Saturday, January 21, 2023

The Movies In 1987

(image from the IMDb)

On this week's show - which featured some of my favorite music from 1987 - our resident cinephile Chuck interrupted from time-to-time to let us know about some films from 1987 that he liked which you might not have seen - or even heard of!

Listen to the show at either the Self Help Radio website or at the KBOO website, then check out Chuck's supplementary links below:

Here's the search list he used.

Here's the list on Letterboxd & also his reviews there.

Here is the YouTube playlist he created.

Here is a list of films available elsewhere.

If you keep up with Chuck on Twitter, you'll see he's watching films from 1987 all month long. Watch along with him!

Chuck'll be back for the Valentine's Day show!

Friday, January 20, 2023


(image from here)

Today I turned fifty-five years old. It's a cliché to say that one doesn't feel one's age, but I know I look it. I look like a fifty-five-year old.

Interestingly, only a few people wished me happy birthday - mainly family members. My very oldest friends, with whom I guess I don't really talk any more, were notably absent from even a kind text, save one. My guess is, they don't really know when my birthday is, or probably don't care.

It was fun in the early days of Facebook to wish everyone a happy birthday, since you can have Facebook remind your "friends" of your birthday, but I stopped doing that a while back. I also haven't allowed Facebook to share my birthday so no one (except family members) wished me a happy birthday on Facebook. Which is fine - the one time I let Facebook notify people about my birthday, most of the people who wished me happy birthday were acquaintances with whom I hadn't spoken in years & will probably never see again.

Please don't think me bitter or unhappy about all this - I am just making observations. My birthday has long ceased to be anything important, just another day - just another thing around which I can make a radio show. I confess I also no longer stay in touch with people who don't really want to stay in touch with me. How do I know they don't want to stay in touch with me? I don't reach out to them anymore. This means there are people who I'd write emails to regularly, or even call, who, the moment I stopped doing that, never communicated with me again. These are people who've known me for decades. When you're the only person keeping a relationship alive, is the relationship alive?

The wife did indulge me today, & I saw a friend's improv show (he gave me a book but didn't say "happy birthday" but I think he knew it was my birthday). I had a lovey dog walk in a part of Portland that I've never walked in before - I love doing that, but it does make me miss Winston a lot. He used to love walking in new neighborhoods too. All in all, it wasn't a bad birthday - but it also wasn't much different than this Friday might have been if it weren't my birthday.

It is sobering that I have less days before me than behind me. I saw a notice today that a beloved KOOP programmer had recently passed, & I suppose there'll be much more death ahead of me as well. I hope I get to live a long live, I have so much more music I want to listen to, more books I want to read, more movies I need to see. But I do feel lucky to have made it this far. That's a good birthday present.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Self Help Radio 011723: 1987

(all image from Discogs)

Wow, that was a radio show I might've done in 1987!

But there's so much more to cover that I love from that year, so I believe I'll be revisiting 1987 in six months or so - like I did last year with 1986 & the year before with 1985.

There are three hours of songs I love from 1987 in a file with minimal blab from me. You can listen to that show now at the Self Help Radio website.  Remember, you'll need a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp). You can also listen - but you can't download the show - at the KBOO website.

Everything I played is below. To be continued in six months! Tell me what you think I missed!

Self Help Radio 1987 Show
"Let's Make Some Plans" The Close Lobsters _Let's Make Some Plans_
"Crawl Babies" The Pastels _Crawl Babies_
"When It All Comes Down" Miaow _When It All Comes Down_

"Shoplifters Of The World Unite" The Smiths _Louder Than Bombs_
"Happy When It Rains" The Jesus & Mary Chain _Darklands_
"Shine On" The House Of Love _Shine On_
"Flame Into Being" Momus _The Poison Boyfriend_
"Cry Baby Cry" Throwing Muses _Chains Changed_

"Hit The North Part 1" The Fall _Hit The North_
"Big Rock Candy Mountain (Velocity Dance Mix)" The Motorcycle Boy _Big Rock Candy Mountain_
"You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart" Eurythmics _Savage_
"Hope Road" Anne Clark _Hopeless Cases_
"Pump Up The Volume" M|A|R|R|S _Pump Up The Volume_

"She Lives By The Castle" Felt _Poem Of The River_
"Bye Bye Pride" The Go-Betweens _Tallulah_
"A Trick Of The Light" The Triffids _Calenture_
"My Favourite Dress" The Wedding Present _My Favourite Dress_
"Waiting For The Flood" Love & Rockets _Earth Sun Moon_

"Schizophrenia" Sonic Youth _Sister_
"Levitate Me" Pixies _Come On Pilgrim_
"Happy Nightmare Baby" Opal _Happy Nightmare Baby_
"Cold Cold Ground" Tom Waits _Franks Wild Years_
"Birthday" The Sugarcubes _Birthday_

"All I Want" The Cure _Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me_
"This Corrosion" The Sisters Of Mercy _This Corrosion_
"Trust In Me" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Through The Looking Glass_
"Sloppy Heart" Frazier Chorus _Sloppy Heart_
"Cantara" Dead Can Dance _Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun_

"Son Of A Gun" The Vaselines _Son Of A Gun_
"Talulah Gosh" Talulah Gosh _Talulah Gosh_
"Stop Killing Me" The Primitives _Stop Killing Me_
"Happy All The Time" The Flatmates _Happy All The Time_
"Built Like A Car" Mighty Mighty _Built Like A Car_

"I Know You Got Soul" Eric B & Rakim _Paid In Full_
"South Bronx" Boogie Down Productions _Criminal Minded_
"Dope Man" N.W.A. _Panic Zone_

Monday, January 16, 2023

Whither 1987?

(image from here)

Maybe I'll play something from that JAMMS record above tonight. I certainly enjoyed it in 1987!

Every year around my birthday, I play music from records, singles, & EPs released in a particular year. This is a Self Help Radio tradition dating back to 2003, when the show wasn't even a year old - it happened on my birthday, so I played music from the year of my birth, which is 1968. Each year, I progress one more year, & this year, I've made it to 1987 - which was a very important year in music for me.

This may be the first year - I can't be sure about this but - it may be the first year in this series when the majority of the music I play is actually music I was listening to that year. I spent every extra cent I had on records - & on music magazines, where I learned about upcoming records.

It's safe to be back in the KBOO studios so I'll be there live tonight from midnight to 3am Portland time. The show will air in Portland town at 90.7fm & it will stream all over the world at

Nineteen-year-old me would not believe many things about himself in 2023 - but he would certainly believe the music that meant so much to him then would still mean the world to him now.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Preface To 1987: A Few More Stories About That Year

A selfie from 1987

It seems I won't have a lot of time & space for telling 1987 stories. Adopting a cat waylaid me. But. I think I can tell a few stories in this space.

My first year of college ended in May 1987 - I guess I did well. I had lived with two men who weren't really my friends, just guys I knew from high school, & one of them, named Todd, I literally never saw again after we moved out. He was charming & good-looking enough to occasionally bring girls home, & a couple of them were quite cute, but I never saw any of them more than once.

At school I didn't make many friends, but I had some friends I made in class & occasionally saw outside of class. One of them, a swell gal named Stacy, actually called me when I did my second 1986 show last summer. I would lose touch with her in a year when I met my second girlfriend but that's in 1988. My 1987 was loveless.

Though I tried to meet & talk to girls, I was pretty terrible at it. I would do dumb things like give them poems & then never speak to them again. In one situation, I went to a girl's apartment to give her a poem, & she invited me in & gave me tea. I went to her bathroom & in her shower was a large, I suppose life-sized poster of Prince, & what he was wearing was see-through. I was a little freaked-out about it - I didn't really like Prince & I didn't really like the girl. Or I should say: I wasn't in love with her. So I left abruptly. Naturally we didn't talk again.*

In those days I really needed & wanted to be in love. It was what all the music I loved was about, that & heartbreak. I was still carrying a torch for my first girlfriend, whom I dated for all of a week the year before. We wrote letters to each other but she was completely over me. During the summer of 1987, she had a layover at DFW Airport & I went to get her (borrowing again my sister's Subaru) & we spent some time together. I had hoped I was more charming after a year but she had no interest in me. But damn did I carry that torch for another very long year.

Working at 7-11 nights (see my previous entry) left me little time to go out & do stuff. I did run into a friend's brother at the store, a friend who had become a born-again Christian & stopped talking to me. We didn't talk for two more years, but we would reconnect & he would later play my spiritual mentor The Rev Dr Howard Gently on Self Help Radio.

He was in the class above me at our high school, but hadn't gone away to college - he went to a music school in town & lived with his parents. Another friend in that class had also stayed in town but had gone to SMU. His name was Kirk & before I got home from college, he died in a drunk driving accident. We hadn't spoken for a while but he had been a good friend in school. I couldn't bring myself to go to the funeral but wrote his mother a nice letter, to which she responded kindly. She lost her husband & son in the span of a few years.

When I returned to Austin, I had a new roommate - William, who had graduated from high school that year. I liked William a lot & he let me decorate our living room with my collection of posters that reflected my musical tastes but not his. I also for some dumb reason put my record player in the living room, which meant William was usually around when I listened to music, which was something that was very personal to me. William was smart but he didn't really go anywhere except class so he was always around. In addition, & I know this is stupid, I had become a vegetarian the previous year & he insisted on eating seafood. He had these little shrimps he cooked & it made the house smell icky.

Things were going to come to a head at some point - I had really begun to hate him - when he took me aside & told me that he was gay. I was the first person he came out to. I wanted to support him but I was not liking him very much - however, my built-in desire to be helpful overcame my enmity. I tried to get him to take advantage of the resources on campus - the Gay & Lesbian Student Association for example. He resisted for a long time, but eventually, probably at the beginning of 1988, he relented. The creepiest thing is, I think I was there when he lost his virginity - I didn't hear anything (I was in my room, listening to music) but I did meet the much older man who did the deed. Later on, William expressed a little regret because the guy only wanted him for that reason. I could only let him know straight guys can be just as gross.

A big decision I made in 1987 involved concert-going. I saw many more concerts in 1987 than I had in 1986. I think I saw the Cure, the Psychedelic Furs, the Mighty Lemon Drops, & U2 before I went back to school. The U2 concert was in Fort Worth, since U2 was upset about the gigantic venue in Dallas investing in apartheid South Africa. This was the Joshua Tree tour. It was my third & last time seeing a band at a giant venue. I guess they're called arenas or stadiums or something. I couldn't really hear the show, I definitely couldn't see the band, & I was annoyed by all the joints that were passed to me. So I vowed never to see a band in a giant space like that ever again. & I never did - which meant I never got to see some artists that are dear to me, like Dylan or Bowie or Neil Young. I regret it only a little.

At the end of the year, Thanksgiving weekend in fact, I got to see the Jesus & Mary Chain one night & Love & Rockets the next. It coincided with my first car accident & my first experience with radio.

Those days I still went home to Thanksgiving even though I couldn't really eat anything my family made, being a vegetarian.** The night after Thanksgiving I was returning to Austin with the person I called my best friend but who really didn't think that of me - it was glaringly obvious at the time but I chose not to see it - he really thought of me mostly with contempt. Anyway, he had tickets to see the Jesus & Mary Chain & that was the only reason he was taking me back to Austin. He never once did something nice for me out of the goodness of his heart - I either had to beg or guilt him, or it didn't inconvenience him to help me out. He had gone to see Love & Rockets that night in Dallas, & we were to drive in the night to Austin.

He picked me up late & we were turning probably from I-30 to I-35 in South Dallas when a car came barreling at us driving the wrong way in our lane. My "friend" tried to turn but they rammed us on the passenger side - where I was. We spun & they screeched to a halt & to this day I don't know how I got out of the car - I couldn't open my door, so I must've made it out of the driver's door. We approached the other car to see if they were all right, but they drove away - again, the wrong way in traffic. We didn't even get a license plate.

We were so dazed that we just started driving again & didn't stop to call the police until we were well out of town. That night when we got to Austin, I was so shook up that I somehow forgot how to use my key to open my door, so I broke my bedroom window to get into the apartment. Surprisingly, some security guard approached me & I showed him that my key actually worked. Hilariously, my "friend" had given up hope & was sleeping in the laundromat. As with many times in my life, I had to go looking for him.

Neither of us were hurt, thankfully, but we drove the dark two hundred miles to Austin with quite a lot of adrenalin & a weird youthful sense we had cheated death.

The show this week is one of the most personal I've ever done. While I am sure I had classes that I took that I enjoyed, I don't really remember them. I was a good student & did well. But in my personal life, I was very lonesome & absurdly socially awkward. Music was something that occupied me & defined me - I spent most of my non-school, non-rent money in record stores.

Oh shit I forgot to tell you the radio station thing. Well. For some reason my "friend" & I found ourselves the day of the Jesus & Mary Chain show at the only community radio station around at the time, KAZI. In Dallas, my "friend" listened to KNON regularly, & I tried to listen to when I could, especially a show on Thursday nights that seemed perfect for me. I guess he thought KAZI would be Austin's equivalent. We went there, they gave us volunteer badges, & we somehow thought we could use them to interview the Jesus & Mary Chain. Suffice it to say, the band didn't let us in their bus, & I never went back to KAZI again after my "friend" went back to Dallas. I didn't have a car & it was far from where I lived.***

But I do recall looking into that studio where a deejay was spinning records & talking on the mic, & thinking it was way cool & even a bit magical. I'd like to say I saw my future in there but really I didn't have that desire then. Not that it hadn't crossed my mind - but it seemed far away if not impossible at the time.

* Well, I saw her at a record store later on, but we just said hi.
** My sister Pat later told me my mother was so terrified I was going to die that she would make me stuff & put animal fat in it. So I guess I wasn't entirely vegetarian.
*** KAZI now is mainly an "urban contemporary" station but that happened largely after KVRX & KOOP went on the air. I remember listening to a late-night indie show on the station in 1989 - the sort of show I would've myself done.