Friday, August 03, 2007


Village Bay Ferry Terminal, Mayne Island, July 2007

Dearest Friends, we're off shortly to our beloved Mayne Island for a week-long summer family holiday. We're looking forward to pootling about on the shores, communing with the orcas, evening barbecues overlooking the sea, and a spot of camping on nearby Saltspring Island. I am feeling rather tired and drained, so the slowdown to island time will be most welcome.

I had both intended and hoped to post much more over the past couple of weeks. Really, I did. So what happened? Work. Fatigue. Absence of muses. Summer doldrums. Sigh.

But I do have much to write about, and I promise I will do so upon my return and that of the muses. So, what do you have to look forward to? The compelling music of Rodney DeCroo. The slam-poetic urgency of The Fugitives. A film portrait of the incomparable Lisa Gerrard. Stories from Warsaw and New York. I hope you will find some of it interesting.

But two brief items before I bugger off. First, for Dearest Marcy who expressed such delightful joy at hearing the Lords of the New Church cover of "Like A Virgin," a bit of a history lesson. The Lords were fronted by Stiv Bators, who started out as the singer for NY punk progenitors, The Dead Boys. To be completely accurate, the group actually started out in Cleveland, Ohio as Rocket From The Tombs in 1975, thus disproving the assertion that nothing worthwhile ever came out of Cleveland (Actually, this theory was already debunked by the fact that Marcy herself hails from that urb). In 1976 they moved to New York, where their nihilistic, frenetic, and occasionally violent shows were a stark contrast to the artier strand of the city's burgeoning punk scene, characterized by Television and their ilk. Bators himself was given to slicing and hanging himself on stage, though occasionally he was content with just contorting himself into sinewy knots.

Apart from having one of the best titles ever, The Dead Boys' first album, Young Loud and Snotty, kicks off with the blistering jet of steam that is "Sonic Reducer." With Cheetah Chrome and Jimmy Zero on gee-tarrs, Johnny Blitz blitzing on drums, Jeff Magnum firing big bass bullets, and Stiv 's throatily shouting at you and me that he "Don't need no pretty face / Don't need no human race," this song really is the dog's bollocks. Or the cat's pyjamas. If those pyjamas were soaked in sweat and spit, slashed, then safety-pinned together.

The Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer (buy here)

Oh, sod it! You really need to see Stiv in action to get the full picture:

You can read a much fuller account of Stiv's story here, and get a few more tunes here. But let me give away the sad ending: in 1990 Stiv, allegedly inebriated, was struck on a Parisian sidewalk by a laundry van. After being checked out in hospital, he was allowed to go home, where he died in his sleep as a result of undetected head injuries. Rock 'n' roll.

Second brief (literally) item: I went shopping for underwear earlier this week and found this. Now, tell me, which manly man could resist an item with such a moniker? Not me. So now I'm a proud owner of a pair. OK, maybe not proud, but amused.

Pulp - Underwear (buy here)

Dearest Friends, do stay well and I will see you shortly.