Thursday, July 30, 2009

Airwaves dream.

Did you know that song? No, not you J.G. Norman; I'm sure YOU did. Well I didn't! I know The Buzzcocks' Singles Making Steady-era extremely well and also on vinyl have a new-ish 7" discussed here.

"Airwaves Dream" helps to make my point about the essential genius of the songwriting team of Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle. Well O.K., Pete writes most of the songs. But it's their interplay on guitars that makes the whole thing tick and why the band has survived through a variety of 3rd and 4th players.

1 short one and 2 long(er) ones to fill your aural feast.

"Why She's A Girl From A Chain Store"

"Moving Away From The Pulsebeat"

"I Believe"

They still put on a great show as Buzzcocks MK IIIb! Investigate Manchester's Likely Lads for yourselves then. And watch for the tour where they play their first two albums in their entirety coming to North America perhaps later this fall. The Publican's Secret is out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You really got me.

A while ago I mentioned this conference coming up in October in VA honoring Andrew Gurr. Well, today got the news. My paper, Falstaff at the Garter: The 1602 Merry wives of Windsor as City Comedy, was accepted. For non-Shakespeareans, I won't bore you with an extended summary. Just suffice it to say that the status of this printed version of the play has been part of a major and on-going debate within Shakespearean studies for more than a hundred years about the nature of play texts and their status as authetntic authorial documents.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Well no left, actually. Yesterday, they inducted two of the left fielders of my youth into the Baseball Hall of Fame: the utterly unique Rickey Henderson, of whom Bill James once exclaimed that statistically he had two Hall of Fame careers (!), and the BoSox Jim Rice, my second favorite player on my favorite team after right fielder Dwight "Dewey" Evans, he of the cannon and perfect form when performing the long throw from the outfield.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Show me the way.

If you watch tape-delayed US TV, there be spoilers below!

So 37-year-old Lance Armstrong is human after all, but just barely as he rode around the Champs-Élysées swigging champers and standing 3rd on the podium at the 2009 Tour de France. Quite an accomplishment, esp. after the crash and broken collarbone earlier this year in March.

Congrats to Lewis Hamilton for a fabulous and unexpected win on a somber day at Hungaroring.

4 world records already gone on Day 1 of the last Hi Tech suit meet at the Satdio de Nuoto in the Foro Italico in Rome. Special was Pellegrini breaking the 4 minute barrier in the women's 400m freestyle. The US men unexpectedly upset the French in the 400 X 100m freestyle relayed wven without Jason Lezak who opted for the Maccabiah Games instead.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eat a peach.

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

from T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" 11.111-125

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

That'll be the day.

Woke up to find out my third PopMatters YoutTube essay jumped the queue and was published a mere 2 days after I submitted it. Now the purpose for my trip to Antone's is made clear.

Fantastic breakfast at Juanita's Tacos and more followed by a trip to UT Austin camopus to finalize my reader's privileges at The Harry Ransom Center.

I love restaurants that set up in converted train cars.

I had a migas and cheese taco and a chorizo and cheese taco con dos salsas (pictured) and a Diet Coke all for $5 even.

The main entrance to campus overseen by the famous UT Tower.

The entrance to Harry Ransom Center.

Two great exhibitions I saw.

Lunch at the Famous Ruby's BBQ: 2 1/2 pound mixed plates Elgin Sausages and either Beef/Pork with Cole Slaw and BBQ Beans plus Freshly Squeezed Homemade Lemonade.

This afternoon took Gracie for another play period at Town Lake underneath Mo-Pac Bridge and a walk down and back to Deep Eddy Pool concluded with a fantastic Papaya Maya smoothie. That will be all from Austin. Adios amigos!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mellow down easy.

This afternoon took Gracie to another favorite dog park at the other end of Town Lake, Red Bud Isle. Here's a brief photographic essay sans comment.

The Tom Miller Dam marks the boundary between Lake Austin and Town Lake.

Bengali in platforms.

One of Austin's best restaurants in a historic adobe building downtown.

The mango lassi not only tasted great it was beautiful as well.

Look at this spread; all for under $40!

I collect beer mats. This is a new fave!

House at pooh corner.

I'm spending the week of July 15th-22nd visiting my Stanford pal Isaac and staying at his place on Blanco @ 9th just around the corner from Waterloo Records, Book People, and The Whole Foods flagship store, while his wife Janine and his daughter Madison are visiting family in the Netherlands.

My upstairs lair above the converted "garage", also known as Janine's home office work, where her famous Jane Austen book is coming to its final fruition.

What the garage was converted into.

The central core of the main 1893 Victorian farmhouse cottage.

Various shots of the house and garage's exteriors. Yes . . . it has a white picket fence.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

She's about a mover.

Texas Monthly's No. 1 Texas song.


Rather than sleeping in we got up at 7 and took a 4.2 round mile walk from Blanco along the Lady Bird Trail around Town Lake stopping at Auditorium Shores for Gacie to go off-leash, swim, and play with some other dogs. We interrupted out homeward journey at the foot of Blanco to grab a quick breakie at Sweetish Hill: Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea, Cherry Empenada, and Ham & Swiss Bialy which we shared.

Then it was on to Central Market to do both long-term grocery shopping preparing for Madison and Janine's return from Holland as well as short-term shopping preparing for tonight's dinner with visitor Molly Schwartzburg, a curator at the Harry Ransom Humanities Center and like me with an AB from Harvard and a PhD in English from Stanford. I focused on doing some amazing bacon wrapped huge seas scallops and my secret marinade sauce (it involves soy, chili, teriyaki and Worcestershire sauces plus various secret herbs and spices). Isaac did nice potato frittata and some baked Halibut filets.

We also stopped by Karavel, and I got a new pair of running/training New Balances to replace the ones I got on my last Austin sojourn over July 4th 2006.


We had a Mexican breakfast at Joe's Bakery and Coffee Shop on the Eastside. Isaac went with three increasingly larger tacos: chorizo & egg, carne guisada, y Miga con todo. I had a small Taco with carne guisada and a Huevos Ranchero plate with scramble degss plus some water. After a car tour around the UT campus, we stopped by Blanco and then drove up to Mount Bonnell. Point of information: I made it a point of saying I was going to climb Moutn Bonnell this trip and I did because in 2006 on a downward spiral health-wise I just couldn't get up those steps to the summit. 8 months later I was hospitalized for a week with what was ultiately diagnosed as CHF. Thought I'm not at the body type weight I want to get to eventually. I am far healthier now with good blood pressure and choloesterol levels!

Texas knows how to tell a funny historical story.

Looking back 2/3 up the climb.

The top of Mount Bonell and views

Isaac with a bored Gracie.

GE bringing Mississippi Blues to the Austin highlands.

On the way home, we stopped at Austin's music central and minded the gap!

I picked up a fascinating 2008 local release: athens v sparta, the history of the peloponnesian war. Then home and a lazy afternoon watching the British Open slip away from Tom Watson . . . sigh! But congrats to first time major-winner, Stewart Cink! Then I folded my laundry and completed submitting a Sound Affects blog entry, Musical Genius and Its Discontents (I): American-style, to PopMatters, which considers the "2nd Acts" of oky Erickson, Brian Wilson, Sly Stone, and Shuggie Otis. I'll work on part 2 concerning the British later tonight and tomorrow.

Indian food 2nite . . .

Friday, July 17, 2009

T for texas.

Fantastic meal last night a game decision by Issac. We walked 3 blocks down the hill to his local Cafe Josie where Blanco meets 6th street. I had the Green chile polenta with a starter of Crab bisque finished with a corn salsa. Isaac had the specila Mahi Mahi with a baby spinach salad. We started with scallops au gratin, another special, to share and closed sharing the Venezuelan Chocolate pot. Our next meal out will be at The ClayPit, either Friday or Saturday evening, my treat this time!

Made myself breakfast this morning to go along with my PG tips tea. Yougurt Curry Scrambled eggs with Kosher Salt and Cracked Black Pepper plus Nature's Own OatNut Toast with unsalted European-style butter from the Whole Foods flagship store, which is five blocks away.

Spent the day at home working except for a quick trip to Fry's for the necessary mini 5 pin plug to usb plug for downloading my snaps from the digital camera and to WalMart for some Scalpicin and shaving cream as I ran out this morning. We have a full weekend ahead, so i don't expect to blog again before Sunday evening.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


So I went to Rocky Erickson's Birthday Bash at Antone's with "No Expectations." These kind of affairs, not unlike the classic record release party, are usually about enjoyment and not music, and full of sloppy, schlocky sentimentality and not much in the way of worthwhile live performances. Apparently Texas didn't get that memo. I state categorically that last night's show at Antone's was one of the 10 best I've been at in my life and that includes stuff like The Smiths at the Manchester Club Academy in 1986 on their The Queen is Dead tour, Wire at the Double Door in Chicago (2003), the Buzzcocks at House of Blues, NOLA (2003), The Drive-By Truckers at the Old Main Music Festival (2006), My Bloody Valentine at Slim's opening the US portion of the Loveless tour (1992), and Mission of Burma's farewell show at the Bradford Hotel in 1983. In other words, I'm not a neophyte easily moved to raptures of positivity. 3 bands each very good and two great in different ways. And each band in a slightly different genre. Now that's what I call a killer show.

Starting us off at 8:30 was The Golden Boys, a classic Austin-style psychobilly country outfit down to the Nord keyboard. They were energetic and also had a lot of fun with guest stars, especially at the end of the night by which time they had added a mandolin, a fiddle, harmonica, and a sax amongst other instruments. The mandolin was apparently played by the manager of Antone's Record Shop. The whole night was about family really: fans of Roky and fans of Antone's as this the club's on-going 34th anniversary.

Next up was The Riverboat Gamblers, an Austin-based band who originally hail from Denton, TX home to UNT or North Texas State for us old timers. And probably home to more great unheard bands than any other city in America by population, due I suspect to UNT's famous music school. No number crunching here, but my two exemplars make my point. The Peel Favorite, Lift to Experience, and Starkvegas' favorite son Chapman Welch, excuse me . . . Dr. Chapman Welch . . . Oh yeah and someone named Norah Jones! Anyway I haven't seen a better live performance anywhere anytime any place in the last decade. These guys were incendiary and on it from the get go. Kinda like having been in LA ca. 1978 or DC ca. 1981. You're getting the vibe. The frontman had an Ian Curtis-kinda look but backed with an Iggy swivvely-hipped spirit and the mike twirling skills of either Daltrey or Pollard. The lead guitarist was either Southeast Asian or from the Middle East and he just shredded everyting in sight. Do yourself a favor run and out and get a disc by the Riverboat Gamblers. I was "singing" or at least "Hey Hey Hey"-ing along to songs I'ver never heard before.

Here's their actual setlist!

And then at 10:35 the main event, the legend in his own time Roky Erickson took the stage with a hot new as yet unnamed backing band (14th Floor Escalators anyone or maybe the Psychedelic Segways!). Anyway they immediately launched into a version of "Reverbation" that would have made the Reid brothers bow down. 12 songs later we got the double ending punch of "Two Headed Dog" followed by "You're Gonna Miss Me" and then it was done. The performance ran about 90 minutes and was astonishing. Not so much for stage presence or showmanship but for the glorious sounds produced by the pounding drummer, the bass player straight off a Surfari's record, and the lead guitarist, who reminded me of a younger Doug Gillard: that professional, that many riffs to spare, and frankly that nice a guy. He soloed so intensely on "Click your Fingers" he basically tore the skin off three fingers and bled the rest of the set, but he soldiered on as the great ones do.

Roky's Mom in her 80s here celebrating her son's 62nd birthday!

Antone's co-founder does the introduction

Roky unleashes "Reverbation" as an opener.

The crowd was into it.

Roky's Mom dances with some fans.

Roky looking for that "Two Headed Dog"

Roky unleashes the 13th Floor Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me"!

For the Roky fan's and any psycho completists, here's the official setlist:

Don't shake me
Splash 1
Creature with atom brain
The wind and more
Starry eyes
Bloody hammer
Stand for the fire demon
The beast
Click your fingers
night of the vampire
cold night for alligators
and now we fly
two headed dog
Your gonna miss me

Not played were the extras: "Splash 1" (originally scheduled 3rd on setlist)" and "I walked with a zombie." Substituted extra was "Don't slander me."

Amazing footage from a fizzygeek, who was basically right behind me and about two people closer to center stage.

He also took some beautiful stills.