Saturday, August 18, 2018

Self Help Radio 081818: Neon

(Made by these guys.)

Finally!  Holy moley!  This ridiculous show about neon took its time to get here!  Twenty-four hours from when it was supposed to show up.  & you know what?  It doesn't seem embarrassed or ashamed or otherwise put-out by it at all.  Hey radio show!  You know people don't like you, right?

However, I will say, as someone intimately acquainted with this program about neon, the show itself is a gas.  Weren't you expecting that joke?  If you weren't, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

Please enjoy an elemental show with silly interviews, a lot of electronica, & some minor insights into the noblest of noble gases.  It's not available for your listening pleasure at the Self Help Radio website & I'm sure it'll light up your night, like a gas you can put into a tube & agitate with electricity to produce pretty colors.

Songs played & interviews noted below.  Look on the front page for username/password info.

Self Help Radio Neon Show

 "The Elements" Tom Lehrer _The Remains Of Tom Lehrer_
"Neon" The Young Turks _Neon_
"Neon Rainbow" The Box Tops _The Letter/Neon Rainbow_

introduction & information

"Neon Sign" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers _It's Time For_
"Underneath The Neon Sign" The Kinks _Soap Opera_
"Neon Sign" Francis International Airport _We Are Jealous We Are Glass_
"Big Neon W" Permafrost _In Harm's Way_
"Beneath A Neon Star In A Honky Tonk" Tommy Duncan _Beneath A Neon Star In A Honky Tonk (1951-1956)_

interview with "Captain Neon" creator & star David Fruchter

"Neon" Neon _New Deutsch_
"Im Schein Des Neon" Vono _Dinner Für 2_
"Neon Probe" Berlin Blondes _Berlin Blondes_
"Neon Lights" Kraftwerk _The Man-Machine_

interview with male dancer Neon

"Neon City" Les Sauterelles _The Columbia Recordings 1965-1967_
"Neon Heart" The Boomtown Rats _The Boomtown Rats_
"Neon Shuffle" XTC _White Music_
"Neon Human" Felix Da Housecat _Devin Dazzle & The Neon Fever_
"Neon Hex" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _Neon Hex_

Ned Dry makes a presentation

"Neon & Aluminum" E*Vax _Parking Lot Music_
"Neon Sky Rain" Vector Lovers _Electrospective_
"Neon Psychol" Global Goon _Saint Aime_
"Neon Palms" Ursula 1000 _Galleria_

conclusion, goodbye, & a surprise phone call

"Neon, Not The Night" Marcellus Hall _The First Line_
"Midnight To Neon" The Go-Betweens _Send Me A Lullaby_
"Neon Orange Glimmer Song" The Mountain Goats _Sweden_
"Neon Bible" Arcade Fire _Neon Bible_
"Neon Golden (Console Remix)" The Notwist _Different Cars & Trains EP

Friday, August 17, 2018

Whither Neon?

(Image from this helpful video which I actually didn't watch.)

All right.  My apologies for this show being a day late.  It's possibly also a dollar short.  But the show loses money anyway, so that's nothing new.  Someone told me today not to worry if the show isn't on time, but I don't feel that way - even if it's not technically on the radio, I like that it appears as regularly as on the radio.  Anyway, it'll happen tomorrow.  I promise.

So, why a show about neon?  Funny story.  I was drinking cough syrup & driving one night many months ago when I accidentally (on purpose?) drove into a shopping center & into the parking lot of what appeared to be a head shop but was really an Olive Garden because I just loved the neon sign.  Well, I thought it was a neon sign.  It was a Dodge Neon.  Which really looks like neon when you've downed a six-pack of Robitussin.  Yes, they sell Robitussin in Fort Worth in six-packs!  I'd feel weird buying them in forty ounce bottles.

Anyway, some time later after hiding for what felt like weeks from the police, I apologized to my sister about taking her car (& her cough syrup) for a joy ride, & told her that snitches get stitches, & also to explain that my fingerprints were there because I am her brother, I got to thinking about that Dodge Neon, which was empty, I swear, parked, even.  Or parking.  It looked empty.  It looked, frankly, beautiful, & who wouldn't want to own a beautiful American automobile like that?  Not me, but I did think that, if it were made of neon, I could totally drive through it, neon being a gas & all.  Silly me, I forgot it was an inert gas.

& if there's anything I've learned from this experience, your honor, it's that sisters can't be trusted, & that it's important to remember things you should've learned in chemistry class when you were playing with the Bunsen burner, & that I'll never ever make the same mistake with a Dodge Neon again.  The result was that the judge sentenced me to something, I think he said community service, which I assumed meant that I had a do a radio show about neon!

So I shall.  Tomorrow at noon.  Self Help Radio dot net.  Bring your own cough syrup, I barely have enough for me.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Nobody Cares, But...

Due to circumstance only slightly out of my control, but not worth the hassle, I'm putting off this week's Self Help Radio till Saturday at noon.  It's no emergency, it's just that the time I would normally take to put the show together has been taken by other activities this week, & I'll need the extra day to work on the show.  I hope you don't mind.

Or, well, I hope you do mind, because it means you care.  Although I know you don't.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Preface To Neon: The Periodic Table

This is something I was about to write: "When I was a kid, I was a huge comic nerd."  But really, I'm still a huge comic nerd.  I don't read comics regularly these days, & don't buy new ones, but if someone suggests something to me, or I am reminded of something, I'll grab back issues or digital issues & waste an afternoon re-reading them.  For example, I recently finished the Netflix Punisher series & it's taken all my power not to go back & read Garth Ennis' run on the comic.  Fortunately I have had other things to do or I'd have been in the middle of sixty issues by now.

How do comics relate to the subject of neon?  Just wait!

In tenth grade or so, I went to my first comics convention, & I met some folks there who published a fanzine in nearby Richardson.  This led to me meeting a bunch of people who were as nutty about comics as I was.  (It was also the first time I'd met anyone who was fiercely loyal to a comics company.  I tended to like whatever I liked.  That kind of baffled people who thought the other big one - whether Marvel or DC depending on your choice - was nothing but bad & also evil.)

& in those days, I really wanted to write comics.  I wanted to do that fundamentally because I couldn't draw well, or else I would've wanted to write & draw comics.  The trouble was, I had never really written a comic before.  Or anything, really.  Maybe dumb poems that were trying to be funny.  Some song parodies like Weird Al Yankovic.  But if I started a comic - & I did start dozens of them - I never really finished it & I never really got around to such things as "plot" or "story."

What I loved doing was coming up with a concept.  Most of my concepts were incredibly derivative, a space agent who was a lot like Han Solo, a mystic master who was basically Dr. Strange.  When I met the folks in Richardson who were comics nerds like me - if there were any in my high school, I never met them - & surely they would've known me, I wore comic tee shirts & buttons! - a couple of them claimed to be artists & agreed to collaborate with me on something.

That was exciting!  The trouble was, my ideas were not - shall we say - traditional.  & this is where we come to neon.

For the longest time, there have been characters who have "elemental" powers.  There's Metamorpho, also known as "The Element Man."  There's Element Lad from the Legion Of Super-Heroes.  There's the various robots in the Metal Men.  & that's just from DC Comics!  In the 1960s!

But I was aware there were lots & lots of different elements - I loved poring over the Periodic Table.  Just look at all these damn elements (image from Wikipedia)!

I thought, wouldn't it be weird, fun, & challenging to have a superteam called "The Elements" that had, like, 118 members?  A large number of them (in my estimation) would just be metals who were super-strong.  A few of them would be mainly gases.  Some of them - the radioactive ones last of the table - might only exist for seconds at a time.

What shenanigans would they get up to?  Why would they be fighting crime?  What had happened to make them that way?

Unfortunately, I never got past the concept, because the comics nerd who was an artist who wanted to collaborate with me threw up his hands at having to design 118 different characters.  Also, he thought it was stupid.  & I never really revisited the concept.

For the record, he also hated my other idea: Animal/Vegetable/Mineral-Man.  His powers were - oh, never mind.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

It Went Okay

Today's Pledge Drive show, I mean.

It wasn't a success by any means - I am way under my goal*, for example - but seven people called & made pledges & that was nice.  Thanks to them - nice folks who are called Brent, Connie, Eric, John, Kara, Lena, & Natasha - & thanks to my friend Carole, who helped out.  Listen for her - she's going to be programming music on the radio for the first time in over a decade next week, whether there's a Pledge Drive show or not (let's cross our fingers & hope for not).

& really I still have no idea how to do this Pledge Drive thing properly.  What I want is just to do a decent enough radio show that some people might be moved to support the station that gives me the opportunity & freedom to do that.  It's too bad that's not enough.

But today?  Hell, three months ago I did a show & no one called.  This is much better by any metric you want to pick.  So I'm going to breathe easy now, wipe away the worries of today, & get to work on this week's SHR.

*Every show has a goal, the amount of money they're supposed to raise per Pledge Drive, to justify their existence.  I'd be surprised if I managed to take in a third of what I was supposed to.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Growing Up In A Convenience Store

Here's another reason why I might be a terrible salesperson: I grew up in a convenience store.

My mother worked in a convenience store from around 1976 until 1987 or 1988, which doesn't seem like such a long time but that's basically most of my adolescence. From 8 years old to 20.  & I spent a good deal of time working or otherwise helping out - for a time, to give my mother & her boyfriend (who owned the store, although he acted like we owned it) time off, I'd open the store on Sunday mornings & work until 3 or so.  That was when I was in high school!

The thing is, you don't really have to try to sell anything in a convenience store.  People come in to get things they want - soda, smokes, snacks, whatever.  You may try to upsell - you know, ask if they need a lighter if they're buying cigarettes - but you hardly ever have to try to get them to buy something - that's why they're there!  No one goes into a convenience store to browse!

Now, imagine that being your training in the ways of commerce.  Wouldn't you imagine that that would be difficult for begging to people who can listen to your radio station for free?  They're there to consume but not to buy.  & I don't think I ever got any real instruction on how to sell something to someone who's used to getting it without paying.

Of course I'm thinking about this because I have to do it all over again tomorrow for KNON.  If you've listened to the Tuesday Morning Blend & you'd like to help, you could just go make a pledge online & forgive all the on-air pleading.  I don't enjoy it.  I wish people had the habit of coming to the radio expecting to pay a little for it.  All I know is it would be cheaper than the money you spend on soda, snacks, booze, whatever.