Friday, May 26, 2023

Self Help Radio 052523: Trembling

Things you can tremble with: fear, excitement, anticipation, indignation, anger, cold. Will you tremble with any of these on this show about trembling? Or would you rather quiver? Or shiver?

Howsoever you prefer to tremble, there's a radio show for you, & it's this week's Self Help Radio. There are plenty of songs about trembling as well as the usual silly interviews & awkward airbreaks. It might be worth a few furtive trembles.

Listen to it now at the Self Help Radio website. Remember there's a username/password requirement - try SHR/selfhelp. Hey buy you can download the show if you wish! Everything that happened is listed below.

Self Help Radio Trembling Show
"Standin' Here Tremblin'" Muddy Waters _The Chronological Muddy Waters 1948-1950_
"Tremblin'" Wynonie Harris _Lovin' Machine_
"Tremblin'" Birdie Green _Super Soul Sisters_

introduction & definitions

"Tremble" Malcolm Dodds _The Malcolm Dodds Story_
"Talk Back Trembling Lips" Debbie Stuart _Hazy Memories Volume One_
"Tremblin'" Gene Pitney _Young & Warm & Wonderful + Just One Smile_
"I Tremble For You" Waylon Jennings _Love Of The Common People_
"Tremble" George Hamilton IV _To You & Yours, From Me & Mine_

interview with writer/director Otto Glenn

"Tremble (My Girl Doesn't)" The Wolfgang Press _Water_
"All Of A Tremble" St. Christopher _Dig Deep, Brother 1984-1990_
"Tremble" The Verlaines _Ready To Fly_
"Knee Trembler" Close Lobsters _Headache Rhetoric_

interview with Dr. Stanley Gadd

"Not The Trembling Kind" Laura Cantrell _Not The Trembling Kind_
"Make Me Tremble" Joey Ramone _...Ya Know?_
"Tremble" Better Than Ezra _Surprise_
"Trembling Peacock" Destroyer _This Night_

interview with sound collage artist Theodore Sand

"I Thrust These Trembling Fists Into The Air" The Love Letter Band _Even The Pretty Girls Take Medicine_
"Tremble" Carnivores _If I'm Ancient_
"Trembling Away" Baby Jesus _Baby Jesus_
"Feel Me Tremble" Did You Die _Royal Unicorn_

interview with historian Roberta Garson

"Trembling" Lemuria _Recreational Hate_
"Tremble" Kalbells _Mothertime_
"Silver Trembling Hands" The Flaming Lips _Embryonic_
"Trembling Stylee" Little John _Trembling Stylee_

conclusion & goodbye

"I Tremble" The Winnerys _...And The Winnerys_
"Hothead Handshake Tremble" Charlie Fawn _Charlie Fawn_
"Tremble" The Information _Mistakes We Knew We Were Making_

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Whither Trembling?

(from here)

Trembling is such a delicate thing - shaking seems downright vulgar compared to it. Trembling also seems to indicate a vulnerable situation - your lips tremble for a kiss. I think of nervous moments where my body seemed to tremble uncontrollably - & yet it also seemed my trembling was unnoticed - & unnoticeable.

Once again thinking about how I only have two hours for Self Help Radio these days, I have been looking for themes that will give me enough songs to fill that time - but only just enough. I'm not sure when the idea of trembling entered my head, but I think I couldn't initially find enough songs. Which was a challenge of a sort. So I went ahead & scheduled the show.

That show happens today! Wow. I'm all a-tremble! It's on noon to 2pm Portland time on Freeform Portland, which is on the Portland radio dial at 90.3 & 98.3 fm & luckily online everywhere at Freeform Portland dot org. Lots of fun stuff planned. Hope you can tune in.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Preface To Trembling: A Haiku

(a trembling icon found here)

Here goes:

You can't say trembling
Is something that's resembling
Plain old dissembling

First of all, bonus points for me, a haiku whose lines also rhyme. Even if it makes no sense.

Also: dissembling is a word I learned from a person in ninth grade who used it incorrectly. He would often accuse me of dissembling when he thought I was lying. I looked it up & tried to correct him but he felt I guess it was close enough to lying to be used in that way. I remember I said to him once, in response, "I'm no dissembler, I'm just mendacious," & he started using the word "mendacious" all the time.

For some reason, I think the fellow's name was Troy. We met in a Theatre Arts class, & maybe he was a junior or even a senior, because I didn't see him or talk to him after that class. Anyway, years later he came up in conversation with a pal & that person said, "He was always accusing me of dissembling!" & I said, "It was his way of calling you a liar." My friend said, "But that's not what dissembling means!"

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

High Above The Clouds

Two years ago today, I was flying up in the air away from the Dallas area & back to Portland. I had given the eulogy at my mother's memorial, which I wrote about here. My mother had died the previous September but because of the pandemic we had to wait a few months to gather.

Someone asked me today if I am "visited" by my mother in any form. Since I don't believe in anything supernatural, I wouldn't see a ghost or a spirit or anything like that. I don't think such things exist. But I do occasionally hear her voice, accompanying a memory, & since I spoke to her every Sunday for most of the last twenty years of her life, I will sometimes reflect on her on Sundays.

This is a story I've probably told before, but in 1974, when I was six years old, my mother took me & two of my brothers to Germany to visit family there. I had no real sense of what Germany was, how far away we would travel, anything like that. What I did know what that I was going up in a plane above the clouds, & I was going to see what I knew for a fact would be there: angels.

It's true. I thought angels lived on top of the clouds. I worried a bit about the plane hitting them, but figured they knew how to avoid them. & when I looked out the window - I told no one about my expectations, having learned that my family often called me "stupid" or worse when I said something as fact that wasn't so - I was shocked & disappointed that there weren't any angels there.

It was crushing. Once we got to Germany, I think I was still a bit sad to find out angels didn't live above the clouds. & it might've explained some of my reaction to the experience. But that's a story for another time.

It would be twelve years before I got on a plane again, on a short flight to Austin in the summer of 1986 for college orientation. Looking out the window to see the clouds is always a highlight. How much more amazing are they now without the expectation of anything silly as angels.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Andy Rourke

When I first starting listening to the Smiths, I was listening to the words that Morrissey sang. That was the most immediate, most important thing to me. I had been listening to music my entire life but wasn't a musician, so didn't know much about guitar, bass, keyboard, drums. But I knew that I wouldn't be able to experience the songs if the music weren't also something I liked.

As I got deeper into music, as I found music that affected me like the Smiths, as I continued to listen to the Smiths long after they no longer existed, I started to pay attention to the musicianship. I came to understand how incredible Johnny Marr's music was - especially when later both he & Morrissey abandoned that sound. Songs that I had listened to hundreds of times, I discovered, became new to me when I focused on individual instruments. In the case of the Smiths, it was Marr's shimmering guitar - & then, Rourke's melodic bass.

It turns out I have a thing for bass players whose instrument sings instead of simply keeping time. I think of Bruce Thomas of the Attractions & Mark Monnone of the Lucksmiths. There are moments in Smiths song where the guitar & bass seem to be singing a duet. Rourke's playing was never showy, but it always felt essential. I am not a musician but I thought if I were a musician I would love to be playing along with someone like Andy Rourke.

He was four years older than I am. It seems a little selfish to say 59 is too young to die. But it surely is.

Gosh, I wish I could've said thank you to him for being such an amazing part of so much music I love. But I suspect lots of people - scores of people - hundreds of people - told him that. & so tonight I'll play some Smiths on the radio, because thank you Andy Rourke.