Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hello, I must be going...



I am in the middle of reading the Phil Collins autobiography.
It is a great read.

Of course since it is me I am going deep into the Collins catalog.
Besides the big roomy gated drum sound, his songwriting and vocals are really emotional as well.
His schmaltzy words epitomize the 1980s in a way that kind of defines a time once past.
If I may be so bold and draw some lines that Phil Collins did what Beethoven did in his latter period in that he created "music as drama." Using his compositions to reflect on his own struggles. Yes, yes I know that many, many, MANY artists do this...I guess what I am getting at is that I think Phil Collins' body of work should be noticed academically. 
I have participated in many discussions about who will be remembered and studied from the popular music in the 20th and 21st century. There has been much discovery in the social context angle of music study and I think there is definitely room for study of Phil Collins' music. 
His drum sound is recognizable and his song writing (not in all cases) memorable. 
Besides his own material he was the drummer on recordings by Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Eric Clapton, Quincy Jones, and of course, Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
I want to delve into his songwriting.
Yes, they are put in some kind of AABA kind of variation, but the lyrical content at times is so dramatic that it reminds me of opera like Tosca, Carmen, or one of Verdi's works.
It reflects on heartbreak that was pre-internet. This mix tape ethos of having to use your imagination to what a love lost is up to...

Some of the phrases that I think reflect this notion of love heartbreak.



So take a look at me now
Well there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face

I try to forget and yet, still rush to the telephone
I'm waiting in line
Would you say if I was wasting my time

Leave me alone with my heart
I'm putting the pieces back together again
Just leave, leave me alone with my dreams
I can do without you, know what I mean

There must be some misunderstanding
There must be some kind of mistake I waited in the rain for hours
And you were late




His delivery is also so very important in selling the pain. What makes this authentic is that most of his songs are about heartache that he experienced. Heartache not in a tortured kind of way, but a more everyperson kind of way.


A colleague of mine pointed out the other day that wondering what someone is up to is gone. Just message them on Facebook or check their Instagram. If you want to tell them how you feel with song, curate a Spotify playlist for them and don’t forget to include some Phil Collins. He knows that you can’t hurry love.




Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Function is the key...

LIVE 105 changed their name to the New Alt 105. I guess it is time to rename rock music?
It is interesting to me  that popular (and semi-popular) music gets re-categorized as it ages. Led Zeppelin was once hard rock and now it is classic rock.  There are old school funk, soul and R&B radio stations that play music that  at one time did not have the term "old school," in front of it.
Unlike music that is often categorized as "classical."
This is a total side note, but I do not like that term, since there is an accepted time period of music called classical, which Mozart is part of and it can be confusing, because the "classical" art period is WAY earlier. Anyway...that is another blog post entry... Classical music or art music, or whatever it is called is often defined by the era for which it was written.
Middle Ages
Renaissance
Baroque
Classical
Romantic
Etc...
Now don't get me wrong, I am completely aware of the issues with this classification. There is a hierarchy, it is linear, and it often disregards non-written music. Again, another blog post entry.

Dang, my mind is wandering. What was my point?
Oh yeah, rock music is changing.

During my youth, there was underground or college rock and modern rock. The difference was that some music was only played "left of the dial," and some was only played on the Live 105s or KROQs. Now to be clear, I am only delving into one area of rock music. The one that sides on the New Wave (another genre) or bands with synthesizers and the second British Invasion, which moved back to the states and into alternative, and then pivoted to indie rock.

I think it is interesting to see where this all going. It seems with technology anybody can self-produce and put something on youtube, bandcamp, and soundcloud. So if the indie production part is not where the distinction comes in, where is it?


Music genres have long been a mind map of cluster tomatoes in describing a sound. I taught a class a few years ago and I asked my class to shout out genres of music. It was incredible. There wasn't a spot left on the board.
So taking in the rock genres that are inspired by the 1980s/90s rock bands by the likes of Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, Fugazi, Bikini Kill, and like a million other bands what is the new definition?

Is there one?

Could it be in the promotion?

Is there an app for that?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

So. Central Rain

"You might need this." my friend said and handed me a handkerchief.  We were getting ready to leave to view the body of our friend who had been killed- the victim of a hit and run.
That was in June of last year and since then have kept the handkerchief in my bag.
It gives me comfort knowing that it is there.
Since then I have wanted to contact my friend who died 71 times.
Most of the 71 times were not important things. Mostly I saw this thing and thought of you. One time a few months ago, I got super sad that I couldn't talk to my friend about an academic article I had read about manufactured nationalism in music of the early 1900s.
She had left academia, but I could coax her on occasion to delve in and discuss nerdy music topics with me. I am putting together a lecture series for my other job and I would have loved to have bent her ear and bounced off suggestions to her and get her input.
Today I saw a woman wearing a coat with Daleks lining the bottom seam. She would have liked that coat.
I love my friends.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down.

I have been looking for a new job for about a year. I thought the job I am currently working could be a forever job, but alas, it is not. So, I am searching for new opportunities.
This past year, I have had quite a few interviews and some I know I bombed (I am looking at you Fremont) and others I have felt pretty good about, but didn't get for whatever reason.
Yesterday, I heard from a position that I interviewed for (which I was really pumped about) and the answer was no thanks.
They sent me an email, which is fine, but I interviewed for 4 hours and I thought they would have called. But whatever, everyone has a way.
So I ask myself what could have I done differently, better, and that sort of stuff.
Was I not a good fit because of my personality?
Did I divulge too much information? Not enough?
Did they not like my suit? My hair? My face?

For years I was on the other end of that and I get it...You just know. Or at least you think you know.

I have to believe that there is a good fit for me out there somewhere. I know what I am looking for  and this last rejection, is where I pivot.

I got a ton of ideas that don't really work for my library. But I will see if other libraries want to work with me to try out some of my ideas.
Also, I will submit my proposals for conferences, articles for publications and the like.

No hard feelings for those who rejected me, maybe an opportunity to collaborate on something else.

I did chuckle to myself though when I found out that a job I interviewed for and didn't get was looking again to fill the position. The person they hired didn't work out.

Tubthumping.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I'm walkin', yes indeed and I'm talkin'...

For the past two and half years I have walked to BART from my house.
There is a corner where people leave stuff and often I am surprised by what is left.
Here is a partial list.

3 car tires
A box of floppy discs
4 of the same left shoe
Soccer net
Lava Lamp
A desk, chair, and semi-smashed printer (with graffiti)
Keno Machine
Bicycle handlebars
Jane Fonda's workout  tape (VHS)
Couches
Chairs
Bookcases
Fans
Refrigerator door
Portable movie screen
A box of camouflage clothes
Tea kettle
Car doors






Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Velvet Days

I am exhausted.
It seems like a no brainer to condemn white supremacy and all that goes with it, but ... um.... huh?

In 1988 I hung out with a group of peace punks in southern California. Once a month we would have punk picnics where maybe a band would play, people would trade zines, and we would smoke cigarettes and eat really bland vegan food. We were non-violent people in a violent music scene. There were a lot of skinheads who hung out at the same punk shows as us and they were quick to pick on non-skinhead punk rockers and kick our ass. It was toward the end of the second wave of punk rock in So. CA and there was a surging scene of straight edge music coming out of Orange County. They assumed the uniform of skinheads and there was often confusion, because though the straight edge folks look similar to the neo-Nazi skinheads they were anti drug and drink. There were lots of splinter groups because of the violence that happened and I can recall on more than one occasion where I was chased, shoved, or  physically threatened just because I was not one of them.
It seemed like the late 1980s there were a lot of skinheads in the media. The Geraldo Rivera show skinhead brawl, which left the host with a broken nose is the first to come to mind, but I also remember reading articles about them in Rolling Stone and Spin. It was not just a southern California thing.
The band I played in had a drummer who hung out with a bunch of fellas from the O.C., who did not identify specifically with the skinheads and their ideology directly, but rode the edge of it. We didn't realize this until we played a party where my friend was in jeopardy of getting his ass whupped for wearing a skirt (he was goth). I had to drive him home, because I was afraid for his safety.
Obviously, the drummer was out of the band, but not before we played our set and the guitarist sang "f^&% you Nazi sh*^heads! Why do you  care who wears a dress you homophobic assholes" in every song, whilst pointing at them. He changed the lyrics a lot that evening. Those are the only ones I remember, oh, and he wore a habit. The drummer was a Catholic and the guitar player thought it was a nice touch.
I have no idea why he had a habit though.

The other day on BART, a person who I suspect was not well was spouting off some "us verses them" rhetoric. He started kind of directing his business on a woman in a head scarf. I said kind of loudly, "Oh, you are a racist.?" And I saw a bunch of folks get out their phones. He moved toward the back of the train.
I know it isn't much, but it felt good to say something.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I'll only make you cry, this is our last goodbye...

Andy Steward Copeland. Mr. Bobis Poberton. Pumpleumpigis Kittypants. Baby King. Mamalovecat.

Yesterday Andy left my world.
I got him when he was just a few weeks old. I worked at a Pet Hospital and I was going to "foster him for the weekend." He couldn't be left alone and still needed to be bottle fed every couple of hours. Yeah, that was in the spring of 2000.

Some of my memories of him are falling asleep while playing with a feather toy, peeing on the bed, because he hated Barak, punking Loretta because I had the audacity to bring another cat into our home, and putting his claws into my neck, because I took him outside to see snow.
He was never a lap cat, but a sit next to you and lean cat. My legs were the preferred night time sleeping area. And 5am was a totally cool time to tell me to get up and give him breakfast. It was none of his concern that I had stayed up late. HE was hungry.

Always the regal one, he did not drink out of a water dish. Bha! The drinking glass on the nightstand was the preference. If he could have talked, I am positive he would have had a British accent.

While living in Tennessee, I had the pleasure of being home with just the cats during a tornado alert thingy. As a native Californian I was freaked out and I decided to open the door leading to the basement so the cats could down there- just in case - the tornado touchdown happened. They were not allowed down there, so of course they were in the basement within moments of me opening the door. The weather passed and it was starting to get dark and I wanted them upstairs. I think there was one light in the basement and though I am sure it wasn't always flickering and swinging from an old metal wire that is how it seemed, especially after the severe weather. Anyway, I looked around and could not find either one of the cats. Panic was setting in because it was dark, the cats never went outside, and the last thing Barak needed was a panic phone call.
I shook the food bag and Loretta was in the kitchen. I locked her in the laundry room and opened a can of tuna (Andy was a tuna enthusiast) and hoped he heard the sound of the can or could smell the fish. A few minutes later he emerged with so many cobwebs on him that it looked like he was wearing a mummy mask.I wiped him off with a towel to discover he was covered in dirt grossness and had to give him a sponge bath in the sink.

When my daughter was born, we stayed at my parent's house for the first couple of weeks and my in-laws stayed at our place. Andy did not care for this and he stopped cleaning himself. He had a mat on his belly that was 3 inches by 6 inches. The groomer gave him a lion cut and he looked so cute. And mad.  When I would be up in the middle of the night he would sit next to me or by my feet, or if I was in the rocking chair on my lap with the baby, while I fed her. He would sit next to her crib when she was sleeping. If she was fussing he was usually nearby keeping watch on the situation. It must have been exhausting for him, since he normally slept 15 hours a day.

The past year he had not been in the best of health and in the winter is when I knew his time with us was limited.
I will miss you so much.