Amoeblog

Classical Music Sale: I. Allegro non troppo

Posted by Job O Brother, November 8, 2009 03:12pm | Post a Comment
guitar
You... shook me aaaallll night long!

Far more people want to shop the Classical Music section than do. This is because many customers, while having heard classical music and enjoyed it, do not know how to differentiate one album from another. No one wants to look like an ignorant buffoon (except your best friend in 7th grade who you’ve long since lost contact with anyhow), so the idea of browsing aisles of classical music without knowing the difference between a chamber piece or a chamber pot (which is a good thing to know, FYI) is enough to send you scurrying back to the latest post-punk, freak-folk, R&B roots-influenced release from [insert hot young band here].

Well, my fragile little reader, relax. I am here to help. I’m going to teach you some basics – enough to allow you to shop without feeling like you’re Sissy Spacek in the opening shower scene of Carrie.

sissy spacek
"I don't know what counterpoint means!!!"

Incidentally, if you’re already educated in classical music, this blog entry isn’t for you. This is for the layman, the curious, the uninitiated. I’m going to be simplifying things and skipping stuff. My main goal is to get people started, and I don’t need you freaking them out with long-winded diatribes about how Stokowski’s transcriptions of Mussorgsky’s works are a bastardization that perverts their core, ethnic vitality in lieu of Westernized concepts of melodic accessibility. [And here’s where I snap my fingers and weave my head back ‘n’ forth like Jackée on 227.]

Texas in My Rear-View Mirror: A Few Observations on Texas, Urban Cowboys, Hair Metal and Manly Footwear

Posted by Charles Reece, April 19, 2008 05:16pm | Post a Comment

"Don't rock the jukebox; I wanna hear some Jones.  'Cause my heart ain't ready for the Rolling Stones."

I just returned from my annual trek to Dallas, which is always a bit depressing, but it's "home."  Dallas is sort of the nexus where God meets commerce, with the former and its cognates of tradition and morality always losing out to the latter.  All a moneyed interest has to do is play to the ideal Dallas existing in the minds of its citizens, and the local governing body will allow just about any historical site to be torn down.  Hell, this largely conservative population will even vote for increased taxes if sports are involved.  (As parochial wisdom has it, sports -- despite being universally popular -- are part of our Southern essence; God bless the Cowboys.)  Consequently, the town itself (which, due to white flight, is more Dallas County than just Dallas these days) has little charm or uniqueness -- i.e., no sense of place -- left to it.  It exists as pure concept, which is why it's a great place to be from, just not to live.  To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, thar ain't no thar thar.  Anyway, I have friends in Austin, so I use them as a good excuse to go to the one true Texan town, Austin (although many of its long-term residents wouldn't agree -- but they ought to try living in Dallas).  After listening to the Townes compilation that I brought with me, I discovered that my aunt had removed the cds I leave in her car for this particular occasion.  That meant once more through Townes and then on to the accursed Texas radio.
Now, listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the Texas
I'll tell you 'bout the Texas Radio
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
Wandering the Western dream
Tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul
-- The Doors, The Wasp
I'm no Morrison scholar and can't say I pay much attention to his lyrics, but naming a song about Texas radio "The Wasp" captures what often passes for culture there: bourgeois consumerism in place of illusory country values.  I've yet to hear King Bob Wills on the radio (including the 25 years when I was a resident), but I always get my yearly dose of Van Hagar and 50 Cent every time I visit, just by using the scan function on the car radio.  And if you ever wonder why bands that used to be called nü-metal are still putting out albums, out yonder is the answer.  It all is the continuing (de-)evolution that I remember from high school, where all the wannabe cowpolks in FFA used to wear dusters and cowboy boots.  They would pull into the school parking lot alternately blasting RUN-DMC or Reba from their shortbeds.  They exaggerated their drawl and said stuff like "bulldoggyshit."  Urban Cowboy was lost on them, if they saw it at all, taking it as another fashion code rather than a lament for dying cowboy authenticity within modernity's sprawl.  Unfortunately, even as a fashion statement, it was already out of date for these future suburban cowboys.