Song Sampler

Fun stuff.
Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” as remixed by Hot Chip. W00t!
Why? She was a hot mess, with her stash in her hive and her drugstore slippers, but she could sing (when she wasn’t boo-hooing on stage and calling the audience a bunch of mucky cunts). My neighbor works in a substance abuse clinic, and hates the message of this song. Secretly, though, she knows all the words. Sing this one in the shower.

Old stuff.
Badfinger’s “Need Your Lovin’. W00t!
Why? Beatlemania never dies, it just spawns clones. Originally Badfinger were The Iveys. This is one of those facts that pop up in music trivia contests, so write that down. Spot the Beatle influence, and guess which Beatle embraced them the most. You know what? It ages well. You might like, especially if you do not already own it.

Odd stuff.
Adam Kay & Suman Biswas–“London Underground,” a spoof of the Jam’s “Going Underground.” (There do be some cussin’.) W00t!
Why? Paul Weller is the Modfather, and totally awesome, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a silly spoof of one of The Jam’s biggest hits. Public transportation, it sucks. Amen. Though Londoners should count their blessings, man. They never had to deal with Atlanta’s MARTA.

The Problem With Anti-Piracy Laws

When looking at laws, you have to ask who, if anyone, is hurt, and what degree of hurt, if any, has been inflicted? What purpose is the law trying to serve? Does the law exist because of rare or non-existent “worst case scenarios” that the law is intended to prevent? In most cases, laws are broken when actual crimes have been committed. Some laws, however, presume that laws WILL be broken, try to supply reasons for why they will be broken, and then chase down supposed scofflaws with those assumptions in mind.

During the 1970s, you could not buy many record albums without an annoying “do not tape and share this music, or you will kill the record industry and then there’ll be no more music, ever!” advert. Of course, home-taping became more and more popular, and, surprise!, sharing music actually benefited the record companies, because it exposed new people to new bands’ work, and then they went out and bought the bands’ albums themselves.

The same argument is being tried today, and the record companies are making several foolish choices and refusing to learn from past history. Home-burning and home-recording will never stop, because people want to manage their own music the way they see fit. Attacking twelve-year-olds with massive shared libraries, pricing five cents’ worth of materials at $20 US, scamming artists out of profits due to them, and generally being blind to the realities that new technology has wrought is what will kill the record industry, not fans sharing songs.

Vulture-like media companies like Clear Channel trying to buy every independent radio station and enforce a single universal playlist aimed to please the Lowest Common Denominator in every major city in the United States is part of the problem, too.

Video game manufacturers are often just as bad: blind to customer dissatisfaction, including invasive anti-piracy programs that don’t work as intended and actually cause damage to user’s machines, turning out crappy product to turn a quick buck and being arrogant enough to assume that customers are too addicted to their product to ever stop buying it…that will kill the game industry. Or, rather, it will kill the industry where PC-based gaming is concerned. Sadly, the biggest companies will continue to thrive, because they have enough money to weather several titles bombing commercially after being released, while smaller companies won’t be able to weather any dissatisfaction with a product, and will be bought up or die out.

Anti-piracy laws do not protect the little guy, the consumer. They protect large companies, and do so to the degree that those large companies feel less behooved to actually offer quality product. Case in point: You open the package, you’re stuck with contents. Too bad for you. They won’t offer demos, because they gamble that more people will buy a crap product without a demo and be stuck with it than those who would buy a good product that they have gone to the time and expense of making a demo for. Their marketing is designed to separate the customers from their money, not to gauge satisfaction or loyalty among their customer base.

Good products will succeed despite piracy. As it stands, bad products sell more than they should, and the customer is left with no recourse. Piracy exposes bad products and word of mouth kills sales. Piracy thwarts substandard product-flacking, it doesn’t actually significantly hurt a good company with a good product.

Information wants to be free. Trying to command the ocean to stop wetting you with waves and to stay where you tell it to stay is as futile as fighting piracy. The wise course of action companies could take would be to explore why people pirate, and to offer products that can’t be pirated: good customer service, releasing well-tested games that do not ship in a borked state and which need umpteen patches, bonus items, attractive packaging and support materials and manuals, good perks (not useless crap) in exchange for legal serial numbers, tech support, not invading customer privacy for marketing and advertising purposes, and listening to customer complaints and ideas open-mindedly and actually putting feedback gained into practice. Most of those things can’t be pirated, and yet they are almost as valuable as the data. Instead of focusing on the small percentage of their customers who have not legally paid for their pixels and bytes and trying to be punitive, as there will always be a segment of this group who will never change their ways and pay for things, they should focus on the vast majority of customers who do pay for legal copies, and reward them.

What EA (for example) and other companies do is arrogantly assume that everyone who buys the game is a pirate. They foist invasive software upon their customers that, again, DOES NOT WORK AS INTENDED, to prevent sharing. They put out substandard product that does not entice customers to buy it legally, because it is overpriced and contains no benefit for paying customers besides a pretty package (full of adverts for more crap products!) and is likely to break something or need a patch or not play nicely with other software the customer owns.

Companies with good reputations and consistently good and functional products who reward customers who purchase their products legally, rather than chasing down the few that don’t, have the right idea.  Companies with increasingly poor reputations who turn out consistently buggy software and whine about pirates pretty much get what they deserve. No tears from me.

I typically do not pirate anything. I made an exception after I bought a very expensive (almost a thousand dollars) software package from Adobe. Twice. For two different OSes. Geek Squad zorched my serials for my legally-purchased software and refused to fix the problem. Adobe claimed not to have my customer data. At that point, I was not going to pay them a third time. As I already paid them twice, I consider the pirated version I have now completely legal twice over. The company got my money. Twice. I legally registered both copies. I installed the required updates on schedule. Yet, somehow, they had no record of my existence. Without that record, I was just scr00d. Without a pirated copy, I’d be in deep shit professionally and academically, and it would not have been my fault. Furthermore, Adobe treated me so shittily when I was trying to resolve the problem I almost–but not quite–decided to stand in the middle of the largest classroom building and wave around the burned DVD and offer free Adobe goodies to all comers. Motherf…scratchers. You shouldn’t piss customers off.

I understand why people who have been burned by EA and SecuROM are sharing pirated versions. I understand it all too well. At some point, you get tired of playing against an 800-pound gorilla who also has a stacked deck and Doberman lawyers. You, as the consumer, will only take sand being kicked in your face for so long.

You cannot legislate morality. If it could be done, we’d all be saints just because some law told us to be. You have to look at what the law is intended to accomplish, and decide if it is a dumb law. If it is a dumb law, work to get it changed, and work to get laws in place that protect the rights of those the dumb law has invaded and disregarded.

In all cases, people will do as their consciences dictate. If it pinches your conscience to download, for whatever reason, don’t do it. But don’t presume to offload your moral guidelines onto other people and expect that to go over well. “Because it’s moral” is not sufficient reason to follow a law that is fundamentally flawed, protecting the wrong parties, and short-sighted.

Businesses require customers to survive.

Customers want products that function as advertised.

Products which cannot be demonstrated by customers prior to purchase, or returned if they do not function as advertised, do not give customers what they want.

Customers who have been burned by a product sold by a particular business are likely to shop elsewhere.

The end result is that the business ends up lacking customers.

If customers find a way to try products before buying them, they can make the decision whether to purchase the business’ products.

Some customers will be honorable and buy a legal copy. Some will not.

The end result, however, is that the business is not out anything, not even good will, if the customer tries but does not buy a product. It’s data, pixels.

On the other hand, if the customer does like the product, they are more likely to buy it and/or more products from the business in the future.

As has been stated before, companies who release demo versions are smart. They allow a customer to try before she or he buys.

Smart companies do NOT force customers to risk wasting their money, installing unadvertised “bonus” programs on their expensive machines, or finding out that although their PC specs match or exceed those required by the company, the game still does not function as advertised.

There will always be those who, due to financial difficulty or greed, will torrent everything and pay for nothing. However, there are also a lot of people who torrent because they do not have the option to try a demo version and have been bitten in the arse one time too many by a particular company or type of company (PC game manufacturers, perhaps) to risk throwing more money at them for what is likely to be a borked product.

In some cases, the consumer can argue Fair Use. DJs who download MP3 tracks for their radio shows are using those downloads for legal, promotional purposes. There’s a reason why most of the music-sharing folks who have been sued were those who also uploaded frequently and kept open libraries online full of gankable stuff. Unless they are uploading tracks to a music blog, which is also a type of Fair Use / promotion, there’s not really a good reason to upload tracks.

It’s a hotly contested grey area, obviously.

These Are Possibly The Weirdest MP3s On the Internet

A few years ago, I stumbled across a treasure trove of bizarre stuff, hosted by WFMU.

Some highlights:

* The recording (referenced by Michael Moore in Sicko) Ronald Reagan made claiming socialized medicine is Teh Evil.

* Sindy Doll (The UK’s answer to Barbie) meets the Dollybeats, her favorite Beat group, and they write a song just for her.

* American Standard (they made plumbing fixtures) present an ode to “My Bathroom,” where the singer can “cream and dream.” Hoorah for unexpected double entendres!

* The collected works of Thurl Ravenscroft (the original voice of Tony the Tiger and the singer of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”).

* A young lady named Katie Lee attempts (but fails) to channel Tom Lehrer with her “psychological damage” theme songs.

* What to do in case of Nuclear War
! (Advice goes into more detail than “Kiss your butt goodbye,” mind you: Build a shelter! Don’t forget extra batteries! You need food to survive! “This is what the alarms sound like…let us play them for several minutes so you can annoy your neighbors when you listen to this record!”)

* How to speak Hawaiian 
(Pronounced “HIGH-why-an” or “High-VAI-an” throughout)! Worst announcer ever. Lots of weird “native” drumming, distorted ukelele playing (ouch), and background singing. Learn how to pronounce a very long word for a particular fish, a word you will never, ever use again. Learn what a “gloy-tel stop” is. It has to be a joke, but it’s funny in spite of itself. The B-side claims to continue to teach HIGH-VAY-an, but is actually a useless How To Speak Arabic lesson, where your first command from the teacher is to say “pork weenie.” Or “corn weenie, really, really” because he changes his mind. “Sing. SING!!”

* Sixty-second remakes of famous songs (Blur, Nirvana, the Beatles, Nick Cave, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Ravel, Brahms, Radiohead, Neil Young, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Shel Silverstein, Grandmaster Flash, the B-52s, The Who / Sex Pistols and several more get the treatment).

* Rare Mott the Hoople tunes.

* Funny MovieFone adverts for Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men In Tights” and a Hulk Hogan movie (“Mr Nanny”) and more. If you stick it out, the man recording the ads forgets he is on the mic and talks to a co-worker briefly.

* Singing DJs (generally awful), including Rick “Disco Duck” Dees and Wink Martindale (yep, the game show host guy).

* A pre-Velvet Underground Lou Reed project (The Primitives): Do The Ostrich!

* Coyote McCloud and geriatric 80s-era Wendy’s spokesgranny Clara Peller sing a little ditty called “Where’s The Beef?”–so bad, it’s…well, bad.

* Anthony Newley singing something other than “Candy Man.” (I promptly emailed these MP3 files to my ex-boyfriend who does the best Anthony Newley impression ever. He loved them.)

It should frighten me that this ex-BF actually bears a strong resemblance to Newley.

* Edd “Kookie” Byrnes tunes…are you a square or are you “The Skizziest”?

* Vanity pressings of truly unfortunate quality.

* A musical called “My Insurance Man.”

* A video for “Chinese Rocks” by Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers “featuring some actual footage of the band performing the song, although the footage isn’t necessarily in sync…but whaddya expect from a bunch of junkies singing about junk?”

* A novelty song from 1979 by Roger Hallmark which was a small hit on radio during the months leading up to the election of Ronald Reagan. Not only was Roger enraged at how “our old friend the Shah” was being treated, he also took the opportunity to toss in a few racist “Ayrab” jabs.

* “Sex and your Son / Daughter” — Released in 1965, these two records narrated by Doctor Sims should (fail to) remedy your ignorance.

* Rare Eugene Chadbourne and Daniel Johnston singles

* DJ Bill Zugat’s Copycats, Imitators and Soundalikes: fifteen songs ripping off a better-known source. Jobriath is featured (Zugat says, fairly, that he ripped off David Bowie and Elton John).

* LOTS of Wedding Singers.

* Dame Barbara “romance novel / poodoo writer” Cartland sings! “In 1978 she swapped pen for microphone when she record her own album of love songs making her the only (albeit distant) member of the Royal Family to have made a record. How the musicians and singers all kept a straight face during the recording is a miracle!”

* Tortura’s Sounds of Pain and Pleasure: “Relax in the twilight of your upcoming evenings listening to the sounds of whipping, beating, screaming, moaning, crying, groaning and laughing. To be listened to by [either] the whip-wielding dominatrix [or] the lonely soul awaiting the next aphrodisiac.”

* Unconventional covers of Glenn Miller’s big band classic, “In The Mood.”

* John Denver’s “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).” Grim.

* Jingoistic pro-military jingles released during the Vietnam War to entice impressionable, patriotic youth to become cannon fodder.

* Recordings from the doomed cultists of Jim Jones’ Guyana retreat, Jonestown, before (happy choir practices) and during their final Kool-Aid quaffing (as Jones melts down into a paranoid, ranting fury and orders the murder of anyone resisting). Pretty sad and awful stuff.

The quality is pretty good, given the sources (mostly cassette, abused vinyl and 8-track), and I have laughed my backside off more than once. This list just names a few of the gems you can find here. Seriously crazy. I’m enjoying the weirdness factor. (I thought I had some crazy crap in my collection, but apparently my standards are too high, even when adopting a pile of crappy vinyl, to get any of this kind of stuff.)

If you check the site out, share your favorite oddities with me. 🙂

If you like this sort of thing, but prefer a more standard musical format, GoogHoo “Crap From The Past” and Ron “Boogiemonster” Gerber. If you have an MP3 editor, you can snip out the occasional ditty that pleases you. WARNING: the show is aptly named! However, he had a Trip Shakespeare track I was starting to think I’d imagined. Now that I have it, that particular ear worm is laid to rest, and I don’t ever need to hear it again. (The production and tune, as remembered in my brain, were better than the real thing. Isn’t that always the way?)

Another place to find rarities, occasionally, is I found a lot of live Spoon and some amusing Pulp B-sides, including one where Jarvis Cocker asks, “Can I Have My Balls Back, Please?” Some of the finds there are just snippets, but there are some interesting remixes, too.

I used to scour Epitonic, but their new site hates my malware blockers. I probably got all the good stuff from there, anyway. Music blogs are also a good source for rare and interesting stuff, such as (one of my my favourites) and Tuning:Choonage.

This post is dedicated to Jared (Smith), Butcher of Song. If you recognize the reference, you are old and have been online too long.


When You Find The Girl Of Your Dreams In The Arms Of Some Scotsman From Hull*

Damn My Bad Timing! Alas, my crush on the young Neil Innes has been renewed.

Yup, watched “The Rutles” on DVD this week. I expanded my paltry DVD collection to include this classic.

“The Rutles” quotes:

Narrator: Their first album was made in twenty minutes. The second took even longer.

Narrator: What did he like?
Iris Mountbatten: The trousers.
Narrator: Well, what about the trousers.
Iris Mountbatten: Well, they were very, um, tight.
Narrator: Tight?
Iris Mountbatten: Yes, you could see quite clearly…
Narrator: Oh I see…
Iris Mountbatten: Everything. Outlines. Clear as day.
Narrator: Yes, yes. Thank you.

Narrator: For four hungry, working class lads there are worse places than prison and Der Rat Keller, Hamburg is one of these. This is where they found themselves – far from home and far from talented.

Archie Macaw: They had something.
Narrator: What was it?
Archie Macaw: I think it was the trousers.

Narrator: Dick Jaws, an unemployed music publisher of no fixed ability signed them up for the rest of their lives.
Dick Jaws: Lucky really.

Interviewer: What’s your ambition?
Barry Wom: I’d like to be a hairdresser. Or two. I’d like to be two hairdressers.
Ron Nasty: I’d like to own a squadron of tanks.
Dirk McQuickly: What Ron and I’ll do is probably to write some songs, you know, and sell them to people. We tried to write some for The Rolling Stones and they’re probably gonna buy them.

Journalist: It must have been a great honour meeting the Queen.
Ron Nasty: Yeah, it must have been.
Journalist: What did she ask you?
Barry Wom: She asked us who we were.
Journalist: What did you say?
Dirk McQuickly: I said I was him.
Ron Nasty: I felt more like him than me.
Journalist: Do you feel better after seeing the Queen?
Ron Nasty: No, you feel better after seeing a doctor.
Dirk McQuickly: Not my doctor you don’t.
Ron Nasty: Not your doctor, no.
Journalist: What are you gonna do now?
Dirk McQuickly: Back to your place.

Ruttling Orange Peel: Yes Sir, I originated The Rutles, they got it all from me. Every single bit of it.
Narrator: Well, how do you mean?
Ruttling Orange Peel: Well Sir, they come here and they took everything I ever written. Those four guys from Liverpool came here.
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: He’s lying!
Ruttling Orange Peel: I ain’t lying!
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: He’s always lying!
Ruttling Orange Peel: I ain’t lying!
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: Everytime there’s a documentary on white music around here he claims he started it all.
Ruttling Orange Peel: I did, I did, I did!
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: Last week he claimed he started Everly Brothers, Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Welk. He’s always lying!

Narrator: Che Stadium. Named after the Cuban Guerilla leader: Che Stadium.

Narrator: In 1966 The Rutles faced the biggest threat to their careers. Nasty, in a widely quoted interview apparently had claimed that The Rutles were bigger than God and had gone on to say that God had never had a hit record. The story spread like wild fire in America. Many fans burnt their Rutles albums. Many more burnt their fingers attempting to burn their albums. Rutles album sales sky rocketed – people were buying them just to burn them. But infact it was all a ghastly mistake. Nasty, talking to a slightly deaf journalist, had claimed only that The Rutles were bigger than Rod. Rod Stewart would not be big for another eight years.

Dirk McQuickly: It’s not up to me. If you come to me and ask me I’m gonna tell you the truth. Because it is the truth, I have had tea. Lots of tea. Indian tea. And biscuits.

Narrator: It was a bombshell for The Rutles, They were shocked. And stunned.
Dirk McQuickly: Well, we’re shocked.
Ron Nasty: Yeah, shocked.
Barry Wom: Shocked.
Dirk McQuickly: And stunned.
Ron Nasty: Yeah, stunned.
Barry Wom: Very stunned.

Narrator: Decline had a reputation as a hard man. His only weak spot was dishonesty. Anyone was free to inspect his books but no-one could find his accounts. He struck terror into the hearts of his sub-ordinates. People would commit suicide rather than meet him. In business his left hand never knew who his right hand was doing. Nasty adored him – he was a man after his own wallet.

 In the midst of all this public bickering, “Let it Rot” was released as a film, an album, and a lawsuit. In 1970, Dirk sued Stig, Nasty, and Barry; Barry sued Dirk, Nasty, and Stig; Nasty sued Barry, Dirk, and Stig; and Stig sued himself accidentally. It was the beginning of a golden era for lawyers, but for the Rutles, live on a London rooftop, it was the beginning of the end.

Your mother should know that this is probably my favourite scene in the film, bar none.

Watching Neil and Eric Idle (centre left and centre right) mug for the cam here has me cracking up each and every time.

Rutle Trivia

The Rutles was first shown as a sketch on UK TV show Rutland Weekend Television written by Eric Idle

When Eric Idle hosted Saturday Night Live the original TV sketch was re-shown leading to the film being made

The full title is actually The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash

Stig O’Hara’s character stayed true to his image as The Quiet One by not speaking one line throughout the film

Ollie Halsall provided the singing voice for Eric Idle’s character as well as playing Leppo, the 5th Rutle

Neil Innes also appeared in The Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour

In the original TV version Dan Aykroyd’s character who turned down The Rutles actually shot himself as opposed to being asked “What’s it like to be such an asshole?”

The Rutles minus Eric Idle re-formed in 1996 to record Archaeology in response to The Beatles Anthology series

A sequel was made in 2002 titled The Rutles: Can’t Buy Me Lunch but is yet to be made available outside of the USA

The studly and well-coiffed young Neil Innes, one of my Imaginary Boyfriends. *pine, sigh* (ROFFLE!)

Who the Heck Is Neil Innes?

Not content with providing a pitch-perfect impression of John Lennon as Ron Nasty, Innes also wrote the music and lyrics to all The Rutles songs.

Neil Innes was also a regular on the Monty Python TV series and movies. For these he was also the guy responsible for a whole host of their songs.

In Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Innes played, among other roles, that of the Minstrel taunting Eric Idle’scharacter Brave Sir Robin for running away – “When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin”

In more recent years and despite nearly being sued himself by The Beatles during the making of The Rutles, Innes successfully sued Oasis for plagiarism. Their hit Whatever was deemed to be too similar to Neil Innes’ song How Sweet To Be An Idiot.

I’ve had Bonzo (Doo Dah) Dog Band and Rutles albums for decades and enjoyed them, and played them on my radio show, and of course The Beatles were a godly influence on my young self. Not that anyone else had heard of them, of course.

But, ah, bad timing, Not that Neil Innes isn’t still cute as the proverbial button, but he could be my granddad. Woe!

Previous depressions about having a crush denied include finding out Jim Morrison got fat, wrote bad poetry and died, and that Nick Drake didn’t get fat, wrote good poetry, but still died.

Quel dommage!

Also, I learned that writing poetry, good or bad, may be detrimental to your health.

* No mention of Hull is complete without a shout out to the dearly departed Mick Ronson.

Miss ya, Ronno!


Confessions Of A Former Deejay

I used to be a college radio deejay and it was pretty cool. I remember finding out that a lot of stuff I had is simply unknown or ridiculously expensive. I had a bunch of compilation CDs I’d bring in, but we weren’t allowed to play more than 1-2 songs off one CD an hour, so I’d get online and track down the original artist’s album to fill that into the computer program that tracks such things. It was at that point that I discovered I’d never be able to afford to replace my music collection if something awful happened to it. Cases in point: The Jeevas’ 1 2 3 4 was priced at $36.00 before tax and shipping. Holy mama! And Rialto’s Girl on A Train EP is likewise apparently super rare. Probably because the same six people with good taste all want it and they only made five or something like that. I think it was put out through an Internet-based company, and after watching other artists deal with that happy fun bollocks (Warren Cuccurullo, I THINK, The Tender Idols, for sure, and Ash, perhaps, all had to suffer through that shit), I’m sure the Rialto thing is rare because practically no one knew about the EP even existing and thus didn’t buy it and the Internet company bombed miserably and now no one can get any more.

Most of the time this kind of stuff makes me angry. I know too many great bands and artists who struggle endlessly to get thrown a crumb and there’s excruciatingly terrible CRAP promoted far and wide on TV and radio. Makes me want to shoot Sean Polly Wolly Puffy Diddy Daddy Doodle Combs in the butt with a howitzer. Even when it’s clear to all and sundry that some artist is pure-dee crap, like Asslee Simpson (or whatever her name is, the one with even less talent that does hoedowns), they get record deals and you can’t go to Target for some goddamned blank CD-Rs without having to see her smug face being promoted and her crappy “music” being sold for nearly $20 a pop. Hate. Hate, hate, hate.

But life’s too short to grouch myself into a conniption fit. I’ve been eating too much pizza, I might clutch my chest and fall over or something. I’ve already seen two of the “I Hate” books that offer–though you wouldn’t guess it from the title–well-researched vitriol about the Rumfelds and Cheneys and Coulters and Hannities of the world. Yes, indeed, they are hated. The authors hate them long time. The combination of junk food and stress and political angst and crap music might kill me. Have mercy.

On a completely unrelated note, if you want to know what I looked like when I was slummin’ it in college, I often described myself as looking like a blonde Keith Richards clone with dominatrix boots, black turtlenecks, (literally) painted-on jeans and an extremely over-sized army jacket or silky “smoking jacket”. I was a charming art student clichè, I’m sure. In truth, I looked sort of like David Sylvian on the cover of Obscure Alternatives. This is not a good thing, honestly. And don’t be thinking “David Sylvian wot Nick Rhodes copped the look off of,” all pretty with nice eyeshadow. No, darlings, because this was the David Sylvian that David Johansen copped HIS look off of circa NY Dolls. Only more tatty. I am ashamed.

That’s my twin, on the far right. I did, in fact, own this album at the time, but was oblivious to having picked up on the “I slept in my thrift store linen suit and stole my grandma’s Bakelite bangles” look. Yes. I, as a blonde, actually wore BEIGE.

I had less five o’clock shadow, though.

I can’t believe I got dates in college looking like that. What the hell was I thinking? It’s the equivalent of taking an ERASE cosmetic concealer stick and trying to “erase” your entire face. You turn into one big blank spot. It’s the next best thing to learning how to turn invisible on command.

Then again, I cleaned up pretty nicely.

Why am I thinking about Obscure Alternatives? I played a track off it tonight during Britpoptarts The Radio Show and got to looking at the cover art. Oy. That’s a humiliation that bites deep.

At least I wasn’t dressing like Madonna or (gags) Tiffany.

I have just given away my decrepitude and old age. I hope you’re all art and English majors out there. I’m not overly thrilled about it! You smart maths people, you hush.

Though I was a mere babe in arms when Obscure Alternatives was out, I have to say. What can I say? It beat buying copies of “Chevy Van” and “Havin’ My Baby” when I started buying music. I started off rad-i-cool. I teethed on Johnny Cash and Elvis singles (and, ahem, Kingston Trio and the New Christy Minstrels). I had exposure to Tom Lehrer (and, ahem, the Smothers Brothers). I knew who Teresa Brewer and Prez Prado and…what? YES, I AM proud of that. Sheesh. 🙂 That’s my parents’ era, anyway. My mom tries to claim she was into The Beatles in the sixties, but I saw her Englebert Humpnerdinck albums. She can’t fool me.

As you may have guessed, one of my more obnoxious traits is Music Snottery. I apologize in advance. At least I know I can be insufferable and poke fun at myself. Theresa Brewer, indeed. Harrumph. (She was the Cyndi Lauper of the 50s, for what it is worth.) I knew things had to be reined in when I was singing along in the car to one of Atlanta’s more, er, eclectic student radio stations (you know, the kind you can get Buddhist monks chanting and then DëathMöle! and then alt-country and then whales farting, all in a row?) and some Brazilian or East Indian or African thing came on and I started singing along as best as I could, not knowing the language, BECAUSE I OWNED IT, and my poor, long-suffering roommate sighed and said, “God. Do you know EVERY SINGLE SONG IN THE UNIVERSE?!” I think she meant it as a compliment, but I chastised myself anyway. (My roomie claims she said, “Is there any song you DON’T know?” but that’s pretty much the same thing. And, yes, there are songs I do not know: I don’t know any Justin Bieber songs.)

Anyway. No one fucking CARES, yo. I can’t get a good-paying job knowing a shit-ton of decent music, apparently. (Let me know if I am wrong about that.)

I am definitely a major pain in the arse musically. I just know it.

I Am Clearly Not Your Target Market

So I was up late last night, which is entirely my own fault for being a night owl by disposition and encouraging this by having a long nap earlier in the day. (No school + no work = bliss and rest.) I decided to flip around and see what was on other channels. Normally I watch news, news, news, police procedurals about catching bad people, news, news, an occasional DVD, and news.

I saw Oliver Stone’s “The Doors,” something I’d already seen earlier, though I’ve struggled to remember how. Did I rent the VHS tape? Was it on cable? I’m fairly sure I didn’t pay a lot of money to go see it in a theater, as “theater manners” are getting more and more irritating to me in my advanced old age, what with the phones and chatting and squalling babies and seat-kicking and unrestrained children and excessive PDA and constant shouted commentary to the screen (as if the actors could hear–or care–about audience advice). It all makes me regret spending a lot of money to hang out with the general public in a dark room with sticky floors and uncomfortable seating for two or more hours these days. I’m just saying. The movie I go to theaters to see must be damned good to make the un-fun aspects of film attendance feasible.

I’d say that I could better use that money to go out and have a nice dinner, but “restaurant manners” aren’t much better. Believe me. When you pay $26 for that rack of lamb and broccolini-zucchini-feta-new potato combination, you’re secretly paying to get away from people who don’t want to pay $20 per child’s portion. Sad but true. Well-behaved children are a joy. Naughty, undisciplined children running amok and so forth while you’re trying to eat? Um, not so much. So, either forget about going out to eat for a reasonable per-plate fee, or pay the brat tax. (Not the CHILD tax, the BRAT tax. There’s a BIG difference. My friends do not have any ill-behaved brats.)

Anyway, the Doors film served to remind me of the brief infatuation I had with The Doors (yeah, yeah; me and a million other disaffected youths) in high school. Jim Morrison was undeniably bright and creative, but the best career move he made was probably to die under dodgy circumstances while on the lam in Paris. In a bathroom. Very Elvis. Anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock hid or her entire life has heard of The Doors, so no need to rehash the mythology involved. That isn’t even what I wanted to talk about, except as a counterpoint to what I was inflicted with during commercial breaks.

Okay, look. What marketing genius thought Yanni, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Madeleine Payroux CDs were appealing to people who like(d) The Doors? Metamucil adverts and adverts for SUVs and other kiddie kargo vehicles and infomercials for Hairclub For Men I can understand, as The Doors were a bit boomer-appealing even when I was in high school (technically, I was more than 25 years too late to be really into the band, but that still doesn’t stop me even now), but…geez! Yanni?! What the hell?

Even more funny is the physical similarities between present-day Yanni and latter-day Val Kilmer-as-Morrison. Shave off the Chester-the-Molester cookie-duster ‘stache, and they could be fraternal twins. So you have Kilmer rolling around on the floor in a drug-induced shamantic-esque swoon while yowling lyrics about Oedipal conflict and angst and so forth, and then you have a commercial about Yanni. What a total logical disconnect.

The tone-deaf neighbor across the way who doesn’t actually LIKE music (so she says, and so she proves on a regular basis) buys Yanni CDs. Before she admitted that, I was hard-pressed to figure out who the heck was doing that. Stop encouraging him!

I could still remember all the lyrics to the Doors songs and (somewhat shamefully) some of the poetry–I gave away a copy of American Prayer in college (because that much self-indulgence just pained me)–but I tell you what, I am not Yanni’s target audience.

I think I was a little insulted. Yanni. Bitches, please.