Friday, July 28, 2023

Self Help Radio 072723: Sirens

(original image on the Wikipedia)

They said it couldn't be done! & by they, I usually mean me, because I don't really believe in myself. Well, take that, me! Here's an entire show about sirens!

The only thing this show lacked was an idea I had for one of my fake interviews - I wanted to interview a retired siren. Alas, the improviser who I thought would be perfect for this was unavailable. I thought about just doing it myself but ran out of time. Another idea was me reading parts of the Odyssey in an over-the-top super hammy style - instead, I opted for stuff from an audiobook.

What you did get however is four good interviews & lots of great tunes. At least I think so. Go ahead, go listen to the show over at the Self Help Radio website. Please remember you need the username SHR & the password selfhelp to listen. All the stuff that happen on the show is below.

The original painting up there, by John William Waterhouse, is really rad, & I feel bad about defacing it. My apologies.

Self Help Radio Sirens Show
"J'Entends La Sirene" Edith Piaf _L'Accordeoniste_
"Isle Of Sirens" The Impressions _The Fabulous Impressions_
"Song To The Siren" This Mortal Coil _It'll End In Tears_

introduction & definitions

"The Poet & The Siren" Damien Youth _The Man Who Invented God_
"Dial 'S' For Siren (feat. the Randall Zanelli Singers)" The Barry Gemso Experience _Harpsichord 2000_
"Sirens Call" Louis Philippe _A Kiss In The Funhouse_
"Siren Song" The Besties _Singer_

interview with explorer Grant Adkins, who's looking for sirens

"Sirena" Calexico _Convict Pool_
"The Sailor & The Siren" Rusalnaia _Rusalnaia_
"Sirensong" The Cure _4:13 Dream_
"Sailor To Siren" Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop _Love Letter For Fire_

our resident cinephile Chuck stops by to talk about mythology in the movies

"Siren" Half Waif _The Caretaker_
"I Hear The Sirens" The Dirtbombs _We Have You Surrounded_
"Sirens" The Pack A.D. _Unpersons_
"The Siren Song" Joan Gerber _The Story Lady_
"Waiting For The Sirens' Call" New Order _Waiting For The Sirens' Call_

interview with classics scholar Dr. Gerald Arthur, who's written books about the Odyssey

"Siren Song" Brave Combo _No, No, No, Cha Cha Cha_
"The Siren Song" Folk Is People _The Devil Always Comes_
"Siren Song" Dinner _New Work_
"Siren" Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton _Choir Of The Mind_

interview with former captain Geoff Anderton, who has seen sirens
+ conclusion & goodbye

"Song To The Siren" Tim Buckley _Starsailor_
"Siren" Makthaverskan _III_
"Of Sirens, Vampires, & Lovers" Me & That Man _Songs Of Love & Death_
"Siren Song" Bat For Lashes _Two Suns_

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Whither Sirens?

(from the Wikipedia)

Like almost everyone else, I heard about sirens in the context of The Odyssey. It is a testimony to the weird power of the story that it's so memorable although it takes up a very small fraction of the narrative arc. They are these creatures who sing to sailors, mesmerizing them & causing them to wreck their ships, presumably to consume them or some other horrible thing. Homer doesn't describe them but later stories involving sirens have them as half-woman/half-bird monsters - since birds sing, one supposes, & since women seduce.

Perhaps the most famous song about sirens is Tim Buckley's "Song To The Siren." Like a lot of people listening to "alternative" or "independent" music in the 1980s, I was first exposed to this tune thanks to This Mortal Coil. I had almost certainly listened to the Cocteau Twins by the time I found the record It'll End In Tears, & it was Elisabeth Frazer's haunting singing that made me love the cover of "Song To The Siren" on that record. It would have been child's play for her to make me dash my boat against her rocks.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a television appearance from 1983 of her singing that song live. It is here - I'm not going to try to embed it. It's incredible & I've watched it over & over. (There's also an official music video for it too.) It made me think, are there enough songs about sirens to make an entire radio show? The answer is yes.

Please listen today on Freeform Portland from noon to 2pm local time on 90.3+98.3fm in online everywhere at freeform portland dot org. Maybe dock your seafaring vessels while listening? I'm not responsible for any damage caused by siren songs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Preface To Sirens: No, Not Those Kinds Of Sirens

The dictionary defines a siren as "a device that makes a loud prolonged sound as a signal or warning." But it also tells us that it means, in Greek mythology, "each of a number of women or winged creatures whose singing lured unwary sailors on to rocks."

When I first thought about doing a show about sirens, I thought I might have to mix the two. But nope! The show will be about the mythological sirens.

Siren by the way can also mean "a woman who is considered to be alluring or fascinating but also dangerous in some way." Some singers are called sirens but there are also sirens of the silver screen.

Even better though is that there are at least four kinds of animals called sirens:

Siren (genus), a genus of aquatic salamanders in the family Sirenidae
Hestina, a genus of brush-footed butterfly commonly called sirens
Sirenia, an order of aquatic mammals including dugongs and manatees
Sirenidae, a family of aquatic salamanders

Alas, I will not be doing a show about them - except that they might have been named sirens after the mythological sirens - I can't find evidence of that in my limited research though.

Why a show about the deadly singing bird-like sirens? I'll tell you that tomorrrow!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Closed For Pandemic

Something that is very hard for me to come to terms with is that "the pandemic is over." You know the dude who's still wearing the mask in supermarkets & at shows? That's me. I never got covid (as far as I know) & I never want to get covid (which is something that still happens!).

At both Freeform Portland & XRAY I no longer wear a mask when I'm around other people. I haven't been to KBOO for a while (my show is recorded) but the policy there is to be masked in the studios, so I would be. I don't wear a mask at my local liquor store, but I do at the clinic where I pick up my meds. & when we are walking dogs, though I am unmasked, I still cross the street to avoid one-on-one interactions with people - which is fine as my dogs get too excited & become total assholes.

The picture above was taken three years ago outside the Voodoo Donuts on Davis Street. There are those we've met who will insist this is a rule: "No one who lives in Portland goes to Voodoo Donuts!" Those people have other issues to work out, because for those of us who are vegan, Voodoo Donuts has many more vegan options than your average Portland donut shop. When I tried to get some vegan donuts for my wife on this day three years ago, this is what I found - that shop was closed due to the pandemic.

It's open now. I sometimes pick up donuts on Saturday mornings after my XRAY show, since it's between the XRAY studios & where we live. But it's interesting to see this picture & remember stranger days.

Days that, to me, aren't quite over. I think there's a booster vaccine out there I should get that I am not currently qualified for. I need to look into that.

Monday, July 24, 2023

The 1968 Project

(The front page of the 1968 releases section of Rate Your Music.)

Some time last year, wanting to help have some late-night content for KBOO, I conceived of something I thought would be fun. KBOO & I were born in the same year, 1968. What if I used a list of albums from 1968 as a kind of playlist, listening to the records myself even if I previously didn't like them? What if I also took as much on-air real estate as possible by playing the longest song on each record?

This is what I did, for three shows that aired during otherwise empty slots on KBOO. I also made a couple of shorter ones for Freeform Portland (starting at # 1 but only covering four hours), but other things intervened - like having to do three shows a week on three different stations - & it fell by the wayside.

Last week I was thinking about this & decided to do it for Corporate Standardized Programming this week. The first thing was to find out exactly where I was on the list. This became an issue because, since Rate Your Music is dynamic & new people are voting all the time on the list, the original numbering I had was changed - sometimes radically so. The Mothers Of Invention's We're Only In It For The Money, which last year was at # 17 is currently at # 24; the Band's Music From The Big Pink went from # 18 to # 27. So much for there being an objective "best"!

Nonetheless I forged ahead & recorded an episode that will air tonight on KBOO from midnight to 3am in the Corporate Standardized Programming slot. It probably makes no sense but in case someone was curious about the previous shows, I need to put them on my table of contents on the web site but before that, let me link to the original episodes for you here:

The 1968 Project, Part I
The 1968 Project, Part II
The 1968 Project, Part III

Remember you'll need a username/password to listening to these, I'd suggest SHR/selfhelp as that's what they are.

& hopefully I'll return to it again sooner. It's wonderfully fun to do. Even if it's a sausage party. Seriously, so few female voices on the show. It's depressing.