Saturday, December 05, 2020

Photographs Of Places I've Lived # 13: Chateau Depew

(image from Google Maps)

It's really a shame to see that this delightful four-plex on the eastern edge of Hyde Park in Austin (it never really felt like Hyde Park) is now called Hyde Park Place.  The entire time I lived there it was referred by me & my myriad roommates as "Chateau Depew."  The back unit that's jutting out there on the left, that's where I lived, although my room was in the back & the window was added after I left.

Gosh, I think I lived there from the beginning of 1994 till the end of 1999.  I'm trying to remember the names of all the roommates I had - & I lived alone there for quite a stretch too - Russell, Richard, Meredith, Mike.  There was a girl who stayed there for the summer who was having trouble getting a visa to stay in the country - she was Indian - I have forgotten her name.  A woman named Anne who now absolutely hates me stayed for a while.  A woman named Tracy who went off to Hollywood at some point stayed with me for like three days when she was in-between houses.  I would invite people to stay whenever.

The five years I was there were the longest I ever lived in a single place in my life.  I got my first real full-time job - it's actually the only real full-time job I've ever had - while I was living there, & I also got started at KVRX while I was living there.  I got my first pet, a lovely but sickly cat named Blue Boy, while I was living there.  Blue Boy died of complications from feline leukemia in late 1999 & at that point I felt like I needed to leave.  There was also water damage that needed to be repaired because of a leak & the landlord probably wanted to fix it & then charge more exorbitant rates.  When I moved out in late 1999, Austin had almost 99% occupancy & he probably doubled the rent after repairs (& putting in that window).

I was very lonely at Chateau Depew.  My relationship with the first woman who really loved me ended in 1994, really barely after I moved in, & though we managed to stay friends for a little while, eventually she tired of me.  I made a lot of friends at KVRX & I would also date women who called my radio show - although I would invite them up to the station to meet me, knowing a homely boy like me wouldn't fare well on a blind date.  In fact, I started deejaying at KVRX in August 1994 & I stopped in August 1999 - the entire time I had my first radio experience, I was at Chateau Depew.

One thing I was proud of - the thing that didn't get my 100$ deposit returned - I felt bad about this but didn't have the skills to actually clean this - was a wall collage I started in 1994 that eventually covered the entire east wall of my living room.  I was inspired by the collage in Prick Up Your Ears although I didn't mutilate library books to create it.  Here is a composite of what it looked like:

Sorry it's not more artfully put together.  It's late, this is the best I can do right now.  The picture is dated December 1999, so I suppose this was the whole thing - I would move out a few days later.

Gosh, looking at that & thinking about that place - I suspect nearly every girl I ever kissed - not all of them, but most of them - I kissed in that apartment.  But really I was very unhappy most of the time, I would try to escape as often as I could.  I discovered the internet while I lived there, but had a terrible connection at home, so I'd go up to my work, even in the middle of the night, just to chat with folks & look around the web.  & of course I'd be near KVRX, which was on campus.

Why do I feel so strange about looking at that place, looking back?  It was now over twenty years ago.  I guess it's because I feel I became an adult in that place, even if I were basically still living like a kid in college.  But I was still so fucked up, & although it wouldn't quite cure me - I'm still something of a mess - it would take the next place I'd live in for me to become more like I am now, for me to start becoming what I have ended up as.

Friday, December 04, 2020

December 1st On The 4th

Self Help Radio's resident cinephile Chuck appeared on this week's show with recommendations for movies that were released on December 1st throughout time & space - he mentioned films released in countries other than the United States.  But what if you missed the segment?  Never fear!  Chuck has provided us with resources:

Here is his Twitter thread in which he discusses the movies (& other stuff) he's watching. The pinned tweet is where the discussion is.

He created not only one but two Youtube playlists for the event.  The first is the list of releases he found there.  (With the caveat that they are not all recommended!)  The second is a shortened list, more finely honed.  He does add it's a "work in progress"!

He's also continuing to work on the reviews he has on Letterboxd.  Pair this with the Youtube playlist & determine what you'd like to watch!

It can be December 1st for as long as you'd like.  If it were your birthday as it was my wife's, you'd doubtless want it to continue for as long as possible.

Chuck will return to Chuck's Happily Unsophisticated Cinema Korner for the Christmas show in a couple of weeks, but you should follow him on Twitter because he keeps up with what he's watching in real time.

Much thanks, Chuck!

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Self Help Radio 120120: Magda's Birthday Show 2020

(Original image here.)

Wow, three hours of birthday songs.  Holy moley.  I honestly didn't think I could pull it off.  I'm runnin' outta birthday songs, friends!

But this year I had a lot of help!  In addition to the interviews (which are listed below), I asked friends & family of Magda to send voice messages to me wishing her a happy birthday, & they are sprinkled liberally around the show.

But seriously.  Musicians I love: write more birthday songs!  I'll need three hours more this time next year.  Thank you!

Listen to the show when it's your birthday at the Self Help Radio website.  You'll need a username & a password to listen if you've not listened before.  I wish I could tell you what those are, & I can, they're "SHR" & "selfhelp" respectively, case-sensitive, no quotation marks.  What happens on the show, including the songs you'll hear, is chronicled below.

My wife is celebrating her birthday by going on a bike ride.  I'm going back to sleep.  I was up late!

Self Help Radio Magda's Birthday Show 2020
"Happy Birthday In Jail" Tall Tall Trees _A Wave Of Golden Things_
"Birthday Cake" My Name Is Music _Revolution_
"50th Birthday" Serengeti _Kenny Dennis LP_


"Birthday" Jenny Adkins _Birthday_
"25" Oh Pep! _I Wasn't Only Thinking About You_
"Happy Birthday" Clem Snide _Soft Spot_
"Birthday" Bari Koral Family Rock Band _The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee_
"Birthday" Broken Spindles _Inside/Absent_

interview with birthday gift specialist Marty Matthews

"Birthday" Carnival Youth _Good Luck_
"The Birthday Song" Field Mouse _Meaning_
"A Birthday Present" Sylvia Plath _Sylvia Plath Reads Her Poems_
"Birthday" Shallow _High Flyin' Kid Stuff_
"Happy Birthday" New Swears _Illuminati Knights_

interview with birthday gift specialist Garfield Gum

"Birthday" Caspar Babypants _Baby Beatles!_
"Happy Birthday Yeah! Yeah! Wow! Wow!" Orange Range _Panic Fancy_
"Birth" Charles Bukowski _At Terror Street & Agony Way_
"Birthday" Sierra Hull _Weighted Mind_
"Birthday Cake" Circa Waves _Sad Happy_

another episode of Chuck's Happily Unsophisticated Cinema Korner

"Birthday" Gia Margaret _There's Always Glimmer_
"Birthday Suit" Charlie Worsham _Beginning Of Things_
"Surprise Parties" Ali Siddiq _Damaged Goods_
"Birthday" Fenne Lily _Breach_
"Happy Birthday" Dwight Twilley _Always_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Happy Birthday" The Ting Tings _Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Is... Awesome! Volume 2_
"Happy Birthday" Luck Of Aleia _Six Songs_
"Birthday Song" Reversible Chords _Reversible Chords_
"Birthday Cake" Muler _The State Of Play_
"Happy Birthday" Uzeda _Out Of Colours_

a dip into previously rejected birthday tunes

"Happy Birthday Blues" Kathy Young _I Wish I Were A Princess: Great Lost Female Teen Idols_
"Adrian's Birthday" The Rascals _Freedom Suite_
"Birthday" The Invisible Cities _Watertown_
"Birthday Song (Death March)" Victory At Sea _Memories Fade_
"Birthday (MJ Cole Remix)" Disclosure _Energy_

conclusion & goodbye

"Happy Birthday Baby" Hiss Golden Messenger _Terms Of Surrender_
"Birthday" Dan Bern _Road Angel Project Volume 4_
"Don't Worry Happy Birthday" Yonder Mountain String Band _YMSB EP 13_
"Roller Rink" The Still, Small Voice _Roller Rink_
"The Birthday Song" Mac Davis _Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me/Stop & Smell The Roses_

Monday, November 30, 2020

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2020

(Image from here.)

Every year, on or near (before, not after) my wife's birthday, I make a birthday show for her.  Mostly it's songs about birthdays, birthday songs.  The show has been around for about eighteen years; I've made birthday shows for her for sixteen of those years.  I can't explain two of those years.  I'm surprised she forgave me.

One of the things I try to do for the shows is never play the same recording twice.  So, for example, I may play the Beatles' "Birthday" - & I have - but I've only played the version on The White Album once.  I've played covers of the song a lot - on almost every show, probably - but only that recording once.  Unless.

Last year I did a kind of "best of" & replayed some birthday songs from previous episodes.  But I'm not going to do that this time around.  & I have three hours to fill up!

If you're curious about all the songs I've played, you can look at all the playlists here.  You'll have to click through.  They're not in a list or anything.

Tonight - or tomorrow morning - at midnight on 90.7 fm KBOO Portland - & online at - you can hear the 2020 version of my birthday show for my wife.  Whose name is Magda.  It's on for three long hours, midnight to 3am.  Guests abound!  Merriment & fun!  She'll probably be asleep though.  It's very late at night.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2020: Three Hours Of Birthday Songs

This year, because Self Help Radio is now three hours long (what have I done to deserve this) I had to find lots more birthday songs than usual.  Last year I decided to reach back into the past & play birthday songs I already played & also birthday interviews & bits I had already made.  Not so this year!

Three hours of birthday songs.  Something I always say in these posts is some variation of "there aren't as many birthday songs as there are Christmas songs but the ratio of good to bad birthday songs is really quite close to the ratio of good to bad Christmas songs."  I do in fact have a folder filled with nearly two hundred birthdays songs which I don't find awful but don't know if I'd play them on a birthday show.

Three hours of birthday songs.  If I drop those songs into iTunes, it tells me that that's over eleven hours of music.  Of, nearly four episodes of Self Help Radio.  Since every episode is three hours long.

Three hours of birthday songs.  & that doesn't even count a bunch of songs I have that mention birthdays but aren't really about birthdays.  I have a few of those.  Also I have songs I've collected from this year which I haven't listened to yet.  Which I probably won't get to listen to because I have to start putting the show together now!  Hours ago!  Days ago!

Three hours of birthday songs.  Holy shit.  Three hours of birthday songs.  I certainly hope my wife appreciates it.  Oh wait.  She'll sleep through it.  But then why do I...?

Oh why do I do anything.