Thick, Thunderous Magic
Hello my friends, and welcome to another Weakly Reader, wherein I recap, index, illustrate, and elaborate on the week past, thereby generating a document that may be more easily searched in future should I ever want to find the “content” in this social-media ravaged world of ours. I do it mostly for myself, but as always you can read along if you like. There’s a lot of stuff you probably missed, plus a bunch of songs and pictures and that sort of thing.
Pictured above is my old Epiphone Coronet, the one you’ve probably seen if you’ve ever seen my band play since around 1997 or so. For no particular reason, but I was looking for an image and this is one I like. It is from 1964, I believe, that is, it’s as old as I am, and is nearly as time-ravaged. Looks like an old barn door. Sounds like thick, thunderous magic. I’m lucky to have it, I know.
I think I own three of these: at the moment one of them isn’t strictly locatable. Not sure where it wandered off to, but it’s possible I may only have two. The other one that is locatable (under the bed) is a Dwight brand model, which were made in 1964 for Sonny Shields Music in East St. Louis, IL. It’s in better cosmetic shape and it sounds great too, of course, but it seems to lack that thick, thunderous, magical quality to which I allude above.
Wikipedia says I’m a “notable user”, which sounds important.
Anyhow, on the weak that was, yeah?
— Love American Style: Sounds Rad’s quick, one-week-only limited pop-up Love American Style shirt + pin offer has officially popped back down, but the link is still active as of press time, so if you missed out you could still give it a shot.
— The Mr T Experience… and the Women Who Love Them. Re-issue that is. RAD-13–01. “Dibs” is still active and here’s the link. Release date is August 14.
This is all partly in aid of trying to keep the Mtx forever pot stirring. It’s still a thing and you can still get it here.
MTX IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING
— Seen on twitter:
Adulthood is spending 2 months planning to hang this @mtxforever poster currently between two shitty Silverstone guitars you bought to home-record that album you’ll never make.
— Those Sounds Rad boxes — not just a shipping box, it’s a filing system.
— Odin: The Mr T Experience — “Deep Deep Down,” live in Forli, Italy, November 1997.
— …and your Friday morning “…Hitler…” :
DR FRANK MAKES THE SCENE
— The Last Dryad, by Stirling Calder: a sculpture on the UC Berkeley campus that I’ve always loved, from when I first encountered it as a student there in the ’80s.
Then, as now, it was in the Faculty Glade, having been moved from the Women’s Gymnasium courtyard in 1968. There have been several censorship attempts on it over the years, including (I have always assumed) allowing the foliage to grow up around it so it was all but hidden from view, as it was during my Cal years. It’s very viewable now though, to my slight surprise, and I snapped a pic of it on one of my daily rambles.
Don’t suppress art. That’s a very bad thing to do. Down with iconoclasm.
— Sometimes hatred is just a red hat.
— Hey Emily: a year was optimistic — not quite there yet…
— Dept. of bons mots:
Writing: the better you get at it, the harder it gets, till your ever increasing awareness of your own limitations reduces you to silence.
— All My Vinyl, part vi: Some stuff I wrote about records, feat. Tuff Darts, Gymslips, Sex Pistols, Getz/Gilberto, James Taylor, Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor, and Mama Cass… the post is on Medium.
OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC
— On our own we’re fine but united we’re dynamite:
One of Tony Romeo’s finest compositions, worth sharing.
— Roman calendar: St. Anthony of Padua preaching to the fishes; Saint Elisha and his Bears of Justice, a. k. a. the Revenge of the Bald; Saint Bernard de Menthon with dogs; Saint Benno, patron saint of Munich; Saint Gregorio Barbarigo, looking rather like Al Pacino; Saint Ephrem the Syrian, Hippolyte-Dominique Holfeld’s Le Sacré-Coeur adoré par toutes les parties du monde…
— Behold: The Evening Sun (Iphigenia), a photograph by Oscar Rejlander, ca. 1860, model unknown; o jogo bonito; Tito Rodriguez is El Doctor (as am I, I might add); Grace Slick with mic and Oreo; pass the butter, please; I guess we’re all a little afraid of what we love (Night Tide, 1961); The New Adventures of Huck Finn…
— and plus:
IN THE NEWS
— Matt Taibbi says the things you’re not supposed to say, in a fervent indictment of the state of journalism, which does seem rather dire (like most everything else.) All “shop talk” aside, this bit squares with my experience and observations:
The media in the last four years has devolved into a succession of moral manias. We are told the Most Important Thing Ever is happening for days or weeks at a time, until subjects are abruptly dropped and forgotten, but the tone of warlike emergency remains: from James Comey’s firing, to the deification of Robert Mueller, to the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, to the democracy-imperiling threat to intelligence ‘whistleblowers,’ all those interminable months of Ukrainegate hearings (while Covid-19 advanced), to fury at the death wish of lockdown violators, to the sudden reversal on that same issue, etc. It’s been learned in these episodes we may freely misreport reality, so long as the political goal is righteous.
— “Didn’t read, but disapprove” — On Soviet “collective demonization,” and ours.
Americans have discovered the way in which fear of collective disapproval breeds self-censorship and silence, which impoverish public life and creative work. The double life one ends up leading — one where there is a growing gap between one’s public and private selves — eventually begins to feel oppressive. For a significant portion of Soviet intelligentsia (artists, doctors, scientists), the burden of leading this double life played an important role in their deciding to emigrate.
Those who join in the hounding face their own hazards. The more loyalty you pledge to a group that expects you to participate in rituals of collective demonization, the more it will ask of you and the more you, too, will feel controlled. How much of your own autonomy as a thinking, feeling person are you willing to sacrifice to the collective? What inner compromises are you willing to make for the sake of being part of the group? Which personal relationships are you willing to give up?
— So long, Vera Lynn, dead at 103:
And that’ll about wrap it up for this week’s Weakly Reader. But for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s some ladies at band practice:
See you next week.