break glass.  Some of that glass got into a sandbox.  Some of the glass that got into a particular sandbox got into my knee.

It didn't deter me from sandboxes - there was another one at another apartment complex at which we lived that I played in all the time.  But certainly those experiences, after a certain point, made me more careful.  I didn't have any accident like that again in my childhood.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Notes On A Sunday

Sometimes it seems I'll never get used to writing on this blog on the weekend.  I'm sitting here listening to songs about sand.  There are lots of songs about sand.  There's a lot of sand.

Oh, I should point out something.  In case you're expecting something on the sand show on Tuesday: I'm not going to play any songs about quicksand.  But why not?  Quicksand!  The most interesting sand of all!*

It turns out that I did a show two years ago with the theme "quick", & I played a quicksand set.  & I hate to repeat myself.  Even if two years have passed.  & no one cares but me.

Why do I even care?  Because, like that dude says in The Wire,** "A man's got to have a code."  (A woman, too, I presume.)  I grew up with commercial radio, & even one ennui-filled afternoon, sat next to my radio writing down the songs that were being played, & found that a few artists (I wish I still had that notebook) were played pretty much every hour, & a couple of songs were replayed at the same time hour after hour.  There might have been a moment when I said to myself, "If I ever get a radio show, I will never ever never never ever be so damned repetitive."

Even though that's how & why radio works.

But I suppose I was a curious sort.  I remember discovering non-commercial radio & it was amazing, because I wanted radio to help me find new music, not take advantage of how the brain processes repetition to breed familiarity & eventually acceptance.***  Radio shows that play the same thing over & over will always be more popular because, like I said, that's how radio works.

One time, talking with a friend, we were discussing how out-of-touch we are with today's popular music.  I suggested that we look at the Billboard charts & listen to the top three songs or whatever, just to find out.  She said, "No!  Those terrible songs will just get stuck in my head!"

Apologies, then, for not repeating stuff.  But, a deejay's gotta have a code.  Or this deejay does, anyway.

Did I mention there are a lot of songs about sand?

* One would assume.
** I thought it was Omar, but one search engine query later I discovered I was wrong.
*** I need to research this more.  Maybe Oliver Sachs has written about it?