Monday, June 30, 2003

Oy. Since it was payday, I had to do laundry and get my hair cut after work. That involved lots of trips up and down my three flights of stairs, not to mention the horror of the no-A/C-havin' laundromat (it's across the street - that's why I use it). They were also completely out of quarters. Now, if you owned a laundromat, wouldn't you make sure you had lots of quarters? Maybe it's just me. Fortunately, the Dairy Queen down the street let me buy a $10 roll from them. And of course, today it's been fuckin' HOT - the temperature got to 93, which probably means the heat index was flirting with triple digits. That didn't make any of it more pleasant, trust. So I'm tired and have dried sweat all over my body. I need a shower, and then it's likely an early-to-bed night.

That can't be Miles Davis playing trumpet on L'Trimm's "Cutie Pie" (playing on my launchcast), can it?! Of course, then they fuck it all up by following L'Trimm with the fucking Corrs. Grrr. L'Trimm were better than JJ Fad, you know. No, they were.

Fly Over Country has moved; please adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

How is it that Pharrell is so damned skinny, yet so damned hot?! 'Course, as you may know, he's got just a little talent, as well. Check out the video for his gorgeous single "Frontin'". [And while we're at it, why is it that even though he lives in Virginia Beach, I've never seen him in person? Doesn't he drive on the interstate? Go to the grocery store? Get gas? What?!]

Whether he realizes it or not, Kirk Herbstreit nails the (my) biggest problem with today's defection of Miami to the ACC: "College athletics are headed down that road, and football dollars are driving the conference buses."

Dick Vitale, meanwhile, talks about the effect (or lack thereof) this will have on college hoops, while Ivan Maisel (hottie alert!) discusses its potential impact on the BCS. I heart

In anticlimactic news from Wimbledon, four of the top 5 women's seeds have advanced to the quarterfinals; third seed Justine Henin-Hardenne is playing Mary Pierce as I write. [And it's still looking like a very real possibility that we'll get another all-Williams ladies final.] On the men's side, Agassi, Federer and Roddick (whom the UK oddsmakers, amazingly, have made the favorite) are all in action at the moment. Meanwhile, a solid piece in today's Washington Post asks, why isn't the men's game more popular in the US?

Addendum: Henin-Hardenne won, too, ending Mary Pierce's run and putting all of the top five women's seeds in the quarters. More notable in many ways, though, is the run the American women are having. 'Tis a shame that they have to knock each other out in the next round, making it very likely we'll see the Americans (either Serena or Capriati, either Venus or Davenport) vs. the Belgians (Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters) in the semifinals.

Of course, the biggest news from the All-England club today was Agassi's loss on the men's side, to Mark Philippoussis and his record-tying 46 aces. Which leaves one Yankee man in the draw - and guess who? It's Andy Roddick, who's looking very good heading into his quarterfinal against Jonas Bjorkman.

Venus and Serena, btw, won their second-round women's doubles match in straight sets.

It's official: back to DC this weekend. My reservations have been made with Amtrak, my lodging has been secured with my cousin and his wife (I'm so glad that my coolest cousin is the one who lives closest to me - and btw, NPR really needs to update that picture), I've got the Metro map down (the pertinent parts, at least), and it all looks good. [Except for the forecast, which sounds like more of the hot-and-sticky.] I practically feel like Todd, finding a city I fall in love with and then spending as much time as possible there.

These three guys will all be out of town (as I hear many DC denizens often are over the 4th), but I'm hoping to meet this hot new blogger and this woofy rugger, perhaps have some drinks with Mr. Ireland, and perhaps drop off some lime Jell-O for Mr. Tonsillectomy.

Oh, and I have a date Thursday night. Yay, yay, yay!

Sunday, June 29, 2003

My mother called me "beyotch" during a telephone conversation this evening. I don't know whether to be delighted or highly disturbed.

Mid-year 2003 off-the-top-of-my-head review:

1. Postal Service, Give Up
2. DJ/rupture, Minesweeper Suite
3. Soilwork, Figure Number Five
4. Led Zeppelin, How the West Was Won
5. Beyoncé, Dangerously In Love

1. Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, "Crazy In Love"
2. Freeway featuring Jay-Z and Beanie Siegel, "What We Do..."
3. Justin Timberlake, "Rock Your Body"
4. Panjabi MC, "Mundian To Bach Ke"
5. Johnny Cash, "Hurt"
6. 50 Cent, "In Da Club"
7. Postal Service, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"
8. R. Kelly, "Ignition Remix"
9. 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg, "21 Questions"
10. Justin Timberlake, "Cry Me A River"

All the usual disclaimers apply. If you don't know 'em, ask.

So I got the Beyoncé album. To steal from Mya, it's like wo! To my utter shock and awe, Dangerously In Love sounds like one of the albums of the year, not nearly as overproduced as you'd expect. It's got songs which are decent lyrically (and some, like "Signs," are fairly stellar) and musically smokin'. Her singing is a lot more assured than I've heard prior to this; B is growing into her voice like a weed. Basically all the collabos are surprisingly hot - besides "Crazy In Love" and "Signs," the track "Hip Hop Star" with Big Boi is nice as hell, all scronchy guitartasticness. A cover of "The CLoser I Get To You" with Luther Vandross (which is tacked on as a bonus on early pressings - it's also on his Dance with my Father) is gorgeous, a real love TKO, with the pair meshing shockingly well (and neither of them oversinging!). "Me, Myself and I" (not a De La cover) spotlights a tres Isleys guitar lick and '70s-soul feel. "Be With You" is slinkily sexy without being smutty (B's gettin' real good at pulling that off), and "Dangerously In Love 2" just smolders. More thoughts as I crystallize 'em, but suffice it to say if you have any interest in R&B, this album is an absolute must. Throw your preconceptions out the door, 'cause 2-to-1 says they're wrong. Damn!

'fer and I caught more of a Buzz this afternoon... look for the conversation later tonight, or tomorrow, over at his place.

No, I don't know why I've been up since circa 7:30 this morning, either.

Ewww... someone came through here looking for "CY CURNIN PORNO"?! I find it utterly incomprehensible that anyone would want to see the lead singer of the Fixx, who wasn't even particularly pretty in his prime, in a porno. You disturbed little person, whoever you are.

Summer '03 redesign over at le Rub, starring... wait for it... Jane Fonda in Barbarella! Oh, and as par for the course, excellent, well-thought writing about music, et cetera, too.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Buzz Bin 1992
therealsubmeat: ok, so one more year?
Crisafer: yeah
Crisafer: 92
therealsubmeat: and we didn't even address Seal.
Crisafer: the year i pledged a fraternity
therealsubmeat: didn't you say you got burned out on his first?
Crisafer: and the year clinton won
therealsubmeat: the year I went back to college.
Crisafer: seal?
therealsubmeat: yeah
Crisafer: it's just a little too
Crisafer: something
therealsubmeat: nah
therealsubmeat: it's a near-perfect album.
Crisafer: ah, i just wasn't a big fan
Crisafer: ok, onto 92
therealsubmeat: ah, UTAH SAINTS! U-U-U-UTAH SAINTS!
therealsubmeat: wow
therealsubmeat: there's someone here I don't remember at all.
Crisafer: who?
therealsubmeat: Mark Curry??
therealsubmeat: was he related to Adam?
Crisafer: haha
Crisafer: unsung
therealsubmeat: oh, no - they misspelled Helmet.
Crisafer: ugly video
therealsubmeat: "100%" back-to-back w/"Tomorrow"!
Crisafer: i'm serious--you and i should approach about editorial positions
therealsubmeat: that's fine with me!
Crisafer: temple of the dog
therealsubmeat: we know more than their research dep't anyway
therealsubmeat: amazing album.
Crisafer: "would?" from the Singles soundtrack, i believe
therealsubmeat: "Hunger Strike" is the highlight, but there's not a dud.
therealsubmeat: yeah, AIC's best single
therealsubmeat: those FNM singles in '92 were sad
therealsubmeat: MTV wanted to help them so bad
Crisafer: faith no more--a band with one of my imaginary boyfriends
therealsubmeat: yes, yes, Roddy BOTTUM
Crisafer: he could be roddy top or bottum with me
Crisafer: have you seen his arms?
therealsubmeat: Soundgarden, AIC, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees - everyone except Nirvana's here
therealsubmeat: cuz Nirvana were already too big for Buzz
Crisafer: speaking of editing--why is social distortion's Bad Luck listed twice?
therealsubmeat: I noticed that too.
Crisafer: under the bridge--blood sugar sex magick
Crisafer: seminal album
therealsubmeat: I guess...
therealsubmeat: I've never been a big fan of that one.
Crisafer: yeah
therealsubmeat: I honestly think Mother's Milk was their last great album. does that make me a snob?
therealsubmeat: "they were cool before they got popular..."
Crisafer: no, many other things make you a snob
therealsubmeat: ok, good
Crisafer: breaking the girl is my favorite track off that album though
therealsubmeat: Arrested Development. I hear they're still big in Japan.
Crisafer: what happened to them?
Crisafer: really?
therealsubmeat: really.
therealsubmeat: fun fact: in '91, Spin named Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque album of the year. Nevermind was #2.
Crisafer: haha
Crisafer: only you would know that
Crisafer: and bob guccione jr.
therealsubmeat: and history has certainly proved them right.
therealsubmeat: I mean, who could've imagined the career Teenage Fanclub have had?
Crisafer: maybe flock of seagulls?
therealsubmeat: actually, they had a great song with De La.
therealsubmeat: on the - oh, hell, what was the soundtrack?
therealsubmeat: the one that mixed the rock and hiphop bands.
Crisafer: oh
Crisafer: that movie
therealsubmeat: Cypress and Sonic Youth
Crisafer: with emilio estevez
Crisafer: what was it
therealsubmeat: shit! hold on
Crisafer: isn't that the one with
Crisafer: house of pain and
Crisafer: ugh
Crisafer: i hate forgetting
therealsubmeat: I'm calling someone who knows.
Crisafer: phone-a-friend
therealsubmeat: Pearl Jam and someone
Crisafer: our friends at AT&T have connected us with...
Crisafer: i think it was something nigth
Crisafer: night even
Crisafer: like devil's night, but not that
therealsubmeat: Judgement Night!
Crisafer: yes!!
therealsubmeat: good man.
therealsubmeat: you win.
therealsubmeat: my friend wasn't home anyway, Regis forget to check first
Crisafer: just one word and i'm a winner?
Crisafer: wow, you're easy
therealsubmeat: well, that one word got me the other word.
therealsubmeat: like Sunday morning, baby.
Crisafer: notice that mtv is still pushing for midnight oil
therealsubmeat: I almost mentioned that
therealsubmeat: trying so hard
therealsubmeat: XTC, too
Crisafer: that was a good song though
therealsubmeat: yeah
Crisafer: how about the beasites
therealsubmeat: "So Whatcha Want"!
Crisafer: beasties even
therealsubmeat: I was just typing that
therealsubmeat: that video!
Crisafer: they dressed so grunge
Crisafer: flannels all around
therealsubmeat: ah, Check Your Head...
therealsubmeat: think I still have that on cassette, too
therealsubmeat: (I was late coming to CDs)
Crisafer: their high point for me
therealsubmeat: not till '93.
Crisafer: ouch
therealsubmeat: shit, I still play RECORDS, Chrisafer.
Crisafer: check your head is amazing front to back
therealsubmeat: it is.
therealsubmeat: you know, I always liked "Paper Doll" a lot.
Crisafer: ugh
therealsubmeat: I have this theory about PM Dawn
therealsubmeat: and try to forget their horrible Boomerang song.
Crisafer: pm dawn is what happens when easy listening and hip hop fuck
therealsubmeat: oh, c'mon, the Spandau sample??
therealsubmeat: I always compared them to Edie Brickell
therealsubmeat: too hippie for their own good
Crisafer: but they didn't marry paul simon
Crisafer: that would have made them much better
therealsubmeat: as far as we know.
therealsubmeat: no, it wouldn't've.
therealsubmeat: I wish Paul Simon were dead.
Crisafer: maybe they were hitting on Garfunkel the whole time
therealsubmeat: lol
Crisafer: wasn't jeremy this year too?
Crisafer: one of my favorite videos
therealsubmeat: no
therealsubmeat: see the bottom: "Alive"
Crisafer: sure?
therealsubmeat: "Jeremy" was a '93 single
Crisafer: oh
therealsubmeat: of course I am.
therealsubmeat: Ten was '92, though.
Crisafer: but i swear it was on in the summer of 92
therealsubmeat: nope.
Crisafer: when i lived at my dad's
Crisafer: i really think it was 92
therealsubmeat: is that a wrap?
Crisafer: well, no we need to settle this
Crisafer: when did jeremy come out?
therealsubmeat: '93.
therealsubmeat: it was like the fourth single.
Crisafer: i think you're wrong
therealsubmeat: I know you're wrong.
Crisafer: sigh
therealsubmeat: cut me some slack. I knew "The Sweater."
Crisafer: yeah
Crisafer: but i'm right here
Crisafer: i swear
Crisafer: jeremy came out in 92
Crisafer: that summer i lived at my dads
Crisafer: and watched mtv all the time
therealsubmeat: ok, hold on
Crisafer: that was when the real world started
Crisafer: with eric and heather b and julie
therealsubmeat: I stand corrected. *bows to Chrisafer*
therealsubmeat: allmusic says "Jeremy" hit #5 on the Modern Rock chart in 1992.
Crisafer: thank you
therealsubmeat: can you post this? I'm going to go commit hari-kari now.
Crisafer: don't fuck with me when it comes to television
Crisafer: you may know music
Crisafer: but i am tv

The 'meat and 'fer Buzz Bin-o-rama continues... here's 1989 and 1990. And here's...

therealsubmeat: can we talk about how much I've always HATED Live now?
Crisafer: why?
therealsubmeat: because they're in '91.
therealsubmeat: or do you mean why do I hate them?
Crisafer: yes, the second
therealsubmeat: Ed whatever-the-fuck-his-name-is is the epitome of pretension.
Crisafer: yeah
therealsubmeat: and their music is boring, absolutely boring
Crisafer: i actually like that song
Crisafer: but hate most everything afterwards
therealsubmeat: if they'd come along a couple years later, they coulda been Dave Matthews
therealsubmeat: they have that same feel to me
therealsubmeat: even though musically they're nothing alike
therealsubmeat: HATE HATE HATE HATE
therealsubmeat: speaking of hate, look, it's NIN!
Crisafer: didn't they come out before?
therealsubmeat: there are very few bands I've ever loved more, or more passionately
Crisafer: wasn't that album out in 90?
therealsubmeat: yeah - actually, it came out late late '89
Crisafer: i do remember listening them in my senior year
therealsubmeat: you know MTV. you hear it last.
Crisafer: as evidenced from the truth square story
therealsubmeat: yup
therealsubmeat: Pretty Hate Machine was SO FUCKING HUGE for me.
therealsubmeat: lyrically, the natural extension of the Smiths
Crisafer: 3rd bass?!
Crisafer: loved the gas face
Crisafer: 3 A.M. Eternal
therealsubmeat: '91 = the year MTV discovered non-mainstream hiphop
Crisafer: Monie Love
Crisafer: i mean
therealsubmeat: Def of Sound, Monie (Monie!)
Crisafer: what the fuck
therealsubmeat: the fucking Rembrandts.
therealsubmeat: don't even TRY to defend them.
therealsubmeat: I heard "I Touch Myself" the other day
therealsubmeat: I still love it
Crisafer: do you think that this was just an amazing year, or is it just that since it was such a pivotal year in my life that i think all of these are amazing
Crisafer: almost all, that is
therealsubmeat: pivotal.
therealsubmeat: the funny thing is, I think that so far, this is the weakest year
therealsubmeat: I mean, Jesus Jones? Bingo Boys? Jellyfish?!
Crisafer: who are the bingo boys?
Crisafer: i don't remember that song
therealsubmeat: it was a cheesy dance record.
therealsubmeat: from Europe.
Crisafer: enigma
therealsubmeat: if they'd had the courtesy to disappear after "Sadeness"
Crisafer: which is spelled incorrectly here might i add
therealsubmeat: yup!
Crisafer: does have editors?
therealsubmeat: I'm not gonna insult you by asking you why it has the extra "e," 'cause I know you know
therealsubmeat: apparently not.
therealsubmeat: Toni Childs: 2 years later, she mighta been Tori Amos.
therealsubmeat: not that she was as talented.
Crisafer: the extra e was for the marquis and all that
Crisafer: but she still would have had that tacky piercing chain thing
therealsubmeat: huh?
therealsubmeat: no, no, no!
therealsubmeat: you're thinking of JANE Child.
therealsubmeat: "Don't Wanna Fall in Love" is one of my faves of the early '90s
Crisafer: oh
Crisafer: who is Toni Childs
therealsubmeat: she was like Tori lite.
Crisafer: Crystal Waters
therealsubmeat: LOVE that record.
Crisafer: yes
Crisafer: i do too
therealsubmeat: was in my top 90 of the '90s
Crisafer: and 100% Pure Love was on the mix tape i made for myself when i came out
therealsubmeat: and I never felt Alice in Chains got the recognition they deserved.
Crisafer: no
therealsubmeat: they were so RAW
therealsubmeat: saw them on Palooza '93
therealsubmeat: they were aMAZing
Crisafer: who the fuck is daddy freddy?
therealsubmeat: a Shabba Ranks wannabe.
Crisafer: ah
therealsubmeat: he's not worth remembering
Crisafer: BAD II--that's one of my favorite albums
therealsubmeat: really?!
Crisafer: i know
Crisafer: innocent child
Crisafer: that song gets me every time
Crisafer: it's one of those cheesy sentimental moments
therealsubmeat: well, I like Rupert Holmes, so I can't talk.
Crisafer: "People Are Still Having Sex"
Crisafer: nothing seems to stop them
therealsubmeat: I still have that 12"
Crisafer: of course you do
therealsubmeat: surprisingly good techy Chicago house
Crisafer: yeah
therealsubmeat: *blush*

To answer a reader's question, I haven't heard the Beyoncé album in full yet. But if "Signs," with Missy, isn't a monstrous hit, there is something seriously wrong with this country. Stunning. ["Baby Boy" with Sean Paul has summer smash written all over it, too - the followup to "Crazy In Love," perhaps?]

A pair of current country ballads (yes, ballads, amazingly) - one climbing the chart, one just fallen off - are reminders that there's some twang in the genre yet.

George Strait is the epitome of hard country - when he starred in a movie titled Pure Country it made perfect sense - and a longtime lover (and supporter, and progenitor) of Texas swing, tarted up only slightly from the way Bob Wills played it. On his last few albums, he's strayed the slightest bit from his calling, making records just a twinge more pop-country than he's known for. But going by his latest single, "Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa," he's back to doing what he does best. He pulls the tempo back to a near-halt, and doesn't let the strings get in the way of the crying pedal steel and electric guitar leads. Or in the way of his fine, rich tenor voice, which wraps itself around you like a bearskin rug, singing lyrics of a lost love - which basically no male country singer does better. A stellar return to form from one of the genre's true classics (and class acts).

One of country's hottest, and best, new acts is Keith Urban. His current run from his sophomore effort, Golden Road, is helping solidify him as one of country's brightest hopes for the future. "Raining on Sunday" proves his flair for true country isn't limited to uptempo tracks (i.e. "Somebody Like You") - and proves that he's as true a believer as you'll find in mainstream country in the power of the lead guitar (which he plays the hell out of, along with the banjo). This record feels like a thunderstorm breaching the boundary of a screen window, all wind and rain interrupting a torrid afternoon. But it makes you think of the torrid afternoon, too. Sexy as hell and sumptuous to boot - and Urban ain't bad to look at, either. He's the biggest thing to hit country from down under since Livvy, and deservedly so.

Addendum: Great article by Billboard's Phyllis Stark on the current dearth of country radio hits by women.

When did the memo on Missy Elliot producing every comeback single by R&B babydivas get sent out, and how did I miss it? Hot on the heels of Missy's prodcution on R&B charttopper "So Gone" by Monica (decent, but nothing to get excited about) comes SAG award winner (she was part of the Best Ensemble award for Chicago) Mya's "My Love Is Like Wo." Frankly, the production isn't any great shakes, and Missy's contribution is fairly limited to shouting out "wo"s. But Mya? Girl, you've growed! Points for the "my ass is like wo!" line, first of all. Her vocal delivery is much more confident that we've previously heard from her (apparently that verse in "Cell Block Tango" taught her a few things). And she just sounds sassy, ready to take on all comers. This one might have a fast burn, but I've got a feeling it could become a big summer single, so enjoy it now before you get sick of it.

The best line, however, is the last one of the chorus: "my body's like wo!/and you're kissin' it/so whatcha think of it?" G'on, girl! You sure Ray-Ray din't write this fo' ya?

I've always thought that Jane Child made a perfect one-hit wonder. Having heard her entire debut album, I can tell (or remind) you that it wasn't that good. She was a wee bit too much into the heavy synth arrangements, and songwriting wasn't one of her strengths, either. Except. On that one, crystalline single, "Don't Wanna Fall In Love," which made it to #2 in the early summer of 1990. I've forever loved its chorus:

Don't wanna fall in love
Love cuts just like a knife
You make that knife feel good
I'll fight you till the end

- Jane Child, "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" (Jane Child, Warner Bros., 1990)

And that synth solo which made up the song's bridge? Marvelous - the best such solo since Van Halen's "Jump." Of course, there was also her mutated mohawk, and the chain connecting her nose and ear piercings. She was like Adam Ant (circa Kings of the Wild Frontier) reincarnated as a woman 10 years later. Even with her heavy-handed production techniques, "Love" still sounds timeless - it could've been a hit in '83 (can't you just see her opening for Eurythmics or Culture Club?), or maybe today (especially with a Neptunes remix - and you've gotta think that Pharrell and Hugo love this record). Thank you, Miss Child, you've done your job here; you may leave now. But don't even think of taking that cassingle with you - that stays with me!

Chrisafer and I were talking today, wondering what it'd be like to look at the artists MTV put in their Buzz Bin (now called Buzzworthy) over time and see who was justified and who, well, wasn't. [Yes, these are the things we talk about.] Lo and behold, has an archive listing every video they've ever Buzzed. So 'fer and I hopped on AIM and got to it. We'll be posting in 2-year chunks, alternating blogs. I'm leaving all punctuation, etc. as is. And if you think I'm wading through this to italicize album titles, you're wrong. First up, the early years - Reagan was still prez. [Each year links to the MTV Buzz Bin list for that year.]

1987 [MTV started the Buzz designation late in the year, ergo the smaller-than-norm number of videos listed.]
therealsubmeat: OMG they have the VIDEO for "Girlfriend in a Coma" online
therealsubmeat: it's funny - you look at '87's Buzz Bin, at least, and you can defend almost everything on there...
therealsubmeat: did the page load yet?
Crisafer: yeah
therealsubmeat: '87's pretty good, eh?
therealsubmeat: I mean, Ferry-PiL-Love & Rockets-Depeche-GLJ-Smiths-Alarm-Cure-New Order's a fine string.
therealsubmeat: Guadalcanal Diary were great, and shoulda been as big as REM
Crisafer: i loved wanna be a flinstone
Crisafer: as an example of my taste if goofy music
therealsubmeat: that was a good album, even
therealsubmeat: Gun Shy, I think.
Crisafer: wow, mtv was on target then
Crisafer: this is all the best from my first year in high school
therealsubmeat: funny to look at Buzz Bin from then and see how it was like a college radio playlist
Crisafer: exactly

Crisafer: oh man
therealsubmeat: Flesh for Lulu!!!
Crisafer: the sugarcubes were the first band i saw without a chaperone
therealsubmeat: the poor man's Gene Loves Jezebel
therealsubmeat: I'm SO jealous.
Crisafer: yeah
therealsubmeat: I still remember the first time I ever saw/heard them
Crisafer: also the first time i smelled pot
therealsubmeat: it was the world premiere of "Birthday" on 120 Minutes
Crisafer: oh my god
therealsubmeat: we were all sitting around a friend's house and we just. stopped. everything. when we heard Bjork.
Crisafer: mandinka
therealsubmeat: utterly amazing.
Crisafer: i thought it was spelled "patti" smith
therealsubmeat: it is.
Crisafer: asses
Crisafer: :-)
therealsubmeat: and how 'bout that Godfathers song? that was GREAT.
Crisafer: oh yeah
therealsubmeat: think of the mixtape you could make from what they Buzz Binned!
Crisafer: i think i remember having a crush on one of them
therealsubmeat: you have crushes on anyone on TV.
therealsubmeat: ready for '89?
Crisafer: let's do it
Crisafer: though we didn't talk about mrs. paul simon
therealsubmeat: that was a good album.
Crisafer: an okay song, but even better when sampled
Crisafer: by....
therealsubmeat: a bit dated today
therealsubmeat: Brand Nubian!
Crisafer: Rock
therealsubmeat: "Slow Down"
Crisafer: such a good song
therealsubmeat: the video had traffic signals in it

Best launchcast segue ever: from Beyoncé f/Sean Paul's "Baby Boy" into "Svefn-G-Englar" by Sigur Ros.

A new twist on the randomize-your-Winamp/Musicmatch meme: the last 20 songs played by my launchcast:

1. Bjork, "I Miss You (Dobie Mix)"
2. Jamiroquai, "Cosmic Girl (Classic Mix)"
3. Maxwell, "Sumthin' Sumthin'"
4. Pat Metheny, "Pictures"
5. Lauryn Hill, "Everything Is Everything"
6. Keith Sweat, "In the Rain"
7. Busta Rhymes, "Dangerous"
8. Interpol, "Untitled"
9. Depeche Mode, "Policy of Truth"
10. Michelle Branch, "Are You Happy Now?" ["Recommended by Launch," I was told. Suffice it to say I saw to it that my launchcast won't be playing Ms. Branch again.]
11. Zapp & Roger, "I Want to be Your Man"
12. The Pixies, "Mokey Gone To Heaven"
13. Jill Scott, "The Way"
14. Madonna, "Material Girl"
15. Basement Jaxx, "Undaground"
16. Fugazi, "And the Same"
17. The Velvet Underground, "Sweet Jane" (Live MCMXCIII version)
18. The Postal Service, "Clark Gable"
19. Underworld, "Pearl's Girl"
20. Yoko Ono, "Walking on Thin Ice"

Odd the way, at times, it (unintentionally?) lumps stuff together by genre (like the 3/5-7 block above), but I'm increasingly happy with my station. For fuck's sake, it played Interpol and Busta back-to-back!

Another warm & steamy day here in Norfolk. Fortunately, I'm supposed to go over to a friend's house - with a pool! Now that's the way to spend an too-warm early-summer Saturday.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Kearney told jurors that Mallard would not have left the man to die if she hadn't been under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and Ecstasy.

So what? It wasn't her fault, because she was high?! I think a 50-year sentence sounds about right. Either that or just throw away the key to her cell. Stupid bitch deserves no sympathy from anyone for what she did.

I hope someone, anyone, can explain the phenom of wearing your house slippers in public to me. Today at work, I saw a young woman - presumably going into a lawyer's office (I think she had "the whiplath") - wearing Spongebob slippers. And then tonight at 7-Eleven, a woman entering as I was leaving was wearing her house slippers, as well (along with a fetching plastic rain bonnet-type thing on her head). Since when do you wear slippers out to the store (or, as the case may be, to "tha sto'")?! Absurd.

Another reason to say Amen, somebody: Jeff Cooper's returned to the blogsphere. Fine-ass writing about the law and politics (and the Mets, and wine), if you're interested in such things.

Warning: lock up the kids. Andrew W.K. is back. Hallelujah!

Addendum: And look, there's a stream of the first single, "Tear It Up"! Thanks, Paul - more proof that great minds think alike?

This morning, en route to work, Jenn and I stopped at 7-Eleven, as we often do. And upon walking in, I was greeted by four newspapers - the Virginian-Pilot (local), USA Today, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Each one of them had banner headlines regarding the Lawrence v. Texas decision, two of them identical: "Gay Sex Ban Struck Down." I was giddy. I nearly bought all four, but ended up with just two; I'm going to save the front pages for posterity. I think that Lawrence v. Texas my very well end up our Brown v. Board of Education - and no, I don't think I'm overstating its importance.

[Much credit must go to The Tin Man for pointing me towards lots of superb resources and links regarding this all week. And speaking of, I've added a button to your left (which I discovered via The Tin Man, natch) which says "Get Busy. Get Equal." It's a new project from the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project well worth checking out.]

Addendum: This week's Washington Blade has an excellent analysis of what Lawrence v. Texas may mean for gay marriage.

Is boredom a bad motivation for sex? Just wondering.

If Led Zeppelin's astounding new triple-disc live set, How the West Was Won, doesn't make you believe in the power and the glory of rock'n'fuckin'roll, nothing ever will.

And inside a jukebox roars, just like the night.

I’ve been a fan of John Mellencamp for a long time. Being from his home state of Indiana, it’s hard not to, especially as his maturation into a superb songwriter and performer coincided with my mine into adulthood. “Hurt So Good” was fairly juvenile, like I was at 11; “Lonely Ol’ Night” yearned the way I did at 15; “Love and Happiness” mirrored my thoughts at 20. John’s never expressed sheer joie de vivre like he did on his last top ten single, however, 1994’s cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” which he performed with Me’Shell Ndegéocello. The musical marriage of the heartland rocker with the black, urban lesbian funk queen turned out far better than anyone could have imagined. The song commences with a whip-crack snare tattoo, and Ndegéocello’s bass taking on one of Van’s most famous riffs and imbuing it with a playful kind of gravitas, as if to say, “this ain’t yo’ Daddy’s Mellencamp - or Van, for that matter.” And it rolls on from there, John and Me’Shell’s voices hooting and hollering their way through the “Night” with unbridled joy, and even more than that – and oh-so-refreshingly – a sense of fun.

oh, Brittania: a personal history of British rock, v.5
1. Led Zeppelin, “Immigrant Song.” They come from the land of the ice and snow – that’s why they scream so high. Remind me to tell you my story of singing this with my friend Shawn while we were tripping on LSD sometime.
2. Rod Stewart, “The Killing of Georgie (Parts 1 & 2).” Rod pushed the envelope in ’77 with this ode to a gay man, “the kindest guy [he] ever knew,” and made it to #2 in the UK chart with it. It’s a classic story-song, one of the last great ones of Rod’s career, with lush acoustic production allowing its lyrics to breathe and shine. Utterly awesome.
3. U2, “Two Hearts Beat As One.” I’ll always have a soft spot for War, if for no other reason than for the fact that it’s the last time the Dublin quartet sounded raw, young, and hungry. They sounded like a needful call to the future. And were.
4. Motorhead, “Ace of Spades.” Well, this is easy – the greatest single by one of the greatest, most influential metal bands in Britain. What they did is so simple, yet so hard for future generations to pull off: Tear. Shit. Up.
5. Ultravox, “Vienna.” I never said these segues weren’t sometimes jarring… Midge Ure’s band, on the cusp of a new era (which, oddly, they seemed shut out of, even as one of its progenitors): new romanticism. A justifiable UK #1, and seemingly the note they walked out on.
6. The Police, “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around.” Have you forgotten what a damned great guitar player Andy Summers was? How Stewart Copeland could keep the beat for nearly anything from rock to reggae? That Sting used to write really fine lyrics and didn’t sound like a prick singing them (not a half-bad bassist, either)? Then it’s time to remember. Over the course of their five studio albums, the Police put forth a legacy that should never be eclipsed by Sting’s solo work – because it’s not only better, it’s some of the best of any postpunk band into the early ‘80s.
7. The Who, “Eminence Front.” For my money, the Who’s best single was their last: the ridiculously ominous keyboard figure, Pete’s slashing leads, and Roger wailing away as if his life depended on it. I know that to nearly any Who fan, this constitutes blasphemy. I also know I don’t care.
8. The Clash, “Rock the Casbah.” They had better songs, yes. Better singles, maybe. Better albums, definitely. But they never made a better pop record – and they did it on their own terms.
9. Queen, “Radio Ga-Ga.” As over-the-top silly as it gets. I mean, yeah, they had a decent point about the crap on the radio, but they weren’t exactly raising the bar themselves in the mid-‘80s. Awash in a sea of overproduction and synth, this is how I typically think of Queen, as just a bit tacky. And isn’t that how Freddie might’ve wanted it? Too much is never enough.
10. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, “Jennifer She Said.” Morrissey = #1 UK songwriter of the ‘80s. Paddy McAloon = #2. And Lloyd Cole, I’ll tell you, is #3 (or maybe #4, behind Neil Tennant, but you get my point). He’s also the most underrated of ‘em all. In the Commotions, like with Elvis’s Attractions, he had the perfect band to back up his slyly acerbic poetry, and the album from whence this comes, Mainstream, is drowning in it. Don’t throw me a life preserver.
11. The Smiths, “The Queen Is Dead.” Take me back to dear old blighty, indeed. Moz at his most poison-pen, replete with one of his most sheerly funny lines ever (he was a very funny guy, you know): “She said, ‘I know you and you cannot sing’/I said, ‘That’s nothing, you should hear my play piano.’”
12. Sinéad O’Connor, “Mandinka.” She was the lion and the cobra, unleashed on an unsuspecting public with the gale force of PJ Harvey and Bjork nearly combined. And that voice, oh! That voice.
13. Primal Scream, “Higher than the Sun.” When Bobby (Gillespie) met Andrew (Weatherall), and exploded definitions of rock and dance by giving them a shotgun wedding.
14. Iron Maiden, “Can I Play With Madness.” A freak UK #1, and a smashing, if not pop-metal, then metal-pop track from ’91. Sheer, stupid, fun.
15. Supergrass, “Moving.” A sweet and tender hooligan during each verse, a rambling rose (via barroom sing-a-long) during each chorus. Proof that they were wise beyond their years long before the years caught up with them – which they haven’t, yet, thank goodness.
16. PJ Harvey, “Down by the Water.” Polly lets forth a long snake moan, accompanied by quite possibly the nastiest fuzz-bass in recorded history.
17. Radiohead, “Karma Police (live).” On Pablo Honey they were, frankly, mediocre. On The Bends, they started showing sparks. On OK Computer, they opened their pandora’s box and stuck our heads inside. Recovery is futile, and why would you want it anyway?
18. Oasis, “Go Let It Out.” Desperate for a new(ish) sound, the Gallagher brothers decided to embrace sampling technology on Be Here Now, working a give-the-drummer-some drum break and even some - !!! – scratching in alongside the cor anglais sitting tight to give it just enough Beatles ’66 flair. And the damnedest thing: despite itself, it works, topped by some gloriously snarly vocals from Liam.

I did it! All five volumes! Miracles do happen, apparently.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

"Love @ 1st Sight" is the return of the MJB, Miss Mary J. Blige, bringing her old pal Method Man along for the ride. Here's whatcha need to know:
1. It's based around a sample of "Hot Sex" by A Tribe Called Quest.
2. Meth and Mary still have their classic chemistry.
3. It bumps like hell, but not obnoxiously so (i.e. "Family Affair," her one single I've never "gotten").
4. If you don't love the sound of Mary singing, you have no soul.
5. Exec-produced by P. Diddy - who was in charge of her first two albums, What's the 411? and My Life, both certifiable muthafucking classics.
That is all.

oh, Brittania: a personal history of British rock, v.4: under the covers
[note: this volume is covers of British artists by British artists. Except where they’re Irish, ‘cause I’m a fuckup. Right, Cor?]
1. Stereophonics, “Handbags and Gladrags.” Basically, Stereophonics are shit. Basically, so is Rod Stewart – but he wasn’t always, as this song proves. From his early-‘70s heyday, a song so fine not even the ‘phonics can fuck it up. [To be fair, Kelly Jones’ voice is actually quite well-suited to cover Rod, as well.]
2. Morrissey, “Drive-In Saturday (live).” There’s just something about hearing the Mozzer covering Ziggy Stardust (especially in light of Bowie’s ’93 cover of “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” – and in light of former Bowie protégé Mick Ronson having produced Moz’s ”Your Arsenal”). The highlight from this boot? Hearing Morrissey’s opening: “I didn’t warn you that this was karaoke night … let’s see how many mistakes you can count.” Of course, after having said that, he turns in a gorgeous performance of one of Bowie’s finest lesser-known moments.
3. PJ Harvey and Bjork, “Satisfaction (live).” Well, you had to figure that this pair of phenomenal women would bring out the seedy undercurrent in the Stones’ classic, didn’t you? ‘Cause you’d be right. PJ slows it down and draws it out, with her Icelandic pal on backing vox, doing some surprising growling.
4. Placebo, “20th Century Boy.” For some misguided reason, when Todd Haynes (now best known for directing Far from Heaven) came looking for contemporary artists to contribute to the soundtrack of his glam valentine Velvet Goldmine, the most obvious choice, Suede, said no. Fortunately, the second-most obvious choice said yes. An androgyne like Brian Molko was tailor-made to cover T.Rex, and accordingly turns in a tour de force performance, ripping it up with élan, infusing his fashion with passion.
5. The Pogues featuring Joe Strummer, “I Fought the Law (live).” Yes, I’m cheating just a bit, including a cover which features the lead singer of the original. But the way the Pogues redo “I Fought the Law,” with their trad Irish/folk instrumentation, is glorious.
6. Manic Street Preachers, “The Drowners (live).” Not great, admittedly. But nice to hear James Dean Bradfield singing that classic “we kiss in his room to a popular tune” lyric.
7. Oasis, “Helter Skelter (live).” Really, perfect for the Mancs to cover; I’ve always assumed that despite their Beatles obsession, they’re covering the Charles Manson version.
8. U2, “Helter Skelter (live).” “This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We’re stealin’ it back.” More faithful than Oasis’ version – and better, too. A highlight from the all-too-maligned Rattle and Hum.
9. The Cure, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” I’ve no idea of the genesis or date of this cover; it sounds like a rough-around-the-edges studio take. But fuck, really, what could make more sense? Musically speaking, Ian Curtis died so that Robert Smith could live. And rough-around-the-edges makes perfect sense, as well.
10. Suede, “Brass In Pocket (live).” What a marriage of source and supplicant. After hearing this magnificent take on one of Chrissie Hynde’s finest songs, I ache to hear Suede (or at least Brett) take on her entire catalog.
11. Robbie Williams, “Wonderwall (live).” He’s nothing if not an anthem singer (in the UK, at least), and this is nothing if not an anthem. He does the justice, in case you’re wondering. [From his Slade Castle concert.]
12. Sisters of Mercy, “Gimme Shelter.” Few bands have been covered as often as the Stones; few Stones covers are as distinctive as this. This song already had a sinister undercurrent to it in its original form; lead singer Andrew Eldritch brings it front and fucking center.
13. The Venus in Furs, “2HB.” Another from Velvet Goldmine, this one too sterling to pass up. VIF were an ersatz supergroup put together for the film, including Roxy’s Andy MacKay on sax and Thom Yorke on leads, showing remarkable restraint and understanding of Bryan Ferry’s meaning – and at points, you could nearly swear it is Ferry. That’s how good Yorke’s performance is.
14. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Dear Prudence.” Ah, the early days of 120 Minutes, when this video seemed to run every week for nearly a year. Siouxsie and company without much of their later polish, and better for it in this case. I’d certainly rather hear this than the Beatles’ original.
15. Motorhead, “God Save the Queen (live).” Now this is pretty fucking perfect. No, Lemmy’s voice doesn’t have the same character to it as Rotten’s, and no, it doesn’t matter. His sandpaperish growl still works a charm, and you know he means it. Maaaaaaan. The only real surprise here is how almost restrained Lemmy and the boys seem.
16. Joe Jackson, “Heroes (live).” From an NYC performance a few years back, Jumpin’ Joe nails Bowie’s chestnut – complete with bongos!
17. Roxy Music, “Sympathy for the Devil.” Ferry had the glamorous image (and, before him, Jerry Hall) that Jagger always wanted, and it’s never been more clear than here. Not as glam as you might expect, this is more jump-up rockism via Weimar decadence. Just as it should be.
18. Bauhaus, “Ziggy Stardust.” The man who many think created goth given tribute by his most superlative disciples. Almost makes you forget Bowie. Almost. Peter Murphy has never received the respect he deserves (mostly for Bauhaus, of course), but remember what the Pistols taught us: all crimes are paid.


Very interesting that, as The Tin Man points out, the Supreme Court overturned Texas' sodomy law "on privacy, not equal protection" - which should mean, in essence, that all sodomy laws are unconstitutional.

Because of the myriad ways sodomy laws have been used as a billyclub against gay rights (such as in custody cases,, this could be the most significant gay rights victory from the Court ever.

More thoughts as I crystallize them (particularly after reading the opinion[s] in full). The vote was 6-3.

Addendum: here is the text of the ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

I think I'm gradually deciding that I really like "Act a Fool," the new single by Ludacris. The beat is decent, not stellar, but sounds great coming out of your speakers (and on the radio, it whomps almost everything around it). The key, however, is how great Luda's voice sounds. I love hearing him rap, the way words just tumble and trip off his tongue as he do them thangs. His knack for wordplay is only matched by Jay-Hova, I think. And like Simon has pointed out previously, most of the time, Luda's tracks are on some serious future shit, even moreso than folks like Prefuse 73 (whose new album is pretty damned fine).

This made me laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. Make sure you get in on this high-stakes action.

I could really use some sweaty*, bed-breaking**, rigorous sex right now. Preferably with someone I really like***.

*Albeit in air conditioning. Yes, I know, I lose all the butch points this post might have afforded me, for saying that. But the heat index could be north of 95 today, so what else can you do?

**I've never actually broken a bed, nor anything else, during sex. If you have, let's hear about it - that's why I added comments.

***No, I won't tell you whom I'm thinking of. He knows.

For those who might be wondering, I would've posted yesterday, but got caught in the Blogger mass move, so I couldn't. All apologies, or something. Really, like you missed me.

Talked with my cousin Steve last night, and all systems are go for next weekend. Exactly 7 days from now, I'll be boarding a bus going to the train station in Newport News, to arrive 6 hours later at Union Station. Yay!

Tonight, the roomie and I host dinner for 10 (as we do every six weeks).

And have y'all heard the new single by Groove Armada featuring Sunshine Anderson, "Easy"? Talk about a disco inferno - my God, this is gorgeous, sheer beauty.

Does the RIAA really think that this strategy won't turn into a public relations nightmare? Oh, that's right, they've never considered anything like how they're seen by the masses. I have three words for you: This. Means. War.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

America's Next Top Model is sooooo the best show ever. I watched it for the first time tonight. I'm hooked.

Janice Dickinson looks like a nasty tranny now, that one model-wannabe (the blonde) reminds me of Faith Hill, and I love Elyse. Tyra Banks is a goddess for getting this show on the air. Best! Show! Ever!

You aren't working 80 hours a week anymore, so fucking blog, already.

Personal to B: you are not "pathetic," so don't even play that game with me.

How can you not respect KRS-One?

oh, Brittania: a personal history of British rock, v.3
1. Wings, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.” Banned by the BBC, yet still a big hit in ’73. Musically, not one of Macca’s best singles, but lyrically, stellar. It impresses me that he was willing to put himself out there in such a manner – especially since Paul’s not exactly known as the political Beatle. The sad thing is that 30 years on, it’s still relevant.
2. T.Rex, “Jeepster.” Simpler and more incendiary than a “Ballroom Blitz,” proof that Marc Bolan could say it with restraint just as well as he could with bombast.
3. Sex Pistols, “Anarchy in the UK.” Get pissed. Destroy!
4. Buzzcocks, “What Do I Get.” The gorgeous sound of garage punk bands the world over, complete with jump-up drumming. The difference is that the ‘cocks had superlative songwriting backing them up.
5. Elvis Costello, “Radio Radio (live on Saturday Night Live).” After being told he couldn’t play it, he went ahead and did it anyway. That’s punk.
6. Boomtown Rats, “I Don’t Like Mondays.” Bob Geldof wasn’t always a self-righteous prick, you know.
7. Adam and the Ants, “Stand and Deliver.” For about two years, Britain was in the grip of Antmania, and rightfully so – Adam and his boys improbably married punkish attitude with fashion, glam with perfect pop-rock, and did it with such style that it could only be called Antmusic. There’d been nothing like it prior. There still hasn’t.
8. Echo and the Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon.” One of the ‘80s’ finest independent bands on possibly their finest single, pointing out new possibilities and new ways of doing things – and featuring the stunningly gorgeous tones of lead singer Ian MacCulloch.
9. The Style Council, “Shout to the Top!” Jazzy, Parisian-influenced pop seemed to be a better-fitting suit for Paul Weller than his previous agit-pop incarnation, and lent his bitter lyrics a better twist (with lots of lemon).
10. New Order, “The Perfect Kiss.” The perfect band? Perhaps not, but damned near close, using technology to their best advantage, along with Peter Hook’s amazing basswork and Bernard Sumner’s little-boy-lost vocal stylings. And their lyrics, their lyrics! One of the most important bands ever, no doubt.
11. The Housemartins, “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.” They featured the future leader of the Beautiful South and the future Fatboy Slim. They wrote some of the most arch pop songs to ever grace the UK charts. They could hardly miss. They didn’t.
12. Prefab Sprout, “The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Paddy McAloon is the second-greatest UK songwriter of the ‘80s, period (the first is, of course, Morrissey), capable of writing bossa novas as easily as straightforward rock’n’roll. If you’re unsure, listen to this and report back. If you’re still unsure, grab their genius The Collection. If you’re still unsure after that, leave this house.
13. Ride, “Vapour Trail.” Walls of droning, vibrating guitars into a cavernous void. Only better.
14. Curve, “Faît Accompli.” Crashing, falling, synthetic tremors, the storm before the calm, topped by the fiercely ethereal vox of Toni Halliday, like Liz Fraser with steroid injections.
15. Morrissey, “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get.” My ’93-’94 mantra, nearly. Moz and self-esteem issues: who knew?
16. Blur, “Song 2.” Wherein the Britpop Princes attempt to get in tune with their flannel-wearing side, and almost come off convincingly. But do succeed in rocking out.
17. Manic Street Preachers, “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next.” Only Wales’ finest trio could pull off a #1 single about the Spanish Civil War with this much aplomb.
18. Placebo, “Every You Every Me.” If Brett Anderson is Bowie – which he isn’t – Brian Molko is Bolan-cum-Ferry, only much, much sexier.
19. Primal Scream, “Bomb the Pentagon (live).” …and then there are the misguided moves by the great bands.

Song lyric of the month:

"I want so badly to believe
That there is truth
That love is real."

- Postal Service, "Clark Gable" (Give Up, Sub Pop, 2003)

I believe.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Excellent article at about the relationship between blogs and traditional media - definitely worth a read.

I guess this augments my 100 things...
[Warning: it's really long.]

Stolen from Jenn:
Started at 8:24pm.
1. Kissed your cousin: No.
2. Ran away: Yes.
3. Pictured your crush naked: Of course!
4. Actually seen your crush naked: No(t yet).
5. Broken someone's heart: I think so.
6. Been in love: Oh, yeah.
7. Cried when someone died: No.
8. Wanted someone you knew you couldn't have: Uh-huh.
9. Broken a bone: My left arm, when I was 4.
10. Drank alcohol: That would be “yes.”
11. Lied: Yes.
12. Cried in school: Yes, at the end of watching West Side Story in 10th grade. And my friends say they didn’t know!

13. COKE OR PEPSI: Pepsi.
14. SPRITE OR 7UP: Sprite.
16. FLOWERS OR CANDY: Flowers (preferably red roses).
17. SCRUFF OR CLEAN SHAVEN: Depends on the guy.
18. QUIET OR LOUD: Depends on my mood.
21. TALL OR SHORT: Tall.
22. PANTS OR SHORTS: Shorts.

24. LAST PERSON YOU SLOW DANCED WITH: I honestly don’t know.
25. WORST QUESTION TO ASK: What are your stats?

26. SHOWERED: This morning.
27. HAD SEX: [deleted]

29. YOUR GOOD LUCK CHARM: Don’t have one.
30. PERSON YOU HATE MOST: I try not to hate; it takes up too much energy. That having been said, I strongly dislike my ex right now.
31. THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU TODAY: A certain phone conversation.

32. COLOR: Black.
33. MOVIES: Citizen Kane, sex, lies and videotape, Do The Right Thing
36. JUICE: Cranberry.
37. CARS: Those obnoxious Humvees look pretty cool. And I love a Mazda Miata convertible.
38. ICE CREAM: Breyer’s Peach.
39. HOLIDAY: New Year’s Eve.
40. SEASON: Autumn.
41. BREAKFAST FOOD: Biscuits and sausage gravy.
42. PLACE TO GO WITH YOUR HONEY: Don’t have one at the present.

44. MAKES YOU SMILE: Do I have to pick one? Then Stumpy.
46. HAS A CRUSH ON YOU: [deleted]
47. DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH ON: About 10 bloggers, and one former blogger in particular.

52. SAVE E-MAILS: Sometimes.
55. CRIED BECAUSE OF SOMEONE'S MEAN WORDS: Not that I can honestly remember.

56. COLOGNE: I’ve always had a thing for Drakkar Noir – but on other men, not me.
57. PERFUME: None.
58. KISS: Oh, gosh... to be diplomatic or honest? Ah, hell – Michael’s probably the best kisser I’ve known.
59. ROMANTIC MEMORY: The time Tremayne was over an hour late picking me up at Penn Station in Chicago, and I was terrified and alone, and when he showed up, he had with him a single, perfect red rose.
60. MOST RECENT ADVICE GIVEN TO YOU: “You have to make whatever changes you need, to reach your goals.” Thanks, Jenn!

61. Fallen for your best friend?: Nope.
63. Been rejected?: Uh, yeah.
64. Been in love?: Yes.
65. Been in lust?: Of course.
66. Used someone?: Yes, but it was mutual.
67. Been used?: More than once.
68. Cheated on someone?: Yes, unfortunately.
69. Been cheated on?: Not that I know of.
70. Been kissed?: Of course!
71. Done something you regret?: Yes.

72. You touched?: Michael.
73. You talked to?: Michael.
74. You hugged?: Anita.
75. You instant messaged?: Chrisafer.
76. You kissed?: Chas (chastely, mind you).
77. You had sex with?: [deleted]
78. You yelled at?: Jenn, undoubtedly.
79. You laughed with?: Michael.
80. Who broke your heart?: Tremayne.
81. Who told you they loved you?: Mom.

82. Color your hair?: I bleached it once, but that was over 15 years ago. So, no.
83. Have tattoos?: No.
84. Have piercings?: No.
85. Have a boyfriend/girlfriend/both?: No.
86. Own a webcam?: No.
87. Own a thong?: Yes.
88. Ever get off the damn computer?: On occasion.
89. Sprechen sie deutsche?: No.
90. Habla espanol?: Not other than what I know from Sesame Street and Ricky Martin records. Good Lord, that sounds really gay.
91. Quack?: No.

92. Stolen anything?: Shoplifting, in my teens.
93. Smoke?: Yes, Camel filters (hard pack).
94. Schizophrenic?: No.
95. Obsessive?: No.
96. Compulsive?: Not really, anymore.
97. Obsessive compulsive?: No.
98. Panic?: No.
99. Anxiety?: No.
100. Depressed?: Sometimes.
101. Suicidal?: A long time ago, a long time behind me.
102. Obsessed with hate?: No.
103. Dream of mutilated bodies, blood, death, and gore?: Never.
104. Dream of doing those things instead of just seeing them?: Nope.
105. If you could be anywhere, where would you be?: In D.C.
106. Can you do anything freakish with your body?: Depends on what you consider “freakish,” but in all likelihood, no.
107. What facial feature do you find the most attractive on others?: Eyes.
108. Would you vote for a woman candidate for president?: Sure.
109. Would you marry for money?: No, unlike some people I’ve known.
110. Have you had braces?: No.
111. Do you pluck your eyebrows?: No.
112. Do you like hairy backs?: Doesn’t bother me, as long as it’s not a fur coat kinda back.
113. When was the last time you had a hickey?: Months ago, last winter.
114. Could you live without a computer?: I’d rather not think about that.
115. Do you use ICQ, AOL Buddy list etc...?: Yahoo and AIM.
116. If so, how many people are on your list(s)?: 7 on AIM, too many on Yahoo.
117. If you could live in any past, where would it be?: Greenwich Village in the ‘70s, without the impending spread of AIDS to worry about.
118. Where is Question 118? Underneath the bunker.
119. Do you wear shoes in the house or take them off?: Take ‘em off.
120. What is your favorite fruit?: Peaches.
121. Do you eat wheat bread or white?: White.
122. What is your favorite place to visit?: Ocracoke.
123. What is the last movie you saw?: Bringing Down the House, last Saturday.
124. Do you kiss on the first date?: Yes.
125. Are you photogenic?: Sometimes.
126. Do you dream in color or black and white?: Color.
127. Are you wearing fingernail polish?: No.
128. Is it chipped or fresh?: N/A.
129. Do you have any dimples?: No.
130. Do you remember being born?: No.
131. Why do you take surveys?: Because I can. And because they’re informative for other people reading my answers.
132. Do you drink alcohol? If so, what is your favorite drink?: Yes. Generally, Limòn and Coke.
149. Do you write poetry?: Not in a long time.
150. Do you snore?: Uh, yes.
151. Do you sleep more on your back, front, or sides?: All of the above. I generally go to sleep on my back, and awaken on my front.
153. Do you lick stamps?: That’s why there are pre-glued stamps.
154. Do you use an electric can opener?: No.
155. Have you ridden in a hot air balloon?: No. Something about heights, fear...
156. Which hurts the most, physical or emotional pain?: Emotional, of course.
157. Favorite TV show?: Can I just say the Weather Channel?
158. Do you know anyone who is clinically depressed?: Yup.
159. Do you prefer a piano or a violin?: Depends on my mood, but probably piano.
160. Are you a sex addict?: No.
161. Do you know someone who has cancer?: Not that I know of.
162. Do you like to argue?: Never.
163. Do you hunt?: Never have, never will. Unless men count.
164. Do you like fast food joints, or expensive restaurants?: All of the above, but my wallet generally says fast food.
165. Would you rather visit a zoo or an art museum?: Art museum.
166. Do you have a middle name? What is it?: Yes. Andrew.
167. Are you basically a happy person?: Yes.
168. Are you tired?: No.
169. Did you drink anything with caffeine in it today?: Of course. Pepsi.
170. Have you ever met anyone off the internet?: Yes.
171. How many phones do you have in your house?: Two, both cell phones.
172. How long is your hair?: About ½”.
173. Do you get along with your parents?: Yes.
174. What color of eyes do you prefer?: Blue, but I’m not picky.
175. Full name: Thomas Andrew Inskeep.
176. Were you named after anyone?: No.
177. Do you wish on stars? Not generally, but I have.
178. Which finger is your favorite? Huh?
179. When did you last cry? It’s been years. Probably the last time I watched Hoosiers (don’t laugh!).
181. Do you like your handwriting?: Yes.
182. Who do you admire, why?: My parents, especially my father, more than anyone else.
183. What is the #1 priority in your life?: To be happy.
184. What is your favorite lunchmeat?: Ham.
185. Any bad habits?: Yes, and I’m not telling.
186. What is your most embarrassing CD?: The easy listening CDs I made myself? I don’t embarass that easily when it comes to music.
187. If you were another person, would you be friends with yourself?: Depends on what kind of person that other person was, but I’d certainly hope so. I’m an alright guy.
188. Are you a daredevil?: No.
189. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell?: Unfortunately, yes.
Question 190 was not here.
191. Do looks matter? Honestly?: Sure they do – you’ve got to have some physical attraction.
192. Have you ever misused a word and it sounded absolutely stupid?: I’ll never tell.
193. Do you think there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?: Literally, no.
194. Do fish have feelings?: I don’t really care.
195. Are you trendy?: Nope. I’m not cool enough to be trendy.
196. How do you release anger?: Journalling, listening to loud, angry music (Sex Pistols, Guns ‘N Roses, N.W.A.).
197. Where is your second home?: I have but one.
198. Do you trust others easily?: Too easily, generally.
199. What was your favorite toy[s] as a child?: Anything by Fisher-Price.
200. What class in school do you think is totally useless?: P.E.
201. Do you like sappy love songs?: Get me in the right mood...
202. Have you ever been on radio or television?: Yup.
203. Do you have a journal?: Yes.
204. Do you use sarcasm a lot?: I try, but usually fail.
205. Have you ever been in another country?: Yes, Canada.
206. What do you look for in a guy?: Honesty, wit, a personal style, the ability to make me laugh, the ability to make me feel special.
207. What is your nickname?: Submeat.
208. Would you bungee jump?: It’s that fear, heights thing again.
209. Do you untie your shoes every time you take them off?: Yes.
210. What are you worried about right now?: Money.
211. Do you ever wear overalls?: If I owned them, I would.
212. Do you think you are strong?: Eh.
213. What's your mom's job?: Nurse.
214. What's your dad's job?: Pastor.
215. What's your least favorite thing in the world?: Hatred.
216. How many wisdom teeth do you have?: None.
Question 217 and 218 were deleted for some reason.
219. What would you change about yourself?: Precious little. More confidence, maybe. My teeth.
220. Who is most likely to respond to this first?: N/A.
221. Who are the people you care most about?: My family, Stumpy, the ‘gang’...
222. I see: My monitor.
223. I need: More funds.
224. I find: Pennies, and pick them up.
225. I want: A husband.
226. I have: so many blessings in my life.
227. I wish: R. Kelly had never written that song.
228. I love: my family and friends.
229. I hate: We addressed that above (see #30).
230. I miss: My family, and Stumpy.
231. I fear: Heights. Snakes.
232. I feel: Good.
233. I hear: Pete Heller’s “Big Room Drama,” and my box fan running on high.
234. I smell: Cigarette smoke.
235. I wonder: If I’ll find that one man.
236. I regret: The way I treated my ex-husband.

When was the last time I ...
237. Smiled?: Within the last hour.
238. Laughed?: Ditto.
239. Cried?: Didn’t I already answer some of these questions? A couple years ago.
240. Bought something?: Lunch at Subway.
241. Danced?: Yesterday, in my room, by myself.
242. Were sarcastic?: Probably at work today.
243. Kissed someone?: Saturday night, saying goodbye to Chas.
244. Talked to an ex?: Every day, technically; I live with one.
245. Watched your favorite movie?: It’s been too long.
246. Do you own any plaid clothing?: I don’t think so.
247. Do you own Converse shoes?: No.
248. Do you own Saucony shoes?: No.
249. Do you own old school Nikes?: No.
250. Do you wear tight pants?: I’ve been known to.
251. Is there more than one zipper in your pants?: No.

In the last day:
252. Worn a skirt: No.
253. Been mean: No.
254. Been sarcastic: Probably (see #242).
255. Met someone new: No.
256. Talked to someone you have a crush on: Yes.
257. Missed someone: Yes.
258. Hugged someone: Yes.
259. Fought with your parents: No.
260. Wished upon a star: No.
261. Laughed until you cried: No.
262. Played Truth or Dare: No.
263. Watched a sunrise/sunset: No.
264. Went to the beach at night: No.
265. Spent quality time alone: Yes. I do that every day.
266. Read a book for fun: Yes. I do that every day, too.
267. Are you lonely: Occasionally.
268. Are you wearing your pajamas: No. I don’t own any.
269. Are you talking to someone online: Not at the moment.
279. How long did this survey take you: 50 minutes.
Finally ended at 9:14pm.

Could OutKast be on any more future shit if they tried?!

Speakerboxx/The Love Below.
August 19.
August 19.
August 19.
That's less than 2 months away.
I think I can handle that.
I hope I can. has a solid piece up today on the summer concert season, but what most struck me was this:

"Artists appealing to older audiences, including Pearl Jam... ."

I feel very old now.

You know how yesterday I mentioned Kurtis Mantronik's "King of the Beats"? Today, I just happened to be listening to one of the greatest singles to ever sample it, one I don't know how I left out of last year's top 90 of the '90s: "Touch Me, Tease Me" by Case featuring Foxy Brown, an utterly perfect R&B summer jam (with an uncredited MJB on backing vocals!). Just thought you should know.

"Mourn the losses, because they're many.
But celebrate the victories, because they're few."

- Debbie Novotny (Sharon Gless), Queer as Folk (Showtime, 2003)

For most of its first two seasons, QAF was the show I hated to love. It was packed full of sex and drama (of the drama queen variety), pretty people with uncomplicated lives, all suds and no cleaning power. But this season, something clicked in the series. Its increasing focus on its characters' relationships helped quite a bit, and lead to deeper character development, showing us new sides of the cast. Debbie became less shrill and more vulnerable as we saw her through her relationship with Horvath. Ben became a 'roid pig, and came back. Mel and Lindsay's relationship was tested by their decision to have another child. And so on. Even Brian and Justin's relationship came (at least partway) full circle.

The story lines were more compelling, too, most of all the Pittsburgh mayoral race, in which Brian was up to his neck through the whole thing (on both sides of the fence). Babies, teen runaways, and Tina queens, oh my! Even Michael's Uncle Vic got himself a man. And it all led up to an excellent season finale which showed a much needed new side to Michael, not to mention the continuing maturation of new character Hunter (that being the only cliffhanger heading into the fourth season). For the most part, the series can go anywhere from here - which is just as it should be. Here's hoping it returns sooner, rather than later (Showtime's renewed QAF for another two seasons already). I can finally watch Queer as Folk without feeling embarassed.

I'm a Supreme Court freak. [I like to call them the Supremes, myself.] The rulings handed down by those nine select judges affect every one of us in varying ways and degrees. Congress can pass laws, the President can sign them - but the Supremes can overturn them. I already had an obvious interest in Lawrence v. Texas, but reading The Tin Man over the last couple of weeks has really ramped up my interest in the case. Upon his mention of it, I've started reading Joyce Murdoch + Deb Price's Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court, which is fascinating, very well-researched writing (and reading).

And for those wondering, the Supremes will render their verdict on Lawrence v. Texas Thursday morning, 10am.

I don't care how cheesy it may seem; the Peter Rauhofer mix of Christina's "Beautiful" rescues the song from ballad-land and transforms it into something truly uplifting. I unequivocably love this fucking record.

Michael's post today got me thinking about death, and how it relates to me.

I've been very fortunate in that I've only had one person close to me pass from this mortal coil, my grandfather on my Mom's side. My Dad's Dad died when I was about 5, and his Mom died before I was born, so my Mom's parents have always been my Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa's the finest, most brilliant man I've ever known. He was the Executive Director of the Overseas Division of the National Council of Churches for a time in the '60s, which included a private audience with the Pope at one point. I'm not Catholic, but how many people get a private audience with the Pope?! He was a Baptist minister for years before that - Mom grew up in, amongst other places, Flint, MI, Montclair, NJ, and the Panama Canal Zone (!!!). After leaving the WCC, he and Grandma ran a retirement home in the suburbs of Boston, MA for a while. In 1981, my Aunt Muffet decided to move to Indiana to be closer to her only sibling, and less than 12 months later, Grandma and Grandpa moved out, too. So I was incredibly blessed to be able to spend lots of time with G&G during my pre- and teenage years. And I needed 'em.

G&G were my refuge from - well, everything. They seemed to understand me in a way my parents didn't (and isn't that often the case with grandparents?). In their first house in North Manchester, the one on Elm Street, they had a little faux-guest room set up for use by the grandkids. I'd often go to their house after school on Friday nights when I was in junior high and sleep over - I could stay down there by myself and stay up late and watch Friday Night Videos (this was pre-cable, folks). Grandpa was a very well-read man, and constantly encouraged me to work my brain; it didn't hurt that they lived a half-block from my beloved public library. He pushed vocabulary, too, and I credit him with mine, which I frankly take pride in (who wants to sound stupid?). He proofread my papers, he talked with me about the books I was reading (both for pleasure and school), and he always was there, taking pride in my accomplishments. That didn't change once I hit high school, though I know it bothered him that I became a bit of a slacker (coasting, getting Bs and Cs when by all rights I should've been a straight-A student). And by then, G&G had cable, which meant endless hours of MTV when I visited, yay!

In late October of 1992, I was back in college for the first time in nearly three years, a fact which made Grandpa very happy. And then one Monday morning, he fell at home. His lung collapsed and filled with fluid. Mind you, Grandpa had never had any health problems - the only medication he took was a daily aspirin, for his high blood pressure. [He was less than 2 weeks away from his 74th birthday.] He was rushed to the hospital. He was there for 6 days, his condition never better than critical. And then, on October 31, 1992, he died.

The doctors never figured out what happened, what caused his lung to collapse and then fill with fluid. The one good thing I can say about Grandpa's death is that it was so sudden - there was no long, drawn out illness and attendant period of mourning (like we're dealing with now with Grandma, who has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home). He was very suddenly, in less than 7 days, gone. And I was so angry. We held his memorial service a week later, on what would have been his 74th birthday. I hated it. We had a receiving line, so that his friends could express their condolences to his family, I guess. I stood there, teeth gritted, livid. How dare these people try to tell me that they knew what I was going through, or that they were very sorry for my loss. They didn't know **** [censored as Grandpa always loathed profanity], I thought. I burned with anger all through his memorial; it didn't help that I strongly disliked G&G's pastor, a very new age kind of Brethren woman. I resented her. I resented everyone that day. It had already been a week since his passing, and I had dealt to an extent with it. Now it was all getting raked up again. I'm not sure I've ever been more filled with rage in my life. I spent much of the remainder of the semester drunk, when I wasn't crying (or fuming) my way through my counselling sessions.

Since then, I've never liked Halloween, nor had much use for it; for me, it will always be the day my beloved Grandpa died. But I've slowly been realizing how counterproductive that is. Instead, I should be celebrating Grandpa's full, rich life. And Halloween's just a silly holiday. Why not loosen up a little and enjoy it, rather than acting like I'm sitting shiva every October 31st? So this year, I'm going to do just that. I'll be in D.C. for a bowling tournament, CHIT, and am going to have some ****ing fun. I didn't die. So I'd damned well better live while I can.

And every day I go to work, I look at a picture of Grandpa on my desk. He's getting off a Pan American Orient Airways flight (which should tell you how old the picture is), looking snappy in his suit, and smiling. Every day, sometimes in ways I don't even realize, my Grandpa gives me strength. The best way I can honor his memory is by continually working to achieve my goals and fulfill my potential. And that's just what I'm trying to do, a little bit every day.

Raymond A. Gray, 1918-1992. R.I.P.

The Cremaster Cycle will be showing at Visions in D.C. over the 4th. Wanna go?

Had a good, relaxing day yesterday. Woke up earlier than I intended to, so I hopped online, sent some email, downloaded some tunage, did some IMing. Once I got around to leaving the house, I ended up going to Hardee's for some sweet tea, to read and journal. Got a job application at Rite-Aid (am looking for a second, part-time job - applied at 7-Eleven last week). Meandered around the neighborhood a bit. Went home to make dinner (nachos!) and watch Sex and the City. Nothing too exciting, or taxing - just the way I (often) like my Sundays.

Today's fine, starting the week off well. The boss called in sick today - something she does about once a year - so I'm able to hop on an unused computer at the office and spend most of the day surfing the web. You'd think I'd take this opportunity to blog, but I'm feeling a bit low on inspiration...

Best previously-unknown-to-me song I've discovered via my launchcast: Chic's "At Last I Am Free" (Risqué, Atlantic, 1978).

GeekSlut's audioblogging again. Hallelujah!

Also: great weekend entries from Adam (a Sunday post!) and Todd, personal yet about universal truths. Very much worth your time.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

We've had two consecutive rain-free days here in Norfolk. Should that worry me? It's the first time that's happened in, I think, at least 3 weeks.

And most of this week, while it's apparently not going to be particularly rainy, the highs will be hovering around 90. Oh, joy. I detest summer. I'm ready for September already.

Does the "male" voice on the bridge of Missy Elliot's "Pussycat" (which I hope is the official third single from Under Construction, as it's slinky and sexy like we haven't heard her in some time) remind anyone else of Prince's pitch-play with his own voice on records such as "Bob George"?

Well, well, well. The season premiere of Sex and the City (the final season! *sniff*!), "To Market, To Market," was everything I'd hoped it would be. Samantha's back to her ways (if I need to tell you, you've never seen the show, have you?), Carrie's got first-date jitters with Berger, Miranda's dealing with Steve (as ever), and Charlotte's discovering the travails of being a shiksa. Oh, and there's a very surprising run-in near the episode's end which made my jaw drop involuntarily. The script was as polished as Charlotte's silver, and the acting by (and chemistry between) the show's four leads is as spot-on as it's ever been. Marvelous!

My only complaint: I really don't get some of the outfits Carrie sports. For example, in this photo (from the last season finale), is she wearing a towel? Not so smashing.

And, as par for the course (blog?), I feel like I'm the last kid on the block to add Room Sixteen. Anyway, his blog is good stuff, and he's woofy.

Along the same lines, why did I just realize last week that that's sexgod Dave Navarro playing guitar on XTina's "Fighter"?
"Because you're an idiot."
"Oh, yeah, that's it."

- Heathers, 1989

Only one record worthy of particular note in this week's UK singles chart - after a 20-year career which has produced some huge landmarks across the diaspora of dance music (from techno to house to turntablism), most notably "King of the Beats" (indie kids: it's sampled in Beck's "Where It's At"; hiphoppers: it's sampled in nearly anything before '98), Kurtis Mantronik has his first-ever top 40 single in the UK this week with "How Did You Know," a gorgeous slab of string-laden house featuring vocals from Chamonix. Tres scrumptuous.

Finished up reading Allison Burnett's debut novel, Christopher (Broadway Books, 2003) early this morning before sleep. It's an exceedingly good first effort which ends in a quite lovely manner. The novel concerns B.K. Troop, a not-very-attractive 40-something gay man with too much wit and refinement for his own good, who to his utter dismay falls for a 20-something straight divorced man next door. I particularly appreciate Burnett's well-timed use of phrase "[he] asked for nothing in return," one that always get me right - here. Definitely recommended.

Mucho props to Waremouse for pointing me in the direction of "oppression is (not) expression", a DJ mix by Aaron Hedges. This is blinding squelchy techno, dark and delicious, just the way you (should) like it. Hints of goth and electro percolate throughout, and it takes a glorious, surprising, hard 180-degree-turn near its end. It's the best fucking mix I've heard all year. Download it for yourself and see (hear).

Yeah Yeah Yeahs RAWK, McCartney "spineless" - yeah, that about sums it up.

Good God, y'all have no idea how much I loathe Evanescence. "Ooh, if we add a chick singer to the mook-rock template, everyone'll think it's something new and exciting!" Er, I don't fucking think so. At least Creed are honestly shit. Evanescence are like a marketer's wet dream. They. Must. Be. Stopped.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Someone viewed my blog today via a comment I left on my own blog. So you were already here, right? Weird. It's like a Moebius strip.

Another Saturday, which meant good time spent with Chas (don't hate him because he's beautiful, hate him because he works for the city of Virginia Beach). After some blissfully aimless meandering around Sandbridge, we went to Cinema Cafe to finally see Bringing Down the House, which we both found riotous. I love Steve Martin in nearly anything, and he didn't disappoint here. Queen Latifah is marvelous onscreen; she just has prescence. And Eugene Levy is the whitest man alive, and I mean that as a compliment. Hearing him utter the line "You got me straight trippin', boo!" is worth the price of admission alone (I know it's in the trailer, but it's all about the context). Was this life-changing film? No. But it was awfully funny - and wait'll you see Joan Plowright. [Yes, it had a cheesy ending. But what else would you expect, really?]

Time for a new blog of the week. He's new (his blog is a mere 9 days old), he's cute, he has stellar musical taste (Husker Du and deep house? I'm so there, dude), and he titled a post "swimming in a sea of manflesh." If that's not worthy of blog of the week, then I dunno nothin'. Meet John, a/k/a Waremouse. Let's do some trainspotting!'s superb Greg Garber on the amazing career of Andre Agassi. [Wimbledon starts Monday, yay!]

Yes, I know, me the sports fan and I haven't yet touched on the meme popular with all the cool bloggers this week. Herewith, sports dinner-for-five:
+Tim Duncan
+Wally Sczerbiak (I have a thing for tall, dorky white boys, okay?)
+Kurt Warner
+Mike Piazza
+Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

This, of course, is just based on physical attractiveness. If I was going for conversation, it'd be very different. Like this:
+John Wooden
+Serena Williams
+Bob Knight
+Peyton Manning (well, he's not hard on the eyes)
+Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (I can defend this! I actually read his autobiography/a season-in-the-driver's-seat book, Driver 8, and it's really good!)

Friday, June 20, 2003

oh, Brittania: a personal history of British rock, v.2
1. David Bowie, “Rebel Rebel.” His face was a mess. He had torn his dress.
2. Thin Lizzy, “The Boys Are Back in Town.” A masterstroke by a bar band who, frankly, got real lucky. Of course, if you came up with a guitar riff like this, you’d deserve to get lucky, too. Or if a man with the star quality of Phil Lynott was your lead singer. Or if you came up with as bloody spirited and perfect a lyric.
3. Roxy Music, “Love is the Drug.” Substance over style - but plenty of style, too.
4. Public Image Limited, “Public Image.” Definitive proof that second acts exist, and can if not eclipse, then be the equal to opening acts. Leaving the Rotten life behind him, John Lydon concentrated on his art, and succeeded in spades, crafting an amalgam of disco, dub, art (but not prog) rock, and new wave textures, bringing with him absurdly talented sidemen including Jah Wobble and Keith Levine. Their manifesto as pop single.
5. The Cure, “Let’s Go To Bed.” When not suicidally depressed, Robert Smith could be a cheeky fellow. Always a fine lyricist, he hasn’t often topped his opening bon mot here: “Let me take your hands/I’m shaking like milk.”
6. Marianne Faithfull, “Broken English.” Mick’n’Keef long behind her, Faithfull took a massive leap of, well, faith, enveloping herself in synthetic textures whilst yet keeping her lyrics as spiky as e’er. If not moreso. A blinding triumph from an album good enough to bear its name.
7. The Police, “Invisible Sun.” Sting wasn’t always a pretentious asshole, you know.
8. The Pretenders, “Back on the Chain Gang.” Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benatar, and Joan Jett influenced an entire generation of “women in rock,” but none were cooler than Chrissie, because not only could she compose pop diamonds in her sleep, she just didn’t give a fuck what you thought.
9. Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cities in Dust.” Wherein Sioux and the boys married their pose to their art and made it work at last, on ‘86’s Tinderbox.
10. Morrissey, “The Last of the Famous International Playboys.” Not a love letter from Moz to the Krays - a love letter from the character Moz is inhabiting, to the Krays. Those guitar squiggles are a fine precursor to his future work with Mick Ronson.
11. My Bloody Valentine, “Only Shallow.” Isn’t Anything may well be the most important UK album of the ‘90s, marrying (to be hugely simplistic) the Mary Chain to the Cocteau Twins. Massively influential. Even more brilliant.
12. Stone Roses, “I Wanna Be Adored.” Baggy. Mancunian. Shambling. Dance-rock. Blame them, and…
13. Happy Mondays, “Loose Fit (12” Version).” E’s are good, E’s are good. The most thrilling fusion of dance and rock since Motown.
14. U2, “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses.” Not their finest record by any means, but quite possibly Bono’s finest opening lyric: “You’re dangerous/’cause you’re honest.”
15. Pulp, “Disco 2000.” Paired with “Common People,” proof that Jarvis Cocker should’ve been the king of Britain in ’96 instead of either Damon or Noel’n’Liam. The most acute songwriter from the British Isles since Neil Tennant; ah, what could have been…
16. Suede, “Trash.” The glam revivalists at their glammiest, dripping androgyny and glitter as they ride the gutters.
17. Radiohead, “The National Anthem.” Art rockers go all Aphex Twin and get crazy with the cheese whiz, complete with horn section; film at 11.
18. Robbie Williams, “Rock DJ.” “No, Robbie, Austin Powers shouldn’t be your role model. Oh, alright then, you cheeky monkey, but just this once.” Treats the Stones’ “Miss You” as tabula rasa to fine effect.

Not intended to be definitive, or necessarily obvious. Sometimes intentionally obtuse. No Beatles. All mine (note use of the word "personal").

oh, Brittania: a personal history of British rock, v.1
1. The Who, “Baba O’Riley.” Well, it’s obvious, innit? It’s all a teenage wasteland.
2. Rolling Stones, “Bitch.” The nastier Mick’n’Keef are, generally, the better. Case in point.
3. T.Rex, “Children of the Revolution.” Excepting man-of-a-thousand-faces Bowie, and birthed-in-but-not-of-it Bryan Ferry, Marc Bolan was the God of glam; this is his most boogie-ing moment atop the mountain.
4. Queen, “Hammer to Fall.” Freddie Mercury and Brian May were Mick’n’Keef gone fey, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry gone British. At their heights, they rocked you like a hurricane.
5. Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen.” The start of the new revolution.
6. The Clash, “The Guns of Brixton.” If the Pistols were N.W.A., the Clash were Public Enemy - they had the musical talent and knowhow, and the political import, to back their shit up.
7. The Jam, “The Eton Rifles.” Pissed off but never pissy, Paul Weller’s gang made pop roughed about the edges, a Clash for the good kids.
8. Bauhaus, “Telegram Sam.” Every goth band starts here, but none did it better.
9. Ian Dury and the Blockheads, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.” Utterly inspired out-of-time pop.rock lunacy from Dury and company. When he starts convulsing over the “hit me!”s in the song’s coda, you gotta believe him.
10. Joy Division, “Transmission.” Not goth, but post-new wave gloom. It’s hard to believe that Ian Curtis could’ve gotten better, so maybe it’s a good thing he did what he did - at least we got the colossus that is New Order out of it.
11. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Just Like Honey.” Like the Pixies and Sonic Youth after them, and the Velvet Underground preceding, nearly everyone who bought Psychocandy started a band. Thank God. The shoegazers were taking notes, as was ascendant God Kevin Shields. The brothers Reid were the finest merchants of feedback since their idol Bo Diddley.
12. The Smiths, “Shoplifters of the World Unite.” Whilst Marr plays like Nero on the fiddle post-absinthe, all dreamy, hazed chords, Morrissey just sings his life.
13. The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, “Fairytale of New York.” The finest, and potentially nastiest, contemporary Christmas song ever: “you scumbag, you maggot, ya cheap lousy faggot,” MacColl spits at Shane MacGowan, as the boys from Eire play a reel for the damned.
14. PJ Harvey, “50 Ft Queenie.” Only the best new female singer of the last decade, Harvey harnesses a simultaneous ferocity and delicacy like no one this side of Robert Plant. And looks better doing so.
15. Lush, “Sweetness and Light.” Alongside Mancunians Ride, they were the twin towers of shoegaze/dreampop/insert your favorite term here, but endured longer, perhaps in part due to their, well, dreamy female (not femme) vocals? The guitars wash over you like warm oceans loaded with jellyfish.
16. Blur, “Parklife.” There’s Britpop, and then there’s “Parklife.” Damon before the fall.
17. Oasis, “Cigarettes and Alcohol.” Well, you can’t have one circa ’95 without the other, can you? Ah, to remember the days when the Gallagher brothers simply made some of the most exciting rock around, and hadn’t shown themselves as complete arseholes.
18. The Prodigy, “Smack My Bitch Up.” Funny to think that in ’97, the most exciting British bands - Prodigy, Chemicals, Underworld - were all programming-based. On The Fat of the Land, however, the Prodigy sounded like a rock band. And reaped the rewards accordingly.
19. Manic Street Preachers, “The Masses Against the Classes.” Trying so hard to take a brief vacation back to the days of Richey and heavy eyeliner, the Manics get all loud ‘n’ caffeinated. Cue sighs of remembrance.
20. Doves, “There Goes the Fear.” They that would be Coldplay, were they a bit more boring.

[There are five volumes; we'll see how many actually get blogged.]

TGIFF: Thank God it's Fucking Friday.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

New cellphone, yay!
Bad: not a flip phone, so I'm afraid I'll end up dialing people with my ass.
Good: won't drop its signal randomly now (some of you know what I'm talking about), will hold a charge.
Overall: very good.

Thanks, you.

I first kissed another boy thanks to church.

In high school, I was very involved in my youth group. I grew up in the North Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, and we had (they likely still have) a group named the Conference Council on Youth Ministries, CCYM. I was part of CCYM for two years; we planned conference-wide activities for church youth. It was through that body that I met Goiter-Head.

That wasn’t his real name, of course; it was Greg. Even though he was two years behind me in school, we quickly became running buddies, getting into as much (largely) innocent mischief as possible. I spent Spring Break both my junior and senior years with him. His father was a minister, so my parents couldn’t complain much. We mostly listened to music and talked about stupid shit, occasionally hanging out with his friends.

Spring Break 1988, my senior year. Greg had moved to a new school due to a transfer his father received, and didn’t know many people. I don’t think he was very happy. We’d graduated to petty shoplifting, our best find a fireman’s coat left outside the stationhouse to dry. [I occasionally think that if I still had that, I’d do a lot better at the bars.] One day, we either saw or met (the memory’s cloudy) someone he knew from school, a fellow freak. I was drawn in immediately.

“Who’s that?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s Vince,” Greg replied. “He’s in the show choir,” he added, leaning on the words for emphasis, not realizing that that emphasis was exactly what I hoped to hear. This, of course, from a skinny kid with a shocking shock of (naturally) red hair who favored vaguely punkish fashion and listened to the Human League and anything on Wax Trax! [Unsurprisingly, he was later very into techno. To the best of my knowledge, he never turned out gay. He did, however, spend two years in a Texas prison for selling LSD.]

When allowed (it usually involved him calling, as my parents wouldn’t let me make long-distance calls), Greg and I burned up the phonelines. During one call soon after my week in Bremen, I asked ol’ Goiter-Head if he could ask Vince if I could have his address.

“He seems, um, interesting.” I was sweating bullets.

So Greg got me Vince’s address, and I wrote him what I’m sure was a very awkward penpal-ish letter, full of “Hi! You seem really cool”s and the like. To my shock and awe, he wrote back. Suddenly, Vince and I had gone from not even being aware of each other to sending 3 letters each way per week. I think we cautiously outed ourselves in our letters – I’m sure that was the case with me, at any speed. Vince was pretty gay (not faggy, just gay – he was in the show choir), and didn’t try to hide it. I became enraptured. He’d seen me that Spring Break week, and thought I was “cute”! Oh, my gay stars.

We made plans for me to spend a weekend with him, the first weekend in May. I think I somehow convinced Mom to drive me the 50 miles to his house. We were both into goth music, and British techno-pop like New Order; I still have the dub I made of his friend George’s copy of New Order’s Substance. George was also gay, and a good bit more flaming than Vince, but also sexy – beefy where Vince was thin. But Vince, already staking a claim, told me that if I tried anything with George, he’d be very displeased. I didn’t.

I was amazed by these two, openly gay in a town roughly the size of my own, less than 10,000 people. Their bravery honestly inspired awe in me. Sitting around George’s bedroom, trying not to look when he changed clothes, I asked them if they had problems.

“Not really,” George said.
“Sure, we get called some names, but what’s the big deal? They’re just names. Fuck ‘em if they can’t handle us.”

Vince was my hero. I was practically ready to deify him there and then. Later that evening, the three of us went out to the highway bypass to spray-paint the columns of the underpass with things like “69,” which seemed racy.

I shyly undressed, knowing that I was sharing a bed with Vince in his Mom’s trailer, but not knowing what we’d do. And not really knowing what there even was to do. We touched each other, probably still wearing our underwear. I was shocked by the heat of his cock through the fabric. He kissed me, and it felt like everything you’ve ever been taught by movies. We were hugging and kissing, and I thought that was it, the best, unstoppable. I couldn’t imagine more, really. [Have I mentioned that I knew absolutely nothing of gay sex at the age of 17?] I didn’t need to; we didn’t do much more than kiss and fondle and kinda roll around in Vince’s bed. His cock, however – the first one I’d ever touched other than my own – was startlingly long and thin, at least 8”.

But Vince did something that I didn’t realize until much later – too much later, in fact. He gave me a hickey. Roughly the size of Montana.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice said discoloration until Monday. At school. In the cafeteria. When Mike Brown stood on his chair and loudly declaimed, “hey, everyone! Tom’s got a hickey!” This as I was desperately trying to stay in the closet for just a couple for weeks, until I graduated. And this as all of my friends knew I had spent the weekend with a gay guy. The color, I’m certain, completely drained from my face and neck, bringing the hickey into a kind of bas relief. I’m not proud of what I did next, in the interest of self-preservation.

“Oh my gosh, I must be a really sound sleeper.”

I went with the tried-and-true gays-as-sexual-predators bit. I didn’t know what else to do; I knew I was neither brave nor confident enough to spend my last three weeks of high school uncloseted, fearful of the recriminations I was sure I’d suffer. So I panicked, and ran, mentally. I told all of my friends that, and then retold and retold it to classmates throughout the rest of the day (how I made it to lunch with no one saying anything about the giant red blotch on my neck, I’ve no idea).

And they all bought it, with the proverbial hook, line, and sinker.

You believe what you want to believe, and what’s in your worldview. For whatever reason, even amongst my closest friends, the mere idea of me as gay was unbelievable. So they didn’t believe it; they instead believed what I told them, which was easier.

I wish I’d been honest then.

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