Friday Randomness

Have you seen the beautiful tribute to my first husband, David Bowie, at the BRIT awards?  This is the entire thing, I think, including a tribute by Annie Lennox, a tribute by Gary Oldmam, and a song by Lorde, backed up by performers who had worked with Bowie in the past.  I’ll confess, Lorde’s song brought me to tears.  I miss David Bowie being alive in the world.  It was a better place with him here.   Coming so soon after the Emmy awards, which included a tribute by Lady Gaga, of course invites comparison.  I’ll chime in and say that Gaga’s tribute left me feeling cold, didn’t move me at all.  Hers was an over the top performance, with her dressed to honor the glam rock Bowie from the 70s.  She did a fine job, but tried to squeeze in too many songs, and it sounded like she was trying to pitch her voice to match his.  Lorde instead did a straight up version of ‘Life on Mars?’ that was gorgeous and simple.  The video above is the whole BRIT tribute.  If you want to see just Lorde’s performance, it starts about 9 minutes in.

Speaking of Gaga, I read today that Joe Biden is going to introduce her at the Academy Awards on Sunday, where she will perform her Oscar nominated song about rape and sexual assult.  This comes in the wake of a court decision this week that Kesha, who was (allegedly) sexually assaulted by her producer, Dr. Luke, will not be released from her contract with Sony.  Kesha says she wants to break all ties with Luke, but Sony says they are unable to do so, because the contract belongs to Dr. Luke’s company, which has a deal with Sony.  What a mess.  This is just an injunction, however, and the actual trial hasn’t started yet.  So we’ll see whether she will be contractually required to create 4 more albums with her attacker.  I don’t know more about the case, but I’m glad it’s getting attention.  Sexual assult is hard to prove, and so often the blame is put on the victim.  We need to change that mentality.

How’s the weather where you are?  It’s stupidly gorgeous here, 70 degrees outside right now.  We’ve had a very dry February, though not as dry as recent years.  January was pretty wet, which was good, unless you live on a cliff in Pacifica.  But February is prime rainy season.  It’s not unheard of in an ‘el nino’ year for us to have a dry spell, so I’m hoping still for a wet March and maybe even April.  After that it pretty much dries up around here.  What we need are winter storms to drop a lot of moisture, and we’re just not getting that right now.  Ugh.

Did you watch ‘Freaks and Geeks‘ when it was on back in ’99-2000?   We did, though I think we missed it first run and watched in reruns.  The entire series (only 18 episodes) is available now on Netflix.  If you came of age in the early 80s, you should give yourself up to a good binge and watch the entire thing.  We just finished the other night, and it really held up well.

I thought the series finale of Downton Abbey was this coming Sunday, but maybe they didn’t want to go up against the Academy Awards.  It’s next week, March 6th.  We have the DVD, so we’ve watched already.  Clearly I’m not evil and I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will say I think they did a really nice job with it.

Do you like Spaghetti and Meatballs?  We do.  We’re especially fond of the recipe in my Alice Waters cookbook.  It’s fairly involved, though, and usually Ted makes the meatballs while I make the sauce and it’s a real team effort weekend type meal.  So I was happy the other day to see that Smitten Kitchen had an everyday meatball recipe.  And instead of serving it with pasta, she said maybe you might want to have it with garlic toast, as sort of an open face meatball sub.  So that’s exactly what we did, and gosh it was good.  I think I would have liked the sauce portion to be a bit more complex, maybe some onions or carrots or something in there, but for a quick sauce, it was quite good.  Happily, there are leftovers on the menu tonight.

Lastly in this rambling post, for some reason last night I was thinking about these TV dinners, Libbyland, we sometimes got when I was a kid, in Alaska.  They were made and marketed to kids, so there was a game or a puzzle or something on the box that you could occupy yourself with, there was a packet of Nestle Quick that you could mix with milk and have chocolate milk (maybe they even had strawberry milk with some meals, I’m not sure.)  TV dinners back then were cooked in the oven, and these for some reason often came with chocolate pudding, so that was hot.  Strange.  The food was definitely geared towards kids tastes, and was fairly gross.  But boy, I loved those things.  I think we would get those if my mom was going on a date, so not a nightly thing by any means.


Such Sad News

I woke up to such sad news today, that David Bowie had died from cancer. Generally, I don’t feel anything when celebrities die. Especially since my mom died, I know how much the death of a real-life person you know and love hurts, and what an absolute hole it leaves in your heart. How can the death of a stranger truly matter.

And maybe it doesn’t.

But still, this morning’s news hurt. David Bowie was my first real celebrity crush. I remember when I was about 20, dreaming that he came to the hotel where I worked, and oh, by the way, he was my husband in this dream. I called him my ‘First husband‘ and ‘Maya’s step-dad’.

I think the first Bowie song I loved was ‘Space Oddity’, which could make me cry at almost any moment. So heartbreaking. My brother gave me his Bowie t-shirt with the picture from Changes One. My coworkers at Mr. Steak used to tease me for having a crush on him, saying, “Don’t you realize he’s gay?” As if that mattered in the least. I mean, what were the chances of me ever meeting him, and of him noticing me in any way and taking me away to be his wife? Zero. So I stuck by my guns.

I’ve not always been enamoured with his music. I love so much of it. But sometimes his more artistic works were not really my cup of tea. But sometimes they were.

I’m sad for his wife, Iman. For his children, the youngest who is younger than Maya. I’m sad for his friends. Mostly, I’m just sad that he’s gone.

I don’t know. What else is there to say? I found myself crying a little bit when this morning. Which surprised me, because as I said, why cry over a stranger? But my heart hurts for the loss today of such an artist, and my first husband.

New Order and Concert Etiquette

Our friends Marilee and Paul had planned to see New Order in San Francisco on Friday, but life (ok, work) got in the way, so they gave the tickets to us. I was SO into New Order back in the late 80s. I loved them. Ted and I saw them in concert in 1989, where New Order was headlining with the Sugarcubes and PIL (Public Image Limited). The Sugarcubes couldn’t get the audience interested, and PIL were great. New Order was boring, and a lot of people left before the concert ended. So I wasn’t sure that I would pay to see them again, but since Paul and Marilee gave us the tickets, and gosh, we do love their music, we went.

I’m so glad we did. They were great, we had amazing seats, and it was a LOT of fun. Kind of different going to a concert for a band that was huge all those years ago, though. Most of the people were in their 40s and 50s, which is fine because we’re in our 40s, getting closer to 50, but somehow in my mind we ALL should have been younger. So we had really good seats, and the venue is such that when you’re sitting, even if you’re sitting behind a really tall man, you can still see the stage. I can’t tell you the last time I saw a concert without the filter of a tall man’s head right in front of me. The downside of this is that people were mainly sitting, not getting up and dancing. So I found myself wondering, “Is it OK to get up and dance? Would it be rude to the people behind me?” I looked at the people behind me a few times, and I decided they were very dour Russians, who had perhaps not had enough vodka to loosen them up, because they were just sitting there. Not smiling, not appearing to be into it at all. This put a bit of a damper on things, and I didn’t dance.

Until they played “Bizarre Love Triangle”, and then all bets were off. The guy in front of me looked over his shoulder politely, wondering if it was OK to dance now, and when he saw that I was up, he smiled a big smile, jumped up and started dancing. So that was the scene. Sit down for the slower songs, jump up and dance for the hits. At one point I looked back at the Russians, and they still looked dour, but they were singing along to the music, and appeared to know every word. So that made me feel better, like even if they weren’t dancing, at least they were maybe enjoying themselves.

Most concerts you go to, there is a huge screen, or many huge screens, and there are cameras on the band, so people beyond the first 3 rows can see them playing and singing. Not so with New Order. They barely spent any time in the spotlight at all, mostly just playing and singing, with lights or maybe a video on the screen behind them. We hypothesized that they didn’t want to look old, which they likely do, just like their fans. Or maybe it wasn’t even them up there playing, and they wanted to cover up that fact. Who knows. I would have liked to see them a bit more, but it was OK with the videos.

There were two encores. First, they came out and played a few songs from their days as Joy Division. Ted noticed that one of the Russians behind us was openly weeping at this point. Perhaps he was a friend of Ian Curtis, the Joy Division member who killed himself lo those many years ago, and whose face had been shown on the screen. Or perhaps he had had more vodka than I thought. The second encore was brief, and they played just one song for us, “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”, which seemed like a perfect way to round out the show. We had a great time.

Infected ~ The The

I mentioned a mix-tape on Monday, with the Bruce Cockburn song.  Anyone old enough to listen to albums or tapes, be they a mix tape or a full on album, knows that when you’ve listened to the album/tape over and over and over again, one songs leads you to expect the next in sequence.  So it is with this song.  Infected came after Lovers in a Dangerous Time.  Another great 80s song.  What was next?  I’m not sure…but if I run out of blogging ideas again during NaBloPoMo, you may find out…

Lovers in a Dangerous Time

It’s almost 9:30pm….Ted gets up at 0:dark o’clock (before 4), and has gone to bed.  Maya is the rare teen who doesn’t stay up too late, so she’s getting ready to sleep.  My book is calling me to get a chapter in at least before bed, because 1. I’m hooked, and 2. it’s due at the library on Saturday, and I can’t renew it.  So for tonight’s post, here’s a video from a song I loved way back when.  I can’t remember if I put it on a mix tape for Ted, or if he put it on one for me.  We were never really in a dangerous time, except that all love feels dangerous sometimes, right?  Will we overcome the obstacles of the world and stay together?  Will our love conquer all?  (and on a related note, we’re going to see a high school production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ on Wednesday…)  Sometimes, you have to kick at the darkness ’till it bleeds daylight…

A Recommendation…

(picture found here)

Ted’s doing a radio/video show called American Liberal, on, and at the end of the show, they (he and his co-host) give a recommendation…sometimes it’s a book, sometimes it’s an album, sometimes it’s a life thing.  This last episode, Ted recommended an overnight getaway.  I agree wholeheartedly.

Maya went to Los Angeles (Orange, actually) last week, and Ted and I had 4 days together in between her leaving and coming back. She had fun with her cousin, went to look at some colleges, went to the beach and looked at the Stars on the Hollywood walk of fame.

While she was gone, Ted and I did some work (boring), but we also went on an overnight away to Santa Cruz. We haven’t gone on any kind of vacation at all in quite awhile. When you have an old blind dog who needs 12 or more pills a day, plus tends to give you about 15 minutes warning before she craps up the house, you don’t leave town. Too cruel to take her with you, because she’s blind. Too cruel to leave her behind, because she’ll crap up someone else’s house. Between that and the month-to-month of our finances, vacations aren’t as often as we would like them to be.

Way back when, in 1983, I saw The Fixx at Day on the Green, at the Oakland Colosseum. It was the beginning of my Jr/Sr year of High School (I graduated in 3 years), and I was feeling like I had my whole life ahead of me. Which, duh, you do. By the way, that was an amazing concert…Oingo Boingo, Madness, Thompson Twins, The Fixx, and The Police. So I was excited to see them again.

Ted worked a bit on Friday morning…I went for a swim. Then we went to lunch at a delicious and somewhat fancy restaurant in our area, Bridges (remember the restaurant from Mrs. Doubtfire?), and then drove down to Santa Cruz. Back when I was in my early 20s, I used to sometimes go to a place in Santa Cruz called “Cooper House”, with my friends. They had some killer rum drinks. It first turned into a nasty crepe place, which I think doomed it. Then it was destroyed in the 1989 earthquake. Anyway, I like that neighborhood, though it’s gone through a lot of changes since I spent any time at all there in 1986. So we walked around, looked at the shops (some chain stores, some independent…several thrift shops with used clothing), enjoyed ourselves. Then we went to the Boardwalk, and talked about fond memories of our childhoods going on the rides, though neither of us wanted to go on them anymore. I have to say, I’d rather go to Santa Cruz than to Disneyland any day of the week and twice on Sundays. The rides aren’t necessarily as good as Disneyland, but the ocean is RIGHT there. You don’t pay to get in, only to ride. There are decent restaurants right on the pier, in easy walking distance. The lines aren’t NEARLY as long. The smell of salt water is in the air. And while there’s no chance of running into Donald Duck or Ariel while you’re walking around, there are cave people on the sky ride. In the summers, they have free concerts there on the beach. Not top name acts, clearly, because the venue can only handle a couple of hundred people, who bring their own chairs or towels and sit on the sand.

So we were there to see The Fixx, who were amazingly great. They were as good as back in 1983, and I suspect that if I’ve aged, they have as well. And I have. They had two shows, and we stayed to see both, which was a good thing, because they played two separate sets, with different songs. Their new album, Beautiful Friction is really good. Really good. I really enjoyed hearing the songs. But when I heard the songs from the early 80s, I LOVED that even more. At one point, when they were playing Red Skies, I remember thinking, “Oh, the Police are next!” Crazy, huh? It’s been almost 30 years. After the concert, we went to dinner (fastish food, since it was after 10 and not much was open).

On Saturday, we decided to go to see 2 Days in New York, which I’ve been wanting to see, but isn’t in our town yet. I’m not sure if it will make it here. So we went to Berkeley, and then came home after that.

We were gone maybe 30 hours total. It was so nice, so relaxing, just to get away a bit. From home. From work. From responsibilities. From so many things that we actually cherish. I’m with Ted. I recommend it. Highly.

Mix Tape

(awesome mix-tape picture found here)

A couple of people commented on my anniversary post about the beauty of mix tapes, and Dad Who Writes even requested to know what might be on some of the ones that Ted made me back in the day.  So I dug out what’s left of our tape collection, then sorted through to find any that might still have their cases intact.  I found just a few.  There are a lot of tapes, but many are unmarked, and we no longer have a tape deck.  Not even in our cars.  OK, I think I still have a walkman somewhere, which I kept JUST in case I wanted to listen to one of these tapes someday.  Smart girl.  (Actually, Ted just told me we still have a decent tape deck, it’s just not hooked up to anything.  I wish we had one in the car.)  I might give them a listen sometime soon.  I guess I could even get really motivated and make playlists on iTunes that match the songs…hmmm.

Ted and his brother both work (and worked) in radio, and used to make money as mobile DJs at weddings (his brother still does, if anyone ever needs an awesome DJ in the Bay Area), so they had a great collection of LPs and CDs.  So his tapes usually rocked.  This is one of my favorites.  At least, I think so.  I can’t tell with the ones that don’t have cases anymore, because the track listings went with the cases.

Anyway, here’s the track listing.  No year on the tape, so I don’t know WHEN he made it.  It had to be between ’87 and sometime in the early ’90s…we moved in together in ’90, and we still made each other a few tapes, but the majority were when we were ‘wooing’ each other…

Side One

  1. “Blind” ~ Talking Heads
  2. “2 Much Blood” ~ Rolling Stones
  3. “The Night You Murdered Love” ~ ABC
  4. “Just Around the Corner” ~ Cock Robin
  5. “Heaven Knows” ~ Robert Plant
  6. “Rev it Up” ~ Jerry Harrison
  7. “It’s the End of the World” ~ R.E.M.
  8. “Light of the Moon” ~ Pretenders
  9. “I Need You” ~ Paul Carrak
  10. “Jokerman” ~ Bob Dylan
  11. “Jockey Full of Bourbon” ~ Tom Waits

Side Two

  1. “We Close Our Eyes” ~ Oingo Boingo
  2. “Silver” ~ Echo and the Bunnymen
  3. “Burn For You” ~ INXS
  4. “Brand New Cadillac” ~ The Clash
  5. “Mandinka” ~ Sinead O’Connor
  6. “One Small Day” ~ Ultravox
  7. “Second Hand Love” ~ Pete Townshend
  8. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86” ~ The Police
  9. “Peace Train” ~ 10,000 Maniacs
  10. “Skin Deep” ~ The Stranglers
  11. “Hit that Perfect Beat” ~ Bronski Beat
  12. “Under Pressure” ~ Queen w/ David Bowie

I know, awesome, right?  If I could, I’d mix up a tape for you to actually listen to, because it’s a really good one.

Happy Anniversary!

18 years already?  I’m not sure exactly how that can be, since it feels like we’re still in our 20s….

Thank you for being my husband, my best friend, such a wonderful father to our child, and for always being on my side.  It’s you and me against the world, honey.  I’m looking forward to the next 18 years of happy marriage to you, though not so excited to think about the wrinkles I’ll have at that point!  HA!

OK, here’s another anniversary video for you…

I remember when you used to make me mix tapes, and this song was on one of them…the next song was ‘Legal Tender’ by the B-52s.  Even now, some 20 years later, when I hear this song, I expect to hear that one next…

Thanks for the many awesome mix tapes you made me, the trip to Europe on our honeymoon, tea and toast at 5am before driving me to work back in the day. Thanks for time watching silly TV, going to movies and concerts, skiing, snorkeling, sailing on the bay. Upgrading to 1st class on the train, and on the airplane to Hawaii. Thanks for amazing dinners at wonderful restaurants, and wonderful home-cooked meals, where the secret ingredient is love. For days spent sleeping in, day trips to Monterey, driving to Canada and Washington DC. Thank you for fireflies and ‘You’re killing the pizza!’, ‘Don’t flour the fish!’, and sticky hot summer afternoons. Thanks for the love you have showered upon me for these many years, and for the love we share with our pickney. Thank you for being so supportive when I lost my mom, and the times I lost my job. Thank you for being my greatest cheerleader (you are the winner!) when I’m going out into it again, looking to start over again, one way or another. Thank you for our life together.

Tracey Thorn ~ Love and Its Opposite

Love and its OppositeI’ve been listening to Tracey Thorn’s newest album, Love and Its Opposite, and the more I hear it, the more I like it. First off, Thorn has a gorgeous, lush voice. I don’t know if you were ever a fan of her joint venture with her (now) husband Ben Watt, Everything But the Girl, but I really loved their stuff back in the late 80s, especially Idlewild. Past her voice, though, are her lyrics. Together with the melodies, her music can really speak to me. Apron Strings so perfectly captured my baby lust in those years before we were emotionally and financially ready for a baby, but god, my hormones were READY. Equally poignant to me was I Always Was Your Girl, which wasn’t so spot on, but I loved the sentiment of ‘You and Me Against the World’ for a marriage.

Well, Idlewild came out about a million years ago, when I was young and newly on my own (1988), and so many themes resonated with me, and with being that certain age.   Now, with Love and Its Opposite, Thorn is taking on the issues of life after 40. Divorce, hormones, braving a singles bar for the first time in perhaps decades. Sounds boring and depressing, right?  Not really.  Take, for example, Hormones, with a daughter’s hormones raging, just as the mother’s are starting to wane in that uncomfortable and moody way that they do.

Yours are just kickin’ in,
mine are just checkin’ out;
You’re at the beginning of this tunnel,
and I’m just comin’ out;
And either way these days we’re not as in control as we think.

You’re stampin’ up the stairs;
I’m cryin’ at the kitchen sink;
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.

You worry ’bout growin’ up;
I worry ’bout lettin’ go, oh ho ho.
‘Cause I know what’s comin’ up,
Don’t let me be the last one to know.
And either way some of these days we’re gonna have to tough it out.
You turn the music up … I … I try to think before I shout;
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.

And I have to own up: that dress looks better on you now;
Only half grown up, you should really twirl, take a bow.
You ask me what goin’ on, why do we feel this way?
I can only shake my head,
“Hormones, babe,” I say.
Yours are just kickin’ in, mine are just checkin’ out;
Aw, you’re just kickin’ in….

The pop synth sound is there enough that this sounds a lot like EBTG’s late 80s, early 90s stuff, before they had their dance hit, the remix of ‘Missing‘, which while I liked it, always sounded just a bit off to me.

The whole album is really good, worth a purchase and sitting down and listening to the whole thing. When was the last time you did that, listen to a whole album from beginning to end? Here’s Singles Bar, about as un-Cougarish an approach to dating in your 40s as I’ve heard.

Soundtrack to Love…

The ModernsFor several years after we first married, I would find my thoughts drifting back to July of 1993…”last year right now, we were driving to the pier to pick up the discounted wine for our wedding reception…” or “2 years ago now we were on the plane to London to start our honeymoon…”  That sort of thing.  Well, as the years pass, I find my thoughts going back to specific days less and less, but for some reason today I was thinking about 17 years ago, when we took the train from Amsterdam to Paris, for the last part of our Honeymoon.

We bought coach tickets, but decided while underway that we would prefer to travel first class, which you can do by paying the difference while on the train.  The only bummer is that you have to pay the difference each time you enter a country.  So we had to pay the difference first in Holland, then when we passed into Belgium, then again when we passed the border into France.  Which was fine with us, but there was another couple in our cabin, and one of them wanted us to get the upgrade for free, because we were on our honeymoon.  It was a gay couple, probably as old then as we are now (aka, they looked old), and one of them was kind of grumpy and probably had hoped for peace and quiet the whole trip, so he could read his Dick Francis mystery in peace.  The other one was charmed that we were on our honeymoon, and seemed happy to have someone to chat with during the journey, since his partner had his nose in his book the whole way.  So the happy one kept trying to get the various conductors to give us the upgrade for free.  “But…they’re on their Honeymoon“, he’d smile…no one cared, and we paid full price.  Ah well.  It was a lovely way to travel, and we enjoyed ourselves.  Though first class meant a less crowded car to ride in, not anything fancy like tablecloths or champagne or anything like that.

We arrived in Paris at Gare du Nord, on the night before Bastille Day.  It seems that Bastille Day in France (in Paris at least) is celebrated on both the 13th and 14th, so we arrived to people setting off firecrackers, which sounded a lot like gunshots to me.  Because, you know, I’ve never heard a real gunshot, at least not that I can remember.  Just TV.  So with the firecrackers and everyone speaking French and me not understanding a word of it, and the train ticket machine not working and all, I was completely overwhelmed.  Not to mention that I stayed with the bags while Ted went to try to figure out the ticket situation, and some creepy guy was giving me the eye and I was starting to wonder if I might be abducted and Ted would come back to find just our bags sitting there.  No worries, Ted came back, we got a cab, and found our hotel.  With our room just across from a little bar, where people were drinking mightily to celebrate Bastille Day (we were just a few blocks away from the Bastille, actually), so we were kept up by the sound of partying and bottles being dropped into a dumpster.  On the 14th, we slept through the parade, but did see some huge aircraft flying low over the city, which looked to my untrained eyes to be circa WWII.  We spent several days in Paris, had amazing food, went to museums, walked all over the place, and really enjoyed ourselves.

All of which brings me to the soundtrack for today, The ModernsThe Moderns was a basically forgettable movie (at least, I’ve forgotten it) which takes place in 1926 Paris, which has a wonderful, romantic soundtrack.  Some of it is original music by Mark Isham, and the rest is vintage music from the period.  Love it.   I haven’t listened to it for quite awhile, but it’s been popping up in my mind a lot these last few days, perhaps because of the time of year.  The soundtrack is mostly, if not completely, in French, and always takes me back to Paris, as well as to our wedding reception, where we listened to The Moderns as our dinner background music. It’s a wonderful soundtrack, and really sets the mood for a romantic dinner.  I highly recommend it.

Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

I had never heard this song before, nor did I know the story behind it. I was listening to ‘Talk of the Nation‘ on the radio today, and they were talking about Billie Holiday, amongst other things, and brought up this song. It’s chilling.

You can read about the history of the song, and its inspiration in the famous picture of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, two black men lynched in Marion, IN, in 1930.

XTC ~ Dear God

One of my favorite songs ever, and one that sums up a lot for me.  A lot about atheism.  A lot about not being able to make the leap of faith to understand how the tragedies that affect so many people: earth quakes, tsunamis, sick asshats who kidnap kids and keep them in the basement, etc..  How can these things be explained in a world with a loving God, who at the same time, is involved in our lives and answers our prayers.   I can’t make that leap.  I know that many people can, and that a big part of it is being able to say, faith.  Faith.  That they believe that we cannot understand God, that His will is a mystery.  That his love is there for comfort, even if he doesn’t cure your dying child.  I can see that.  I just can’t get there.

The Wallflowers ~ One Headlight

I remember being really impressed by Bringing Down the Horse, by The Wallflowers. Loved all of it. My favorite three songs were probably this one, One Headlight, along with Three Marlinas, and 6th Avenue Heartache. The pop hook is great in all of them, but I particularly think that Jakob Dylan got some pretty decent lyric writing chops from his old man.

Here are the lyrics to 6th Avenue Heartache, which I think I like even more than One Headlight, but I couldn’t find a copy that would embed on YouTube. Click the link above, to listen to 6th Avenue Heartache. Written for a homeless man in New York City below Dylan’s window, who sang the same songs, day after day, until one day he wasn’t there. His things still were, but he was gone. Eventually, his things were stolen.

Sirens ring, the shots ring out
A stranger cries screams out loud
I had my world strapped against my back
I held my hands, never knew how to act

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Below me was a homeless man
Singin’ songs I knew complete
On the steps alone, his guitar in hand
It’s fifty years, stood where he stands

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Now walkin’ home on those streets
The river winds move my feet
Subway steam, like silhouettes in dreams
They stood by me, just like moonbeams

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Look out the window, down upon that street
And gone like a midnight where was that man
But I see his six strings laid against that wall
And all his things, they all look so small
I got my fingers crossed on a shooting star
Just like me just moved on

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

On a lighter note, while One Headlight isn’t exactly a cheery song, there are times when my house is particularly cluttered and messy and I feel out of control that I like to sing this lyric:

Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn
Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I’d like to watch it burn

Violent Femmes

Here we are at V already, coming mighty close to the end of this mostly ignored experiment called, The ABC’s of Music, which I copied and morphed from Gina, and was then copied (yay!) from me by Simon.  I thought of Veruca Salt, who I do enjoy from time to time, but I’ve mentioned them before already.  Thought of the Verve, but then I remembered The Violent Femmes!  Oh my, does this take me back to a particular time and place, that being my sophomore year of college, in Stockton, CA.  We didn’t get much ‘good’ music in Stockton, or at least it didn’t feel like it at the time.  It’s not like we were living in the land of Footloose, where dancing was outlawed or anything, but the radio that we got generally sucked.  Classic Rock, A/C, and top 40.  Not much room for the late-teens, early 20s in the crowd, if you know what I mean.  But when we heard the Violent Femmes…well, we felt like we were getting away with something.  Quite racy back in the day in the burbs.

So I went looking for some Femmes on YouTube, and due to copyright stuff, most of what you can find is grungy live stuff, which is fun if you’re there, but the sound is pretty crappy.  Sigh.  So, here’s a cute little video of one of their more popular songs, Blister in the Sun.  Love it.  And how about just audio for Gone Daddy Gone?  Love me that.  How about a video for a later work of theirs, Children of the Revolution.  Excellent.  Want to get naughty?  Try Add it Up on for size.  Want to stay clean, and still have fun?  Here’s American Music.  Me?  Popular, naughty, or clean, I love it all.

Boomtown Rats ~ I Don’t Like Mondays

For those of us old enough (or young enough) to remember Live Aid, it was indeed an amazing phenomenon. We missed a lot of it in California, being 8 hours behind England, and 3 hours behind Philadelphia, and it being announced not too long before the concerts were held. But wow, the work that went into that…without email, without cell phones, all of that. And a lot of it didn’t make it to MTV at the time. Originally, Geldof didn’t want the concert to be re-broadcast, saying that it would have more power in our memories than in being replayed over and over again. Not like today, where it would have been available via OnDemand and broadcast over and over again. Thankfully, it has lived on via DVD, between the BBC and the vaults at MTV. What an amazing coming together of a lot of huge egos, really big stars, all putting it aside to raise money for a wonderful cause.

In case you don’t remember, the event was organized by Bob Geldof, he of the Boomtown Rats. I don’t know a lot of their songs. Their most famous song, in my mind, is I Don’t Like Mondays, which was based upon the first really well known school shooting, in which two men were killed (the school principal and the custodian, who were trying to protect the students) and eight children were wounded at an elementary school in San Diego in 1979. The 16-year old girl who committed the crimes from her house across the street, when asked why she had opened fire on a group of children, said, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” The insanity of that statement hit a lot of people hard, including Geldof.

She came up for parole a few weeks ago, btw, and was denied, yet again. She has never shown any true remorse, and never fails to try to push the blame onto others.

Back to Live Aid, I think that while this song never fails to bring tears to my eyes, never fails to break my heart just a bit, what touched me even more was when Bob Geldof looked out at that huge audience that he had brought together in the biggest fund-raiser ever, and said, “I just realized, this is the best day of my life…” I think he says it right after the end of this clip, sadly.

Geldof is still involved in the fight to eradicate poverty. You can read a bit more about his efforts, here. And if you want to read about his controversial career, life, and interesting names he has for his children, check out the wiki.