Well, we’ve reached the halfway point of the year. June has been pretty awful so far. I really want the latter half of the year to be better. But, I’m not holding out a lot of hope.
Man, it’s been hot. I haven’t been going outside very much with all the ghastly weather. I basically am talking my walks super early, before the humidity and extreme heat kick in. What is weirder is that the few weeks before had lovely weather.
To make things even more fun, the allergies kicked in late last month. Joy. All I want is for there to be one season, either nasty hot or annoying allergy-ific spring. The back and forth is pretty annoying.
Top Gun is Stupid
People are all sugared up for the new Top Gun film. I could care less about Top Gun Maverick. I hated the first one. It was stupid, pointless, badly acted, and generally uninteresting. The new one appears to feed on all the flag-waving dumbed-down war porn nostalgia that got us here we are today. I am in the minority here, but it seems stupid and pointless to have a sequel in the first place. Also, it is pretty sad when Tom Cruise has to muscle his way into the Queen’s Jubilee to hawk his movie.
The interesting thing about movies like this is that it appears that nostalgia for films of the 1980s is underway. There is a Dirty Dancing sequel coming amongst other things. I think they are making another Gremlins movie too, and a sequel to Beetlejuice.
Speaking of the unrealistic, the new Downton Abbey film is out. This one had some charm and humor to it and felt like the tv series. It’s sad to watch rich people have their problems. Wait till the Great Depression hits them. It is interesting how the show takes on issues of classicism. Obviously, this is a well-off family, but they aren’t madly insane like others with their money.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how 2022 and 1922 are similar. Both were years with an economy that was slumping after a global pandemic. Both had nationalistic tumult. And each year was rich with innovation, creativity, and artistic achievement.
1922 was the year of the 19th Amendment, Nosferatu, Ulysses, and the dawn of the Roaring 20s. There was a lot going on. There was the finding of King Tut’s tomb, Einstein won the Nobel Prize and the Bauhaus was in full swing.
To wrap my head around what the world was like a century ago, I grabbed Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One by Kevin Jackson. Following the year in chronological form, Jackson connects the events of that mad year into a concise volume.
In preparation for the dystopian chasm we are plunging into I picked up Sasha Fletcher’s novel, Be Here to Love Me at the End of the World.
Set in Brooklyn in a world that is frighteningly similar to the present, it’s a sublime story about falling in love as the world is tearing itself apart. Despite the sense of doom and gloom it is a surprisingly powerful read.
Everything Was Beautiful by Spiritualized is definitely in my best-of-the-year albums. It’s pretty, tragic, sad, and shimmering all at once.
It’s the sound of hope after pain. Always Together With You starts sad and builds into this Phil Spector wall of sound that craters back into melancholy.
Every Spiritualized record is exquisite and this one is no exception. I love how elegiac it is. I love how it is almost a musical hallucination. There’s even a jet sound on it.
Skinty Fia from Fontaines D.C. is also pretty incredible. Every album they make takes them closer to being massive.
Grian Chatte’s lyrics and vocals are also getting better with each record.
This track is my favorite. I love the percussion on it and how it leads into a nice buzz of guitar sounds. I saw a virtual concert of theirs during the lockdown and it was pretty incredible. There was no audience but they still played their guts out.
From start to finish this entire album is great.
The Umbrellas are from Oakland. they have a real pop sensibility to them that makes their tunes perfectly catchy. They have a twee/C86 influence, however their songs do not sound like they are trapped in the mid 1980s.
In fact, their jangle pop gloriousness has a freshness all of its own. For me, Write It In the Sky is the song of the summer so far. It’s so catchy and perfect.
I saw Kraftwerk last month. It was absolutely incredible. The sound was perfect. The onscreen backing visuals were in 3D and did not disappoint.
They also did a fantastic job of balancing their setlist with a blend of their popular tracks and fan favorites. They played for almost two hours and did not miss a beat And they brought robots!
I am so happy for Kate Bush. She has earned every bit of the success she is getting right now.
Get Off My Damn Lawn
Everyone always gets excited about Fair St. Louis. And every year they forget that it usually rains at some point over Independence Day weekend. The last few years have been warm and dry, but previously, it somehow rained that weekend.
Maybe the showers are a metaphor for the crappy musical entertainment they book each year. In the past, I remember going to the Riverfront and seeing Ray Charles, Elton John, Isaac Hayes, and Al Green. They really knew how to book acts. Now, we have Third Eye Blind to look forward to. Yuck.
When the best thing about your career is you are known for being the guy who dumped Charlize Theron, that’s a pretty telling sign. When your make really bland records and your livelihood is made playing cruise ship retro shows, small-town festivals, and one-off gigs, it is time to quit. I can’t understand how mediocrity like this continues to get booked each year at Fair St. Louis.
This year we also have Coolio, Tone-Loc, and Young MC. At least Coolio made a cookbook.
But seriously, Tone-Loc and Young MC were a big deal when their label, Delicious Vinyl, broke. They both made serious party anthems that made people laugh and feel good. those records are classics. Color Me Badd is on the bill too. Their music is as terrible as their spelling.
My point is this. Wouldn’t it be better to feature a bunch of local artists rather than this stuff? We have tons of local singers, rappers, and indie bands who would be much more entertaining. If we truly want to instill any sense of civic pride about where we live, shouldn’t we support local music at big events like this? “America’s largest birthday party” deserves better.
That is why events like Music at the Intersection are way more interesting. Besides supporting local music, they book national acts-ones that people want to see.
They are hiring people to help clean Busch Stadium. They have overnight shifts available and they pay $19 an hour. That’s terrible. Especially when you have to clean up after drunk Hoosiers, little kids, and Cubs fans. How do people expect to attract workers when they underpay people for really nasty, crappy jobs?
I would love to be able to watch Jeopardy! without having t endure political ads during the breaks
The idiot who blocked the driveway with his car for four days has finally moved it. He got a bunch of tickets but no tow. He needed the car to be there unattended for 120 hours. I do not understand why people are so dumb.
The hot and humid days of the last few weeks have made busting out the rotating fan a necessity. It helps keep the place cool and helps save on running the AC.
Having the newish shower head is great. Although it got installed last fall, it has made taking a shower after coming in from a walk or being outside for a while on a hot day way more bearable.
I understand why people are out and about again. They hated being cooped up inside and couldn’t find enough things to do inside. But, they seem to forget that the pandemic is not quite done yet. Plus it’s brought monkey pox along. that just sounds like a horrible, terrible thing.
As the really sweltering days of summer come rolling at us I am looking forward to hanging out inside, reading, and watching old movies. There’s also way too much streaming content to catch up on, so that will keep me pretty busy too.
I am just super thankful for whoever invented lemonade. I know it was not Orville Redenbacher, but it sure would be cool if it was. That guy rocked a bowtie like nobody else.
Finally, as we get into the dog days of summer, remember to hydrate and be kind!