9. It's been twenty years since Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic" was a hit, the song that gave irony a bad definition. There's nothing ironic about rain on someone's wedding day--it's just bad luck (or Pacific Northwest weather). In August, we attended a wedding of family friends (Becca and Sam--we've known her since she was in first grade) and it rained gently just after the ceremony was completed. Really beautiful! Not ironic.
8. I've mentioned my friend Sabina and her four year old son before. Not long ago, he was singing along with Pink Floyd in the car and she swears it sounded like this: "We-no-nee-no education/we-no-nee-no fart control."
7. We rented the first season of "Saturday Night Live" and geared up to view the very first show from October 1975. Not sure if I saw while it was actually happening (I was a junior in college), but one often reads how chaotic and rambling the first pile of programs were. Gina and I found it to be quite solid, although George Carlin is surprisingly flat in places ("Have I told these jokes before?," he asks) and their parodies of TV advertising weren't as sharp as what the Firesign Theatre had done on record.
6. A bio to get lost in: Chris Salewicz's Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer (Faber & Faber, 2007), the biography about the often brilliant frontman of the Clash. "Lost" isn't always a good thing, as there are plenty of parts where the reader might not be certain of what Salewicz is referring to, and the quotes used could use a more thorough editing job. But it's a committed, sometimes insightful effort about a complex person who made decisions he often regretted--it's still unclear why the equally great Mick Jones was booted out of the band--and the demons he faced. The wise singer Eddy (spelled "Eddie" in the book) Grant told Strummer that his music wouldn't be fully appreciated until it became 20 years old, and damned if he wasn't right. Not that true fans of the Clash didn't know that immediately; they were probably my favorite band when I was 24-25.
5. Gina's recent Seattle trip resulted in a new business relationship with a downtown store she's long admired. Even the associates there were taken by the unique jewelry she makes. Said one of the clerks, "I hate you. This is so beautiful--now I'll have to buy it."
4. If anyone can tell me where to find the mix I'm looking for of 1985's (30 years ago!) "Everytime You Go Away" by Paul Young, I'd appreciate it, as it remains elusive. The version I thought I remembered was dominated by Willie Nelson-style guitar, bright piano and Pino Palladino's bass playing--plus a yearning Young vocal that includes a tortured falsetto at the end. When I think I'm hearing the correct mix on the radio, the falsetto part is cut off--and the version I have on the album is heavily overproduced, including the repetition of "pickin' up the pieces" at the beginning, and jet plane sound effects at both ends of the record.
3. The most unfunny putdown I've encountered at the library so far was when a high-powered 20ish guy stepped on my heel and didn't have the manners to apologize. What he said was, "flat tire"--to imply that I was moving too slowly, I guess. What an ass. I can take a respectful putdown, and Gina had a funny one-liner about the few strands of hair that wouldn't stay out of my face recently: "Fix that--you're looking like T Bone Burnett." The best line in print about those sorts of superficial things comes from the obituary of Liverpool vocalist Cilla Black (1943-2015), who was probably a stronger personality than she was a pop singer. She knew the Fab Four well, having worked at the Cavern Club before she recorded some Lennon-McCartney songs. In one of her last interviews, Black asked a journalist, "When did Ringo get so cute? He used to look like Yasser Arafat."
2. The best album I've heard of late (and I mean late--it was released several months ago) is Giant Sand's Heartbreak Pass (New West Records). I'd caught them off and on, starting with their track on the Byrds tribute, Time Between, back in 1989, yet I hadn't realized that their history of what is called "Alt Country" spans three decades. More than that, they are a savvy group with surprising verve, memorable hooks (in "Texting Feist" and "Song So Wrong" especially) and are not overly retro sounding. A gem.
1. A phrase straight out of 1974: One of my many jobs took me to a house where the person I needed to talk to wasn't home, so I walked across the street to ask the neighbor if they knew when that person would return. The neighbor had "Black Lives Matter" signs in her window, and during our brief conversation, I thanked her for putting those up (while I don't know much about the organization BLM, I was going with the ideal that we live in one nation, not a country divided into two or three parts). As I left, the neighbor shouted at me across her lawn. "Thank you for saying that about my signs! You rock on with your bad self, brother!"