New Angels of Promise

I’m not a video game guy, so I never played Omikron: The Nomad Soul, which David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels wrote the music for in 1999. I thought I might try playing it now — cause why not? — but 24 years later, it is still a PC-only game, so that’s not going to happen. It’s probably just as well. Part of the reason I’m not a video game guy is that I get obsessed; after losing a couple of nights to Sim City many years ago, I put a stop to the whole thing.

“New Angels of Promise” was originally written for Omikron, as the lyrics make clear enough:

You didn’t feel us coming in this lonely crowd

But when David repurposed it for hours…, he changed “Omikron” to “suspicious minds,” in an apparent nod to his role model and co-birthdayist Elvis Presley.

Of course, Elvis didn’t write “Suspicious Minds” — that was Mark James, also the author of “Always on My Mind” and “Hooked on a Feeling.” Truth be told, Elvis didn’t write much of anything; in one way of looking at it, he was a hollow person without a lot to say. (Honestly I think Elvis’s influence on David was less musical than in the a realm of presentation. Ziggy Stardust is really just Elvis the Pelvis turned up to 11.)


On the Road Again

Got to spend some time this week catching up with old friends. Here’s the report.

The Sisters of Mercy

In addition to being a great band, the Sisters (est. 1980) were always a very successful brand. The music aligned with the image and the graphic design to create a total package that a lot of us found very satisfying.

Here in 2023, I can tell you that the brand remains strong. When I arrived at McMenamin’s Crystal Palace in Portland around 7 P.M., my brethren and sistren were lined up around the block, having happily paid [redacted] for a chance to get inside — where the $40 t-shirts were selling like hotcakes.

As for the music… well, let me begin by saying what I liked. Doktor Avalanche — the Sisters’ drum machine, now in its umpteenth iteration — was on top form. The two young guitarists were solid players and looked the part. Many great songs were played and at the end, as I looked around at the black-clad masses singing “Hey now, hey now now, sing this corrosion to me,” I knew that I was among my people — which is why we go to concerts, isn’t it?


Round 2, Game 6: Lakers 122, Warriors 101

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Strength in Numbers

It was of course foolish of me to say that there would be “no more (emotional) rollercoaster for a while,” as immediately on the heels of the news that the Lakers’ Anthony Davis would be playing Game 6 after all came reports that the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins had sustained a rib cartilage fracture and was listed as questionable. Wiggins was absolutely crucial in Game 5 and the prospect of playing without him was not an appetizing one.

And right after that we learned that ex-Warrior Kevin Durant and his new team the Phoenix Suns — considered title favorites by many — had been eliminated by the Denver Nuggets. Possibly I experienced an emotion akin to schadenfreude in that moment, though in theory I have nothing against KD, a massive talent who often seems confused about his direction in life. I can certainly identify with the latter, if not the former.

In the end Wiggins did play and it mattered not. “It’s a make or miss league” is something you’ll often hear NBA talking heads say, and it’s the truth. Last night the Warriors shot 39-for-103 (37.9%) from the field and 13-for-48 (27.1 %) on three-pointers. You’re not going to win doing that.


Round 2, Game 5: Warriors 121, Lakers 106

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Strength in Numbers

As I was laying in bed Tuesday night, thinking vaguely about sheep but too lazy to count, I realized that a part of me was ready for the emotional rollercoaster that has been this year’s postseason to be over. It’s been a struggle from the drop and after the high of Game 7 against the Kings, the slow-motion horror of losing three out of four to the Lakers — who weren’t even supposed to be here — had depleted my last reserves of optimism.

But then yesterday I grokked that there will be no more rollercoaster for a while. Either the Warriors will win three in a row or the season will be over — no middle ground remains. So I was back in front of my TV at 7, eating delicious cod and drinking Lalande-de-Pomerol (whatever that is), and on the whole feeling pretty good about the world.


Round 2, Game 4: Lakers 104, Warriors 101

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Keep Calm and Curry On

This was a hard-fought nail-biter of a game, and though obviously I am not pleased with the result, I can’t complain about the entertainment value. The lead changed hands about 50 times and in the end, My Personal Savior had a good look at a 3 that would have won it, then inexplicably threw the ball out of bounds with a second and change left on the clock.

Though the Lakers’ stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both had decent nights, the game was won for them by someone named Lonnie Walker IV — who, after not scoring in the first three quarters, somehow poured in 15 points in the 4th. Several times I was seen to leap up from my couch and yell, “Who the fuck is Lonnie Walker?”

Fortunately Olive the cat was there radiating calm, which kept me from getting too exercised. She did a good job of closing the game after Old Man Johnny covered the first half. Next time I attend a game in person, I may take a personal comfort animal along.

So Tuesday morning dawns on a 3–1 series deficit. Teams have come back from 3–1 before — in fact, in 2016 it happened two series in a row. The Warriors trailed Oklahoma City 3–1 in the Conference Finals before coming back to win, then went up 3–1 over LeBron’s Cavs in the Finals before snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

But you can’t win three games at a time. Tomorrow night’s Game 5 now becomes an elimination game, and fortunately is at Chase Center. Home cooking is best; just ask Gary Payton II, who in the first quarter last night ran straight off the court into the locker room without checking out of the game, apparently in some sort of distress. Some of us watching guessed he had to go #2, but today word is he threw up in his mouth. In any case, on the next Warriors possession, Draymond Green fired a pass to where Payton was supposed to be and the ball was caught by a bemused Lakers coach.

That possession might have come in handy at the end of the game. But there are always so many could-have-beens and might-have-dones and what-the-fucks. Today’s mission: leave all that behind, clear the ol’ noggin, and look to the future.