Tuesday, August 28, 2007


So what with one thing and another we've been pretty busy. So here is a capsule of the last two weeks:

Cujo sucks.

Ocean's Twelve isn't nearly as bad (so far) as I had previously been led to believe. I'm finishing it tonight.

Gaudy Night and Strong Poison do not, thanks Anon for encouraging me to pick them up again.

Charmed Life is going well.

The Painted Veil, the movie version of the book by W. Somerset Maugham with Ed Norton and Naomi Watts, was really pretty good. For some reason these "British people in the uncouth wilderness of the foreign devil" stories have very similar feels to me. But it was also a well-done story of alienation, love, and forgiveness, a Graham Greene kind of thing.

A Hard Day's Night (original, that is not American) has about 7 good songs on it. No surprise, they're almost all the ones that made the actual movie, except for "Any Time At All", which I think should have been an A side, and the execrable "I'm Happy Just To Dance with You", which is the most phoned-in Beatles song I have ever heard. It's an F side.

In the where have you been all my life department, Radiohead's masterpiece OK Computer. The album is 10 years old now, and people have been telling me for ages that I would love these guys. Ummm, instead of telling me, you could have perhaps strapped me to a chair and slapped on some headphones. That would have spared me a lot of regrets right now. I've been listening to this thing for a week straight, about 3 hours a day. Maybe you remember the first week you heard this album. I had heard tracks from it, of course, without knowing the whole story: "Lucky", "Exit Music (For a Film)", "Karma Police"... I had even played "Karma Police" on the bass once for a party (without getting the key change on the bridge quite right, in hindsight). If you haven't heard it at least once, and you can stand modern/indie rock in the slightest, you owe it to yourself to try it at least once.

Oh, and I finished a project at work and I've been staying too late this week. And Sarah's Uncle Tim stopped by our house on a cross-country drive. And I'm going to be in Seattle for a week in October (13-21), prior to my sister Kefi's wedding. Congratulations, Kefi! And if anyone is around, we'll make time to see you.

Be well; the magnum opus on heresy is still being written.


vince said...

Just toe-tappng while I wait for the opus.

Vince said...

My youth is from the Beatles era. I remember watching a news report early on a Saturday morning that the Beatles had landed in America the previous day. My cartoons were interrupted by this mop-head foursome in suits and their screaming fans. I was interest, but had not hear much of their music as a 10 year old in Utah.

A couple of days later I was walking across the street to play with my best friend, Lee Martinez. We were walking in front of his house we were startled by his teenage sister's screams from inside his house. We run up to through the front screen door to see Beatrice sitting in front of the Ed Sullivan Show screaming at the singing mop-heads. Beatrice ignored us as we watched her hyperventilate in writhing ecstasy on the floor before us. Now I was captivated.

In high school (1968-1972) I identified with John Lennon's songs, though Paul's were pretty. I had already guessed that the lead singer was a dominant writer of a song in the Lennon-McCartney team.

I grew up with a bunch of good kids and never got into drugs, but I identified with John Lennon's intellectual skepticism of the world that seemed honest and critical yet had the naivete of a victim. In high school I chose wire-rimmed glasses in my identification with John Lennon, the critical victim. Unfortunately (fortunately), they made me look like another rising star at the time, John Denver. Eventually my musical abilities and outdoor interests paralleled John Denver 's persona.

I was truly saddened the day John Lennon was shot. His then recent 'Double Fantasy' album show great promise of a reinvigorated songsmith.

The very recent effort by the Martins (George and son) of remixed Beatles songs on the album 'Love' is very pleasing. I often prefer the new versions over the old, but it does bring back many curious and old memories.

Dan Lewis said...

Hi Vince. I feel almost exactly the same way about Paul's songs, although I guess the passage of time has made me feel a bit better about them. It's the Mary/Martha divide, and John is definitely Mary. But I am growing up a little Martha at the moment.

I can't remember exactly when it happened, but I think it was when Sarah's dad gave us his old iPod that I heard Abbey Road for the first time. I never get tired of listening to it. That Radiohead album is the first thing I've heard since that convinced me that the world has finally caught up with Abbey Road.

I like the Love album pretty well. I have been getting more into the remix thing lately. There is a cover album of OK Computer that is pretty decent (if you search for okx, it pops right up), and there's a mashup album called Revolved (a complete do-over of Revolver with dance music) that I am having trouble finding. And of course, there's The Grey Album, which is the mashup of The White Album with Jay-Z's explicit lyrics-only The Black Album. It's pretty cool, if you can stand the gangsta rap.

vince said...

Vince said ...

Wow. First time with "Abbey Road" on an ipod!

I thoroughly memorized every nuance of the Beatles's albums from "Rubber Soul" on. "Sgt. Peppers" and "Abbey Road" being untouchably above all other albums of the era. The decision by John to leave 'concert music' and explore album soundscapes altered the music industry forever. As albums, these two cannot be changed without losing their brilliance, in my mind.

"The White Album" and "Let It Be" don't have the album-unity to require them to be frozen in time as units. However, any Beatles song might be improved by itself as in the "Love" album.

The Beatles were really an extension of the songsters of the big band era (Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, etc.) Paul and John (and sometimes George) wrote melodies and lyrics to make unique songs.

"The Black Album"?? Sorry, I just cannot get into rude language. These days I even delete some of my old favorites because of expletives or lewd lyrics. To show you how unrelenting I am with some of my deletions, I deleted a song by my biggest influence in guitar and song ... James Taylor! It was his live version of "Steamroller Blues". It had the mother(bleep)in' word. One of the rudest words that humanity has ever thought up.

Too many beautiful and less destructive things to listen to. I may convince you yet about limiting these extreme inputs into your mind! 8^)

Ever try early Debussy? CBS Masterworks "Debussy's Greatest Hits" give a good cross section of his romantic era pieces along with a couple impressionist experiments from his later works. Gorgeous stuff.