Amoeblog

One album wonders: Diane Hildebrand's Early Morning Blues and Greens

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 27, 2014 01:34am | Post a Comment
DIANE HILDEBRAND - EARLY MORNING BLUES AND GREENS (1967) 

Diane Hildebrand - Early Morning Blues and Greens

It's surprisingly hard to find much information online about singer-songwriter Diane Hildebrand, who was a professional songwriter who penned numbers for none other than The Monkees and released a single, wonderful solo album in the 1960s.



Hildebrand was apparently about eighteen when one of her compositions, "I'm On My Way," was sung by singer Barbara Dane on an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled "The Captive Hour." Her first credit was 1964’s “He Walks Like a Man” for singer Jody Miller — a song which though only a modest hit in the US was nevertheless released in FrenchGerman, and Italian cover versions. 

 
A story about Hildebrand from a 1968 edition of Monkees Monthly

Whilst working as a staff writer at Screen Gems Music Publishing (and Colgems), Hildebrand and Jack Keller co-wrote several songs for the ABC series and band, The Monkees, including “Early Morning Blues and Greens,” “Your Auntie Grizelda,”and “Goin’ Down.” Hildebrand also wrote (with Dominic Frontiere"Felicidad" and "Paint Me a Picture" which, along with "I'm On My Way," were all featured on another ABC series, The Flying Nun.

Pour one out for the Cat & Fiddle -- another pub lost in the Southland

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 20, 2014 03:54pm | Post a Comment
Sports Bar
Somewhere I don't want to be


If in the bar of your dreams every centimeter of wall (and ceiling) space is covered with banks of televisions flashing seizure-inducing commercials unblinkingly stared at by backwards-capped man-children guzzling plastic pitchers of thin macrobrew between failed attempts to scream over the top of deafening sports commentary, then you’re in luck because there are still about 2,000 places that fit that bill in Hollywood alone. If you enjoy waiting 45 minutes for a man dressed as a 19th century Canadian lumberjack to rub a mason jar with the entire contents of a spice rack then you're similarly set. 

Alan Partridge Ladyboy
Ooohhh, Ladyboys!

On the other hand, if the happy haze of your drunken hour involves sitting in a cozy corner, enjoying a round of ladyboys and perhaps playing a game of darts (or pool, skittles, dominoes, cards, or trivia) --  then you’re going to have to either broaden your horizons or let your dream die because sadly, The Cat & Fiddle is closing on 15 December after 32 years in business -- and English pubs in the Southland are becoming rarer than rain during a superdrought.

Happy Discovery Day -- Real Geographic Discoveries of the Modern Age

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 13, 2014 04:42pm | Post a Comment
Portrait of Columbus

I will not make the argument that Columbus's arrival in the New World was insignificant merely because he was an absolutely awful person or because he didn't actually discover anything (which he himself maintained, claiming until his death that he'd merely found a different route to Asia). But think about this before you dismiss -- before Columbus, avocado, bell peppers, blueberries, cashews, cassava root, chili peppers, chocolate, cocaine, gourds, maize, peanuts, pecans pineapples, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatoes, and vanilla were all unknown in the Old World and alcohol, apples, bananas, barley, cheese, coffee, mango, onions, rice, tea, and turnips, and wheat were unknown in the Americas. Imagine an existence without any of those and you can hopefully begin to get a taste of the importance of the Columbian Exchange. Imagine Italian cuisine without tomato sauce or gnocchi and you can't help but wonder if this is why Columbus is so dear to many Italians. Imagine, on the other hand, genocide, slavery, and old world diseases and you'll understand why he's even more hated by many others. 



Vive les minets - French Dandyism in the 1960s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 8, 2014 08:00pm | Post a Comment
As a fan of fashion, youth subculture, and the 1960s, at some point I was bound to be made aware of the French minet subculture. Obviously, since I'm writing about it, that momentous occasion has arrived at some point in my past. I can't remember when or where it occurred (the internet is a safe bet) but in the intervening years I've found very little about this stylish group. Compounding my frustration is the fact that what little that I have uncovered about minets is almost always written or recorded in French -- a language of which a month of skipping class at College les pins Castries did little to improve my command. The French Wikipedia (Wikipédia) is humorously blunt in its entry: un jeune homme vêtu à la mode, équivalent masculin de la minette. Last and least -- most of what has been written about minets in English is by writers discussing within the larger context of mod subculture -- a style tribe about which far too much is artlessly written and rehashed.

A minet in 1965


With that in mind, however, kindly allow me briefly add to the conversational clutter concerning mod, as its evolution is tied closely to that of the minet. Although today mod is often characterized as a mid-60s, working class subculture fueled by the holy trinity of amphetamines, scooters and soul music, it first appeared in the late 1950s when a largely middle class group of mostly Jewish teenagers with families in the clothing business and for whom the chosen drug was apparently coffee. Modernists, as they then to themselves referred, championed modern jazz over trad jazz (which was championed by the Acker Bilk-listening, bowler-hatted, beer-swilling, baggy sweater-and-duffle coated trads). Sharing their love of modern jazz were the beatniks, but their beardy, black, cultivated scruffiness was rejected in favor of the natty continental style associated with untouchable icons of French cool like Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon

9 songs about cats

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 30, 2014 03:52pm | Post a Comment
Although LOLCat Bible literalists believe differently, people of science generally hold the view that 
cats first domesticated humans at least since 7500 BCE, when the inhabitants of a neolithic village on Cyprus gave a feline (not native to the island) a ceremonial burial. What we know call the domestic cat was more truly feral when it split off from the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica), much earlier, some 10,000 years ago. They likely enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with humans -- proving their usefulness to the Natufians of the Levant by preying on mice whilst ignoring (since they are obligate carnivores) the Natufians' mouse-attracting stores of grain. 


African wildcats
African wildcats in the wild (image source: Seasons in Africa)

Eventually cats moved were promoted from rodent catcher to household members and even divine beings. In Egypt cats were sacred and associated with the goddesses Isis, Mafdet (also spelled Maftet), and Bastet (also known as Baast, Ubaste, and Baset). The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that when a cat died, Egyptians would go into mourning, shaving their eyebrows to mark the loss of a family member. Cats were famously mummified and afforded dignified (by human standards) burials in Egypt. In 1888 a farmer discovered a tomb outside Beni Hasan which contained the mummies of about 80,000 cats (and some other animals). 
Cyprus cat burial  Mummified Cats
Neolithic grave with a human and a cat (left) and mummified Egyptian cats (right)

The reverence afforded to cats in ancient North Africa probably strikes most humans today as excessive and strange. However even the most insensitive amongst us usually react with repulsion, horror, and indignation when they learn that in places like Guangdong, Guangxi, Japan, Korea, Melmac, Mparntwe, Okinawa, Peru, Switzerlandcats have traditionally been eaten or used in medicine. It seems a bit rich to me when coming from people who think nothing of eating a fish, bird, cow, or pig.  

Room 8
Room 8 

In placs where felines are off the menu they have inspired artists like the 9th Century Irish monk who wrote, "Pangur Bán," Gioachino Rossini, T.S. EliotSakiHiroyuki Morita. Although there were famous cats before the advent of the internet (e.g. Room 8 of Elysian Heights), it might appear to aliens observing our planet that it was invented to honor them -- the modern incarnation of feline worship passed down from ancient Egypt. Our modern pantheon includes Ceiling Cat, Happy Cat, Grumpy Cat, Hipster Kitty, Keyboard Cat, Lil Bub, Maru, Missy the CatNekopanNyan Cat, and Snoopybabe, to name but a few.
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