Music

You Make Me Feel Like Danzig

Ed Brayton delves into the beliefs of a Catholic priest in England who recently announced that “among the causes of homosexuality is a contagious demonic factor.” The priest, Father Jeremy Davies, also said that “extreme secular humanism, ‘atheist scientism,’ is comparable to ‘rational satanism,’” which is one of the more ridiculous terms of abuse I’ve ever heard. I guess “secular humanism” is losing its sting.

I can’t give Father Davies’s demonic theories much credence. I know many kind-hearted, utterly un-demonic homosexuals. And everything I know about demons I learned from Glenn Danzig. According to Danzig’s studies of the phenomenon, demonic factors lead primarily not to homosexuality but to awesomely ridiculous heavy metal videos:

Comedy
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Religion
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Pulp Fiction

The inimitable Chris Sims has used panels from Archie comics to illustrate Pulp’s magnum opus, “Common People.” 

Archie Cocker

 Please enjoy “Archie In . . . A Different Class!”

Comedy
Comics
Culture
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I Was Looking for a Job and then I Found a Job, and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

Andrew Winters tells of the trials and tribulations of being Morrissey’s valet. Apparently Morrissey asks all of his employees what the first record they bought was, and there are right and wrong answers. (I believe mine was Randy Newman’s “Little Criminals,” when I was six or seven. Not sure whether that would pass Moz-muster.)

(Via Dr. Frank.)

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Watching the Reel as it Comes to a Close . . .

Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records, has died. I never knew much about Wilson when I was a teenager buying and listening avidly to any record with the Factory label, but since then I’ve come to appreciate what he did very much. Entrepreneurial talent and great taste are an unfortunately rare combination, but they were certainly combined in Wilson. I can’t think of another record label in which graphic design, production, and music are so perfectly put together, and which have aged so well. (Well, maybe Happy Mondays haven’t aged well, but the early Factory releases have.)

R.I.P, Tony.

Culture
Design
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The Origins of Smooth Jazz

The Onion has one man’s story of how he came to play the music favored by dentists and hotel bar managers everywhere.

“Eventually, you grow up a little and give up your dream of an experimental hardcore rock-jazz trio called ‘Orbit.’”

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A Piano for Patricia

A very close friend of my family, Patricia Walkup, died on June 9 of last year. She spent much of her last 15 years or so as an activist for improving her San Francisco neighborhood, Hayes Valley. Her (and her neighborhood’s) great triumph was the defeat of a plan to rebuild a Loma Prieta earthquake-damaged freeway overpass through Hayes Valley and instead create a beautiful, tree-lined street, Octavia Boulevard.

Patricia was one of the funniest, most joyful, and most irreverent people I’ve ever met, far from the stereotype of the tireless activist. Her activism was rooted in the simple idea that people should enjoy living in their neighborhood, as she did. I remember her giving my father and me an evening tour of her neighborhood once while assorted ruffians argued over drugs and broke 40-ounce malt liquor bottles in a nearby parking lot. Even then, she knew she could make her new home a better place as I wondered nervously if I would make it out alive.

Sometimes her efforts meant offending San Francisco leftists by demanding that police enforce laws against prostitution and drug use more vigorously. Sometimes it meant frustrating conservatives (or what passes for conservatives in San Francisco) by refusing to sacrifice the liveability of the neighborhood for the alleged economic benefits of a freeway overpass. She was happy to do both and as a result Hayes Valley is a much more enjoyable place to live now than it was when I first visited her in the late 1980s when she bought an apartment there.

Patricia’s brother, Lee, has commemorated his sister’s memory by moving a beautiful 1884 concert grand piano to the Cadillac Hotel, a non-profit single-room occupancy hotel in the Tenderloin where Patricia did volunteer work. You can read about it here. You can also watch local television news coverage (complete with corny news anchors) here.

Rest in peace, Patricia.

Culture
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Politics

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Rock And Roll Hullabaloo

I love Youtube. Here’s the Sir Douglas Quintet on “Hullabaloo,” in 1965:

By far the best garage conjunto Liverpudlian impersonators ever to come out of San Antonio. And the set design (and girl in armor!) for the performance is fantastic.

Music

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Andrew Hill, 1931–2007

Jazz composer and pianist Andrew Hill died last Friday. I was working at copy shop in Portland, Oregon, when Hill was a professor at nearby Portland State University, and he used to come in occasionally to copy music (lots of Bach, if I recall) for his classes. He was always very friendly, in contrast to many of our customers, and had the rumpled, disorganized air many musicians (and professors) have. I had no idea he was such a well-regarded player and composer until several years later when I recognized him on an album in a record store. And when I listened to his music, I wished I had known when I was in Portland so I could have talked to him about his music. Too late for that now, but it’s nice to see in the New York Times obituary that he was getting some long overdue recognition late in his life. You can listen to some of his music here.

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