Lenny Bruce

Happy birthday Lenny Bruce (1925) and Paul Simon (1942 or 1941).

Always did like Lenny Bruce; from when I found out about him until I actually heard him was several years, perhaps 1966 – 1969?  Then the 2LP Bizarre double LP turned up at the hippie record shop, and I was away.  I had managed to get his book, “How To Talk Dirty and Influence People”, which had an enormous effect on me, as a child.  Just a few words into the book, and I didn’t know what he was talking about!  But, I figured it all out, from context, eventually.

I had to buy his older LP’s from a ran-down seedy store on 7th St. in DTLB, “Larry’s”, where the old guy seemed to hate having kids come into his store.  That guy also had the Deram David Bowie LP!  And tons of other stuff my innocent mind wanted.

At first, it was “How many are there?”, later on it was “How many 45’s are there?”  I found an LP: “Why Did Lenny Bruce Die?” (Capitol), which didn’t seem to answer a lot of questions – more like, it created some questions – about which I knew very little!

I knew he was dead, his real name was Leonard Schneider, his mother was still alive, he had been a junkie etc.

Mr. Bruce certainly contributed to my interest in comedy / spoken word LP’s.

Marshall McLuhan

Happy birthday Marshall McLuhan (1911)! One sources sites this as Cat Stevens’ birthday (1948).

Being that it’s supposedly Marshall McLuhan’s birthday, I’ll tell you about his LP. Like his book, it’s titled “The Medium Is The Massage” (Columbia Records); not sure how I first stumbled onto this, it may have been my childhood friend Paul Sakrison who found it. I didn’t need much persuasion, it was produced by John Simon! (And I was and am a huge fan of his production work on “You Are What You Eat” and the debut Leonard Cohen LP!). When we found out about it, it was already out of print – even by the early 70’s.

McLuhan’s work was merely of curiosity value back then; I don’t recall paying very much for any copy of his sole LP. Issued in both mono and stereo, I did notice that it had a re-issue (as an LP) on Columbia’s “Special Products” label, long before the Japanese got around to it. Strange but true, the Sony Japan CD of it is in mono; no explanation. But I’ve got a stereo LP of it!

John Simon does bring some interesting work to the table, as well. There is some excellent ersatz jazz that sits underneath the power of the spoken word. And, boy, could McLuhan talk! Albeit sometimes in circles…

He did predict the internet, in the mid-60’s…the “global Village”…and a heap of other stuff. Almost makes my brain hurt to think of it all! We’ve passed his century mark, so today let’s content ourselves with observing his birthday.

100 Best UK Songs 1967 – 1975

RCM 2013.07_NEW

From the Japanese magazine “Record Collectors’ Magazine” July 2013 issue, a partial list of their “100 Best UK Songs 1967 – 1975” (In order, #1 – #20):

  • The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever
  • Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale
  • Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash
  • The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – Purple Haze
  • Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
  • T. Rex – Get It On
  • The Pink Floyd – See Emily Play
  • Free – All Right Now
  • 10cc – I’m Not In Love
  • The Zombies – Time Of The Season
  • Rod Stewart – Maggie May
  • Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • John Lennon – Imagine
  • Derek & The Dominos – Layla
  • Rolling Stones – Honky Tony Women
  • The Who – I Can See For Miles
  • Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
  • Queen – Killer Queen

That’s the Top 20 as dreamed up by the foremost minds in the Japanese music magazine world.  Not an awful list – I wouldn’t have the Led Zeppelin song, and I might have issues with some of their other choices, but I do own 19 of the 20 songs here.

Next month, they’ll probably offer up a list of “100 Best US Songs 1967 – 1975”, at least I hope so!

Rolling Stone Encyclopedia (1983)

6-4-13                         The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (1983)

1983 EncyclopediaOver the next year or two, I will be quoting stuff from this book; usually designated by (RSE = Rolling Stone Encyclopedia).  There’s some neat information in this book – but also some sloppy editing; when they didn’t like someone or didn’t feel like checking, they often went for the low road:  Rod Stewart is from London (He’s actually Scottish) etc.  Lots of obscure (and not so obscure) rock & roll birthdays!

No idea if they checked their own research, like Lilian Roxon (who I will designate as LR).  Her fabulous 1969 book, “Rock Encyclopedia” is astonishing; I have no doubt she wrote every word of it (apart from quoting song titles and album titles).  Of course, in 1969, there weren’t any mentions of Can etc.  Getting artist’s birthdays wasn’t her strong suit.

Housekeeping:

Did anybody reading this ever get an RCA LP by Random Hold, ostensibly titled “Burn The Buildings” (1981, RCA Records, England)?  I certainly never saw a copy.

Also never saw the LP by Ken Elliott, the keyboard player of Seventh Wave and Second Hand, “Body Music” (RCA UK PL 25262, 1979) – got one to sell me?

I’m also looking for 2 x LP’s by Kevin Ayers:

–         Déjà Vu (Blau UK LP A014)

–         As Close As You Think (Illuminated UK LP AMA 25)

Neither are on CD, that I am aware of.

There’s a Firesign Theatre CD that I cannot locate:  “The Pink Hotel Burns Down” (Lodestone US CD) Have a copy you can burn for me?  Or sell to me?  Also need a legit CD of Proctor & Bergman’s “TV or Not TV”!

Can we confirm that Jona Lewie only had 2 LP’s on Stiff UK?  “On The Other Hand, There’s A Fist” and “Heart Skips Beat”?  One discography gives an LP titled “Gatecrasher” – WTF?

Anybody got a copy of the “Wonderful World” (1984) LP by Belgian group Telex to sell me?  Or the Japanese CD boxed set?

The oldest record on my vinyl want list is “Ludo” by Ivor Cutler (Parlophone Records UK, 1967).  I can pay a good sum of cash for this LP.

Dieter Meier Book

1-21-13          Dieter Meier Book

Meier book_NEW

January 19th:  Happy birthday, Janis Joplin, born 1943.  On 1/21/67 the Cream 45 “I Feel Free” charts at No. 11 in England.  Also on 1/21/67 the debut 45 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Hey Joe” charts at No. 6 in England.  On 1/20/73 Gilbert O’Sullivan “Back To Front” LP was No. 1 in England.  On 1/19/74 Slade “Sladest” (‘best of’) LP was No. 1 in England; 1/19/80 The Pretenders debut LP was No. 1 in England.  Happy birthday, Richie Havens, born 1941.

Dorothy & I recently had dinner at an Italian restaurant in East Hollywood on a Sunday evening.  As we strolled the street after our meal, we chanced across a bookstore with a particularly nice set of art books for sale.

I’m eyeballing all the monographs, and – at first – I thought I was not seeing something correctly.  Was this expensive coffee table art book actually by Dieter Meier of Yello?  Well, it is / was.

For the discerning Yello fan, I present to you, the Dieter Meier coffee table art book: “Works 1968 – 2012 and the Yello Years” which happily includes a DVD (in both NTSC and PAL).  And as what I found is an “English Version”, there’s plenty of text to read, too.

Mr. Meier is a conceptual artist – in addition to being the singer of Yello.  For example, there is a photo series in this book of him selling the words “Yes” and “No” on the streets of New York City in 1971.  He later explains that the reason Yello appeared on Ralph Records in the U.S. initially was that Boris Blank pursued them with a tape of his music!

Can’t wait to watch the DVD!  Likely some of his experimental films, as well as some nifty Yello videos (most of which he directed).

Barrow Poets / Doggerel Bank

8-2-12             Barrow Poets / Doggerel Bank

Garth Hudson of The Band born 1937; 8-1-81 Soft Cell “Tainted Love” 45 is No. 1 in England.

The works of William Bealby-Wright!  So far as I am aware, the sole Barrow Poets record I do not already have is a 45 of “Letter In A Bottle” b/w Dynamite Barbee” (Fontana UK 45, TF 939), 1968.

Barrow Poets:

7″                 AT THE PRINTER’S DEVIL                                                                     BARROW UK     B.R. 1

1967 17 TRKS EP with pic sleeve

LP                ENTERTAINMENT OF POETRY…, AN                                                 ARGO UK           RG 360

1963 2 TRKS mono

LP                FINEST FOLK, THE                                                                                  FONTANA UK    6857 003

1968 8 TRKS re-issue of “Folk Rhymes” etc.

LP                FOLK RHYMES, TUNES AND VERSES                                               FONTANA UK    STL 5479

1968 8 TRKS

LP                JOKER                                                                                                        RCA UK              SF 8110

1970 13 TRKS

LP                MAGIC EGG                                                                                               ARGO UK           ZSW 511

1971 13 TRKS

LP                OUTPATIENTS                                                                                          ARGO UK           ZSW 508

1971 15 TRKS

7″                 PHEASANT PLUCKER’S SONG, THE (PS)                                         BBC UK              RESL 86

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

Manxman:

LP                SELECTIONS FROM POEMS AND LETTERS OF T.E. BROWN     ARGO UK           ZSW 556

1976 2 TRKS with Sir John Betjeman

Doggerel Bank:

LP                MR. SKILLICORN DANCES                                                                   CHARISMA UK  CAS 1102

1975 13 TRKS produced by Hugh Murphy

LP                SILVER FACES                                                                                         CHARISMA UK  CAS 1079

1973 14 TRKS

7″                 TINY SEED OF LOVE                                                                               CHARISMA UK  CB 220

1973 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

Only got “Silver Faces” and ”Manxman” organically; all the others were obtained via sharp-shooting.  “Pheasant Pluckers Song” was a gift from Mr. Bealby-Wright.

I originally bought “Silver Faces” because it was a Charisma UK LP I hadn’t seen previously – so long ago, I can’t remember exactly when I found it @ Rhino Records in Westwood, CA.  Later, I got a number of copies, when it turned up on a Scorpio cut-out list (at least that’s how I remember it).

I located Mr. William Bealby-Wright, via an Isle of Man website; when his reply arrived at my home, I recognized his handwriting on the exterior of the package.  Such exquisite handwriting / penmanship! (Mr. Bealby-Wright is standing at the right in the photo above)

Chronological Glam Rock Playlist 1970 – 1975 – Part 2

7-11-12          Chronological Glam Rock Playlist 1970 – 1975 – Part 2

Jazz guy Tomasz Stanko born 1942

ELTON JOHN – Crocodile Rock

WIZZARD – Ball Park Incident

LOU REED – Walk on the Wild Side

SLADE – Gudbuy T’ Jane

S.A.H.B. – Framed

T. REX – Solid Gold Easy Action

10cc – Johnny Don’t Do It

GARY GLITTER – Do You Wanna Touch Me?

MUD – Crazy

SLADE – Cum On Feel The Noize

ALICE COOPER – Hello Hooray

BARRY BLUE – Dancin’ On A Saturday Night

T. REX – 20th Century Boy

GARY GLITTER – Hello Hello I’m Back Again

S.A.H.B. – Jungle Jenny

ROXY MUSIC – Pyjamarama

WIZZARD – See My Baby Jive

DAVID BOWIE – Drive In Saturday

SWEET – Hellraiser

SUZI QUATRO – Can The Can

10cc – Rubber Bullets

MOTT THE HOOPLE – Honaloochie Boogie

T. REX – The Groover

MUD – Hypnosis

ELTON JOHN – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

BAY CITY ROLLERS – Saturday Night

GARY GLITTER – I’m The Leader Of The Gang (I Am)

QUEEN – Keep Yourself Alive

WIZZARD – Angel Fingers

SUZI QUATRO – 48 Crash

DAVID ESSEX – Rock On

COCKNEY REBEL – Sebastian

MOTT THE HOOPLE – All The Way From Memphis

10cc – The Dean and I

NEW YORK DOLLS – Jet Boy

LEO SAYER – Why Is Everybody Going Home?

SWEET – Ballroom Blitz

SLADE – My Friend Stan

SUZI QUATRO – Daytona Demon

ALVIN STARDUST – My Coo Ca Choo

MUD – Dyna-Mite

GARY GLITTER – I Love You Love Me Love

Chronological Glam Rock Playlist 1970 – 1975 – Part 1

7-10-12          Chronological Glam Rock Playlist 1970 – 1975 – Part 1 (of 5)

Arlo Guthrie born 1947, jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan born 1938

I recently finished the Dave Thompson book “Children of the Revolution – The Glam Rock Story 1970 – 1975” (Cherry Red Books, England, 2010) – it’s a fine book describing in some detail the UK pop music scene during the aforementioned years.

So, naturally – the first thing I do is say to myself:  “How many of these do I have?” – yes, some on original vinyl, some on CD’s – and some I likely won’t be able to find in my vault.  But this is what I am going to try and put together:

THE SWEET – Funny Funny

ALICE COOPER – I’m Eighteen

SLADE – Get Down and Get With It

T. REX – Get It On

BAY CITY ROLLERS – Keep On Dancing

HOTLEGS – Lady Sadie

THE SWEET – Alexander Graham Bell

SLADE – Coz I Love You

SLADE – Look Wot You Dun

T. REX – Telegram Sam

ALICE COOPER – Under My Wheels

ALICE COOPER – Be My Lover

GARY GLITTER – Rock and Roll, Part 2

BAY CITY ROLLERS – We Can Make Music

HOTLEGS – Desperate Dan

ROXY MUSIC – Would You Believe

DAVID BOWIE – Starman

ELTON JOHN – Rocket Man

T. REX – Metal Guru

SLADE – Take Me Back ‘ome

THE SWEET – Little Willy

SUZI QUATRO – Rolling Stone

ALICE COOPER – School’s Out

MOTT THE HOOPLE – All The Young Dudes

SLADE – Mama Weer All Crazee Now

ROXY MUSIC – Virginia Plain

ELTON JOHN – Honky Cat

T. REX – Children of the Revolution

DAVID BOWIE – John, I’m Only Dancing

BAY CITY ROLLERS – Manana

GARY GLITTER – I Didn’t Know I Loved You (‘Till I Saw You Rock & Roll)

10cc – Donna

THE SWEET – Wig Wam Bam

ALICE COOPER – Elected

Part 2 tomorrow!

Kirsten Kane’s List

6-5-12             Kirsten Kane’s List

Lou Reed’s wife Laurie Anderson born 1947, Psychedelic Furs Singer / Songwriter Richard Butler born 1956; President Gas.

Kirsten is my niece – this is her list.  Amazing to me that her #1 title is 10 years old – proof that 20-year-olds have memories!

Kirsten’s Top 20 – In No Particular Order

1. Reanimation – (Album) Linkin Park, 2002

The simple reason that I love this album is because it’s composed mainly of their greatest songs from the previous two albums, only remixed and made better. It also contains a sort of nostalgia, when memories from years past come rushing back to you whenever you listen to a certain song, only with this entire album. This one always reminds me of playing World of Warcraft on a hot July day during the summer vacation just after my freshman year of high school. It was a simpler time.

2. Mass Effect 3 Original Soundtrack – (Album) Sam Hulick, Clint Mansell, Cris Velasco, Sascha Dikiciyan, Christopher Lennertz, 2012

I had already been blown away by how well done the original Mass Effect soundtrack had been, but little did I know that five years later it could only get better. The third game’s soundtrack combines the 80s synthesizer sci-fi feel with a dramatic orchestral tune, adding already to the game’s wonderment at the mysteries of the galaxy a feeling of melancholic purpose. Each track is unique in that when I listen to it my mind is always placed into the exact place it was when the track was played in the game. When I listen to Leaving Earth I can always picture in my mind Commander Shepard’s pained expression when leaving the civilians of Vancouver behind, and will always be reminded of the pride I felt during the last scene with Captain Anderson as I’m Proud Of You played in the background.

3. Mass Effect Original Soundtrack – (Album) Sam Hulick, Jack Wall, 2007

While this is from the same franchise, the music from the first game is vastly different compared to the third game. Much of the sci-fi feel comes from the use of the synthesizer, giving it an 80s-inspired soundtrack, but at the same time made so that it fits in with the new generation. Moreover, the soundtracks sounds very innocent, primarily emphasizing exploring the galaxy and learning everything the player does about the galaxy being immersed into that universe for the first time. At the same time, with tracks such as From The Wreckage, really get into the mind of the player during the game, as the sad piano track leads them to expect the worst, but then finish with an inspiring chorus of trumpets as the game draws to a close…for now.

4. Hot Fuss – (Album) The Killers, 2004

This album is another one for the nostalgia count. As a 12-year-old may have had a harder time understanding the true meaning of the songs’ lyrics, but the album forever burned into my memories the countless hours of enjoyment playing video games with one of my best friends as a middle-schooler with way too much time on her hands. Even today, fully understanding the more, dare I say, adult themes to the songs, I still find them catchy.

5. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban – (Album), John Williams, 2004

I particularly remember this one because it was the first Harry Potter movie soundtrack I had specifically asked my father to burn me a copy of. The music takes the series into a turn that I found both frightening and exciting. This album had taken the soundtracks to a deeper, darker level. Double Trouble I had found catchy even years before knowing it was a reference to Macbeth, and Window To The Past was a beautifully simple track exemplifying the sadness buried in all this installment of the franchise. It’s a beautiful track to play whilst in a pensive mood. This movie and album was the last Harry Potter movie I had seen with my father, another avid fan of the franchise and enabler to my addiction of the book series. After his passing in 2011 I listened to this album a lot, bringing back some of the fonder memories of him after all of these years.

6. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II – (Album), Alexandre Desplat, 2011

The final movie installment in the Harry Potter franchise was an important landmark for my generation.  This was the final, dramatic leap into adulthood for most of us, as the last remnant of our childhood came to its conclusion. As such, it should be conducted appropriately dramatically, and Desplat certainly succeeded in that regard. Being five movies after Prisoner of Azkaban, the soundtrack is appropriately dark in all the right places, hitting you right in the heart with the haunting voice singing over the violins: Lily’s Theme. Still, with all the sadness and despair rich within this final film, as an homage to the franchise Desplat re-uses John Williams’ Hedwig’s Theme bringing in a rather strange mix of nostalgia and sadness: an absolutely perfect finale.

7. World of Warcraft Original Soundtrack – (Album) Jason Hayes, Tracy Bush, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, 2004

I put this album on the list because even after the decline of the game, I still remember it. It’s the kind of album that incorporates all of the musical elements to make you completely immersed in the game, yet still enjoy the ambience. Every track is different to match with the area it’s supposed to be played in. The harp in Teldrassil is so contrasting to the ominous horns in Burning Steppes, because of the vast difference in the danger and environment in the two levels. This is the kind of music that can take you back in time years, and elicit the same emotions from you from that exact point in time.

8. Absolution – (Album) Muse, 2003

In the search to fill the void left by Linkin Park in the five year gap between Reanimation and Minutes to Midnight, I found something beautiful. Amidst the lyrics singing of the apocalypse also comes a mix of softer songs, though still with a hardcore element to them. It’s not entirely progressive or alternative rock, with soft piano mixes and electronic elements, particularly on the track Endlessly.

9. Mambo Italiano – (Song) Rosemary Clooney, 1954

My fondest memory of this song is sitting around with one of my good friends, who was getting married the next day, and the other bridesmaids, sitting around and finishing up last-minute wedding preparations when the inspiration to begin listening to this song comes on. That’s the beauty of this song: it’s fun, it’s catchy, and you don’t need to be from the 50s to enjoy something so simple. It’s just something you can listen to when you want to have fun, and we certainly did.

10. I’m Yours – (Song) Jason Mraz, 2005

For this song, the simplicity of the acoustic guitar is what does it for me. This is a song that can be sung around a campfire, and is one of the reasons that this song holds such a special place in my heart. This is one of the songs that was sung around the campfire during a senior-year ‘field study trip’ down to Baja, California. The bonding with friends /  classmates sitting around a campfire after just having spent the day snorkeling around a coral reef and eating freshly-caught fish tacos in the middle of a desert is something that can only be experienced, not described.

11. Nothing Else Matters – (Song) Metallica, 1992

This is probably one of, if not the only, mellow song done by Metallica. It’s a rather typical love song, but it’s very well done. The first two bars of the song flow so nicely together, that when I heard it (despite my lackluster guitar-playing skill) I tried to learn how to play it. The rest of the song was arguably more difficult, but learning it made guitar-playing all that much more fun, especially to the biased ‘mother audience’.

12. Pieces – (Song) Red, 2006

Simply put, this is a beautiful song. I love the way the cello blends in with the piano, it’s heartbreaking, but beautiful. Call me a hopeless romantic, but a song about a man despairing over the loss of a loved one is still beautiful in this day and age.

13. Clubbed To Death – (Song) Rob Dougan, 1995

This song is…strange. It’s a blend of electronic music and has what appears to be some classical elements to it. Most people know this from The Matrix soundtrack, and it certainly seems to fits the movie perfectly. The electronic elements help it fit into the technological age of the film, and the classical elements give it a more serious tone. It can be either uplifting or relaxing, depending on your mood, but it always manages to make my imagination soar with thoughts of how awesome it would look running away from an explosion in slow motion (on film).

14. Cinema – (Song) Skrillex, 2011

Say what you will about dubstep, but I will argue that music is entirely subjective. When most people go to concerts they already know and love the music, and what they expect is to join in with the other fans and just have a good time, which still places a large burden on the performing artist. If they don’t get involved with the audience, the experience is less memorable, and Skrillex certainly knows how to get the audience to be connected to one another. Cinema, a remix of Benni Banassi’s song with Gary Go, has memorable lyrics that always get the audience to sing together, and enjoy the experience.

15. Grandma’s Boy – (Movie), Nicholaus Goossen, 2006

Despite some of the jokes in this movie being rather vulgar, I love watching this movie. It’s a wonderful combination of video game nerd jokes, with a side of ‘pot jokes’ for those who appreciate it. What I like most about this movie is that you can get a great (albeit fictional) inside look at the life of game developers. This movie is just great to watch with nerdy friends, especially while intoxicated.

16. 28 Days Later – (Movie), Danny Boyle, 2002

This movie is a fantastic British contribution to the ‘zombie movie’ genre. I’m not a horror movie nut, but I agreed to see it after being assured that it wasn’t going to be what horror movies had seemed to become at that point: a 90-minute gore-fest. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only do we get likeable, believable characters, but an emotionally charged story that also shows the chaos that can evolve from even our own kind in the midst of an apocalypse. Very tastefully done.

17. Star Wars – (Movies 4-6), George Lucas, 1977-1983

These movies are simply classic. They’re the perfect archetype of the sci-fi / hero genre. Maybe not archetype, per say, as George Lucas himself had inspiration from epics before him, but you would be hard-pressed to find a work of fiction that hasn’t had some influence directly or indirectly inspired by the franchise. Not much more can be said about this that hasn’t already been said. The films inspire so much imagination with the lovable, explored characters, the beautifully strange alien worlds, and the magical element of the story inspired by the Jedi and the force.

18. Mean Girls – (Movie), Director Mark Waters, Written by Tina Fey, 2004

At first glance this movie seems like a typical teen chick-flick about girls in high school. While it largely is, the writing is so well done that it transcends the genre into an extremely quotable classic.  Through the characters, Tina Fey tries to teach the audience about the effects of social cliques on girls in high school. Though watching Lindsay Lohan’s character develop through the story is nice, probably the most enjoyable aspect of the story is Tina Fey’s almost trademark self-referential humor, both drawing from her own experiences in high school and self-insulting jokes.

19. Harry Potter – (Books 1-7), J.K. Rowling, 1998-2007

There is no other way to put this series than as the defining element of my generation. The wonderful part of this series is that it didn’t only reach out to children, but adults as well. It’s the perfect bildungsroman where we get to see all of the characters that we love grow up and become the adult heroes we know they would become in the final novel. The characters are lovable and believable, the setting so imaginative and immersive it feels like the reader becomes a part of the world Rowling has created. It’s a personal tragedy when one of the characters die, even if they are fictional. Not only had it the power of teaching an entire generation of the joys of reading, but it taught us harsh life lessons, such as dealing with the pain of losing a loved one, or the value of friendship, without us even knowing.

20. Hitchiker’s Guide To the Galaxy – (Books 1-5), Douglas Adams, 1979-1992

I think the only way I could possibly describe this is that it is a sci-fi “adventure” story told by an extremely British author. I’m all about learning about new fictional universes, characters, and the like, but pretending that John Cleese was reading it to me made it all the much more enjoyable. It’s dry British humor explaining everything there is to know about the galaxy. It’s wondrous, it’s hilarious, it’s everything that a child could want who grew up on BBC shows such as Are You Being Served, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances, Monty Python, etc. The list could go on. Also, 42.

Retromania

4-4-12             Retromania

Bluesman Muddy Waters born 1915; The Blues.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been using Simon Reynolds’ book “Retromania” to read right before falling asleep.  Inside the front cover, it says he lives in L.A., but I’m pretty certain he’s British.  He must have a film in him, otherwise, why would he have come to live in L.A.?  The weather here isn’t all that great!

His 2011 book is subtitled “Pop culture’s addiction to it’s own past” – I think we’re all rather addicted to our own past.  Seems like the main ax he has to grind is that there isn’t or shouldn’t be a “punk rock” museum – ‘cause punk just won’t fit into a museum.  Well, I agree in that each person who “was there” has a different take on it – my “punk rock museum” would be different from your “punk rock museum”, Simon,

You would enter via the parking lot of Capitol Records in Hollywood, through a phone booth – to an underground restroom.  The museum itself is in the catacombs underneath Hollywood Blvd. – down in the sewer.  The sections are Roxy / Whisky / Suburbs / Exotica.  At The Whisky, someone would spit on someone else, and you move to the back of the room.  At The Roxy, record company guys leer at waitresses and go to the men’s room a lot.  In Suburbs, you have to walk a long way and not be sure that you’re in the right place – ‘cause you never were when you went somewhere in the suburbs to a concert. Why else am I in Pasadena at midnight?  Exotica is where you got to leave L.A. and see a show anywhere not in L.A. – it could be San Francisco (Mabuhay Gardens) or Wellington, NZ (The Terminus) or ?

After you see all the areas of my punk rock museum, you emerge in another parking lot – that of the former Tower Records on the Sunset Strip in what is now thought of as West Hollywood.  History collides with reality – you can now walk to both The Whisky and The Roxy for real!  Zolar X waves goodbye to you as you leave the parking lot, disgusted at what’s actually going on there – ‘punk rock girls’ lighting matches, blowing them out and inhaling the fumes etc.  Don Bolles asks you for a couple of bucks, as he needs a ride somewhere – and he probably does!

So is today’s silliness also nostalgia?  “Nostalgia for an age yet to come”?  No, it’s not a re-creation – when I read about that happening in modern day London, I cringed.  “Ooh, we watched our Einsturzende Neubauten VHS so many times that we didn’t get the colour of the deck right!” – and they had the balls to charge money to get in to the re-creation?   An event of a known event?

If I could hire actors and re-stage an event that I had attended, it would be The Screamers, The Deadbeats and Black Randy & The Metrosquad at The Whisky – when “punks” were funny, played pretty good, and the universe seemed to make me laugh.  Not a re-creation of a specific show, any night will do.  Neither Black Randy or Tomata du Plenty can be there, unfortunately.  Special thanks:  Jordan Shroyer.