Saturday, January 27, 2007

In lieu of deep thoughts

Q: What were James Brown's last words?

A: "I don't feel good."

Amazing performer. Take this test - listen to a James Brown song. You've heard him before -- millions of times -- but you still can't keep still. He still sounds cool, x decades later.


Two bumper stickers on one car, seen in last Wednesday's commute:

"I can't sleep: Clowns might eat me"


(with a photo of a floppy stuffed-toy bunny)
"Have a good day, you worthless turd"

I so wanted to follow this car and find out where it was headed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What I Like About myspace

So I've finally capitulated and set myself up in myspace (, in case you're wondering).
WHY?  *shrug* Some people I thought would know better *ahem* were already there.  What's the harm?
In my first few days, I've decided that I LOVE it.  Well, at least one thing about it:
The music.
There's music - free to listen to - of every description there.  I've spent time just checking for stuff I've been missing for years - or never got around to hearing - and found it there.  Fantastic.
My first spin was James White and the Blacks.  Their angular, strident, wiseass funk was one of the best things to come out of the late 70's.  I figured he'd be a longshot, but... BANG.  There he was.  What's more, his signature tune - Contort Yourself - was top of the list.
Soon after, I chased down another New York avant-garde genius, Richard Hell.  His torn-t-shirt poetry, with the jangly backing of the Voidoids -- like the Blacks, a virtuosic band -- still feels new on every listen.
To me, this is music that has lasted.
Since locating and revelling in these treasures - reminding me of a deluded, but happy, time of my life - I've gone on to chase down other old and new favorites.  Folks like Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, who are a brilliant New Orleans combo I'd recommend to anyone.  Sparkling piano, throaty vocals and a sweet, sweet grooving rhythm section.
On and on: artists I should be more familiar with, but haven't been: Bonnie Raitt.  Link Wray.  Keb' Mo.  Stan Getz.  George Harrison.
Then there are the Eighties bands who still fascinate me, and left some astonishing work: Bauhaus/Tones on Tail/Love and Rockets: a brilliant Goth lineage.  Wall of Voodoo: one hit from a brilliant album.  Wire: taut, experimental, funny.  Jonathan Richman: one twangy guitar, songs about, oh, the ice cream man.  The Fall: sarcastic, dismissive, confusing, infectious.
There are, happily, lots of bands from my home, Australia: Karma County, The Sleepy Jackson, Gelbison, 78 Saab.
And, of course, there's the new groups: Faithless (not usually a big fan of trip-hop - or whatever they call it - but this duo get it very right), Scissor Sisters (I don't know about the rest of their stuff, but 'Filthy/Gorgeous' is a killer), and all the stuff I haven't kept up with in, oh, fifteen years.
Many of the band sites appear to be maintained by the artists themselves, or by some authorised person.  And the way sites connect to each other by 'Friends' lists means that one find leads to many others.
I'm remapping my past by music, and filling in the gaps along the way.  It's, in a way, more expressive of me than a journal.  More confusing too.
So, myspace -- even if I don't meet a single person -- has been loads, loads, loads of fun already.  And I haven't even really delved into the community aspect of it at all yet.  Just the jukebox bit has been brilliant.
If you're on myspace, I invite you to drop by my page; in the words of trumpeter Chet Baker, let's get lost.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Facial Responsibility

I recall reading that, during his career as a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln rejected an apparently well-qualified prospective employee. His colleagues protested and demanded to know his reason.

"I didn't like his face," Lincoln declared.

The other men scoffed and protested that his reason was absurd. Lincoln noted that the rejected applicant was forty years old. "After the age of forty," he said, "every man is responsible for his face."

I'm forty-two. I guess this is it. Well, Face, let's get on with the show.

Welcome, you and me, to my blog; it's my first time here too. Stick around; let's see what happens with my face if I do

this ...writes a series of ribald sonnets... or
this ...posts tirade against reality tv... or even
this ...transcribes the front page from Le Figaro, June 13, 1968

Anything yet? Einstein hair, Marty Feldman eyes, peace-sign nose ring?

By the way, the Lincoln anecdote is from The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes (Clifton Fadiman, ed.; published, of course, by Little, Brown). It's a brilliant book -- loads of fun. It's as close to Instant Erudite as there is.

Steve, can I have the book back? You've had it for two years now.