Thursday, December 29, 2016

Self Help Radio 122816: Indiepop A To Z # 52

(Most if not all of these record sleeve images came from Discogs.)

Well, here it is.  The last Self Help Radio of 2016.  It didn't even have the decency to let me finish the indiepop Ls!  Good riddance I say!  Good riddance to a year of good music & passable radio shows!  Let 2017 come!  Not that I'm ready for it.  It's just I can't stay in this "2016" any more!

With that said, that's it.  That's all I have to say for 2016.  The songs I played for the show are below.  The show itself is at the usual place.  You know about the username & password.  We'll square.

Happy new year!  See you in 2017.

(part one)

"Alone Again Or" Love _Forever Changes_
"Welsh Girl" Love _Welsh Girl_
"Black Mischief" The Love Ambassadeux _Black Mischief_

"All In My Mind" Love & Rockets _Express_
"You Can Never Have It All" The Love Buttons _You Can Never Have It All 12"_
"When You're With Him" Love Dance _Result_
"Spinning & Scratching" Love Is All _Nine Times That Same Song_
"Sooner I Wish" The Love Of Everything _Sooner I Wish_

"Browny April" Love Pandarins _Beikoku-Ongaku # 12: Chant Of The Unicorn_
"Under The Weather" Love Parade _The Sound Of Leamington Spa Vol. 2_
"Light Of Day" The Love Positions _Billiepeebup_
"Am I Wrong" Love Spit Love _Love Spit Love_
"Captain Kirk" The Loved Ones _After Hours 10"_

"Don't You (Wish You'd Never Met Me)?" Lovejoy _Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?_

(part two)

"Forget That Girl" Loveletter _Beethoven Chopin Kitchen Fraud_
"Weekender Man" The Lovelies _Something Cool_
"Don't Look At Me (I Don't Like It)" The Lovely Eggs _Cob Dominos_
"Keep Your Love" Loveninjas _Keep Your Love_

"That Boy Is Mine" The Loves _...Love You_
"Carry On At Large" Loveskip _Carry On At Large_
"Do You Believe In Magic?" The Lovin' Spoonful _Do You Believe In Magic?_
"Cruel To Be Kind" Nick Lowe _Labour Of Lust_
"Sylvia" The Lowthers _The Disparate Cogscienti_

"Synchronised Sinking" The Lucksmiths _Why That Doesn't Surprise Me_
"Lips Are Unhappy" Lucky Soul _The Great Unwanted_
"Show Me How The Robots Dance" Lullaby For The Working Class _I Never Even Asked For Light_
"Roman Holiday" Lumihoops _Throw: The Yoyo Studio Compilation_
"Drop You Vivid Colours" Luminous Orange _Drop You Vivid Colours_

"Speedbumps" Luna _Bang Crash Boom!!! A PopClub Compendium_

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 52

(This image has nothing to do with the show, I just liked it.  I found it here.)

On last week's show, when I was announcing this week's show, I said, "I think we're in the letter K."  I was talking about my interminable "indiepop a to z" series, which tonight will air its fifty-second episode.  I feel bad about saying that, because in fact tonight, we will start to wind down the letter L.  But that's the nature of this series, which I will probably never finish: I don't even remember what place I'm at until I sit down & go, Oh yeah right, I finished K.  Okay.

As always, there'll be great music by bands I consider "indiepop" as well as bands that influenced the genre.  As always, I'll stress that indiepop is an actual genre of music while everyone else refers to music that sounds like commercial radio pop but is put out by obscure or small labels as "indiepop."  They win, because no one is paying attention to me.  But of course I think the music I like is much, much better.

Listen then to the last Self Help Radio of 2016 tonight from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & online at Lexington Community Radio.  I know I'll be listening.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 52: Two Thousand Five Hundred

Yep.  This is the two-thousandth, five-hundred discrete "page" or "post" of junk I have placed on this blog.  Twenty-five hundred!  2500.  That seems somehow wrong, in a moral or ethical sense.  I should be up on charges for this!

You could probably guess I am a big fan of both factors & prime numbers, especially of the fact that prime numbers have only two factors, itself & 1.  But 2500 has loads of factors, which are these:

1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 125, 250, 500, 625, 1250, 2500

Here then is a poem composed of words from the posts numbered above:

Just writing that makes my gall bladder throb
My inner skeptic basically has Tourette's right now
You can start the revolution by listening today
If you had fun, it's because we're wired differently

Wet yellow are my sclera
I myself was sampled once
The truth is already plainly delightful
Sometimes to humorous effect

Get lots of exercise in a stale-beer-smelling environment
Tomorrow is the new tomorrow; yesterday is yesterday's yesterday
It's too bad there's nothing other than smoking I can do
To be considered a "smoker" by my cool friends

My host was doing some server mojo
So I can't be horsing around with you right now
It is, however, cheaper than most trips & you don't have to wait in line at all
That seems somehow wrong, in a moral or ethical sense

That's a fun poem & will doubtless lose many awards.  I must however admit to cheating in one way.  The two lines at the end of the third stanza come from the same post (# 500).  Why did I cheat?  Because otherwise the poem would be fifteen lines long instead of sixteen.  That offended me somehow.  I didn't want the poem to be fifteen lines long.  It did not have the makings of a villanelle!

Okay, now, I know a villanelle is a nineteen-line poem & I totally expected for you to call me on my shit.  But you understand, don't you?  Don't you?

Do you?

Here we are, then, twenty-five-hundred posts in.  An achievement, surely, but also most assuredly not, like Perfect Attendance.  Those seeking insight or diversion will scarcely find it here, & yet as a promotional tool for the radio show it also fails shockingly to engage.  (See also: Facebook page, Twitter feed.)  One may as well celebrate, however.  An excuse for a cake with candles is always welcome!

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Close Look Down At The Mouth

Let us take a moment at year's end to consider cold sores.  "Note the blisters in a group marked by an arrow," that article advises.  If you must - there will be no images here!

These are different from canker sores in both placement & societal censure.  For where one can hide a canker core, one cannot well hide a cold sore, especially in such situations where the blisters of a cold sore are marked by an arrow.

Indeed, there are other differences which will continue to make your gums & feel uncomfortable.  We know - oh, we know - what caused cold sores - it's a viral infection, & that virus is called herpes - but with canker sores, as the Wikipedia article above notes,

"The cause is not entirely clear, but is thought to be multifactorial. It has even been suggested that aphthous stomatitis (canker sores) is not a single entity but rather a group of conditions with different causes. Multiple research studies have attempted to identify a causative organism, but aphthous stomatitis appears to be non-contagious, non-infectious, & not sexually transmissible."

That last bit should make most folks with canker sores happy, as there is very little that, it seems, is not sexually transmissible.  Both birth & death, for example, seem to be direct results of sex.  Leaving sex out of sores that can happen in or around your mouth is a delight in such a context.

What are we to do, then?  Are there foundations we can support?  Are there 5K runs or long walks against these conditions?  Why don't we speak out, why must we keep our mouths shut?

Oh you know.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Every Holiday!!

But today it's

Thanks to all who listen or stop by, I hope you have a good day with plenty of fine food & festive fellowship with friends & family, whatever you prefer both/either/neither/nor.  I'm glad we get to interact regularly on a dumb radio show!

(That image courtesy of this awesome Tumblr blog.)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Self Help Radio 122116: A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2016

Here it is, from the freaky Self Help Radio family to your own group of weirdoes, A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2016!

In addition to too many Christmas songs in a two-hour period, there are interviews galore, a special message from my spiritual mentor, & a surprise phone call from someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas at all!  Yes, it's as difficult as your average Office Secret Santa & also as cheap.

Listen all throughout the holidays at Self Help Radio Dot Net!  I promise, if you want your relatives to leave, this will do the job!

& happy holidays to all!

(part one)

"Merry Christmas" Jim Of Seattle _Frothin' The Nog: Ye Fourth Green Monkey Xmas_
"Deck The Halls (Fa La La La La)" Little Jimmy Thomas _Deck The Halls (Fa La La La La)_
"White Christmas" Iggy Pop _Psych-Out Christmas_

"Funky Little Drummer Boy" Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings _It's A Holiday Soul Party_
"Little Jesus Loves Me" Bonnie Guitar _Merry Christmas From Bonnie Guitar_
"You're Just Like Christmas" The Crookes _You're Just Like Christmas_
"Carol Of The Bells" The Whiskey Wasps _Melancholy Holly_

"I Believe In Father Christmas" Greg Lake _The Atlantic Years_
"Do You Hear What I Hear" Gladys Knight & The Pips _Do You Hear What I Hear_
"Christmas Chopsticks" The Voices Of Walter Schumann _The Voices Of Christmas_
"Merry X-Mas Song" Pink Floyd _Rare Precious & Beautiful_
"Xmas Spirit" Destructors _Cashing In On Christmas, Vol. 6_

"Hail Santa" Nodding Tree Remedies _The T-D-R-Co Sound: Cascadian Christmas Collection_

(part two)

"Frosty The Snowman" The Forty Nineteens _Frosty The Snowman_
"No Room At The Inn" Bubblegum Lemonade _Under The Christmas Twee_
"Santa Is A B-Boy" Whistle _Live At The North Pole_

"Santa Claus & Popcorn" Merle Haggard _Goin' Home For Christmas_
"Carols Those Kids Used To Sing" The Statler Brothers _The Statler Brothers Christmas Card_
"Christmas At The Opry" Archie Campbell _Christmas At The Opry_
"It's Not The Presents Under My Tree" Narvel Felts _The Best Of Ripsaw Records, Vol. 3_

"Santa Baby" Wild Child _Christmas Mixtape, Vol. 1_
"Christmas Eve" Night Flowers _Christmas_
"Mister Santa" Lenny Dee _Happy Holi-Dee_
"Holiday Road" Matt Pond PA _Holiday Road_

"The Twelve Days Of Christmas" Bob & Ron Copper _Songs Of Christmas From The Alan Lomax Collection_
"Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" Der Bielefelder Kinderchor _A German Christmas_

(Image above from here.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Whither A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2016?

It's that time of year again!  You know because every damn radio show is playing Christmas music!  & frankly, it's the same Christmas music over & over.  But not Self Help Radio!  Just one Christmas show a year, guaranteed!  Plus!  No repeats ever!  Well, I mean, we play the same songs, you know, the Christmas songs you expect, but never the same recordings!  Also!  Lots of fun interviews tonight!  Like:

- an interview with a man who's studied Christmas Around The World!
- an interview with a former Department Store Santa!
- a special report from our travel correspondent about Christmas In Norway!
- a prerecorded holiday message from the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently!

Probably also surprises!  Who knows what's in these wrapped boxes?  You'll have to listen to find out!

It's on from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington, & everywhere at Lexington Community Radio online!  Have a listen!  It'll start your holiday right!  Well, maybe not entirely right.  It'll start something!

(Image above found here.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Preface To A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2016: I Feel Much Better Now, Thank You

Except my wife is sick now.

She's actually glad she caught the bug after me - as she told me, "Watching you, I knew exactly what to expect."  So - is "you're welcome" appropriate for being all communicable with the disease?

She also said, when the flu was causing her stomach pains, "How did early hominids survive?"  A sick anthropologist is a hilarious anthropologist.

She was supposed to go visit her family in California today, but weird circumstances - a previously-used voucher among them, which meant she didn't have a flight after all - led to her having to reschedule till tomorrow.  If she follows the same trajectory I did, she'll be exhausted but able to travel by tomorrow afternoon.  She's sleeping now.

& the show is done, & has been delivered to WLXU, although I didn't get a confirmation that it was received, so if it doesn't air, I'll at least be able to put it on my website on Thursday, before Christmas.  I am working on next week's show now, since the station will need it before they close for Christmas week on Friday.

Meanwhile, I am trying to decide if I should try to eat a regular meal tonight.  After emptying myself of everything I had in me over the weekend, I have eaten so far a banana, a handful of wheat thins, two small cups of applesauce, & two granola bars.  That's not a lot for two days & my body has begun to complain a little.  The only problem is, what I have to eat is sort-of-spicy Indian food.  When I wrote that, I got hungry; when I got hungry, my stomach made tsk-tsking sounds at me.

What do I do?  I don't go on about it here, certainly!  This is a blog for a radio show, not for someone day-to-day nonsense.  Just be glad that I was able to finish the show this week despite being waylaid by a virus - or be disappointed if you just wanted one lousy week of this year without an episode of Self Help Radio.  I'm sure that's quite a few people.

Monday, December 19, 2016


Sorry for that previous post.  Or is it sorry not sorry?

Not having lived in Texas for so long, & not having visited my family so regularly since the mid-00s, I had forgotten how every one of them is a petri dish for germs & viruses.  The weekend I visited my ailing mother & my sister was there, she who complained last week of having a "stomach thing."  If she had done as I did, & read up on such viruses, she would know she was still contagious for a few days after she felt better, but instead she gave me a hug anyway, & I, as I said, had forgotten how every time I came home from around 1986 till 2008 I would bring some sickness home with me.

Last night I was very unwell.  I cancelled dinner plans, which my wife thought I was doing because I am antisocial but which my wife decided wasn't the case when the vomiting began.  I had chills, I was so very thirsty, & I was weak.  I was exhausted but couldn't sleep.  I managed in the wee hours of the very cold morning to drink a few drops of water & slept a few hours until, around 6am, my sweet puppy Winston woke me so he could go outside.

All the while I despaired of being unwell & unable to finish my show this week.  But I rallied this morning, I managed to keep some applesauce down, & I was able to edit the many interviews I have planned.  Now it's just a matter of putting it all together.

Not that anyone was worried or knew or would have cared if sickness made me miss a show.  But I think I may sleep a little more before I finish the show tonight.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


for immediate release:

Radio deejay & long-time "Self Help Radio" host Gary laid low by a stomach virus that's "going around"!  A night of stomach pain & regurgitation - & not in the good way - planned for a cold Sunday evening!  Fate of this week's show in doubt!  Will he rally to put a show together for Wednesday night - the annual "a Very Self Help Radio Christmas" program?  Or will he continue to a big baby & hold his dogs close & weep his benighted state?  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Self Help Radio 121416: Gary's Favorite Music 2016

(Almost all these images came from Discogs.)

Look!  A year-end radio show!  With a list of songs the deejay thought were great!  What a novelty!

You know how this works.  You can listen at Self Help Radio dot net & you can tsk tsk at how my taste in music sucks.  It's totally your right to do so!  (I might be disappointed by you, too.)

Here's the list of songs.  Make your own list too!

(part one)

"Blackstar" David Bowie _Blackstar_

"The Answer" Savages _Adore Life_
"Wise Ol' Man (Edit)" The Fall _Wise Ol' Man EP_
"Blockhead" Angry Angles _Angry Angles_
"Fold" Burnt Palms _Back On My Wall_

"Do Rite With Me Tonite" Babaganouj _Pillar Of Light_
"Friday Night" The Spook School _Try To Be Hopeful_
"Come Have Me Over" The Sun Days _Album_
"Spies (No More)" The Chandler Estate _Infrastructure_
"Christine Zero" My Favorite _Christine Zero/Killed For Kicks 7"_

"Under London Skies" Close Lobsters _Desire & Signs EP_

(part two)

"In The Lobby" Iggy Pop _Post Pop Depression_
"My Pro-Choice Classical Language Joke" Hari Kondabolu _Mainstream American Comic_
"John Henry" Billy Bragg & Joe Henry _Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad_

"Other People/The One Who Loves You" The Divine Comedy _Foreverland_
"Like John Lennon Said" Malcolm Middleton _Summer Of '13_
"My Ghost" The Shondes _Brighton_
"This Hum" The Submissives _Do You Really Love Me?_

"Walking Home" Hinds _Leave Me Alone_
"Bare Minimum" Jawbreaker Reunion _Haha & Then What ;)_
"Poverty Line" Good Boy _Poverty Line_
"Feel It Too" Oscar _Cut & Paste_
"Yellow Jacket Boy" T-Rextasy _Jurassic Punk_
"Year Of The Rabbit" Eskimeaux _Year Of The Rabbit_

"You Want It Darker" Leonard Cohen _You Want It Darker_

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2016?

(I found this silly banner here.)

It is a tradition among some radio folks that - for whatever reason - they feel the need at the end of the year to play a group of songs released that year & call it "best" or "favorite."  I don't do "best," but I do have favorites.

Not all deejays do this, of course - many deejays, especially at stations of a non-commercial nature, such as the ones I have done my shows at, program shows which focus on music from a period of time long gone, where "new" music doesn't really apply.  It wouldn't make any sense for them to play their favorite music of the year if they simply haven't any.  One deejay I knew at KOOP, for example, boasted that he never played music released after 1980!

So, yes, not all deejays do this, but I like to play new music - I never really stop listening to new music, actually.  I listen to new releases all the time.  So, it makes sense for someone like me, who does a radio show which constantly features new music, to play my favorite new music from the year somewhat close to the year's end.

Why not the actual year's end?  For dumb reasons, really.  I do an annual Christmas show, which needs to air before Christmas, & I like to do my "indiepop a to z" series every four months.  The third-to-the-last show seems the best place to do the "favorites" show.

& it happens tonight!  Self Help Radio plays its favorite music released in 2016 from 9-11pm Lexington time, 8-10pm Fort Worth time, on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & online everywhere at Lexington Community Radio dot org!  Have a listen.  You may discover we like much of the same thing!  But probably not.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Preface To Gary's Favorite Music 2016: That Awkward Intersection

It's that time of year when you can't visit a website without lists, lists, lists, of all the things that need to be listed about this horrible year of twenty sixteen.  Generally, I stay away - except maybe for the photos.  As I complained yesterday, "best of" lists bore me, so I don't pay much attention to them - except when I feel a need to compare my list of favorites to theirs.

You see, when you're super cool & you ignore stupid commercial crap, looking at lists like that can make you feel a bit superior - sort of like when you go to a site like Rate Your Music & the usual suspects are there, the ones that'll end up on everyone's lists because, you know, they're supposed to.  (Does anyone ever really listen to some of the records they claim to love?)

Except 2016 has to be different, damn it.  You know what's at the top of many (if not all) of these lists?  David Bowie's Blackstar.  & it's a good record.  On Rate Your Music, Leonard Freakin' Cohen is in the top fifty!  Maybe it's because they died, maybe that drew attention to their work, but then there's Iggy Pop's latest, doing well in opinion polls.  Motherfucker!

Why should I care?  Because those records are on my list, too!

How galling!  How awkward!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Oh No It's That Stupid "Best Of" Argument Again!

(Original image here.)

If you've ever read this blog around this time of year, or heard any of my year-end shows, you know I absolutely hate the whole concept of "best of" lists.  It's arrogant in the extreme, & is nothing but a list of the opinions of one or more people, representing some magazine or other organization.  It no more determines what is "best" than sales or awards do.  Here's why I don't think anyone can say what is "best" in a list form:

1) No one has listened to every album or single or ep released that year.  Sorry.  You may think you have, but it's impossible.  If all you're listening to is major label stuff, you are most definitely not listening to the best music out there.  You've fallen into the trap of believing that commerce determines what is "best" like the Grammys.  But it's almost guaranteed that half of the commercial shit you think is best will be forgotten in a few years.  Anyway:

2) Fuck popular culture.  Music is not about heavily choreographed events.  Music is not about moments created by publicists & teams of "songwriters" whose contributions are focus-group-tested.  Radio, as it always has, caters to the moneyed musical interests & plays the same shit over & over, but that no more makes something great now as it did in the past, where there's a graveyard of "successful" & "best of" records that no one thinks about anymore.  & even imagining that you as a critic free yourself of the influence of the corporations that send you shit for free, there's the fact that:

3) You can't compare "best" albums through different genres.  This may sound like somewhat fatalistic, but can you really say a hip hop album is better or worse than a bluegrass record?  Even if you have an unusually broad taste in music, you surely have a favorite genre, & you're going to prefer one over another.  In the end, when the jazz gal likes a record by some other genre, it's peer pressure & good ol' familiarity, it being played constantly around the office.  & those sites that let every critic have a vote & somehow tally those votes?  How fucking stupid is that?  Because:

4) Nothing is "great" because of popularity.  I repeat this for emphasis, because this is something that just baffles me.  Why does anyone think something is good because a bunch of people like it?  Perhaps I am genetically disposed to dislike something because of hype, but I most certainly don't believe something is great because of the money it makes or the fans it has.  & when it comes to critics, listen: people usually like critics that agree with them, or challenge them, but if you believe that just because someone can write or talk eloquently about things they love or enjoy, you're dealing with an artificial insecurity, because:

5) No one opinion is better than another.  At best, you can call an opinion better informed.  For example, if you said you hated Bob Dylan because you didn't like his voice, I wouldn't put much stock in your opinion about his records.  But that doesn't mean you're wrong that Bob Dylan isn't your cup of tea - it just means that you're wrong if you think his music is bad & music you like is good.  That's just a personal opinion, & as I've said, that means you can never say what is "best" except for what you like & think.  & therefore:

6) Everyone should retire stupid year-end "best of" lists.  No one knows what's best.  They can't.  It's impossible.  They can say what they like, & they can back it up with information & opinions & pretty words.  But that no more makes it "best" than album sales or popularity or awards or the consensus of critics.  What makes it "best" to you is personal to you.  You see:

7) Opinion is always & forever subjective.  Just say it's your favorite music of the year, or something else that isn't a statement that suggests it can be prove right or wrong.  Because you don't have any clue whether something is the best of the year any more than any other person.  Maybe in time - hundreds of years later - we'll know who stood the test of time.  But a few months after it was released?  Give me a break.

Okay.  I've made my points.  All right.  I can retire this till next year.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Tumblr Blog I Like

This is from a Tumblr blog I recently started following.  It's called Samplerman & it's basically intensely detailed collage ("samples") from old comics & comic strips.  & it's awesome!  Have a look!

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Self Help Radio 120716: Travel

(Original image found somewhere around here.)

Travel!  Who doesn't love to travel?  Well, come to think of it, my oldest sister hated to travel.  She only got on a plane twice in her life.  She loved to stay at home.  & actually my mother hates to travel - especially since 9/11 - she imagines that every plane that goes up with explode in the sky.  All right, let me ask this again: Who doesn't love to travel who isn't a female member of my family?  Damn it, it's a rhetorical question!

I love to travel, & I don't get to travel as much as I want, since we have eight animals in the house.  The wife travels a lot for her work, & to visit her family, & I usually don't get to go, since I have to watch the eight animals in the house.  My cats don't like to travel, actually - the trip from Lexington to Fort Worth was pretty unpleasant for them.  The dogs, however, love to travel - I wish I could drive everywhere & take them with us.

None of this has anything to do with this week's show except that the show was about travel.  A celebration!  A consternation!  In addition to the songs I played (which are below), I talked to a beleaguered travel agent, to a libertarian who made it his life's work to take down travel agents, & to my spiritual mentor, who blew my mind with a philosophical perspective on travel.  Also, I took a phone call from a couple of traveling musicians down in New Orleans.  It was as hastily assembled, over-packed, & hectic as your average long journey!

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website.  Have a listen: it's like taking a trip, without all that traveling & having great times & enjoying yourself!

(part one)

"Traveling Solves Everything" Violent Femmes _We Can Do Anything_
"Lonesome Traveller" Marianne Faithfull _Come My Way_
"Weekend Travel" Winter Vacation _Hit Music Only_

"Travelling Man" The Woodentops _Giant_
"Travelin' Man" Psychic Ills _Hazed Dream_
"A Travelin' Man" The New Christy Minstrels _Ramblin'_
"Hot Travel Tips" Todd Barry _Super Crazy_
"Have Love Will Travel" The Sonics _Here Are The Sonics!!!_

"Travel Agent Man" The Sound Apparatus _Garageaholic! Psychedelic! Outsider Music!_
"Travel Agent" Monty Python _Monty Python's Previous Record_
"Travelin' Blues" T-Bone Walker _The Original Source_
"Hard Road To Travel" Jimmy Cliff _Jimmy Cliff_

"Red Travelin' Socks" Malcolm Middleton _Waxing Gibbous_

(part two)

"Traveling Alone" The Mekons _Existentialism_
"Hard Travelin'" Woody Guthrie _Selections From The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection_
"Travelin' On" Simon Bonney _Everyman_

"Have Blues, Will Travel" Eddie Noack _The 'D' Singles Collection, Vol. 1_
"Travelin' Mood" Wee Willie Wayne _Crescent City Soul: The Sound Of New Orleans 1947-1974_
"Air Travel" Chris Farlowe _The Mod Scene_
"International Travel" Lewis Black _Rules Of Enragement_
"Travelogue" Glo-Worm _Glimmer_

"I Believe In Travellin' Light" Belle & Sebastian _I'm A Cuckoo_
"Travelling Light" Lloyd Cole _Antidepressant_
"Travellin' Light" Peter Case _The Man With The Blue Postmodern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar_
"Traveling Light" Leonard Cohen _You Want It Darker_

"Why Do The Wrong People Travel?" Noel Coward _Noel Coward Sings Sail Away & Other Coward Rarities

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Whither Travel?

(I found this image here.)

This week's Self Help Radio knows that December is the month of travel, whether it's a far away trip to reunite with friends & family or just over the river & through the woods to grandmother's house!  It therefore celebrates this holiday migration to & fro with a show all about travel.

Not only is there the musical equivalent of Travel Scrabble, whatever that means, but also the show will contain an interview with an endangered travel agent, & with a person who fought to destroy travel agents, & with my spiritual mentor the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently, who's well-traveled, at least on the astral planes.  Also, how do you spell the word "traveled"?  Is it "travelled" or "traveled"?  Is it the same with "travelling" & "traveling"?  My spell-check says no!  My heart says yes!

A show about travel for travelers (travellers?) of all kinds, tonight on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington, online at Lexington Community Radio dot org.  9-11pm Lexington time, 8-10pm Fort Worth time, check your travel watches for other time zone times.

They say travel broadens the mind, but does a show about travel do that?  Listen to find out!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Preface To Travel: Staying At Home & Watching Things I Like

There are people I know who enjoy the Youtube for watching people play video games.  Others enjoy the watching of people talking about their lives, being sassy, stuff like that.  Others will enjoy comedic bits made by people who hope one day to be comedians.  I guess I like the latter, too, but really only one specific one, which is CinemaSins.  I must be a masochist, because I really enjoy watching the videos of movies that I enjoy.

Or maybe I think they're funny?  Anyway, if you have a hankering & the time - my wife points out that some of their videos are just 1/6 or 1/8 the actual runtime of the movie - just pick a movie you've seen & watch them tally the "sins" they find in the film.  It's very entertaining.

For me, at least.  For others, too, I presume.  But I just made my wife watch three of them in a row, so you know I enjoy them.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Radio Free America

No, this is not the soon-to-be-needed rallying cry for real, factual information after the Trump Administration bans the news media.  This is about radio.

Even though I archive all my recent shows on the Self Help Radio website, my current station, WLXU, & my former station, WRFL, have signed up for accounts at Radio Free America, where you can listen to other (probably better) shows than mine on those station archived for up to two weeks.  (You'll need to create an account, & it's not the most navigable set-up.)  (But it's a chance to listen to shows when you miss them live!)

Pretty exciting, yes?  Let's hope all the deejays at the stations sign up!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Worst Worthwhile Wind

The neighbors noticed, now the blinds are closed.  Unclothed, he stares defiantly, then needs to turn the heater on.

On any other day he might be offended; today he felt more or less vindicated.  More or less, he thinks to himself.  Comme ci, comme ├ža.  An outline of tepidness, like the splashes of water around the bathmat.  But it doesn't matter.

Nevertheless, the day aches to begin, & he jams his thumb reaching for something in the medicine cabinet.  He curses - as his dad used to say - like he was cursed.  There was nothing to do but wiggle it helplessly, as if the pain could be complained away.  Then the phone rang.

Bad news travels fast, faster still on a beamed satellite stream.  He wasn't ready for the news, now he's unsteady, sitting on the edge of the bath, bathed in sweat.  Was it a death in the family, or worse, a friend?  Was it the loss of love, a job, an opportunity?

You can't spell opportunity, his dad used to say, without r-u-i-n.  His dad had fallen asleep at a traffic signal one morning, & then at his desk later that day.  That night, the cleaning crew found him dead at his desk, an unfinished game of solitaire on his computer.

Death wouldn't even let him finish a game, a co-worker had said.  Not even a new high score!

Why he had thought of his father at that moment?  He tells the story to the voice on the phone, but then stops, confused, confusing.  Such expensive silence.

He never told anyone why he broke down that day, though he did lie & say he'd broken his thumb.  Someone noticed on social media he had "checked in" to some establishment two towns over, but soon even the speculation was over, & life continued against most everyone's wishes.

When the neighbors moved away, he'd stare at the empty window, & when those nights got too lonesome, he'd stare into his own eyes, which were emptier still.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Self Help Radio 113016: Magda's Birthday Show 2016

(Original image here.)

Another year, another two hours of birthday songs for my sweetie, whose birthday is today.  What have you other deejays done for your significant others, hunh?  Bought them things they actually liked?  Spent time with them?  Showed your love in normal, non-radio-related ways?  That seems just  fine compared to mine, & makes me feel bad about all the time I've wasted in my relationship.  Oh well!

Here's another group of songs about birthdays for my wife's birthday but also (don't tell her) for anyone's birthday.  Even yours!  Plus I talk to party planners & to my spiritual mentor, who seems to have changed his titles.  It's confusing.

The show is now at the birthday party I call "Birthday Cake Boogie" Skeets McDonald _Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes_
"Happy Birthday (German Version)" Giorgio Moroder _Singles_

"Birthday" The Beatles _The Beatles (The White Album)_
"Pig Tails" Pookie & The Poodlez _Young Adult_
"Birthday Girl" Visitor's Day _Deadliest Creatures_
"All Lives Don't Matter" Hari Kondabolu _Mainstream American Comic_
"Don't Want To Make A Show Of Myself (On My Birthday)" No Bros _Double A-Side Birthday Single_
"Birthday Party" Yuno _Marsh_

"Eric's Birthday/This Ride" Shovels & Rope _Little Seeds_
"Waving At You" The Mountain Goats _Nothing For Juice_
"Birthday" Purple _Bodacious_
"Birthday Girl" Saturday Night Kids _Birthday Girl b/w Don't Do It_

"The End Of The World" David Greenberg & Harpeth Rising _The End Of The World_

(part two)

"Birthday Girl" Emergency Bible Study _Birthday Girl_
"Happy Birthday (Turn Gold)" The Bluebells _The Singles Collection_
"Your Birthday" The Troublers _Bunny: Songs '99-'03_

"Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" Tune Weavers _Vintage Music, Vol. 3_
"All You Gotta Be When You're 23 Is Yourself" Free Cake For Every Creature _Talking Quietly Of Anything With You_
"Ken Voss Birthday Interview" Bob & Ray _New Improved Bob & Ray_
"Birthday Mambo" Adam Green _Aladdin_
"Birthday Drunk" Fruit Bats _Absolute Loser_

"It's Your Birthday" Afro Dizzi Act _Welcome Speech EP_
"Happy Birthday!" Fojeba _Happy Birthday_
"Happy Birthday" The Mignots _Happy Birthday_
"Happy Birthday" The Pillbugs _Happy Birthday_

"Birthday Song" A Giant Dog _Pile_
"C'mon, It's My Birthday!" Dick Bruiser & The Punches _Oh!_
"Birthday" White Mystery _Blood & Venom

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2016?

(I found this here.)

Since the very beginning of Self Help Radio, I've set aside a show a year to celebrate my lovely wife's birthday, which is December 1.  (I actually missed a couple of years because I was younger & just as stupid.)  One of the things I make sure to do is not to repeat recordings, but over time, you must understand that the choice of birthday songs diminishes.  People simply don't write as many birthday songs as they do Christmas songs, even though for many people their birthday is much more special, since it's theirs alone.  That's for those who get presents on their birthdays - some of don't anymore.

The present I give my love is this show, which is on tonight from 8-10 central, 9-11 eastern on 93.9 fm WLXU
in Lexington.  You should listen!  But why?  It's for your wife, dude!  Not just for her!  For anyone who has a birthday today, had a birthday earlier this year, or will have a birthday later this year - this show's for you!
(But really, it's for you, Magda.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2016: Confession Time Again

Boy, someone "confesses" a lot on this blog, doesn't he?

A brief search through this blog finds not a lot about changes or reevaluations of how Self Help Radio was made over its somewhat long run, but if you were a listener in early 2014, you noticed something.  One, the show was no longer on WRFL - I took a semester off.  The other was that, suddenly, out of the blue, in addition to interviews, the show featured fake advertisements.  "Self Help Radio was brought to you today by.." absurd businesses or people, unconvincingly voiced by yours truly, in mostly unsuccessful attempts at being funny.  Lots of those businesses were crowding the streets of poor, maligned Paint Lick, Kentucky.

There were precedents.  Some time in the mid-early-oughts (whatever you call them), I discovered the Firesign Theatre, & I loved their fake radio spots.  (I can't find an example, but perhaps you've heard "Ed's End Of The World Restaurant.")  At KOOP, I attempted to write & "perform" (read) some on the air, but I failed to make them funny.  I put that practice aside.

But!  Away from WRFL, without its spots to make radio lulls for which to change gears musically, I needed to make something myself, & I revisited that practice.  It became something I felt I needed to do every show.  So much so that now, your weekly Self Help Radio show features at least two fake ads.  Mostly they're silly, occasionally - very occasionally - they are somewhat amusing.  I have yet to make one that's actually funny.

Anyway.  The confession.  I have had a hell of a week.  In working on the birthday show (on tomorrow night), even though I will not repeat songs I've played previously, I lazily thought, what if I recycle a couple of fake ad spots?  Who will know?  No one who might have listened two years ago is listening now!

So this is what I did.  The two fake funny ads on tomorrow's show first appeared two years ago, on the birthday show then.  Again: nobody but me would notice.  But I feel guilt no matter what.  So.  I need to tell you what I've done.

You want to hear about all the money I've stolen from the elderly?  No?  Cool.  Cool.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Take Too Many Pictures

Here's a picture of my wife, irritated by me stopping to take pictures, like I do, when we're on our walks.  This was taken in Lexington, Kentucky, about two years ago, before we adopted our chihuahua.  I walked Winston, so I had probably handed over his leash to her - she's holding it out to give it back to me in the picture - to snap a photo of something stupid, like a chair in someone's lawn, or a chalk drawing, or a sunset.  (You can see a lot of my dumb pictures at my Tumblr blog.)

The thing is, I have a ton of pictures of my wife walking the dogs from some distance in front of me.  I take too many pictures, & I don't ever tire of that kind.  It reminds me of my life, in a way - following diligently the ones I love the most, trying to catch up, occasionally being reprimanded for lollygagging.

These are not pictures I often get to share, since they're of my wife & she hates pictures of herself, like every annoyingly beautiful person does.  (Us ugly people too!)  Since it's her birthday this week, & the show is a celebration of her, I thought that I'd share this one.  I hope she doesn't mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Show Names

My wife asked me today about show names.  She said, "How many different shows have you done with different names?"  It's a good question.

From 1994-1999, I did various shows at various times on KVRX.  Nowadays, it's important to have names for one's show on KVRX (I surmise from their schedule), but back in the day it wasn't a big deal.  Gary was on from so-&-so a time till so-&-so a time, there didn't need to be a name.  But!  At some point - when my show was on Mondays from 9-11pm, I toyed with the idea of calling my show "Thursdays With Gary."  The idea was the absurdity - "Every Monday, it's Thursdays with Gary!"  But then that book Tuesdays With Morrie came out & I didn't want to think my thing was a thing on the thing.

Most of my KVRX shows, therefore, were just shows with no name.  Gary is on at this time.

When I started Self Help Radio in 2002, that was its name.  It has endured.  For fourteen years!  But what other shows have I done?

There was a show called The War On Sailing that aired from 2008-2009.

Once in West Virginia, in addition to doing Self Help Radio on WMUL, I began an indie pop & rock show that I called Sugar Substitute (after the lovely Luxuriator song) as well as an electronics show I called Dickenbock Electronics.

Before I left West Virginia - & after I left WMUL - I had couple of podcasts that I didn't keep up with, one called Tags & Tricks - a jazz program - & another called The Zeke Moonshine Show - which was a country/folk deal.  My involvement with WRFL made continuing those impossible (or very, very time-consuming).

At WRFL I kept with Sugar Substitute - it was my default freeform show - but in the summer of 2014 I did a country blues show I called (clumsily) Woke Up One Early Morning Blues.  It was fun.

The next year, as I became involved with WLXU in Lexington, I did a show called Cradle To Grave which I loved to do but oy! it was a lot of work.

Is that it?

Thursdays With Gary
Self Help Radio
The War On Sailing
Sugar Substitute
Dickenbock Electronics
Tags & Tricks
The Zeke Moonshine Show
Woke Up One Early Morning Blues
Cradle To Grave

Those are the shows I've done?  Hm.  Seems disappointing in a way.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Self Help Radio 112316: Black & White

Hello, it's the day after Thanksgiving.  I decided not to put the show up yesterday because it was a holiday & also I was very busy.  Not doing holiday stuff, at all.  But busy nonetheless.  Hey - life isn't always black & white!

But this week's show was!  In addition to tons of songs about things both black & white, I talked to a famous film director who only makes black & white movies, & to a world-renowned artist who has chosen to only paint in black & white, & we talk to my spiritual mentor about rigid belief systems that see things in only black & white.  Wow!  That almost excited me, & I was there!

The show is of course at the Self Help Radio website.  There's a password you know, it's on the page.  Lots of black & white songs are below, you synesthete you!

(part one)

"Black, Brown & White" Brownie McGhee _Songs For Political Action, Vol. 6: The People's Songs Era 1945-1949_
"Black & White" The Raincoats _The Raincoats_
"Black & White" Crippled Pilgrims _Down Here (Collected Recordings 1983-1985)_

"Black & White" Serge Gainsbourg _Initials B.B._
"Black & White" The Windbreakers _Meet The Windbreakers_
"Black & White" The Nuns _Rumania_
"Black & White" The Upper Room _Other People's Problems_

"Black & White" Generationals _Actor-Caster_
"Black & White" Parquet Courts _Sunbathing Animal_
"In My Black & White" Plasticland _Mink Dress & Other Cats_
"Black & White Unite" Belle & Sebastian _Storytelling_

"Black Or White" Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel _Timeless Flight_

(part two)

"Black & White Thunderbird" The Delicates _Hot Rods & Custom Classics_
"Black & White Incident" Marc Bolan _Love + Death_
"Black & White World" Elvis Costello _Taking Liberties_

"Black Minds, White Lies" Salty Pirates _The Kids At The Club_
"White Face, Black Eyes" Andrew Jackson Jihad _Can't Maintain_
"White Lung/Black Lung" GRMLN _Soon Away_
"Black In A White World" The Watts Prophets _Things Gonna Get Greater: The Watts Prophets 1969-1971_

"Me & The Black & White Dream" The Orchids _Unholy Soul_
"In Black & White" Easy _In Black & White_
"Black & White (& Blue All Over)" Cleaners From Venus _Back From The Cleaners_
"Born & Raised In Black & White" The Highwaymen _The Very Best Of The Highwaymen_

"Black Tie White Noise" David Bowie _Black Tie White Noise_

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Whither Black & White?

(This image from here.)

Eek, I don't have a lot of time but I do need to tell you that tonight's show - which has the theme "black & white" - will be on the air in just like three hours oh hell! in Lexington 93.9 fm WLXU!!

Plus I will be on the air tomorrow morning at 7am holy moley! in Dallas on 89.3 fm KNON!!

Seriously, I barely know whether I am going or going or coming or going or coming or coming or going.  Where am I?  What am I?  I which it were all as simple as black & white!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Preface To Black & White: A Week On The Radio

Check this: I am going to have three radio shows on three different radio stations this week, in two different cities!

No, I won't be traveling around like some kind of Phil Collins going from one Live Aid to another*, that would be crazy!  But here's the Gary you'll hear if you care to hear some Gary this late in the year:

1) My regular show, on 93.9 fm WLXU, Self Help Radio, from 8-10 central, 9-11 eastern, a show in black & white, that's the theme, tomorrow night, like always, Lexington Community Radio dot org.

2) My first ever sub show on 89.3 fm KNON in Dallas!  7-9 am central, 8-10am eastern, Thanksgiving morning, covering Dave Chaos' Thursday Morning Blend, KNON dot org.  Very excited about this - my first radio show in the metroplex!

3) Early morning radio on 88.1 fm WRFL, 1-4 am central, 2-5am eastern, taking (in a remote way) some shifts while the kids are away for the holidays.  It'll be my regular late night fare, nothing to wake up for, you've heard it & turned it off, WRFL dot fm.

It's complete insanity!  But I hope I have a lot of fun.  Also, that I don't fuck it up.

* Very dated 1980s reference.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Toward A More Depressing World

Imagine if I were an actual kind of columnist, & had to sit down on a regular basis (for some reason, in my mind's eye, I am thinking of sitting down to a typewriter*) & write a regular column for an actual publication.  Yes, perhaps this is what this blog is about, but here's something you have suspected said out loud by me: I actually have almost nothing to say.

Except of course I do.  For example, here are my last couple of tweets (which you could read as they happen if you follow the show on Twitter):

1) When I first heard,"Good artists make, great artists steal," I thought it meant that good artists compel great artists to commit theft.

That's an awkwardly worded confession about confusing sentence structure crammed into 140 unforgiving characters.  Hardly amusing, but I heard someone say that sentence today & it reminded me how confused I was when I first came across the adage.  "How in the world," I thought to myself, "do merely good artists somehow force actual great artists to steal?  & what kind of stealing?  Shoplifting?  Bank robbery?  Trump-style investment rip-offs?"  Then I saw the comma & went, "Ohhh."'

2) These tweets were a two-fer:

One of my pet peeves is when a movie or TV show uses a dreadful but familiar classic rock song at some dramatic moment.  It's like, I know Hollywood is controlled by baby boomers but for fuck's sake some really great music has been made in the last fifty years.

This was a result of a pretty decent season finale of the wonderful show Better Things having the mother drive her daughters somewhere while a horrendous old song by Alice Cooper called Only Women Bleed.  But it's a song that's been played on the radio pretty much all my life, & Louis CK & Pamela Adlon are just a little older than I am, & they probably haven't listened to any new music since they were in their 20s.

Mainly I felt it was a disservice to make the young female actors learn the words to that overblown attempt at rock & roll social relevance.  "The song is often mistakenly presumed to be about menstruation," Wikipedia says.  No shit?  Why's that?  Idiots.

But ultimately none of this matters, because I don't have a hand in doing anything creative in Hollywood but it pains me, as someone who spends a great deal of time listening to new music - & certainly not the sort of music Louis CK & Pamela Adlon listen to on commercial radio with their kids, music they most definitely roll their eyes at - but really great new music that will never find its way onto television shows (or commercial radio).  & I wish they knew it.

& don't say, "But Gary, that's a great song."  It might be, but I doubt it.  It's a familiar song.  Just like every fucking familiar song in every fucking movie trailer, even the ones for millenials.  It's just depressing how for the most part, no one in any creative sphere seems to think there's been any music worth listening to for the past thirty plus years.

When they do use music, they use disposable commercial pop that will date the movie terribly in the years to come.

That's my opinion anyway.  I wish I had a job picking music for movies.  I'd be all right at it.

But as a columnist cranking out a daily think-piece?  Like with this blog, man, I'd suck at it.

* It's probably because everything I learned about newspapers I learned from the 1950s Superman TV program.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

These Moments, Every Second Just Stuffed In

The year almost over, it's a shame the leaves haven't fallen yet.

Except they have, in places unlike this one.

You're too shy, aren't you, to ask the stranger about the lake.

You just wanted to take pictures of the birds there.

The signs say "lost" as if losing time & place was intention.

Appointments are like bills, paid with different currency.

Spend a long time driving now, another meditation.

Apartment blocks along the highway seem built of sorrow.

You imagine music coming out of places where no music lives.

Finally remembering to sing a song into your phone so you don't forget it.

There are faces, there are voices, which can cripple you.

The blink of a lover's eye, better than anything on film.

A cat leaps up, sits close, doesn't need a reason.

She stole a glass for you, she even claimed she thought of it herself.

Wait!  A complaint!  Imagine it in silver or gold.

& remember how to open & close doors just in fucking case.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Self Help Radio 111616: Letting Go

(Original image here.)

It's time to let go.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, But how can I let go?  It's mine, I claim it, I just can't let go.  Yes, you can!  You can let go by embracing letting go!  You can embrace letting go by listening to a radio show about letting go!  Then, once you're done that, let that go!  Until you have nothing!  Because you've let it all go!

After that, of course, you're on your own.  Quite literally.

Does this seem too extreme?  Of course it is!  This is just a dumb radio show!  It's probably of no help to anyone at all!  So it might be better to just listen to it for the music & the occasional absurd interview.  & who knows?  Maybe even Idina Menzel will stop by!  (She won't.)

The show can be listened to now at the Self Help Radio website.  There are password & username issues, pay attention to that.  Two hours of songs in two parts are listed below.

Now I let you go, little radio show!  Fly away!  Fly!

(part one)

"I Gotta Let You Go" Martha Reeves & The Vandellas _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970_
"Let Me Go" The Julie Ruin _Hit Reset_
"Jenny Let Him Go" Antoinette _The Girls Scene_

"Let Her Go" The Lodger _Grown-Ups_
"Letting It Go" Bears _Simple Machinery_
"If You Love Him, Let Him Go" The Wilderness Children _If You Love Him, Let Him Go_
"Let It All Go" Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early _Takes One To Know One_

"Just Let Go" The Seeds _A Web Of Sound_
"Let Go" Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers _L.A.M.F._
"Let Go" The Plugz _Electrify Me_
"Let Me Go" Nouvelle Vague _Bande A Part_

"Letting Go" Karsh Kale _Liberation_

(part two)

"Please Let Me Go" Owen Gray _Island Records' 40th Anniversary, Volume 1: 1959-1964 - Ska's The Limit_
"Let Me Go, Lover!" Hank Snow _Country USA 1954_
"Now, Let It Go" Loney Dear _River Fontana_

"I Let It Go" The Thermals _Now We Can See_
"Let Us Go" The Church _Further Deeper_
"Let It Go" Bangles _Different Light_
"Let It All Go (feat. Preservation Hall Jazz Band)" Beats Antique _Shadowbox_

"Let It Go" The Chesterfields _Crocodile Tears_
"Letting Go" Fat Tulips _Starfish_
"Let Go" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Downside Up_
"Let Go" The Postmarks _The Postmarks_

"Let 'Em Go" TV Smith _Immortal Rich_
"I'm Letting Go" Sam Kogon _Psychic Tears_

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Whither Letting Go?

(Image from here.)

Well, it makes sense, doesn't it?  After the week we've had?  We need to let go.  Otherwise we'll all go batshit crazy.

Oh no - could this be one of these times when Self Help Radio actually has some element of self-help in it?  That's a bad sign.  I'm always afraid it'll tip that way & soon enough I'll be in a blazer hosting seminars.  But.  What's done is done.  & what's dun is dun.  & that's as far as I'm going to go with that.

Listen, if you need help letting go, tonight from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central, on 93.9 fm in Lexington & online at lexington community radio dot org.  I'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Preface To Letting Go: Never Letting Go Of Morrissey

Oh no!

Look, I'd be astonished if I actually got to see Morrissey.  I've bought tickets to see him four times, & have only seen him once - & consider myself quite lucky.  But I really did want to see him tomorrow night.  So I am a bit bummed out.  The hits keep coming, 2016.

Here's the thing: my show airs the same time as the concert, so I wouldn't be able to live tweet it, had I gotten to go to the show.  So, thanks Morrissey?  I get to listen to my show & tweet it.  So much more exciting than seeing one of my idols perform live.

I'll still get to see Todd Barry on Thursday.  That will help with the pain.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Leonard Cohen

(Image from

When I found out Leonard Cohen had died, Thursday evening, I was listening to a show I like on KTCU, a station here in town (that didn't want me as a deejay even though it does have non-student deejays), called Night Skool.  I had to turn the station off.  I was completely wrecked.  & since I had been posting stuff on Facebook, I wrote a bunch on Facebook.  I started with this:

I first became aware of Leonard Cohen when I saw the video for "First We Take Manhattan" on 120 Minutes on MTV in 1988. That guy who hosted it, Kevin whatever, laughed when he announced the video, like, "What the fuck?" But I was intrigued by the first lines of the song:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within

I went out & bought "I'm Your Man" as soon as I could. I didn't know anything about him. I just felt I needed that album - & boy did I.

I continued:

Later I saw a best of collection at a used record store in Garland, which I snatched up.  I put the record on with my friend Dale probably in 1989 or 1990.  The song "Suzanne" was first.  Both of us looked at each other when the song was over like "This is the shit."

My relationship with Leonard Cohen deepened to utmost importance.  I became obsessed.

I remember walking - walking! - on a damp November day in 1992 across the fields that are now the townhomes & shops that are "The Triangle" in Austin to get to the Sound Warehouse (or whatever chain store it was) on Burnet Road just to buy a copy of "The Future."  It was a cold day by Austin standards but the album had just been released, it was confirmed in stock by a phone call, & I had heard "The Future" on the radio - probably KUT.  I consumed that record.

I consumed all his records. They are sacred to me. I listened to his new one last week & was a little disappointed, although I love the title track. He could disappoint, but he was never disappointing.

One thing I feel so lucky about is that I got to see him in 1993.  Here is me from Facebook talking about it:

I got to see him live just once, in 1993, at the Backyard, back when it was in the middle of nowhere. He was amazing. He did four sets, two of them all by himself. I went with my friends Lauren & Russell. Lauren remarked about how strange it was that there were all these women her mother's age who were swooning like teenagers over the Beatles. At one point, he came out with just a guitar, & sang a few songs without his band, & he was doing "A Singer Must Die," & you could hear a police car approaching in the distance. He stopped, & he said, "Listen." The audience waited quietly, reverently, as the doppler sirens faded, & he said, "What a sad & beautiful sound," & he started a different song.

At the end of the show, as he was wont to do, the band & he sang a hymn acapella.  As we were leaving - as we were feeling better than any human ever really should feel, as we were all part of whatever beauty & truth & darkness & light he could conjure up with a whisper or impart with a growl or melodic & tunelessly sing, someone behind us was complaining.  He said, "What the hell?  After all that making fun of religion, & he ended with a hymn?"  My friend Russell said to me, "It's weird to think someone could sit through such an experience & that was all that could take away from it."

My conclusion was this:

I've read both his books - The Favourite Game & Beautiful Losers - I prefer the former - & all of his poetry.  I've listened to all of his albums so many times that they're a part of my fucking DNA.  I am weeping over the keyboard as I write this, because there isn't anyone like him, & there never really was anyone like him, & I owe him so much.  That gracious, gracious man, who had only a dim understanding what vitriol was, who could put into a simple words the deepest of feelings, whose voice, as it deepened with every cigarette he smoked, sounded like it was something that came from before humans knew how to speak, observations of a kinder cosmos to people who thought they needed redemption especially when they didn't, that lovely, lovely man, from whom I've taken so much & given so very little.

Or as he would say to me, "Hey, that's no way to say goodbye."

I have nothing else to say.  This is a tremendous loss to me, to the world.  But how fortunate to have lived for a time in a world where Leonard Cohen lived!

In the new year, I'll do a tribute radio show for him.  For now, the wound is too fresh.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Can't Go On, I Must Go On

Apologies to Samuel Beckett.

Apologies to you, if you're someone who reads this blog.  I won't be able to talk about the election without sounding like the entire time I'm shaping a rope into a noose & looking around for which ceiling beams will hold my weight.  It's just too much.

& then, to lose Leonard Cohen.  Oh for fuck's sake.

So.  Give me a little time.  I'll write something about the latter tomorrow.

The former?  I'm just going to suffer in silence, like I imagine all the dumb, dumb people who voted for the president-elect will have to do when they realize he couldn't give a shit about them.

My country.  Damn.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Self Help Radio 110916: Guitars

(Original image here.)

In my mind's eye, I was approached by an irate, possibly overly literal listener, who accosted me & said, "A show about guitars should have featured great guitarists, not simply songs about guitars!"  As is my way, I am loathe to defend my meager radio offerings, but smiled & agreed, thinking, sure "Great Guitarists" might also be a swell theme in the future, although my first inclination would be to look for songs about great guitarists (like the Richard Thompson song at the end of the show) rather than to celebrate & play them - something I feel like you can find anywhere, in lists by magazines & websites, in opinion pieces by opinionated people, really, anywhere.  Self Help Radio likes to pretend there's something here that you might not find in a lot of places, though it understands the derivative nature of its premise all too well!

When I live-tweeted the show last night, I was struck by how innocent it all felt, even though it was recorded just about thirty-six hours earlier.  I don't want to harp on this - I have a feeling this election means tremendous changes are coming to my country, & while there are many who believe such changes will be great, I have an ominous feeling it will be exactly the opposite.  But.  I am pessimistic to the bone, man.

Here!  Have a radio show about guitars!  It's breezy fun even if you don't know what a chord is (I sure don't)!  At the Self Help Radio website in two parts!  The songs I played are below!  Why so many exclamation marks!  I don't know!  I just don't know!

Hope you enjoy.


(part one)

"You & My Old Guitar" Jimmie Rodgers _Jimmie Rodgers: The Singing Brakeman, Vol. 1_
"I'm A Guitar King" Tommy McClennan _The Bluebird Recordings 1939-1942_
"Talking Guitars Blues" Lonnie Donegan _The Collection_

"Guitar Man" Elvis Presley _Elvis Presley's Greatest Hits_
"Tennessee Flat Top Box" Johnny Cash _The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983_
"Best Guitar Picker" George Jones _She Thinks I Still Care: The Complete United Artists Recordings, 1962-1964_
"Guitar" Louis C.K. _Live In Houston_
"New Guitar In Town" The Lurkers _The Collection_
"Guitar" The 2X4's _The 2X4's_

"Electric Guitar" Talking Heads _Fear Of Music_
"Fender Stratocaster" Jonathan Richman _Jonathan Richman_
"The Guitar" They Might Be Giants _Apollo 18_
"Cool Guitar Boy" Heavenly _Heavenly Vs Satan_

"This Old Guitar" Neil Young _Praire Wind_

(part two)

"Acoustic Guitar" The Magnetic Fields _69 Love Songs_
"My Guitar" Dear Nora _Dreaming Out Loud EP 7"_
"Five Guitars" Kleenex Girl Wonder _Ponyoak_

"Sucker For A Cheap Guitar" Marc Bristol _Rockabilly Hall Of Fame, Vol. 1_
"You Stepped On My Guitar" Bikeride _Summer Winners, Summer Losers_
"The Jokes With Guitar" Demetri Martin _These Are Jokes_
"Guitar Man" David J _Guitar Man_

"This Old Guitar" Lucinda Williams _The Music Is You: A Tribute To John Denver_
"Working Girl's Guitar" Rosie Flores _Working Girl's Guitar_
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" The Drowners _Muted To A Whisper_
"My Guitar" The Submissives _Do You Really Love Me_

"Guitar Heroes" Richard Thompson _Still_
"Drunken Guitar" The Lushes _Las Vegas Grind, Vol. 2_

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Whither Guitars?

(That picture from here.)

Well.  I'm sure you appreciate how difficult it would be to do a radio show in the current climate.  I mean, though Self Help Radio is pretty ridiculous, it certainly supports love over hate, it plays music by people of color all around the world, by women, by musicians of every sexual stripe.  It abhors hate, it abhors exclusion.  Where you can hear Self Help Radio has always been on college &/or community radio stations where diversity is celebrated, appreciated, desired, treasured.  Sexual predators, bigots, homophobes - I suppose I've lived in a bubble, but they did not find their way to the noncommercial radio stations where Self Help Radio has called home.

The truth is, I probably wouldn't do a show tonight if I had my druthers - my heart's not in it today.  But.  Self Help Radio is prerecorded.  I live in Fort Worth, it airs in Lexington & streams all over the world.  I put the show together earlier yesterday, a million years ago it seems now.  You'll hear me explaining that I just don't know who would be president.  But I had hoped it wouldn't have turned out this way.

& I do think it's a fun show.  Lots of songs about guitars, plus the funniest friends I have pretend to be ridiculous guests & hopefully will make you laugh as much as they do me.  I interview my old guitar teacher, a legendary guitar god, a maker of artisan guitars, & a friend in Hollywood who talks about actors who are musicians.  Maybe it will take your mind off how ugly the world is today for some of us.

The show is on tonight from 9-11pm Eastern, 8-10pm Central, on 89.3 fm WLXU in Lexington, & online at lexingtoncommunityradio dot org.  I'll live tweet the show from my sad computer, so follow me on Twitter & join in on the "fun."

& love each other, & prepare yourself.  It's going to get really quite awful.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Preface To Guitars: You Can't Seriously

Ask me to talk about a stupid radio show when the fate of the republic is at stake, can you?

No.  No.

Monday, November 07, 2016

The Election Day Dilemma

Here's the weirdest thing about this week's show (which is about guitars): I will have finished the show, which airs on Wednesdays, before I'll know who's won the presidency.

What do you mean, Gary?  You mean, you don't know?  Self Help Radio is prerecorded.  I turn the show in Tuesday afternoons.  But you know what else is happening Tuesday?  Right: either the historic election of the first woman President Of The United States, or the last election for an American President, as Emperor Trump takes the tacky gold-plated throne.  & there's absolutely no way for me to know which (I mean, polls favor Clinton, but I am pessimist & know there are going to be stories about white supremacists beating people of color up tomorrow).  & certainly that would affect how I would act on the show - elation & relief if Clinton won, fear & exasperation if Trump won.

None of that will be on display on this week's show.  Because I won't know.  It will be as if the show took a twenty-four hour nap & woke up & gabbed about shit for two hours like nothing monumental has happened.

It's driving me nuts!  I almost thought about skipping the show this week.  But my "guests" have contributed, & I have all these damn songs about guitars, so...

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Fallen Colonels

Because, I guess, I am a morbid fuck, I spent some time yesterday looking at this web site (from which the weirdly pro-Confederate picture above comes from*): Fallen Colonels.  There's also a Facebook page with photos, though it's hard to get through, as there are no names attached to the photos until you click on them.

How I found about the site, of course, was when my sister Pat died last year, & she & I - actually, all of my siblings - went to South Garland High School.  (Only four of us graduated from the school, though.  Three of my siblings dropped out, which was apparently the cool thing to do in the 1970s.)  My brother Steve informed whoever's in charge & her name's there, & her picture is on the Facebook page.  For some reason, a year & a half later, I found myself back at the site.

What fascinated me yesterday was the people in my high school class (we graduated in 1986) who have since left this mortal coil.  The site lists 21, out of a class of 430, although one of them, Marla Jones, died when she was a freshman (she committed suicide**), & another, Christy Ann Holland, apparently also attended only as a freshman, so that adds two to the number.  However, if we do the math, that's a little under 5% of the class - which means a little less than 1 in 20 people I graduated high school with are no longer with us.

& look at how they went!  Five died in car accidents, five by heart attack.  Four have causes that are unknown, while two were taken by cancer.  There was one murder, one suicide, & two congenital diseases.  Finally, Miss Holland, mentioned above, died of "unspecified health issues."

Interestingly, it more or less jibes with the stats by the CDC.  Heart disease is the number one cause of death in this country, followed by cancer.  Accidents are fourth.  More than half of my classmates died of these three causes.

Here's the thing: except for Marla Jones, whom I never really knew, & two others I'll discuss below, I have no idea who any these people are.  I don't have any memory of them whatsoever.  That may seem callous, & I certainly feel uncomfortable about it, but it's pretty obvious that I couldn't have known all 430 members of my graduating class.  But what of the two I think I knew?

While scrolling through the Facebook page, I came across Mark Taylor.  I don't recall the name, but the face - from the yearbook - definitely was familiar.  I may have sat next to him in one class or two, & remember him being friendly with me.  Perhaps he sat in front of me in English class in the 10th grade.  I was a pretty chatty fellow, & if that were Mark, he was easy to talk to, & easy to crack up, something I required.  If it wasn't him - well I have no idea either way.

The other was a girl name Jackie Bodiford.  I remember the name - it's actually quite fun to say - & I recall her face, even without seeing her yearbook picture.  We must have had some interactions, as I have a fleeting memory of making her laugh.  But that's all.  She makes me saddest of the group - she died very young, at the age of 22, when I was finishing college, & the site doesn't tell us how she died.

Mostly I confess I feel strangely fortunate to still be around thirty years after graduation.  I wasn't popular, I didn't have a lot of friends, & I'm not in contact with anyone I knew from school in 1986.  But sometimes we need to stand face-to-face with our mortality, & let it fuck up our minds a bit.  So I took some time to do that today.

* As I've talked about before, like here, my high school's mascot was "the Colonel," which was a diminutive military type dressed in Confederate garb.  My school's motto was "The South Shall Rise Again."

** I have very strong memories of first-period algebra the Monday after Marla Jones committed suicide.  She locked herself in a garage on a weekend night & turned the car on.  I was fascinated by seeing all of these girls - Marla's friends - just crying in the class, & my feelings about her death were mixed - she & those other girls had enjoyed making fun of me most of the semester.  I'm not sure we were ever told why she took her own life.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Self Help Radio 110216: Tenderness

(Original image here.)

Man, this show was tender!  Like a bruise!  Like the first shoots of spring!  Like someone who tends to things!  I mean, really, really tender!  It has made me feel rather vulnerable.

But that's fine.  I have been told I am a scab-picker.  On this day, included along with the tenderest music this side of a baby's crib, I speak with that huggable sensation The Tenderizer, & I talk tenderness with my spiritual advisor, the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently.  Also, I take a call from a listener who is not tender-hearted at all, but has an issue with the theme!  It's all done as tenderly as possible. It just has to be.

If you would like to, you can listen at the Self Help Radio web page - surely the tenderest spot on the internet!  Pay attention to passwords!  The songs so tenderly played are below.

I'm so glad this show wasn't about getting the shit kicked out of you.


(part one)

"Softly & Tenderly" The Prisonaires _Just Walkin' In The Rain_
"(Love Is) The Tender Trap" Frank Sinatra _The Capitol Years_
"Love Me Tender" Elvis Presley _Elvis' Golden Records_

"Try A Little Tenderness" Otis Redding _The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968_
"In These Very Tender Moments" Dee Clark _Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures, Vol. 3_
"T.L.C. (Tender Loving Care)" P.J. _The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 11B: 1971_
"She Weaves A Tender Trap" The Chocolate Watchband _No Way Out_

"Love For Tender" Elvis Costello & The Attactions _Get Happy!!_
"Tender Object" Orange Juice _You Can't Hide Your Love Forever_
"Tenderness" General Public _...All The Rage_
"Tenderness Is A Weakness" Marc Almond _Vermine In Ermine_

"Sweetness & Tenderness" The Rentals _Return Of The Rentals_
"Tender Are The Ashes" Honeybus _She Flies Like A Bird: The Anthology_

(part two)

"Tender Is The Night (The Long Fidelity)" The Triffids _Born Sandy Devotional_
"Tender Love" Poison Girls _Statement: The Complete Recordings_
"Sweet & Tender Hooligan" The Smiths _Louder Than Bombs_

"Tender Comrade" Billy Bragg _Workers Playtime_
"Tender Young Believer" Reserve _Two Hearts Beat In A Hole 12"_
"Tender Circles" Let's Whisper _Make Me Smile_
"Heart Out To Tender" Robert Forster _Danger In The Past_

"Tender" Monaco _Music For Pleasure_
"My Tender-Hearted You" The Steamkings _Boom!_
"Tender People" Japanther _Skuffed Up My Huffy_
"Tender" Lisa Hannigan _At Swim_

"Tender" Blur _13_