Archives for posts with tag: Music

My friend Dave sent me the below video, which is great on a number of levels, not the least of which is, this is another piece of mythology in the life of Major Tom, the fictional astronaut created by David Bowie:

First, it’s an artifact from “Breaking Bad“, which has crept up to become the second best show of all time. Second, it features Gale Boedeker, the dorky would-be meth supercook, who is a lot like the interesting but mildly irritating fifth member of your trivia team with a weird breadth of knowledge. Third, the karaoke video has Thai subtitles.

So yes – it’s funny. The most important element of this song, however, is the content of the lyrics. The song is “Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Peter Schilling, from his 1983 album which also featured a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Odyssey”, where the Major Tom character was first introduced. This is interesting for a few reasons, but largely because a character created by one artist (Bowie) across three of his own songs, has had his mythology colored in by numerous other artists since. It’s like the story of Major Tom (which is itself not that interesting) has become part of modern rock folklore, like it’s an oral history being retold by subsequent generations, despite the fact that all of the songs are available currently.

So what does this mean? Let’s go through the chronology of Major Tom’s service record and see what we can learn, starting with the original song:

David Bowie – “Space Oddity” from the album “Space Oddity” (1969)

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imageThe KLF are probably remembered as an early-90’s techno group that dressed in cult robes and did a duet with Tammy Wynette. They also were the #1 singles artist of 1991, adopted esoteric sci-fi novel philosophies, wrote an ironic book about how to have a #1 hit, defaced billboards, took out cryptic ads in music magazines, and videotaped themselves burning a million pounds sterling on a Scottish island. The KLF retired by performed at a music industry showcase concert which ended by fired machine-gun blanks into the unsuspecting audience (ok, over the audience) and left a dead sheep outside the door, after which they announced their retirement and deleted their entire back catalog. People don’t really understand what the hell they were about, but they were at least interesting.

You, on the other hand, are a coward who writes graffiti in bar bathrooms and have never accomplished anything. Please go back to scribbling fake website names with sharpies.

Last night at the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights, New York I saw The Arcade Fire in concert. In short, it was amazing – they put on a great show and are very pro-fans. During the encore, they played “Wake Up” after inviting all of the fans in the front onstage (including me and my pals). To quote my friend Matt, “It’s always a good day when you end it up on stage dancing with a band.”

The venue is amazing and the restoration job is incredible. If you get the chance to see a show there or just visit, definitely do so.

My buddy is running a podcast with some pretty amazing one-ish hour sets of older soul and random/eclectic tunes along with some one-off great songs. I highly recommend it and I’ll keep a sidebar of the tunes on the right for your convenience, you lazy bastard.

I joined friends over at Triple Crown, a place that usually features Ali Shaheed Muhammed of a Tribe Called Quest Thursdays on the tables. He is apparently elsewhere now, and it was evident from the complete deadness on this particular Thursday.

That being said, the place is supercool and the music is solidly in the Native Tongues vibe. The bartender is a guy named John who offered us shots quickly after entering made of chocolate soymilk and various vodkas. Skeptically, we popped them and they ended up actually being enjoyable.

“I’ve been working on this for a while, but I don’t have a name for it yet.”

In a flash, something jumped into my head and I blurted it out

“How about a ‘vegan slut’?”

John was immediately satisfied and told me the shot would be on the menu next time I came through. I suggest you stop by and check.

I’m in the NYC looking for apts (I found a cool one in Soho) and as usual all kinds of weird shit is happening all around me. Here are some pics from the last few days:

This is a guy on the subway singing “Jealous Guy” while sharing the bench with a passed out guy with his pants around his ankles.

This is a street in the financial district which takes advantage of the deserted nature after hours and puts tables in the middle of the street where all of the restaurants serve food. Eating in the middle of the street sounds kind of strange but its one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen – like a street fair but at night and more of a diner.

This is Bruce Lee’s grave. No one is sure really how he died, even today.

At the Henry Art Museum, an exhibition of 150 works staggered in a large room with the dates on the back. They’re arranged in chronological order from one end of the room to the other, which was pretty interesting.

Moon Jellies at the aquarium.

Recently hatched salmon from underneath at the aquarium.

An asian garden cemetary plot near the Hendrix grave. They jumped on the hurricane bandwagon pretty early – these plots are not even occupied.

Jimi’s grave.

Hello, I’m a monkfish!

100 covers of “Blowing in the Wind”

Sign for the women’s bathroom at the SciFiMuAHaOFa

Origins of the word “robot”

Heart Tour Jacket

The CD changer in my car has been busted for a few days as a result of completely normal operation. Since Friday, it has been trying in vain to change from one CD to another, eject, or do something productive. Frankly, I feel bad for it. Its wheezing, whirring, and clicking sounds were depressing to hear and I was finally driven to fix it today, which involved the radio’s complete removal and mailing to someone at GM for fixing. I wonder what they’ll think of my musical taste… Now only a gaping hole with wires remains where my beloved music/information hub used to glow.

Anyhow, I drove home to visit the parents for a few days and realized the loss of music in the car. I initially tried to use headphones/iPod to compensate but it was too awkward so I just went with the sounds of the road, gusts of wind whipping against the car, and the hum of the engine.

I have noticed more and more people enjoying filling their lives with static, noise, music, and other auditory fuzz with which to distract themselves from job difficulties, monkey presidents, and romantical travails and I’m coming to think they might be right to do so. Sitting in a car for over three hours with nothing but your thoughts can be alternately relaxing or completely maddening. Essentially, I was oscillating between the two in the following type of thought patterns:

– The car sounds better after getting an oil change
– There are so many billboards in rural areas protesting abortion
– Why do people love Dale Earnhart Jr. so much? What is the appeal of NASCAR?
– I can’t believe I’m turning 30 this year. I’ll probably end up the male equivalent of an old maid. An old butler?
– Life is passing so quickly, one day I’ll be dead.
– When will people learn that the left lane is for passing?
– Why does everyone at this Subway have a mustache?
– Small town America is overrun with chain stores. This both removes any trace of originality/charm but gives people nicer places to spend money.
– Is the red state/blue state division a result of an endemic ideological and geographical separation between urban and suburban areas or is it just that the liberals got tired of it and moved to the cities?
– Did I shower today?

Later this week I’m going to Seattle for skiing and chicanery.