Thursday, September 08, 2016

Self Help Radio 090716: Knives

(Original image here.)

Hopefully this is true: no one listening to this week's show got stabbed.  If so, my work here is done.

If not, it's probably not my fault.  There was definitely an anti-stabby vibe that pervaded the show.

But my heart goes out to victims of knives everywhere.  They should probably not listen to this show; it might just be one long trigger.  So: trigger warning!

Otherwise I think it went as well as could be.  The show is available now at Self Help Radio's knife drawer.  The songs I played are listed below.  The interviews - with knife experts, as well as friends in Dallas & Hollywood - are not listed below.  You'll have to listen to get that content.

& be careful!

(part one)

"Knife" by Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians _Queen Elvis_
"Jack Knife" by Dangtrippers _Days Between Stations_
"Get A Knife Between Your Teeth" by McCarthy _Banking, Violence, & The Inner Life Today_

"Mack The Knife" by Lotte Lenya & Louis Armstrong _Lenya Sings Weill: The American Theatre Songs_
"Drac The Knife" by Gene Moss _Dracula's Greatest Hits_
"Bowie Knife" by Frankie Laine _Hell Bent For Leather!_
"The Randall Knife" by Guy Clark _Better Days_

"We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" by Los Campesinos! _Sticking Fingers Into Sockets_
"Little Dagger" by Smack Dab _Majestic Root_
"Knives On The Table" by California Oranges _Souvenirs_
"Smiler With Knife" by Morrissey _World Peace Is None Of Your Business_

"100 Knives" by Mirah _You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This_

(part two)

"My Life Is Like A Stanley Knife (Cut, Cut, Cut)" by Golden Strings _Split 7" bywith Buy Off The Bar_
"My Valuable Hunting Knife" by Guided By Voices _Alien Lanes_
"A Knife For The Girls" by The Long Blondes _Someone To Drive You Home_

"Silver Knife" by Monster Movie _Everyone Is A Ghost_
"She's A Knife" by Looper _The Snare_
"Knives" by Jen Kirkman _Hail To The Freaks_
"Knife Set" by Tochigi _Tochigi_

"Six Inch Gold Blade" by The Birthday Party _Junkyard_
"Nife Fight" by Coachwhips _Get Yer Body Next Ta Mine_
"Dull Knife" by Milkshakes _The Billy Childish Native American Sampler: A History 1983-1993_
"Dancing On A Knife's Edge" by Bill Nelson _The Cocteau Club Singles, Vol. 1: 1982-1983_

"Knife Slits Water" by A Certain Ratio _Sextet_

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Whither Knives?

(Original image here.)

Okay, that's a good question.  Why a radio show about knives?

It's not like Self Help Radio hasn't explored other cutlery before.  While still not daring to examine the elusive fork, a healthy discussion about spoons was attempted almost seven years ago to this day.  What makes the dining table such a difficult subject?

Indeed, one can argue that knives themselves transcend the mere act of eating, for they are used for other things - cutting things, killing things, being thrown, among others.  Should this show be lumped in, therefore, to the cutlery category?  Wait, is there a cutlery category?

& isn't "cutlery" one of those words that, if you say or look at them too much, stops to seem less like a word & more like a collection of nonsense syllables?  At some point I started to believe it was spelled "cutlerly," & then I started to imagine what actions one might do in a cutlerly manner.  At times it felt like a knife was carving away vital segments of my brain.

Honestly, the "knife as metaphor" proved too attractive one fateful night.  I was still in Lexington, I believe.  The lights were low, which turned out to be a bad idea, as I was chopping onions.  Two or three seconds later I was covering my newly-sliced finger with a paper towel & trying to figure out when the wife had hidden the band-aids.  Even then, I didn't settle upon the theme, no.  It was later, when I accidentally wrote a poem on the back of iPad (it was still dark) in which I said, "My life is a knife that never cuts what it's supposed to cut."

While I was cleaning the nail polish off the back of my iPad (don't ask), I recognized the words I had written in the middle of the night.  Did I say out loud, to the waiting world, "This shall be a theme for another episode of Self Help Radio?"  Did I frighten my cats & dogs by holding the iPad high above my head & exclaiming, "The show is saved for one more week for We. Have. A. Theme!!"  Did I rush to find a bottle of wine to drink a toast to the Muse, who for whatever reason can't just be direct but has to speak to me in symbol & circumstance?  Did I do all three?

Probably not, but I did think it'd be a good theme.  Will it?  You can decide yourself if you want by listening to tonight's show on from 9-11 pm EST (8-10pm CST) on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington or online at Lexington Community Radio dot org.  I'll tweet along.  Wanna listen?

It's perfectly safe!  All the knives will be in the music!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Flipping The Days

Ooops.  Today should be called "Preface To [Name Of Theme]."  Not yesterday.  My bad.  I'm still not used to this "show on Wednesday" business.  I'll get the hang of it shortly.

It's probably important to point out that no one makes me write in this blog five days a week.  That's a task I set for myself a while back when I thought, "I have this dumb blog, I should write in it."

Most of the time, of course, I have nothing to say, which hasn't stopped anyone online ever, & therefore shall not stop me.  In fact, when I have nothing to say, I sometimes (often?) spend (i.e., waste) time explaining whatever dumb rules I might have for writing on the blog, guaranteeing two things: 1) that I have something to talk about for that day; & b) that I have less & less people reading the blog.

Anyway.  There's a show about knives tomorrow.  Why knives?  I guess that's what's scheduled for tomorrow.  If I remember this time.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Preface To Knives: Three Short Knife Anecdotes

# 1

My mother worked at a convenience store in Garland, Texas, from the mid- to late-1970s.  Because Garland was "dry" - you couldn't buy any kind of alcohol in the city, you had to drive to Dallas to get your beer, wine, or booze - the convenience store made its money with pornography, which was kept on a magazine stand in view of everyone, though on the top racks, away from tiny hands, & with mildly expensive items in a glass case along the front counter like bongs, cheap jewelry, & knives.  Lots of knives.

Not cutlery, of course, but small hunting knives, jack knives, switchblades, so-called "butterfly knives," stuff like that.  I remember they went for prices like 10.95 on tiny handwritten tags connected to the knives by little loops of white thread.  At the time, it seems, all different kinds of blades were so popular that my older brothers - who were about as dangerous as the gang members in West Side Story, although less likely to break into song - carried knives in their pockets.

When I was allowed to rummage through that cabinet, I went to one particular knife, a special switchblade.  I would open it again & again.  But there was no knife in it!  There was a comb!  I would've like to have carried that knife in my back pocket!

# 2

At some point in my childhood I, like many other boys, was given a Swiss Army Knife.  I almost never used it - in particular, I wondered at the corkscrew.  Maybe when the Swiss Army Knife was invented, there were adolescents who might need to unscrew the cork from some bottle or other, but by the time I had gotten one, the only use for a corkscrew would've been a wine bottle.  & frankly I couldn't see the situation where adults needing to open a bottle of chablis but unable to would turn to the dumb little kid & the room & say, "You!  Can you help us?!"

No, the main thing I did with my Swiss Army Knife was open up, in as many ways as possible, all of its components: all the blades, the little scissors, the phillips-head screwdriver, the nail file, the corkscrew.  I liked the contrast between the little red oval of potential & the spazzy result of all its parts out, uselessly, for the world to see.

I understand that children were not the intended customers for the Swiss Army Knife, but I never, never saw an adult with one as a child.  They were generally given to children.  & as a child, I thought the thing was supposed to be a toy.

# 3

I'm a middle-aged man now, although I think I'm probably way past the mid-point of my life, & one of the things I've come to enjoy as I get older is cooking.  I doubt I'm very good at it, but it makes the wife happy & I have come to an understanding with food that lets us both do our jobs without too much time wasted & too much misery & injury.

Except of course you need knives for food preparation.  & I can count the number of times I've cut myself while chopping things many times over on the fingers I am very fortunate I still have, despite my clumsiest efforts.

In fact, I keep a first-aid kit in the kitchen now, because I will bleed like a motherfucker when I cut myself.  My ritual behavior is to first be shocked coupled with self-loathing & anger when it happens, followed by the inevitable holding of a paper towel on the affected area (usually a finger) for a number of minutes to stop the bleeding all the while cursing myself for a fool, & then, once the bleeding seems in control, the dipping of the finger in alcohol or hydrogen peroxide & the delicious sting that comes along, & finally the application of the band-aid.

Here's a confession: I am very queasy when my blood is taken at the doctor.  I sometimes come close to passing out.  But I have no qualms about a bleeding finger the tip of which I've inadvertently sliced off instead of part of a bell pepper.  It doesn't faze me.

Here's another confession: while I won't say I like it, that it tastes good or anything, I do like to taste my own blood at those times.  I'm glad I know how my blood tastes.  I don't know why that is.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

This Week's Show Is About Knives

Here's a picture I found on Tumblr with some passing familiarity to the theme:

Would that it were true!