Thursday, March 22, 2018

Self Help Radio 032118: Keys

(Original image here.)

The world only heard  around 88% of this show!  If they heard it at all.  I didn't?  Did you?

Well, then, we can only imagine it was a fascinating two-hour documentary about the invention of keys & locks, & how humanity changed with the understanding of privacy & security that came with...  No?  It was a bunch of songs about keys?  Plus conversations with a religious dude & a locksmith?  Not informative in a substantial way at all?


Well, if you're still interested, & especially if you want to hear the mysterious fifteen minutes that did not air in Lexington because of - was it a computer error? a tower problem? censorship?!? - you can do so at Self Help Radio's website.  There's info about the username/password there.  The show is two long hours long, & in two parts.  What's in each part (including interviews) is below.

(part one)

"I'm Gonna Lock My Heart (& Throw Away The Key)" Billie Holiday _The Quintessential Billie Holiday, Vol. 6 (1938)_
"Key To My Happiness" Willie & West _Black Gold Sought After Soul_
"A Silver Key Can Open An Iron Lock Somewhere" Liliput _Kleenex/Liliput 1978-1983_

"Keys To Your Heart" The 101ers _Soul Jazz Records Presents PUNK 45: Sick On You! One Way Spit! After The Love & Before The Revolution Vol.3: Proto-Punk 1969-76_
"Let's Lock The Door (& Throw Away The Key)" The Lancastrians _Ripples, Vol. 5: Beach Bash (Surf Pop, Frat Rock, & Dance Craze Sounds From The UK)_
"What If That Guy From Smashing Pumpkins Lost His Car Keys?" Stephen Lynch _Superhero_
"Der Schlussel" Stereo Total _Juke-Box Alarm_
"Der Schlüssel Dafür" Heidi Brühl _Pop In Germany Vol. 6_

interview with locksmith David Fruchter

"Love Is The Key" Honey & The Bees _Come Get It: The Complete Josie Recordings 1970-1971_
"Key" Yellow Magic Orchestra _Kyoretsu Na Rhythm_
"Stories To Be Kept Under Lock & Key" The Cannanes _A Love Affair With Nation_
"Keys Of Life" Klaus Nomi _Klaus Nomi_

"Minor Keys" Big Troubles _Romantic Comedy_
"Key Of C" Jim Noir _Tower Of Love_

(part two)

"The Key" Kristin Hersh _Strings_
"See The Keyhole" Ludus _The Visit/The Seduction_
"(Putting My Heart Under) Lock & Key" Sharon Scott _Rare Collectable & Soulful_

interview with The Key Master!

"The Key" The Four Tops _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 9: 1969_
"The Key To My Happiness" The Charades _Big City Soul, Vol. 3_
"Latch Key Kid" The Fall _Imperial Wax Solvent_
"The Key Losers" Guided By Voices _Hardcore UFOs: Demons & Painkillers_
"The Key's Under The Flowerpot" Tochigi _The Gang East Of The River_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Skeleton Key" Bishop Allen _Lights Out_
"Key To My Heart" Christopher Owens _A New Testament_
"The Key To My Love Is Green" The Weather Prophets _Temperance Hotel_
"Keys To Me" Drivin N Cryin _Scarred But Smarter_
"Keys To The City" Spider Bags _Shake My Head_

"Handful Of Keys" Fats Waller & His Buddies _Fats Waller 1927-1929_
"You've Got The Right Key But The Wrong Keyhole" Virginia Liston with Clarence Williams' Blue Five _Louis Armstrong & The Blues Singers_
"I Found Your Key-Hole" Al Miller _Complete Works In Chronological Order (1927-36)_

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Whither Keys?

(Image from here.)

Gosh, I dunno.  Why a show about keys?  I remember a time when I was involved as a director of a radio station & also had the keys to several rooms at my work & so I had lots & lots of keys.  In fact, I had so many keys I ended up ripping a hole in the right front pocket of one of my pairs of pants.  But to be fair, I also had a large key ring, in the shape of a pig, that someone gave me.

Now I have only four keys: three that go to doors in my house, & one I don't know what it's for.  That's weird.  I no longer have a key for my car.  I have a fob.  If I carry it with me, I can push a button & my car will start.  If I don't, it won't.  Will we one day have devices that will do the same with doors?  & will my wife forgot those, too?

When I used to have lots of keys - before they ripped a hole in my pocket - I used to sometimes feel a weird sense of pride at having so many keys.  I thought it meant I had reached some level of responsibility or something.  It might have been because I admired the key ring of Schneider, Anne Romano's super on One Day At A Time:

(Image found here.)

Though I didn't want to be creepy like him, & always barge into apartments where there were single women raining two teenage girls.  That's pretty reprehensible.

The thing is, now that I'm down to four keys (or three, really, until I find out what the fourth one does), I don't care.  I have now in fact a radio show filled with keys!

Which is on tonight from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central, on 93.9 fm WLXU or the same place online.  It should be fun, & who knows?  It may be the key that unlocks your heart.  Whatever that means.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Preface To Keys: That Time My Keys Didn't Work

This is a story about a very weird night in 1987.  It was Thanksgiving night, & I had stupidly come home to from Austin to be with the family, & it was never any fun, I had been a vegetarian for a year & all the meat -  my family always had turkey & ham around - wasn't fun for me.  I found out later that my mother put turkey grease in everything because she thought I was going to die.  That sort of thing eventually stopped me from visiting for any of the holidays.

My friend Joe was going to come by & pick me up for us to drive back to Austin, he had gone to see I think Love & Rockets or Siouxsie & The Banshees but I couldn't get away.  But he grabbed me & we set out.  We needed to get to Austin to see the Jesus & Mary Chain the next night, & probably neither of us wanted to stick around with family.

If I stop to think, I've only been in maybe three car accidents in my life.  That night, on an almost deserted ramp on I-35 in Dallas was one of them.  Some car full of people I never saw came at us  - this ramp was taking us I think from I-30 to I-35 - hit Joe's car on my side, the passenger side, & we went into a spin.  I don't think we hit the walls  The passenger door was ruined, but somehow, adrenaline I suppose, Joe & I were out of the car & looking around.  We approached the car that hit us, to see if they were okay, but they took off, in the wrong direction.  Helpfully, the few cars approaching got out of their way.  I don't even think we got a license plate.

Both of us were dazed.  In those pre-cell phone days, in the middle of the night, with people not stopping to help, we didn't know what to do.  Wait for cops?  Go to the cops?  Go home?  We decided to drive to Austin, but we couldn't stop talking about it.  After all, we were both very young - I was 19 & Joe had recently turned 20 - & we had survived something horrible.

We finally stopped at a convenience store in Hillsboro & for some reason called the Dallas police.  They of course were unhelpful, & we weren't about to drive back.  So we headed back to Austin.

At the time I was sharing an apartment with my friend William in an area south of the Colorado River in Austin known as the Riverside Student Ghetto.  William was still with his family, & both Joe & I were very exhausted when we got there.  It was a long drive, & if you've been through an accident you'll know, the adrenaline draining from your system is like coming down from a high.  It's not fun.

For some reason, my key didn't work.  I couldn't get into my apartment.  It was like three am.  It was cold out.  I think I might've walked to see if, for some insane reason on a holiday weekend, the management was there.  They weren't.  I remember Joe went into the laundry room, which was always lit, & curled up on a table.  I wasn't going to do that.  I went back to my apartment & broke a window pane in my bedroom window.  I was able to unlatch it & crawl in & let Joe in the front door.

Surprisingly, a security guard showed up.  We hadn't seen him, but if he was even the slightest bit observant, he had to have noticed these two guys looking tired & panicky in the dead of night at this apartment complex.  We were probably the only thing he noticed all night.

Also surprisingly, he didn't approach us in some threatening way, as one might approach people who were, you know, breaking & entering.  I was so tired - I had just broken a fucking window - I just showed him some mail with my name on it & my driver's license to identify who I was, & I tried to demonstrate to him that the key fit in the lock & didn't work.

& then, of course, the key worked.

As a postscript: I don't remember if they made me pay for the window.  It was fixed in just a few days.  Maybe I argued that their stupid door & key were at fault.  I don't know.

What I do know is I must've looked like the most inept B&E guy ever clambering through that window.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Set Schedule

It seems like I'm always driving these days (the downside of living in a sprawling place without decent public transportation) & when you do the same things all the time you want to talk about it.  So I am often talking (complaining) about driving.

That's not something I'm going to do here.  Not right now.  Except to say that I've become a less aggressive, more thoughtful driver the more I encounter douchebags on the road.  I'm sure their lives are infinitely important than mine, so it makes sense that they should speed & weave around & cause people to hit their brakes & almost hit me, as my car isn't worth a fraction of theirs.  What I tend to do nowadays is watch out for the rest of us, to make sure I'm not as douchey as the speed demons whose lives, as I've said, are infinitely more valuable than mine.

Honestly, I can't wait until they refuse to give up their death machines when driverless cars take over, & end up dying when trying to maneuver around them.  No one, not even their loved ones, who must know they drive like superdouches, will shed a tear.  "Lord knows we're all surprised," even the priest will say at the funeral, "it took this long to happen."

While I do hope one day to learn to meditate, & I try to pay attention to my breathing (a kind of rudimentary practice) when I am in bed trying to fall asleep (it's hard to do) (both concentrate on my breathing &, for me, falling asleep), my mind does wander, & it often wanders to a kind of mind-game in which I think to myself, would the world be better off if [enter someone's name] were dead?

Let me assure you, while this is probably not terribly healthy, it's a little healthier than wondering if the world would be better off if I were dead, which is something I arrogantly wondered in my deepest depressive days of the 1990s.

& by the way, these are not people in my life or even in my past - these are always public figures, most of them politicians or dictators or others who cause a great deal of misery in the world.  & also this is not a matter of me planning anything.  I wouldn't even know where to begin.  No, in this scenario either some other agent causes the demise or I am given the power of life & death in some magic way & I make a decision, & then I imagine the fallout.  Would the world in fact be a better place?  Would my world be a better place?

Other people, you know, they count sheep.  To help me fall asleep, my mind wanders into wondering.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

This Cursive Note

Did you do anything for Saint Patrick's Day?  Me neither.

One time a friend told me he thought Saint Patrick might be Patrick Stewart of "Star Trek" & "X-Men" fame.  I told him that, in general, saints usually get to be saints by dying for their religious conviction.  We both agreed that Patrick Stewart was not at the time dead (he is currently at the time of this writing also not dead) but we were unsure what, if anything, he had in fact been convicted of.

Also one time I knew a guy named "Rick" & I would occasionally call him "Richard" & he would always correct me by saying "Patrick," & while I completely understood that "Rick" could be a diminutive of "Patrick," I myself would probably have gone for the more obvious "Pat" although knowing this guy he might be upset that his name was somewhat ambiguous gender-wise, as the famous Saturday Night Live character would attest.

This happened, too, in my family.  I have a brother named James, but everyone called him Jamie.  My mother still calls him Jamie.  I don't know why I put names in quotation marks in the previous paragraph but now I am not doing so.  Probably I am just lazy.  Anyway, my brother Jamie's middle name is Ralph & so at some point in my childhood - & at some point in his late teens - he got tired of people calling him Jamie, which I think he thought was effeminate, & also was the name of the secret identity of the Bionic Woman on television, & he had us call him Ralph.  I call him that to this day.  My mother, as I said, still calls him Jamie.

In a shocking twist worthy of O. Henry Dickens, I discovered, when we (my brother Ralph & I) became friends on Facebook, that his co-workers call him James, which is probably what he wanted all along.  He doesn't seem like a James to me anymore, he seems totally like a Ralph.

What he should have done, if I can give him advice too late for it to do him any good, is he should have corrected the teacher when she called him "Jamie" in elementary school or at the very least in middle school, around sixth grade.  I knew a guy named Larry Campbell who always said, on the first day of school, that people called him "Rocko."  & so the teacher - & everyone else - did.

& now it occurs to me that though I've spent a good deal of my life wishing that my own name had more interesting diminutives than "Gar," "Gare," or "Gaz," although I do love "Gaz," it seems a good thing that usually people called Gary can only be called Gary, as you avoid the need to summon social strength to tell teachers you want to be called something different than what is written on the attendance sheet or, in my brother James Ralph's case, what is exactly there.

When I was at Trader Joe's the other day, a checkout fellow probably five or six years older than I am had my name on his nametag so I told him my name was also Gary.  We mourned the slow death of our name, & he asked if I were named for someone famous.  "Everyone in the US named Gary," I said, "was ultimately named for Gary Cooper."  "Really?" he said.  "I thought I was named for Gary US Bonds."

So, no, no.  I didn't do anything for Saint Patrick's Day.