Noah, Noah, Everywhere…

May 4, 2010

Several co-workers got all excitible early last week over news reports that Noah’s Ark had been discovered.

It immediately took me back to being a kid and the spate of documentury films in the mid-’70s on the search for sasquatch, UFOs, and Noah’s Ark which were regular viewing fare on Saturday afternoon matinees at our hometown theater.

During the hulabaloo of the pious over this latest “discovery” of the bibilical mariner’s vessel, I heard one of them ask loudly to no one in particular about the a link from the “news” site to the original story.

“What’s sun dot co dot uk?”

Maybe there is an antediluvian cruise ship permanantly in port somewhere on Mount Ararat, but I think I’ll wait for a source other than the UK’s The Sun.

There’s no shortage of folks ’round here waiting for Jesus to bring the porkchops and I quickly forgot about this interest in the flood.

Then, a few days later, I came home from work to find Paloma watching Evan Almighty, a film starring The Office‘s Steve Carell as a modern-day Noah.

Still, I thought little of it as I ventured into the rain early Saturday morning to have some regular maintenance done on the car. I muttered to myself on the drive about the dismal performance of the windshield wipers, making a note to have them replaced.

“You’re going to love these,” Thomas, my mechanic, told me enthusiastically as he brandished a wiper blade. “These are like going from dial-up to a DSL.”

(Thomas is well aware that any automotive suggestions he makes to me are best expressed in non-automotive terms)

As I drove home, the storm increased in intensity, making for a good test of the new wiper blades and their performance was as good as advertised. I returned home, thinking that I would wait ’til later to do a few other chores.

I stretched out on the couch to the soothing sound of steady rain drumming on the eave outside the window.

Thirty-some hours and fifteen inches later, the rain finally stopped drumming on the eave outside the window.

It was a lot of rain but maybe I should have seen it coming.

There is no shortage of rain songs. Here are four that I felt like hearing today…

The Carpenters – Rainy Days And Mondays
from Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition

One of my earliest memories of music is The Carpenters and I can effortlessly picture sitting in the back seat of our Gremlin and there always being something on the radio from the duo. At five, that suited me just fine and it still does.

Albert Hammond – It Never Rains In Southern California

Right in the same time period during which The Carpenters were dominating the pop charts, Albert Hammond was also all over the radio with It Never Rains In Southern California and the five-year old me absolutely loved the song.

The 45 for the song was one of the first few singles I ever owned and, as I didn’t really develop an interest in music for another six or seven years, that was high praise indeed.

I Mother Earth – Rain Will Fall
from Dig

I Mother Earth’s debut Dig was recently featured over at the very cool Forgotten Disc Friday. I serendipitously discovered the band before Dig was released.

Out of college, I worked a couple of internships for record labels, including one in radio promotion. One afternoon, on my way out, my boss gave me a cassette and instructed me to critique it that evening. When I popped it into the player, I was blown away. It was demo recordings of I Mother Earth.

Combining the blistering, tribal rock leanings of Jane’s Addiction, the otherworldly poetry of The Doors, and percussive elements reminiscent of Santana (they actually toured with an ex-member performing percussion), I Mother Earth should have been huge. Our label lost them in a bidding war to Capitol Records who torpedoed their career by marketing them as a metal act. Well done, Capitol. Well done.

Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains
from Garbage

I loved the first few Garbage albums. I’d adored Blondie in my teens and, a decade later, Garbage filled a void that had been left when Blondie split up. Butch Vig parlayed a hot hand as a producer into one of the finest alternative rock acts of the ’90s.

I kind of lost track of Garbage and have only heard tracks here and there over the past decade. The songs I have heard were pleasant enough but didn’t lead me to believe that I missed too much.

And, as it was posted a couple years ago, you might have missed the near-miscommunication between lead singer Shirley Manson and me.

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Shirley Manson Has Fish Eyes

March 29, 2008

What the @*#&! is up with that?

Pretty harsh words about the Garbage front woman, huh? Imagine how surprised I was to find that I was the one that made this statement despite the fact that I find her quite fetching indeed. Was I drunk when I said it? Had she just stolen my wallet? Had I tapped into some deep-seeded anti-Scottish prejudice which had been previously unbeknownst to myself?

It was none of those things. Instead, it was someone appropriating something I had written and incorporating their own feelings regarding the ichthyological aspects of Ms. Manson’s orbs. It’s one thing to be plagiarized – to have someone claim your work as their own – but something different to have someone attribute work to you which is not yours.

I found the quote while researching Manson and it caught my eye. When I pulled up the website to see what the deal was, I found an album review of the band Angelfish, which was a band for whom Manson sang lead prior to joining Garbage. it concluded by saying, “Shirley Manson has fish eyes. What the @*#&! is up with that?” which had not been in the review I had written. And there was my name attached to it.

My mind reeled. It was a small world! What if Shirley should come across these disparaging remarks attributed to me? Any fantasies of an evening of carnal bliss with Shirley I might have had – haggis and a hot oil massage – would surely have the same chances of success as that lone Angelfish album. I had to bring the miscreant that had misrepresented me to justice, but the website, aside from my review, was in Polish.

So, I did a search for the offending opinion. I got a match and to my surprise, the quote had been spoken by Shirley Manson. In an interview she had given, she spoke of how her childhood had been filled with cruel taunts about her exotic eyes. She spoke of how children would say, “Shirley Manson has fish eyes. What the @*#&! is up with that?”

It was quite a relief to know the truth. More importantly, it was a relief to know that Shirley, should she read my review, would know the truth. I could know occupy my mind with more pressing matters, secure in the knowledge that if I ever met Shirley, any advances I made could be rebuffed on their own merits and not for something she might mistakenly thought I had written.

Garbage – When I Grow Up
From their second album Version 2.0, this hyper kinetic track always makes me smile due to its nursery-rhyme-on-speed vibe and Manson’s playful delivery. Favorite line…”When I grow up, I’ll be stable.”

Garbage – You Look So Fine
Also from Version 2.0, this one is probably my favorite song in Garbage’s catalog. With its pulsating undercurrent, I’m drawn in from the first notes of this lush, dreamy track which closes the album. The hypnotic, almost indifferent manner in which Manson offers lyrics like, “You look so fine. I want to take you home. We’ll waste some time. You’re the only one for me,” makes her true intentions a mystery.

Angelfish – You Can Love Her
Angelfish only released one album which I suspect is long out of print. For the most part, it’s a fairly ordinary affair, indistinguishable from the numerous guitar-driven alternative bands of the early to mid-90s. In fact, this cover of a Holly Vincent (known for Tell That Girl To Shut Up with her band The Italians) song might be the best offering, particularly Manson’s sultry vocal take. However, it was an Angelfish video on MTV’s 120 Minutes program which got Manson noticed by producer Butch Vig as the missing piece for the band that would become Garbage.

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