R.I.P. Dave Zabriskie’s Moustache

It is with a heavy heart that I note the passing of a great Friend of the Blog, Dave Zabriskie’s moustache. Zabriskie shaved it off before yesterday’s individual time trial at the Vuelta a España, no doubt with the aim of, er, shaving a few seconds off his time. And he did put in a good performance; whether it was worth it is a matter between him and his conscience, I guess. This is assuming of course that the moustache is actually gone, and not roaming around southern Europe in search of a new host.

Have we heard the last of Dave Zabriskie’s moustache? Cold rational logic says yes, but my heart says no – the ‘stache shall rise again.

Back to the 80s, Part 2

A recent 80s-centric post got me on a bit of an 80s kick, and in listening to a bunch of that music I noticed a pervasive theme that had previously escaped me: a general sense of things not connecting, getting lost, breaking down (interesting that this ran side-by-side with the shiny sense of newness reflected in the previous post). A lot of songs express this in the form of transportation metaphors: cars crashing, planes not arriving, and so on.

Hence, this podcasty nugget of transmissions from the Golden Olden Days. Most of the artists represented here are English, I’m not sure why. Perhaps because their national decay was slightly more advanced than ours at the time; where things stand in 2010, I don’t feel qualified to say.

To lighten things up a bit I’ve included a couple of clips from the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Though not a career highlight for anyone involved, this 1987 John Hughes film fits the theme and has a phenomenal cast, including Steve Martin, John Candy, Michael McKean, Ben Stein, and the chronically undervalued Edie McClurg. If nothing else, it connected all these people to Kevin Bacon, who has a cameo as the guy who steals Steve’s cab.

Playlist and notes after the jump.


A few words from Robert Fripp

Within the sacred circle where music, musician and audience meet, there are remarkable possibilities which, were we to fully experience the degree and extent that we miss the mark, might leave us weeping and knowing bereavement. If this were not itself sufficient tragedy, the meeting of music, musician and audience in our contemporary culture is mediated by commerce. This is the bad news….

When the Muse descends, we know directly (one aspect of) the Creative impulse and its inexpressible benevolence. This is the life-giving force that maintains all audients and performers who continue, despite all evidence to the contrary, to return to the place where Music opens itself to us. When we find how many participants in our musical enterprise, even good people with the best of intentions, act to close the door on the Benevolence that seeks to walk in and embrace us, in that moment we know pain, grief, loss. When good people further declare their consumer rights in the event, we know despair….

Despite all, the potential remains. Whenever a musician picks up their instrument, finds a pair of open ears and the Muse is in attendance, life begins again. In this moment, Time has no dominion and the music industry sits outside (albeit most likely with the ticket receipts). This is the good news….

My life changed direction in 1974 following a terrifying vision of the future. Now, three decades later, I find that I underestimated the extent of radical change that is presently underway. In 1974 my response was terror. In 2006, I trust the unfolding process.

May we know, and trust, the inexpressible Benevolence of the Creative Impulse.

Exposure reissue liner notes, 2006

Dave Zabriskie’s Moustache

If nothing else, Dave Zabriskie's Moustache is a great name for a band.

If nothing else, Dave Zabriskie's Moustache is a great name for a band.

A few times this week I’ve found myself watching the Vuelta a España – that’s the Tour of Spain, for you gringos out there – on the very high-numbered cable channel that usually carries women’s beach volleyball. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try your patience with any extended commentary; in truth, it’s been a fairly dull race, except for one thing: Dave Zabriskie’s moustache.

Zabriskie is a talented racer with Bay Area connections and an impressive resume; but he has never previously achieved anything like this moustache. As the TV commentators (the aptly named Schlanger and Gogulski) pointed out, Dave Z. has been getting camera time way out of proportion to his position in the race, and there can only be one reason. It is just that magnetic of a ‘stache.

Now some people are asking, isn’t a bristle brush that prodigious going to adversely affect Zabriskie’s speed? Won’t it create, like, aerodynamic drag? Isn’t that why the cyclists shave every blessed hair off their bodies? Could be; in truth, I wonder if he actually grew the thing of his own free will, or if it somehow attached itself to him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that the moustache is some sort of alien with a plan for world domination. (Maybe it means to win Wimbledon.1) It sure does make Dave look like a B-movie villain.

And if that’s the case, I have to ask, would it be so bad? Maybe the moustache knows something we don’t.

1. See also: “Monty Python,” “Scotland,” “blancmange”