Monday, December 30, 2019

Self Help Radio 123019: Indiepop A To Z # 61

(Almost all images found on Discogs.)

The last Self Help Radio of 2019 almost undone by disaster!

It's true.  The online stream went down about two-thirds through the show, & that's how I record the show.  So basically my last two airbreaks are lost to the ether.  I was able to re-create the music for the show, & I recorded a couple of "fill-in" airbreaks this afternoon, but what amusing anecdotes & delightful bon mots I might have said in those last two airbreaks are forever gone.  Weep not, I say shit on the radio all the time, it's not big deal.

Except: it's funny how I was just talking about how grateful I am to be doing Self Help Radio live after doing it prerecorded from 2016 to 2019 - & I end the year having to record some airbreaks.  Funny, I tell you!  It's hilarious!

The show is where it should be, at the Self Help Radio website, & you should know by now: username is SHR, password is selfhelp.  There's just me on the show, & lots of songs with band/musician names in alphabetical order.  What happened on the show is below.

Happy new year!

Self Help Radio Indiepop A To Z # 61
"Simon Says" 1910 Fruitgum Co. _Best Of The Bubblegum Years_
"Yesterdays Forever" Ninjas _What You've Missed So Far: The First Hundred Releases Of Blackbean & Placenta_
"I've Got Wings" Ninotchka _Do Not Fear The Future_

"J.O.S. Days" The Nits _In The Dutch Mountains_
"Yesterday" The Nivens _From A Northumbrian Mining Village Comes The Sound Of Summer_
"Still In Love Tomorrow" Nixon _Only Ugly People Smoke_
"Parasol" Niza _Canciones De Temporada_
"Rubble" No Flags Etc. _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 5_

"Meet The Folks Part 1" No Middle Name _Meet The Folks_
"Changes" No Vacation _Phasing_
"Always Make Your Bed" Nodzzz _Innings_
"Back In Your Life" Noise Addict _10,000 Kids With Guitars_
"Best Man" Nomad Pop _Best Man_

"Ice Cube Says" The Nomber 5s _If We Get It On Tape_
"Your Hand For An Hour" The Non Stop Kazoo Organization _Something Strange E.P._
"Fear Of Dating" The Nonpareils _Little Darla Has A Treat For You, Volume 4 Summer 1996_
"Pack It Up" Mark Norkowicz _Captain Circus! Chocolat Art Returns Compilation Vol. 1_
"Television (Saved My Life)" Norman Bates _Airpop Terminal 2_

"Billy Liar" North Of Cornwallis _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 1_
"Never Take The Beauty" Northern Fields _EardrumsPop 100_
"Paris" Northern Picture Library _Still Life_
"Crazy" Northern Portrait _Criminal Art Lovers_
"Nadadora" Nosoträsh _Momentos Perdidos_

"Bite" Nothing _Bite_
"Sorely Tempted" Nothing Painted Blue _The Future Of Communications_
"Sur Ton Répondeur" Notre-Dame _Casablanca: La Colección de Cludades - Módulo 2_
"Making Plans For Nigel" Nouvelle Vague _Nouvelle Vague_

"I've Realized" The Occasional Keepers _True North_
"Drifting, Falling" The Ocean Blue _The Ocean Blue_
"Chimes" The Odolites _Chimes_

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 61

(Image from here.)

Yes, it's that time again: I continue my probably never-to-be-finished Indiepop A To Z series.  We're at the end of letter N, although I doubt we'll finish it this time around.  I keep doing this because, by my nature, I'm a character in some Samuel Beckett work.  Probably named Krapp.

Yes, I'm a little worried that it won't make any sense, since Portland hasn't heard the first sixty installments, although that didn't bother me in Lexington.  It just seems like no one would tune in to part sixty-one of something.  Not even on Netflix!

Nevertheless, Self Help Radio presents the Indiepop A To Z # 61 tomorrow from 6-8am on 90.3/98.8 fm Freeform Portland,  Lots of indiepop goodness from all over the globe.  Guaranteed.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 61: Will This Be Weird

Something I don't presume to know is whether or not anyone is listening to this dumb show I do.  (I'm not even going to talk about the two other dumb shows I do.)  But wait...

Listen, I just updated my Twitter profile & there's simply not enough room to list these things:

Self Help Radio 6-8am Mondays KFFP
Sugar Substitute 2-4am Tuesdays KXRY
The Dickenbock Report 3-5:30am alternating Thursdays KBOO

What I had to leave out was the call letters.  It makes it seem like I just do internet only radio, right?

Anyway, that's now what I wanted to talk about it.  I wanted to mention something I probably mentioned in August.  Did I?  Not really.  It's this:

The show just started in Portland.  But this week's show will be the sixty-first installment of the Indiepop A To Z series.  Will that be weird & confusing?  Will I need to keep explaining it?

Or is no one listening?  & therefore the fretting utterly useless?

You will tell me it's the latter - & I suspect it is - but ultimately with me fretting is a means unto itself.  So for the next two days, before the show - I'll fret away!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Twice (So Far) In Portland

This is dumb.  But I want to mention this.

If you've never heard me on the radio, there is something you need to know: I talk.  I talk a lot.

It's not just rambling.  In general, I have things to talk about.  On Self Help Radio, it's the theme.  On other shows, I'm usually talking about the music I just played, or perhaps the music under my voice.  Sometimes I talk to set up the next set.  But the point is, I talk.

Many moons ago, when I went away for the first time & left SHR in the hands of other programmers, whom I asked to do the show, I was a little amazed when I saw their playlists which has so many more songs than I normally played.  That's because they simply back-announced, & then went to the next set.  No embellishment, no expounding on the show's theme.  I just don't do that.

Twice in Portland this has affected me badly.  Well, thrice.

When I first started subbing at KBOO, the one available slot was for the folk block (or "strip" as they prefer to call it) in the mornings.  I like to celebrate birthdays, so I found some folk & blues artists who had birthdays on the days I was deejaying.  I discussed their lives & play some of their songs.

The KBOO folk block has long-time listeners.  They did not like how much I talked.  One of them called me after I had started a song & unfortunately said, "Get off the air!"  I pointed out that a song was playing, & after a bit of sputtering, they hung up.

The first time I ignored it.  The second time, the listeners doubled down.  Two people called to tell me not to talk so much.  I was affable & thought I could weather it.

But it did affect me badly.  I was not wedded to the folk/country/Americana/blues format, & I didn't want to be a thorn in the side of cranky regular listeners, so I haven't subbed a KBOO folk show since.  I was told by people at KBOO to ignore these curmudgeons, but for me it doesn't seem to be worth it.

This past Wednesday I subbed an XRAY afternoon show & got a text - you can get texts at XRAY! - which basically said, "Less talk please."  I remember Weird Al's response to Space Ghost on the Cartoon Network show when told to shut up: "I don't know how!"  I sent a text back that said, "I'll do my best."

There's a part of me that doesn't want to irk regular listeners but - there's a part of me that wonders, who are these people listening to radio who don't know that part of the charm of radio is listening to the person playing the music?

Therefore I will continue in my unpopular manner, yammering in-between sets of music.  What else can I do?  I'm not an iPod, I'm not a Spotsify, I'm not your personal satellite radio.  Please feel free to go elsewhere - most people have!  But I want to have fun.  This is how I have fun.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

But Who's Counting?

Oh shit, I guess I am.

It's that time of the year when you take time to reflect on what happened in your life because an arbitrary, human-made demarcation (like a year) ends while another arbitrary thing begins.  It makes sense (at least on Earth) to age oneself by years, since you do complete another trip around the sun, but the end of December & the beginning of January happen at what appears to be completely random times.  I would, for example, start a new year at the solstice.  But I was not consulted at the time.

Anyway, what I wanted to point out is how dire my radio prospects seemed at the very beginning of this year - yes, I had a show on KNON in Dallas, but it was not Self Help Radio.  & yes, I continued to do Self Help Radio, as a "podcast" I guess, but it wasn't being aired - & I want to do that show most of all.  The chances of Self Help Radio happening in Dallas if I stayed there were goose egg.

Then strangely, suddenly, we moved to Portland, Oregon, in May, & by June I was subbing on KBOO.  By July, on Freeform Portland.  By August, on XRAY.

Self Help Radio premiered on Freeform on September 2.  Sugar Substitute on XRAY on October 1.  & inexplicably, surprisingly, a show called The Dickenbock Report premiered just last week on KBOO.  If I could travel back to January 2019 & tell that Gary that this was his future, he'd scream & try to kill me because he's read too many science fiction books about shapeshifting aliens that want to eliminate you & take your place.

So here's the skinny.  I count 94 radio shows this year (so far - I'm doing two tomorrow).  Of those 94, I am including 27 episodes of Self Help Radio that were never on the air.  So if you want to be technical, it's only 67 radio shows I've done this year - but that's still more than one a week!

The tally:

Self Help Radio*: 44**
KNON Morning Blend: 13
Sugar Substitute: 12***
The Dickenbock Report: 1
Sub Shows: 24****

That adds up to 94.  The sub breakdown, by the way, is this:

Freeform: 13
XRAY:  4

If I don't get sick, get hurt, or die, in the next few days, the total for the year will be 98.  (71 if you don't want to count the podcasts, you hurtful person you.)

Furthermore, assuming I do all of my radio shows next year - not a safe bet, but, you know, I just might - that will mean:

52 Self Help Radios
52 Sugar Substitutes
26 Dickenbock Reports

That's 130 radio shows.  Not counting subs/fills/ whatever you want to call them.

However you look at it, I will probably be doing lots more radio in 2020.  Apologies in advance.

* Including "podcasts"
** They're be one more next week; I suppose I took seven weeks off this year, especially while we were moving.
*** My last radio show on 2019 will be Sugar Substitute next Tuesday.
**** I'll sub two more shows this year, both tomorrow.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Self Help Radio 122319: A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2019

(Original cover found on Discogs.)

Ho ho ho!  It's a Christmas show!  Plus some Hanukkah songs!  & a Kwanzaa song thrown in for good measure!  Ho ho ho!  Yes, Santa's here, as well as all kinds of reindeer, the Grinch, & even those lovable misfits from The Gift Of The Magi!  Why, the only thing missing from this Christmas show is you!  Where the heck were you?  These presents aren't going to unwrap themselves!

Please enjoy some holiday nonsense now & whenever at the Self Help Radio website.  Please pay attention to username & password information on the site.  What happens on the show is listed with the playlist below.

Have a wonderful holiday!  Hope I didn't ruin it for you or anything.

A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2019
"Income Tax" Dub Adams _The History Of Country & Western Music, Vol. 14 (1947-1948)_
"Captain Santa Claus (& His Reindeer Space Patrol)" Bobby Helms _Christmas Party_
"Old Fashioned Christmas" Charlie Marie _Old Fashioned Christmas_


"You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" Cliff Beach & The MB's _You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch_
"White Christmas" Jeremy & the Harlequins _A Chinese Restaurant/White Christmas_
"Twelve Days Of Analysis" The Therapy Sisters _Codependent Christmas_
"Christmas Lights" The Magic Theatre _A Christmas Gift For You From Elefant Records_
"Christmas, Christmas" The Minders _Christmas, Christmas_

interview with Kentucky writer Carl Lebanon

"The Needles" The Lilac Time _Return To Us_
"Cardboard Street" Fischer-Z _Swimming In Thunderstorms_
"Holiday Movie" The Small Calamities _Designer Heartache_
"Case Study: Audio Book Classics" Superego _Superego Season 2, Episode 9_
"Kwanzaa's Here Again" Barnes & Barnes _Holidaze In Lumania_

Ned Dry interrupts!

"Hanukkah O Hanukkah (A Miracle Of Lights)" Herman Düne _Santa Cruz Gold_
"The Hanukkah Scoot" Bunnygrunt _Blue Christmas_
"(I'm Spending) Hanukkah In Santa Monica" Tom Lehrer _The Remains Of Tom Lehrer_
"Chanukah" Lewis Black _Anticipation_
"Dreidels Of Fire" Adam Green _Hanukkah+_

interview with Millennial Experts Alyssa & Jason

"The Pig Went Out To Dig" Jean Ritchie _Carols For All Seasons_
"Deck Five" Saturday's Children _Saturday's Children_
"The Merry Old Philosopher" Eddie Lawrence _The Kingdom Of Eddie Lawrence_
"Merry Christmas" Blake Xolton & The Martians _Experiments In Destiny_
"Just Another Christmas Wish" Tan LeRacoon _Just Another Christmas Wish_

interview with Lorenzo Schwab

"Christmas Kisses" The Bookends _Christmas Kisses_
"Lem, The Orphan Reindeer" Kathy Garver _Lem, The Orphan Reindeer_
"I Was A Teenage Reindeer (with Daws Butler)" Jim Backus _I Was A Teenage Reindeer_
"Double-O Santa" Seks Bomba _50,000,000 Elves Fans Can't Be Wrong_
"Santa Claus" Marvin Pontiac _Marvin Pontiac: The Asylum Tapes_

conclusion & goodbye

"The Christians & The Pagans" Dar Williams _Mortal City_
"Christmas Everyday" Mariya May _Mariya May_
"Banjo Cheer" Tony Trischka _Glory Shone Around: A Christmas Collection_

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Whither A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2019?

(This is from an old RCA Christmas record I found on Discogs.)

It's that time of the year again.  Christmas.  Yule.  Noel.  Christmastide.  Yuletide.  Noeltide?

As certain as Santa's gonna need extra insulin on Christmas Eve is that there'll be a Very Self Help Radio Christmas.  There's been one ever since the beginning of the show, in 2002.  Except for 2010.  I went to Australia that year, & they celebrate Christmas in the summer.  Their summer.  Which is also in December.  But I was there & not in the States, so I didn't do a Christmas show.  But there wasn't anything Grinch-y about it.  Who wants to hear a Christmas show two weeks before or one week after Christmas?  No one!

Luckily it's just two days before Christmas, so it's Goldilocks just right time for a Christmas show.  & only one.  In fact, I am not sure anyone else is doing a Christmas show this year except me.  Yep!  I just checked!  It's only me this year.  In the whole United States.  Wait!  North America?  Wow, the pressure is on!

Please listen to this year's Very Self Help Radio Christmas Show tomorrow (Monday) morning from 6 to 8 am on 90.3/98.3fm Freeform Portland!  I repeat, there will be no other Christmas show anywhere else in the country this year except this one.  If you expect to get anything from Santa this year, you should listen!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Preface To A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2019: Dumpster Fire Holiday

This is an image I found on the internet.  I don't know where I found it*, but I did find it in the past few weeks, & I put it in the folder on my computer where I gathered songs for this week's Self Help Radio, which is the annual Christmas show.  It's true!  When I have ideas or songs I put them in a folder.  I do it all year long.  I don't remember what I put in the folder throughout the year, so today, while I listened to songs, it was a discovery.

It rained all day in Portland, & the animals & I most stayed indoors.  I took the wife to the airport very early this morning; she's with family in California.  I ate cold pizza & listened to Christmas music most of the day, although there was a brief interruption in the entropy of radio show preparation where I took the dogs for a walk.  None of us had any fun, a couple of us pooped, & mostly we got very wet.

Something I've probably said a bajillion times on this blog is that I don't celebrate Christmas, except this show.  We bought a house earlier this year - I guess it's just been a couple or three months now! - & we didn't put up Christmas lights.  (A neighbor has colorful icicle lights I covet, but not enough to actually buy the same kind & then put them up.)  There's no Christmas tree, I am not buying anyone presents, I didn't send nor did I receive any cards, & I won't be going back to Garland for the holidays.  I haven't done that for over a decade or so now - before I left Texas the first time, I believe, I chose not to spend time with my family for Christmas.

So why do a show?  The sheer amount of terrible Christmas music I listened to today should make me think, hey, you know what?  Not only do you not celebrate this holiday in any way besides your show, you probably shouldn't even celebrate it on your show.  This is something to think about.  Is it time to utterly excise Christmas from my life?

Today was the shortest day of the year, with only nine hours of sunlight today - all of it filtered through gauzy rain clouds.  I didn't celebrate the solstice, either, but at least I acknowledged it - on Christmas Day - with the wife away, & my family farther away - I'm going to sub a show on XRAY.  Will I play Christmas music?  Well!  I haven't thought that far enough ahead!

* Luckily, the artist signed it!  So you know it's not mine.

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Dickenbock Report (The Lowdown)

(I found this image on Kliph Nesteroff's Tumblr page.)

It's official: I now do a third radio show in Portland, this one on KBOO.  That means I have Self Help Radio on Freeform Portland on Mondays, Sugar Substitute on XRAY on Tuesdays, & The Dickenbock Report on every other Thursday on KBOO.  How did that happen?  The truth is, I have no earthly idea.

When I arrived in Portland, KBOO was the easiest station with which to get involved.  They have monthly orientations, a more or less functional volunteer system, & many opportunities to help.  I have settled with working in the amazing music library, which I do every Wednesday.  & I've subbed a few times, & I sit on the Programming Advisory Committee.  But I never thought I'd get to do a show there, so I pursued other options.

Freeform was the most welcoming & that's why my baby Self Help Radio is there.  I helped out enough at XRAY that by - when was it? - October, I was offered a show there.  & I felt I was being kept busy enough - regular gigs two days a week, sub opportunities when they arose.

This weekend - on Sunday, actually, when I was working on SHR - I got an email that a slot had opened at KBOO.  Was I interested in a weekly or biweekly show?  Hells to the yeah I was.  I sent back an email saying I was interested, then another an hour later clarifying that I was very interested. It turns out I wasn't the only one interested; someone else wanted the slot too.  The Program Manager at KBOO offered us both the slot, to share every other week.  In a real sense, that was a relief - I might not be able to handle three radio shows a week.  With that settled, I had one more problem: what the hell kind of show was I going to do?

Might I simply repeat the week's Self Help Radio?  I don't enjoy repeating myself - I feel weird when I play the same artist twice in a week (although I did do that this week since I did ten & a half hours of radio this week) (it was just one artist, though) - but the KBOO show is two & a half hours, while Self Help Radio rests most comfortably at two hours.

Might I revive another radio show I've done before?  That might be nice - I really miss doing the Cradle To Grave show that I did five years ago in Kentucky.  But that seems to be a bit daunting at two hours - two & a half hours might be too much.  Also, it was nice that each part took an hour - it would be weird to have each segment take one hour & fifteen minutes.

Hey - what if I took elements of both?  What if individual segments explored different themes, & also I took the time to celebrate birthdays & commemorate death days?  & what if I couched them in a kind of fake newcast format?

That's what I did for the first episode of the Dickenbock Report.  You can listen to it here.

& maybe you can tell me what you think.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Dickenbock Report (The Teaser)

This morning was the first episode of The Dickenbock Report, a third show I am doing here in Portland at a third radio station, KBOO.  I wanted to take the time to present my idea for the show, & even give you a link to it, but circumstances (including but not limited to lack of sleep) have made it impossible for me to do so today.  Can you wait until tomorrow?

Before I knew I would get the show - it happened quite suddenly - I signed up to sub an early morning show on Freeform Portland, so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow morning from 4-8am.  Which is more like tonight to me, since I am getting very little sleep.

But if you're wondering: yes, I'm very happy with all this radio this lovely city is letting me have.  Oh my gosh yes.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Self Help Radio 121619: Gary's Favorite Music 2019

(Most covers from Discogs but a couple from Bandcamp.)

Here it is.  It's so weird to lay out so definitively your favorites of a year.  It's like when people ask you for your top ten - top ten albums, top ten films, top ten musicians - it feels like a trap.  Aha!  You said that was in your top ten but you obviously are showing your appreciation for something entirely else instead!  I just know this show would be just a little different if I were to do it two weeks from now, & a year from now, & ten years from now.

However, let's let it stand for now.  Here are thirty tracks - twenty-seven songs, two stand-up bits, & one whatever the hell Negativland does - from my favorite, most-played records of the year.  I'd love to hear yours.  If you're foolish enough to make such a list!

Listen now & whenever at the Self Help Radio website.  Remember the username & password (SHR + selfhelp).  Look at the list of songs I played in the order I played them below.  & enjoy.

Self Help Radio Favorites Of 2019
"Self Help" Momus _Akkordion_
"Gary's Song" Wild Billy Childish & CTMF _Last Punk Standing... & Other Hits!_
"Gary Lives In A Weird, Weird World" Gary Wilson & R. Stevie Moore _Fake News Trending_

"It's Over" Morrissey _California Son_
"The Life & Soul Of The Party" The Divine Comedy _Office Politics_
"In The Morning" Edwyn Collins _Badbea_
"It's Not Explained, It's Delaware" Tullycraft _The Railway Prince Hotel_
"Thomas" Spearmint _Are You From The Future?_

"All My Happiness Is Gone" Purple Mountains _Purple Mountains_
"Pulp Of Youth" The Growlers _Natural Affair_
"I'll Light Your Way Back" The Catenary Wires _Til The Morning_
"The Late People Joke" Mike Birbiglia _Thank God For Jokes_
"Life Has Turned A Page" Robert Forster _Inferno_

"Always" April Magazine _Hot Sick Vile & Fun: New Sounds From San Francisco_
"Faces" Failed Flowers _Faces_
"Hits The Bone" Jeanines _Jeanines_
"Salty Kiss" Stars On Fire _Songs For The Summer_
"Tomorrow Ends Today" The Springfields _Singles 1986-1991_

"Get High & Listen To The Cure" The Mountain Goats _Welcome To Passaic_ (Merge)
"Someday I'd Like To Be An Artist" Sonny & The Sunsets _Hairdressers From Heaven_
"Limbo" Negativland _True False_
"But I'm A Top" The Ballet _Matchy Matchy_
"I Don't Know Why I Still Love You" Rocketship _Thanks To You_

"Scarlet" The Motorcycle Boy _Scarlet_
"What A Mess!" Ellis _The Fuzz_
"Truth = Cynicism" David Cross _Oh Come On_
"Mould Lines" Thigh Master _Now For Example_
"Pay Day" Gauche _A People's History Of Gauche_

"I Turned My Back On The Written Word" Generationals _Reader As Detective_
"Saturday Night (feat. Bleached)" Hunny _Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes._

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2019?

(Original image here.)

All right, it's about to happen: the sort of list I hate to make because I know - I just fucking know - I am leaving something important off.  Heaven knows I try to listen to as much as possible, but it's impossible to have heard everything.  Even stuff I like - I didn't find out till a couple or three weeks ago that Spearmint released a new album!  & it's awesome but I certainly haven't listened to it as much as some of the other stuff that I've loved this year because I've only had it for three weeks!

Okay, Gary, get a grip man.  No one cares, no one's going to judge you, you'll be lucky if someone is listening, right?  Right, sure.  Fine.  Maybe I shouldn't even do this.  I don't like best of lists, I hate the idea of awards, but, but, I've been doing this since 2004.  Wait.  Didn't the show start in 2002?  Sure, sure, but you know it takes me a while to get my shit together.  That's very true.

Deep breath.  Take it easy.  It's time to say: tune in tomorrow morning from 6-8am Portstown time (it's Pacific Standard Time) on 90.3 & 98.3 fm & to listen to a very self-serving set of songs I listened to lots this year.  Plus a couple of comedy things.  & whatever you want to call Negativland.

Hope you'll listen, & maybe share your favorites here on the blog!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Preface To Gary's Favorite Releases 2019: Apologies In Advance

Why apologies in advance?  Am I going to apologize about my opinions now?

No, no.  I like what I like & you can ask me why I like it & I'll tell you why I like it, & I never feel sorry for that.  I don't believe I have any "guilty pleasures."  That implies you're a little ashamed you like something - but I have a reason for liking everything I like, & growing up a proud & nerdy comic book collector & reader makes you pretty impervious to people shitting on what you like.

No, I'm going to apologize for how non-diverse this week's show is.

Because, while I listen to lots of different kinds of music - I love to go down musical rabbit holes in most every genre - the stuff I return to is the stuff I alway return to: indiepop, indie rock, postpunk.  I understand how that can be a bit samey.

& I'd love to pay attention to electronica, world music, hip hop, country, folk, etc.  & I do listen to that stuff when I am tasked with subbing those shows, but it's not what I return to again & again.

So: apologies for the sameness of this week's Self Help Radio.  I guess I should be grateful I still listen to new stuff.  So many folks my age just simply don't.

Friday, December 13, 2019

No One Listens To Artists

Like a lot of people, I am really bummed about the UK elections.  It seems so obvious that Boris Johnson is a hateful clown; it's unthinkable that anyone would buy anything he's peddling.

Many folks say the same thing about Trump over here.  The thing is, Trump lost the 2016 election by three million votes.  It's only the antiquated Electoral College that let Trump "win."  The fact that pundits & commentators talk about Trump winning "half the country" always obscures the truth that he didn't really win at all.

We can therefore say that more than half of all voters didn't fall for his con-job, & probably most of them still don't.  But I don't want to speculate on that.  I want to talk about something I noticed in the run-up to the UK election:

To a person, artists opposed Boris Johnson.  Musicians, actors, visual artists - look at statements online & you'll see they almost unanimously supported the Labour Party.

This happens in the United States, too.  As was seen at the Republican National Convention in 2016, the biggest "star" they could get - someone who doubtless thought it would revitalize his career, although it obviously hasn't - was a 1980s actor whose biggest role was a supporting part on a long-running but mostly forgotten sitcom.

There may be a Jon Voigt here & there who supports Trump, but the vast majority of musicians, artists, actors, even professional athletes wouldn't go anywhere near that orange toxic waste dump of a man.

Why do artists skew left-wing?  My own thought is that is has to do with empathy.  To create worlds, to channel emotion, to be creative, one needs to be able to extend oneself to attempt to feel & understand many different ideas, points of views, ways of life.  Inside an artist there is rarely "one" person; usually there's a multitude.  & they see the cruelties of the conservative world-view.

& people utterly rely on artists.  Everyone goes to see movies, everyone listens to music, everyone watches television.  Even the most hackneyed & tired creations out there need some form of artist, either by inspiration or creation, to put them together.

Yet it seems most voters in the UK said, fuck the artists, let's go for the ridiculous man who has plainly said hateful & racist things.  Artists said, you will cause more suffering voting for this, you will lose your health care, you will bring economic ruin to your country.  & the average British voter said, as long as it doesn't benefit people who don't look like me, I'm fine.

What is the artist's response to this?  I have no answers.  I just hope that in a year, reflecting over the events of our own election, I'll be able to say, "At least the majority of us in the United States listened to the artists this time."

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Kill All "Best Of" Lists Dead Forever

This is something I wrote for the blog three years ago, I believe, yes, I checked, the original post is here.  I argued there why I think it's dumb to make "best of" lists.  Since no one knows who I am, nor cares, I doubt it has influenced anything - but I have noticed that Allmusic now says "favorites" instead of best. Hmmm.

As I've done for the past couple of years, I repeat my original argument.  I still believe it.  That's why this week's show is called "Gary's Favorites" & not "Best Of."  Enjoy the reasons why I don't believe you - or anybody - can say anything is the "best" as an objective observation:

1) No one has listened to every album or single or ep released that year.  Sorry.  You may think you have, but it's impossible.  If all you're listening to is major label stuff, you are most definitely not listening to what I think is the most creative & interesting music out there.  You've fallen into the trap of believing that commerce determines what is "best" like the Grammys.  But it's almost guaranteed that half of the commercial releases you think of as "best" will be forgotten in a few years.  Anyway:

2) Fuck popular culture.  Music is not about heavily choreographed events.  Music is not about moments created by publicists & teams of "songwriters" whose contributions are focus-group-tested.  Radio, as it always has, caters to the moneyed musical interests & plays the same stuff over & over, but that no more makes something great now as it did in the past, where there's a graveyard of "successful" & "best of" records that no one thinks about anymore.  & even imagining that you as a critic can free yourself of the influence of the corporations that send you music for free, there's the fact that:

3) You can't compare "best" albums through different genres.  Think about it.  Can you really say a hip hop album is better or worse than a bluegrass record?  How?  Why?  Even if you have an unusually broad taste in music, you surely have a favorite genre, & you're going to prefer one over another.  In the end, when the jazz fan likes a record in some other genre, it's peer pressure & good ol' familiarity that determines that opinion, it being played constantly at work or on the radio.  & those sites that let every critic have a vote & somehow tally those votes?  How idiotic is that?  Because:

4) Nothing is "great" because of popularity.  I repeat this for emphasis, because this is something that just baffles me.  Why does anyone think something has value because a bunch of people like it?  Perhaps I am disposed to dislike something because of hype, but I most certainly don't believe something is great because of the money it makes or the fans it has.  & when it comes to critics, listen: people usually like critics that agree with them, or challenge them, but if you believe that just because someone can write or talk eloquently about things they love or enjoy, you're dealing with your own insecurity, because:

5) No one opinion is better than another.  At best, you can call an opinion better informed.  For example, if you said you hated Bob Dylan because you didn't like his voice, I wouldn't put much stock in your opinion about his records.  But that doesn't mean you're wrong that Bob Dylan isn't your cup of tea - it just means that you're wrong if you think his music is bad & music you like is good.  It's just a personal opinion, & as I've said, that means you can never say what is "best" except for what you like & think.  & therefore:

6) Everyone should retire year-end "best of" lists.  No one knows what's best for everyone.  They can't.  It's impossible.  They can say what they like, & they can back it up with information & opinions & pretty words.  But that no more makes it "best" than album sales or popularity or awards or the consensus of critics.  What makes it "best" to you is personal to you.  You see:

7) Opinion is always & forever subjective.  Just say it's your favorite music of the year, or something else that isn't a statement that suggests it can be proven right or wrong.  Because you don't have any clue whether something is the best of the year any more than any other person.  Maybe later - years? decades? - we'll know what music stood the test of time (even though that wouldn't necessarily make it "good" or "best" to you).  But a few months after it was released?  Give me a break.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Self Help Radio 120919: Chill

(Original image here.)

Oh, hey. 'Sup. Just chillin'? Yeah, I'm just chillin' too. That's chill. We'll chill out together.

That sentence up there is how I hoped this week's Self Help Radio would go.  I don't think it went that way.  I possess no chill!  But I suppose the songs were mostly chill.  One day I will perfect a Self Help Radio without me, & that will be the chillest Self Help Radio of all.

If you were chillin' & missed it, or you want to chill out with the show again, it's available now for your listening pleasure at the Self Help Radio website.  Remember the username & password - those would be SHR & selfhelp.  What happened on the show (songs & interviews & stuff) is below.

Now I can chill.

Self Help Radio Chill Show
"The Chill Is On" Joe Turner _Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974_
"Cold Chills" The Sounds _I'm Ready - The Modern Story_
"Chills & Fever" Ronnie Love _Whip! Wobble! & Grind!_

introduction & definitions

"Chills" The Receptionnists _The Paper 7"_
"Chills" Papercuts _Fading Parade_
"A Summer Chill" This Is Ivy League _This Is Ivy League_
"Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham" Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet _Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham_
"You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart" Eurthymics _Savage_

a visit from Ned Dry, the Nedymologist

"The Sweetest Chill" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Tinderbox_
"The Chill Of October" Client _City_
"Silent Chill" Call & Response _Winds Take No Shape_
"The Chill Of Death" Charles Mingus _Let My Children Hear Music_
"I Felt The Chill Before The Winter Came" Elvis Costello _Secret, Profane, & Sugarcane_

interview with blogger & influencer Duke Simpson

"Night Of Chill Blue" The Chills _Brave Words_
"Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)" The Boomtown Rats _The Fine Art Of Surfacing_
"Chilling" The Tape-Beatles _The Grand Delusion_
"Chilled Hidebound Hearts" The Ettes _Look At Life Again Soon_
"Fever Chill" Telekinesis _12 Desperate Straight Lines_

interview with pharmaceutical expert Jeremy Omni

"Chill Pill" Sounds Of JHS 126 Brooklyn _Electro Funk Sessions_
"We're Chilly" Solo Sound _We're Chilly_
"I'm Chillin'" Trouble Funk _Dropping Bombs: The Definitive Trouble Funk_
"Time To Chill" DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince _He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper_
"You Gots To Chill" EPMD _Strictly Business_

conclusion & goodbye

"Chilly Winds" Odetta _At The Gate Of Horn_
"Thrills & Chills" Helene Smith _Eccentric Soul (The Deep City Label)_
"Hot Thrills & Cold Chills" The Blue Notes _Hot Thrills & Cold Chills_

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Whither Chill?

(Image from here.)

This is a true story: when I first met with someone (I guess the volunteer coordinator) at one of the Portland radio stations at which I am now involved (this would have been in June of this year), she asked me, "What is it you would like to do at the station, & when do you want to start?"  I said, "Everything, & now."  I later apologized for being overeager, at which point she said, "Oh that's all right.  Portland has no chill."

At some point in conversation with someone at another radio station in town, I recounted this story to that station's Program Manager, who said, "What in the world is she talking about?  All Portland has is chill!"

So either this week's Self Help Radio is attempting to remedy the city's lack of chill, or just chilling out like the city always does.  It depends, as always, on how you measure the chill around here.  It has been chilly lately, but it certainly wasn't in the summer.

Also: please do not think "Self Help Radio & chill" is somehow supposed to be equivalent to "Netflix & chill" (which means this, in case you didn't know).  Nothing naughty should be happening during Self Help Radio.  It's bad enough as it is.

Self Help Radio's show about chill is on tomorrow morning from 6-8am on Freeform Portland, available at that website I just linked to, as well as on the air at 90.3 & 98.3 fm.  I'm not very chill, though.  I'll be a bit agitated throughout.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Preface To Chill: My Strange Love Of Fevers

Okay, I don't really love fevers.  What I love is when a fever breaks.

When I get sick, & when I get chills, I have the sense a fever isn't far behind.  & I feel strangely excited by that.  Chills are weird - you're cold but you're hot & you're constantly bundling up & throwing blankets off.  To have chills in the winter is a very confusing experience.

& believe me, I know fevers can be dangerous.  If you get over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you can have brain damage.  Your brain is boilin' in there!  But again, because of what happens when a fever breaks...  I kinda look forward to fevers.

That should read up there "my strange attraction to fevers."  Or is that worse?

When a fever breaks, I'm usually asleep.  & I wake up.  & the world is crystal clear in a way that I have never felt except maybe - maybe - on acid.  It's clear even in the dark, I can make out details all around me.  It's what I imagine it must feel like to reach nirvana.  & it's so relaxing, after a few moments of taking it all in, I just go back to sleep.

Chills may lead to fevers & fevers have so far always lead to fevers breaking.  A broken fever is a sensation unlike any other I have felt.

Now, watch as I die from a fever cooking my brain.  Take that, you weirdo lover of fevers!

Friday, December 06, 2019

Electronic Music Show

There's computer magic with this post.  It's dated 10pm Friday night, but it's being written early Saturday morning.  The post has been backdated - Blogger allows this - because I wanted to share the show I just did on KBOO, which was an electronica show called Plugged In.

Plugged In is usually a deejay mix show, with guest deejays doing live mixes, but tonight it was just me playing pretty electronica.  You can listen to the show any time by clicking on this sentence.  It'll also show you the playlist.

You may notice two things: one, the songs are all very long; & two, I don't talk much.  Both are by design.  I didn't feel chatty & the songs I picked took their time & I enjoy that.

When I do talk, I mention KBOO's Holiday Membership Drive.  If you like the sort of station that plays a tribute to Curtis Mayfield, & then two hours of IDM, followed by a show that begins with Syd Barrett & New Order, you're going to want to support KBOO.

This post is from the future.  I hope you heed its excellent suggestions.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Uninterrupted Ambiguity

Two things happened to me today which have nothing to do with radio.

One, I met my first Jehovah's Witnesses.  I enjoy talking to religious folks & would've talked longer but my oven was beeping because lunch was ready.  The truth is, I think they realized I was not going to be someone they could convert, & were glad to leave.  The most interesting thing (to me) was that they both carried iPads with them & I could see one of them marking my address as the equivalent of "lost cause."

Two, I just read a comic book to my wife.  It's very hard to share with someone the love of & obsession with comic books, but this came up because I've been loving the show Watchmen & my wife is confused by it.  I thought if maybe I could familiarize herself with the comics, I could lead her into what I like about the show & to liking it herself.  She remains unconvinced after issue # 1 but was impressed with the excerpt from Hollis Mason's book in the back.  She didn't know they included stuff like that in comics.

Among the things she doesn't like: busy backgrounds & lettering.  She doesn't like that she has to pay attention to both the words & the pictures, & even more the lettering - like when Rorschach talks - isn't clear enough for her to figure out what it's supposed to sound like.  I told her that didn't matter - it was just designed to denote difference - but she has qualms.

Tomorrow - or soon enough - we'll try another issue & if she hates it, I'll give up.

One thing that's fascinating - I haven't taken my copy of Watchmen # 1 out of its sleeve in probably two decades - maybe even three.  But it is well-worn.  I must've read that over & over & over.  It certainly was far more familiar to me than I thought it would be.  It's as familiar as some songs that I haven't heard in as long, but know the words immediately.

Other things happened today - but these two stand out somehow.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Self Help Radio 120219: Pulse

(Self Help Radio is a star!  Well, a neutron star.  Spinning very fast.  Original image here.)

You already knew what a pulse was.  Maybe not the "lentil" meaning, but you understood it was a beat or a throb.  Perhaps you've checked your pulse before, or enjoyed dancing to pulsing electronical music.  This week's Self Help Radio didn't just want to tell you what a pulse was, but to show you all the different dimensions of pulse.  Did we succeed?  Isn't it weird when questions are asked in writing?  You know the writer is going to answer in the affirmative.  It's a lame rhetorical device utilized by the lazy scribbler trying to hammer a point home without demonstrating his or her absolute lack of skill?  It's infuriating.  That being said, did we succeed?  Oh yes.

The show today featured a poet, a scientist (or sorts), a motivational speaker, & the founder of the alternative health craze called Pulsology.  There were lots of pulsing songs &/or songs about pulse.  At one point during the show, I myself took my pulse & had to check WebMD.  That's not on the air, though.  Thankfully.  That was not gripping radio.  Just me gripping my wrist & thinking I might pass out.

The show can be listened to as readily as a pulse at the Self Help Radio website.  Remember, you'll need a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp) to listen.  Anyone with a pulse is welcome!  Please no ghosts.  You haven't quite figured out computers & for some reason every time you touch the website, it fills with viruses.  The show is two hours long, & what happened on the show - songs & talk - is listed below.

Enjoy pulsing!

Self Help Radio Pulse Show

"Pulse" Ten Wheel Drive _Brief Replies_
"Pulse" The Psychedelic Furs _The Psychedelic Furs_
"Pulse" Todd Rundgren _Healing_

introduction & definitions

"Pulse" Loop _Fade Out_
"Pulse" David Ramos _This Up Here_
"Pulse" Lou Barlow _Brace The Wave_
"Pulse" Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark _History Of Modern_

interview with poet Phineas Johnston

"Let Me Feel Your Pulse" Furniture _The Wrong People_
"Picking Up The Pulse" The Hitmen _Torn Together_
"The Pulse Below The Ear" Chris Knox _Beat_
"My Pulse Pumps Passions" Hal Hubble _My Pulse Pumps Passions_

interview with motivational speaker Dirk Robbins

"Pulse Lovers" The Future _The Golden Hour Of The Future_
"Pulsating Dream" Kaleidoscope _Side Trips_
"Pulsing Pulsing" XTC _Rag & Bone Buffet_
"Slow Pulse Boy" And Also The Trees _Virus Meadow_

interview with sciencingtist Wally Grobe

"Pulse Of My Heart" The Soft Boys _Nextdoorland_
"Cosmic Pulse" Elephant Revival _Break In The Clouds_
"Find Me The Pulse Of The Universe" Laetitia Sadier _Silencio_
"Pulsing" The Body Electric _The Body Electric_

interview with inventor of Pulsology David Fruchter

"Pulsar (Fragment)" Astronaut Ape _Unknown Sector_
"Pulsar" Flaming Youth _Ark 2_
"Sibling Pulsars" Micromars _International Pop Modulations_
"Pulsar" Ride _Tomorrow's Shore_

conclusion & goodbye

"Pulsewidth" Aphex Twin _Selected Ambient Works 85-92_
"Pulse" Digitalism _Idealism_
"White Pulse" John Carpenter _Lost Themes II_

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Whither Pulse?

(Image from here.)

Why, anyone who's got a pulse will want to listen to this week's episode of Self Help Radio, which is about PULSE.  That means, no dead people!  No vampires, no zombies, no one without blood flowing through their veins!  What, you're cryogenically frozen?  Sorry, you will not want to listen to this week's show.  You say you can slow your bodily functions through meditation to the point where you seem like you have no pulse?  Nope!  This show is not for you.  Check your pulse!  Do you have a vibrant, beating heart?  Then you'll want to listen to this week's show.

Is it because you can tell your alive when you check your pulse that made me think of this week's theme?  Sure!  Why not?  It's nice to have a pulse you can check to see if you're alive!  Maybe it's time to check Self Help Radio's pulse!  D'you think the show's still alive?  It must be!  This week's show has the theme PULSE!

It's on tomorrow morning from 6-8am on Freeform Portland - online everywhere, terrestrially in Portland at both 90.3 + 98.3 fm.

Will it make your pulse quicken?  How could it not?

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Preface To Pulse: Not Really Much About Lentils, Sorry

To be fair, there will be some lentil content, but far more about the "beat" meaning of pulse.

Oh wait, you didn't know about that definition of pulse?  According to the Wikipedia, a pulse can also be "any agriculturally significant annual leguminous food crop, such as peas, beans, lentils, & chickpeas."

How I wish I could do an entire show about those pulses!  One day.  One day soon.

By the way, the word "pulse" meaning "throb" or "beat" is in no way related to the chickpea pulse.  The former comes from the Latin pulsus, meaning "beating from the blood in the veins" (as we use it now), while the latter comes from the Latin puls, which means "thick gruel, porridge, mush."  I guess mushy peas made them think of gruel or porridge as they slipped the word into English?

We're big fans of lentils here at Self Help Radio so I don't want you to think we forgot about them.  Especially as it's getting colder - a big ol' pot of lentil stew is just the ticket on long winter nights!  But for now - no radio show about them.  Alas!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Helpful Fellow

Someone just offered me bread.  "I work at a bakery," he said, wielding a large loaf of what I saw on the label was called Grand Central Rustic Bread.  "Have some."

Moments before, an irate young lady was angry at me for not buzzing her in.  She had buzzed four times, she was certain I saw the light, & now wanted to know if there were some issue that kept me from buzzing her in.  I had just stepped outside where she was smoking a joint & noticed the door was unlocked.  "It's not unlocked," she said, which indicated she had somehow propped it open so she wouldn't have to buzz in again.

She was very angry about not being buzzed in.  "Is there something else because if there isn't I'm done," she told me.

"What else could there be?" I said, genuinely perplexed.

It's quite cold out but there were lots of folks here - someone else obviously let her in - & I actually didn't see the light to let her in.  But that didn't matter.  My suspicion is that she was stoned & paranoid & angry & needed to believe it was personal.

What am I doing here?  Being a helpful fellow.  I'm shepherding new deejays who've just finished training & are doing their first radio show.  But only two people showed up.  & they regularly help out with another show.  I could be home, not being yelled at, & maybe enjoying a little whiskey.

The new deejay calls himself the Wolfman & is doing a passable Wolfman Jack impersonation.  He must know who that is.  I wonder if he knows who that is.  They're playing mostly hardcore punk, & he's quite hot on the mic, but I've recused myself to another room, where I imagine every song they're playing has a bad word in it.  He tells me checked all the music.  Ah well.

The irate young lady & another fellow went out for dinner.  She was muttering about "stupidity" & she raised her voice as she passed me.  I have no idea what slight she's imagining but I don't think she will ever believe it wasn't intended.  Ah well.  Just fifty minutes to go.

This is what it's like being a helpful fellow.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Morning

This morning I was on the air on Freeform Portland from 2 to 6am.  When I arrived, there was no deejay - I guess he (it was a he, I think) either didn't show or left early.  Freeform has a rudimentary automation system - slightly more fancy than iTunes, which was KVRX's automation system when I did a show there a couple or three years ago - but not as fancy as XRAY's, which comes on after my show on Tuesdays & will cut me off the air like it's bigger & stronger than I am (which it is).

The wife doesn't understand it but I fucking love late night radio shows.  I discovered later that the streaming computer was offline, so my show simply went out into the ether, where it may, millennia later, convince an alien civilization to find the source of the transmission & destroy it.

Someone at Freeform actually wrote that he wasn't going to do his show because the stream was down - I suppose there's a sense that the internet is more important than terrestrial broadcasting - but I feel like I'd do a late-night show (or even Self Help Radio) even if it were just me in a little room where the only people who might hear the show were confused passers-by.  That's how I deejayed for the years before I actually got on the radio.

The deejay scheduled to come in after me didn't show either, so I stuck around for thirty minutes to make sure (I also texted him but got no response) & then I wrote the programming folks & headed home.  Maybe that deejay also knew that the streaming was down?  I didn't - I kept mentioning the website on the air - but I suspect he didn't come in because you know it's Thanksgiving.

It goes without saying I think that I don't believe in anything supernatural so I don't really have a deity or helpful elves or a space consciousness to thank on Thanksgiving but I am very grateful to have landed in Portland.  It's an embarrassment of riches with radio here.  I am literally turning down opportunities to be on the radio because I simply don't have the time.  (Also, the wife is getting jealous - she's always known that radio is her competition - & when I do three shows on three different station in three days, as I did last week, she can get a little grumpy.).

So yeah I guess I have an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving.  Even if people don't show up for shows that I would have died to do this time last year.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Self Help Radio 112519: Magda's Birthday Show 2019

(Original image from here.)

My wife's birthday week begins now!  Her birthday is on the first of December, but I felt it would be weird to do a birthday show after her birthday, so she got a birthday show one week in advance.  You'd think she'd appreciate a thoughtful husband like me but she instead thinks I'm cheap & should buy her a "real present."

She doesn't know how cheap I am!  This show is basically recycled - made up of songs that originally appeared on the first six or so birthday shows I made her (circa 2005-2010) plus funnies from a couple of shows I did in 2014 & 2105.  It was so easy I might do it again!  It's certainly more economical than listening to hours of birthday songs to find the three or four I like.

But it's all for love!

If you like birthdays, or want to listen to a birthday show when your birthday comes around, or just want to hear me talk about & play songs about birthdays, you can listen to the show now & on anyone's birthday at Self Help Radio's website.  There's no cake & ice cream left but you'll need a password (selfhelp) & a username (SHR) to listen.  What's on the show, including the in-between bits, is listed below.

Happy birthday!

Magda's Birthday Show 2019

"Birthday (Icelandic)" The Sugarcubes _Birthday 12"_
"Happy Birthday" Altered Images _I Could Be Happy: The Best Of Altered Images_
"Happy Birthday" Concrete Blonde _Free_

introduction & explanation

"Birthday" CJ Buchanan _Wives Of The Saints_
"The Happy Happy Birthday Song" Arrogant Worms _Gift Wrapped: The Best Of The Arrogant Worms_
"The Birthday Party" George Carlin _When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_
"Unhappy Birthday" The Smiths _Strangeways, Here We Come_
"Sad Birthday Song" Girlfrendo _Surprise, Surprise It's Girlfrendo_

surprise phone call to the birthday girl!

"Sparkle Plenty Birthday Party Part I" Ben Aronin _Sparkle Plenty Birthday Party_
"Birthday Party" The Pixies Three _Growin' Up Too Fast: The Girl Group Anthology_
"You Are Allowed 20 Birthday Parties" Patton Oswalt _Werewolves & Lollipops_
"It's My Nose's Birthday" Jimmy Durante _The Great Schnozzle_

interview with birthday planner CJ Buchanan

"Birthday" The Ruby Suns with Esau Mwamwaya _Mojo Presents The White Album: Recovered_
"Birthday Lady" Emitt Rhodes _The Emitt Rhodes Recordings (1969 - 1973)_"Happy Birthday" The Innocence Mission _We Walked In Song_
"There's Always Someone's Birthday" Erik Halldén _Memories, Oh, The Memories_
"Happy Birthday You" Jay Jay Pistolet _Happy Birthday You_

birthday gift advice from the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Happy Birthday To Me" Rose Melberg _Portola_
"Birthday" The Besties _Home Free_
"Birth & Death" Lewis Black _Stark Raving Black_
"Phil Spector's Birthday Song" The Sleazy Beats _Pure Spun Sugar_
"Yer Birthday" Casper & The Cookies _Oh!_

interview with party planner Allen from Surprise! It's Tom! For your party!

"Happy Birthday (Yet Another)" The Bambi Slam _Happy Birthday (Yet Another)_
"Birthday Wishes" Happydeadmen _Game, Set, Match_
"Birthday" Boris Smile _Young & It Feels So Good_
"Birthday" Shonen Knife _Fun! Fun! Fun!_

conclusion & goodbye

"Happy Birthday" Will Powers _Dancing For Mental Health

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2019?

(I can't remember where I found this, sorry.)

Every year Self Help Radio has been on - well, almost every year - fifteen of the eighteen years it has been on - sixteen if you count this year - for some reason I skipped 2003 & 2005 - but I won't skip this year! - or next year, if anyone's expecting that - where was I? - oh yeah every one of those years I would reserve the episode of the show around the time of my wife's birthday for a birthday show filled with songs about birthdays just for her - well, the first birthday show I let her pick all the music - then I realized she would pick the same songs every year - that was troubling to me - so I let "birthday" itself be the theme - & this year as I've said will be no different!

Except it will.  This year will be the first Self Help Radio birthday show in Portland & I decided to revisit a few of the older shows - I am focusing on 2005 - 2010, actually - & play songs from those shows this year.  Why?  Haven't I been talking about that on this blog?  But wait, there's more!

Since 2014 I have been interviewing people on the show - people who are pretending to be experts about the show's theme - but who are in reality funny people I know - & tomorrow I will feature a few old interviews from previous birthday shows - in effect, it'll be like an old "clip show" - which the Wikipedia defines as "an episode of a television series that consists primarily of excerpts from previous episodes" - except you know Self Help Radio is not a television series (not yet, anyway) - & the excerpts will mostly be songs I played over a decade ago - so I'm not entirely sure it counts as "primarily of excerpts" - though the show will have new content - me hosting the show live on the air!  That's new!

So if you are having a birthday tomorrow - or if you've had a birthday this year - or if you plan to have one later this week or this month or this year - you can think of this week's Self Help Radio as your birthday show!

Listen tomorrow from 6-8am on Freeform Portland!

Unfortunately, my wife gets all the presents & cake.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2019: Do-Over

Yesterday I wrote about my disdain for radio shows that basically program the same show every year for holidays or whatever, playing the same songs over & over, & how in a sort of reaction to that I deliberately choose to rarely if ever repeat myself with both themes & even holiday themes.

The reason I brought this up was because, for maybe the first time, I'm going to repeat myself for my wife's birthday show.  I said I'd tell you just why I'm doing that on the blog today, & so I shall.

Reason number one: I've never done a birthday show in Portland before.

Yeah, that's true.  Listeners here haven't heard the first fourteen or fifteen birthday shows, so they might be confused why I'd have a birthday show & not played a favorite - which I might have played over a decade ago.  & the show has just been on the air for like two months - how the hell is anyone to know I don't repeat myself?

Reason number two: I haven't really been looking for new birthday songs.

This is also true.  For some reason I just haven't taken the time to look for new birthday songs.  I have a handful, & some from last year I didn't play, but I don't know if it's enough to program two hours.  That's on me, I know - I certainly could take the time & dig for more birthday songs.  But then there's...

Reason number three: Sleep deprivation.

As I wrote here on this blog a week ago, I haven't slept a lot recently.  In fact, earlier this week I got very little sleep because I did three shows on three different radio stations within about four days. Sleep happened in snatched moment.  My thought about basically re-running an episode of Self Help Radio - not really a re-run, more a clip show - was that I could perhaps get a little sleep this week.

Have I?  I have!

Wait, did I just say "a clip show"?  What does that mean?  I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Friday, November 22, 2019


As a rule, I'm opposed to doing the same thing on Self Help Radio.  I don't repeat themes unless they're holiday-related (including my anniversary) & even then I try to make them "new," whether playing Christmas music I've never played before on my Christmas show or coming up with a new Halloween-related theme on my Halloween show.

Why do I do this?  I guess I've listened to too many lazy themed shows in my life.  At one station I deejayed at, there was a blues program that played Elvis all December long.  His Christmas music.  He's not even a blues performer.  A whole month of programming just thrown out the window because, for some reason, the programmer believed the same Elvis songs they played every year should be played around Christmas.

Perhaps I am rebelling against that sort of radio show.

Except.  This week, I'm sort of doing a rerun.

It's for the annual birthday show I've done around the time of my wife's birthday every year.  In eighteen years of Self Help Radio, I've programmed fifteen years of birthday music for her.  That's a lot of birthday songs.  & I have to confess: there are plenty more.  There are as many birthday songs as there are Christmas songs.  Or at least almost as many.

One thing I used to say is that, however, the majority of those songs (like the majority of Christmas songs) aren't very good.  I don't think that's true.  I simply don't like the majority of those birthday songs.  You might.  Saying something is good or bad is a subjective opinion stated as fact & I find that boorish & limiting.

In any event: not this year.  I am sort of creating a rerun this year.  To be sure, I'll be in the studio at Freeform running the board & doing the airbreaks.  But I will choose from a selection of birthday songs from the past fifteen shows & replaying some of my favorite fake interviews from the last few years.

But why?  Why now?  I'll tell you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


If you'd like to hear the sub show I did last night - which was of a heavy metal show, but I am not a heavy metal guy - so I play lots of noisy indie rock & some of what they used to call "post-hardcore" - but not a lot of punk - you can listen to it at the KBOO Pandeamonium page.

KBOO archives all their shows, which is super cool.  It's three hours long, & feels like it.  Around 2:56am, I wondered where the next deejay was, & she just magically showed up - apparently she was sleeping in the little room in the back where people can dub CDs from the music library.

So lucky I wasn't deejaying in the nude like I usually do.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Self Help Radio 111819: Number One Radio Show

(foam finger from here)

Imagine if anyone actually listened to Self Help Radio & they thought I was really calling the show the "number one radio show"?  I'd catch such shit.  Luckily we live & breathe in obscurity.

They'd be wrong, of course, to think the show was billing itself as the "number one radio show."  It's mainly about being "number one."  Whether being a number one something (fan, son, etc.) or being someone's "number one," it was the idea of a ranked position & not the number itself.  So that imaginary person I invented who bristles at the idea of anyone thinking Self Help Radio is the "number one radio show" can go take a limping leap at the moon.

Still, this might be the number one radio show to examine the idea of "number one."  Let's just say that it is until such time as evidence exists to suggest otherwise.

The show is safely sitting at Self Help Radio dot net when you want to listen.  The number one thing to remember about listening is that you need a username - SHR - & a password - selfhelp - to do so.  What happens on the show is below, songs & interviews.

We're (almost certainly not) number one! We're (almost certainly not) number one!

Self Help Radio Number One Show

"Number One" Etta James _R & B Dynamite_
"Number One" The Exciters _The Golden Torch Revisited_
"Number One" The Sad Sack Set _ Die Frankfurt Szene - Smash ...! Boom ...! Bang ...!_

introduction & definitions

"Number One" Bill Moss _Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label_
"Number One" Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge _Natural Act_
"Number One" The Groove Farm _Plug (The Story Of Pop So Far)_
"Number One" Autumn Teen Sound _Seven Summers (International Pop, Vol. 2)_
"Number One" Colleen Green _Sock It To Me_

interview with Rupert Gleam
Ned Dry interrupts

"Being Number One" Black Box Recorder _Passionoia_
"Number Ones" The Push Kings _The Push Kings_
"Cretinous Number Ones" Guided By Voices _How Do You Spell Heaven?_
"I Take It You Are Prepared To Meet Number 1?" The Prisoner _The Prisoner [File #3] (Original Television Soundtrack)_
"The No. 1 Song In Heaven" Sparks _No. 1 In Heaven_

interview with writer/producer of # 1 pop songs Rupert Gleam

"Lonesome Number One" Roy Orbison _Roy Orbison Sings Don Gibson_
"Hello Number One" Kitty Wells & Red Foley _Together Again_
"Number One Son" Camera Obscura _Underachievers Please Try Harder_
"# 1 Must Have" Sleater-Kinney _All Hands On The Bad One_
"Number One Fantastic Day" Helen Love _Radio Hits 3_

interview with seeking of #1 world records Lollop Chumsy

"Number One Fool" The Fabulous Emotions _Northern Soul Fever 3_
"Number One In Your Heart" The Monitors _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6: 1966_
"Number One Attraction" The Younghearts _All About Love_
"I'm Still # 1 (Numero Uno Re-Recording)" Boogie Down Productions _Jack Of Spades_

a list of seven United States number ones

"My Number One" Gregory Isaacs _The Story Of Jamaican Music (Tougher Than Tough)_
"Number One Station" Dennis Alcapone _High Explosion (DJ Sounds From 1970 To 1976)_
"Number One Fan" Homer & Jethro _Any News From Nashville?_
"Koi No Ban Ban (Number One Edition Of Love)" Linda Yamamoto _Nippon Girls (Japanese Pop, Beat, & Bossa Nova 1966-1970)_
"Number 1 Boy" Astro Babys _Sweet Hot Drive_

conclusion & goodbye

"Tighten Up (Japanese Gentlemen Stand Up Please)" Yellow Magic Orchestra _Kyoretsu Na Rhythm_
"Straight To... Number One (Dreamcatcher's Mix)" Touch & Go _Queer As Folk_
"Girl Number One" Tim Yen Yen _Everything Beautiful Reminds Me Of You_

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Whither Number One Radio Show?

(I honestly could have made this myself but I am lazy so I took the above image from this website.)

Let me clear up a misconception.  This week's Self Help Radio is not proclaiming itself to be the "number one radio show."  If there were indeed rankings of radio programs - & I think there might be - Self Help Radio wouldn't even make the list.  No, this week's show is exploring the idea of being "number one."

Maybe you think it's just about the number one.  No, it's about the idea of being "number one."  If it were about the number one, the show would just have the theme "one."

What does it mean, being "number one"?  According to the Urban Dictionary, "number one" can mean:

1) Yourself.  Gotsta look after number one

2) The best, greatest of all time.  He was number one after he won

3) The shortest haircut a guy (or gal) can get.  Check out that bogan with a number one!

4) When you pee/piss/urinate.  Hey I'll be right back. I've got to go take a number one!

For our purposes, I think the show will cover definition number 2.

Do you understand now?  Listen tomorrow morning from 6-8 am on Freeform Portland & you'll understand.  Or maybe not.  There are no promises being made.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Preface To Number One Radio Show: What Is Sleep Anyway?

Do you get a good night's sleep?  Like, maybe six or seven or eight hours of sleep a night?  Really?  What's that like?

If you can indulge me, I'd like to describe an average couple of days - Sunday through Tuesday, so three days - for me.  By the way, there are many ways these days could be organized differently, but that would require foresight by yours truly, & that's not happening.

I wake after a probably drunken sleep Sunday morning.  Hey!  It was Saturday night!

I spend most of the day (there are dogwalks & hopefully a nap & I have to make dinner as well) working on Self Help Radio.  If you don't listen to the show - & maybe if you do - you're not aware of the work I put into the silly interviews, the selection of songs, the somewhat-amusing interstitial pieces.  It takes a while.  I haven't come up with a good system for all this.  I wish I could.  I have tried lots of things.  None seems more streamlined than another.

Usually I get to bed around ten or maybe eleven pm on Sunday nights.  This hurts a little, because it has meant, since I got my Freeform show, I miss John Oliver.  I can see him on Monday but for some reason I like to see things live or mostly live.  Anyway.  We make sacrifices.

What happens is I sleep a fitful few hours.  I wake at 4am, I shower, I gather my things, I head out to Freeform, which is north of here, & about fifteen to twenty minutes away, at 5am.  I stop to get a soda at a 7-11, I like to have a little caffeine, but I am there twenty or so minutes early.  It's who I am.  Don't judge me.

The show happens.  I hope it goes well.  The show that follows mine is awesome & I chat with the deejay.  I drive home, it's 8am, I avoid the highway.  I get home around 8:30.  If the wife is home, we walk the dogs.  Mostly she walks the dogs while I am on the radio.

Around 9:30 I feed my animals.  At some point I have lunch.  It's a haze around that time.  Did I lunch or feed the animals?  Have they eaten me?  I fed them, then.

For two hours - after lunch - I sleep.  It's not always noon to two, but it's around then.  It's not entirely restful or pleasant but it's necessary.  I sometimes oversleep.  I sometimes don't.  What do you want from me?

When I wake, I need to work on my show from XRAY.  Before that, though, I edit my Self Help Radio episode for the website, & write on this here blog, &etc.  I have a rough recording that I have to edit.  I don't change anything about the airbreaks - how could I?  You hear the show as it happened.

The XRAY show gets my attention.  Then, at some point, it's evening, the wife is home, I make dinner, there's the requisite dogwalk.

Sometimes I have the XRAY show done around the time I feed the kids, 9:30 or so.  Sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I can nap from ten to midnight.  Sometimes I don't.

Around 1am, I gather stuff & head out to XRAY (which is across the street from Freeform), & I program the show Sugar Substitute.  I am done at 4am, I head home.

Mostly I get maybe two or three hours sleep before I am awakened for the morning dogwalk.  Some Tuesdays I don't get to go back to sleep until the evening, some Tuesdays I nap after lunch.  But mostly I operate on very little sleep.

Is this sustainable?  Next week I am subbing a show on KBOO on Wednesday night/Thursday morning from midnight to 3am.  When am I supposed to sleep?  What is a good night's sleep, anyway?  As I have grown older, my dreams have gotten more vivid, memorable, & confusing.  I think I enter REM sleep right after I conk out.

Is it because for three or four days of the week, my sleep is erratic & limited?  I wish I knew.

Friday, November 15, 2019

When Will I Ever Learn?

People often say, "When will I ever learn?" after they have done something stupid, specifically something stupid they've done before.  Like buying a car from a family member.

"I bought this 1995 Dodge Dart from my brother Wayne for what I thought was a sweet deal - four hundred bucks!  Now I realize it's because the engine is made of dark chocolate.  Oh when will I ever learn?"

Sometimes, when staring at a screen or an empty page or the sky, a phrase will pop into my head.  If I am in front of a computer screen, I can sometimes type it into a text program or a search engine; if I have a pen or pencil, I can scribble it done; if I am staring into the sky, I can imagine it as if written by precocious birds showing off a little because they can.  & I will say to myself, "Why did I think of that?"

& so a few minutes ago, in regards to nothing, my brain said this to me: "When will I ever learn?"  It was followed by a brief memory of the frontage road that goes from Alta Mere Drive to I-30 in Fort Worth (going east).  That's how I often got onto I-30 on the way to Dallas.  I must've driven that way hundreds of times, so it's natural that occasionally I remember that route, although why I remembered it randomly while thinking of the phrase "When will I ever learn?" is a mystery.

It strikes me that, idioms aside, I really don't know when or if I'll ever learn why some phrases trigger seemingly random visual memories.  That happens more than I care to admit.  & right now I don't care to admit that.

Speaking of "care to admit," check out this lovely exchange, from here:

What is the meaning of care to admit in the context below?
I go to the bathroom, too. Sometimes more frequently than I care to admit.
Why do people use this "than I care to admit" in what situations?

When you're saying something that you don't usually tell anyone, or say in public because you might be embarrassed about it, shy or simply just don't want to tell.

Mostly used in a non-serious way, although there may be exceptions:

I love her more than I care to admit. (basically would mean: I love her more than I really want to tell anyone/her)

I cry whenever I see a sad movie, more than I care to admit. (basically would mean:I cry whenever I see a sad movie more than I want to tell anyone/Let anyone know)

He eats more than he cares to admit (basically would mean: He eats more than he wants to tell anyone)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

When Does A Thursday Not Feel Like A Thursday?

When it's Thursday.

Alas, I am too old to submit this wonderful riddle I just made up on my very own to one of my favorite Twitter accounts, Kids Write Jokes.  Here's a recent joke that's amazing:

Why did the banana flush himself down the toilet?

Because he was peeled

This is something I've noticed: people make these accounts & a select few get book deals.  I bet the kids don't see any of that cash, do they?  It's the curators in this society that are making the big literary bucks these days.

Anyway, I am busy writing jokes that people will think kids wrote, & that's a Thursday for me, more a less.

When is it a Friday for me?

When I haven't gone home yet.

Hm.  Better stick to curating.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Self Help Radio 111119: Weird

There's an interesting story about that image up there.  The original (without the SHR logo) was taken by me when we visited Portland in November of 2017.  We had no idea we'd be living here two years later.  The original is a bunch of signs to pointing to hotels & fast food joints, under which (as you can see) someone just posted a sign that said "weird."  I have no idea what the story behind it is.

Portland has the capacity for great weirdness, & that's one of its many charms.  By contrast, the Dallas area has pockets of weirdness but the overwhelming money-grubbing desperation & money-celebrating inebriation of the metroplex makes weirdness a precious commodity.  There never was a "Keep Dallas Weird" campaign as far as I could tell, because Dallas was never really weird.  (I'd guess however there were many "Keep [insert area of Dallas] Weird" campaigns.)

We talk about Portland's weirdness & we celebrate it & we ask for you to support the experiment in free expression that is Freeform Portland on this week's Fall Fundraiser show.  Your support is greatly appreciated!  & I thank Jaxxmaster Kevrock for helping me out today.

Please excuse the long airbreaks - there are super tunes here in-between.  Listen now at Self Help Radio's website & remember the username (SHR) & password (selfhelp).  It's one long two-hour mp3 & what songs I play are below.

Did I thank you for your support?  Give what you can to help out our amazing little station!

Back to the regular weirdness next week.


Self Help Radio Weird Show

"Weird" The Wee Four _She'll Hurt You In The End (Teener Garage Explosion Volume 2!)_
"Weird" Kicking Giant _Halo_
"I'm Weird" Guana Batz _Loan Sharks_

"Whole Weird World" The Chills _Kaleidoscope World_
"Worlds Gone Weird" Crystal Stilts _Nature Noir_
"Weird On Me" Lloyd Cole _She's A Girl & I'm A Man_

"Weirdo" New Order _Brotherhood_
"Weirdo" The Charlatans _Between 10th & 11th_
"Weirdo (At 25,000 Miles Per Hour)" The Dentists _Deep Six_

"You Make Me Feel Like A Weirdo" Pataphysics _Take A Look Out Your Window_
"All The Weird Kids Know" Built By Snow _Mega_
"Totally Wired" The Fall _Totally Wired: The Rough Trade Anthology_

"Weird Diseases" The Magnetic Fields _50 Song Memoir_
"Weird Heart" The Lovely Eggs _Have You Ever Heard The Lovely Eggs?_
"Weird Son" Cloud Nothings _Leave You Forever EP_

"Some Weird Sin" Iggy Pop _Lust For Life_
"Is She Weird" Pixies _Bossanova_
"Extremely Weird Snakes" The Snow Queen _The Patio Collection Volume Two_

"I Like You Weird" Love Love _Love Love_
"Weirdoz Everywhere" The Prefab Messiahs _Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive_
"Weird With You" Ex Cops _Daggers_

"Wonder" Colin Meloy _Colin Meloy Sings Live!_
"It's So Weird" Juliana Hatfield _Weird_