Terry Callier and Coffee Cups

May 1, 2010

I first heard of (and heard) Terry Callier on a rainy Wednesday afternoon about 5 years ago when I was driving from a recording studio to my girl’s place in East Melbourne.  The car I was driving at the time had no CD player so I was at the mercy of the radio stations, not having an iTrip for my iPod.  So I wandered aimlessly up and down the dial, but I always landed on either 3PBS or the equally independent and excellent RRR.  And so it was, on that rainy Wednesday, that I flicked over to RRR just in time to hear the DJ introduce this abso-fucking-lutely amazing piece of music.  I mean, the ‘tribute’ video (the song came out on an LP called, ‘What Color is Love?’ in 1973 so there’s no legitimate video for it) is whatever, but listen to the song.

I remember getting to my girl’s place only halfway through ‘Dancing Girl,’ but instead of pulling over I just kept driving around the area in a kind of trance until the song had finished.  Which was at least 5 minutes, coz it’s a not a short track.  Which you should know by now – have you watched/listened to the whole thing?  Well if not, you should.

Anyway, ever since then I’ve been interested in the Terry Callier story, which you can read more about here.  Basically, he was a super-talented singer/performer who had a few regional hits in the 60s/70s before fading into obscurity and then taking his mature-aged ass off to college so he could get a steady job (I guess that makes him Bizarro Kanye? Kanye in reverse??).  Which he did, in part to support his daughter whom he was awarded custody of.

Then, in the late 80s/early 90s, some UK based producers and DJs rediscovered his impressive back catalogue and all of a sudden he was making trips across the Atlantic to perform – but only during the 4-weeks-per-year paid annual leave from his job in the IT department of a Chicago University.

The fucked up/tragi-comedic part?  He kept it all a secret from his employers, and when he won a UNITED NATIONS FUCKING AWARD for his 1998 record, Timepeace, they found out and fired him.  Employment is awesome!

Speaking of tragi-comedic, the guy who invented those ubiquitous-for-the-urban-pustule takeaway coffee cups has died.  His name was Leslie Buck, and if you take a look at this NY Times piece you will note that not only does he look like a Leslie Buck, he also looks exactly like what you’d expect the guy who invented the takeaway coffee cup to look like: one part Jewish underworld figure, two parts chemical bio-lab researcher (I don’t really know what that means either), and 4 parts crackpot eccentric inventor.

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Some Sh*t That I Wrote

April 17, 2010

There’s something fundamentally wrong with the world.  It doesn’t hug you.  It doesn’t really care.  It turns its back and lets you crawl all over it, up and down the spine and around the shoulder blades.  But it won’t turn back around.  It won’t stretch its hand out to you.

So you occasionally bump into others, people that seem similar to you on the surface of things, as you crawl around its back.  You think that you might be seeing the love and caring in these other people, these fellow crawlers, which you looked for but couldn’t find in the world itself.  You feel the earth beneath your feet tremble, and delude yourself that an electric connection with another person has shocked between the two of you and made the world shake.  But really, the movement you feel is the world shaking with mirth, laughing at strangers.  Love, friendship, creative collaboration – these are the connections you fancy you have made.  But the world knows better, and that’s why it laughs.

It isn’t cruel, you must understand.  The world is not a cruel place.  It’s people like you and me who create the cruel conditions, jealous and drunk off the disappointment that the world’s silence lets us assume.  We don’t have to assume it.  But we do.  Time and time again, and then we curse this big old world for providing it.  But the world didn’t provide it, not really.  We saw an opening, a space where nothing was really there, and we walked into it with a swag of conceptions in tow.  Misconceptions, preconceptions, and all the conceptions you can think of.  Once we got into that empty space, we needed to drop our conceptions off somewhere.  They can get pretty heavy.  So that’s where we dropped them, in this space where nothing was really there, and then we fooled ourselves into thinking that the conceptions were always there: that the conceptions were the space itself.

Now you’ve got all kinds of problems.  You feel like you’ve entered into some kind of common law agreement with the world, and that brings a sense of entitlement.  Big mistake, that.  For all you know, the world had just woken up on a Sunday morning after a huge Saturday night, and all it wanted to do was scratch itself lazily, tussle its own bed hair and go sit on the front porch for a while to watch itself go by.  But now you’ve crawled inside it via a loophole that it never knew about, a loophole that you created while the world was fast asleep.

What a violation!

What a devious piece of opportunism!

So there you are, mad at the world and everything in it, even though you half suspect that there is nothing in it, folding your arms and tapping your foot like a jealous lover who is waiting for their partner to get home from the pub and wondering what is taking them so long.

“He better not be out having fun with his friends,” you will say to yourself.  “He said he’d just stop in for one drink on the way home.”

You will pace around, here and there, with a furrowed brow and sour mouth, recalling in your mind the countless times when you were there for the world.

“But where is the world for me?” you ask, a little self-righteously, I might add.

The world doesn’t see or hear any of this.  It’s lying on its back in the park by now, soaking up its sun and trying to shake its hangover.

Sometimes, to make yourself feel better, you team up with other people who have been slighted by the world.  They’re just as upset at it as you are.  You drown your sorrows, bitching and whining together for a while, until you snap out of it and tell yourself that you’re nothing like these other losers.  You bid them farewell for now and walk home with a smile on your face, ready to wipe the slate clean and give the world another chance.

“Did you hear that world?” you cry out cheerfully.  “I’m willing to give you another chance.  No hard feelings, eh?  Let’s see if we can’t work this thing out.”

But the world doesn’t answer you.  Of course it doesn’t.  No response whatsoever.  You pretend that your words have sunk in and the world just isn’t ready to reply yet, but you assure yourself that it will make itself known when the time is right.

It doesn’t, and as it turns out, the time is never right for the rest of your life.

There are brief periods when you forget all about the world, and the world is never happier than during these times.  It can close its eyes and snooze, or have a quick wank.  But you’re back before the world knows it, and it never seems long enough.  It resumes its position, turning its back and waiting for the random insanity that you call structure and routine to start up again.

Every now and then you catch a glimpse of the real world, of the world as it actually is.  You’re sitting around doing nothing because you’ve already done the two or three things that you could think of doing, and then you hit a wall of zero.  You might be out and about, or at home on the couch.  You see a giant, clear tunnel of boredom stretch out before you.  It bores through walls, fences, mountains, mole hills, vested interests, shy looks, wet dreams, caramel chocolate, sweaty foreheads, joy, depression, disappointing trips to China to see the Great Wall wherein the spectacle is not actually a spectacle at all because you have been spoiled by too much foreknowledge of it’s supposed wonder, tight pants, heartache, headache, back ache, theories on the nature of God, happiness, sadness and the dictionary.  Of course, this vision lasts for a moment at the most, and then you’re back to hanging great, stringy turds of expectation on the world (which it doesn’t care for one little bit, by the way).  For that brief moment when you see the giant, clear tunnel of boredom, the world can relax and accept you as a part of it.  You’re empty and it’s empty and everything feels like when you’re lying in a vacant, sun topped field.  You close your eyes and hear things, but only as things.  Here we could label them as ‘wind rustling through the long grass,’ or ‘a small twittery bird singing a pale little song,’ and ‘a large, common bird croaking a course call to its comrades.’  But if we did that then you would be back to winding that long piece of shit around the world, like tinsel on a Christmas tree.

No, we will leave it at ‘things.’  You lie in the vacant, sun topped field with your eyes closed and you hear things.  And you’re bored.  You’re so incredibly bored, and you can see that giant, clear tunnel of boredom stretching out before you.  That’s the way the world would want it, if it could want at all.

Random Things I Scribbled in a Notepad

April 17, 2010

We’ll get to the clip of The Green Eyed Bandit later.  “For context.”

Late on Wednesday night, after a long day, I did a little reading until I could barely keep my eyes open and then I deliriously jotted down some ridiculous notes before I went to bed.  I really should have taken a photo of the actual notepad and uploaded that instead of typing out the notes, coz the typing gives the impression of consideration and forethought.  And I’ll not suffer the indignation of that accusation.  But taking a photo isn’t really an option (see my last note).

So without further ado:

———–

“Tired enough, but not inspired

to go to bed,

So I sit here,

delaying the inevitable instead.”

———-

The ‘Picasso’ of Podcasts would be ‘Podcasso’ ?  Ricky Gervais? Bill Simmons?  Bollocks.

———-

Start carrying a pen & notepad (small, like this one) around with you all the time, so you can do this everyday.

———-

Lost my fucking iPhone!

———-

<<END SCENE>>

Continuing the flow of randomness, I woke up this morning with a clear question on my mind.  “What would Erick Sermon be doing right now?”  Hence the clip of him discussing EPMD’s ‘misunderstanding’ with Rakim back in the 80’s.  So that’s that with that.  This clip is actually more entertaining, not just because he talks about the mysterious falling-out-the-window incident, or the rumours that he was “The Gay Rapper,” but mainly because he says that Wendy Williams once gave him flowers.

Both clips nicely illustrate the insecurity and “I used to be a big shot” izms that a lot of great Rap Dudes who don’t have their shit together would be grappling with these days.

Final Four Throwback: Gaze and the 80’s White Man’s Afro

April 10, 2010

I wasn’t that emotionally invested in this year’s NCAA tournament, and haven’t been since Michigan’s Fab Freshmen Five days before Webber had his brain fade (him and Christian Laettner used to go at it, I remember Laettner dunking on Webber then stomping on his chest and saying, “That’s how you do it.”  Ironic coming from one of the campest players in history).  But Butler’s deep run all the way to the Championship game this year reminded me of the one-in-a-million run Andrew Gaze had in 1989 when he played for Seton Hall, who eventually lost to Michigan in a heartbreaker Championship game.  And it’s good to see I’m not the only one who remembers it.

I’m now convinced that Andrew Gaze and Christian Laettner share a hairstylist.

Classic.

I totally forgot that Glen Rice was in this game.  I’ve always felt that Gaze really made a bum decision when he opted to come back to Australia after just one year at College in the U.S.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that he would have been highly rated coming into the NBA draft if he did the full 4 years.  He could’ve been like an Australian Drazen Petrovic (R.I.P.).

No one can take that amazing buffoon away from him, though.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

March 16, 2010

What could possibly snap me out of my blog-coma? Well, a couple of things. Maybe three, actually. Three things.

First of all, garrulous former Prime Minister Paul Keating has descended from the sky like the archangel Gabriel (yet again) to pass hilariously combative judgement on a current active politician who he doesn’t approve of.

“It was bad enough having the real John Howard … at least Howard was a militant, aggressive conservative driving in reverse through the rear-vision mirror.”

Now normally even a Keating fanboy like myself can admit that such rants aren’t, umm, all that balanced, but I mean fuck it – he’s talking about Tony Abbott, who can argue?

Moving on, it’s St. Paddy’s day tomorrow. And if you’re any type of Mick in Melbourne, chances are you’ve spent some time at the Paddy in the Park shindig at The Dan O’Connell pub in Carlton. But if you don’t get down there tomorrow, you might never spend another St. Patrick’s day on the hallowed lawn again.

From The Age:

CARLTON’S Dan O’Connell Hotel will celebrate St Patrick’s Day for the last time on March 17 because of liquor licensing restrictions.

The venue has celebrated the day for 100 years, with up to 5000 patrons drinking green beer and listening to local folk, Celtic and rock musicians on an outdoor stage in the adjoining park.

But owners say that new liquor licensing restrictions will force it to close at 10pm, making it financially unviable.

”The festival has enjoyed the overwhelming support of local residents, Melbourne City Council and Victoria Police,” said manager Toby Kingsley.

This shit is pretty bogus, so please take a moment to join The Dan’s facebook group and help them stand up against the rising tide of reactionary bullshit that has already claimed The Tote (how’s that going by the way, have young yobs stopped glassing each other yet?).

While I was trying to find some kind of amusing image to accompany this Emerald-tinged post (in part to distract you from the relatively poor quality of the same), I found myself googling ‘leprechaun,’ which threw up the following hilarious suggested searches:

Leprechaun trap

Leprechaun in Alabama


Leprechaun in the ‘hood

And just in case you’ve tried everything to trap the little bastards, maybe try using oatmeal cans.

It kinda feels like the Dublin Aunts should do something annual on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe next year we can work something out.

Anyway, everybody wear something green and get outrageously drunk manyana. Slainte!

Scotland The Brave, or The Wife Beater?

February 16, 2010


I’m trying to snap this lazy streak of non-blogging, and my latest ploy is to just throw together a bunch of random stuff that’s on my mind in one sort of indecipherable amorphous blob. Hence the sweet picture of Larry Bird and Dr. J choking each other out. Enjoy it. It won’t be referred to or contextualized.

Apparently the wee laddies in Glasgow are not ones for gender equality.

The 11 and 12-year-olds were questioned in depth about their attitudes and aspirations towards gender roles and behaviour.

They were asked to consider whether or not a man was justified in punching his partner when he found out she had had an affair.

Nearly all of the children thought that the woman deserved to be hit.

The majority of the pupils said it was justified if the woman had an affair, or if she was late in making the tea.

Come on. Glasgow? What did they expect? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always have a soft spot for Glasgow (it’s where my grandpappy on dad’s side hails from), but that’s like doing a ‘How d’ya feel about those Israelis then?’ vox pop in Hamas headquarters. What could have been potentially much more expositional would have been doing a similar experiment on kids here in supposedly-enlightened Melbourne. I’m guessing the results would have been much subtler (not hard) but skewed the same way.

On a related note, Robbie Keane has landed at Glasgow Celtic FC and he just looks right in the green and white hoops.

He hasn’t set the world on fire so far, but he’s linking up nicely with attacking midfielder/winger Aiden McGeady. I just had to include this image (lifted from the front page of ESPN Soccernet last week) coz it captures the tone of Celtic fans everywhere. Loitering outside the pub. Waiting for stuff to happen. Reacting in an extreme fashion, no matter what that ‘stuff’ turns out to be.

Finally for today, I’ve rediscovered one of my favourite bands from the 90s, Living Colour. Cool site, check ’em out. Love Rears It’s Ugly Head, etc.

Longley Uses eBay for Non-selfish Purposes That Aid Science, Apparently Doesn’t Get It

January 25, 2010

Here’s a random basketball-related fact:

Former Aussie NBA teammate of Michael Jordan, and 3 time NBA “World” Champion, Luc Longley vied for and won the naming rights to a recently discovered species of shrimp.

Longley, who had participated in marine conservation efforts before, named the shrimp Lebbeus clarehanna after his 15-year-old daughter, Clare Hanna Longley.

Serpico on Serpico, Pacino Dancing, and Gay Clubs

January 25, 2010

I feel bad about the way this post has evolved. I wanted to simply link to this interesting article about the real-life Serpico (who Al Pacino famously played to critical acclaim in the movie by that name). But then I thought I’d add a visual aid, and a scene from the movie was the logical next step.

So I went looking for the scene where Al P dances around hilariously at the bohemian party he goes to. But I couldn’t find it. Then I found this amazing clip of him dancing at a gay bar in Cruising. Actually, Pacino has a solid track record of entertaining dance moves in many of his movies. I’ll try to compile a list one day.

So I feel I should discuss the article a little bit. The real Serpico is back living somewhere in upstate New York, after years moving around Europe. He still has a lot of powerful enemies in the NYPD, and his life wasn’t that great when he was overseas either (he married and had kids, but his wife died young). But still, we read about these legendary characters and pine for the kind of importance, relevance, or ‘full life’ that they’ve had. Never stopping to think about how crap that life may well be.

Sometimes, those TPS reports are alright.

Speaking of New York City…

January 20, 2010

Check out this story about a little Mick point guard who plays for St. Patrick’s (the best High School team in the USA), and finds time to work the standup comic circuit while he juggles practice, basketball road trips, and a steady stream of accusations of nepotism (his dad’s the coach).

North Carolina’s Dexter Strickland, then paired in the backcourt with Boyle, listened to his teammate’s quick quips at Mario’s Pizzeria around the corner from the school, and said, “I’d pay money just to hear you talk.”

The appearances started in April at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick, N.J. All of 18, Boyle, known for calling one teammate Unibrow and giving out the assistant coach Ray Miller’s cellphone number as his own, talked about “keeping it real” with a girl and getting tipsy at a bar while on a team trip to South Carolina.

“I don’t want to sound like a clown, but it doesn’t take much to make a bunch of drunk Rutgers kids laugh,” Boyle said.

The next step was Caroline’s on Broadway.

He’s probably not very funny, but still. It’s kinda cool.

HBO Is About To Stay Winning

January 20, 2010

Apparently Boardwalk Empire is HBO’s new crack at the uber-props-universal-adoration slot that’s been vacant since The Soprano’s ended.

Prohibition Era, Tammany Hall type politics (corrupt ward bosses, who’s the statesman and who’s the gangster?), and everyone’s favourite creepy looking motherfucker, Steve Buscemi. All under the guise of the New Jersey waterfront and the forging of what has come to be known as Atlantic City.

I’m on board.

I’ve never been to Atlantic City, but I’ll be back in NYC later this year so I’ll give it a shot if anyone’s got any recommendations?