Friday, January 19, 2024

Self Help Radio 011824: 1988

(images all from Discogs)

Here it is, a selection of some of my favorite music from 1988. Actually it's a selection of some of my favorite music of all time. It was just in my opinion that good.

& yeah I left a lot out. That's why I return to the theme in six months. I might also need an extra show for hip hop from 1988. But maybe I'll do that elsewhere. I do have three radio shows!

Listen now or anything at Use the username SHR & the password selfhelp to access the file. I do a little reminiscing on the show but it's mainly music. What I play is below.

Happy birthday to me!

Self Help Radio 1988 Show
"In These Times" The Fall _The Frenz Experiment_
"Gigantic" Pixies _Surfer Rosa_
"I'm Your Man" Leonard Cohen _I'm Your Man_

"Hairdresser On Fire" Morrissey _Suedehead_
"Streets Of Your Town" The Go-Betweens _16 Lovers Lane_
"The Short Answer" Billy Bragg _Workers' Playtime_
"A Complete History Of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)" Momus _Tender Pervert_

"Crash" The Primitives _Lovely_
"Juno" Throwing Muses _House Tornado_
"Deus" Sugarcubes _Life's Too Good_
"You Don't Love Me Yet" Bongwater _You Don't Love Me Yet_

"Blind" Talking Heads _Naked_
"Deanna" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds _Tender Prey_
"2541" Grant Hart _2541_
"Athol-Brose" Cocteau Twins _Blue Bell Knoll_

"Nobody's Twisting Your Arm" The Wedding Present _Nobody's Twisting Your Arm_
"The Girl With The Strawberry Hair" Talulah Gosh _Bringing Up Baby_
"What Is There To Smile About?" The Close Lobsters _What Is There To Smile About?_
"Molly's Lips" The Vaselines _Dying For It_
"Elephant Stone" The Stone Roses _Elephant Stone_

"Sidewalking" The Jesus & Mary Chain _Sidewalking_
"You Made Me Realise" My Bloody Valentine _You Made Me Realise EP_
"The Boy Who Sees Everything" The Sun & The Moon _Peace In Our Time_
"All That Money Wants" The Psychedelic Furs _All That Money Wants_

"Kurious Oranj" The Fall _I Am Kurious Oranj_
"We Have The Technology" Pere Ubu _The Tenement Year_

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Whither 1988?

(image from here)

In October 2002, I started Self Help Radio. In January 2003, around the time of my birthday, I thought, "Why don't I, on my birthday week, play my favorite songs from the year I was born?" That year is 1968. The next year it made sense to play music from 1969. & so on. It's like twenty years later & guess what? I'm at the year 1988.

That was when I was twenty years old. When I started this - would you call it a series? - I played music from a time when I wasn't buying the music yet - except I did buy the White Album when I was eight months old because I rolled that way. In 1988 - well, almost all of the music you'll hear today is music I was listening to back then. Fucking gobbling it up. It was how I spent my time. & how I coped with the world.

Braving icy Portland to get the (checking the internet) three point three miles to the station today from noon to 2pm on 90.3+98.3fm & online at freeform portland dot org. An impossible task, to pick my favorites from an important year for me. So of course I'll revisit the year in a few months. But for now - today! It's 1988!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Preface To 1988: My Twentieth Year On Earth

What a sleeping beauty I was. Good lord. My sister Pat probably took that picture. Was I not wearing socks?

There are so many things to say about my twentieth year that this could get long. It wasn't a happy year & what happened that year meant I was going to be quite unhappy for many years to come.

But first. I had this experience in a kind of - what would you call it - it was a little box that was all mirrors. It feels like it was the first time I had ever really seen myself. & I was very fat & very ugly. So, I decided to do something about it. I basically starved myself for a few months. & I lost a great deal of weight. It was unusual because no one around me noticed or said a thing - but one of my roommates had a friend over & she was astonished - she hadn't seen me in a while - & that's when I knew I had lost weight.

Over the years I'd gain it back but for the time being, I was a thinner - though not thin - person. & that probably helped me when I fell in love. The story is kinda dumb. I had a friend in an English class. I decided to get her a cake for her birthday. I went over to her house with one of my roommates. & I fell in love with my English class friend's roommate.

It's with some irony that I say that, on the drive home, I told my roommate that I think I was falling in love. He told me he didn't find the roommate the slightest bit attractive - which was fine by me because it me who was in love, not him. Why this is ironic will have to wait for my 1991 show.

Now, this fellow was someone I called my "best friend" but as I've mentioned before in previous installments he really wasn't a friend. He didn't like me much, he was openly contemptuous of actually, but I had grown up with family members treating me the same way so I didn't really notice. He had dropped out of college & moved back to Dallas, but when he wanted to return to Austin, I offered to let him stay in my walk-in closet. Later, when he & my other roommate got an apartment, I gave the rooms to them & I put sheets up in the living room & slept there. Why not get a three-bedroom apartment? My "best friend" couldn't afford it. Later that year, when I was consumed with schoolwork & with courting the girl I was in love with, he announced he was moving out. As did my other roommate. & they left me to deal with breaking the lease & all the other issues. I wish I could tell you that I was done with him at that point but nope! He would continue to be in my life & in fact he would play a pivotal role in utterly destroying it in just a few years but I would stay his friend doing nice things for him for years & years & years.

The other person who would destroy my life was the woman with whom I fell in love. She did not love me then, or ever really, although we'd start a relationship the next year. It's almost as though I willed the relationship into being, & there was enough codependence that she was dragged along, but she made it very clear from the beginning that she was never really that into me. Still, it happened. & looking back so many years I really, really wish it hadn't. I wish she had rejected me utterly.

Last night as I thought about writing all this I had so many stories that I thought this would be a novella. But the truth is, the stories are all the same, all sad. That drooling dope up there was mostly friendless & if he had met a friend who was supportive or kind, not jealous & resentful, he would have thought the person a fool. It just wasn't really how I'd been taught or shown to see the world.

But this is a nice memory. I fell in love with one of my teachers. This is a thing about me - I love people who are passionate. The teacher taught a course I absolutely hated - the English novel in the 18th century - I can't believe I made it through books like Pamela or Moll Flanders. & it was hard to do that, as I was spending all my time with this woman. But gosh that teacher loved her subject & I would just sit in her class with little hearts bubbling above my head as she lectured. She was great.

At the end of the semester I went to her & told her I was utterly unprepared for her final because my head & heart were being consumed by this courtship & she told me she would not give me an incomplete but she would let me come in to take the test later. Which I did, alone in a classroom. & I think I even got an A!

Years later, when I worked at UT, in a department where we helped professors in the College Of Liberal Arts with instructional technology, she called me & asked me about the services. She said my full name but she didn't seem to remember me. Which kinda broke my heart at the time. But I didn't say a thing.

Anyway, who cares about me, the music of 1988 was extraordinary & there's too much for just one show. I'll talk a little bit more about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Age Of Twenty

There are not a lot of flattering pictures of me from 1988. The one above - probably taken in the autumn of 1988 - is as close as one might get. It's with my nephew Josh, taken in my sister Pat's home, the circumstances long forgotten. Though I was in my sister's house a lot.

In 1988, I ended my second year of college & I began my third. In the middle - in the summer of 1988 - I lived in Garland, mainly at my sister Pat's house, & I had refused to get a job. I was a bum for three months, & there was a reason for it.

At the end of my second year of college, I had taken two years of German, & I was actually quite proficient in the language. My mother was German, & I had family in Germany, & I wrote them (my mother's brother) to ask if I could spend the summer there. I really wanted to immerse myself in German & thought being there, speaking German, having experiences, would be an amazing experience.

Two things stood in my way. The first was my mother. I found out pretty quickly that my mother was opposed to that idea of me visiting her family without her. This is complicated but it came down to the fact that my mother had told her relatives in Germany many things about her life in the United States which she was hesitant for them to learn that she had exaggerated or outright lied about - without her being there to spin it. She simply did not trust me to represent her in a way that she herself had described to her German family. She did not want me to visit, & told them so.

The second was money. My family in Germany did not have ready money to send to me to get me to Germany. If I had had the money - & you know, I could've easily gotten a credit card! - they would have welcomed me with open arms. But as such, my mother's opposition to visiting kept me from going there.

When I think about it, I kinda counted on spending the summer in Germany. When it didn't happen, I became spiteful. I decided I wouldn't work or do anything like that. I lived at my sister Pat's house & slept all day & woke up at night & wandered around Garland, Texas, listening to music - much of the music that I will play on this week's show - & being a malcontent. I spent a lot of time with my friend Leah, who was a high school girl who had dated my little brother.  But mostly I was up at night thinking I was a poet looking for inspiration. I wrote a lot of terrible poetry.

When I finally got my scholarship money for the fall semester, I used it to buy a bus ticket to visit the girl I had been in love with for two years. She had moved a couple years before from Garland to Memphis & I don't think I hoped that we might rekindle anything - she had never really felt anything for me - but I visited anyway. Dopey hope springs eternal. It's funny, I spent most of the time with her little brother, who was very interested in the music I liked. But I remember one profound moment:

When I saw her again, for the first time, in awhile, I knew I was no longer in love with her. Not that I didn't think she was pretty or attractive, or that I wasn't attracted to her - I wasn't in love with her. This was a distinction that was important to me. Had she wanted to kiss me (she didn't), I might have kissed her. I hadn't had sex yet, but had she wanted to do that, fuck yeah I'd give it a try. But the feelings that I associated with being in love - they were no longer there. As I imposed on her family for a week, I was keenly aware that I did not want to be there.

Of course there were pictures & in one, I put lipstick on & kissed her on the cheek. Here is that picture:

There are two things to mention about that visit. One is that, for whatever reason, I chose not to bring deodorant for myself. I assumed they'd have it. They did not. I tried to slip away to buy some but someone always was around & I felt too self-conscious. Isn't that kinda fucked up? I smelled awful & sweaty but did not have the courage to say hey! I am not this smelly. I am going to buy some roll-on if that's okay.

Second, I really did connect with the love interest's little brother. We corresponded for some time after that. His experience diverged from mine - he was attractive & had far greater success with women than I did & he also began to experiment with drugs, notably LSD, which I was not curious about - so we lost touch. This dear man, with whom I wish I could have stayed in touch, died in 2021. So the memories of spending time with him - even more than with his sister, the object of my affections - seem in retrospect more powerful, important, felt. I wish we had been closer. I fear I had dismissed him because he was somewhat younger than me.

After that, I returned to Austin for my third year of college, & my life would change a lot.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Busy Snow Day

It's been cold & snowy in Portland for days now. My schedule is kinda out of whack - I haven't taken the dogs on a proper walk in what seems like forever. & I haven't been somewhere to do a radio show since - well, since Thursday. But it feels like many weeks ago.

What I have done however is made three (3) radio shows for a total of six hours of radio - but it's not all that original - my Dickenbock Report on XRAY yesterday used a previous Self Help Radio episode about kites, & I re-did last week's Self Help Radio for KBOO today. & yesterday I put together Corporate Standardized Programming for tonight. & this afternoon I put together (but did not record airbreaks for) a sub show on KBOO on Friday.

Meanwhile, Freeform Portland is without power - tomorrow we're supposed to get frozen rain! We've been very fortunate to have been spared a lack of electricity. But it's quite cold. Too cold to take all the dogs on a walk - the wife carried Yoko because she's so small & shivery. She seemed okay with that.

Holy smokes I just realized that if I am able to do Self Help Radio this week I'll have done radio five out of seven days this past week! There really should be a law against that.

This is my birthday week so get ready for mostly sad stories about my twentieth year on this planet. It's funny, the music was incredible - but so much of my future unhappiness was set in motion in 1988.