June 25th, 2003

flavored with age

Andrei Katchinup

- I seem to have caught the same disease as my parents. No, not morbid obesity. Well, not just morbid obesity. I seem to have caught that disease where the older I get, the earlier I get up in the morning. Aside from the aging-homebody thing I'm workin', where the number of things I would rather do than read, write, or sleep gets smaller and smaller every year, it's become increasingly difficult to stay in bed past 9AM, even on weekends. Even when the cats aren't hollering at me or headbutting me to remind me that they would like to be fed at some point in the future. It used to be a struggle to get up in time to make it to work in the morning; nowadays I've got to figure out how to kill two hours before it's time to get ready for work. At this rate, by the time I'm 40, I'll be emulating my dad and calling people at 5AM just to chat. "Oh, did I wake you up? I've been awake for 3 hours already. I just repainted the garage." If I have your phone number, consider this a warning.

- I'm thinking about selling a bunch of vinyl albums on eBay, but I must first conquer my laziness and lack of a digital camera. However, if any of you out there are vinyl junkies, give me a shout and I'll let you have first crack at them. There's lots of Latin jazz, plenty of international pop from the '50s and '60s, some 1960s country, a few discs of wierd stuff, a handful of American jazz, a lot of random stuff, and some classical and opera, almost all of it old and in pretty good condition. Say the word and I'll post a list; I'm gonna let them go cheap. (I'm also selling a dumpload of cassettes, mostly '80s punk & alternative, if anyone wants to take these off my hands.)

- Speaking of archaic musical forms, Steve and I watched The Big T.N.T. Show last night. This is a filmed concert, made in L.A. in 1966, where a parade of performers who have nothing whatsoever in common play before an audience of bewildered, hysterical teenage girls and their surly boyfriends. This was made in the early days of American rock 'n' roll, before anyone really knew what the hell to do with it, so you get this ludicrously diverse roster of performers the likes of which you'd never see today: Bo Diddley, Joan Baez, Ray Charles, Petula Clark, the Ronettes, Donovan, Ike and Tina Turner, the Byrds, Roger Miller, the Lovin' Spoonful, and Skye Saxon & the Seeds. It's hosted by David "Ilya Kuryakin" McCallum, the British TV smoothie who comes out wearing a ludicrously hip jacket-turtleneck combo and "conducts" a symphonic medley of Beatles and Stones hits. It's a live show -- no lip-synching or canned music -- and boy, can you tell. Ray Charles is fantastic during his bits, as is the demented Skye Saxon; the best performance is Bo Diddley's, though. He comes out with a shitload of Marshall stacks miked to the high heavens and plays a couple of numbers that are so deafeningly loud that you can't hear the drums, let alone the audience (who clearly have no idea what to make of him). On the other hand, Donovan (still in his faux-Dylan stage) is stoned and out of it, Petula Clark seems to have no idea where she is, Joan Baez warbles through the worst performance of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" ever recorded (with Phil Spector on piano!), and the Byrds are simply high off their gourds, rendering most of them -- especially the insanely-grinning, cape-wearing Cros -- incapable of performing "To Everything There is a Season". They're off-key, their guitars are out of tune, and they are barely in synch with one another, causing Roger McGuinn to shoot death looks at the rest of the band. The audience shots, as well, are priceless: the greasy biker dude staring at the blonde California girls with murder on his mind, the beehived beatnik chick bored out of her skull, the frenetically dancing pre-teen girl, the white girls clapping arrythmically while the black girls (in a segregated section of the auditorium) dance in perfect step. It's a really entertaining, if often bizarre and unintentionally hilarious, snapshot of the days when entertainment producers were still baffled by the whole phenomenon of rock music and would throw anything out there just to see what happened.