The all spins zone

The engineers at Cyberkrunk Labs need to keep their audio equipment calibrated with contemporaneous vibrations and are therefore always on the lookout for new sonic material. Some recent entries include the Kasabian debut, relatively well received, and the latest Weezer, which was almost spat out. Both Franz Ferdinand discs were recently submitted and the results were surprisingly good. The Postal Service was also entered, and once again the meters hit the correct zone.

At the same time, older reference material serves as a good baseline and we couldn’t be happier with the tests we have performed on Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation album. The machine hummed and sputtered, then outputted on the teletype interface “Where has this been hiding all my life? More!”

Sonically, the Voidoids fall almost precisely between Television (whom we love dearly) and The Clash. But unlike either, they are funny. To wit:

Love comes in spurts
Oh no! It hurts!

This track weighs in at 1:59, not a second too long, practically begging you to play it again. You will either hate this record for its sophomoric crudity or love it for the same reasons. Was 1977 the apex of American pop music?

At the same time, it is always good to re-acquaint the monster cable with Gang of Four’s Entertainment. Their resurgence was almost guaranteed following the anthrax scare of ’01. And they’re touring, too. I just read that they were doing a date in Brooklyn. That’s near New York, isn’t it?

Now, let’s hear that song again…

Joni said it right

Watching a fascinating DVD set of Dick Cavett music shows from the ’70s. Joni just came on and sang this, a cappella. She prefaced it by saying, “This is how I feel as a Canadian living in America.”

The Fiddle and the Drum

And so once again
My dear Johnny my dear friend
And so once again you are fightin’ us all
And when I ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and I fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum

You say I have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But I can remember
All the good things you are
And so I ask you please
Can I help you find the peace and the star
Oh, my friend
What time is this
To trade the handshake for the fist

And so once again
Oh, America my friend
And so once again
You are fighting us all
And when we ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry and we fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum

You say we have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But we can remember
All the good things you are
And so we ask you please
Can we help you find the peace and the star
Oh my friend
We have all come
To fear the beating of your drum

–Joni Mitchell


Time of death, Oct 14 2005. And even though it seems like Mr. Bush is well into his second term of office, we have to remind ourselves that it has only been nine months since he had his title upgraded from “President” to President. So what makes me say it’s over? It’s not because Mr. Bush’s major second-term policy initiative, his social security reform, was first booed and then laughed off the stage. No curiously, it is the Miers nomination that has seemingly removed from Mr. Bush his greatest political strength: unanimous, constant, unwavering support from his base, his party and the punditry. The same voices who would have praised Bush’s consistency, his steadfast courage if he had shown up for a press conference with his pants on backwards (“Once I put on my pants, I stay the course”) have let loose an unprecedented barrage of criticism over the Miers choice. Miers was some kind of signal to, especially I think, those inhabiting the stranger end of the bedfellow spectrum–traditional conservatives–that is was ok to let the boss know that he had really stepped in it this time. I will save an analysis of this for a later time, but for now let me simply say “God bless mid-term elections!”

You can’t always get what you want

This one comes from Brunobaby: a fun divertimento. You google “–insert your name– needs”, and learn valuable life lessons from the results. Or something. Here’s what Chester needs:
Chester needs to develop an educated, flexible and adaptable workforce.
Chester needs this.
Chester needs a good, well designed building to cover all arts for children, older people and all people of Chester.
Chester needs a place to sleep. [Aye, and perchance to dream…]
Chester needs glasses but takes them off on stage so they don’t fall off. [Once, during guitar master class they slipped down so far that I shook them off in the middle of a performance–Chester is dramatic!]
Some new leadership and energy and ideas are what West Chester needs.
Chester needs the taxes, Chester needs the jobs. But Chester also needs to
improve its image and not be a killing field.
Chester needs widening.
But truth be told, all Chester needs is some attention and reinforcement of the good habits he once had.

And now,the winner:
A big cat who needs to lose some weight, Chester needs some
love and attention and will repay you in kind.

San Francisco: An SFO Story

San Francisco is vying for official status as my second city. At least, my second city in the United States since Paris officially holds the number two spot in my heart (somewhere around the left ventricle, I think). Which makes me quite happy, since for the last eight years I couldn’t conceive of living anywhere in America other than my adopted home town of Manhattan. After spending a couple of weeks there over the last month or so, I’ve grown fond of the hilly downtown streets, the great views around the Bay, the passable–hell, decent, even–restaurants, the weather, and just the vibe on the streets. All of this puts me in a great frame of mind when I’m working there. And so it was on Wednesday, happily walking the couple of miles from my hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf to my office on Market Street. On this day, I was working in an unfamiliar office in the Spear tower. When I arrived to check in, there was no space available, so I sat down to work in an “Internet Cafe”, which was a snack room with some network ports. But amazingly, 45 minutes later, the good folks at the front desk called me to let me know they had booked an office for me after all. I couldn’t believe my good fortune as I turfed out the squatter occupying the space–42nd floor, wall of windows overlooking the Bay. This was the exact moment I fell in love with San Francisco.

I happily worked away in this space for the rest of the day. I didn’t even take a lunch break–maybe I thought someone would steal my space. All the while, I was taking in the stunning view of the Bay, the Bay Bridge just to the right, the Richmond-San Rafael bridge just visible way off to the left. I guess it was about 5:30 when I started hearing sirens. Looking down, almost directly below, I could see 5 or 6 big ladder tracks heading along the Embarcadero, converging on one of the piers. Then came a dozen police cars and at least a dozen motorcycle cops. A burst of activity. The motorocycle cops raced their bikes to the end of the pier. Cops running. And this buzz of activity just continued, minute after minute, changing in character but not intensity. Most of the fire engines left, but even then, a large ladder truck arrived from the opposite direction. A red coast guard helicopter zoomed in at great speed, then began circling, a bright spotlight probing the water. It was fairly dark by now. Then the news helicopters began hoovering. Some small boats. I was googling the news, but could find no hint of what was going on. And so it was a few hours later, after dinner in North Beach, when I finally read that what I had witnessed was the aftermath of the young mother who had stripped her three boys and tossed them into the bay–all three had perished.

Jimi got it right

Rainy day, dream away
Ah let the sun take a holiday
Flowers bathe an’ ah see the children play
Lay back and groove on a rainy day.