Saturday, January 22, 2022

Movies Of 1986

(image from the IMDb)

Though this past week's show was mainly about music from 1986, our resident cinephile Chuck did stop by to talk a bit about his favorite films from 1986.  Despite thinking it wasn't a very good year from movies, he happened to talk about eight of them, including his favorite movie of the year, & spoiler alert, it's the one in the picture above.

If you haven't already, go listen to the dang show!  At either or!

Explore Chuck's thought & resources in these places:

His Twitter feed.
His Letterboxed Reviews.
His YouTube Playlist.
The IMDb list.
& the IMDb list of films available to stream for free elsewhere.

As always, we hope you discover something fun, & we encourage you always to watch more movies!


Friday, January 21, 2022

Books Of 1986

(images on this page from Goodreads.)

On this week's show - which mainly focused on my favorite music from 1986 - we had a visit from our favorite librarian Carole, who talked about some notable literary releases of 1986.  Like the one above.

She also discussed the first book of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, the cover of which is below:

She talked at length about Gary Paulsen's book Hatchet, the cover of which is below:

So beloved is this book, Carole asked me to share a couple of obituaries of Gary Paulson: one & two.

Finally, she discussed the first book of the Babysitters Club series, called Kristy's Great Idea, published in 1986.  It looks like this:

Carole sent me a few links about the endurance of the Babysitters Club, focusing on:

It goes without saying if you want to hear the segment, you should do so by listening at or  & be glad we have someone as smart as Carole around.  Otherwise this show would have no culture at all!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Self Help Radio 011822: 1986

(All cover images from Discogs.)

& here it is: three hours of music from 1986.  It was a very important year of music for me (as I keep saying) & playing it & experiencing it for three hours was quite emotional for me.  & still I didn't play all my favorites!  I'm planning to revisit this in six months or so, there is so much more great music from 1986.

Anyway, the less I yammer on about it, the better.

You can listen to the show at both the KBOO website & at the Self Help Radio website.  As usual, if you choose the latter, remember the username (SHR) & the password (selfhelp) to access the files.  The things that happened on the show are noted below - songs & all.

Happy birthday to me!  I think I had a decent eighteenth year.  The soundtrack was aces.

Self Help Radio 1986 Show
"Greetings To The New Brunette" Billy Bragg _Talking With The Taxman About Poetry_
"Head Full Of Steam" The Go-Betweens _Liberty Belle & The Black Diamond Express_
"Haunted" The Pogues _Sid & Nancy: Love Kills (Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack)_


"I Know It's Over" The Smiths _The Queen Is Dead_
"But Not Tonight" Depeche Mode _Black Celebration_
"I Want To Live" This Mortal Coil _Filigree & Shadow_
"If You Leave" Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark _If You Leave_
"Bizarre Love Triangle" New Order _Substance_

our favorite librarian Carole stops by to talk about books from 1986

"Jack Of All Parades" The Costello Show _King Of America_
"Kim The Waitress" Green Pajamas _Kim The Waitress_
"Paper Wraps Rock" Momus _Circus Maximus_
"Hate My Way" Throwing Muses _Throwing Muses_
"I Want You" Elvis Costello & The Attractions _Blood & Chocolate_

our resident cinephile Chuck talks about his favorite movies of 1986

"Soul In Isolation" The Chameleons _Strange Times_
"U.S. 80's-90's" The Fall _Bend Sinister_
"Rise" Public Image Ltd. _Album_
"Cities In Dust" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Tinderbox_
"Some Candy Talking" The Jesus & Mary Chain _Some Candy Talking EP_

people were born in 1986?!?

"Sad Waters" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds _Your Funeral... My Trial_
"Star Power" Sonic Youth _Evol_
"Love's Easy Tears" Cocteau Twins _Love's Easy Tears_
"Gunning For The Buddha" Shriekback _Big Night Music_
"Gather Up Your Wings & Fly" Felt _Forever Breathes The Lonely Word_

a discussion of the C86 movement

"You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends" The Wedding Present _You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends_
"I Don't Wanna Be Friends With You" Shop Assistants _Shop Assistants_
"Really Stupid" The Primitives _Really Stupid_
"I Could Be In Heaven" The Flatmates _I Could Be In Heaven_
"Beatnik Boy" Talulah Gosh _Steaming Train EP_
"Going To Heaven To See If It Rains" The Close Lobsters _Going To Heaven To See If It Rains_

conclusion & goodbye

"Love Affair With Everyday Living" The Woodentops _Giant_
"Life's What You Make It" Talk Talk _The Colour Of Spring_
"All In My Mind" Love & Rockets _Express_
"City Of Dreams" Talking Heads _True Stories_

Monday, January 17, 2022

Whither 1986?

(But this is a music show! Image from here.)

Why am I doing a radio show featuring music from 1986?  It's actually quite straightforward, which is not an adjective regularly used around here.

This is my birthday week - my birthday is on Thursday.  Self Help Radio began in October of 2002, & when the first Self Help Radio aired on my birthday week - it was January 22, 2003, which was after my birthday, & I've never done a birthday show after my birthday since then - I thought it might be fun to play music from the year of my birth, which was 1968.  & it so happened that every year after that - except one, 2004, when I had a guest program the show the week of my birth - I've moved a year up.  Last year for example I played my favorite music of 1985.  Next year it will be 1987.

1986 was a very important year for me musically.  In the fall I went away to college & I experienced freedom for the very first time.  That meant buying lots of records with grant & scholarship money, & listening to them in my room as often as possible.  So there's way too much music from 1986 to fit into a single radio show.  I'm sure I'll continue the show later in the year like I did 1985.

Also, many of the songs I love from that year are quite long.  What up with that?

Come back to my eighteenth year with me tonight on 90.7 fm &  Midnight to 3am.  Maybe you were eighteen then too?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Preface To 1986: My Eighteenth Year

That image up there - which I found here - is a page from my high school yearbook with my picture on it.  I actually don't have many pictures from when I was 18, which is what I was in 1986.  & though I do have that yearbook mouldering in a box somewhere, I have very little desire to open it & scan a doubtless embarrassing picture of me for this dumb blog.  & the site where I found it wants money for something I have in a box.  So squint, you might make me out!  It's all you're getting.

For the past few years, I've been using this blog as a way to talk about my past around the time of my birthday, but lately I've just been committed to other projects - including another radio show, which is recorded, not programmed live - to spend writing about my dumb life.  It's a shame though - I think I enjoyed my eighteenth year, although if I could do it all over again, I would've done it without person I called my "best friend" & with a lot more humility.  I was an arrogant ass more often than not.  For no real reason.  With no real achievements or accomplishments to back it up.  Just absolutely full of shit.

Two major things happened to me when I was eighteen - I got my first kiss, & I left home to go to college.

The first was almost a fluke.  I fell in love with a girl in the high school library.  I introduced myself.  She seemed to like me.  Then a week later it was over.  & then she moved away.  In truth, I was wholly unprepared, but it did give me a chance to pine for her for two years.  I was already pretty good at being lovelorn.  & of course my favorite music was made by broken-hearted boys.

Going to college was almost an accident.  No one talked to me about it.  No teachers or guidance counselors & no one from my family, none of whom had attended college.  I kind of just went along with folks.  I took the SATs & I think my high school teacher recommended I send the results to several colleges (I think this is in the application).  Three of those colleges I would never have been able to afford.  I did apply to the University Of Texas At Austin, & I got in (it wasn't hard in those days, especially if you were a resident of the state) but I didn't know about getting on-campus housing so I missed that window.  If a classmate I only barely knew hadn't called me out of the blue in the summer & asked if I wanted to live with him, I would've been fucked.

No one told me about financial aid, either - I was in line at UT (this was long before computers) when someone asked if I had applied for any.  She was kind & saw my application through the different steps.  & I am so glad this nameless heroine did - because I was very poor, & in the 1980s the government still gave you free money to go to college.  Even though I did take out loans, I wasn't left with tremendous debt after college thanks to work study & Pell grants.

What ended up happening is that I lived with two fellows that I barely knew, who weren't very much like me, while the person I called my "best friend" - who not very secretly despised me & belittled me at every opportunity - lived in the dorms.  It was classic behavior from him - we talked regularly - every day! - in high school, & yet he never said a thing about living together in the dorms.  Anyway, it wouldn't have mattered, he dropped out after a couple of weeks, but because I loved him, & this wouldn't be the first time, I offered to let him live in my apartment.  He did for a few months.  Then he moved back to Garland.  Oh how I wish I hadn't stayed in touch with him!  When I write about my life in a few years - assuming I'm still doing so - you'll understand why.  His utter contempt of me allowed him to betray me on the most fundamental of levels, in a way that almost destroyed me.

Oh & the third thing that happened in 1986 was I became a vegetarian.  Yes, it's because I got into the Smiths.  I got way into the Smiths.  I don't know if I loved a band as much as the Smiths before.  I had been gaga about Bowie, & I adored the Beatles, & I thought Elvis Costello brilliant, but nothing resonated with me on a personal level like the Smiths.  So I paid attention.  & the song "Meat Is Murder" had a profound effect on me.  I've not eaten meat intentionally since - I'm happy to say it's been decades!

The show tomorrow will have lots of music that I discovered in 1986.  It was almost like every album I grabbed off the new release rack at Record Exchange on Guadalupe in Austin was an album I would love.  That seems almost impossible to think of, but once I was able to buy records with money I should've been spending on things like food & my rent, I did so.  There was no one to stop me!

One foolish thing I didn't do is open a bank account in Austin.  I trusted my sister Pat to deposit my checks into my bank account in Garland.  & I was stupid & imagined just mailing them made it okay, & I bounced a lot of checks.

There are so many things I could talk about with me in 1986 but they would probably only be of interest to me.  I discovered six weeks before the school ended that there was something called "class rankings" & was stunned to see I was number 8.  A blond girl whose name I don't remember failed an AP Calculus test & I got moved up to 7.  She wept openly at graduation at her academic misfortune.  I told her that if it would make her feel better, I'd go back to 8, but I think she thought I was mocking her.

That summer I didn't work or do anything.  I would often spend the night walking around with my "best friend."  My car died that summer, & I didn't have any money to - or really any interest in - getting it fixed.  I sold it to my brother-in-law for a hundred dollars, which I promptly spent on comic books.

At college, I was immediately surprised how unsupervised we were.  Taking twelve hours a week meant you were actually in class for just twelve hours a week - what the hell were you supposed to do the rest of that time?  I learned I could just drop a class if I didn't like it.  & I learned how to read a syllabus & to attend study sections so you could figure out if you needed to go to class at all.

But I remained alone & unlucky in love.  I wrote letters to people who didn't really want to write letters to me.  I tried hard to be friendly & asked for phone numbers of people with whom I thought I could get along, but I stopped doing that when one of them called me, just to sell me something.  It hurt my feelings.

& I did some stalkery things of which I am not proud.  I was never going to cross any lines, but at least one girl made it clear she didn't want anything to do with me & I discovered where she lived on campus & sent her letters.  I hope she threw them away.  It was dumb & creepy & I should have known better.  Now that I think about it, that was crossing a line.  I truly hope she wasn't afraid in any way.  I truly do.

All in all, there was the excitement of discovery & the chaos of freedom along with the desperation of being lonely, & young, & completely unsocialized, & also fat & ugly.  That's some of what I could say about my eighteenth year, in 1986.