“My main thing coming into this year was to be me and do what got me here. The Warriors didn’t draft me to do what didn’t get me here. They drafted me to do what I did to get here.”
Last night my stepdaughter made me watch Kanye West’s recent video for “Bound 2,” hoping to get me to reconsider my stated fondness for the man and his music. She didn’t quite succeed, because I know Kanye is crazy and nothing that he does really surprises me, but I must admit that the four minutes we spent watching this video were very long minutes — and not just because the internet connection kept hanging up.
“Bound 2” is an exercise in bad taste on a truly monumental scale, one most of us could never conceive of, much less carry out. It is so wrong on so many levels that one scarcely knows where to begin. See for yourself:
Is Yeezy, as the Brits say, taking the piss here? Or is this the beginning of his final, apocalyptic descent into true madness, one that will end with him…I don’t know…setting off a small thermonuclear device at the next VMAs, killing himself, the Kardashians, Taylor Swift, and hopefully Katy Perry? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
…Nov. 22, 1963…that the Beatles’ second album, With the Beatles, was released.
I seem to remember that some other important historic event happened on that day as well. I can’t think of what it was just now.
We knew this day would come. In fact, given Lou’s history, the fact that he persisted into the 21st century at all must be considered a minor miracle. Still — a world with Lou Reed in it was a more interesting world, and one we shall not see again.
Lou will not be forgotten, of course. I haven’t sat down and done the hard math on this, but I would guesstimate that of the 100 greatest songs ever written, Lou is responsible for about a dozen. If he had been hit by a bus (or ODed) after The Velvet Underground and Nico came out in 1967, he still would have had a profound impact on rock’n’roll history. As it is his influence is incalculable. So, to hell with calculations. Let’s look back instead at the immortal words of Dr. Thompson, always a comfort at times like these:
[He] was one of God’s own prototypes — a high-powered mutant of some kind who was never even considered for mass production. He was too weird to live and too rare to die — and as far as I’m concerned, that’s just about all that needs to be said about him right now….
He will not be missed — except perhaps in Fat City, where every light in town went dim when we heard he’d finally cashed his check.
One weightlifter to another:
“I can’t believe you’re more narcissisistic than me.”
Bit of a surreal experience this weekend: I caught the Napa, CA stop on Peter Murphy’s “Mr. Moonlight” tour, where he is playing Bauhaus songs without the assistance of any other members of Bauhaus.
I had strong reservations about this whole concept, but in the end the chance to see Mr. M belting out the classics was just too much to resist. The venue was the charming but somewhat seedy Uptown Theatre, and the crowd was a diehard core of 65 or so hardy souls, mostly us geezers, but with a handful of younger folks scattered in.
The beginning of the show was not auspicious; “King Volcano” and “Kingdom’s Coming,” two quieter numbers, were marred by technical problems, with Murphy gesticulating irritably to offstage figures. The band members appeared to have an average age of about 19, and the guitar player was brand new, having just learned the repertoire. He had a good haircut, but I did not envy him trying to fill Daniel Ash’s shoes. (Truly, the shoes that no man would want to wear.)
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That is what it should say, on large red signs posted 100 yards in every direction from the Companion Animal Foundation in the Humboldt hamlet of Sunny Brae.
From the outside, the storefront looks like any regular thrift shop, littered with loose clothes and books. But make your way past this innocent facade to the back and you will find yourself facing the mortal peril of the Kitten Room.
Which is just that, a room full of kittens up for adoption. I find it hard to believe that this kind of thing is allowed to go on unregulated. It’s like having a free public crack house down the street. “I’ll just look at the crack,” you tell yourself. “Maybe I’ll smoke a little. But I’m definitely not taking any home with me.”
So far no kittens have wormed their evil way into my household, but that could change at any moment. Deep breath. One day at a time, isn’t that what they say?
Unless you’re willing to risk feeling stupidly happy for awhile:
Today would have been Marc Bolan’s 66th birthday, and coincidentally I’ve been reading Tony Visconti, The Autobiography: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy. Bolan doesn’t come off especially well in this book; stardom seems to have gone to his head, turning him into a raving prima donna who made unreasonable demands, paid his band a pittance, and generally made life miserable for those around him.
This is a tad disappointing, but doesn’t bother me all that much; I long ago gave up on the idea that an artist had to be a nice person for you to enjoy their work. If you went through your records, books, and movies and starting weeding out everything that involved a disagreeable human being, I fear you’d be left with very little. And a lot of that would be crap. I wouldn’t go so far as to say there’s an inverse relationship between an artist’s likability and the quality of their work — Mr. David Bowie, fr’instance, is a complete mensch in Visconti’s portrayal — I just don’t think the two have much to do with each other.
And really I don’t know why we care so much. Maybe Lou Reed is a flaming asshole, or maybe he’s a gruff but lovable crank with no patience for the suffering of fools — what does it matter to me? I don’t have to hang out with the cat, I just have to play the records. They say Charlie Manson is evil, and I don’t doubt it for a minute, but does that mean I can’t find him entertaining?
Hmmm…well, I didn’t set out today to write a blog entry that mentioned Marc, David, Lou and Charlie, but now that I’ve done it, I have to say it feels pretty good. I feel like I’ve earned my cocktail, so over and out for now.