Thoughts on a silly song

I’ve been going through old playlists and this morning’s was the album Book of Love (by Book of Love) which I found I could sing along to in the shower when I wasn’t laughing at how bad the poetry of it is. The most generic and banal lyrics but so weirdly fun anyway! Imagining one of these new wave ladies composing “Yellow Sky“, writing in blue ballpoint pen in her spiral notebook the immortal lines, “I dreamed about / how it would be / if you would come / and stay with me”.

Not that I demand much more out of a song. But then the song got even funnier to me as I wondered if it were written to a Lucky Charms leprechaun. “Blue Moon, Orange Sun and Yellow Sky” — not made any more profound by adding “where do we go when we die” for the rhyme.

What does Rap Genius have to say about it? appropriately… nothing.

Sorry Book of Love, I love you but I also love lightly making fun of you!

One more thing about this album – it is very consistent! You can listen to the whole thing without skipping and kind of stay in the same zone. And it is easy to sing along to as the vocal range stays in about the same 5 notes forever.

Loud music can help

Turned to 80s punk rock for comfort this morning. It’s funny I forgot how much I liked The Crucifucks. Not worrying about getting this perfect and it degenerates after the first half.

What I like, at least in this mood, is a fast pace, crisp bass, some rhythmic change or chaos, fuzzy noises, screaming obnoxiousness, either a quick sharp opening or a buildup that is worth it, and for a song to be under 2 minutes since I have a short attention span. Feeling grateful and happy this morning for punk’s existence and the great shows I used to go to in Texas. Enjoy!

The playlist so far:

No Class - Reagan Youth
Earth By Invitation Only - The Crucifucks
Hate - Red Aunts
Bourgeois Fascist Pig - Dicks
You're a Jerk - Wasted Youth
No Fucking War - 7 Year Bitch
Authority - Big Boys
Fuck Authority - Wasted Youth
We Rule and You Don't - Adolescents
We Know You Suck - JFA
World War III - T.S.O.L.
The Ugly American - Big Black
Parade of the Horribles - Circle Jerks
Patriot Asshole - MDC
Nervous Breakdown - Black Flag
World Up My Ass - Circle Jerks
I Can't Believe - Big Black
People Hate Me - Tribe 8
Anti-Klan - Dicks
Washington - The Crucifucks
Right Wing/ White Ring - Dicks
Eve of Destruction - The Dickies
The Leader Is Burning - Pocket FishRmen
John Wayne Was a Nazi - MDC
California Uber Alles - Dead Kennedys (the classics)
Democracy - Adolescents
Another Shot of Whiskey - The Gits

The list goes on from there, but in a disorganized way (the leftovers from constructing the first half).

I really love music and carefully cultivate playlists for various moods and genres. Maybe I’ll write about it more, and that way people will give me fabulous recommendations for more music that I’d like.

NIght at the Opera with teenagers

On dress rehearsal nights the San Francisco Opera lets school groups in free. Milo’s high school choir class came up to see La Cenerentola, armed beforehand with scripts and analysis and background about opera. I was super excited to get to go along because I can’t make it very often to Redwood City to his school events, which is sad….. I miss out on a lot. But I can’t drive — and it takes 5-6 hours of cab/bus/train to get there and back even though it would be 40 minutes one way by car. So, I can’t show up as a parent at his school very often. Bah.

It was a fabulous night out. A bit hard to try to keep up with everyone and manage wheelchair, crowds, elevator, stairs — winging it all the way, and it worked out well. Milo and Danny and I sat together with the kids and the choir teacher. I could tell Milo and I were both enjoying the music and you can see our excitement from the picture…. We were feeling inspired!

Milo and Liz at the opera

It’s been a while since I was at the opera house. We saw Nixon in China (which I loved a LOT). And some years ago a friend of mine took me to various operas because she had a box and season tickets. I can hardly remember which ones but do remember the fun of dressing up, the box itself being awesome, and thinking about all the books I’ve ever read where people go to the opera and have a box and a complicated social scene. Very fancy. I also have a lot of thoughts about how rare and splendid this kind of music must have been a couple of hundred years ago, and how amazing it is that there were beautifully designed music halls before there was electronic amplification. Imagining what the experience would have been like back then makes me feel like I’m traveling in time or am seeing eveything on more than one level at once.

Opera house curtains

The entire night was extra fun because of the energy of the whole audience, all the kids very excited to be there and commenting to each other on the theater, the show, their unusual formality (many kids were dressed up) and their commentary on the songs. I liked hearing from the cheers and appplause which characters and songs appealed to them. Basically anything that was comic. They were more fun to be in an audience with than the usual rather uptight overly quiet and suppressed/suppressive classical music audience!

Opera with class

My own favorite bits of the opera were the arias where there are 4 or 5 characters singing at once and the notes and lyrics interweave in a complicated way. This is one of my favorite things in any kind of music. I go into a trance trying to pick out separate parts and then add them all together, hearing them separately and together at the same time. I get very excited and want to bounce around in my seat. I may have done this and punched Danny and Milo in the arm a bit or squeaked with excitement.

A nice break to end my month and a half of arthritis flare-up, not going out except for doctor appointments or physical therapy. Could not tell if I was going out foolishly or if it was going to be ok. It was more or less ok!! With lots of painkiller though. It was physically gruelling but didn’t set me back any in my ankle rehab.

Just blogging a bit frivolously to break my trend of not writing anything because I feel like I have to say something super meaningful or well thought out. Screw that, right?

Fabulous rhymes

My friend Zach from Revolt wrote and performed a new song about living with Lyme disease. I really like it and can’t wait for the recorded and produced version! His other songs I’ve heard about history, philosophy, and revolution are complicated and beautiful! I wanted to share this now, even before the produced version is out. I’m super happy Zach got some press for his talent & ideas.

Pop music interpolations

This morning I was listening to the awesomely cheerful and cheesy first (and eponymous) album by Book of Love. I have to say of all the joys of civilization, aside from bathtubs, my favorite thing might be singing in the car to loud music. The privacy means I can totally belt out “Starman” while mangling the lyrics without being drunk or having a karaoke machine, but also that I can call up various embarrassing pieces of music to play at top volume without annoying anyone else.

As I sang “Happy Day” this morning I realized that when I listen to heinous pop music sometimes I’m mentally editing it, interpolating way more meaning or different meaning into it. There’s a whole category of songs I have to do this for, ones that are great but then burst into a verse that’s way too specific, like the verse about jumping into someone’s pool in Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Incentive Dealers’ “I Will Deny” or completely wrong. Book of Love is usually not so much wrong as it is simple like a coloring book. So my enjoyment of the fingerpainted lyrics and sweepy new wave music is usually enhanced by a sort of internal Greasemonkey script that shovels in the equivalent of “Howl” and several highly compressed Ani di Franco songs. I don’t think about this, it’s just what happens in the infinite spaces in between the actual lyrics, like the time compression in a dream. They’re like a shape and it’s like I”m having a complicated form of synesthesia (which I actually do get if I have some focus and can close my eyes). This morning I ended up noticing and observing my interpolations because they were so absurd. Yes. It’s like I’m high all the time and I have to suppress it actively. But everyone does that, right? Anyway!!! It went something like this, but way longer:

Can’t describe
What it was
yes exactly i can’t describe it because nothing is describable omg but here let me give it a try (long complicated holo-poem abstraction)
What shined
Shined so bright
flaming meteorites! but sort of fractal! phosphenes! some sort of magic fantasy world psychic power aura that reveals a giant glowing floating futuristic city in an alternate universe that’s infinitely complicated and sort of galaxies exploding and colliding

Hold on to the light
light! why do we hold onto it? what? LION!
Safe from the night
long thought about Novalis I don’t have time to explain
I can see
When you walk with me
but not “you” like a romantic you because that is all wrong but more like The Universe and stuff
Time to begin again

Lead us to a happier day
Except leaderlessly in a totally egalitarian way anarchically because that would be the best happiness!!!!!!
Happy day
Happy day

Say goodnight
Wake up you’re late for tomorrow
I’d like nothing to do
well not really
I would dream
Dream about you
Lead us
To a happier day

book of love band posing

Too cool for school

Moomin has been in “science and art” camp for weeks: Camp Galileo. They’re really organized and send home daily newsletters (mostly canned…) and at the end of the week, photos of all the kids and a certificate. I think the “science” they do is overhyped, so there is a lot of bridge-building from popsicle sticks, fun but with these things I always wish they would dig deeper and make things more “real”.

Meanwhile there is a lot of loafing and comic books and reading going on over here, and we continue to make stuff out of the Howtoons book.

Milo in a hat

But we haven’t made a movie, or started a band, or learned programming, or done experiments with electricity, and and and…

Though on the “experiments with electricity” front, I am giving Moomin a quarter every time he turns off a light in a room no one’s using.

Reading: Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbottsen, which I pitched to him as “kids doing magical marine rescue.”

We looked at the Daily Ocean blog, whose author goes for a 20-minute walk every day to pick up trash on the beach. She photographs it and writes beautiful, thoughtful posts. After 40 days of picking up trash, she had collected over 200 pounds of trash. Keep in mind that’s only 20 minutes a day!

And we watched The Bots, two teenagers from LA with a punk rock band:

In which I feel pissy about DRM and iTunes

It’s the same old song as everyone else has already sung, but man do I ever hate the Apple DRM junk in my trunk. I mean stabbity stab stab! I bought this damned album on vinyl once for 12.99 20 years ago, and then I bought it on CD, and the cd got stolen but luckily I had taped it on audiotape, and then I couldn’t find it anywhere bcause it was out of print nad was deliriously happy I could find it and hear it again by clicking 99 cents thing on iTunes. And that was several years and several Macs ago and now the damned song doesn’t work! For fuck’s sake, how many more times do I have to buy this song before I get to archive it without a waste of the world’s resources?

I was contemplating how very broken things are in music distribution. Books too. I want to own the electronic copy for whatever I buy, and then be able to get or make a physical copy of it. To record and manipulate music so I can hear it in my car. To print it or get print on demand in some graceful way. Whatever! But having just a book doesn’t satisfy me either because I want to cut and paste and quote bits of the book, fair use style, or search the book, or index it or annotate it. Think of it this way. I am willing to do a fair amount of valuable cultural work — FOR FREE — which benefits us all. Art is a contribution to the world and all art builds on other art. We need to be able to expose the connections and references. It is not information I love best, though I do love it. It is meaning. Meaning created by context and for there to be context, people have to be able to access it.

This rant inspired by my resolve to get on line and buy all the CDs possible by Dressy Bessy. I got something by them on a mix CD, and then went and downloaded more, and now love them and feel a blinding loyalty. I would like to directly give that band the $12.99 and NOT buy a CD with packaging that I will likely ruin or lose anyway. Just make it so that somewhere, it is recorded on heaven’s unchangeable heart (i.e. the motherfucking IN-ternets) that I bought this music and have the rights to mess with it under whatever nice license they like. Then, if I lose the CD or my hard drive crashes I will still have the rights to interact with the bit of cultural product that I gave currency to.

iTunes of course does NOT do this… but has planned obsolescence, which I consider one of the evils our species has unleashed on the world.

Where is the lovely open source non profit Registry of Cultural Production and Rights… or the international agency… even as a part of a government… a beautifully organized repository?

That would be my own killer app.

Where I could register my intent to translate something, and pay the original author of it… Pay them directly. And then translate and publish. Think how beautiful this killer app of copyright would be for translation as well as books and music.

Or genetic material, or whatever.

(Somehow I am thinking as I say this, on the back burner of my mind, about OLPC (which is lovely in many ways but I have a big BUT) and Dil’s gold bangles from whichever Patrick O’Brian book that was. The same fallacy of physical objects and possessions and property, the same middle class assumption that the important things is STUFF.)