Friday, December 29, 2023

Self Help Radio 122823: Indiepop A To Z # 73

(most images found at Discogs)

It was the last Self Help Radio of 2023. It was the seventy-third installment of the Indiepop A To Z series. The letter R as complete as I could get it, I moved into the letter S. Where I'll probably be for a while.

You can listen to the show at the Self Help Radio website. You will need a username (SHR) & password (selfhelp) to listen. But it can be downloaded! There are many other episodes of the series & while I keep promising to upload them all, you can find out which ones are available (it's episode # 14 on) by just going down the list here. I will try to get to the rest at some point.

Everything I played is listed below. Thanks for listening if you listened to Self Help Radio this year. More of the same next year!

Self Help Radio Indiepop A To Z # 73
"Sunday" Rote Kapelle _These Animals Are Dangeroos_
"Welt Rollt Vorbei" Röttger/Goldstein _Eine Kleine Stadtmusik_
"More Than This" Roxy Music _Avalon_

"I Can't Remember" Royal Carter Show _Royal Carter Show_
"Clean" The Royal Landscaping Society _Means Of Production_
"Sun Shines Down On You" Rubber Orange _Rubber Orange E.P._
"Because..." Ruby Blue _Because..._ 
"Girl Store" Ruby Pins _Ruby Pins_

"Arachnidphile" Ruck Rover _Good People's Highway_
"One In A Million" Nick Rudd _One In A Million_
"Flowers" The Ruling Class _Tour De Force_
"That's What You Say" Rumblefish _1234 - The Early Singles (1986-1989)_
"Your Big Brown Eyes & My Big Broke Heart" The Russian Futurists _The Method Of Modern Love_
"I Would Have Saved You" The Ruth Ellis Swing Band _Something's Burning In Paradise_

"Nowhere Town" Sabrinas _Jigsaw_
"The Girl Who Stole The Eiffel Tower" Die Sache _The Girl Who Stole The Eiffel Tower_
"Love Bomb" The Sacred Hearts _Love Bomb EP_
"Such A Waste" Sad Day For Puppets _Pale Silver & Shiny Gold_
"Find Me The Pulse Of The Universe" Laetitia Sadier _Silencio_

"Travel In Time" Safe Home _Travel In Time EP_
"If I Should Die" Safe Houses _If I Should Die_
"Silence Is The Safest Thing" Sage _Love Song_
"Say What You Feel" Said Liquidator _La-Di-Da... So Far..._
"Ate The Most" The Sainsburys _My Favorite Colour_

"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" Saint Etienne _Foxbase Alpha_
"Moments Are Moments" The Saint Valentine State _Between Two Waves: The Second Wave_
"Look Right" Salako _Musicality_
"Seven Steps Down" Salem 66 _Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground (1983-1987)_

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 73?

(A twee kitty named Bluto)

In February of 2003, during the first year of Self Help Radio, I thought of an occasional series of radio shows involving the genre of indiepop. I had been listening to it for years - from the C-86 movement on - but hadn't known it was a thing until it was named as such by the show Ear Candy on KOOP radio. Being not a little OCD, it seemed a nice way to organize a show. That year, my show being an hour at the time, I did three episodes of the series.

A couple of years later, when I subbed the actual Ear Candy show, I resurrected the idea (& started over). Sometimes on Self Help Radio, sometimes on Ear Candy, I made fourteen episodes through 2008, when I left KOOP. I got to the letter C. I remember doing the show one time with one of the Jennifers who hosted Ear Candy, maybe it was the third or fourth show, & she was already tired of it. "Will this never end?" she asked on the air.

The series continued as I moved across the country & from radio station to radio station. In 2011 I decided to return to it every four months - the last shows of April, August, & December. You can see links to almost all seventy-two (72) episodes on the show's website. The first episode is strangely missing but I found the cassette recording of the show this past summer, dated November 4, 2004. I need to digitize the show & put the playlist on my website. I haven't done that yet.

It is now over twenty years since I started the series. Today I'll broadcast the 73rd installment. It will end the letter R & start the letter S. The aforementioned Jennifer recently told me that she doesn't listen to much indiepop anymore. I've heard this from some people. Like they're vaguely embarrassed about it. I am not. I wish there were much, much more.

There'll be two hours of it on the radio today. Noon to 2pm on Freeform Portland, which is at 90.3+98.3 fm here in town & online everywhere at freeform portland dot org. My last Self Help Radio of 2023! I hope you'll tune in.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 73: Goodbye Letter R

(taken from this YouTube clip)

At this point I'm going to stop drawing attention to how weird & OCD it is to spend over seventy episodes on a musical subgenre playing artists in alphabetical order. Or maybe I just did which means I won't. I don't know!

What I do know is I'll finish the letter R on this week's show. I started the letter R on the 69th episode of Self Help Radio, which aired in August 2022. Those shows - on KBOO - were three hours long so I could cover a lot of ground. That has changed since I'm back at Freeform Portland. So I suspect I'll be in the letter S for a little while.

A little while! I'll probably die before I finish it! Look how many bands are on the S list at twee dot net! I will be adding to that!

This week's show is, incidentally, my last Self Help Radio of 2023. I did in fact do 52 episodes of Self Help Radio this year - although I'll save that tally for later.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Two Years Ago On This Day It Snowed


The wife said, "People are telling me it's been very unusually warm here this year & that we should have had snow by now."

Personally I don't know if I've lived here long enough to know what is usual or not. Especially when three of the years I've been here I've been dealing with covid.

Snow's very pretty in pictures. It's sometimes not much fun to walk dogs in. & it sometimes makes it hard to get to radio stations to do shows. So it's a mixed blessing to be sure.

Monday, December 25, 2023


Boy, Christmas used to be exciting for me. Not for any of the religious stuff - that was never emphasized in our home & I was never forced to go to church or anything like that - it was the presents. I wanted presents. Lots & lots of presents. What an amazing thing! It's dark out & you get lots of presents?

That's probably why I kept liking Christmas tunes for as long as I did: the memories of those magical moments when you'd mention something you wanted & improbably a fellow called Santa brought it to you.

But you get older. For much of my young adulthood I wasn't in a relationship. I had enough money to buy the things I wanted. My large family - I have six siblings - would draw names & inevitably I would stress about what to get them & they - when they drew my name - for some reason would almost never buy me what I wanted but something adjacent (usually cheaper). I got several different versions of books I already owned as well as a couple of box sets I already had. & they never really wanted what they asked me to get them - they had spouses to get them the expensive stuff.

When I was in a relationship, it was never with someone who prized such things. I don't think I would've been good at it anyway. Eventually I would just go home for Christmas - my mother wanted me there - but not give or get gifts. & then, having moved out-of-state, I just stopped going home.

When I would do my Christmas shows, I would say "the only thing I do to celebrate Christmas is make these shows." Over time I began to feel quite hypocritical. The songs about both the materialism & the religiosity reflected no values of mine. Even the "peace on Earth" parts seemed tied to a belief system I didn't have.

Finally, upon reflection, I couldn't in good conscience play Christmas music anymore. It didn't hurt that in the recent past I've known some people - remarkably dumb & dishonest folks - who called themselves "Christians" & thought it amusing that I, a non-believer, still glorified their world view in this way. I don't care what people believe, but I do care that I myself don't misrepresent what I believe.

Without the religion or the gifts, there was no more reason to have anything to do with Christmas. The wife & I hung out today, walked the dogs, made dinner together, in all respects an average Monday. I saw the lights on people's houses, the trees in the front windows, & all I could think was, wow, it has been a long time since I've cared about any of that.

So on my KBOO show tonight, no Christmas music. Anyway, by that time, Christmas will be over.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Self Help Radio 122123: Gary's Favorite Music 2023

(album covers from Discogs & Bandcamp)

Here you are. A selection of songs from mostly indie & postpunk releases of the year. I listened to these records a lot. That's how they made the list. Maybe you'll like them too.

Listen to the show at the Self Help Radio website (which is what those words are linked to). Remember there's a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp) needed to listen. Everything I played is below except! On the original FFP show I played the radio edit of the Lichen Slow song - this one has bad words. & I didn't have time to play all the 3 Clubmen song. This file includes it.

To the person who sent me the message during the show that said "Thanx for not doing a Xmas show this year" - you are very welcome. Please enjoy non-seasonal favorites of mine.

Self Help Radio's Gary Favorites Show 2023
"Ceremony" Joe Policastro Trio _Ceremony_

"Men Are The Problem" Momus _Krambambuli_
"No One" Linda Smith & Nancy Andrews _A Passing Cloud_
"Markin' It Down" Swansea Sound _Twentieth Century_
"Lizard Queen" Teen Angst _Barn Sour_
"Relative Poverty" Mozart Estate _Pop-Up! Ker-Ching! & The Possibilities Of Modern Shopping_

"Medical Cube" Pataphysics _Pat Sounds_
"Schrodinger's Party Animal" Neon Kittens _Schrodinger's Party Animal_
"There's More" House Of All _House Of All_
"Back To The Swamp" Bas Jan _Back To The Swamp_
"Nothing Is As Good As They Say It Is" Sparks _The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte_

"Cleaning Crew" The Mountain Goats _Jenny From Thebes_
"Shady Town" Corvair _Bound To Be_
"Back In The Middle" Spearmint _This Candle Is For You_
"Molotov In Stereo" Frankie Rose _Love As Projection_
"The Notion" Spector _Here Come The Early Nights_

"Comes A Time" Neil Young _Before + After_
"Broomhorse" Tele Novella _Poet's Tooth_
"Lady Grey" The Clientele _I Am Not There Anymore_
"Sadness" Soft Science _Lines_
"When I Was A Young Man" Robert Forster _The Candle & The Flame_

"Fallout" Yo La Tengo _This Stupid World_
"Bug In Spring" Subsonic Eye _All Around You_
"Thursday" Who Is She? _Goddess Energy_
"Magnetism" Lavender Blush _There's Nothing Inside Your Heart_
"We Did Nothing" Graham Parker & The Goldtops _Last Chance To Learn The Twist_

"Preset" Lichen Slow _Rest Lurks_
"Aviatrix" The 3 Clubmen _The 3 Clubmen_

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2023?

(A classic, found here)

At the risk of boring you, today's Self Help Radio is about my favorite music of the year. This is a thing we deejays do, although many of us try to sound grandiose & say it's "the best" of the year. It's not, of course - what's best is an opinion, & you might agree with my opinion, but at best it's just best for us. No one's opinion is more important or more valid than anyone else's. It's weird that people don't understand that.

Please listen to the music that I listened to most this year with me! It's happening today from noon to 2pm on 90.3+98.3fm in Portland & online everywhere at Freeform Portland dot org. Maybe something I play will become one of your favorites too.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Preface To Gary's Favorite Music 2023: Being Philosophical

That's a picture of my dog Yoko. She turned 11 last Friday. She's one of my favorite things about 2023, but she's been one of my favorite things she since adopted us in 2015.

Lots of people make great arguments that lots of other people can't or won't recognize. I recently finished Bart Ehrman's book on Revelation called Apocalypse. It is (in my opinion) a smart, well-written, easily digestible tome which argues that the book of Revelation neither predicts the future (like evangelicals & fundamentalists believe) nor serves as a book of hope for the persecuted & suffering (as Augustine believed). He actually laid out the argument on his blog a while back but that shouldn't be considered a replacement for the book if you're interested. My point is, there are people in my life - born-again friends & relatives - who are immune to such things.

& wow I do admire Ehrman for writing the book & maybe a few minds might be changed, but my own experience with people - not just fundamentalist & evangelicals - suggests the vast majority won't even listen to the argument let alone try to counter it. & why am I talking about a bible scholar's book?

Because every year there's a slew of "best of" lists at the end of the year. & I personally don't believe an opinion can be "best." Because whose opinion is authoritative? I just typed in "best album 2023" into a search engine & clicked the first three sites - one had SZA at # 1, another had Bully, the third had Sufjan Stevens. Well which is it? "Best" means "that which is the most excellent, outstanding, or desirable." It's a singular thing. Three things can't be best. So if I don't think any of those are the best - & I won't play any of those artists on my show tomorrow - then they can't, by definition, be the best.

My opinion is that we just say "Favorite." Pitchfork's favorite records of 2023. Etc. It's less arrogant, it expresses an opinion, & it has all the authority an opinion should have - it's what someone thinks. It's not the objective truth.

Every year I wince a little when the "best of" lists come out. People I've never heard of in publications (which aren't really published) which I've never read assert that their opinion is the one we should pay attention to. They know what's best. Not just for them. For everyone.

Every year I write something about this around the time when I want to share my favorite music of the year. Most (all?) of the stuff I play won't end up on those critics' end-of-the-year lists. & I don't care. It's my favorite music. I wish you had a radio show so you could share your favorite music. Although like a lot of the deejays at Freeform Portland, you'd probably call it "the best of 2023."

Ehrman wrote a wonderful book, I complain a little once a year. The comparison is dumb & strained. But I do feel like there's nothing I can do but do the thing the way I do it. & feebly write something like: Of course you think the stuff you like is the best! But be aware that other people like other stuff as much as you like the stuff you like. There is simply no valid way - not appeals to authority, not appeals to financial success, not appeals to popularity - to make an opinion into "the best." But people will continue to do it.

Just like people will continue to believe that Revelation is predicting a future apocalyptic scenario. & even if I wrote as well as Ehrman does, I still couldn't convince the people who make "best of" lists to just be more honest & call them "favorites" lists.

Oh well.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


On this day three years ago we drove on a Saturday morning to Hillsboro, Oregon, to get vegan donuts. We haven't done that in a while. We took all the hounds & we found a nearby park where we walked. I don't remember it being cold but it was grey. & everything seemed to be covered in moss.

This sign was somewhere on the walk. It's pretty good advice. Although we were already pretty chill. We had a car full of vegan donuts!

Monday, December 18, 2023

Listening Differently

Is this a confession? Or an admission? Or neither?

It's just something I have been thinking about as I prepare for this week's show, which is my favorite music of 2023. My criteria for favorite is pretty straightforward - it's the stuff I listened to most this year. But I have a problem.

Though I listen to music all the time, most of the time I am listening to music for radio shows. I have two radio shows that are theme-based. That sometimes takes up hours of my listening schedule.

What happens with new releases? Unlike in years past, I find I usually only listen to them a few times. So if I were counting listens, a record that I really liked but that I might have only listened to three times might make the list.

This is not something you care about & that's fine. I only find myself a little disquieted by it.

In a recent conversation with someone I lamented something I never thought I would. I said I missed being bored. I never have the time to be bored these days. But what I might miss even more than being bored was the time spent lying on the floor listening to a record over & over. I remember one day after school listening to Hunky Dory so many times the sun fell & I was turning the LP over in the dark.

Maybe that's what I miss. I don't listen to music that way anymore. & it might make me a little sad.

Have no fear tho! I still hate "best of" lists!

Friday, December 15, 2023

Self Help Radio 121423: Howard Gently Year Two

(Kaleidoscope behind Gently found here.)

Here it is, the third collection of bits from Howard Gently appearances on Self Help Radio. All from 2015, all from Kentucky. I don't actually have a count of how many times my friend Russell appeared on the show, so I don't know how many of these shows I'll be doing. He appeared until last year, although he didn't appear as often in the later years. But anyway. I laughed & laughed playing these.

They are available at the Self Help Radio website. Please know you'll need the username SHR & the password selfhelp to listen. I played songs from the original shows before the Howard Gently bits. How that happened is below.

More Howard Gently in 2024!

Self Help Radio Howard Gently Year Two Show
"Uncle Willie's Desert Museum" Russell Miles _Uncle Willie's Desert Museum_ (Self-Released, 1982)

"Faith" The Boy Least Likely To _The Best B Sides Ever_ (Too Young To Die, 2009)
"Faith" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: March 13, 2015_
"Mr. Blue Sky" Delgados _The Complete BBC Peel Sessions_ (Chemikal Underground, 2006)
"Blue Skies" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: March 27, 2015_
"Same Old Scene" Roxy Music _Flesh + Blood_ (ATCO, 1980)
"Same Old Thing" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: April 3, 2015_

"My Favorite Dress" The Wedding Present _Tommy_ (Reception, 1988)
"My Favorite Things" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: April 17, 2015_
"Goodbye You Lizard Scum" Bill Hicks _Arizona Bay_ (Rykodisc, 1997)
"Los Angeles/New Podcast" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: May 1, 2015_
"One Big Unhappy Family" Isaac Hayes _The Isaac Hayes Movement_ (Enterprise, 1970)
"Unhappiness" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: May 22, 2015_

"Vagrants, Tramps, Hoboes, Drifters, Transients, Bums, & Winos" George Carlin _When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_ (Hyperion Audiobooks, 2004)
"Drifting" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: June 20, 2015_
"Them Heavy People" Kate Bush _The Kick Inside_ (EMI, 1978)
"Heaviness" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: July 21, 2015_
"Watching The Wheels (Remastered)" John Lennon _Double Fantasy / Stripped Down_ (Capitol, 2010)
"Wheels" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: July 28, 2015_

"Clothes Of Sand" Nick Drake _Made To Love Magic_ (Island, 2004)
"Sand" Howard Gently on Self Help Radio _SHR: August 18, 2015_
"Rudie Can’t Fail" The Clash _London Calling_ (Epic, 1979)

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Whither Howard Gently Year Two?

(Ditko background found here.)

To explain today's show in a nutshell: I had a friend called Russell. We knew each other for a long time. For many years he would appear on Self Help Radio in improvised interviews as my spiritual mentor the Rev Dr Howard Gently. Gently was a new age charlatan to whom I was enthralled. He appeared regularly for many years.

Sadly, Russell died earlier this year. He was too young & it was a shock that I am still not recovered from. In his memory, to show how much I appreciated his contribution to my show, I have been playing all his appearances in order. I am up to his second year, so the show is called "Howard Gently Year Two."

If this sounds fun, despite the sad circumstances, listen to Self Help Radio today from noon to 2pm on Freeform Portland. That's at 90.3+98.3fm & online at freeform portland dot org. I miss my dear friend but am so grateful we made these recordings & I still find them so funny. Maybe you will too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Preface To Howard Gently Year Two: Time

(An image - who knows where from - I sent to Russell on his birthday in 2017.)

This week I am going to play more bits by my friend Russell (you can read why here + for more info you can search for his name on this blog) as my spiritual mentor the Rev Dr Howard Gently. These will be from the second year he did the character so I'm calling it "Howard Gently Year Two."

Listening to these made me go down something like a rabbit hole. I found email exchanges (yes, I have saved all my email) from 1997 when he was trying to make plans with me. It was enlightening - I just didn't remember all the day-to-day stuff - & also a bit saddening. Here is one of the exchanges - he asked me to leave a message if I called - my comments are in italics:


> I always leave a message.  I always imagine you're screening the call.  I
> sometimes wonder if I've offended you somehow, 

You usually have

> in which case I try to either a) be an asshole, or b) be apologetic.  Generally, 
> I count on your good humor & the fact that one day, you will kill me.

Rest assured


It's been very hard to live in a world without him. But gosh it's amazing he can still make me laugh out loud with his humor even though he's no longer here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Just Another December 12th

In 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas, I took a picture of a bird of prey at the top of a tree.

In 2020, in Portland, Oregon, I took a picture of myself in a filthy mirror.

Gosh, I wonder if I took any pictures at all on this December 12th. Maybe I'll know in the future.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Victim Of The Movies

(image from the IMDb)

Our resident cinephile Chuck stopped by the show last week to talk about films involving victims, which was the show's theme. Go to the Self Help Radio website & listen. Then use these links, provided by Chuck, to follow up & find out more!

Here are two YouTube playlists of films & trailers:

Here is Chuck's IMDb keyword list.

Here are the direct links for Chuck: Twitter,  Bluesky, & Substack.

Please enjoy!

Friday, December 08, 2023

Self Help Radio 120723: Victims

(original image here)

As far as I can tell, there were no victims of this week's Self Help Radio show about victims. Though of course the program wasn't victimless. All the songs were, in some sense, victims. Or about victims. Or has this metaphor been too hopelessly stretched & mangled to the point that it no longer retains even a small amount of the original attempt to say something mildly amusing about a radio show about victims?

Though it is admittedly a weird theme for a radio show, I felt like it came together all right. Though the glue of the show is the oddball interviews. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Listen to the show at the Self Help Radio website. Use this username/password combo to access: SHR/selfhelp. Check out the playlist below because it says also what happens in-between the songs.

Okay then.

Self Help Radio Victims Show
"Victim Of Circumstance" Mike & The Censations _East Side Story Vol. 2_
"Victim Of Circumstances" Roy Junior _Back From The Grave Volume Two_
"Victim Of Circumstance" Joan Jett & The Blackhearts _I Love Rock & Roll_

introduction & definitions

"Victims Of Chance" Tandyn Almer _Along Comes Tandyn_
"Victims Of The Night (feat. Ann-Margret)" Lee Hazlewood _The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes, & Backsides (1968-71)_
"Victims Of The Darkness" Allen Toussaint _Life, Love, & Faith_
"Victims Of The Dance" Tuxedomoon _Desire_

interview with "burn victim" Jeff Simmons

"Burn Victims Suck" Love, Calvin _Mr. Joy_
"Victim One" Foxx Bodies _Vixen_
"Amnesia Victim" Bob & Ray _The New! Improved! Bob & Ray Book_
"Everyone's Victim" Lisa Germano _Happiness_

interview with lawyer Josie Sutton

"Victim Of Circumstance" The City _Now That Everything's Been Said_
"Victim Of Me" Descendents _Hypercaffium Spazzinate_
"Rock-N-Roll Victim" Death _...For The Whole World To See_
"Victim Of Mass Production" The Cribs _Ignore The Ignorant_

interview with actor Joe Sawyer

"Victim Of Love" Freddie May & The Power Plant _Victim Of Love_
"Victim Of Love" The Cars _Shake It Up_
"Victim Of Love" Charles Bradley _Victim Of Love_
"Victim Of A Foolish Heart" Bettye Swann _The Complete Atlantic Recordings_

our resident cinephile Chuck stops by to talk about victims in movies

"Victim Of Environment" The Improper Bostonians _Gee, I'm Gonna Miss You_
"I Fell In Love With A Fashion Victim" The Rosehips _The Rosehips_
"Special Victims & Ice-T" John Mulaney _New In Town_
"A Victim Of Gravity" The Tokens _Schoolhouse Rock: Science Rock_

interview with writer Jim Street
conclusion & goodbye

"When The Victim Takes The Tyrants Place" Frank Tovey _Grand Union_
"Deep House Victims Minibus Appeal" Half Man Half Biscuit _Voyage To The Bottom Of The Road_

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Whither Victims?

(image from here)

"Victims" is a pretty dark theme for a show during the holiday season, it's true. Why on earth would I do a show with the theme "victims"? I have four possible ideas:

1) For whatever reason, our cable box has been set on I think the USA Network as a default for months. The show "Law & Order Special Victims Unit" is always on. & while I do enjoy looking at the elfin beauty of Kelli Giddish (I never have the sound on, so I have no idea what she sounds like), I am mostly unfamiliar with the show & don't want to watch it. But I see the word "victims" all the time.

2) This is something I occasionally worry about. I look at the list of themes on the Self Help Radio web page & I get to the letter V & I despair that - except for all the Valentine's Days shows - there are so few themes I've covered that begin with the letter V. Maybe I thought I might do one before the year's end.

3) This is something that's been happening recently: I am mishearing familiar lyrics. It's like my brain is preparing me for dementia. So I was listening to the first Tin Machine record a few weeks ago & the song "Prisoner Of Love" has been stuck in my head but I keep singing "Victim Of Love." Why? Who the hell knows?

4) That's also number four - who the hell knows why I picked this theme?

What I do know is that the show about victims - which will have a lot of interviews - will air today from noon to 2pm on Freeform Portland, which is on the air at 90.3+98.3fm in town & online everywhere at Freeform Portland dot org. & do not despair - listening to the show won't make you a victim - it'll make you a survivor.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Preface To Victims: Peanuts Victimization

Here are three different Peanuts strips that mention different kinds of victims. I of course do not own these. I scanned them from the excellent Fantagraphics Peanuts collections. They are also from different times & I am too lazy right now to identify just when. Let's just enjoy them, shall we?

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Shane MacGowan RIP

(image from Wikipedia)

This morning on my KBOO show I played three hours of music by Shane McGowan, from the Nips to the Pogues to the Popes. You can listen to it now at the KBOO web site. It wasn't meant to be comprehensive, I didn't try to tell his story, I just wanted to play his music. I hope that I did him justice. & if you listen, I hope you like.

Monday, December 04, 2023

Jury Duty

(no idea where I found this, sorry)

In lieu of having anything interesting to say today, I share with you a poem I wrote twenty-five years ago, called "Jury Duty." It really was inspired by my first experience with jury duty. My second experience happened earlier this year. Anyway. You will be relieved to note I don't write poetry anymore.

flea dip, someone strangle me with wire from a murdered
folksinger's guitar. your honor, one lawyer is funnier
than the other, i fear that will influence my decision as
a juror. lonely downtown morning, pretty girl on a bike,
crossing against the light. i am not long for this world.

every song i like leads me around & around, like i am
chasing my tail, eating my tail, finding a strange broken
heart to consume, finding it's mine. your honor, i don't
deserve the six bucks you're gonna pay me for this, &
you're prettier from farther away. contempt of courtship.

your handclap's out of time, i won't listen to dr. israel
with you no mo, mon. the only light in the room is green
light from a fleakiller contraption, & i find myself a
blinking, flirting with it. like with the space between 
notes in a song, between heartbeats, where i want to stop.

the day doesn't feel wasted, surrounded by bitter & sad
fat men, really, really fat, thinking of ways to get out
of serving, why so cooperative, then, why not lie? why do
i get funny looks when i can't imagine a life sentence for
such a young man? just for robbing someone at gunpoint?

amusing lawyer, petulant prosecutor, pock-marked judge man,
austin turns cold & gray, i like it when the rastafari rap.

Friday, December 01, 2023

Self Help Radio 113023: Magda's Birthday Show 2023

This was an actual conversation between my wife (who is the person for whom I do birthday shows this time each year) & me about this show:

Me: Did you like the show?
Her: Well... I don't really like birthday songs.
Me: But it's the thought that counts?
Her: (pause) Sure.

That's what I call true love!

Here is that show, featuring not only a lot of birthday tunes I've never played before, but also interviews with listeners who want to tell us about the most favorite birthday present they ever received, is now available to be listened to at the Self Help Radio web site. This information is helpful - username SHR, password selfhelp. The show has lots of songs & interviews & all are noted below.

Happy birthday to you!

Self Help Radio Magda's Birthday 2023 Show
"The Birthday Waltz (with the Knaves)" Mavis Rivers _The Complete Tanza Recordings 1949-1952_
"Happy Birthday, Baby" The Four Knights _Jivin' & Smoothin' Original Recordings 1951-1959_
"When’s Your Birthday, Baby?" Vince Eager _The World's Loneliest Man_


"Birthdays" Teen Angst _Barn Sour_
"Happy Birthday Syd" Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies _What's On The Inside Has To Come Out_
"Baby On My Birthday" Skating Polly _Chaos County Line_
"Edie's Birthday" Honestly Same _Hot Plate Only_

listener Marty Young talks about his favorite birthday present

"Happy Birthday" Jenn Champion _The Last Night Of Sadness_
"Lisa's Birthday" Florry _Sweet Guitar Solos_
"Birthday Cake" Teen Idle _Nonfiction_
"Birthday Song For The Dead" Josephine Foster _Domestic Sphere_

listener Montgomery Yeardley talks about his favorite birthday present

"It's Your Birthday" Vera Ellen _It's Your Birthday_
"Happy Birthday To My Girl" Gary Wilson _Tormented_
"Happy Birthday To Me" Luv Clowns _Love Clowns_
"Birthday" Middle Class Fashion _Girl Talk_

listener Matt Yankle talks about his favorite birthday present

"Birthday Girl" Tru Art _Mixed Emotions_
"Birthday Girl" Pop Levi _Juicy Diamond_
"Birthday Girl" Boo Frog _Boo Frog_
"Birthday Girl" Fortune Teller _Birthday Girl_
"Birthday Girl" Amber Smith _My Little Servant_

listener Mandy Yates talks about her favorite birthday present

"Second Birthday" Dear Nora _Three States: Rarities 1997-2007_
"Birthdays Are Sad" Girl For Sale _Seaspeak_
"Plans For My 31st Birthday" Boy Miez Girl _No More Than A Game_
"Happy Birthday" Kokomo _The Collection_

conclusion & goodbye

"Poem On His Birthday" Dylan Thomas _Reads_
"Birthday Girl" Cold Country _To Providence_
"Birthday Girl" Sparhawk _Lost Hawks: Unreleased Recordings 2006-2011_

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2023?

Every year around the time of her birthday, my wife gets a radio show. From me. I've been doing it for almost as long as I've known her - & almost as long as I've done Self Help Radio.

This radio show consists of songs about birthdays. "That seems dull," I imagine you saying. "The same dumb birthday songs every year." Ah, but it's not that. I have some rules. I always have some rules.

For example, I never play the same recording twice. This means, for example, you might hear the Beatles' "Birthday" - a very famous birthday song - many times, but only once have I played the famous recording from The White Album. All the rest have been covers.

Another rule is that I personally have to like the song. There are quite a few birthday songs. It turns out there are a large amount of them - the vast majority - that I simply don't enjoy. & artists don't make a lot of new birthday songs. So while I find a handful each year - subdivided by whether I actually like them - I spend a lot of time unearthing ones I've forgotten.

Does my wife appreciate it? To be honest, I don't even think she knows I do this.

& so I say this is a birthday show for you too! If it's your birthday today - or if you had a birthday this year - or if you have a birthday coming up - here are lots of birthday songs for you!

Your birthday party/radio show is happening from noon to 2pm on 90.3+98.3fm in Portland & online at Freeform Portland dot org. I made that cake up there so - oh dear. My wife has already eaten it. Well. It is her birthday show after all.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2023: The Old Complaint

Every year around this time I am faced with the knowledge that there are a finite number of birthday songs I liked (as opposed to an infinite number I don't) & I need to dig deep for ones I've missed. Because I have done now like twenty of these shows for my wife & it's harder each year.

Of course I keep doing it because I love her & I think she's flattered by it. Although I did ask her what he favorite birthday presents have been & she didn't say, "The one you make for me every year on the radio." So maybe she doesn't care?

One day I'm just going to play birthday songs I don't enjoy. No I won't. I could never do that. Sigh.

Back into the stacks to find more songs!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Mirror Universe

That's a picture I took on this day five years ago. I was living at the time in Fort Worth, Texas. It might explain why the trees have so many leaves this close to winter. In Texas, the first really cold night usually happens around Halloween, but if that doesn't happen, it'll get really cold over Thanksgiving. It might warm up again in early December, but the cold weather in November will fool you every year into thinking winter has begun.

My mother left my father when I was four. He was a drunk. My mother started dating someone when I was around eight. That person was also a drunk, but my mother didn't move in with him & kept him at arm's length. My mother was a deeply superstitious person. Which is why it was so weird when he gifted her this decorative I guess you'd call it picture which was a canvas with pieces of a broken mirror on it, arranged artistically but not reassembling the mirror.

It's not something I talked to my mother about. If she has seen me break a mirror, she would've screamed as though I had swallowed a bomb. Perhaps she thought the bad luck caused by breaking so many mirrors (he had several in his apartment) resided solely in him. & he truly was someone who had had many, many misfortunes in his life.

As for the bad luck caused by broken mirrors, how did it work? Don't ask me - I don't know the mechanics of superstition. Like, does breaking the mirror alert demons? My mother thought such questions impudent. She didn't have to explain, she just knew it was true.

The mirror above wasn't broken, someone just put tape on it as though it had been broken. Fooling the demons, I suppose. But maybe it brought bad luck anyway - someone left it on their lawn. To be given away.

Or maybe it's not a mirror after all? I hadn't really looked at the picture. I don't remember the circumstances of taking the picture - it was obviously on a dogwalk but that's all I can say for certain. Maybe it wasn't artistic, the placement of the tape. After all it looks like it has a kind of vent - what mirror has a vent?

Honestly I should pay more attention. I was focused, then as now, on the reflection of the tree.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Something Something Sleep Something

Do you sleep? What's that like? Do you sleep many hours in a night?

Do you dream? Do you remember your dreams? Do you dream of places you haven't been in years?

Do you wake up in the middle of the night? Does it take you as long to get back to sleep as it did to fall asleep in the first place?

Do you nap? Do you wake up confused after every nap? Isn't it weird that you still love to nap?

Do you know how much you should sleep? Do you fear you don't sleep nearly enough? Do you refrain from keeping track because you know you're not sleeping enough?

Seriously, do you sleep? Seriously - what's that like?

Friday, November 24, 2023

Self Help Radio 112323: Wool

(Original image from the Wikipedia.)

Well. Wool. Here's a radio show about wool. I almost wrote "not everything you ever wanted to know about wool" but I suspect there aren't a lot of average people who have wanted to know too much about wool. I also hesitate to write "everything you never wanted to know about pool," because I'm just not certain that wool generates such antipathy. So what else can I say but "Here's a radio show about wool."

Talking to a neighbor about this show, I was asked, "Why not songs about sheep?" I replied, "That's a whole other show!" In fact, I had forgotten about this, but it's a show I did five years ago. So I didn't say that. & the neighbor said, "I guess you like specific themes for your show." I said I guessed I did. Then the neighbor said, "Maybe too specific."

Listen to a too-specific episode of Self Help Radio now or anytime at the Self Help Radio website. Please remember to use the username SHR & the password selfhelp to listen. Lots of things happened on the show. They are listed below. Please enjoy.

Self Help Radio's wool show
"Wool" Ben Chatrer _Wool_
"The Boy In The Woolly Sweater" Ann Sydney _Girls Of Jukebox Favorites, Vol. 5_

introduction & definitions

"Wooly Bully" Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs _Wooly Bully_
"Pull The Wool" The U.S. Stamps _Let's Dig 'Em Up!!! (18 Killing Garage Lashes From The Pulverizing 60s)_
"Curious & Wooly" Bridget St. John _BBC Radio 1968-1976_
"From The Lambing To The Wool" Priscilla Herdman _Darkness Into Light_

interview with Nathan Warden of the American Woolgatherers Society

"Starry Eyed & Wooly Brained" Tall Dwarfs _3 EPs_
"Wool & Water" Basque _Radiate_
"Wool In The Wash" Crying _Beyond The Fleeting Gales_
"Woolgathering" Islet _Soft Fascination_

interview with Norbert the wolf

"You Can't Pull The Wool Over My Eyes" Helen Ward with Benny Goodman & His Orchestra _Queen Of Big Band Swing_
"Dyed In The Wool" The Young Knives _Superabundance_
"Dyed In The Wool" Widowspeak _Almanac_
"Red Wool" Slow Steve _Adventures_

interview with entrepreneur Nick Wortham

"Wind Wool" Sarah Mary Chadwick _Sugar Still Melts In The Rain_
"Wool Eyes" Knitting _Knitting_
"Wool, Cotton, Lace, & Snow" Snowpoet _Wait For Me_
"California Cloaked In Wool" Dutch _A Bright Cold Day_

our librarian friend Carole stops by!

"Cotton Wool (Fila Brazillia Mix)" Lamb _Cotton Wool_
"Man Of Wool" Dhafer Youssef _Electric Sufi_

conclusion & goodbye

"Rock & Roll Is Full Of Bad Wools" Half Man Half Biscuit _90 Bisodol (Crimond)_

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Whither Wool?

(Quick! Make me a coat! Image from here.)

Hey! Happy Thanksgiving! I think I'm glad Self Help Radio is on a Thursday but know I have to always deal with this particular holiday because it's always on a Thursday. This is better than Mondays tho - there are so many more holidays that happen on Mondays. So I'm cool with being on the radio for a couple of hours when no one else will probably do their show live this week.

& of course you may have noticed that the show's theme is the not-very-Thanksgiving-ish topic "wool." My wife asked me just the other day asked me, "Why are you doing a show about wool?" To which I responded, "Because I want people to listen to the show!"

That sort of sarcasm is normal in our household & she more than anyone understands there are sometimes 
no real reasons for why a particular theme happens. Or rather, she knows that as I age, as my faculties fade, as I stare at a list of upcoming themes & wonder "when did I write that?" - she knows that sometimes I won't remember the reasons why I've chosen to play a bunch of songs about a topic. Ergo, wool.

Wool it be any fun? You bet it wool! But don't take my word for it - tune in today from noon to 2pm - either in Portland at 90.3+98.3fm or online at freeform portland dot org! After that I wool hardly talk about wool ever again. Insert fleece pun here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Preface To Wool: Wool Puns

(Image from this page, also where the puns are.)

You know I occasionally make interstitial bits for my show, hoping to be funny or entertaining. But I've been kinda lacking creativity & motivation this week, so I thought instead of making you endure wool puns of my own devising, I'd let someone else do it. Also, I'd do it on the blog instead of on the radio, hopefully lessening the offense. Here then from are a few wool puns. Go to the page to see them all. Some of them I'll admit I don't quite get. But maybe they're just terrible puns.

1. I was going to tell a great sheep pun, but I didn’t want to pull the wool over your eyes.
2. Ewe won’t believe how soft this wool blanket is!
3. The sheep told me his favorite hobby is wool gathering, but I think he’s just pulling the wool over my eyes.
4. I went to a store that sells wool only on Sunday. It’s the weekend’s newest trend: Sundae Wool!
5. Why did the sheep go on a diet? She felt a little too wool-rounded.
6. What did the lamb say to the shepherd? “I’ve always wanted a wool mate like you!”
7. You know you’re getting old when you start finding comfort in wool socks.
8. The sheep told me he was on a tight schedule because it was wooly urgent.
9. Why do sheep never have stress? They’re always feeling so wool-relaxed.
10. I tried to teach my dog to knit, but all he did was unravel the ball of wool.
11. Some people say sheep are foolish, but obviously, they’ve never seen a wool-class education.
12. The sheep traveled to Egypt, not for wool, but because he heard that Cairo is full of shear delights.
13. Why do sheep make terrible detectives? They always get caught up in wool-gathered theories.
14. I told my friend I’m learning how to spin wool, and she said I must be quite the wool-winder.
15. I took my dog for a walk in his wool sweater. He looked a little sheepish, but boy, was he warm!
16. Ewe will always find me with wool on my mind!

There are many, many more at that link. I don't think they're all that good ("wool-relaxed"?). But at least on that page they have Tom Swifties.

1. “This wool sweater feels so soft,” Tom said sheepishly.
2. “I’ve run out of yarn,” Tom said in a threadbare voice.
3. “Don’t pull on that wool, it’s delicate!” Tom said warily.
4. “The sheep’s wool is so fluffy,” Tom said baaah-shfully.
5. “This wool coat fits perfectly,” Tom said snugly.
6. “This wool blanket is the perfect companion for a chilly night,” Tom said warmly.
7. “The wool in this sweater is itchy,” Tom said scratchily.
8. “I’m making a woolen hat for winter,” Tom said captivatingly.
9. “I prefer real wool over synthetic fibers,” Tom said naturally.
10. “This wool scarf is too long,” Tom said lengthily.

These are mostly awkward but we need more Tom Swifties in our lives so I'll allow them.

Anyway, none of this tomorrow. You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Movies For Chameleons

(Chuck didn't talk about this movie even though it was about a chameleon.
Image from the IMDb.)

Our resident cinephile Chuck stopped by the show last week to talk about films involving chameleons, which was the show's theme. No, wait. He didn't. I mean, he did stop by. He just talked instead about films involving disguises. Which wasn't quite the show's theme. Anyway, do yourself a favor & go to the Self Help Radio website & listen. Then use these links, provided by Chuck, to further enhance your viewing experience:

He has eight (!) YouTube playlists of films & trailers:
Part 7 (2008-2014)
Part 8 (2015-2023) (Chuck's still working on this list)

Here is his Letterboxd list. Here are his Letterboxd reviews.
(He writes, I put the links to available videos in the notes for the films plus where they are available to stream for free.)
(He is still working on this list, & he adds, There is duplication with of some on YouTube but quality is sometimes better, & their availability may be for limited time.)
Here is Chuck's IMDb keyword list.

Chuck says:
I posted about some of the films on Bluesky (right now it's just all the links seen here, but go ahead & give me a follow. I usually follow back).
He adds:
I tweeted about some of the films on Twitter (right now it's just all the links seen here, but go ahead & give me a follow. I usually follow back).

Here are the direct links for Chuck: Twitter,  Bluesky, & Substack. He adds, "I may write an article about them on Substack, someday, but in the meantime you can subscribe for free."

Thanks, Chuck!

Monday, November 20, 2023

A Brief Word About Dying Twitter

(image from here)

A year ago, I tweeted something about the state of Twitter, & the paraphrase is something like, "The saddest thing to me about the death of Twitter  is that it was an easy way to tell musicians I played them on the radio." I think I made a point that I am lucky that I get to choose all the music I play, & that I would hate not having that venue to tell the artists I play I'm playing them.

Sunday morning I looked at Twitter for the first time in forever. Many of the political folks I followed are long gone. I found myself reading openly racist, openly antisemitic, openly hateful stuff - tweets from accounts I don't follow - & not really seeing stuff from people I care about.

Since mine is a music show, I've followed a lot of musicians, & I guess at some point I thought that that might be insulate me from some of the ugliness. After all, what do the Nazis & the bots care about me playing some indie band?

But the other day I noticed (Twitter didn't inform me) that there had been on several of my tweets about songs I was playing new responses. There was a note that they might be offensive. Maybe they were. They were all in Russian. This is not something that had ever happened before.

In my heart I knew there would come a time when I'd be leaving what had once been a fun & vibrant place. This is not the time, but I am no longer going to live-tweet my shows. I'll keep announcing when I'm doing shows & when I know what I am going to play, I'll tag the available bands - I did that for the Dickenbock Report yesterday & I'll do it for Corporate Standardized Programming tonight. But it's just a prelude to the end. It seems to be getting worse daily. It's no place to hang out.

One of the things I do want to avoid is anything Facebook-related. I do have a Facebook account but not an Instagram account & I don't want to join Threads. I have a Bluesky Social account but it's far more of a social site even though it apparently was created by people involved with Twitter.

It's weird when something that is so routine - I have been live tweeting my shows for almost a decade - just disappears. But so be it. It's not going to get better. It's not worse the time & effort.

How I wish there were a better way to tell the musicians/artists I'm playing that I'm doing it! It was always such a thing way to show appreciation.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Self Help Radio 111623: Chameleons

(original image here)

No matter how much it tried, Self Help Radio could not change colors today & blend into the radio landscape. It, sadly, stuck out like the sore thumb of radio it is. However! As a show about chameleons, Self Help Radio played lots of music about chameleons & had lots of guests somehow involved with chameleons. So all's well that end's well. Except maybe it didn't end well. How I wish I could just disappear!

The show is available now at the Self Help Radio website. You must remember to use the username SHR & also the password selfhelp to access. Lots of things happened on the show, the details are below.

If you'd rather listen to the Chameleons than this show, though, I totally understand.

Self Help Radio Chameleons Show
"Chameleon" Elton John _Blue Moves_
"Chameleon" Labelle _Chameleon_

introduction & definitions

"The Chameleon" The Saints _Prehistoric Sounds_
"Two Chameleons" Dalek I _Compass Kumpas_
"Chameleon" Dark Day _Exterminating Angel_
"Music For Chameleons" Gary Numan _I, Assassin_

interview with chameleons-as-pets advocate Paxton Arch

"Chameleon Day" Talk Talk _The Colour Of Spring_
"Chameleon Blues" Bill Morrissey _Inside_
"Chameleon" Tim O'Brien _Chameleon_
"Chameleon Girl" Nits _Da Da Da_

interview with "the Human Chameleon" Pip Aparo

"C'mon Chameleon" The Research _Breaking Up_
"Chameleon" Marshmallow Coast _Ride The Lightning_
"Chameleon" James _Fresh As A Daisy: The Singles_
"My New Tattooed Chameleon" Annie Hamilton _Annie Hamilton EP_

our resident cinephile Chuck stops by to talk about films featuring chameleons disguises

"Chameleon" Animanz & Juanita Euka _Exotic Other_
"Chameleon Blues" Ruud Hermans & Dick Van Altena _Lonely 2_
"Chameleon" Jacco Gardner _Cabinet Of Curiosities_
"Chameleon Eyes" Marta Del Grandi _Selva_

interview with writer/director Preston Argyle about his new film "The Chameleon"
conclusion & goodbye

"Karma Chameleon" Me First & The Gimme Gimmes _Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!_
"Chameleon Bones" The Valery Trails _Chameleon Bones_
"Chameleon" Ruby Pins _Ruby Pins_
"Chameleon/Comedian" Kathleen Edwards _Voyageur_

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Whither Chameleons?

(A frightened chameleon turns black! From the Wikipedia page.)

It's going to sound dumb but. After I saw the Chameleons in September, as I moseyed back to my car in the cool night, I walked past some people who were probably a lot younger than I am & who were certainly far more inebriated than me. They were sitting at a table at a closed cafe talking to people who were leaving the show. They asked about which band they had seen & someone said "The Chameleons." One of them asked "How could you see them did they blend into the stage?" & they started laughing. Okay, maybe they weren't drunk, they were high.

In any event, it was probably the first time I really thought about the animal the band named themselves after. Were they at all like chameleons or was that just a cool name? What were chameleons like? & finally, like all my trains of thought, they stop at the depot that's marked "could I do a radio show about this?" Could I do a radio show about chameleons?

It turns out I could & I will. Self Help Radio's show about chameleons will air today! this afternoon! from noon to 2pm on Freeform Portland. In town the station's at 90.3 & 98.3 fm & online it's at freeform portland dot org. As I mentioned yesterday there will be no songs by the Chameleons on the chameleons show - but they served as inspiration so they will be there in an important way.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Preface To Chameleons - No, Not Those Guys

In case you didn't know, one of my dumb rules about my themes is that the song has to fit the theme, not the band. So even though I love The Chameleons & could easily play hours of their music & talk about them, as far as I know - & I should know! - they haven't written any songs about chameleons so I can't play them on the show about chameleons.

It's been quite amazing actually - I discovered them in 1986 right before they broke up & despaired of ever seeing them live. But I got to see Chameleons Vox (a band led by the singer) in Ohio in - maybe it was 2015? - then again here in Portland in 2019. & since one of the original guitarists (he's on the right in the picture) has rejoined the band, they call themselves the Chameleons once more, & I got to see them in September. It was great.

But I can't play them on the show about chameleons. Alas!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Something You Don't See Around Here

This is something you don't really see in Portland, or at least I haven't noticed them as conspicuously: piles of bricks.

The other day I was talking to my friend Jon in Lexington & he mentioned some place in our old neighborhood there & I was looking at Gogoel Masp & I was struck by how many brick houses were there. We don't have a lot of brick houses in Portland. I mentioned that to my wife & she said, "I know! I hate it!"

One thing is true, I have a lot of pictures I took in Kentucky of bricks. The one above I took on this day in 2015. You might be saying to yourself, "C'mon, Gary! How many pictures of bricks can you have taken?" I can't tell you the total number but of the ones I saved, here are the ones from 2014, the year I started taking pictures on our dogwalks. Spoiler alert! It's four!

One thing to mention is this is just the piles of bricks (or in one case loose bricks on a walkway). I took way more pictures of brick walls &etc.

There's only one picture I've saved of a brick wall in the last couple of years in Portland. & that's because they don't really build things with bricks here, at least (as far as I can tell) as often as they do in Kentucky. & let me tell you - my wife hates it!