Thursday, January 05, 2017

Self Help Radio 010417: Cafés

(Original image here.)

The first Self Help Radio of 2017 took place at a rundown café.  There was too much coffee & no one liked what was on the radio.  But those of us who are drawn to cafés, well.  We moved the crumbs of the half-eaten muffin around the dingy tablecloth & daydreamed about happier times.

Or at least that's how I imagined it; the show didn't air from a café at all!  It aired from 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington but now you can listen to it any time you want at the Self Help Radio website.  A username & password is required; those are available on the web page.  However, should you wish to listen to the show among all other kinds of shows, you can find it also (for the next two weeks) at Radio Free America.  In any event, all the songs I played are listed below.

Has anyone seen the barista?

(part one)

"Sunset Cafe Stomp" Louis Armstrong's Hot Five _Hot Fives & Sevens, Vol. 1_
"In A Cafe On The Road To Calais" Noble Sissle & The Georgia Syncopators _Sidney Bechet 1923-1936_
"At The Cafe Rendezvous" Doris Day _Golden Girl (The Columbia Recordings 1944-1966)_

"Le Grand Café" Charles Trenet _The Extraordinary Garden: The Very Best Of Charles Trenet_
"Little Cafe Paree" Vic Damone _Little Cafe Paree_
"Smokey Joe's Cafe" The Robins _Atlantic Rhythm & Blues, 1947-1974_
"Cafe Bohemian" The Enchanters _Jungle Exotica_
"Couleur Café" Serge Gainsbourg _Couleur Café_

"Sittin' In An All Night Cafe" Warner Mack _The Bridge Washed Out_
"Old Home Filler-Up An' Keep On A-Truckin' Cafe" C.W. McCall _Best Of C.W. McCall_
"Dusty Café" Wylie & The Wild West Show _Ridin' The Hi-Line_
"Highway Cafe" Kinky Friedman _Old Testaments & New Revelations_
"North Memphis Cafe" George & Ethel McCoy _At Home With The Blues_

"In A Street Cafe" Lisa Linn with Bo Sylvén & His Orchestra _Scandinavian Souvenir_

(part two)

"Twilight Café" Susan Fassbender _Twilight Café_
"Kardomah Café" Cherry Boys _Scared To Get Happy (A Story Of Indie-Pop 1980-1989)_
"Paris Cafes" The Art Museums _Rough Frame_

"Midnight Bahnhof Cafe" Wire _Document & Eyewitness_
"Gustave Café" Bill Pritchard _Jolie_
"Cactus Land Cafe" The Pearly Gatecrashers _Age Of Innocence_

"Cafe Hong Kong" Future Bible Heroes _I'm Lonely (& I Love It)_
"Night Café" Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark _English Electric_
"Electric Cafe" Kraftwerk _Electric Cafe_
"Cafe Ole" Benny Hill _The Best Of Benny Hill_

"Highway Café Of The Damned" Austin Lounge Lizards _Highway Café Of The Damned_
"Montana Cafe" Neil Innes _The Innes Book Of Records_

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Whither Cafés?

(image from here)

Some cafés play radio stations, often quietly, for their patrons, especially when the employees are bored with the same CDs or tapes they've always played.  (My memories predate satellite radio streamed music.  Bear with me.)  There was a nice café - a coffeeshop, really - on Guadalupe Street in Austin, Texas, I used to frequent a lot back in the day.  It's not there anymore, but a version of it exists in Hyde Park, but, you know, it isn't the same.  I don't know how late the Guadalupe store stayed open, but someone who worked there once told me that they listened to my Monday night show at the café from time-to-time.  Which of course unnerved me.  Once, when I was with a friend, the fellow behind the counter - I don't think barista had become common parlance by then - said, "Are you Gary?"  He said it not like that was a good thing, but I went ahead & admitted I was.  It was too late for him to spit in the drink.

A few years back - or maybe just last year - it feels like a lifelong project - I gave up caffeine.  I was never much of a coffee drinker - I have an aversion to hot liquids - but the allure of the café beckons even now.  I remember sitting in the back of a café in college, trying to read but instead looking at women.  I remember staring out of a café window at a world either too hot or cold for me to abandon my muffin to re-enter.  Something about cafés is nice, you know?

So tonight there'll be a radio show about it!  It's on 93.9 fm in Lexington from 9-11pm Lexingtime (that's 8-10pm Texas time), & you can listen everywhere at the Lexington Community Radio web page, as long as you click "WLXU."

It'll be like having a coffee with me - I'll talk about & play music & won't hear a thing you say!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Preface To Cafés: Accent Aigu

Here's something I probably knew before but wouldn't have known if you just asked me: in French, the accent aigu (the little accent mark that tilts up from the left) is only used on the letter e.  You'll see its opposite, the accent grave, on other vowels, including e, but the accent aigu is only used - in French, mind you - on the letter e.

Wow, I can hear you thinking to my face, what an unbelievably minor piece of trivia.  I agree - but it is something I would think I thought I knew.  In fact, if you had asked me about that diacritical mark, I would've spelled it accent ague, & lost the spelling bee again like I did in the fifth grade.

But you know why I'm thinking about it.  I'm wondering if it's more proper to spell this week's theme café or cafe.

The internet (& online dictionaries) say both are acceptable - & strangely without much fuss.  This discussion on wordreference dot com doesn't even end with someone being called a Nazi!  Etymologists are chumps.

For the purposes of this show, I've found also that songs about "cafes" (or "cafés") don't adhere to any set rule per genre or age of song.  While poking around for the origin of some song or other, I found it as both cafe & café.  Who knows what the composer intended?  Does it matter?

A search of local (for me, Fort Worth-area) cafes (or cafés) demonstrates a clear disinterest in the Frenchified version.  West Side Cafe, Twin Creeks Cafe (which is inside a Honda dealership), Press Cafe, Vickery Cafe, & Benbrook Cafe (to name a few) all happily avoid the accent aigu.  In fact, the only one I could find in the city that uses the accent is (of course) in an art museum.

One thing to note is that most of these places are eateries of a sort that the strict definition of the word "café" (or "cafe") doesn't support; the strict definition of café (or cafe) is much synonymous with "coffeehouse" than "restaurant."  So perhaps the losing of the accent mark is a deliberate gesture, a kind of offhanded rejection of the roots of the word, the European café?  I can't know & of course I am overthinking it.

What will Self Help Radio do?  When you see the playlist, you'll discover that I'll just go with whatever the tracklistings say.  But when I say the word, I am definitely saying it like this: café.

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Lake Across The House

So. Many. Ducks

This weekend the wife & I moved into our new house.  It is an old house, built in 1957, & we purchased it about a month after we moved back to Texas, but the wife wants the place where she lives to conform to specific needs she has for habitation, & I have no opinion either way & would sleep on a mattress on a dirt floor as long as I had wi-fi, so the new old house has been renovated, but even though there are many things that still need to be done, we moved in because we needed to be out of the rental house at the end of the year.  I will in fact be putting together this week's show in a room with a door I can close & I don't know why I haven't done this before.  Oh yeah, because I used to do Self Help Radio in a radio station.

What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, our new house.  It's across from a lake.  Well, sort of.  It's across from the side of the street which has houses which have a lake behind it.  The owners of one of the house came by & introduced himself yesterday, & he told us we could go back there to look at the lake & specifically the probably hundreds of water fowl that hang out there.  I took the picture above today & in fact there are many more ducks than that, those were just the ones who swam away when I walked up with four dogs & a human woman beside me, a frightening proposition in any case.

In fact I can see the lake between two houses from the window in which I am busy now editing interviews for Wednesday's show.  I wish I could live by the lake - the houses which face the lake in fact have large windows in the back to look at the lake by which they live.  I have to crane my head, squint my eyes, & catch far-away action between two houses; they look out their window & most probably take it for granted.

Oh, & someone owns the lake.  That feels weird, but as I've mentioned before, I find it strange that I own trees.  I own a house, I own the plot of land on which the house stands, & on that plot of land stands trees, which I therefore own QED.  But the fellow across the street from us, whom I've not met yet, owns the lake.  It is his lake.  That seems incorrect somehow.  But it's true.

Expect more lake pictures, especially on my Tumblr blog.  & maybe a show about ducks, maybe?  In the future?*  Guest-starring actual ducks?

(Daydreaming now.)

* All right, I've already done a show about ducks.  But I'd love to invite some ducks to program a show.  Maybe about lakes?**

** Damn it, I did a show about lakes last year!  Well, ducks will need to come up with something!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year!

(This image found here.)

Happy new year!  As we begin another three-hundred-sixty-five days around the calendar, the poorly-paid employees of Self Help Radio once again present the show's Radio Resolutions, to give you an idea what to expect in 2017 from a radio show you've almost completely forgotten about.  As always, treat these resolutions with the same respect & determination as you do your own.

1) Animals will no longer be allowed to host or guest-host the program.  They know why.

2) That joke where the deejay pretends to be talking to someone else, even though he's all by himself playing records, you know the one?  He'll keep doing it, but he'll be more self-conscious about it than before.

3) Very loud reminders that "YOU CAN TURN IT OFF, YOU KNOW" placed as bumpers between songs.

4) A letter to the heirs & estate of Henry David Thoreau has been drafted & will be sent as soon as an envelope & stamp are found, we promise, this year.

5) The lunch week has been reassigned thus: Nachos Monday; Tempeh Tuesday; Wino Wednesday; Tofu Thursday; & Every-Man-&-Woman-For-Themselves-Buffet Friday.

6) A "Sigh Jar" & an "Eye-Roll Jar" have been added to the shelf with the "Um Jar" & the "Expletive Jar."

7) Prank-calling homeopaths, naturopaths, aromatherapists, & rolfers will no longer be allowed on company time, except during breaks.

8) You know those atomizer things that announcers in old movies would use to spray into their mouths to clear their throats or dry their saliva or whatever the hell they were for?  You know them?  We're totally going to get one of those.

9) Obscurity is the new obviousness.

10) It's probably too late to turn back now.

Get ready for 2017!  It may actually be exciting!