Archive | August, 2010

Thomas Dolby

22 Aug

How about some deep, dark funk with heavy, tendon crushing bass that’ll have you shakin’ your ass?

Not what you’d expect from a nerdy looking white guy running around in a lab coat looking very much the assistant professor in the video “She Blinded Me With Science” though is it? Yea, Thomas Dolby hit it big in the 80’s with that song, but he was seriously packing some shape shifting grooves if you listened to the whole platter.

Was a time that I’d go to the local dress-up beat clubs where these tracks stoked many a muggy, dripping night, sending a sweat so thoroughly through everyone on the dance floor that between dancing into a foam-covered frenzy and sweating out the booze, you couldn’t feel the difference between your skin and the clothes clinging to your skin.

Hot Sauce
The opening ‘cowboy riff’ was the cattle call to the floor. Better to be there early and get surrounded hip to hip by the throngs of the like-minded. Bucking and swaying, hands in the air, hit by body parts from all sides and from all heights, if you didn’t intentionally mean to dance like a native it was too late – you were simply an insignificantly intertwined cog in a larger crowd mindset – you had to let it go, you moved, and you moved with a smile.

They call her Hot Sauce
She’s hotter than pepper
I would have kept her
Although she burn me up.

What if fire didn’t burn (burn!)
How would the lesson get learned? (learned!)
You sit there like a dope until you choke on all the smoke
(smoke gets in your eyes)

Cover me in your sauce baby
Bury me in all that sauce
Smother me in your hot sauce, woman
Till smoke come from your thighs.

Dissidents
Used to hang sporadically at this place called Man Ray’s in Cambridge. It was a ‘New Wave’ kind of place at the time that melded with ‘Goth’, or whatever other useless label was tacked on at the time by the papers. It was a place for alternatives to dance to alternative tracks. This track was one of them. Another offering of heavy bass with precision drumming that had us all nodding unconsciously in agreement to the beat where if we weren’t on the dance floor, we’d be lurking in the darker corners lapping Dolby up right along with our drinks.

One more young writer slid away in the night
Over the border he will drown in light

Hold it – wait a minute
I can’t read my writing, my own writing!
Like tiny insects in the palm of history

A domino effect in a cloud of mystery
My writing is an iron fist

In a glove full of vaseline
Dip the fuse in the kerosene

I too become a dissident

Course Tom has other parts also. If I wasn’t spotlighting a bit ‘o funk on this post, I would have included the absolutely necessary “I Scare Myself” (great lyrics for a tender love note anyone?), or the great “Hyperactive”. In any case, you can’t go wrong with the album all these tracks come from. Little trivia here: Thomas married actress Kathleen Beller.

Hot Sauce
Dissidents
Thomas Dolby: The Singular Thomas Dolby + DVD (Remastered) [Import] [2009]

 

Addendum
What a week of emails it’s been. Can we agree that face to face is the easiest way to communicate? Because, texting and emails simply can not convey nuance, emotion and meaning! And, a hack like me, who uses way too many words in emails (funny for a guy who is usually so reticent) can suddenly and easily find himself … struggling to write just the right words. Damn though they all seem to come out with apparently the wrong tone no matter the wording. I need an editor. Who the heck else has drafts for emails?

And a Happy Birthday was had on Saturday for a special, sweet girl. The pony ride and clown didn’t show up, but a wonderful, lovely fragrance filled her air, and a wonderful time spent with dear friends was a special treat I’m sure. Sweet girl, indeed.

I Never “Got It”, and I’m Happy I Didn’t

18 Aug

I didn’t have the traditional upbringing and for that I was always envious of those who did have the parents that married right out of high school, went to college together, had many children, the white lattice fence, stayed married longer than most adults live and were the slap on the butt that pushed their kids to not only succeed, but to grandly excel.

I grew up in a mixed up, crazy, open manner. I didn’t have the guiding minds that exemplified a religious preference and the reasons, or importance, behind the reasons.

It was as if I developed in a petri-dish that had been left in open air – my influences were so varied, so wide-reaching that at times it was intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually much like constant vertigo without having solid ground to fall back onto. My influences were dizzying. Also, I didn’t know that all of those experiences would make such a profound difference, nor did I realize that they would all have such an impact on how I led my life, or viewed the world or the inhabitants that I met within my own world. How would I know? I sucked on an anonymous Rhea Silvia teat, and with a hearty handshake and a plastic hefty bag of clothing, given a smiling nod good luck.

So, I learned, completely on my own, how to live and love.

I was remembering last night, during a ride home that was longer than it needed to be, someone from the past that I was attracted to at one time. Wet on the lips from drinking what I was learning about myself and the world outside at the time, she was a poster child of prime all-American; long blonde hair, in impossibly sculpted shape, raised strict Methodist, had a beautiful condo in Brookline Village that was just a whisper outside of the Boston limits, also owned a cabin near Moosehead Lake in Maine, owned a super fancy Mercedes that had one of the first stock, in-dash CD players I had ever seen (which delighted me to no end), she was an accomplished,  classically trained pianist and was a stellar achiever in her highly educated filed – she was a doctor, more precisely, an anesthesiologist, practicing at a nearby prestigious hospital.

It was a study in aligned contrasts her and I.  She grew up in bucolic Connecticut, while I grew up around subway-laden Boston. I’d never been to a refined, elegant opera and she’d never been to a sweaty, blues bar. I’d never been to the exclusive opening of a new chic restaurant and she’d never eaten a dripping, oversized rack of beef with Texan beer, elbow to elbow with other patrons.  She listened to Henry Kaiser and Tracy Chapman at the time, while in that moment I was listening to Nirvana and CBGB alumni Mink DeVille.  She told me she had never before experienced passion as she had with me and I told her that I never before felt the inner-cord attraction to someone as I did to her.

The relationship was satisfying and it meandered on. We migrated in travel and we progressed in love.

It was around that time that I changed my career path toward computers and was attending school at the time.  She gushed at how proud she was of me and she was actually very supportive. But, it was just at this particular juncture that I noticed something escaping from her, starting to seep out of her pores a drop at a time – something I hadn’t noticed before. I was beginning to notice her subtle prejudices, a proclivity to judge someone based on items that, by me, were never noticed, or important.

One item was education. She tended to speak of those who had not achieved a certain level of scholastic achievement as somewhat beneath her – let alone that I hadn’t even received my degree yet. It wasn’t in a hurtful way, but in a matter of fact, every day conversational way. As if they didn’t somehow measure up. She didn’t have the tolerance for what others hadn’t accomplished academically, despite the varied circumstances and paths that they had to slog through by no chosen fault of their own. Her family and upbringing also played a part, of course, in the way she thought and acted (though I adored her mother, I always had the feeling that to her, I was not quite good enough, I was just her daughter’s ‘phase’ that she would eventually pass through). Even her sister, as progressive as I thought she was, had voiced the very same opinions. I quickly learned that what an extended family thinks about your personal choices has an overpowering influence on your personal choices. And, if you don’t adhere to their way of thinking, the way you’re supposed to think, it could cause you embarrassment, ridicule, guilt ridden self-doubt and rounds of second-guessing.

And the religion, the Methodist upbringing in her, caused not so much a rift between us, as it raised concerns, red flags, that conflicted with her values and beliefs that she had been raised to hold as truth. As for me, she knew that I’ve always been very spiritual; religious even, and have always held closely the tenant that is expressed so eloquently by one of my literary heroes, Emily Dickenson. But, it continued to be an area of deep thought and concern for her because I wasn’t a Methodist.

As we continued to date exclusively, I could feel the breath of her subtle, gossamer discrimination circling my shoulders. But, she never felt her views were an issue. She was slightly intolerant of certain values and beliefs that were not similar to what she was raised to feel are important and insurmountable. And not having been raised at all, caused me, on my part, to not even know that there were differences I probably could have been aware of all along if only I looked for them.

I’d never before that time had to comprehend that a difference in education level and/or religious beliefs would ever be an issue that would halt the natural progression of sincere love. I was mortified at my realization! Not only mortified, but shaken to the core. It was one of the first times that I had questioned my upbringing, and it stung brutally and dug deeper into my soul than a stage IV ulcer.

Is that what I, too, would have learned if I had been raised ‘properly’? Would I have been taught subtle, gentle, prejudices, snobberies, personal preferences, being made to understand that it was the right thing to do for my own good? Certainly, she was never overtly educated that these views that you take into adulthood were the right thing to do, but as a grown adult, her own person, she most definitely felt that you shouldn’t ‘settle’ beneath you, or God forbid, fall in love outside of your caste, and that to do so, might tug at your conscience, make you uncomfortable at times and even cause enormous emotional conflict.

She would be erudite in her defense of what she believed. And, truth be told, I never had it in me to argue about it because, again, that was the way she was raised and developed, and who the hell was I, sans family influences, to present anything but mini-protestations based on what little I knew, what little I learned on my own? And, though not agreeing, I truthfully very much respected her right to personal opinions and her value systems, and tried to let it go.

I couldn’t. Shortly thereafter, I let her go also.

Those views were so radically unknown to me at the time that I felt as if I were a dummy and had missed out on secrets that the whole world had held back from me. No matter if those views were correct or incorrect, they never formally stepped in front of me to allow time to independently study, assess and appraise them.

I took it seriously hard, my lack of formal education and deficiency of insight into various religious beliefs. I felt a bit inadequate and insecure. But, I came to slowly realize that prejudice is prejudice no matter the persuasion we were taught when we were young and impressionable, or what we chose to continued to believe in, and hold onto, as adults.

True, it’s a given that while searching for love, you don’t have to be tolerant of either education attained or religious preference. In public areas of life we have to be politically correct, but privately, we have the right to not fall in love without the qualifications of education or religion and I wholeheartedly agree.

But, what if you already are falling in love? What if you are in love? Does it not matter – even then? Isn’t love a matter of the heart rather than the head? I continue to believe that very deeply right to this post!

That was a hard, caustic lesson that steeled my feelings and jaded me for years. In the aftermath, I missed her terribly and she missed me terribly. Years later she contacted me. She still had not married, didn’t have children and had eased considerably on her views. Because she changed don’t think I was feeling justified, I didn’t derive any pleasure from it whatsoever – love had lost a major war. I lost someone who had made me happier than I had ever been previously, and she later stated that we should have stayed together, and could have become even happier and more content, despite the differences in education and religion.

I developed a bitterness toward that type of subtle prejudice at any level. I swore that I would never allow myself to feel that way about differences that mean a lot personally, but for the sake of sacred love are worth … not ‘settling’ for, but are worth compromising for.

Since then, I have never thought wrongly, or tried with a gentle smile and carefully chosen words, to let someone down easily and leave them behind because of the life, the religion, the experiences, the level of education or the levels of achievement that they’ve attained.

I’ve dated doctors, a waitress, a Methodist, a corporate lawyer, white, a teacher, Jewish, a postal worker, Asian, nurses, Catholic, the unemployed, black, a nursing home administrator, a Buddhist, small business owners, Hispanic, an executive of industry, an atheist, a stunning runway model and many, many, many others, all the while looking for one thing and one thing only: a heart that beats in acceptance, in tolerance and in open-mindedness to the only thing that counts: love.

Because, in the end, isn’t that what years of education and years of religious services teach us, that love is all you need?

If they did not, then I would not have had a part in either.

Isn’t It A Pity: Harrison

Isn’t it a pity
Now, isn’t it a shame
How we break each other’s hearts
And cause each other pain


How we take each other’s love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity

Some things take so long
But how do I explain
When not too many people
Can see we’re all the same


And because of all their tears
Their eyes can’t hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn’t it a pity

Addendum:
Funny how time alone during the long ride home last night brought back all of these memories and lessons as hard and as fresh as if they’d only happened moments ago. It’s troubling what distant remembrances can do to cause the pulse to quicken, place fragments of a vision on a windshield and rumble louder in your ears than the tires on the highway.

Any thoughts? Have I missed anything that I shouldn’t have? I don’t know, maybe I’m just full of stale wind right now remembering everything about it as if it just occurred. After all, it happened … maybe … 20 years ago last night?

Tina Turner

17 Aug

I’ve two separate core samples of the artist; one as a young, sassy, sultry singer dripping with the honey of desire, and the other as an older, sassy, sultry singer dripping with the honey of desire. Multi-talented, she always excels at this type of vinyl.

Anna Mae Bullock could inject smoldering sexuality just singing about an address book, but given these choice selections a lesser artist would just come across as imitation swag. But Anna? Anna could crack her whip of intention; re-image the structure, envelope the back draft and transform into a whispered, pulsed glow; and then she’d refine it by turning it musky and wet.

I Idolize You

Her vocal is reminiscent of the Ray Charles Raelettes on Night Time Is the Right Time. But instead of being the call back, she’s the hunter – Sheena of The Jungle, stalking her prey. The brutality that her vocal cords go through commanding your attention is a call from a deep hunger.

I would like to make love to you
When the lights are low (yes, yes down low)
And I would like to scream to you baby

Just so I can let you know (yes, yes you know)
‘Cause you know that you’re my kind
And I want you to forever be mine

OW!

I idolize you (Yes, she idolize you)

You know, I idolize you (Yes, she idolize you)

Whole Lotta Love

Tina’s done scores of covers through the years. Acid Queen might be her most famous, coming from the soundtrack of The Who’s Tommy. She’s also rented Come Together, Honky Tonk Woman, I Can’t Stand The Rain, I Want To Take You Higher and Proud Mary among many, many others. The latter two were massive highlights during the peak of the Ike And Tina Turner Revue tours. And with each cover, she created a new life form from it – radically different from the original without diluting its essence.

This, too, is a fresh, new entity – quivering, raw sexuality that trembles with need and savage craving. While Zep presented it as the hammer of the gods demanding attention, Tina chants it, dances it, lurches at it, entices you, and holds it exhaustingly out of your reach. All the while, with her as the pursuer, you’re frustrated to fatigue; you’re made to feel as if you’re the one in need. After listening to it, you may find that you’re just that – in need.

You’ve been learnin’, baby,
I’ve been yearnin’,
All them good times, baby, baby,
I’ve been yearnin’,

Way, way down inside,
Honey, you need it,
I’m gonna give you my love,

I’m gonna give you my love

I thought of spotlighting When I was Young, but I can’t swallow … I can’t get past the use of synth in place of the guitar lead that’s so permanently branded in my mind from the original done by Eric Burdon & The Animals.

I Idolize You
Whole Lotta Love
From: Collected Recordings Sixties to Nineties [1994]

Random Confetti:

Lesson learned – don’t try to edit in WordPress, edit in Word, and then cut/paste. The new Tom Petty is his best in years. I’ve got to get my ass out there and rent a car for next week’s vacation before I end up with a Peel 50! I’d like a time machine so I can go back and see if I was just as moody and hard to manage at 15 as my oldest son is, although I think I already know the answer to that one, and I should be grateful that he isn’t using one of Ian Drury’s tunes as his own personal Pledge of Allegiance. I wrote someone that the solution might be chlorophyll and Velcro. It is because I’m older that I’ve precious little patience for what passes as ‘heavy metal’ today, or is it that it’s not worth analyzing because in truth with few exceptions, it’s just a bunch of crap anyway? I’m in pretty good shape, but I couldn’t imagine biking for 100 miles!