Thursday, March 16, 2017

Self Help Radio 031517: Ferris Wheels

(Original image here.)

There you have it.  A radio show about ferris wheels.  I'm not saying it wasn't a pleasure to do, but at some point this past weekend, I became convinced that I wouldn't have as many songs as I'd like.  As it happened, I had some extras & I had "experts" talking about ferris wheels so it all came together in the end.

There will be a day when it won't.  I know this.

Still, I hope you enjoy the show as much as you enjoy ferris wheels.  That's assuming you enjoy ferris wheels.  I understand there are some folks who don't.  That's to be expected.  Some people don't trust such large, often unwieldy contraptions.  Some people are just afraid of heights.  Some can't stand to be around other people & will never visit carnivals.  But.  The show may have something to enjoy even if you've never been on nor will ever be on a ferris wheel.  & I suppose there are people who enjoy the hell out of ferris wheels who will hate this show.  What am I going on about?  I don't know. I just hope you enjoy the show.  For whatever reason.  Jeez, you got all weird on me there.

Get on the ride at the Self Help Radio website.  You must be this tall to ride plus you will need a username & password, available on the site.  The ferris wheel songs you will hear as you enjoy going up, & then down, are listed below.

Watch your step.  No refunds.

(part one)

"Ferris Wheel" Robert Roe _Toy Robots_
"Ferris Wheel" Pernice Brothers _Overcome By Happiness_
"The Ferris Wheel" The Everly Brothers _The Price Of Fame_

"Sur La Grande Roue" Jenny Adkins _Sur La Grande Roue_
"Carousel (La Valse À Mille Temps)" Elly Stone & Company _Jacques Brel Is Alive & Well & Living In Paris_
"Ferris Wheel" Furnsss _The Ferns_
"The Comedians" Roy Orbison _Mystery Girl_

"Hotwire The Ferris Wheel" Jens Lekman _Life Will See You Now_
"The Ferris Wheel Was Melting" The Bicycats _I Love You For Your Mind_
"Ferris Wheel" Kelly & The Kellygirls _We Love You, But Not As Much As We Love Ourselves_
"Ferris Wheel" The Living Sisters _Love To Live_

"Ferris Wheel On Fire" Neutral Milk Hotel _Ferris Wheel On Fire_

(part two)

"The London Eye" Mark Sampson _The London Eye_
"Don't Look Down" The Divine Comedy _Promenade_

"Ferris Wheel" Donovan _Sunshine Superman_
"Ferris Wheel" The Superfine Dandelion _The Superfine Dandelion_
"Ferris Wheel" El Hula _Hotel_
"Ferris Wheel" Barbara Keith _Barbara Keith_

"Ferris Wheel" Fonvery _Broken Sound_
"Ferris Wheels" I Am Kloot _Play Moolah Rouge_
"Ferris Wheel" Brilliant At Breakfast _Being Verbose Is Easy, Being Verbose Ain't Easy_
"Ferris Wheel" The Championship _Midnight Golden_

"Ferris Wheel" Shiny & The Spoon _Ferris Wheel_

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Whither Ferris Wheels?

(The ferris wheel at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, which I didn't ride.  Picture taken in January.)

Talking to a friend about my show recently, he said, "You're such a purist."  The occasion was me complaining about there being so very few songs - or I should say good songs - or perhaps I should say songs I like - about ferris wheels.  He mentioned the song "Baby Can Dance" by Tin Machine, in which Bowie sings, "I'm rolling out of the ferris wheel..."  But the song isn't technically about ferris wheels.  My friend, shaking his head (I assume, since we were talking on the phone), made his comment & implied I enjoy making this whole process difficult for myself.  But maybe I like a challenge?

Still, some challenges are more challenging than others, & for this show, I did have to dig deep.  I almost - almost - got to the point where I might have to play carnival songs, but in only one case - you'll hear it tonight - did I find a song that I will play where the ferris wheel wasn't the song's focus - & that's just because the ferris wheel is mentioned a lot.

You don't care about any of this, but it's just my way of saying that I commit to a theme & I see it through.  You will hear that tonight, if you listen, from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central, on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington town, & online.  Everywhere.  It's safe!  It's fun!  It's a show about ferris wheels!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Preface To Ferris Wheels: Ferris Wheel Deaths

(Scary story, scary picture! From here!)

Hey, how safe are ferris wheels, anyway?  I mean, things that spin real fast, & things that travel at great speeds along tiny tracks, they seem inherently unsafe.  But a slowly rotating wheel?  Does that do a lot of people in?

This page lists "Ferris wheel accidents & mishaps dating from 2002 to present" (the present to them appears to be 2013).  A lot of these (in case you don't look) are thankfully not deaths, just accidents.  & a surprising number of them are not patrons of the wheel, but workers in the parks.  You can see items like "worker disassembling a Ferris wheel suddenly became pinned between a rail & the drive wheels" & "34 yr old carnival worker electrocuted when he fell & got tangled up in a wire & died."

But don't get me wrong, there are visitor horrors, too.  The worst:

11 year old girl fell over 100 feet to her death
Ferris wheel catastrophe kills five
Ferris wheel collapsed under strong winds & rain killing 12 people

(Who rides a ferris wheel in the rain?)

According to this infographic from the Huffington Post, ferris wheels are the second-most deadly ride in the amusement park.  This astounds me!  While still being relatively safe - I mean, six people died on roller coasters in 2011 - have a look at the percentage of death by ride per year:

27.6% Roller Coasters
20.7% Ferris Wheels, Gondolas, Cable Rides
15.3% Water Rides
13.6% Spinning Rides
22.7% Other Rides

But wait!  Ferris wheels are lumped with gondolas & cable rides.  So maybe they're only the third or fourth most dangerous ride in the park.  How misleading!

If you scroll down to the bottom of that graphic, you'll see the highest G-force on roller coasters & you'll note it's way higher than a Space Shuttle launch.  That's fucked.

One last note: when you're looking around for statistics online, you often come across a weird kind of treasure trove that promises hours of diversion in the future, & that's true about ride accidents dot com.  The web page looks like it was built in 1997, & it seems to have been abandoned in 2012, but wow, what an obsessive collection it is!  Reading it, I have sworn to never go to an amusement park again,

Except tomorrow, you know, for the ferris wheels.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Texas Star

(Image from here.)

This week's show is about ferris wheels, & the one closest to me - well, not now, they apparently only operate it during the State Fair - is the Texas Star.  Because the show this week is about ferris wheels.

But now I wish I could go ride it before the show!

There was a rodeo or something a few weeks ago, & they had a ferris wheel - I took a picture of it, I'll share tomorrow or something - but I didn't go ride it.  I even knew that I'd be doing a ferris wheel show, & I didn't ride it.

I'll look for other Texas ferris wheels in the next few weeks, & mark my words: I'll ride every one!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Potato, Puhtawtoe

My friend Jenny, who probably has the most beautiful voice in all of Kentucky, wrote a song for this week's show that I am happy to get to play.  Spoiler alert: it's about ferris wheels.*  Also, & I read that this isn't remotely how they say it in French, Attention, révélations sur l'intrigue!**  She sings the song in French.

In private correspondence (well, we were texting), she said she was afraid that she may have "butchered the pronunciation."  I responded, "Isn't singing just another way of butchering pronunciation"?***

Whenever I've thought about writing songs, I find myself more or less just singing lines as if reciting a poem.  But my favorite songwriters will wrap & warp words along with the music - so much so I can't understand some of them without a lyrics sheet.  Technically, then, when they sing the word "love" in such a way that it seems to have four syllables, isn't that butchering the pronunciation?

Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't have it any other way.  But there's a science fiction story that I'll never write that has this plot: aliens come to earth after taking decades to learn the language, but misunderstanding leads to tragedy when it's discovered that the aliens learned English from specific songs & the people of United States take their attempts to communicate as a kind of malicious mocking.****

& are there any people whose first exposure to a language was in song rather than spoken?  Doesn't that seem to be something someone should be studying?  Why does music make such a show of mispronunciation?  Surely it's always done that, right?

So many questions for a Sunday night!  I have no answers.  Anyway, I reiterate: I wouldn't have it any other way.

* I know I'm supposed to capitalize the f in ferris wheel but I am not going to do that because even though it's named after a person who built a famous one (not at that time called a ferris wheel), I think it's time to acknowledge that no one thinks the ferris in ferris wheel is a name but just another word like the merry in merry-go-round or the roller in roller coaster.

** The French use the word "spoiler" too, but probably pronounce it, "spoy-lair."

*** I also told her that I thought this was an insight that I didn't imagine I was capable of.  Which may explain me going on about it now.

**** Hey! I just did a Kilgore Trout bit!