Friday, June 08, 2018

Self Help Radio 060818: Style

(Stylish old Italian dudes originally found here.)

Style! Can you learn it? Can you borrow it? Can you buy it? Can you sell it?

Style! Is it worth it? Does it hurt you? Does it change you? Can it save you?

Style! What is it all about? What does it mean? What is going on? Who the hell are you?

Yes, none of the above questions - & more! - are answered on today's Self Help Radio, a show about style.  There are guests, lots of songs, & probably twelve to fifteen percent more nonsense than usual. & you will agree, that's an almost intolerable amount of nonsense.

Listen now or when the mood strikes at the Self Help Radio website.  Use the password "SHR" & the password "selfhelp" (without the quotation marks) to download.  The show is two hours long but it will probably feel like four.  The songs played - as well as the noted guests - are listed below.

Style! Okay, I'll shut up about it now.

"Style (with Bing Crosby & Dean Martin)" Frank Sinatra _The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings_
"Style (Peter Gunn Theme)" Grandmaster Flash _Style (Peter Gunn Theme)_
"Style" Cameo _Style_

introductions & definitions

"Putting On The Style" Lonnie Donegan _More Than 'Pye In The Sky'_
"Cramping My Own Style" Jacobites _God Save Us Poor Sinners_
"I Dig His Style" Jackie Ross _Jerk & Twine: The Complete Chess Recordings_
"He's Just My Style" Lennon Sisters _Today!!_
"Love American Style" The Cowsills _The Best Of The Cowsills_

interview with designer & "Straight Eye For The Queer Guy" host David Fruchter

"What Are You Wearing" Kahimie Karie _K.K.K.K.K._
"The Wildstyle" Time Zone _Beat Freaks_
"Style It Takes" Lou Reed & John Cale _Songs For Drella_
"No Style" Vic Godard & The Subway Sect _Songs For Sale_
"I'll Change My Style" Jimmy Reed _The Vee-Jay Years (1953-1965)_

a visit from Dr. Idiom!

"Lifestyle" Elektric Music _Esperanto_
"Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous" Momus _Don't Stop The Night_
"Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous" Beatnik Filmstars _In Hospitalable_
"Experimental Lifestyle" Brilliantine _My Life & The Beautiful Game_
"Rock & Roll Lifestyle" Cake _Motorcade Of Generosity_

a moment of reflection about the show

"I Like Your Style Of Making Love" The Cleftones _The Best Of The Cleftones_
"I Like Your Style" Lee Shot Williams _Hot Shot_
"I Like Your Style" The Originals _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970_
"Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)" The Temptations _Emperors Of Soul_
"My Own Style Of Loving" Wilson Pickett _Hey Jude_

closing remarks

"Revolt Into Style" Bill Nelson's Red Noise _Sound On Sound_
"Back In Style" Felix _You Are The One I Pick_

post mortem

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Whither Style?

(Ooo, look, cancer of the mouth from cigar smoking is back in style, according to these guys!)

You may be thinking, how can someone like Gary, who basically only has a beard because he's too lazy to shave, how can he do a show about style?  That would be like the Pope doing a show about foreplay.  Or a cat doing a show about compassion.  Or a salt shaker doing a show about berbere spice.  Or a...  You get the idea.

You may be thinking that (or you may be surprised there's still something called "Self Help Radio"), but have you ever heard of research?  Just because a do a show about something doesn't mean I'm an expert in it.  Maybe I just wanted to do a show about style to immerse myself in all meanings of the world.  After all, isn't that the style of Self Help Radio?

Aha!  I gotcha there!  You were all like, "Ha ha, Gary dresses like a beat-up store mannequin after a blackout," & I was like, "Can't a poorly-dressed mannequin still be curious about the better-dressed mannequins in the store?"  & then you were all like, "Oh shit, we just p-owned or pawned or powned whatever that weird thing people say on the internet is but they never pronounce it so when we pronounce it we're at the mercy of people who think they know it's pronounced."  & then I was like, "Damn, you're as insecure as I am, maybe you didn't mean to be so dickish when you insulted my personal look & you were just lashing out in frustration & sadness."  & then you were all like, "Oh go fuck yourself you touchy-feely piece of shit, you still have no style & we're never going to speak to you again."

This is going to be a very complicated show, I can tell.  In any event, the Self Help Radio exploration of style in music & chatter is happening tomorrow at noon at Self Help Radio dot net.  Frankly, I don't care what you wear or how you act while you listen.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Preface To Style: The Style That Is No Style

Anyone who's ever looked at me knows that I don't really have much style.  It might be concluded that I don't care very much about how I look, but it might also be concluded that there's a part of me that wishes I could care about my look but a) that seems like a hell of a lot of work & 2) have you seen how I look?

When I was younger I took a kind of spiteful sort of pride in not giving a shit about how I dressed.  I remember saying something of the sort to my German teacher in college & he said, "What are you talking about?  You have a definite style!  Those ratty tee shirts, the same old pants?  People recognize you right away?"

It was a bit deflating.

Years later, someone at KOOP, totally unsolicited, said to me when I walked into the station, "Oh god you dress like a thirteen year old boy!"  I told her I was uncomfortable with her referring to me as "god."

There have been women in my life who liked to dress me up, but that never lasted too long - again, I never had much patience for it.  Tee shirts are comfortable, you gotta wear pants, I never liked wearing sandals or flip flops so it's basically tennis shoes, & that's pretty much it.  The faithful ensemble.

One thing that I might have discussed before is the liberation from style that leaving high school brought me.  Who knows how I was judged in high school but I remember realizing when I first lived alone that no one gave a shit about what I was wearing.  In college, people would drag their asses into class barely out of pajamas.  I remember in eighth grade these guys I was sitting next to making fun of some kid who wore the same pair of pants every day - they checked because they made chalk marks on his leg or something - & that made me make sure to change pants every day.

In college?  I pretty much owned two pairs of pants for four years.  No one gave a shit!

Or they did, I guess, but I didn't hang around those kinds of people.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

In Dreams

Searching online, I couldn't find a study that tried to figure out how many people remember their dreams versus how many people don't.  My sister Karin, for example, tells me she never remembers her dreams.  My wife rarely does.  The check-out person at Sprouts told me...  Well, I didn't ask him.  He was too busy doing that thing where he pretends he really likes what I bought.  I think that's weird & very off-putting.  It doesn't reinforce my shopping behavior one bit.  Stop that!

As for me, I remember many of my dreams, & usually wake confused that I'm no longer in the dream or disappointed it's ended.  Sometimes I can even return to my dream once I've been awakened.  Here's something interesting: According to this article, "People who remember their dreams more often are more likely to wake up during the night. The processes that store memories are generally 'turned off' during sleep. Waking up after a dream would allow the brain to encode it into memory."

That's interesting to me because I am a pretty light sleeper, if I haven't overindulged in whiskey the night before.  (Though I still remember dreams when I have had a drink or two.)  (In fact, if I've only had a drink or two, enough to get a little buzzed, my dreams are more intense.)  Last night, for example, my dog Winston woke me about two hours after I fell asleep to let him out.  He does this by sitting up & whining.  He knows either me or the wife will wake up, he doesn't care who.  The way my wife sleeps, I know I would've been the one to always get up when the baby cried if we had had kids.  Anyway, maybe because of this, I remember a few of my dreams last night.  They were exciting!

There's a part of me that thinks I've dreamt like this my entire life.  I remember telling friends about a particularly vivid dream I had in twelfth grade.  It affected me then as dreams do now.  & I fucking love to dream.  I hardly ever have nightmares, unless somehow replicating similar frustrations I experience in real life is nightmarish.  But since I've never really believed in supernatural things, I don't dream in supernatural subjects, although sometimes superheroes show up.  Like they do.

Which reminds me: when I used to do acid, many moons ago (it's been two decades now), I never had those religious experiences that people claim to have, whether it's seeing their deity of choice or experiencing a oneness with the universe or really anything supernatural that the experience might confirm for you, like telepathy.  I guess I knew that there was a drug fucking with my brain & nothing I was experiencing was unnatural in any way.

But I was listening to a podcast recently (I'm tying these threads back together now) discussing Michael Pollan's new book & he points out that we remember our acid experiences far better than we do our dreams, & I wondered out loud to the podcast that maybe it's because we have those experiences while awake.  (The podcast did not give a shit about my insight.)

Ha ha, you thought I was going to talk about a particular dream, didn't you?  Nope.  It's no longer allowed on this blog.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Poem Generation

It's true, I shouldn't like this but I kind of do.  It's an online poem generator.  It's basically a Mad Libs-type set up, but I am delighted by it.

Here's the haiku it wrote for me for this week's theme of "style":

Squeamish afternoon
A stylish partner cackles
before the armchair

The only words I didn't provide the generator were "a," "before," & "the."  So basically I wrote it, bitch.

Oh, & I got it to write a sonnet, too.  Appropriate to this week's show, of course:

Ode to Style

My trendy style, you inspire me to write.
I love the way you convince & trap,
Invading my mind day & through the night,
Always dreaming about the ruthless caps.

Let me compare you to a slick buffoon?
You are more caring, fatuous, & glib.
Proud sun heats the daring peaches of June,
& summertime has the glaring ad-lib.

How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love your blessed coercion & sadness.
Wanting your conformity fills my days.
My love for you is the staring gladness.

Now I must away with a toothless heart,
Remember my great words whilst we're apart.

But I know I could do better.  Not right now, but I certainly could.

But check out the free verse poem!


Why would you think the beauty is immanent?
The beauty is the most transient visual aspect of all.
Now temporary is just the thing,
To get me wondering if the beauty is passing.

The tone is not lovable!
The tone is exceptionally unlovable.
Never forget the spiteful & unlovable tone.

Pay attention to the elegance,
The elegance is the littlest quality of all.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the elegance,
Gently it goes - the miserly, the wee, the runty.

Flair is brainwashing.
Brainwashing is flair.
"Ahem," said the flair,
& "ahem" then "ahem" again.

Now I quite like that!  Maybe I'll share some of these on my show!