There’s A Place In This World (and whatever world which might or might not come next) For A Gambler

August 21, 2008

…not that I know much about gambling beyond some basic things nor engaged in much gambling. I do know that it is apparently possible to place a bet on pretty much anything. So, I thought, why not place wagers on the afterlife?

You could bet your entire life savings as, if there turns out of be no afterlife, no one could collect and no one would be the wiser. Make it interesting and have the wagers be on possible outcomes.

“Put me down for ten grand on the likelihood of Bea Arthur being some bar wench in the afterlife at six to one.”

If you get a bit over rambunctious in Valhalla and Bea is the one tossing your ass, you’d collect a cool $60,000.

Then, I realized that, unless the afterlife takes place in a casino (which might be some folks’ idea of heaven), there might not be a need for ducats. If there was, though, you’d have the chance to start out with wads of cash – snack money.

Talking Heads – Heaven
Quirky, brainy and surprisingly funky, but pretty isn’t a word that comes to my mind when I think of The Heads. Heaven is pretty, though. It’s a very soothing song and Fear Of Music (from whence it came) is likely my favorite record of theirs – I Zimbra, Mind, Life During Wartime, and Heaven.

Curve – No Escape From Heaven
I loved Curve’s sound from the first time I heard them on their debut Doppelganger. At times edgy and cacophonous, there’s always a melody underneath the layers of guitars and effects – and Toni Halliday provides some provocative vocals.

Bob Dylan – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Paloma has prodded me to devote an entire entry to Mr. Zimmerman. Maybe. Anyhow, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is a song I never tire of hearing. There’s just something about it and it’s vibe of resignation. I know it was from the movie Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, but I’m not certain if Dylan actually appeared in it (I’m thinking he did).

Whale – Born To Raise Hell
Whale. I really expected great things of them from the moment I first heard Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe. They were Swedish, the lead singer wore braces and, this song, was from their debut, We Care, which featured Tricky. Born To Raise Hell makes me think of Bjork fronting a Motorhead cover band.

I don’t believe that I ever heard their second (and last?) album, but I do remember thinking its title – All Disco Dance Must End In Broken Bones – was brilliantly twisted. Then, they just vanished.

The Clash – Straight To Hell
One of my favorite Clash songs and I suddenly realize that I don’t recall seeing any Clash on vinyl since Paloma and I have been buying albums.

Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell
I spoke with Roger Waters once on the program Rockline – a weekly call-in show on Monday nights in the ’80s. As I remember, it was a national broadcast in the US and maybe even stations in Canada. Whatever its reach, it afforded me the opportunity to – in a deer-in-the-headlights moment – call Roger Waters “Rog” (as though we were long-time drinking buddies) before a very sizable audience.

Holding Auditions In My Head For My Potential Imaginary Friend

August 9, 2008

As I often remind Paloma, my childhood was spent in the hinterlands of the Midwest, right past where the flat Earth ends, amidst a lot of corn. Its charm is far more apparent given time and distance.

Paloma has heard me recount tales of my years in the wild. There was no MTV because there was no cable. And new music was not easily attainable. Life was often accentuated by imagination out of necessity and, yet, I never had an imaginary friend.

The last item came to my attention the other night when I happened across my copy of The Essential Calvin And Hobbes. The comic strip, which ran for a decade or so beginning in the mid ‘80s was drawn by Bill Watterson, whose been quite reclusive and rarely (never?) has licensed the use of the characters.

Calvin was a hyperactive and imaginative six-year old tyke; his constant partner-in-crime was a stuffed tiger, Hobbes who was as real to Calvin as anyone else. I can’t do them justice in writing, suffice to say it’s good stuff.

Reacquainting myself with the duo, I wondered if I had missed an important childhood trinket, so I held an audition in my head for such a sidekick.

The name Captain Erving popped into my head. I’m thinking it must be some subconscious homage to the great Dr. J, so I kind of like it. And, for some reason (perhaps some subliminal, nautical influence due to repeated viewings of Jaws), I envision Captain Erving, my potential imaginary friend, as a lobster.

It does seem like a lot of responsibility, though, this imaginary friend business. And, I’d much rather have a dog.

However, in honor of Hobbes, here’s some tiger music.

Manic Street Preachers – Send Away The Tigers
The Manics work since the sublime Everything Must Go has been erratic, so their last album was a wonderful surprise. It was lean, wiry rock and the album was the length of a vinyl release. The title track is fantastic.

Pink Floyd – When The Tigers Broke Free
This song was described in some review I read recently as the “holy grail” for Floyd fans. Appearing in the movie The Wall, it wasn’t on the album, and was unavailable commercially. I think my friend Brad – who turned me on to Animals (probably my favorite Floyd album) – had taped a version of the movie for me from the VHS.

Imperial Drag – Breakfast By Tiger (Kiss It All Goodbye)
As great as it is to discover new music on blogs, rediscovering music I loved – but, for whatever reason, I’d forgotten – is another benefit. The criminally underappreciated Jellyfish is one such band that received a lovely tribute over at My Hmphs. When that band came unglued after two spectacular albums, keyboardist Roger Manning formed Imperial Drag

Rosanne Cash – Dance With The Tiger
Speaking of underappreciated, I’d certainly put Rosanne Cash on such a list. Dance With The Tiger comes from her 1990 album Interiors which chronicled the dissolution of her marriage to singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell. The song was written with John Stewart, who recently passed away. In the late ’70s, Stewart had a hit with the song Gold which featured Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and, though I’m certain that it’s not Buckingham on this song, the guitar work is certainly reminiscent of Lindsey.