Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a word on high from our sponsors

So. A little perspective is what's required.

Or merely what the doctor ordered. A little distance, certainly.

A respite from ill performed quackery, and the casting of runes;
the misdiagnosis of impertinent rubes. All manner of unsound
diviners. Pet rodents roiling on the stove. Scissors sixty-nining.
"Oh, you put a little picture there!" the anonymous voice crowed.
"You looked up a word. How clever."

On and on without pause. A harpy on my shoulder.

"Why can't you write about nice things," the voice continued.
Unquestioningly. Without dissent. A nagging reprobation,
a torn umbrella dripping from a branch, a diuretic toxin. On and
on, without pause. On and fucking on.

Woody Woodpecker sang with more variety. Even jabbing
his beak in where he had no call at all.

"You fuck. You sad fuck", the voice droned.

Not remotely antique, but creaking with menopausal infirmament.
An old testament notion of righteousness,
a chalk scraping on a blackboard made dark with skulking malice.

" Shut up!" it chanted.

A little unbelievably.

Well. I have been called a lot of things. I have been sad, it's true, and
known to fuck once in a while. In and out the sun. Without remorse.
But. Hear this, motherfucker.
If you don't like the banging - if the clanging of rusty metal implements
offends you - stay the fuck out of my kitchen.

My one regret, I might add - a little sadly - is tipping my glass;
a trifling prematurely.

Some of you may have already noticed, but unfortunately this blog no longer receives nor accepts anonymous comments. That, as politicians constantly remind us, is progress.

PERE UBU: FINAL SOLUTION from "Final Solution b/w Cloud 149" 45 (Hearthan) 1976 (US)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

a word on anonymity

a•non•y•mous |əˌnɒnɪməs|
• having no outstanding, individual, or unusual features; unremarkable or impersonal : the anonymous black car waiting to take him to the airport | a faceless, anonymous group.

ORIGIN late 16th cent.: via late Latin from Greek anōnumos ‘nameless’ (from an- ‘without’ + onoma ‘name’ ) + -ous .

ass•hole |ˌɑːshəʊl|

noun vulgar slang
the anus.
• an irritating or contemptible person.

For anonymous. In part.

Have I gained myself a stalker ? Or just some sporadic nuisance in the form of an ugly rash ?

A brief report on yesterday's time management:

I have languished on our fold down sofa the better part of all day, alternately rolled out on my back or reclining on one elbow like some bedridden Roman despot.

Aside from making early morning coffees - and connecting, or disconnecting, cables on demand in one room or another - the sole exercise I have partaken in thus far has involved sneezing copiously into wadded tissues and barking like a sea lion.

In short, I am stricken by nothing more than a cold.

I was compelled to watch a little car crash tv. The
X Factor has gone into 'Boot Camp' mode. This involved separating those contestants who have made it through the preliminary auditions into three adjoining rooms. There they sweated and tried to compose themselves while the committee gathered to deliver their verdict and enter stage left.

Sadly, somebody neglected to release the Zyklon B.

Featuring Armand Schaubroeck:

CHURCHMICE: COLLEGE PSYCHOLOGY ON LOVE from "Babe, We Are Not Part Of Society b/w College Psychology On Love" 45 (House of Guitars) 1965 (US)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

lost in space

If you have not already availed yourself of more on the excellent Jetty Web - see below - it is very definitely your loss. This neglected jewel, cribbed from tøday's revealing post on Digital Meltd0wn, is merely one excavated gem. Rip by NØ.

Brian McKay: guitar, vocals; 
Stuart Sikes: drums; 
Tripp Lamkins: bass;
Shannon Jay Kennedy: lead guitar.

JETTY WEBB: GEM from "Jetty Webb" CD (Lamar) 2003 (US)

night sweats

detail from "the nightmare" (1781) by john henry fuseli; 1741-1825.

more commonly known as the night sweats, is the occurrence of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) during sleep. The sufferer may or may not also suffer from excessive perspiration while awake.

Not making it to the bathroom
on time,
let alone the rent.

Not making the deadline.

They have stamped your cards,
all bets. These are

the things lurking under the bed.

sibling whispers: mir uncovered

Originally hurtling into orbit via Big B over on Art Decade, and appearing here, Memphis cosmic crew Jetty Webb remain shrouded in mystery if not space debris.

But wait. Delving deep into the static of dead space, sibling has uncovered more. Repair to Digital Meltd0wn to put endless speculation to rest in a recently conducted interview with guitarist and founding member, Brian McKay.

The truth is out there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the prisoner of zen

Sheesh. I just received another guest list invitation for an event at the Bowery Poetry Club between Bleecker and Houston Street, NYC. Sadly frustrating when the primary consideration is not whether I can afford the subway ticket but whether they might grant me a visa.

My passport, even, has long expired.

It is my cross to bear that I was born on a more remote - though scarcely smaller - island. Where the winds blow ill and hard. An island creaking under the weight of a snivelling, shortbread making civil service in those 200 years since the Highland Clearances.

I missed the boat. I harvest the scars.

If any Fools are listening in, I am still awaiting a harder copy, though truth be told am in no position to contest the higher ground; negligent and corrupt, I have abseiled my bank account only to squander those remaining coins on counterfeit tobacco and Chilean wines. I sit surrounded by unmailed packages.

I have a weakness especially for Chilean wines.

Hold the sea bass. Or maybe not; I am ensnared in autumn and all out of teeth.

The rains are always just around the next corner, and there is no bomb in Mumbai.

I am unmoved by poetry. Poetry is for assholes. Or rum Canadians walking hammers on rollerskates. I cannot decide. I walked a dog habitually a long time ago. It strained at the leash and I discovered cats; a cruel and dysfunctional punishment with much to recommend it. Connoisseurs of passive smoking and displaced aggression. All claw and stiffened fur.

So. I am no mood to bandy words.

I am knock-kneed and dishevelled, gladly immune to ill-considered thwarts.

I might merely resurrect what has gone before without embellishment or fear of disgrace. And wish all my siblings well.

Charity ? She was a justifiable f@ckin' lay.

illustration by ib.

STEVEN JESSE BERNSTEIN: NO NO MAN (PART I) from "Prison" LP (Sub Pop) 1992 (US)

Friday, September 18, 2009

9/11, basketball diaries

august 1st, 1949 - september 11th, 2009

I only caught this sad news today over at 's place. Hiding my head in the sand of late, I have nothing more to add - by way of my appreciation of a fine poet and author - that hasn't already been stated for the record more eloquently.

Recorded from a live performance at St. Mark's Church, NYC.

JIM CARROLL: PRAYING MANTIS from "Praying Mantis" CD (Giant) 1991 (US)

sterling undermined

I watched helplessly from the window as my wife hurtled on down the street with our small reserve of tobacco. She was too far away to stake a decent headshot,
so I gently laid down the telescopic .22 rifle and retreated to the kitchen to forage through some leftovers in the dustbin.

She was headed for the underground on the corner of Bridge Street and Norfolk Street. Before she even got there she began to resemble just another ant.

A couple of comments under yesterday's post on Mo Diddley got me to thinking about Holmes Sterling Morrison Jr., and how his extraordinary contribution to proto-punk and avant-garde guitar noodling is almost uniformly overlooked.
It did not help his case any that the Velvet Underground featured two guitarists from the very start, or that he is scarcely credited with playing his hand in the shaping of the group's early material; a shared writing credit on "European Son" from the first LP - thoroughly rehabilitated in collaboration with Dean Wareham and Sean Eden - and three more on "White Light/White Heat", including the superlative "Sister Ray". Nothing on their third outing with Doug Yule taking over from J
ohn Cale, and zero on 1970's "Loaded".

I suspect a good many VU aficionados unwittingly confuse Morrison's parts with Reed's, and that is a genuine pity. Sterling's woefully low profile as a solo recording artist after Lou's decision to go it alone and "Walk on the Wild Side" has done little in those intervening years to rectify the confusion. Outwith guest guitar on a couple of tracks from Luna's 1994 outing - a band formed by songwriter, Dean Wareham out of the ashes of Galaxie 5000 and the Feelies - and more of the same on Maureen Tucker's fourth solo release, "Dogs Under Stress", from the same year, Sterling Morrison instead chose to return to those academic studies formerly abandoned; obtaining a P.h.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Texas, Austin, only to turn his back on an academic career in favour of skippering a tug boat operating out of Houston.

His well documented excursions as a guitarist, then - beyond the Velvets briefly reforming between 1992 and 1993 - were largely confined to the local live circuit in and around Austin, and some fairly intensive touring as a key member of Tucker's road band. Mostly, Sterling Morrison appears to have been content to disengage from the machine before it truly became all consuming.

A man stepping in and out of the underground at will. On or off the leash.

vu, circa 1965: featuring drummer, angus maclise,
replaced by mo tucker before recording their debut album.

Oh. And my wife ? It seems she carefully divided that tobacco stash, after all.
One half left neatly folded for me in a polythene sleeve next to the coffee pot; kettle; black. Imagine my guilt. I really ought to learn to rein in these misplaced homicidal urges before I shoot myself in the foot, or worse.


Written by Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison.
Nico: vocals;
Lou Reed: guitar; Sterling Morrison: guitar;
Recorded at Mayfair Sound Studios, NYC,
April 4th, 1967.
Produced by Tom Wilson.


Written by Dean Wareham.
Recorded at Right Track Studios, NYC.
Produced by Luna and Victor Von Vugt.
Guitar by Sterling Morrison.

NICO: CHELSEA GIRLS from "Chelsea Girl" LP (MGM) 1967 (US)

LUNA: FRIENDLY ADVICE from "Bewitched" LP (Elektra) 1994 (US)
LUNA: GREAT JONES STREET from "Bewitched" LP (Elektra) 1994 (US)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

after wal; hol and mart

Recorded at home in Texas, in between soulless shifts at Wal-Mart and diaper changes. All instruments overdubbed by Maureen Tucker; atmospherics courtesy of the Tucker clan.

MAUREEN TUCKER: BO DIDDLEY from "Playin' Possum" LP (Trash Records) 1981 (US)


hambone, or the checkered demon

ham•bone |ˌhambəʊn|
noun informal

a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes.

BO DIDDLEY: BO DIDDLEY from "Bo Diddley b/w I'm A Man" 78rpm (Checker) 1955 (US)

cosmic warrior

I streamed the following T. Rex cover early this morning when I noticed it had arrived overnight in my mailbox. From the bathroom - making water with my sleep befuddled head lolling on my shoulder - it sounded disconcertingly like Alvin and the Chipmunks, or even Pinky and Perky.

Still. The very same accusations were once leveled at the very puckish Mark Feld.

Dance it out the womb.

"cosmic dancer iii", 2009, by chennu pillai.

MANETT: COSMIC DANCER from "Citiholic" EP (Unknown Label) 2009 (?)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

five knuckle shuffle

F3966: johnny the greek.

Credited by Frank Zappa as being the inspiration for cultivating his own Viva Zapata! crop of facial hair, Californian bluesman, Johnny Otis was born Ionnis Veliotes four days before Christmas in 1921.

From Wiki:

"In the 1960s he entered journalism and politics, losing a campaign for a seat in the California Assembly (one reason for the loss may be that he ran under his much less well known real name). He then became chief of staff for Democratic Congressman Mervin Dymally."

Peaking at # 9 on the US Billboard Chart in 1958, this ungarnished side-order of authentic Bo Diddley was Otis' only Top Ten hit. A capable politician and tireless advocate for civil rights - addressing the 1965 race riots in his 1968 publication, "Listen to the lambs" - he later founded and pastored a new
church, Landmark Community Gospel Church, which held Sunday services in Santa Rosa, California.

I knew an Otis on the outskirts of Glasgow who was one of the shyest young men I have ever met, and tortured by his name. He used to alleviate - or deflect - unwanted attention deficit disorder by burning his initials into the upholstery on the back seat of our shared expressway bus. I once, to be fair, smashed an elbow into the teeth of a youth on the same when he insisted on getting in on my own face. The driver might have made an unscheduled stop had a thirteen year old threatened to cap him directly on the spot, but I very much doubt it.

'See no; hear no; speak no' is a thoroughly Glaswegian mantra. We are all Neutral Born Buddhists, Kill Bills and Tarantinos be damned.

"sunflower girl"
johnny otis, 1988.

THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW: WILLIE AND THE HAND JIVE from "Willie And The Hand Jive" 45 (Capitol) 1957 (US)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

pal joey and the queens mafia

Anyone with half a heart will guess immediately from just checking in on yesterday's 1974 post what this is all about.

Formed in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC in the very same year, our holey knock-kneed stick insects concocted the perfect antidote to all which was sick and rotten in the state of detritus. A simple largactyl laced three chord syrup for all our ills.

As unequivocal as a slap straight on the kisser.

I have been grossly negligent up here on the bleachers, sadly. A chain-smoking fuckwad nursing uncalled nostalgia much of the time.

It was only as the result of my wife nagging me to wear my reading glasses that I realized just how much I'd given over to half fartedness. That, and the last two fingers of a bottle of Italian House White we purchased earlier; in spite of more sound financial judgment.

As I sit here typing spastically on one digit, I am mildly shocked to recall that Johnny Ramone was born - Cummings, motherf@cker - way back in 1948. A mere three years after the Big Red One. Sma
ll wonder, then, he bequeathed us so much shit on lugers; blitzkriegs; and bop. A commando on Quaaludes, he dealt dealt back the aftershock in graphic primary colors. No f@ckin' 'u' for you.

This, ultimately, is what made it a good deal easier to swallow all that tired Emerson, Lake & Palmer crap; the low slung bass of Dee Dee and the myopic impertinence of Pal Joey strobing out over the closed jackboot ranks of a CBGB's anorexic gathering.

God bless 'em.




Produced by Tamás Erdélyi and Tony Bongiovi.

RAMONES: SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER from "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker b/w Commando / I Don't Care" 45 (Sire) 1977 (US)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

on the way home thru the park; or a tuna, darkly

Perhaps merely the faintest registration that broadcaster, Michael Terence Wogan has finally confronted the none too premature prospect of retirement has upset the radio friendly tuning in my brain. For whatever reason, I find myself contemplating Carly Simon circa "No Secrets"; and from there, the jump to Helen Reddy's 3 minutes and 29 seconds of sheer hokum requires not so much a leap of faith into the abyss of 1974 as a gentle shove.

The fashionably oblique "Angie Baby", penned by Californian musician turned professional songwriter Alan O'Day, provided the Antipodes' born Reddy with her first Billboard #1 in the US, and a top 5 position here in the UK. Allegedly inspired, in part, by the Beatles' "Lady Madonna", I freely admit to being less intrigued by the lyric at the time than vaguely irritated. In fact, prior to my stumbling across the copious speculation it appears to have provoked over the decades since its release, I had not given it much headroom.

From Wiki:

" O'Day said he also thought to his own childhood, since as an only child who was often ill, many of his days were spent in bed with a radio to keep him company...

Originally the character was just supposed to be mentally "slow," but while writing the song, O'Day showed it to his therapist, who pointed out that the character's reactions in the song were not those of a retarded person, so O'Day changed the lyric from "slow" to "touched," and the character switched from retarded to "crazy." "

Well. There you go. Don't shoot the messenger.

Despite its conceit, I have always secretly harboured some fondness for this disposable slice of psychopomp, oddly. File next to Bobbie Gentry. Or Bobby Goldsboro.

For those of you well acquainted with or simply dumbfounded by Mr. Beer N. Hockey's fixation for Grammy Award winner - and celebrity golfer - Anne Murray, this is one you might want to ponder.

Go now. Before I open the Pandora's Box that is Jimmy Webb's "McArthur Park".

Written by Alan O'Day.
Arranged by Nick De Caro. Produced by Joe Wissert.

HELEN REDDY: ANGIE BABY from "Angie Baby b/w I Think I'll Write A Song" 45 (Capitol) 1974 (Australia / US)

big star city rollers

a gerard love composition.
now you see it, now you don't...

Sounds vaguely familiar ? It ought to. The sound of Memphis filtered through the dirty grey lense of the River Clyde; a perfect sound east coast pretenders, the Bay City Rollers, never quite got down on tape.

Before Teenage Fanclub (and the arrival of one Brendan O'Hare) there were the BMX Bandits, and - as this home recorded compilation of 4-Track demos proudly attests - The Boy Hairdressers and The Clydesmen too, a loose Big Star fixated collective forged between Glasgow's Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley, Francis Macdonald and Gerard Love.

Purloined from an undisclosed source:

"With Brendan, full-volume afternoon rehearsals begin in the unlikely setting of Norman’s bedroom in his Grandmother’s house in Bellshill and continue regularly until they feel about ready to exist in public. Throughout the practices Mrs Blake watches championship snooker on the television in between making the lads pots of tea."

"Kylie's Got a Crush on Us" eventually got it's chance to go public with the pressing of the Bandits' 1993 12", released through Alan McGee's Frankenstein, Creation Records; home to the mono-browed, super inflated egos of those New Deal upstarts, the Gallagher brothers.

1986, 53rd & 3rd Records.

THE CLYDESMEN: KYLIE'S GOT A CRUSH ON US from "4-Track Stuff" (Bootleg) 1990 (UK)

Monday, September 7, 2009

northern exposure

ed•dy |ˌɛdi|
noun ( pl. -dies)
a circular movement of water, counter to a main current,
causing a small whirlpool.
• a movement of wind, fog, or smoke resembling this.

ORIGIN late Middle English : probably from the Germanic base of the Old English prefix ed- [again]

From Montreal, Quebec, there is something of a "Rumours" era Christine McVie or Stevie Nicks in Veronica Charnley's approach running through "One Hundred Words for Water". Lindsey Buckingham too.

This is no bad thing. I am more comfortable with this gentle undercurrent than the febrile expositions of Kate Bush and Tori Amos the Fleetwoods informed in turn; or the everything-bar-the kitchen sink assault of the once elfin Bjork.

The instrumentation and arrangements - courtesy of Geof Holbrook - are almost uniformly exquisite.
In particular those shimmering eddies of concert harp.

Veronica Charnley : vocals, guitars;
Geof Holbrook : bass, piano, spinet organ, electronics, vocals;
Eveline Grégoire-Rousseau : concert harp;
Benoit Monière : drums, percussion.

Recorded and mixed by Robert-Eric Gaskell at the REQ Room & Studio Loco.
All songs written by Veronica Charnley. Arranged by Geof Holbrook.

illustration by evan moore.

FLOTILLA: COURT AND SPARK from "One Hundred Words For Water" CD (Sophomore) 2009 (Canada)


Sunday, September 6, 2009

he said, she said...

collage by klaus voorman.

An intriguing splicing of demos from the "Revolver" era, culled from
the original vinyl bootleg - "Lost Lennon Tapes (Volume 2)" - and reissued on a double CD through the Dutch label, Walrus, in 1996.

back off boogaloo.

JOHN LENNON: HE SAID HE SAID from "The Complete Lost Lennon Tapes (Volumes 1 & 2)" 2 x CD (Walrus / Bootleg) 1996 (Holland)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

don't slander me

mapledurham watermill.

"I'm back, I'm back, I'm on the right track..."

Who ever said married life was easy ?

I am quite blissfully partnered, but I thought I might just appeal to my more juvenile self with a piece of bile aimed squarely at very local external (under the) influences who would seek to promote irrevocable damage. Just remember this - if you have mastered even rudimentary literacy, motherf@cker - slander is a capital offense in my book.

Written by David Waggoner; Dick Weigland: Larry Weigland.



ROKY ERICKSON: DON'T SLANDER ME from "Don't Slander Me" LP (Pink Dust) 1986 (US)
BOB DYLAN: POSITIVELY 4th STREET from "Positively 4th Street b/w From A Buick 6" 45 (Columbia) 1965 (US)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

kinder kafka

"die verwandlung" - very loosely - leipzig, 1915.

kafka's children

Apologies, siblings. The last week or so has seen me jumping through more bureaucratic hoops than one might comfortably entertain after an entire summer of reading Kafka; a civil service nightmare of transition from singleton to married benefit beneficiary with all attendant material facts required in triplicate. And then some. Thi
s in itself is not anything more than should respectfully be envisioned, burden on the state that we are, but even at a snail's pace - with due lubrication and obsequiousness - all is far from running smoothly.

Monies suspended until the bitch with the sovereign ring who registered my claim tires sufficently from analyzing the latest instalment of the X-Factor on her tea break to get to grips with the relevant paperwork and encrypted DWP forms.

A language of disjointed cypher and insult.

Meantime, of course, I am doing my best to unearth a paid job in this climate
of recession if not outright depression, add to which I have finally gotten around to redecorating our communal landing with pilfered eggshell acrylic paint and a nefariously obtained gloss of epic institutional bias; having long discarded any fantasy that the GHA might ultimately recognize its civic remit regards building maintenance and the restitution of resources collected through rents.

I painted madly like a possessed young Adolf, while Rosa scrubbed away the stench of decrepitude with the lingering scent of coconut bath oil and opium.

In short, it has been a fortnight of Stalin meets Thatcher on a Brighton bank ho
liday. The totalitarian red forked knobbing of a blue rinsed grocer's daughter on sulfurous sands. Honeymooning in the ashpits. On the whole nowhere near as black as I may have made it sound.

All is in stasis. And - yet - all is far from so.

Do not be alarmed if all here should fall quiet. The situation is only temporary; key accounts on hold. And, yes, strictly speaking Kafka was Czech.

Kinda Bohemian, despite the Ger
man mutha' tongue.

MICK JAGGER: MEMO FROM TURNER from "Performance (OST)" LP (Warner Bros.) 1970 (UK)