Friday, May 05, 2023

Self Help Radio 050423: Get A Grip

Here's a caveat about this week's show as it appears on the Self Help Radio website: it's not exactly how it aired. There were technical difficulties which caused me to delay the first airbreak. I played an instrumental track while I got help. What I have shared on the website removes that instrumental track (since I talk over it during the first airbreak) which shortened the show, so I added a song at the end that was not broadcast originally.

What was important is that the funny people who add so much to my otherwise bland show got to be heard. I was afraid I wouldn't get to share their contributions. & they were great this week! If you listen at all, it should be for their creative additions.

The show is available to be listened to now at the Self Help Radio website. Remember, you'll need a username (which is SHR) & a password (which is selfhelp) to listen. Below is a list of the songs I played & a brief description of what happened during the airbreaks. For a show whose host barely has a grip on things other than the occasional whiskey glass, it could've turned out much, much worse.

Self Help Radio Get A Grip! Show
"Your Love's Got A Grip On Me" Nick Todd _Rockin' At The Hop_
"I'm Losing My Grip" The Rivingtons _The Liberty Years_
"Devil's Grip" The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown _The Psychedelic Years Revisited_
"Monkey Grip Glue" Bill Wyman _Monkey Grip_

introduction & definitions & focus group flashback # 1

"Don't Lose Your Grip On Love" Brinsley Schwarz _Nervous On The Road_
"Get A Grip On Yourself" The Stranglers _Stranglers IV (Rattus Norvegicus)_
"The Grip Of Love" Tom Verlaine _Tom Verlaine_

interview with martial arts master of many grips Jeff Piper

"Their Grip" Elti-Fits _Messthetics # 106 The Manchester Musicians Collective 1977-1982_
"Get A Grip On Yourself" Pearl Harbor & The Explosions _Pearl Harbor & The Explosions_
"The Grip Of Love" Ghost Dance _Gathering Dust_
"Grip Of Fear" The Blanche Hudson Weekend _Standing On The Lift To The Scaffold: 2009-2013_

interview with Todd Mattel, inventor of the GI Joe Kung Fu Grip
focus group flashback # 2

"Grip It" Trouble Funk _Saturday Night Live From Washington D.C._
"Grip The Mic" Ultramagnetic MC's _New York What Is Funky_
"Break The Grip Of Shame" Paris _Tommy Boy Greatest Hits_
"Grip Like A Vice" The Go! Team _Proof Of Youth_

interview with clinical psychologist Dr. Leonard Dirt

"Grip" Inspiral Carpets _The Beast Inside_
"Thorn In Yer Grip" The Ecstasy Of Saint Theresa _Susurrate_
"Get A Grip" Spectrals _Bad Penny_
"Get A Grip" B Boys _No Worry No Mind_
"The Grip" Chris Knox _Almost_

conclusion & goodbye & focus group flashback # 3

"Get A Grip" A Certain Ratio _ACR Loco_
"Don't Let Go Of Me (Grip My Hips And Move Me)" Mike & Brenda Sutton _Don't Hold Back_
"Thighs High (Grip Your Hips & Move)" Tom Browne _Phat Trax - The Best Of Old School, Vol. 2_

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Whither Get A Grip?

(Wikipedia says "OK Grip")

"Get a grip" is one of those themes that says to the hypothetical listener "Is Gary all out of ideas?" To which a Gary might reply, "Oh yes! A long time ago!" But this extremely hypothetical listener might press on, saying, "It's an idea, though, isn't it? Even if it isn't a good one." To which Gary almost certainly will say, "That's the tagline for Self Help Radio!"

While I can't be sure what reason I have for this theme, I believe it began with a Stranglers binge which led me to look for songs that used the phrase "get a grip," which is an idiom that one online dictionary defines as "to control one's reactions or emotions; often used as an imperative urging someone to calm down." Naturally, I didn't find enough songs I liked to make an entire show with just "get a grip" tunes, so any song featuring the word "grip" filled out the playlist. & when I thought I had enough, a show was planned.

That show airs this afternoon 12 to 2pm Portland time on 90.3+98.3fm & online at Freeform Portland dot org. & I had fun making it. That might mean it's worth a listen.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Preface To Get A Grip: (Parenthetical Titles)

(image from Discogs)

It's interesting to me that the original single for the very famous Stranglers song "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)" (which is pictured above) listed the song title as "Grip." Technically, that's true - if there are words in parentheses in a song title, you don't have to say them - which begs the question, why put them there in the first place?

This article attempts to answer the question of why that is. It points out that the Simple Minds song "Don't You (Forget About Me)" can simply be referred to as "Don't You," which I think is just dumb. Someone did compile a list which they put in their subjective "order of parenthetical charm." I'm sure you have favorites.

What was the first song to do this? I couldn't find out but I suspect it first became common in the 1960s. Some theorize it was a way to draw attention to the song if the title wasn't repeated in the song. Or perhaps it made it easier to find on a seven-inch record sleeve economically - you could just write "Sweet Dreams" instead of "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These." A time saver of a sort. But what do I know?

One thing that has happened occasionally is that people act like some songs have parenthetical titles when they just don't. As someone who has looked at a lot of playlists over the years, I am a little surprised by this. To take two examples:

A person at one station who regularly played a certain Depeche Mode song always listed it as "(Your Own) Personal Jesus." It turns out they had downloaded the song with that title. They never bothered to check if that were the case.

A person at another station (& I've been told this is quite common) always referred to the Joy Division song as "Control." Apparently they thought the original title was "(She's Lost) Control." This is almost certainly because of the movie of the same name, which doesn't have that song on the soundtrack, but a quick look at the tracklisting of both the "Atmosphere" single (which has "She's Lost Control" as a b-side) & the album Unknown Pleasures (on which the original version exists) will note there are no parentheses in the title of that song. Still, on playlists, that person wrote that they played the Joy Division song "Control."

Personally, I just write the whole song name. Most of the time. I just noticed that last week I wrote the Rexy song as its title "(Don't) Turn Me Away." Probably just copying & pasting. I generally write "Don't You Forget About Me" or "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" without the parentheses. & when I play the Stranglers tomorrow, I won't be playing "Grip." I'll play "Get A Grip On Yourself."

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

New Intro Time Again Again Again Again Again Again Again Again Again Again Again!

(There's a sample from this movie in this year's intro! Image from IMDb.)

There's a good reason to make an "intro" for your radio show - it automatically separates your show from the previous one. It may also include a legal ID - you gotta have one of those - & it may show off (or cast in a bad light) your audio editing skills. I have a generic intro for the Dickenbock Report, & I play a George Carlin bit at the beginning of Corporate Standardized Programming (which is where the show gets its name) but every year, around the beginning of May, I make a new intro for Self Help Radio.

Why the beginning of May? I think it's because that's when the schedule changed at KOOP - the station in Austin where the show originated - but also probably because when the show was on a college station, like WRFL, it marked the end of the spring semester & the beginning of the summer.  Sometimes I don't get to it at the beginning of May - last year it was the middle of May, the year before that it was June - but I had some time yesterday & here it is - the new intro:

Ta-da! The 2022 Self Help Radio Intro!

Wanna hear the previous ones? No? Oh. Well, here they are in case you change your mind.

You can listen to the 2002 intro (my first!) here.

You can listen to the 2003 intro here.

You can listen to the 2005 intro here.

You can listen to the 2006 intro here.

You can listen to the 2007 intro here.

You can listen to the 2008 intro here.

You can listen to the 2009 intro here.

You can listen to the 2010 intro here.

You can listen to the 2011 intro here.

You can listen to the 2012 intro here.

You can listen to the 2013 intro here.

You can listen to the 2014 intro here.

You can listen to the 2015 intro here.

You can listen to the 2016 intro here.

You can listen to the 2017 intro here.

You can listen to the 2018 intro here.

You can listen to the 2019 intro here.

You can listen to the 2020 intro here.

You can listen to the 2021 intro here.

You can listen to last year's intro here.

It's a little weird to call this final intro on the list "last year's intro" when I played it last week. But I suppose one should think of the intros like television seasons.  That was the 2022-2023 intro; the new one is the 2023-2024 intro. But. It's too late to go back & change everything!

Monday, May 01, 2023


(Image from the Wikipedia*)

Harry Belafonte seemed a larger-than-life performer when I was a child. I remember how delighted I'd be when he showed up on television shows - like the Muppet Show. Later I found out more about him & it turned out he was also an awesome human being. When I was able to find & listen to his records, I loved how much he loved exploring music. As you know, he died on April 25 at the age of 96 - an extraordinary life well-lived.

On Monday nights/Tuesday morning, I have a show on KBOO. I record it over the weekend & it's mainly a chance for me to play lots of music separated from the silliness & theme-focus of Self Help Radio & The Dickenbock Report. It also gives me the ability to celebrate & remember artists we've lost like Belafonte. So for the first hour of the show tonight, I'll be playing some of my favorite Belafonte tunes from his first decade of recordings.

It's on midnight to 3am Portland time on KBOO - 90.7 fm in town kboo dot fm everywhere. I know I cannot really capture his talent in a few songs, but I did want to take the time to play his music. He was, as I've said, extraordinary.

*By Carl Van Vechten - Van Vechten Collection at Library of Congress, Public Domain,