Saturday, January 29, 2022

Sleeping On The Street

When I started taking pictures with a crappy digital camera - it's only been about eight years - I really just wanted to capture things that engaged me in some way.  What has happened is that they're serving as a kind of memory aid - I will remember where I was when I took the picture sometimes, & the circumstances surrounding the event will come rushing back to me.

This is a picture I took in Dallas on this day in 2017.  The houseless problem there wasn't as bad then as it probably is now, but what the hell do I know.  I saw this fellow - & if his face had been visible, I wouldn't have taken the picture - as I was trying to find my way to a venue where there was a KNON benefit planned.  It was the first benefit I think I volunteered at - & I was tasked with putting food on the plates of the people who came to the benefit, one of the benefits of which was free food.  I actually have never worked in the food industry in my life, & I was terrible at it.  But I wanted to help the station & most of all I wanted a show.  I might get one in a year?  I forget when I got the show there.  Of course I didn't stay in Dallas long.

My wife hates when I take pictures like this.  Perhaps I shouldn't share it.  There is I hope a great deal of empathy in this picture.  There but for fortune go you & I.

Friday, January 28, 2022

My Unwanted Opinion

(from an article on BBC news)

Welcome to a new portion of this blog where I give my opinion, which has no weight anywhere, & which is no better than yours.  Unlike other people, who might share their opinions on social media, where someone might actually read them, I am sharing this on my blog, which is read by a negative number of people.  Work that one out.

Apparently there were some feathers ruffled when bona fide British pop star Damon Albarn gave his opinion about bona fide world-wide pop star Taylor Swift.  She got mad, he apologized, people took sides, I'm sure someone somewhere tried to find a way to burn their Gorillaz mp3s in protest, something to get excited about online.

Now, I don't care if you share the same opinion as I do.  It doesn't threaten me in the least.  & generally speaking, I don't judge you for it.  I understand that people approach music in myriad ways, & myself used to listen to commercial radio.  I don't anymore, & it's a fact it's not a kind of indie boasting when I say that I don't think I've ever listened to a Taylor Swift song.

It's not that I haven't heard a Taylor Swift song.  There was one of her songs during the end credits of some movie we watched, & my wife pointed out to me that it was Taylor Swift.  It wasn't the kind of music I enjoy, & I didn't listen to it.  This is a skill I've developed over time - finding a way to keep things I like out of my head by not subjecting myself to repetition.

Anyway, the opinion I have has really nothing to do with Damon Albarn's comments or Taylor's Swift's reaction, or even her music in particular.  It's one of bewilderment, & here it is:

Personally I am surprised that any pop star is allowed to write their own songs.  Someone like Taylor Swift is a paycheck to literally thousands of people, & the idea that the corporation that promotes her & sells her music would take a chance with not getting a tested & true songwriter, producer, etc., to work on her songs would seem incredibly irresponsible to the corporation making money off of her.

& maybe I'm right - there's usually another name on her songwriter credits, but I don't really have any more details or a desire to research if that person is someone hired by the corporation to guarantee that the songs are hits.  It's not really the point.  I can't believe any money-making pop star's future would be left to chance by the people who have invested in them.  It doesn't sound like good business practices.

That's it!  No judgment about the music or the artist or anything.  It isn't really about the situation at all - just my own vague understanding of a corporate music industry which I don't really pay much attention to.  My unwanted opinion.

Also, probably dumb.  Maybe this series going forward will be called "my unwanted dumb opinion."

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Self Help Radio 012522: Darkness

In the chilly darkness of a Portland Monday evening, I sat in my car & waited for the defroster to melt the thin layer of ice that had accumulated on the windshield.  It was thirty minutes before the show.  It takes me about fifteen minutes to drive up to KBOO.  Though there were lights on in the car, & the porch light on outside my house, I was surrounded on all sides by darkness.

The drive is dark, too.  I commented yesterday that there don't seem to be as many streetlights in Portland, & maybe that's so.  I do know that as I drive to KBOO, I drive parallel to the Willamette, & it's a dark, black stretch of nothing between me & the other side of Portland.  That's the kind of darkness where you know something's there.  & you know it's dangerous & cold.  You could easily imagine that nightmares emerge from that kind of darkness.

On the air at last, I lie & say I'm sitting in the dark.  My eyesight is poor, I need all the light I can get - the young deejays at other radio stations would often come in at the end of my show - & the beginning of theirs - & say, "Mind if I turn off some of these lights?"  I did an entire radio show about darkness in the brightest part of the station!

Oh dear, I'm rambling because I'm sleepy.  Listen to a show about darkness either at the Self Help Radio KBOO Page or at the show's website at Self Help Radio dot net.  You know if you use the latter, you'll need a username - try SHR - & a password - try selfhelp.  What happens on the show is mentioned below.

Self Help Radio Darkness Show
"Darkness" Gamith _Carolina Funk_
"Darkness" Leonard Cohen _Old Ideas_
"Darkness" The Hussy _Galore_

introduction & definitions - featuring the Definition-O-Tron 3000

"A Darkness Rises Up" Broken Records _Let Me Come Home_
"Darkness Descends" Laura Marling _I Speak Because I Can_
"Slipping Into Darkness" Carl Bradney _Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980_
"Prince Of Darkness (12" Version)" Bow Wow Wow _Your Box Set Pet (The Complete Recordings 1980-1984)_
"Heart Of Darkness" Pere Ubu _Datapanik In The Year Zero_

our favorite librarian Carole stops by to talk about books about darkness

"Dear Darkness" PJ Harvey _White Chalk_
"Beware Of Darkness (Demo)" George Harrison _All Things Must Pass_
"World Of Darkness" David Ruffin _My Whole World Ended_
"Even In The Darkness" Rue Royale _Rue Royale_
"Darkness To Light" Julie Doiron _I Thought Of You_

interview with follower of darkness Matt Snail

"Darkness & Cold" Purple Mountains _Purple Mountains_
"Flower Of Darkness" Earth Girl Helen Brown _Four Satellites Vol. 1_
"Turn Away From Darkness" Joyce Dunn _Lost & Found: The Blue Rock Records Story_
"Reach Out Of The Darkness" Friend & Lover _Reach Out Of The Darkness_
"In My Hour Of Darkness" Gram Parsons _Grievous Angel_

interview with proponent of darkness Jesse Thorne

"Darkness" King Khan & The Shrines _Idle No More_
"Let Darkness Fall" Raymond Listen _Licorice Root Orchestra_
"Reachin' Out In Darkness" Norma Jenkins _Patience Is A Virtue_
"Heart Of Darkness" Sparklehorse _Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot_
"Darkness" Sweet Trip _You Will Never Know Why_

interview with servant of darkness Jerry Harris

"Darkness On The Edge Of Town" Bruce Springsteen _Darkness On The Edge Of Town_
"Only Darkness Has The Power" The Mekons _The Mekons Rock 'N' Roll_
"Let There Be More Darkness" Robyn Hitchcock _Invisible Hitchcock_
"Our Own Darkness" True Moon _True Moon_
"Screaming In The Darkness" Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls _Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls_
"Darkness Too" Kelley Stoltz _Ah! (Etc)_

a discussion about a single darkness idiom, with a memory attached

"Children Of Darkness" Richard & Mimi Farina _Reflections In A Crystal Wind_
"Little Miss Queen Of Darkness" The Kinks _Face To Face_
"My Daddy Walked In Darkness" Gil Bateman _Knock You Flat! (The Northwest Battle Of The Bands Volume Two)_
"The Darkness Was On Me" Wild Billy Childish & CTMF _Last Punk Standing... & Other Hits!_
"American Darkness" Chelsea Wolfe _Birth Of Violence_

conclusion & goodbye

"Right On For The Darkness" Curtis Mayfield _Back To The World_

Monday, January 24, 2022

Whither Darkness?

(Portland after dark - found here.)

Well if you're going to do a radio show about darkness, it helps that the show happens in the middle of the night, right?

You might surprised at how many musicians have written songs about darkness.  I was.  The idea for the show came during a late-night dog walk - during the winter, there aren't many hours of daylight in Portland, & oftentimes we must walk our dogs in the darkness because we're otherwise occupied in the brief hours of sunlight.  The wife & I were commenting on just how dark it seems to get in Portland as opposed to other places we've lived.  It could be a combination of many things - fewer street lights, larger trees, lower-sitting clouds - but it just seems a different kind of darkness, more intense, more consuming, than the relatively bright darkness of Texas, as an example.  It made me think, what would a radio show about darkness be like?

Tonight you'll find out!  Self Help Radio's show about darkness airs from midnight to 3am tonight (or Tuesday morning however you'd like to calculate the day) on 90.7fm in town & everywhere - & certainly everywhere in the contiguous United States, it will indeed be dark.

Don't count on us for light tonight!

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Preface To Darkness: The Way Things Change

There was a time when I preferred the darkness.  I hated mornings - school happened in the mornings! But when the lights went out, with everyone else asleep, I could read what I wanted to, & listen to the radio, & watch old movies on the television - darkness was a kind of loneliness that I retreated into when I was young.

& it lasted into my college years.  In fact, I was stunned I could schedule my own classes so I didn't have to wake up in the morning.  I worked the night shift - 11pm to 7am - at convenience stores in both Garland & Austin for a time.  I liked to stay awake nights, when it was dark.

Then something changed.  I had my heart almost totally broken, betrayed by people closest to me.  Darkness became terrifying, especially since I couldn't sleep.  I came to crave sunlight.  As soon as I could, I'd be outside in the sunlight, sometimes sitting for hours under a tree just glad it was bright.

Though I have reclaimed some of my love of darkness - I love to do radio in the middle of the night, & have since the very beginning - I still feel so happy when there's sun.  & not necessarily the punishing sun of Texas - today was a lovely day in Portland, it's been quite rainy, there's something about the contrast that makes the sunny days that much more special.

A part of me wonders if the devastated me of thirty years ago would appreciate a radio show about darkness.  I think mainly the devastated me of thirty years ago would be surprised I was still here.  & then he might say, "& I have a radio show?"