(Wherein our hero looks back - and sees so much bleached denim.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 2, 2014 12:21pm | Post a Comment

It's 1989 and things are lookin' up... side-down.

The final year of junior high was heavy for my 8th grade class at Live Oak Waldorf School.

We’d bonded unusually deep; our eccentric education, overseen by the same, stern woman annually and paid for by unconventional, often dysfunctional parents, made us peers not just of age and fads, but in isolation: we weren’t represented in popular culture – there weren’t Cosby kids too poor to afford clothes or dental work; INXS wasn’t singing about the world of antiquity, accompanied by recorder ensemble; the cast on Facts of Life never gathered in a bi-monthly circle to share from their hearts until everyone wept and atoned and affirmed admiration for each other – then broke for their next class on American folk dancing.

"I'm afraid being raised without an understanding of more mainstream, cultural norms
is going to handicap my trajectory in life, Tootie."

The final months of that semester were strange; our lessons became devoted to one, final project: a run of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, barely edited, performed for the public by either of two casts, each featuring the same students in alternate roles.

It was our teacher’s idea this would avoid certain students having all the glory of lead parts. While well-intended, it instead ensured that shier kids who’d have preferred to skip the spotlight, couldn’t; it meant everyone had two characters to memorize – quite a task, considering this was most pupils’ introduction to iambic pentameter – and made what would have been the natural, unfriendly phenomena of critical comparison between kids’ acting skills even more impossible to avoid.

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(In which we continue paying tribute, expensive though it may be.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 18, 2011 01:36pm | Post a Comment
Last week I shed some dark on the subject of beloved counter-culture cutie Tiny Tim, with promises to continue.

The look of love

Having proved once and for all that Tiny Tim was not responsible for the Hindenburg tragedy, I’d like to explore his adolescent years and early success as an adult. Limited as I am by your computer, I will be forced to convey this with words and pictures, and without my shadow puppets and ice sculpture gardens – an unfortunate task, yes, but not insurmountable.

Tiny Tim dabbled in a few musical instruments before finally focusing on the ukulele, after failing to perceive the sarcasm of a pretty girl who told him:

“Oh yeah, ukuleles are totally the sexiest instrument. I would date any guy who played one.” This high school crush of Tiny Tim’s would, if true, grow up to be none other than America’s sweetheart, Sylvia Plath, famous for her girl-next-door beauty and charm, her sparkling wit, and culinary skill with an oven. (Rumor has it she wrote books as well, though this is probably just factual.) While Tiny Tim never managed to secure a date with Plath, the two would grow to become lifelong people, and continue living on the same planet for the remainder of their lives – sometimes close enough to call each other on the telephone whenever they wanted. (It’s an eerie coincidence that Plath would go on to give birth to two children, Frieda and Nicolas, and Tiny Tim was himself born a child.)

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(In which history repeats itself.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 24, 2008 06:10pm | Post a Comment

It seems like only a year ago that it was November 24. How time flies. Time flies less often than it did, it seems. Probably due to all the crazy “safety” precautions that airports employ now.

You know, they can make sure I don’t carry-on my switchblade, my flame-thrower, or my collection of vintage anthrax samples onto my flight, but they can’t confiscate my NINJA ABILITIES. Think about that one, my friends. My lightening moves don’t fit in no Ziploc baggie.

It was on this day, in 1963, that Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down by man-about-town Jack Ruby, which brings to mind a song I quite like by Camper Van Beethoven, which brings to mind an album I rather fancy by Camper Van Beethoven.

The album is called Key Lime Pie and it takes me back to my high school days; though not actually my high school itself, because I never listened to rad tunes on campus. Only the Peanuts-like drone of adults as they lovelessly forced us to recite Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.
From the scene in which Juliet drinks Romeo's blood while clutching her highly-prized, ball-point pen

It’s a wonder I love The Bard as much as I do considering that nothing was more painful than listening to a classroom full of barely literate teenagers haltingly fumble their way through iambic pentameter. It didn’t help matters that these same teenagers called me faggot to my face and probably f**ked with my locker. (Joke was on them, I never once figured out where my locker was.)

I never plan these blogs out in advance. Hard to tell, right?

I tried to find a clip of the song "Jack Ruby," but it, like my high school locker, remains elusive. But here’s a song from the same album, and you might find it a pleasant surprise, as it’s one of those records that a lot of people have heard without realizing who it was that recorded it.

The song was originally a hit for the British band Status Quo.

Camper Van Beethoven played an in-store at Amoeba Music Hollywood in the past, and I was there, singing along joyfully.

The group also recorded an album called Tusk. “But wait,” you say while balancing a plate of fresh trout on your head, “Didn’t Fleetwood Mac already… whoops!” And now you’ve dropped the fish to the floor, which is why your grandma always warned you to not balance seafood while reading a blog and talking about it at the same time. I don’t know why you don’t listen to your grandma. She’s way smart.

To finish and answer your ill-timed interruption, yes, Fleetwood Mac did record an album called Tusk, and Camper Van Beethoven’s version revisits each song, in order. It’s a delight for those who, like me, believe Fleetwood Mac’s album to be one of the very best in the history of modern music.

Let’s sample some of these gems
Fleetwood Mac...
...and Camper Van Beethoven

Once again, The Mac...

...versus The Van

It's important to note that the above video is something I swiped from YouTube, and features home movies of some baby crying. This baby, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with Camper Van Beethoven, rather, is the work of some eager new daddy who has a remarkable amount of free time considering his baby is obviously colic.

Anyway, yeah. Jack Ruby. The Kennedy assassination. High school Shakespeare and Stevie Nicks with still some fat on her cheeks. "It's all a rich pageantry," as my boyfriend would say.

I don't plan these blogs ahead of time.

Label Focus...Caedmon Records

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 25, 2007 11:20pm | Post a Comment


                          THE ART OF CAEDMON RECORDS
                 (click on any image for full size and better detail)

A personal Favorite of mine, the Caedmon record label was started in 1952 by Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Roney.  In my last blog I covered their wonderful version of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum.  The releases spanned the worlds of legitimate theatre, poetry, oration, kids stories, literature and anything in between. Singlehandedly, the ladies kick started the book-on-tape business.  Poking around on sites like discogs, it's amazing how few of the label releases are listed.  From the innersleeve catalogs in my personal collection of Caedmon releases, their output was immense. Check out our spoken word section sometime and you'll find at least a handful of Caedmon treasure. I've always enjoyed the utilitarian aspects of their packaging and the tastefulness of their art.  The blue, green and white label design is an absolute classic...

For links to comprehensive overviews of Caedmon's history click on either Dylan Thomas LP pictured below.  He was their first signing...                                 


Postcards of My Vacation Back Home: "The natives are friendly. I'm pregnant."

Posted by Job O Brother, August 26, 2007 04:09pm | Post a Comment

The bar at The National Hotel. That's me in the denim shirt.

Originally, I thought this trip to NevadaCity would consist mainly of me giving my sweetheart the royal tour – showing him details, hidden mysteries and beauty that only a local knows, but the new and improved Film Festival proved to monopolize our schedule. Conveniently, the entire staff were the same people I would have tried to hang out with anyhow, so that was okay, but the only hidden mystery I got to expose Corey to was the dazzling amount of booze that an average NC townie can down in a day.

It’s historical.

Job & Orion

He did get to meet my family.

I can’t even begin to tell y’all about my family. Sufficed to say, it is eccentric. Like, I’m one of the normal ones, and I bark at UPS trucks and punch people for offering me a “slice of melon”. But, odd as they are, they’re also loving. Corey did just fine.

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