Missouri Goddamn

So the state has reopened. While I have seen lots of good-minded people wearing masks and social distancing, I have still seen a bunch of folks gripping onto that Missouri stubbornness and resolute ‘don’t tell me what to do’ attitude. It is infuriating.

Believe me, I want to support my local music venues and restaurants and small businesses as much as possible, but I cannot see myself eating in restaurant or going to a concert any time soon. Having said that, I do try and buy things from indie businesses and local restaurants when I can.

Overall, I have faith in most of the people who run these types of places. It’s the idiots I cannot control I worry about. The willfully stupid, blissfully ignorant and completely useless members of society who refuse to wear masks, believe that it is all the flu or simply are just to lazy to adjust their lifestyle to help other people. The selfishness, callousness and rudeness of people really bums me out. After all, how hard is it to be respectful, kind and decent?

And another thing……I hate the humidity. I know this is lost in the shuffle a bit because we are in a pandemic, but man has it been muggy this week. It has made me take earlier walks, which still result in that Missouri feeling of walking into a sweatbox. Generally, the days have started off mild and nice and then after you have been lulled out of the house, the humidity pops around to say hello again. I know it is the weather we are supposed to be having, but I thought with the planet being cooler because of fewer emissions we might catch a break. Phooey!

In appliance news there still is no new fan but one is on order. There is also a nifty new kitchen table and chairs coming since the old one has crapped out after 12 or so years. In other exciting appliance relate news, the AC was fixed. It was making an odd screeching sound when it turned on. the guy came to look at it and found a bunch of the wiring meant it was operating only t 30%. I also need a new cassette player. Weird for 2020. New headphones are coming too, the old ones are fading.

If you need any type of small to moderate sized appliance or furniture the is the time to by because everyone needs the business and stuff is way, way, way on sale!

Vera Lynn died at the age on 103 on June 18th. Her passing marks the end of an age in that she was the last living musical performer from the 1940s. her death means all we have left now is second hand accounts, oral histories and recordings.

Known for entertaining troops in North Africa, Asia and at home during WW2, Lynn was the voice that British troops needed to hear.

As London was being shelled she would venture into Tube stations packed with people escaping the inferno above, and sing to them. How badass is that?

Used by both Stanley Kubrick and Pink Floyd, We’ll Meet Again is one of the definitive songs of the 1940s. In terms of musical relevancy We’ll Meet Again is just as important of a wartime record as White Christmas. Lynn’s As Time Goes By, The White Cliffs of Dover and When You Wish Upon A Star are also terrific. her catalog of hit record is pretty incredible.

To further break it down, she had a musical career that lasted over 70 years. Her compilation album, 100 has charted again, making her the oldest person to post a top 40 album in Britain.

It is interesting that We’ll Meet Again has become a go to song for wedding, funerals, reunions and get togethers. It also remains a song of resilience and hope. That I think is her biggest legacy; she was an artist who made incredible recordings with terrific orchestrations that made listeners forget the world outside.

Her records instilled this beguiling sense of ‘everything is going to be okay’ in those who heard them. And that, at the end of everything, is not a bad legacy to hang your hat on.

I was also bummed that Ian Holm died. He was one of my favorite actors, mainly because he was good and also because he was in literally, everything.

He was terrific in Alien, Brazil, Chariots of Fire, The Fifth Element, Ratatouille, Time Bandits and the mess that was A Life Less Ordinary. Although he is best known for The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings films, he also was a fine Shakespearean actor. Holm is one of those actors whose notoriety lies more in his collective body of fine work than his name alone.

I would love to work just one day where some old codger who is not wearing a mask doesn’t lumber into the store like Frankenstein scuttling around in the dark. Just once.

I also want to see the kids get off their asses and think about somebody else for a change and wear a damn mask. Those little bastards are practically carriers at this point.

None of this is going to get any easier if we just pretend it isn’t happening. I for one don’t want to die because some other imbecile is not taking precautions or being careful.

One of the great things about wearing a mask is that people cannot see me mutter things about them. This is good because I end up calling most of them “idiots” or “morons” because of their blind ignorance and stupidity.

I cannot yell at everyone but being stupid but man it would feel good if I could. Most of us decent people would really feel better if we could let off some steam by screaming at the stupid. Alas though, we would also be hoarse.

Also, if you are not covering your nose and mouth you are not really wearing a mask. What you are doing is looking like a complete tool who isn’t even smart enough to figure out how to wear a mask correctly.

I went and got tested this past weekend. It was a mostly painless experience. I didn’t get the headaches or pain that some folks have talked about. But I did get a bloody nose.

I have been reading about music again. I have enjoyed Neil Taylor’s C86 & All That. It is pretty dense and has loads of information about bands and labels of the mid 1980s.

C86 is a min genre of sorts. It is indie music that centers around a cassette compilation released by NME in 1986, featuring new bands (The Mighty Lemon Drops, Primal Scream, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Age of Chance etc..) licensed from British independent record labels of the time.

A lot of it is murky, grimy, fuzzy and jangly. Many of the bands toiled in obscurity before flaming out or hand a short run. In most cases they still have a rapid fanbase today.

I have loved this stuff since high school so this book has been a terrific find. Painstakingly researched, informative, funny and nostalgic it is a pretty thorough history of the genre.

There is a lot to digest. From Alan McGee’s Creation Records to other Indies like Rough Trade, there’s a lot of intrigue and shenanigans to discover. Plus, Taylor shines a new light on many of these forgotten bands who are long overdue for recognition.

Fans of literature, whiskey, pub culture and conversation will enjoy Love by Roddy Doyle.

I have not ready Doyle in awhile but after hearing him on NPR I decided I needed to check this out. It is about two old friends who get together for some drinks. From there things get interesting as secrets are learned and discoveries are made.

Another book I am anxious to plunge into is Lincoln On The Verge.

The book covers Lincoln during his historic 1861 train journey from Springfield, Illinois to Washington D.C. where he will be sworn in as President.

He had a lot on his mind then. The nation was on the precipice of civil war, people doubted his ability to lead and he had his family and cabinet to contend with.

With so much of the world thrown into bedlam and also because I wanted to watch something that would help me escape all of that I started to rewatch Ken Burns Natural Parks: America’s Best Idea. Although I have seen it before it has been terrific to see again. It has is pretty incredible. I mean who doesn’t want to look at amazing nature?

In addition to the history aspect of it, it really is incredible how much geologically cool stuff there is in the USA. I really would like to see Yellowstone, although for the life of me I am not sure how you plan a trip like that.

In the School of Mindless entertainment department….. I watched the first wo Bill & Ted films. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is still a lot of fun to watch. It was stupid and clever at the same time. There also was some terrific casting going on with this movie too. It didn’t really misfire.

Sadly Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was still putrid. It meanders and plods along and has none of the charm of this first movie. I really hope the new film in the series is a return to form.

I also rewatched Waiting for Guffman again.

My oh my is it still funny. Everyone in it is hysterical. Christopher Guest’s Corky is simply the best. Eugene Levy and Fred Willard are also great. Watching Willard be politically incorrect is hilarious and his perfect deadpan delivery is hysterical.

I love everything about this movie!

Knowing several actors and having reviewed theater myself I can personally speak to the fact that there is a lot of truth in this mockumentary. Christopher Guest really had his pulse on community theater in small town America here. Decades after its release it remains a really funny movie.

One of the reasons I like it so much is the cast. As an ensemble every character is memorable. Even characters on the periphery are delightfully fun. There also is a great David Cross cameo in it.

Party Girl is long overdue for a DVD reissue. It may not be Criterion worthy but it still is a lot of fun. The movie follows a girl named Mary who parties hard at the NYC clubs at night and then struggles during the day to find a career. She eventually settles into a job at the New York Public Library.

As someone who went clubbing in New York in the ’90s and also worked in libraries the movie resonates with me on two fronts. It is seriously over the top in places and it features a soundtrack filled with club cuts I had forgotten about.

Although it was released in 1995, it reminds me of movies like The Last Days of Disco in that it features a cast of down and outs looking for salvation in clubs filled with loads of shallow people.

Me, I kept to myself and went for the music, but man I can identify with a lot of characters in this movie. I also love how it glorifies the dewey decimal system. I am telling you the DDS is the best way to rivage your way around a library. Learning it all helps you hone your organizational skills.

It was made in 19 days with a cheap 150k budget. Despite that it still has a huge cult following. I love how it captures the vacuous spirit of that time while remaining nostalgic. The fashion in it is also wonderfully kitsch.

I only went to The Roxy a few times, it was always way too crowded, but I went enough to really get the vibe the movie was going for. A lot of really annoying people went to The Roxy. I was glad I didn’t have to wait in line there.

I had insomnia a few nights ago and watched Demolition Man, a terrible slice of testosterone driven dystopia from 1993 starring Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Rob Schneider, Denis Leary and Jesse Ventura. Christ it is terrible.

Also in it are Bob Gunton who was the warden in The Shawshank Redemption and Nigel Hawthorne from Yes Prime Minister, The Madness of King George and loads of other things. You have to wonder what Hawthorne was thinking beyond a money grab.

In addition to having loads of random explosions, a loose plot and generally bad acting, it has a kind of camp silliness that makes it impossible to not watch. I know I saw it when it was released but I do not remember neither liking or loving it. I do know that I really wanted it to be so much more.

Seriously, I have been watching a lot of movies.

I finally got around to watching The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. It is a great film that captures the spirit of the time. Richard Burton is in it and spends a lot of time brooding and looking glum. Maybe he really was cold. But this was a great movie about spies and how they think, react and freak out when under pressure.

I also saw Just Mercy which was really good but terribly intense. The acting in it was amazing and it was a good. But I am just not sure I was mentally in a headspace for it. Having said that, it is a film that people should see because its message is very, very important. Michael B. Jordan is an amazing actor and he is going to win an Oscar some day.

I have a lot of silent pictures on deck to watch. The Man With The Movie Camera was released in 1929 and features a day in the life in citizens in Kiev, Odessa, Moscow and Kharkov.

It is designed to highlight a futurist city where modernism is in full swing. Set in the morning and running through the evening, there is no dialogue, just imagery, cut and edited in quick edits.

Director Dziga Vertov did some pioneering work here with motion and multiple exposure. As a result, there are some really interesting edits in it and the pacing never really calms down. It is very busy. It is also considered an achievement in Surrealist film.

Imagine my shock when I saw that PBS was running the INXS concert film Live Baby Live. This 1991 concert film was recorded at Wembley Stadium and has been remastered in 4k. I was a little surprised to see it on since they mostly show different types of programs in evening pledge drive hours.

I had not seen it. I stopped really caring about INXS after What You Need and their ascent into mainstream success. They always came off a big jerks in interviews and I hear that assumption is not off the mark. Still, they had some live charisma on this tour, even though the material was mostly from later albums.

Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers is a terrific album. it just dropped this week but it already has the pedigree of a best album of 2020 contender. The songs are lyrically tight and well constructed. She obviously has a great ear for melody as well. Kyoto and Moon Song are great and I love how she wails like a banshee on I Know the End.

Well that is enough drivel for now. Be nice, be kind, wear a mask and hang in there.

Thank God it’s Friday!

That sentence now has been rendered useless.

I know one thing, I am mildly happy about is that with all of this stuff going on there are no more stupid happy hours. All they really did was make people run around from place to place to get deals on terrible food or drinks they couldn’t really enjoy because it was still early in the evening.

Then there’s the social aspect. I am always awkward at happy hours. Even the networking one where I am getting to meet people that are actually interesting.

I’m not sure what the issues are but maybe it stems from the forced short term interactions of Catholic school. Maybe it is the fact that they are so short they never let you be comfortable.

Either way, happy hours suck. I think Dante would find TFI Friday’s happy hour to be a purgatory of epic proportions.

I took a walk yesterday. It was nice to have the Sun out and feel its warmth. I stopped to look at some budding limbs on a few trees and enjoyed seeing some flowers. St. Louis is a pretty green city in many ways and lots of neighborhoods have communal gardens and folks who plant their own gardens. Pretty cool. All of this is making me think about being that guy, who has a garden. you know, the weird older guy with all the plants that goes on about nothing all the time.

I think Agatha Christie had some cool characters that were gardeners. I know Sad Cypress and Peril at End House had some. She also liked poison plants from what I recall. That last title sounds like an indie band name.

I think it is interesting that she is one of those 20th century writers who has a legacy that doesn’t involve getting drunk in Paris. Although she was missing for a bit. probably aliens.

So all of you folks who wanted the Roaring ’20s back. Thanks! Speaking of which this is my next book.

I think it will be interesting. Burns usually writes very short, concise books and this one should be fun since I know a lot about the decade in general but not that specific year.

After that I am throwing myself into Peter Ackroyd’s history of England books and with a chaser of lots of Neil Gaiman fiction.

I have a Minneapolis excursion planned for September that is now unlikely to happen. Because of that I was gonna re read a bunch of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I was hoping to see his house. He probably wouldn’t be home anyway. If Gatsby were around today I’d punch him in the face.

I think the girl upstairs put her wooden shoes on before she does any household activities. How can one person make so much noise walking across an apartment. She said she had no furniture and didn’t go out. this brings me to a big pet peeve. Every time she uses her cell phone I can hear it. It is always on speaker and she always talks doubt the vacuous jibber jabber that kids today in their mid 20s go on about. She is not deaf. She seems alert and responsive. is she just too lazy to use a phone the proper way? Then there is the rolling cast of cretins she is not properly socially distancing herself with. I have bene using the back door to come in and out so I don’t have to risk the germs. Except to get the mail.

I really miss the English and Japanese gardens at the Missouri Botanical Garden. MOBOT is cool. I bet the critters at the St. Louis zoo and thrilled to not have people gawking at them all day.

I have few things I want to get to on the telly. There is Decades, the New Order concert film and Is There Something I Should Know? the hour long doc about Duran Duran. I never really dug Duran Duran when I was young. I have learned to like the first few albums now.

Beyond that Nada Surf has a new album out. Never Not Together is their 9th album. It offers a nice collection of power pop songs.

I have always been hit or miss on them. This one isn’t too shabby. There’s a nice cohesion of melody going on here that is pretty great.

This is one of the movies waiting on deck. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold is a spy flick from 1965 based on the best selling book. Richard Burton is pretty good in it.

I love John le Carré and this is a really solid interpretation of his work.

I mopped again last night. Good times.

Ok, I have to work on freelance stuff now.