A young Jebson Interlandi and his now-deceased twin brother show their political stripes.
Since living in Amsterdam, I’ve been on vacation from American politics, and it’s been highly refreshing. But as Timmy Leary would say, it’s time again to get down on all fours. I’m pretty excited, for my own perverse reasons. And regardless of the primary’s outcome, in a historical sense, progress has been made.
I’ve already lost fifty dollars because of a bet made over the summer in which I predicted the general election to be between John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani. Clearly, my political augury is lukewarm. Anybody care to make a wager on Barack Obama/John McCain? The odds are in your favor.
What I anticipate most is witnessing the rallies and fervent displays of the supporters waving signs and explaining their dim reasons for "liking" their candidate. This is the season when that innate instinctual urge comes out in people — that magnetic pull towards worship. Whether in religion, politics, music, literature, film, etc., we tend to seek icons to bolster up and place on the pedestal while we kneel down, eagerly waiting to be sprayed with their charismatic discharge.
Seen through the most cynical lens, one could say we’re looking at a compacted fecal log — a regurgitated colonic composite, passed through the polypoid anus of humanity, dropped on the grass and then swarmed by coprophilic flies.
I’m more of an optimist, at least for today, so I prefer to view this phenomenon in a different light. Perhaps, regardless of whether our testes drop or our mammary glands expand, we retain our infantile urge to grasp at the nearest parental finger. That finger, whoever it belongs to, offers a degree of hope. A symbolic way of replacing posters on the wall — Don Mattingly to John Lennon to Bob Marley to William Burroughs to Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter to Jesus to the Dalai Lama to Chris Rock to a mirror, etc.
Yes, yes. I look forward to watching things heat up in the election. More icons for our dissection.
Speaking of icons, on Tuesday night I went to the famous Paradiso to see Colin Newman. When I first arrived at the old cathedral-turned-music-venue, I walked into the main-stage area where Tower of Power were wankin’ and blowin.’ I had to catch a glimpse of their bassist, Rocco Prestia out of respect from my Berklee days. Though I can’t stand the music he plays, Rocco is the sixteenth-note king and a champion of carpal-tunnel.
On the second stage was Colin Newman’s band, Githead. Newman is one of those musical icons who deserves more recognition than he gets. He was in the influential London band, Wire (est. 1976), who are another example of an act benefiting from exposure to Brian Eno. I’m a big fan of his two solo albums, A-Z (1980) and Commercial Suicide (1987). You may recognize his song, "Alone," from the Silence of the Lambs soundtrack. Anyway, Githead was mediocre at best — it was clear they had rehearsed maybe twice. But the gear-geek quotient was considerable, as they sported two Line 6 guitars paired with Roland amps.
I suppose my standards for live bands are too high. I either want them to be such good friends it appears they’re constantly sharing an inside joke and the audience laughs even though they don’t get it, or I want them to hate each other so much the drummer pretends his snare drum is Sting. (Or, if the drummer doesn’t happen to be in The Police, then some other band member.)
Here’s "Life on Deck" from Newman’s solo album, A-Z. It’s a fine example of his talent for climactic songwriting.
If you have 10 minutes to spare, I encourage you to listen to this recent Wire track, "23 Years Too Late," from their November 2007 release, Read and Burn 03. It’s long and repetitive, but it’s a literary gem with Newman’s accentuated voice controlling the choruses. Enjoy.
One last thing, "Sexy Sadie" passed away in Vlodrop over here on Tuesday. Peace be with you.