I didn't dress up tonight—though I did co-host Drinking & Thinking a couple nights back in full Nico-meets-the-Shangri-Las garb—so here's a link to what I looked like last October 31. I look better now, but I never felt prettier. I miss Flash.
Friday, October 31, 2003
Roy reminds me that the popular radio show on which he was a featured expert was "Mouth vs. Ear," not what I wrote earlier (and just corrected), "Mouth to Ear." He also writes, "[The Singing Nun] has a fifth moniker I didn't mention...her 'nun-de-plume' [OUCH—Ed.]. Back then, nuns didn't use their real names, and her ordained name was Sister Luc-Gabrielle."
In my entry about my stint co-hosting last Wednesday's Janet's "Drinking & Thinking" at Dempsey's Pub, I also forgot to mention that Roy accomplished another impressive feat. For the question of what was Bullwinkle's alma mater, he not only knew the answer, Wossamatta U., but he also knew the school's entire fight song, which he sang. I can't tell you how proud I felt to officiate at an event where the Wossamatta U. fight song was sung in public. Life is good.
Yes, the second Saturday of the month is coming up, and you know what that means: time for the second installment of POP GEAR! On Saturday, November 8, my fellow Sixties-pop superfans Kittybeat and Michael Lynch and I will spin boss platters from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. at Rififi at Cinema Classics, on 11th St. between 1st and 2nd aves. in the East Village (right by Veniero's, for you Italian-dessert fans). We're talking all manner of danceable mid-Sixties pop, from major names like the Kinks, Byrds, Petula Clark, and the Four Tops, to cult faves like Richard & The Young Lions, the Merry-Go-Round, and the Roulettes. Admission is fa-ree, baby.
Michael and Kittybeat also have incredible collections of vintage videos which will be projected on Cinema Classics' big screen—last time, they brought such groovy gems as "Wonderwall" and the 1965 New Musical Express awards concert (featuring rare Beatles and Stones footage). So if you're not up to dancing, you can just sit on a comfy couch with a cheap drink and soak in the whole poptastic environment—including the wild teen-magazine clippings that'll paper the walls.
On a personal note, I really love doing POP GEAR!, because it's a joy sharing my favorite music with my friends. Basically, if you attend this event, you're getting the equivalent of my spinning some of my most beloved records for you in my apartment—except that there's a comfortable place to sit.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
My guest-host stint at trivia was fun. Here's a question from my "Sixties Chicks" round:
I was born in Belgium. By the time I was in my early 20s, I'd gained a local reputation for writing and singing songs while dressed in a seriously groovy black-and-white outfit. They gave me a happy nickname because I smiled a lot, but the nickname didn't translate when I had my Number One hit in America. My hit was so big that it kept the Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie" out of the top spot. Hallelujah! Who am I?Two or three teams got the right answer, The Singing Nun, but one team actually wrote down all four of her monikers: Jeanine Deckers [her real name], Soeur Sourire [her French nickname], Sister Smile [English translation], and The Singing Nun. I was blown away.
The expert on that team turned out to be none other than my dear pal Roy Currlin. Those who recall him as the former star contestant of a cult-favorite NYC radio quiz show (which I've sadly never heard) called "Mouth vs. Ear" will probably not be surprised, but I was still impressed.
Monday, October 27, 2003
I mentioned a few days ago that I had a request, and I'm now finally able to fulfill it—sort of. Paul LaDue of North Carolina wrote me out of the blue: "Did you see Colin [Blunstone] & Rod [Argent] on their recent North American tour? Write something about that. I loved your Zombies reunion review from a few years ago."
I didn't go to Argent & Blunstone's latest NYC show, but I did go to two of the shows they did on their first U.S. post-Zombies tour, in May 2001 at the Village Underground. I also saw Blunstone play a wonderful NYC show on Valentine's Day, 1999, which I reviewed for Launch.
Because Paul is so kind as to compliment my Zombies-reunion piece, I wish I could tell him details of the Argent/Blunstone shows that I saw. Unfortunately, I didn't write about them at the time, and my memory now doesn't capture any details, other than what Paul probably already knows—that both performers remained at the top of their abilities.
I do remember some grumbling in the crowd that only seven songs out of the two sets were Zombies numbers, and I admit I myself was disappointed in that regard. However, to complain about that seemed akin to being given a gold watch by a stranger and complaining that it was only 14 karats. Before the Argent/Blunstone reunion was announced, I'm sure any Zombies fan there would have gladly given the ticket price just to be in a nightclub watching them do one Zombies song the way it ought to sound, let alone seven.
I do have a couple of artifacts from Blunstone & Argent's May 25, 2001, show that might be of interest to a fan. One is the post-concert photo at left of me and Rod, taken by Bruce Alexander. I've made it thumbnail-size because I don't like the way I look in it, but you can click on it to see it full-size. (I am still trying to forgive myself for having been zaftig for so much of my life.) Rod looked wonderful, and, as you can see, he was in great spirits. He and Colin seemed elated with their ultra-enthusiastic New York reception.
The other memento I can offer is the set list that Michael Lynch recorded of that night's concert, which I've reproduced below. In the e-mail that Michael sent me containing the set list, he wrote, "Colin stepped into those Argent songs like they were tailor-made for his voice."
Wonderful/Andorra/Pleasure/A Rose For Emily/Mystified/This Will Be Our Year/What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted/Home/Time Of The Season/Rejoice/Keep On Rolling/Hold Your Head Up/Say You Don't Mind/I Don't Believe In Miracles/Misty Roses/Sanctuary/Liar/Old And Wise/Care Of Cell 44/Indication/Tell Her No/She's Not There/Encore: God Gave Rock And Roll To You
My friend Bill has a highly informative review of a recent Blue Note performance by Georgie Fame on the Mod Website Uppers. org. I like the way he described how his feelings transitioned over the course of the show, from initial trepidation (he's a purist) to utter joyous abandon. I went through the same series of emotions when I saw Fame at Ronnie Scott's in London in December 1995.
When one becomes friends with someone, there are different levels of facts that one expects to learn: first name, last name, place of residence, age, and so on. (Middle names, as Caren pointed out in Carrie Pilby, are generally reserved for close friends and love matches.) But last week, when I reached the point where I thought it was reasonable to ask Karl his age, he demurred, saying he'd tell me another time.
Today, that time came—sort of. Karl, a comedy writer, used his talents for good (as I think he always does, though, with his being a new friend, I can't say for sure), telling me in his own special way how old he is, or was.
I haven't actually attempted to solve the following formula—actually, I cheated and got the answer from Yahoo People Search—but you may enjoy doing it yourself. One clue is necessary: I told Karl I thought Irwin was 52.
It occurred to me that I promised I'd tell you my age last Thurs. and that it somehow slipped my mind. I know it seems a bit silly to you my being so evasive about it, and I DO feel that I should put aside any self-consciousness and give you a straightforward answer:
So, take the age you told me Irwin Chusid currently is and subtract from that the age Mozart was at the time of his death. Then add to that the last two digits of the year of George Burns's birth and take away the number that triskaidekaphobes worry about. After that, simply divide the answer by the last digit in the chemical formula for sulfuric acid, add the number of years that 'Gilligan's Island' was in production, and you'll have the precise age that I was the year mentioned in the title of the most famous novel by the author whose real name was Eric Blair...!
Well, I hope this demonstrates that age is not really such an 'issue' with me, and that I can deal with it in a simple and forthright manner.
I had the great pleasure of hearing my boss have a good laugh at one of my headlines yesterday. At the paper, a copy editor knows he's* done a good job when he hears the copy chief laugh.
The headline was for a story about how Cairo is rejoicing over an American museum's return of a stolen mummy.
You would think, "The Mummy Returns," right? Or "Cairo wants its mummy." That's what my boss said he would expect.
Nope. I went with "Mummy is gauze for celebration."
I know what you're thinking, and it's true. I really buried myself in that assignment.
*Male pronoun wins out—all the other full-timers are "he"'s.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
If Valerie keeps up her current happiness streak, she may have to change the URL of her blog, which is currently genxmisanthrope.blogspot.com. Either that, or post another entry about people who annoy her on the subway, just to balance things out.
Actually, I've already teased her about the disparity between her blog's URL and its content, and in reality I'm very happy that her misanthropy's gone on holiday. She's now getting ever-more daring in displaying her joie de vivre—today's post is positively steamy. It's amazing how much a good writer can insinuate without actually spelling things out. That takes talent and finesse—like a good Cole Porter lyric—and I think Valerie's latest post, "The Fantasy," displays both.
It also makes me a little jealous—I'd like to have the feeling she describes myself. But I've had it before, and I know I will have it again. In the meantime there is a pleasure in knowing that someone I care about is experiencing it— and, especially, that she is experiencing it with someone who is, like her, deep, kind, and sincere.
Quote of the Day
From James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson:
I added, that the same person maintained that there was no distinction between virtue and vice. JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, if the fellow does not think as he speaks, he is lying; and I see not what honour he can propose to himself from having the character of a lyar. But if he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons."
How Is the Weather?
Still digging for that reader-requested photo—don't worry, it'll turn up—so, in the meantime, here's another Dawn-with-celebs pic, this one with Eddie (left) and Flo of the Turtles. It was taken backstage after one of their Bottom Line Christmas-week shows, circa 1989.
The Turtles were one of the bands that introduced me to Sixties pop. They're the perfect band through which to discover that music, because they did it all—garage, surf, psychedelia, folk-rock, British Invasion-style pop—and did it all beautifully.
I can't say they're one of my favorite album bands—like so many artists whose labels pegged them for the singles market, their albums lacked continuity—but their singles are permanently imprinted in my gut. My favorite record of theirs, aside from the iconic "Happy Together" (which many people don't realize is a sad song), is the B-side of "Elenore": "Surfer Dan." It's a hilarious Jan & Dean satire that they just tossed off, yet it sounds as good or better than genuine examples of the genre.
Another great thing about being introduced to Sixties pop by the Turtles was that Flo & Eddie were highly visible and accessible throughout my teens and 20s, so that I got to interview Flo (in '86), see them live several times, and chat with them backstage. They were just as witty and fun as their onstage personas would suggest. Perfect gentlemen, too—except for the time when I was 17 years old and setting up my interview with Flo by phone, and he asked me what I was wearing. I thought that was quite an amusing question. However, I don't think my mother found it so amusing when she overheard me saying, "It's a T-shirt that goes down to my knees, and it has a blue-and-gold fish logo with the word, 'Hawaii.'". For the record, he said he was wearing a shirt that had ducks on it.
Buying my 20-trip PATH ticket from the ticket machine, I noticed this admonition on it for Hudson-Bergen Light Rail passengers:
Always stand three feet behind the tactile edge of the platform.
The tactile edge. Wow. I had no idea a light-rail trip could be so sensual. It raises the question: Is there another edge to the platform? One we can't touch?
Saturday, October 25, 2003
My friend Rich Appel, who puts out the excellent e-zine for fans of pop radio of the past 50 years, Hz So Good, which I've plugged in these pages several times before, has some unfortunate news. Due to a rogue file-cleaning program, he has lost all the e-mail addresses of Dawn Patrol readers who wrote to him for free subscriptions to the zine (which, like this here page, is done for the love of it and contains no advertising, save for invites to Rich's famous music-trivia contests at the Sony Music building). If you wrote to him before and want to continue to receive Hz So Good, or if you've never written and want to be added to his list, drop him a line at email@example.com—and tell him I sent you.
Sorry, that headline made no sense. It was inspired, if one can call it that, by a new male friend's saying to me, with a slight but unmistakeable accusatory tone, "You can't be 35 if you know about 'I Married Joan.'"
Well, as you can see, I'm quite tired tonight, and I have to get to bed early (3 a.m.) because today's my early day at work. At least I'll be waking up to a good headline of mine, about Schools Chancellor Joel Klein's sweepstakes to get kids to sign up for the government-funded lunch program: "Klein offers the chance of a lunchtime."
I got an unexpected request from a Dawn Patrol reader (and you know who you are) that I hope to fill tomorrow (it involves some digging). In the meantime, since I've gotten thoughtful e-mails from friends and readers-out-of-hiding requesting more photos, I'm posting this pic, which requires little information—which is good, because I can remember little about it.
This upbeat shot shows me and my friend Alan Abramowitz in the meeting room of the Big Deal label with Shonen Knife, whom I'd just interviewed there for Alan's Manhattan Cable show "Videowave." It was around January 1996, when the group was promoting its upcoming album Brand New Knife.
I'm afraid I can't tell you much about the interview*; since I wasn't a great fan of the group, they didn't make much of an impression on me. I know some guy's probably reading this thinking, "You interviewed three adorable Japanese women who love comic books, the Ramones, and 'chocobars,' and they didn't make an impression on you?" Well, what can I say—they gave me a blank stare when I asked them what they thought of Curt Boettcher.
I'm joking. The real reason it was hard for me to find common ground with them, aside from not being a great fan of their music, was that they had trouble understanding English and spoke with heavy accents. The interview wasn't impossible, but it was very difficult, because I had to listen hard to be able to understand them. Fortunately, as you might expect if you know their music, they were very nice people, intelligent and gracious.
I'd like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to Joshua Tanzer of the NYC entertainment Webzine Offoffoff.com for his great generosity in allowing me to use his Web space for my Web sites' photos. Because my Web host charges me for data transfers, I wouldn't be able to keep photos on The Dawn Patrol without Joshua's help (remember when I had pix for "One Day Only"?). By the way, if you visit Offoffoff right now, you'll find an article on a group near to my neighbor Irwin's heart: the Raymond Scott Orchestrette.
*A tape of it does exist and is available from Alan.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Most memorable moments of last night's International Policy Network's awards dinner at the Roosevelt Hotel:
- James Taranto's telling me the latest scuttlebutt about New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, which I would've known if I'd read James's column that day. It turns out that not only is Krugman—who recently defended the Malaysian PM's anti-Semitic comments—a former Enron adviser, but he's also a former adviser to the Malaysian PM. "He's like God's gift to me," James said.
- The Times' Claudia Deutsch's seating herself next to me. I'd never before met Claudia, a business reporter, but she immediately endeared herself to me with her sharp wit and no-nonsense attitude.
I tried to break the ice by joking that, with regard to the salad and roll in front of each of us, I was so used to seeing that sort of setting at Bat Mitzvah receptions that I felt I couldn't eat until someone said a motzee.
Claudia immediately picked up her fork, stabbed it right into her salad, and told me that she was brought up Orthodox and if it was OK for her to start eating, it was OK for me too. What a cool lady.
I started thinking about how I would describe her on The Dawn Patrol—like a younger and more attractive Joan Rivers. Strangely, a few moments later, she said in conversation (apropos of what, I don't know): "...People are always telling me I remind them of a certain actress. Can you guess who it is?"
"Uh..." I said. I think Joan Rivers used to be beautiful, but she's so ravaged these days that I was too scared to tell Claudia what I'd been thinking. So I hemmed and hawed and finally said the Rivers name, and Claudia said, "Exactly!"
When I told her how I'd been thinking of describing her, she, pointing out that Rivers is severely emaciated, said I should call her a weightier Joan Rivers—"in every way," she laughed. I think that's an apt description. By the end of the evening, after she cracked me up for the umpteenth time, I found myself saying something I've never said to anyone: "I wish you weren't married so we could be friends and hang out and play."
- Discovering Sam Johnson. I stopped by Todd's table and couldn't resist showing him the book I was carrying in my purse. Lately I've been reading Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, and, as it's considered such an erudite book (which it really isn't, in a way—it's wonderfully accessible), I've been flaunting it to all and sundry. Todd told me that he'd just been thinking about the book, because there was a Sam Johnson at that very event.
When I got back to my table, I scrutinized the name tags of the others there and discovered that Sam himself was sitting just five seats away. So I pulled the book out of my purse and said, "Mr. Johnson? Would you sign this for me?"
Before I'd even finished getting all the words out, James, who was sitting next to me, started laughing, a really good laugh. He has a wonderfully deep and resonant voice, what they call a radio voice, and when he lets out a full laugh, glasses vibrate. I've known James for over two years and, although I've heard many others make him laugh like that, I've never managed it myself—until then. It felt like such an accomplishment.
As I leaned forward to hand the the book to Sam, I said to James something without even thinking. If I had thought about it, I'm sure I would have censored myself, because it probably sounded pretty bizarre to him, but it was from my heart: "If you remember one thing about me for the rest of your life, please let it be this."
- Getting a vote of confidence from John Fund. I can't claim John as a personal friend, because I've only seen him at these kinds of events, but he won my appreciation early on by being the first person in the conservative scene who was impressed that I wrote liner notes. Up until I met him, I was always embarrassed to tell people what I did. (This was before I worked for my current employer.)
I hadn't seen John in nearly a year, so it was nice that he remembered anything about me. But what he did remember blew me away. Instead of the usual, "How're the liner notes going?" he asked me instead, "How's it going with your blog?"
I just love that. I mean, it's one thing for people to care about my professional work, and I do very much appreciate it when people recognize what I do in that arena. But to be appreciated by a professional for something that I do as an amateur—there's something very Chestertonian about that. And if you want to know what I mean, and to understand that I'm not just gushing, please read this exchange on the American Chesterton Society's Web site.
- A friend of Todd's approaching me with the aim of verifying something Todd had told him. The young man came up to me, ready to shake my hand: "You're pro-God, right?"
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
If all goes well, a headline I wrote above a photo of first lady Laura Bush will appear in tomorrow's paper. The photo shows her in a government-owned beauty spa in Bangkok, receiving a foot massage. It's hard to top that, but I tried: "Laura bares sole for diplomatic Thais."
A cute guy asked me if I'd had any adventures lately. I hate it when cute guys ask me that. I had to be honest and tell him that, during the work week at least, nearly all my adventures are of the Walter Mitty kind.
However, I do have e-mail correspondents who have interesting lives, or who have friends who have interesting lives. Like Todd, who dropped the following into an all-points e-mail:
"Jinx leader Lefty is seeking women to audition for a roller derby league he's helping to organize—really—so contact him at lefty -at- jinxmagazine.com if 'Skate! Fight!' is your motto."
Being Eden, I know I couldn't be hell on wheels. But I wish Lefty luck. All I know about roller derby is that my beloved Phil Ochs wrote and recorded what was intended to be the theme song for the 1972 Raquel Welch rollersploitation flick "Kansas City Bomber." You can read the lyrics to the song, which was not used in the film, here.
Monday, October 20, 2003
So last night I was reading an e-mail from Michael Lynch, who knows I don't like the Rolling Stones and needles me about it mercilessly, and he fooled me once again. He said in passing that I should check out the cover of the New York Times Book Review. Sounded harmless enough—until I went to the Times' Web site and saw that the cover subject of that issue was none other than the Stones.
But wait a minute, I thought. The Stones on the cover of the Times Book Review? What did they do to deserve that? Unless they wrote a book...
Then it came back to me. An old friend from England, Philip Dodd, who was my editor when I coauthored The Encyclopedia of Singles, told me a while back that he was working on something with the Rolling Stones. Of course, since my ears tend to tune out the words "Rolling" and "Stones" when they're spoken in close proximity, I absently congratulated him on landing such a high-profile project—and then hit "play" on the Cowsills CD in my stereo.
So I was surprised, in a wonderful way, to discover that Philip's book—an authorized oral history of the band— was not only out, but on the cover of the Times Book Review. I can't get over it. I've never known any author who made the cover of that publication.
A big congrats to Philip on his well-earned fame. I plan to celebrate by listening to my favorite Stones songs: Vashti's version of "Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind," Donna Lynn's version of "I'd Much Rather Be With the Girls," Dickens' version of "So Much In Love," and Del Shannon's version of "Out of Time."
By the way, if you're wondering how I came up with the headline for this post, Michael Lynch sent me a handy-dandy list of suggested headlines a while back.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
Just got an e-mail from a reader who shall remain anonymous—I'll call her "Mom"—pointing out the dichotomy between my posting a photo of a woman straddling an enormous lipstick, and then posting a complaint about men who are only interested in superficial relationships.
She has a point.
It's very tempting to write a couple of paragraphs rationalizing how I combine confessions of Christian faith with secular titillation. But I'm not sure if it really can be rationalized. Likewise, I don't want to get into issues of what constitutes a good Christian witness.
The truth is, The Dawn Patrol reflects who I am as a person, and I struggle with the flesh. By that, I don't mean just struggling against sexual temptation. I mean struggling against seeing people and things in worldly terms.
Also, I just think that photo's funny. Maybe I don't see it like others see it. To me, it shows the absurdity of advertising—the juxtaposition of dewy-eyed innocence with grotesquely obvious symbolism. I also find it fascinating because you can tell it was made just on the cusp of the so-called sexual revolution: Women wanted sexual freedom, but they didn't want to look like they'd been around the block and back.
But mostly, I just like the model's clothes.
It makes me happy when people like Karl and others write to say they like reading my headlines, so here are the best ones I came up with that are in today's paper. I was really on a roll yesterday—all these headlines were in 96-point capitals, which are very tough specifications if one wants to inject any wit:
For a story on Britney Spears' stripping down to her bra in New York nightclubs:
For a story about nuptials that were based on a Yankees theme:
And my favorite, the best one I've had in a while, on P. Diddy's marathon-training diary. The rap giant complains of sore feet, but says he's still going to parties:
Saturday, October 18, 2003
This has been Invasion of the Ex-Boyfriends week. I have come to realize that every* man I have ever gone out with is perfectly willing to date me again, but this time on a purely superficial level. Apparently this is because they think I am beautiful* and kiss well*.
I, of course, am only interested in a love relationship leading to marriage, with a man who shares my faith. This rules out all my exes across the board.
So I suppose I should just be complimented by the attention, but it bugs me, because said exes keep getting handsomer and handsomer. They really do. One of them has blossomed so much that he has grown into this amazing, Peter O'Toole-in-"What's New, Pussycat"-like player who can work an entire room. Another is more restrained, but recently had his hair cut short in the back so it is nice and fuzzy to the touch.
This is not fair. If I ruled the world, gorgeous, tempting ex-boyfriends would have to temper their appeal by growing their hair to Tiny Tim lengths, with full beards; allowing themselves the middle-age spread for which their bodies are clamoring; and dressing like Michael Moore.
*Gross exaggeration made in the heat of passion.
Got a nice note from my friend Karl, a fellow writer:
I do like hearing about your headlines. That takes a real knack. I'll never forget one article title, years and years ago in the New Republic: It was a piece by someone who absolutely hated folk music and was called, "If I Had a Hammer!"
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Excuse me a moment. I have to sit back and admire the wittiness of my own headline. If only I could write things like that at work. Ah....
Today, I left the house gloriously early so I could do some shopping on the way to work. My first stop was Penn Books at Penn Station, which has a surprisingly good classics section. They had what I was looking for: Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson.
I had been thinking of picking up the book for a while, because my fave rave G.K. Chesterton adored Johnson so much that he even used to dress up as him. (If anyone really wants to see that remarkable sight, I can probably scan a photo when I get home. ) Then, while doing a recent Friendster search (probably for the keywords "Christian," "Christianity," or "Conservative"), I found a long-distance guy who listed among his interests "Samuel Johnson."
I wrote to the guy and asked if Boswell's book was worth reading. I guess one would think, of course he's going to say it's a worthwhile read: he likes Johnson. So I also noted in my e-mail that I'd shied away from reading it because it looked too difficult—figuring, if it really were difficult, he'd tell me even if he were a Johnson fan.
He wrote back saying that it wasn't easy reading—it took him a year of falling asleep reading it and finding his place again the next night—but that it was very rewarding. In his words, it gave him the feeling that his brain was being rewired. The best G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis does that for me, so that was enough to make me take the plunge.
The Spun Patrol
If you missed POP GEAR!, the monthly mid-'60s DJ dance night that Kittybeat, Michael Lynch, and I kicked off last Saturday at Rififi, you can get a good idea of the evening's vibe by looking at Michael Lynch's alphabetical list of what he played (below).
For anyone who finds this page by searching for the bands below, all are welcome at the next POP GEAR!, November 8 at Rififi at Cinema Classics. Details will appear here, or you can e-mail popgearnyc -at- yahoo.com.
BEATLES I Feel Fine · BEATLES I'm Down · BEATLES Paperback Writer · BENTLEYS Now It's Gone · BLACK KNIGHTS I Gotta Woman · BYRDS You Movin' · CARNABY Jump And Dance · CARTER-LEWIS AND THE SOUTHERNERS Somebody Told My Girl · CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND I'm Not Like Everybody Else · DAVE CLARK FIVE Don't You Know · DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK AND TICH Hold Tight · NEIL DIAMOND La Bamba · MICKY DOLENZ Don't Do It · EIGHT FEET Bobby's Come A Long Long Way · ESCORTS Dizzy Miss Lizzie · 5 AM EVENT Hungry · DEAN FORD AND THE GAYLORDS The Name Game · FREDDIE AND THE DREAMERS Yes I Do · GENTRYS Spread It On Thick · GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues · HOLLIES Don't Run And Hide · HOUSE OF COMMONS Til Tomorrow · TOMMY JAMES AND THE SHONDELLS California Sun · KINKS Everybody's Gonna Be Happy · KINKS Come On Now · MAUDS You Don't Know Like I Know · MERSEYBEATS I Stand Accused · MICKIE MOST AND THE GEAR Money Honey · MONKEES (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone · MOODY BLUES Go Now · N' BETWEENS Delighted To See You · NEW COLONY SIX Dawn Is Breaking · PALACE GUARD Falling Sugar · PERSIAN MARKET Gamma Goochie · POWDER Ruby Red Lips · ROLLING STONES Route 66 · ROLLING STONES Carol · ROLLING STONES Not Fade Away · ROLLING STONES It's All Over Now · ROLLING STONES Paint It Black · ROLLING STONES Stupid Girl · ROULETTES Bad Time · SOUL AGENTS Don't Break It Up · SOUNDS UNLIMITED A Girl As Sweet As You · SPIDERS Hey Hey Boy · TURTLES Your Maw Said You Cried · WHEELS Call My Name · WHO Circles · ZOMBIES Just Out Of Reach
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
My Bibles arrived today! Yay!
A few weeks back, I ordered 10 Bibles from the Gideons. They're not complete Bibles; I like the little pocket ones that have the full New Testament, plus the books of Psalms and Proverbs. They have strong vinyl covers and are perfect for carrying in one's purse or pocket.
The reason I got 10 was so I can give them all away. I did something like that a while back and it was a good feeling. I read the Bible every day on the PATH train, and once in a blue moon someone asks me about it, so it's nice to be able to give that person the Bible I'm reading. I also sometimes have conversations with people who either would like to read the Bible more but don't have a portable one, or don't know the Bible but are willing to explore it, so they're potential recipients too.
Monday, October 13, 2003
Saturday, October 11, 2003
A few quick lines during down time at work:
I did something so stupid today on the job. I am kicking myself. I can't remember doing anything that stupid since college. Thankfully, everyone at work was very nice about it, but I feel terrible. All I can do now is work really hard and hope that, after a week or so goes by, no one will remember. Yikes. It's not as bad as showing up for work without any pants (a common nightmare among men, as I've been told by Roy Currlin), but I'd call it a close second.
My only excuse, admittedly a lame one, is that I was thinking about POP GEAR! I know I wouldn't have made the mistake otherwise. And no, it wasn't showing up at work in my Barbarella outfit. Actually, I have lost the nerve to wear it tonight (remember, I said I'd wear it only if I didn't lose my nerve) and will wear a black lace minidress instead with innnnnnteresting hosiery.
I'm really glad that so many friends of mine are coming tonight, including Valerie Goodman, a new friend whom I met at Jon Blackwell's birthday party. She met Jon and Caren at Tuesday Night Trivia.
I was going to quote a thoughtful e-mail* from Valerie regarding my post on crushes, but I don't have it here at work, so for now, I'll direct you to her highly enjoyable blog. Its honesty and spark inspires me.
*"Thoughtful e-mail" is a Dawn Patrol "In" Phrase. There's also a Dawn Patrol Buzzword: "delightful."
Friday, October 10, 2003
A recent post in which an unrequited crush made my thoughts turn to the Left Banke's 1966 classic "Walk Away Renee" inspired a thoughtful response from Home Office Records head Linus Gelber (who had been directed to The Dawn Patrol via his label staffer Pierre Jelenc, he of the wonderful Gigometer):
Owing to a bad experience of my own which involved a pretty unfortunate Renee, I've been through a few patches that featured late-night Googling and trawling for Renee songs on Napster, back when there was a Napster—I don't mean the upcoming version 2.0.
Before Napster I had pretty much forgotten "Walk Away Renee," which was not only a track that smote me young (I still don't know most of the words, but its overarching melancholy shaped some of my teenhood and much of my later soft-spot music taste) but also a song I'd manage to scrounge up once on the original 45, b/w "Pretty Ballerina." (Bad shape, but I still have it somewhere, at least in theory.) So I was thrilled to find it again, and in the spirit of the time I went hunting for more, more, more versions of the song.
Then I read your little pocket history of Renee, which I hadn't known at
all, and I had to mention this:
I'm a bit disorganized with my mp3's, but if memory serves I have about 30 different recordings of this song. Maybe more. Ranging from the obvious Left Banke and Four Tops tunes, to the eternally disappointing Rickie Lee Jones take on it [agreed—Ed.], to the trickier Badly Drawn Boy and Southside Johnny live numbers, to the Jimmy LaFave and Rick Price versions (excellent), to the wacky O Positive cover (as good as O Negative's cover of "Summer Breeze"), to the more obscure Cowsills, Angie Heaton and Orpheus tracks. Down, in fact, to the really hard to get Ferron version.
There aren't many people who appreciate this sort of thing, but I think you probably will. Now I'm inspired to go dig them out and see what I've got...Can it be that I really have Cyndi Lauper doing that song? I think I might.
Mind you, you haven't lived until you've heard Waylon Jennings' cover of
"Rhiannon," but that's another story.
Ciao - Linus (watch out for those Renees)
Thursday, October 9, 2003
So there I was earlier this week during down time at work, Googling myself, when I was led to a page of celebrity birthdays [click the link to "A4iDEAS," and then click under "BIRTHDAYS"—"September 01-10"] . Under September 3, amid names like the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones (1955), "Beetle Bailey" cartoonist Mort Walker (1923), the Beach Boys' Al Jardine (1942), and Charlie Sheen (1965), was this entry:
Dawn Eden (1968)
I let out a yelp and tried to get my co-workers' attention, but they were busy working on stories—something about a decapitated head found in an establishment that featured half-nude dancers—so I tried to think of why my name and birthdate would be listed. I vaguely remembered giving out my birthdate years ago as part of a bio, but I wasn't sure. Then there was the possibility that it was in fact the birthdate of gospel singer Dawn Eden, but that would be quite a coincidence if hers was the same as mine. So I e-mailed the webmaster, Laurence Upton, who describes himself as a former staffer at the BBC Gramophone library (my idea of a very cool job), asking how I wound up on the list.
Laurence sent me a kind and thoughtful reply that in some ways only deepened the mystery. On the one hand, he confirmed that the birthdate entry clearly refers to me: His offline database describes me as a "rock journalist and historian." However, the database doesn't give a source for the information about me, so I don't know how I got there in the first place.
Now, as I write this, I'm starting to wonder if I myself were ever working on a birthdate database and surreptitiously stuck myself in there! In my defense, I have no memory of such a thing. However, it's plausible I might be suffering from the onset of memory loss, since I was, after all, born all the way back in 1968.
Tuesday, October 7, 2003
Just three and a half days to POP GEAR! I just spent two hours typing out all the songs I'm planning to play when I deejay that night (twixt swingin' shifts by Michael Lynch and Kittybeat)...and then my computer crashed and I lost the entire post. So now I'll just share the names of some of the artists I plan to spin: the Zombies, the Searchers, the Critters (their beatiest number), Gene Pitney, Irma Thomas, Grapefruit, the Monkees, the Action, Jay & The Techniques, Lou Christie, Richard & The Young Lions, Michel Polnareff, the Move, Jackie DeShannon, the Zombies, Lesley Gore, and Del Shannon—to name a few.
Although it's no secret that I lean away from female performers and soul acts—both of which will turn up more in Kittybeat and Michael Lynch's sets—I was surprised to discover that the artists I wanted to play were overwhelmingly American. I normally think of myself as being such an Anglophile. But when I was trying to find records to play, the American records just sounded better—which is a concern when one's considering what will get people onto the dance floor.
In fact, when I think about it, with the notable exception of EMI acts like the Beatles and the Hollies, so few British records of the '60s came close to the production values of American ones, both in terms of sound quality and arrangements. Often, it seems that what passes as a mediocre American '60s recording sounds better (in terms of production quality, not artistry) than what passes as a good British one. And on that note, I must to bed...
Sunday, October 5, 2003
I blew it. I had the opportunity to use "EDEN" in a banner headline, in 96-point capitals, and I couldn't think of a fitting pun. It was for a story (in the second edition) on how the New York City guy who kept a tiger declared he wanted to create his own Garden of Eden. I wound up going with "TROUBLE IN 'PARADISE'." Now fans of the Crests will be happy.
UPDATE: Dawn Patrol reader Steve Harvey has an inspired headline that uses my name, though it would have been too long: "Petowner Nearly Eden By Tiger."
My best headline in tomorrow's paper is about Arnold's competition: "McClintock denies he's at the 'Nader' of his career."
Friday, October 3, 2003
Unlike other scribes I know who e-mail heads-up notices every time they've got something in print, Robert A. George usually only sends me e-missives when he's got a comedy performance coming up. Today, however, he sent a link to his piece in Salon about the Rush Limbaugh controversy: "Why Black America Distrusts Conservatives." (You may have to click through some ads in order to view the article without subscribing, but it's worth it.) It's an excellent piece, and I give Robert a lot of credit for having the guts to criticize some conservatives' behavior as honestly and unforgivingly as he does, considering that he himself is a former aide to Newt Gingrich who has earned a lot of praise from people on that section of the political spectrum.
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Many thanks to David Chelsea for his beautiful new Dawn Patrol caricature of me, which really captures my personality. If you'd like to see his old caricature for comparison, which was based on a photo of me onstage at Maxwell's in August of last year, you can view it here. David's influential graphic novel, David Chelsea in Love, (which Booklist deemed "brilliant" and I do too) is due to be reissued this month and is already available on Amazon (though you should still support your local comics dealer).
Here I am all smiles at my workplace, proudly displaying my long-desired full-time employee ID. The photo was taken last week, at the end of my second full week on the job, and I wanted my expression to display my still-abundant exhilaration at attaining the position.
The nail polish, bracelet, and authentic 1940s schoolgirl kilt are unrelated to said exhilaration. They are part of an all-out attempt I was making on that day to look cute. It takes effort to look cute.
The photo was taken with my co-worker Milton's camera, which was usurped by none other than the executive photo editor, who knows how to take good photos beneath the office's fluorescent lights. There's actually a lot more to the photo—it gives more of an idea of what the newsroom looks like—but I didn't want to put a huge image on my blog. If you're a friend of mine and would like to see the whole image, e-mail me and I'll put it up on a special Web page for you.
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
It is a strange feeling to have a dream job, and yet be able to remember employment agencies' typing tests so clearly. I live in a state between proudly thinking of how far I've come, and determinedly working to make sure I never go back.
The typing tests were invariably cloying essays on the value of discipline and hard work. I think one of the reasons I was able to get my typing up past 70 on some tests was because, after taking them for so long, I knew them by heart. One essay used by many agencies had the line, "Mark Twain once said he could live for two weeks on a compliment."
I'm thinking about that line because a cute guy gave me a compliment on my body yesterday that I've never heard before. I don't think I could live on it for two weeks, but I can last at least until I make it outside to get a sandwich.
By the time one gets to be—oh, I don't know—21, one's heard the "nice hair/nice eyes/nice lips/nice ears" etc. (OK, I only heard that last one from my mother—but I still think it's true), so guys have to be creative to get both a thank-you and a blush.
This guy told me I have "a swimmer's body." As I didn't know what that meant, he went on to describe it—big shoulders, thin yet muscular, etc.
Anyway, the compliment worked—I was blushing so hard that I didn't even cringe when he got to the part about "...small chest."
As I write, I'm listening to the Smithereens' Dennis Diken do a wonderful job filling in for my neighbor Irwin Chusid on WFMU. Last hour, he played a mindblowing Idle Race tune, "Days of Broken Arrows," that I'd forgotten I had. It's clear that Idle Race leader Jeff Lynne had his Electric Light Orchestra sound in his head from birth—there's something off-kilter and fascinating in it that goes beyond mere Beatles mimicry. If you missed Dennis's show, you might find it archived within the next day or so on Irwin's playlist page.