Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, August 04, 2005


* The Wednesday morning DJ on the local college "world of music and ideas" station, and her show 20th Century Jazz the First Half: Her name is Joanie, and she's from Australia but sounds like she's from some passionate Victorian place -- "Welcome to my soul!" she exclaimed as she spun her first disc the other morning.

* Heard Plummet's version of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" again the other day on the high-school-student run nonprofit dance music station, C89.5 FM, Seattle's Hottest Music. Noticed that the singer wisely omits the chorus. Struck by the homosocial kiss the female narrator receives from her friend -- "she kissed me, and I realized she probably was right, there must be 50 ways to leave your lover." Pretty dense: it had never occurred to me how flirty that gesture was when dry-as-toast Paul Simon sang it -- "duh! He can leave his lover by sleeping with this woman!" A man kissing a man in that scene would be socially unacceptable in America, unless they're gay; the women in the same scene may or may not be lesbian.

The restriction on straight male behavior is too bad. A male friend of mine -- a musician and a political radical and a connoisseur of conspiracies who's in his 50s -- kisses his male friends. And flirts like hell with his female friends. I was out drinking with a bunch of "the guys" after some political get-together or other -- 5 or 6 of these white radicals in their 50s who have known each other for 25 or 30 years, and 2 of us 35 or 40-ish who'd only known everybody for 10 years. When Joe got up to leave, he gave each of us a kiss on the forehead, until he came to the most awkward of the group, a 50-something City bureaucrat and club-hopper with friends in the music industry -- a sweet guy -- and Joe wouldn't kiss him, but instead bellowed, very friendly, "Give me your hand, you goddamn Maoist." It felt like something out of a '40s film of my dreams, where all the main characters are hedonistic socialists or commies. I hadn't known the bureaucrat was a Maoist, but I believe it.

When I traveled in Egypt in '99, I delighted to see men holding hands walking down the street. I delight to see it in the neighborhood adjacent to mine too (traditionally Seattle's gay neighborhood), but it means something different.



(“Errata” sounds classier than “bloopers,” no? Or “mistakes,” “flubs,” “screw-ups,” or even “errors.” “Errata,” as a word, sounds so . . . impersonal. Institutional. As if no one is responsible for the mistakes, but they appear, gremlin-like, of their own accord. This connotation is congenial to me. Nope, no sir, uh-uh, no screw-ups in these parts -- they’re *errata*, and *nobody knows how they happen*.)

1. The other night I mentioned some covers I used to play, naming Disney and Woody Guthrie as the sources. I learned what I thought of as the Guthrie tune off one of those old records that didn’t give songwriting credits. When I later got it on CD, same deal -- no credits. It sounded like one of those old “traditional” songs; no specific, local, political, or even narrative content to speak of; basically a bluesy lament -- “Lonesome Day.” Today I got the bright idea to Google it. Woody got the song from the Carter Family (scroll down), that wonderful group from whom he got maybe 80 percent of his guitar style and a fair amount of his vocal approach, as well as a hearty healthy helping of his repertoire.

2. A few months ago an old college buddy and former bandmate who now works as a sportswriter came through town covering the Knicks. We got together for dinner one night and drinks the next. He mentioned he was on a Beatles jag, and so we talked about the Beatles, and I gave him my copy of a really good Beatles book, which I had decided to get rid of when I realized that I knew the chronology of the Beatles’ songs better than i knew my own. Case in point: I’ve recently compiled a playlist of recordings of old bands and demos and friends covering my songs, and burned some CD-Rs for friends and e-acquaintances. I typed up credits and started giving it away; then I realized that I got the dates of one of the recordings wrong. The solo acoustic demos happened winter ‘96 - ‘97, not ‘97 - ‘98. If I were the Beatles, I wouldn’t have made that mistake; whoops, I mean, that *erratum* would not have occurred.
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?