Friday, February 23, 2024

Self Help Radio 022224: Small Town

(original image here)

When I went to college in 1986, I had decided too late to get into any dorms. The biggest dorm on campus was (& still is) Jester Center. It has a capacity of 3,200 residents. While I never spent much time in the dorms, I had classes in classrooms located in Jester. & I would often hear this: there are people living in Jester who came from towns that have a population much smaller than the dorm.

For whatever reason I never really met a lot of folks from small-town Texas. We really didn't have a whole lot in common. Many of them I'm sure returned to their small town when they graduated - or returned to a small town much like the one they grew up in. The folks I've met since then who came from a small town expressed to me how grateful they were to get out of that small town. I met a number of these kids in Kentucky & have met a few here in Oregon. Which only confirms to me that the ones who loved growing up in a small town & who would probably return to a small town have very little in common with me.

This is just stuff on my mind as I share with you this week's show, which had the theme "small town." I am personally very glad I didn't grow up in a small town & I am glad to live in a town the size of Portland but I always hoped I would one day live in a giant city. That will probably not happen though. More likely I'll end up living in a small town in my old age!

Listen to the show at the Self Help Radio website.
The username is SHR. The password is selfhelp.
Download the file! What do I care?
Everything on the show is below.

Self Help Radio Small Town Show
"Small Town Boy" Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five _Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five_
"Little Small Town Girl" Ella Fitzgerald & The Inkspots _Ella Fitzgerald 1950_
"Small Towns Are Smile Towns" Nat King Cole _This Is Nat "King" Cole_

introduction & definitions

"Small Town" Peter Fenton _Piccadilly Sunshine Volumes 1 - 10_
"Small Town Commotion" The Visions _Realistic Patterns (Orchestrated Psychedelia From The USA)_
"Small Town Bring Down" Tony Bruno _An Original By Bruno_
"Small Town Girl" The New World With Mary Lou _A World Of Love_
"Small Town Talk" Bobby Charles _Bobby Charles_

an interview with Preston who lives in a small town in Kentucky

"Small Town, Big City" Brinsley Schwarz _The New Favourites Of Brinsley Schwarz_
"Small Town Romance" Richard Thompson _Watching The Dark (The History Of Richard Thompson)_
"Small Town On The River" Bill Morrissey _The Essential Collection_
"Small Town Girl" Tracey Thorn _A Distant Shore_

an interview with Patrick who lives in a small town in Colorado

"The Everyday Story Of Smalltown" XTC _The Big Express_
"Summer In A Small Town" Cleaners From Venus _Under Wartime Conditions_
"Small Town (Long Session)" Phil Wilson _Every Conversation: The Story Of The June Brides & Phil Wilson_
"Small Town Kings" 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong _Baby Trash_

an interview with Penny who lives in a small town in California

"Smalltown" Lou Reed/John Cale _Songs For Drella_
"Small Town" Mirah _You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This_
"Small Town Crew" The Brunettes _Structure & Cosmetics_
"Smalltown Blues" Ruthie Foster _Runaway Soul_
"Last Of The Small Town Playboys" Dirty Pretty Things _Waterloo To Anywhere_

an interview with Porter who lives in a small town in Oregon

"Small Town Girl" Good Shoes _Think Before You Speak_
"Secrets In A Small Town" Supermoon _Playland_
"Small Town Hero" Suedehead _Constant Frantic Motion_
"Many Small Towns" Eggs On Mars _It Will Be Like It Was_

conclusion & goodbye

"Small Town" Jane Herships _The Home Record_
"Smalltown Stardust" King Tuff _Smalltown Stardust_
"Small Town Napoleans" The Mendoza Line _If They Knew This Was The End_

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Whither Small Town?

(image from here)

That's a picture of my home town, Garland, Texas, actually not very far from where I was born. I was born at a clinic at Miller & Shiloh Roads, the old Garland Shopping Center is at Miller & Jupiter Roads. Anyway, at the time of that photo (the early 1960s), Garland was leaving the status of "small town." Here is the population growth chart from Wikipedia:

As a kid in Garland I had a sense that I lived in a suburb (of Dallas) but certainly many people still thought of the city as a small town. But Garland is not the reason for this week's show. It's just my only point of reference - I've known many folks who grew up in much smaller towns than mine.

The truth is, the show came from being bugged by two songs that I don't particularly like but which for some reason came into my head around the same time a few weeks ago. One was the song "Small Town Boy" by Bronski Beat. The other was "Small Town" by Johnny Booger Meloncramp. The former is fine, I was just never taken with it. I find the latter execrable. Because I listened to commercial fm radio in the 1980s though it got drilled into my head. God damn it.

But through such irritation an idea arose - surely there are better "small town" songs? & there are.

You'll hear a lot of them today from noon to 2pm on Freeform Portland, which is on the dial in Portland town at 90.3 & 98.3 fm. It's online everywhere at Freeform Portland dot org. There'll be interviews too with lots of people from small towns all over the country. I hope it's worth your time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Preface To Small Town: Why Not Small Towns?

(no idea where I found this, sorry)

There are two possible reasons why the theme this week is "small town" & not "small town."

One might be that more songs just mention "small town" - they're talking about one small town. (Many even make it into one word: smalltown.) Maybe that's because for some a single small town stands for all small towns.

It might also be that "small-town" (as above) can be an adjective. Sometimes pejorative. Sometimes just trying to define something specific to a small town - small town values.

Mostly though it's because the show isn't about lots of small towns - not really. Perhaps I believe that one small town does stand for all. More likely I just saw all these songs with "small town" singular in the title. & that seemed the right thing to call the show.

Why a show with a theme like "small town" tho? Maybe I can answer that tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Only Lovers Left Alive

That's the name of a Jim Jarmusch film. It's a film I enjoyed. It's also what I called this picture taken on this day in 2017. It's in Ridgelea Hills Park, which was a place we walked the dogs every day for hm maybe three years? It's also a place I will probably never see again.

The park rose above a moderately busy street & the bench overlooked that street & the neighborhood to the east, separated I think by railroad tracks. It wasn't too great a view, but everything is beautiful to those who are in love.

Two dogs who no longer exist were with us probably every time we walked through that park. I remember the last walk with one of those dogs. Time is a fucked-up thing. I'd go back to that park in a second if I thought I could find them there. I carry the memories of them everywhere I go.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Ghost Of Bloggins Past

Could this really have been a thing? Could I have written nonsense for several years in a blog called "The War On Sailing"?

The answer is true & you can find the blog out there even though I haven't written anything on it in over a decade. I was reminded of us in conversation today & looking through it I have no memory of having written 90% of it. (There are some playlists there as well when I did a show called "The War On Sailing" from 2008-2009.)

Here's a sample of what's there. Boy I thought I was funny!

Wrestling Assured
You think wrestling is fake, don't you?  Admit it!  Over 90% of wrestling fans who have more than a middle school reading level do.  (That's over 10% of wrestling fans!)  But this fact does not diminish their joy and appreciation of "professional wrestling."

It may surprise you (if anything surprises you anymore, you jaded bastard) that wrestling, in addition to being a delightful diversion from one's health issues, crippling poverty, lack of opportunity, and political powerlessness, is another of the means that the so-called oppressors and their hegemonic forces use to communicate with one another their exploitative plans.  A study at Von Erich University just outside of Denton, Texas, confirms what most ringside hand-wringers always feared.

The study, written by a scientist who wears a scary mask, suggests that the elaborate storylines in wrestling may be used to predict earth-shaking global trends, which are often unleashed upon an unsuspecting world by multinational corporations under the secret name, "larks."  For example, a thinly-veiled homoerotic rivalry may indicate the support or opposition of marriage equality issues in a particular geographical location.  Another example may be that the amount of silicon injected in a hapless female wrestler's bosom might be a signal about buying or stealing mining rights from an indigenous people's area in an upcoming coup d'etat.  A careful study of the world of wrestling may indeed reap tremendous insight from scholars and cranks who pore through journals and television to understand what's really happening in the War On Sailing.

Why hasn't this been explored more enthusiastically?  Says one scholar, "Well, you know.  You'd have to watch wrestling."