Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Malcolm In The Middle of the Earth

A few days ago pop Svengali Malcolm McLaren died. He’s best known as the manager of the Sex Pistols. In the 70s he also ran a successful boutique with famous designer Vivienne Westwood, and in preparation for his Pistols stint he orchestrated the last gasp of proto punks the New York Dolls.

Today as his corpse lay rotting McLaren is remembered as a trendsetter and visionary. Last week most would’ve said scumbag, crook, opportunist. All are correct descriptions.

Through his shop Let It Rock (later renamed Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die, then Sex, then Seditionaries) he and Westwood created the deconstructed look of torn t-shirts, safety pin earrings, bondage trousers, mental patient haircuts in day-glo colors - in fact organic versions of all the shit you’d see in the Hot Topic shop at your local mall.

With The Sex Pistols McLaren created – created - a band of true misfits who’s playing was barely adequate, who’s demeanor was the ultimate in anti-social behavior, and through his promotional duties he got them banned from almost every live music venue, TV studio and radio outlet throughout the UK. When they scored a recording contract, workers refused to press the records. When the record finally got released and shot straight to number 1, the music press wouldn’t even list it. The number one spot was displayed as a BLANK line. Then they came to America for a week or so and broke up. From cradle to grave all of this took 18 months. And for that brief time they were the absolute greatest f#%king band EVER.

Today this uber-bad boy shtick seems commonplace. Back then, none of this had ever happened before. No, not Elvis or Stones. Not even close. And it was all down to McLaren. ALL of it. But he was no mere Colonel Punk Parker or Blank Brian Epstein. McLaren did other things, too.

In the early 80s he recorded some of the first hip hop/rock sides that would later become commonplace. He used bagpipes, recorded phone conversations and scratching to give his tracks a more global feel. He produced a dancefloor friendly version of Madam Butterfly. He was instrumental in creating the New Romantic movement that America most obviously saw manifested in Boy George. He did a lot of other things, but I’m tired of writing about him. Look it up on the internet.

Trust me – whoever you are, and no matter how little you may be familiar with “punk”, you know about it because of Malcolm McLaren. He came to New York in 1976 and took a small underground movement back to the UK and mixed it up with fluorescent paint & beer and puked it up into the faces of youths worldwide.

Read this – Roger Ebert and Russ Meyer were involved in a Sex Pistols film that never quite got off the ground. It's a great piece.


Monday, April 12, 2010

End Of Intermission

In the immortal words of Sly Stone: heard you missed me, well I’m back.

I used to do all my blog entries from work, but everything’s been locked down since January, including all blog sites. I can’t stream music – no WWOZ Nawlins. no WFMU Jersey. no XFM London. I can’t listen to Rodney Bingenheimer live from LA on Sunday nites. I can’t stream from Sirius. Facebook and Ebay have been blocked. But I can create a Word doc, email it to my Hotmail account, pick it up at home & Bob’s Yer Uncle, an updated blog.

Who really cares what’s been happening with me since last summer? Let’s get on with the here & now.

IMPORTANT: Record Store Day is fast approaching. FYI it’s this Saturday, April 17, 2010. PARTICIPATE! This is the day for all the existing record stores to strut their stuff & hopefully make some money. I fully support the in-person record buying experience, even though I hate most of the people shopping along side of me (hey, you're too close, step back!). Boy, if I had a record store it’d be like Studio 54 - not everyone’s getting in. Sure, I wouldn’t make money, but I ain’t doing it for the money. Art does not equal commerce for me.

This year I’m excited about the special Record Store Day releases. A bargeload of artists are releasing very limited runs of 7” singles to be sold on RSD only. The chance of getting what you want is probably a hell of a lot better if you’re in, say, London, NY, Chicago or Portland (the latest city of choice for cultural lemmings – sorry, Williamsburg). The Fall have one. Daptone has one from soul queen Sharon Jones. The Stones have an “Exile On Main St” era unreleased track on offer. Even the bloody Beatles are re-releasing Paperback Writer/Rain, and Elvis has some crap out, too. Some of these quantities number in the hundreds, some more, some less. And who knows what the distribution setup is? You pays yer money, you takes yer choice.

Please go out & buy some CDs or records on that day. It may not matter to some, but the record store is a dying business, and to see it disappear as a haven for music lovers is a shame. Hey, I buy from Amazon & Ebay too, but absolutely nothing compares to rifling through racks of music and actually holding them in your grubby mitts, or getting a headache from rolling your eyes repeatedly from overheard nerd conversations about Wolfmother and Beach House. Give me a frikkin’ break.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'll be going now

The time has come to take a hiatus from the slang-fest that is GGMSW. I have many last-minute tasks to attend to. Shave the head, loofa the feet, cut the nails, and (sob) hang the bike up. It didn't get used very much this season. And of course guilt is part of my make-up, so I'll be obsessing about it for awhile. Until the meds kick in.

Quite possibly in a month or so I'll be back, both here & on Facebook, to delight and astound with my spot-on insights and bullshit opinions.

And now, let the show begin.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garages Are For Bands

Didja ever see this? A person has a nice deck built off the back of their groovy condo, and yet... they sit in the garage on an old lawn chair!!

Well, they do that in my neighborhood. A lot. And they're not even practicing with their band.

Look, I'm like Lolita in my neighborhood. Most of my neighbors are retired. Aside from the young couple next door and myself, everyone watches Matlock & eats linner.

But this garage thing has me stymied. Maybe it's the equivalent of sitting on your front porch, like back in the old days when Bill Kennedy & Marc Avery were your primary entertainment moguls. You'd plop yourself in your webbed aluminum chair and toss a wave to your neighbor & congregate out front for a cold coca cola, or just idly watch the passing parade. Well, no one really is passing around here. I take that back, because some folks walk their old people dogs. You know, those Rat Terriers that have spindly little legs like their owners - at least the owners who don't have that bloated leg dilemma happening.

Here's the thing: these decks didn't come with the place, you had to get 'em separately, like an afterthought. So do they only get used when the grandkids come by?

I'll be honest with you: I also have one of them there decks, and it doesn't get used near as much as it used to. But I'm not in my garage, no sir. I'm laying on my bed, watching my flat screen tv. If I'm not there, that's usually where I wish I was.

Now hear this: As of next week I'm looking at 2 months off work due to foot surgery (not related to the bloated leg thing). You've heard me rattle on about it ad nauseum. At any rate, I'm planning all these relaxing activities, and due to my immobility they all revolve around my bed. It's summer & I have a deck but I haven't given much thought to sitting out there drinking the day away in the sun. For one thing it's further from the bathroom, and that in itself is gonna be one interesting journey. I mean, there's that ground level obstacle at the junction of outside & inside to navigate. And I want it as easy as possible. Maybe the 3rd week or so.

I do have a small front porch. Maybe I'll go tres retro & set up a chair out there, with my transistor & a cooler full of Faygo Uptown.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oooh! Oooh! Of Thee I Sing!

It's time for pyrotechnics, for drinking too much & accidentally shooting something or someone, for hotdogs and warm potato salad, for ... well, anything. It's time to celebrate your independence!! And it comes to you smack dab in the middle of the weekend!

America: Baseball. Springsteen. Rhapsody In Blue. Cedar Point. Swimmin'. Grillin' Killin' (I just threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention). (And actually Cedar Point could be replaced with Wildwood, Palisades Park, Six Flags, Geauga Lake, etc.) (But not Disney) (Not that Disney isn't American, I mean, Christ, it's like the love child of Betsy Ross & George M. Cohen, but it's just not "Our Town" enough)

What state is this world of ours in where our country is one major clusterf$%k yet it's still the best place on earth? Bermuda doesn't even seem to be a dream destination for me anymore, what with the wiggers there. Wait, that's not quite right.

As I inch closer to my extended summer vacation & The Intl Film Festival (special screenings of classic beach movies, cult films, horror classics and a manicured handful of rock&roll gems), I am reminded of the inimitable words of the great Joe E. Ross:

Do you mind? DO YOU MIND?

I don't know what that means, this is just stream-of-consciousness shit while I'm listening to Dave The Spazz so it just made sense.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Four Dead In Ohio (and elsewhere)

I don't care about Michael Jackson. I don't think I ever "cared" about him. He started out in the early 70s but will forever be representative of the '80's.

(a whole big giant paragraph deleted. some things are better left unsaid.)

Farrah Fawcett & her nipples never thrilled me. I never used her as a "prop". I was more a Joan Collins/Grace Jones guy.

Billy Mays: what can I say. Quite a ball player.

Sky Saxon - Sky "Sunlight" Saxon - grew into a reclusive strange-o as his legacy progressed. In 1966 his band The Seeds were all over LA and will forever be linked with the Sunset Strip crowd that also spawned Love, The Doors and Buffalo Springfield. Saxon left us with a number of great songs, most notably "Pushin' Too Hard", today revered as one of the original garage "nuggets". When I first started getting into the internet I came across Sky Saxon's email address (I don't know how), and sent him a gushing missive. And he replied, which I printed out & have it put away in my archives somewhere.

Now...back to our regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Have So Much In Common With Me

This is not just me being contrary, Mary. I don't know what most people are talking about. Or why. And I have little or no interest in the lion's share of it.

Here's the thing: As with a lot of people, most of my waking hours are spent at work. I work with two other people. That's it, two people, no one else is around. Most of the shift is spent with a pair of earbuds screwed into my head, sometimes with nary a word uttered for hours. Wait, did I mention I work midnights? Yeah, and it's great.

So I live in my own little corner of the world. Then when I come home, I'm alone. When I wake up I spend maybe two hours with my wife, then it's off to work again. And so on.

On the offchance that I mix with other people in a social setting, I try to keep it light. Light, airy & brimming with kicks, laughs & jovial witticisms. Because it appears that my views - especially - ESPECIALLY - when it comes to matters of the world - are quite singular. How can it be that virtually all of the people I see in those social settings possess views that I consider reprehensible? Is it me? Because it sometime seems like it is. They certainly make me feel like it's me.

Maybe it's my insular daily routine. Maybe it's that I have the same morals and ideals I had back when most of these other people had the same ideals, but since then they've had a change of heart. And that's being kind.

I hate talking about work with people. But I understand why people do it, since we've established the fact that most of your time etc. But honestly I don't give a shit about your job. I also hate talking politics because of the reasons previously stated. What's left, religion? HAH! That's the one thing no one (including myself) has any interest in discussing.

I'm a card player. And a smoker & a drinker.

I have had so many experiences where people have strongly - STRONGLY - voiced their choice on something and ... wow, have I gotten off topic.

Back to my original thought: I don't know what people are talking about.

But I do know this: we are NOT going to turn into a socialist country. Don't be an asshole. To be honest that's the thing I hear most from these people I come in contact with. Yeah, it seems really bad now but didn't you ever have to clean up after your dog took a shit on the rug? OK then, you know what I'm talking about.

Now cool the f$#k out.