IT'S A LIVING
BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #14.7
J Church and Honey BearRecords Celebrating Bona Dea
Bored boys with nothing to do
TOUR AND ALBUM
I'm still getting details back from different people about the tour and
album. Ben is in charge of the tour and I haven't heard anything from
Var in a bit. I promise a better-detailed report next time with a full
list of stuff happening. I just need to get it organized somehow. In a
nutshell, the album is called The Horror Of Life and will be on
No Idea, of course. The tour will be mostly of California and the West.
I know that it's littered with cool shows with Riverboat Gamblers, Coldbringer,
Modern Machines, etc.
FUCK THE ASTROS
Russ Springer is a fucking coward! Ditto for that punk Phil Garner.
Love or hate Bonds, beaning him just because your team is getting shelled
is bullshit. Look, I don't give a shit about steroids or home run records
or anything to do with Bonds. I just like the Giants and I used to like
the Astros too. But fuck it. Now I can completely revel in just how badly
SF humiliated Houston at home in their antiseptic, new jack stadium two
nights in a row. Fuck baseball fields that play fucking country music!
Oh, and here's an interesting stat from ESPN: May 22, 2001: Bonds homers
off Springer. Sept. 21, 2004: Springer faces Bonds for the first time
since the home run -- and hits him. Tuesday: Springer meets Bonds for
the first time since that 2004 HBP -- and makes it two in a row.
Incidentally, ESPN also ran a poll where 34% of African-Americans
believe that race is the main reason that Barry Bonds has gotten all
this attention over steroids as opposed to 2% of
non-African-Americans. Why is the sport I love still the most racist?
Fuck it, I still like Biggio. I just get pissed off at hayseeds like
Lou Gish (1967 - 2006)
Like most people who know the name, I mostly was aware of Lou Gish from
her role as Julia on Coupling. One of the best BBC comedies ever,
she was a great addition during the second and third season. Her character
was so funny and different I was really sad that she left the show rather
than become a permanent cast member.
Daughter of Sheila Gish (Mansfield Park) and Roland Curram (Darling),
she came from an acting family. Sister Kay Curram also acts and her stepfather
was Denis Lawson (Wedge from the original Star Wars trilogy!).
Her cousin was Ewan McGregor and to top it off, her godparents were Julie
Christie and John Schlesinger.
Doing more stage work than anything else, she had been working on King
Lear with her sister in 2005, working through the death of her mother,
Sheila, from facial cancer. During production, Gish's own cancer resurfaced
and she was forced to leave the play. She passed away in February of this
BAISE MOI? BAISE MYSPACE!
Everyone has been talking about MySpace lately. It's good. It's evil.
It's pointless. It's useful. I've been trying hard to write something
that would add my two cents but have been having a really hard time. It's
odd because, right or wrong, my stupid opinions usually flow pretty freely
onto paper. But I just can't get to that place. I can't form an organized
opinion and I think I know why: I don't really care.
I want to care. I really do. Arguments both for and against are
reasonable. I guess it all just seems like a silly distraction to me.
Let me start by saying that I use MySpace all the time. I should just
admit that. That doesn't mean that I discount people's criticisms. But
I pick and choose my battles like anyone else. I'm not Ted Kozinski.
At the same time, I do understand that MySpace is big business and
Rupert Murdoch owns it and he's evil. I get that. When the revolution
comes, the paid staff at MySpace will be up against the wall with all
the other capitalist running dogs. I'm with you there.
Still, I use MySpace. Yes, it's free and it's a very easy and
successful way to get out information about my band, my fanzine, my
But let's face it: I love the social aspect. I'd be lying
said my only use for MySpace was re-appropriating their facilities for
DIY revolution. No, I like reading Janelle's blog and I like seeing
pictures of hardcore bands I've never heard of and, yes, I do want to
know how many of your on-line "friends" you've had sex with.
gonna lie. It's a lot of fun and it keeps me out of the bars every night.
For me, MySpace is like basic cable. Of course it's evil. Viacom or whatever
the hell it is now? In the immortal words of the Four Skins they're "evil,
evil, evil, evil, evil, evil, evil, evil
" I could make up some
lie about how shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Six Feet Under
are making art out of the vile tendrils of the totalitarian spider plant.
But I don't even watch those shows. There's something counter-revolutionary
about trying to pass off HBO or Showtime as "art".
Even worse is network TV. I don't have to tell you how evil the
networks are. Just pick up any contemporary lefty publication. They
can't get over media analysis. All TV is propaganda and the message is
from whoever owns the medium. Right now, that's the multi-national
corporations who have been our main enemy all along. I don't disagree.
Before I moved to San Francisco, I was living the life. Every other
word out of my mouth was either "revolution" or "bourgeois"
something of that aesthetic like "anaesthetized" or whatever.
even owned a TV in years. If I had nothing to do, I read. If I wanted
to see a movie I had to see it in the theater. When people at work
talked about pop culture I was happily oblivious and joyously
arrogant. Nothing wrong with a little oblivious arrogance from time to
I moved to San Francisco in 1989. I moved at that time for two
reasons. The first was to help out with the "Without Borders"
Anarchist Gathering and that's another story. The second was because
there was an open room at the Maximum Rock-N-Roll house and David
Hayes turned it down. I think I thought I was moving in with the
Baader-Meinhoff and was somewhat disappointed when I found out how
normal it all was. I had been to the house before. But it's something
else when you live there.
We all worked really hard on the magazine, devoting all of our free
time to the voluntary work. Tim Yo was always very, very respectful of
that (though he was the first to tear you a new asshole if you
he really lived his Leninist beliefs). We lived in a nice
house off of Castro with very cheap rent. We had game nights. We would
follow the Giants. We also had a massive TV, the biggest I had ever
seen, with every cable channel available.
That TV was like a reward for a long days work and you were sure to
find Tim reclined on the couch in front of it every night. After the,
at times, intellectually draining work at the magazine, it was nice to
just pop on the TV. I think it had something to do with all the
compromises you make during the day. It's relaxing just picking
whatever you want to watch from 100 different channels. I don't know.
No one at the house had any illusions about what TV was. We weren't
idiots. None of us were pretending to be analyzing consumer culture by
watching MTV either. I hate those people. The day was over and we
watched a little TV to relax. It's like how some people have a beer or
smoke a joint first thing when they get home.
I'm not saying that getting into TV was the main thing I took from living
at the Maximum house. Far from it. But I have always owned a TV since.
I watch TV, drink Diet Pepsi, and play on MySpace, which, to me, are all
to varying degrees on the same level of bad behavior. MySpace is like
TV and TV is like MySpace, it's free and it can be fun. What's not fun
IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM
ADOLESCENTS, THE - s/t LP
Punks have no imagination. To this day, everyone still calls this "the
blue album". What the hell? I remember reading their interviews in
Flipside, probably the issue that came with the first Rodney on the
ROQ comp. I remember thinking they were the real deal. Back in those
days, I was so desperate for punk I would often wind up with records that
at least looked punk but ended up being some shitty new wave or worse.
But the Adolescents were definitely the real deal. I remember I couldn't
tell if they were scary punks or just a bunch of assholes like the military
brats that made up most of Hawaii's half-assed punk scene.
This record was a real revelation. Kids Of The Blackhole is an
epic about a punk house that seemed to bring all my fantasies into reality.
Was this for real? I had to believe it was true. Plus it's a wonderful
song. Rikk Agnew is a totally underrated guitar player. At the time we
all knew he was the shit. I followed him from the Adolescents to Christian
Death to his time with DI. But he's largely forgotten today. People say
nice things about the Adolescents and this record. But nobody remembers
how important that dude was. Now a lot of this sort of playing is common
especially in some of the commercial punk bands. But this record is the
first time most of us heard it.
It's a great album. I don't have to tell you all the hits. Wrecking
Crew, Who Is Who, LA Girl, No Way and even fricking
Amoeba sound great today. Sounds like the fucking theme from Buffy!
BEATLES, THE - Let It Be... Naked LP
I always liked this record. Not only am I one of those people that prefers
the later Beatles stuff, I'm the guy that likes their most fucked up records.
Fuckin' McCartney, y'know? I can't even look at photos of that guy. He
seems like such a fuckin' phoney. But I loved the others especially John.
I Dig A Pony is one of their best songs as far as I'm concerned.
Across The Universe! George's tunes are also fucking brilliant
especially the haunting I Me Mine.
These recently cleaned up recordings are fucking fantastic. I think Spector
is an overrated fucker who had his moment and otherwise fucked up the
Beatles and the Ramones. Even silly Paul songs like The Long And Winding
Road are more enjoyable especially when you hear Preston's electric
piano. (Capitol Records)
CLASH, THE - Death Or Glory LP
Back before the recent glut of Clash bootlegs, I was a bit of a collector.
While legit Clash rarities have gone far out of my price range (last time
I saw a copy of the Spanish Complete Control pic sleeve, it was
closing in on three figures on Ebay), some of the first generation of
boots are still fun to track down. By first generation, I mean the ones
that came out while the band were still active.
This nice looking LP is made up of three different recordings. The first
side is all from a 1982 Tokyo show. Most of the second side comes from
the Jamaica World Music Festival from 1983. I bought this record largely
because I wanted to hear what they would do with the more produced Sandinista
stuff live. Between the two recordings there are interesting versions
of Washington Bullets, Ivan Meets GI Joe and Junco Partner.
It's pretty cool to hear guitar-ed out versions of those numbers. To some
people, Sandinista seemed like a band living beyond their means.
These live recordings make me wonder what would have happened if the band
had gone in and recorded it all in the spirit of London Calling.
The LP closes with two tracks of Strummer singing with the Pogues and
a live Tommy Gun from some TV show none of which is very exciting.
(Leviathan Multi-Media Company)
DAWSON - Barf Market: You're Ontae Plums LP
Before you had your Lung Leg, Dick Johnson, and Pink Kross, you had the
amazing Dawson. Glasgow's premier noise wavers are often forgotten in
conversations about the Ex, Gang Of Four, the Pop Groups
debut album in 1990 is as solid as most of those groups records.
Of the bands I mentioned, Dawson were surely closer in sound to the Ex
or especially pre-Ex commies, the Rondos. Ten tracks on side one and
eight on the other, it's a relentless attack that goes also seems to
spring from the Ex style political rantings. It all sounds quite
brilliant as well.
If you are a fan of those earliest recordings of the Ex (and I can't
imagine that you aren't) than this record is well worth tracking down.
All of the band's output was great. But this is the most well-rounded
effort. (Gruff Witt Records)
THOMPSON, RICHARD AND LINDA - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
From the first note, this is one of the greatest albums of all time.
Sweet pop with breathtaking harmonies, they never went TOO folk like Fairport
Convention. But it's folk enough that it's soothing while startlingly
electric. There's a bit of tension. But just enough to keep it all interesting.
The additional musicianship (horns here and there) is pretty and subdued
enough as not to sound corny. As far as chill records, I put this right
up there with Harvest and Tapestry.
And the title track, I don't know what to say about a song so great.
will say this; it has to have a prominent place on the mix tape they
play at my funeral. It somehow captures so many of my feelings without
really saying anything.
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