28 January 2008

Why I Love R.E.M.: Reason *69

Last Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And how did my beloveds mark that anniversary?

Could they be any cuter?

By debuting one of their new songs at Babeland — a woman-friendly sex shop in New York (Seattle, too). How frickin’ cool is that????

Go here for details. Damn, what I would have paid to be there.

BTW, I’ve shopped and spent at the SoHo store, and I highly recommend a pop-in. You won’t feel uncomfortable; you’ll be relaxed and giddy — while shopping in the store, and when you get home and start sampling your stash.

UPDATE: R.E.M. just announced their North American tour! Want me to crash on your sofa and take you on the musical trip of a lifetime? (Observing me at an R.E.M. show is a hoot.) Click here to see if you can join me!

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25 January 2008

Mix Tape Friday: I Was 99X

This morning marks a sad moment for the Atlanta airwaves: 99X, our commercial alternative radio station since 1992, loses its terrestrial radio home to its sister Top 40 station. 99X lost its uniqueness and thus lost its listeners.

The station was brilliantly programmed through much of the 1990s. The station is credited for breaking tunes such as The Cranberries’ “Linger” and bands like Silverchair (not a personal fave, but some people like those Down Under kids). As alternative lost its newness, the station veered toward modern rock to capture that 18–30 demographic. Nirvana and Pearl Jam gave way to crap like Incubus and Linkin Park. And so 99X lost loyal listeners like me. Granted, I’m not in a prime demographic. But the kids in my age group aren’t the only ones who quit listening.

For those still interested in listening to the station, 99X will continue to broadcast online.

I can’t help but wonder if 99X would have survived had Leslie Fram paid attention to my shouts in the car and added more indie bands to the playlist. There are many radio-friendly indie tunes that would have worked brilliantly on the playlist. Some bands got the chance — Modest Mouse and The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie and Gomez, Flaming Lips and Radiohead. But many deserving bands didn’t. And so today I’m programming the no-longer station with a handful of artists who should have had some 99X airplay during the aughts — and could have saved the station.

Those of you who don’t know these songs — give ‘em a try. Let me know if you would have stayed on the station had these been played.

Belle & Sebastian :: Another Sunny Day

Cherry Ghost :: Alfred the Great

The Whigs :: O.K. Alright

The New Pornographers :: Chump Change

Art Brut :: People in Love

Super Furry Animals :: (Drawing) Rings Around the World

Spoon :: Don’t You Evah

Yo La Tengo :: Mr. Tough

The Pipettes :: Dirty Mind

eels :: Dirty Girl

The Clientele :: Bookshop Casanova

Guided by Voices :: Back to the Lake

Beulah :: My Side of the City

The Minus 5 :: The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply

The National :: Apartment Story

Burning Brides :: Artic Snow

Sonic Youth :: Incinerate

The Detroit Cobras :: (I Wanna Know) What's Going On

The Raveonettes :: Love in a Trashcasn

Sleater-Kinney :: Off With Your Head

Rilo Kiley :: Portions for Foxes

Postal Service :: Such Great Heights

Annie :: Chewing Gum

Of Montreal :: Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games

Bob Mould :: (Shine Your) Light Love Hope

The Rosebuds :: Get up Get Out

Camera Obscura :: If Looks Could Kill

Stephen Malkmus :: Phantasies

Wilco :: Pot Kettle Black

Badly Drawn Boy :: Something to Talk About

Modern Skirts :: September Days

Teddy Thompson :: I Should Get Up

Cat Power :: Aretha, Sing One for Me

The Decemberists :: Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect

Sufjan Stevens :: Chicago

The Thrills :: Deckchairs and Cigarettes

The Twilight Singers :: My Time (Has Come)

Holly Golightly :: Run Cold

Wussy :: Soak It Up

Pernice Brothers :: How to Live Alone

This was a hard list to whittle down to forty. A lot of great bands ended up in the Next Time folder — so whine away in the comments box about your favorite overlooked bands.

What’s particularly frustrating about this list of 99X-denied artists is many are based in or affiliated with Georgia. Chan Marshall of Cat Power is an Atlanta girl and has a house here. The Whigs, Modern Skirts, and Of Montreal call Athens home. Bob Mould spent some time in Athens, and The Minus 5 lineup includes the beloved Peter Buck (with Jeff Tweedy guesting on guitar here). Paste magazine — HQ’ed around the corner from my cozy little home — tapped The National’s The Boxer as 2007’s album of the year. And Scrivener loves Wilco as much as I love R.E.M.

You may recognize the Of Montreal track, but maybe you can’t place from where. They refocused “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” for an Outback commercial.

You may recognize some of these songs from soundtracks. “Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect” was used in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Badly Drawn Boy did the (brilliant) soundtrack for About a Boy, which includes this track. You hear eels all over the movie palace (“Dirty Girl” hasn’t been used in a movie — that I know of — but it’s this month’s fave for personal reasons).

Give him a listen: Teddy Thompson is the offspring of Richard and Linda Thompson — and one of Rufus Wainwright’s BFFs. Very talented guy, very good album.

Luckily, we’re not quite living in the town that lost its groove supply, thanks to WRAS (my oft-mention alma station) and Dave FM, which plays a mix crossing different genres, including alternative. Dave FM has been known to play Wilco.

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24 January 2008

Life Is a Mix Tape

Sometimes several wonderful moments come together and — like a great mix tape — become something even better.

Tonight was one of those nights.

Let’s get the squeals out of the way first: I chalked up my first liter-hottie moment of ’08. And this may be the best one yet: Rob Sheffield, author of Love Is a Mix Tape, inspiration for Mix Tape Fridays, grooviest man on the East Coast, high on my list of fantasy BFFs. Rob’s a writer for Rolling Stone — and, I found out tonight, he’s on a lot of those VH1 best-of list shows (I may start watching them now that I know that).

Rob did a reading at my friendly neighborhood Wordsmiths Books — the first event in the Baby Got Books Reading Series.

That lucky Baby Got Bookster Tim posted an interview he did with Rob Sheffield. Be sure to read it.

It was the biggest crowd I’ve seen at a Wordsmiths’ gathering. Granted, Rob has family here — but there were lots of fans lining the walls and snaking the shelves.

Rob read two chapters — “Sheena Was a Man” and “Roller Boogie” — adding asides and quips. He was cool, he was funny, he was entertaining. His comments about music made me giggle and swoon — in a music-geek way, of course. To hear Rob Sheffield wax poetic about the J. Geils Band, explain the brilliance of "Funky Cold Medina," sing the Pips' part in "Midnight Train to Georgia" was worth the price of the free ticket.

We loving lemmings then lined up to get our copies signed.

I stand in the presence of greatness.

Rob Sheffield was very cool as he signed our books. He took the time to chat, seemed genuinely flattered as we gushed over him — and actually seemed interested as I wildly explained how he had inspired the weekly mix tape posts. He even thanked me. How cute is that?

Why can’t I act my age and leave my hair alone?

But the thrills didn’t stop with the autograph, kids. I notched another blogger on the meet-up post: Paul from The Yellow Stereo (great music blog, if you haven’t clicked my link), who drove over from Auburn for the reading. We got to hang out, obsess, and share a beer post-reading. I never got around to our back-of-the-bloggerhead shot, so I’m running the photo I took of Paul with Rob Sheffield.

I nearly forgot! Look at the groovy USB stick I got tonight — it’s a stick with a mix-tape case! Rob Sheffield got one, too.

For more news coverage on the social event of the season, click over to BGB's post.

To summarize:
• Rob Sheffield: Cool
• Yellow Stereo's Paul: Cool
• Baby Got Books’ first event: Smashing success
• Cup: Geeky and ready to buy any unnecessary thing that looks groovy

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22 January 2008

I've Got Moxie!

Chalk up another one on my blogger meet-up board: I recently cocktailed with the adorable and adorably talented Moxie. She had a two-hour layover at the Atlanta airport (the busiest airport in the world, you know), so I put on my Blogger USO skirt and welcomed her in the food court of our fine airport.

A blogger meet-up can be an awkward thing. You’ve read each other’s thoughts and successes and failures and dreams — but you’ve never seen the face or heard the voice. There’s a hint of anxiety as you wait: What if we don’t click? What if she thinks I’m a fake or a tool?

None of those concerns were an issue with Moxie. She’s a smart, fascinating woman with interests all over the map. Very multidimensional, that one. She’s funny and inquisitive, and I hated how quickly the time slipped away.

The obligatory back o’ the bloggerhead photo.

There are two things that charmed me about Moxie’s stop:

1. She called before her flight to Atlanta left, leaving a message about how excited she was to meet me — that she felt like she was on her way to meet a celebrity. I milked that line among the beloveds to the point where it’s now banned until July.

2. She dressed to impress: a CBGB’s T-shirt and fabulously funky earrings. I love a woman who knows how to dress for the occasion.

To quote Scrivener: I’m so vain, I bet I think this blog is about me, don’t I?

It was a lot of fun discovering our commonalities. Our livelihoods revolve around writing, our lovelihoods are focused on music. Boys and beaux were discussed and dissed, friendships and fascinations were shared. I enjoyed the company much more than the cabernet.

And so I began the year with one less invisible friend, one more pal on the other coast. I’m one lucky girl.

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18 January 2008

Mix Tape Friday: Guilty Pleasures

Sean at the palindromatic and entertaining Everything Is Pop, Pop Is Everything suggested a great mix tape: guilty pleasures. I love pleasures that leave me feeling a bit guilty, so let’s go there this week. There’s nothing more fun than a guilty pleasure song. You know it’s lame, you may be embarrassed if friends catch you listening to it — but you can’t help but sing along and give the tune your full music love and affection.

I have an electronic treasure trove filled with guilty pleasure songs — plenty to fill several mix tapes. But I reached out to the beloveds — Renae and the sister, HollyC and RCofCHS, French and Filegod, the Northwest Doppelganger and Swirlie Grrrl — to help me flesh out this week’s tape.

I’m dying to tell who suggested what, but their secrets are safe. I also wish I could tell some of the stories behind their choices — some are surprising, some are just damn funny — but those are their tales. They need to get their own blogs.

The beloveds and I are around the same age, so some of these — The Partridge Family, The Monkees, and Bread, in particular — were requested more than once. Interesting that a lot of our guilty pleasures are rooted in our childhoods; I hope you young’uns can appreciate the brilliance of this bopping banality.

Embrace your lameness!

Toni Basil :: Mickey

Avril Lavigne :: Girlfriend

R.E.M. :: Shiny Happy People (Hip Mix)

The Archies :: Sugar, Sugar

Shalamar :: Dead Giveaway

Josie Cotton :: Johnny, Are You Queer?

The Monkees :: I’m a Believer

Power Station :: Get It On (Bang a Gong)

Queen :: Flash Gordon

Def Leppard :: Photograph

Bon Jovi :: You Give Love a Bad Name

Lynyrd Skynyrd :: Gimme Three Steps

Tim Curry :: I Do the Rock

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition :: Something’s Burning

Lou Christie :: Lightning Strikes

Nu Shooz :: Lost Your Number

Mariah Carey :: Vision of Love

Christina Aguilera :: Dirrty

The Cowsills :: Hair

The Partridge Family :: I Think I Love You

Marshall Tucker Band :: Heard It in a Love Song

10CC :: The Things We Do for Love

The Fifth Dimension :: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

Wham :: Everything She Wants

Bree Sharp :: David Duchovny

Bread :: Baby I’m-A Want You

Barry Manilow :: Mandy

The Bee Gees :: Lonely Days

The Carpenters :: Superstar

Al Stewart :: Year of the Cat

And now for the lamest of the lame — and this one’s mine. I lost some of Favorite Boy’s respect when I ‘fessed up to this one:

Richard Harris :: MacArthur Park

We had the 45 of this Jimmy Webb classic growing up. The B-side was “Didn’t We”; I wanted to include that, too, but I couldn’t find a digital copy.

Bet you didn’t think I could pick an R.E.M. song that could rate as a guilty pleasure, did you? You underestimate me. Michael wanted to do an Archies-type song — and “Shiny Happy People” was born. Rumor has it he so hates the song, he gives all those residual dollars to charity. So we have Michael’s guilt and our pleasure whenever we dance to the song. This is a different mix, and it’s a bit more entertaining — especially when followed by the inspirational “Sugar, Sugar.”

“Everything She Wants” is one of my very favorite guilty pleasures. Whenever I hear it, I become George Michael. I emote. My hips move. I throw my arms wide and sing at the top of my lungs. It used to embarrass the Beloved Ex; he was always shushing me in fear that the neighbors would hear me. To hell with ‘em, I say!

If you monitor Shows I Gotta See on the navbar, you’ve probably giggled over this week’s show — a concert by one of this week’s guilty pleasurers. Yep, I’m goin’ all Manilow this weekend. The sister and I are taking my mother as part of her birthday celebration. Secretly, between you and me, I think I’m going to enjoy the show. Let’s hope this weekend’s snow forecast doesn’t shut down the Copacabana.

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16 January 2008

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

It’s snowing!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, so you frozen-tundra’ed citizens are giving me the so-what shoulder. But you have to remember we Deep Southerners don’t have white winters. Winters in Atlanta resemble black-and-white photographs, but not from snow. We haven’t had a really good snow in a few years.

As Dino croons, Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

It was lovely driving home tonight — flakes swirling, people giddy on the radio, friends calling and squealing. Yep, in Atlanta everyone turns into third-graders when it snows. I came home, through on my cycle boots, and tromped around in the barely-an-inch snow. It was fabulous.

My front porch. My footprints in the snow.
My sad, sad geranium. It still had blooms a couple of weeks ago.

Which reminds me to share my frozen-tundra tale — twenty-six years ago this past weekend.

Snow Jam '82

January 12 started out as a typical winter day. We’d had a warm December, but the temps had finally gone down into the thirties and low forties. There was talk of a snowstorm coming that evening from the west — but we get all giddy about snow whenever the temp dips.

I worked in downtown Atlanta in those days, at Peachtree Center. My dad worked a couple of miles north of me at The Coca-Cola Bottling Company. He called me around 1 p.m. to tell me the snowstorm was coming in faster than expected, so he was coming to get me, to leave my car in the garage and meet him in front of my office building.

The streets were a mess, crowded with panicky Atlantans trying to hit Kroger for bread and milk before we were snowed in. I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, nearly an hour later, OM walked up. Traffic was at a standstill, so he left his car at The Varsity and walked, carrying the dry cleaning he’d picked up earlier.

“Let’s just get a hotel room, Hooter, and ride it out.”

Yep. He called me “Hooter.” Long story — one that doesn’t involve what you’re thinking of.

“There aren’t any available rooms downtown, OM. The Bobbin Show’s here, and every hotel is booked through the week.”

The Bobbin Show was a big deal back in those days, thanks to the Apparel Mart.

“Then let’s start walking home.”

“But, OM, I’m wearing my fabulous new Anne Klein suede three-inch espadrilles. They’ll be ruined.”

One glance and I was saying a tearful goodbye to those lovely heartbreak-red shoes.

So, OM, his dry cleaning, his eldest child, and her lovely espadrilles started the trek north to Vinings. We walked along Williams Street, coming upon his secretary — still in her car trying to get on I-75 at 10th Street. We told her what we were going to do, so Karen (and her lovely three-inch leather boots) parked her car and joined us.

We walked onto I-75 northbound. At this point, the highway looked like Mad Max: Below the Mason-Dixon. Cars were barely moving, pointing every which way from skidding on the ice. Coming into the curve at the downtown connector was kind of cool: As if in slo-mo, cars in the far left lane would slowly … oh, so slowly … slide into the car in the lane next to them.

We were smart to leave our cars downtown.

It was weirdly festive along the interstate. We all knew we were trapped in a freak storm for the city, so everyone just went with the flow. Many folks were walking, and we were leaving the cars behind us. Every once in a while, a driver would open his door and let us ride for a quarter mile, just enough to warm us up.

Six miles and a couple of hours later, we made it to our exit. There was a McDonald’s at the bottom of the ramp (the same McDonald’s where the sister, Renae, HollyC, and I worked in high school). People had shown up with bread and meat, making sandwiches for us snow-wearied travelers while McDonald’s served free coffee. We got a bite to eat, OM called Mama from the payphone to report our progress, and we hit the road once again — OM still with his dry cleaning slung over his shoulder, Karen and I whimpering about the death of our stylin’ shoes.

When we got to Paces Ferry Road, a car was stuck in the ice, its wheels spinning. The three of us pushed it from the back bumper, getting it back on the road. The son of a bitch sped off — no wave, no offer of a ride. OM dropped his dry cleaning and flipped the angriest bird I’ve ever seen. I was so proud of my daddy at that moment.

We finally crossed the bridge over the Chattahoochee River, up Woodland Brook, then Orchard Knob, finally making it home to 4230 Brookview Drive — where hot soup and cocoa, a warm fire, and Mama awaited our arrival — three hours after we left. According to Mapquest, it was an 11.11-mile trek.

But we were smart. It took those who tried driving about eight hours to get home. Many others were stranded. Several bars and restaurants — most notably, the newly opened Longhorn Steakhouse on Peactree — became instant institutions.

We were snowed in for about a week — another rarity in these parts. Our snows, in generally, barely last a day.

And my espadrilles? A good cleaning by the shoe-repair shop, and they were still suitable for wearing with jeans.

So that’s my wintry tale — as good as any Jack London ever told. And now I’m off to snow-angel the back yard …

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14 January 2008

Freewheeling It

The Occasionally Beloved Engineer and I saw one of the best shows of 2008 Saturday night: The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo. Okay, it was my first show of the year, but I have a feeling it’s going to be on my Best Of list come December.

The show format was … well, freewheeling. Ira, Georgia, and James sat in folding chairs, answering questions and playing requests. Well, most of them; they turned down shoutouts for the much-too-requested “Speeding Motorcycle” and “Autumn Sweater.”

The OBE and I also went to last February’s Yo La Tengo show, but stayed just twenty minutes at that one. Too much fun and too much beer before the show + a bit too Yo La Emo = restlessness. Glad we stayed for this show.

Ira answered most questions and told most of the stories, with some help and funny asides from James, occasional comments from the quiet Georgia. I laughed more than I sang along. I was sure I'd remember several stories to tell here … but, well, I’m on the edge of old and can’t remember them in full. It was fascinating, though, to hear them talk about their love of records and music, and “meeting” Lou Reed.

I can’t even remember the setlist, dammit. They played great tunes, though, including “My Little Corner of the World” and a Rolling Stones cover (the title has now slipped this foggy ol’ brain; I should really write these concert recaps when I get home from the show). The encore was their cover of “I’m Your Puppet” and “Mr. Tough,” one of my favorite tracks from I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass.

Not familiar with Yo La Tengo? Here they are performing “Mr. Tough” in a radio studio, very much like Saturday’s performance.

Go see The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo Review if it rolls into your town.

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11 January 2008

Mix Tape Friday: New Wave Friday

Favorite Boy and I have spent many an ’08 night chatting about music and YouTubing videos, which has left me musically nostalgic of late. Thus we must go new wave this fine January day.

You longtime readers may remember that new wave is my favorite genre of music. (You are journaling my likes and dislikes, no?) I’ve pondered the why. The obvious answer: It was the rage during my aurally formative years — eighteen to twenty-five. But it’s a bit more than that. New wave redefined pop music for me. After years of listening to pop ditties about afternoon delights, car washes, and rubberband men, suddenly I was singing along to brilliant, literate songs about detective-watching and Jackie O and shellfish. The subject matter was as cool as the beat.

And, thank God, my obsession with new wave saved me from going down the hairband aisle at Turtles Records.

New wave is hard to define. It’s sort of post-punk, sort of poppy. To paraphrase Justice Stewart, I can’t define it, but I know it when I hear it. I always start with the Stiff Records lineup — Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Graham Parker, Wreckless Eric and Ian Dury, Madness and The Bongos — then spin out from there. But new wave isn’t just a British movement. Talking Heads were a major player in the beginning; some say Sire Records’ Seymour Stein coined the name to market post-punk bands like them. About a quarter of today’s tracks are by Stiff Records artists, though.

Today’s tape includes tracks released between 1976 and 1983 — a truly golden age of music. Fittingly, the earliest track — the lone one from 1976 — is by Nick Lowe. I’m sure I missed one of your favorites — but don’t worry, because there will be more New Wave Fridays. List your favorites in the comment box.

Tears for Fears :: Mad World/Pale Shelter

The Psychedelic Furs :: Love My Way

Split Enz :: I Got You

Depeche Mode :: Just Can’t Get Enough

The Cure :: Boys Don’t Cry

Wreckless Eric :: (I’d Go the) Whole Wide World

Nick Lowe :: So It Goes

The Jam :: Modern World

Devo :: Freedom of Choice

Big Country :: In a Big Country

After the Fire :: Der Kommissar

Talking Heads :: Once in a Lifetime

The B-52’s :: Rock Lobster

Buzzcocks :: Everybody’s Happy Nowadays

Bow Wow Wow :: I Want Candy

Joe Jackson :: I’m the Man

The Vapors :: Turning Japanese

Thomas Dolby :: She Blinded Me with Science

The Go-Go’s :: We Got the Beat

XTC :: Generals and Majors

The English Beat :: Twist and Crawl

The Three O’Clock :: Jet Fighter

Let’s Active :: Every Word Means No

R.E.M. :: Stumble

The Cars :: Since You’re Gone

Violent Femmes :: Gone Daddy Gone

Madness :: One Step Beyond

Elvis Costello & The Attractions :: I Can’t Stand Up (For Falling Down)

Squeeze :: Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)

Dave Edmunds :: Girls Talk

Gang of Four :: I Love a Man in a Uniform

Gary Numan :: Cars

Lene Lovich :: Lucky Number

Ian Dury & The Blockheads :: Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick

The Stranglers :: (Get a) Grip (On Yourself)

Human Sexual Response :: Jackie Onassis

The Bongos :: Numbers with Wings

Boomtown Rats :: I Don’t Like Mondays

Aztec Camera :: Oblivious

The The :: Uncertain Smile

When I first started reading the beloved Bee Boy’s blog, he had “Every Word Means No” as his tagline. I knew I’d found a kindred spirit, and that’s why it was easy for me to pick which Let’s Active tune to include today.

You know of my deep love for Elvis Costello and Squeeze (again, you’re jotting down my faves, right?), but I have yet to wax poetic about Joe Jackson. Joe and Elvis defined the new wave era for me. In 1980 I wore white cruel shoes (with skinny ties, of course) just like Joe wore on the Look Sharp! cover. I’ve seen Joe in concert many times, and he’s always amazing — and I just found out hours ago that he’ll be here in April.

I’ve told this story before, but I never tire of telling it. Bob Geldof read the story that inspired “I Don’t Like Mondays” at my college radio station. WRAS had a teletype machine in the newsroom, from which we received news stories. The machine was big and clunky and very loud, especially when a major story was breaking. A big story came across the wire while not-yet-Sir Bob was in the studio, and it was so distracting he stopped the interview to read the story on the air. It was, of course, the story that inspired “I Don’t Like Mondays,” which he wrote later that afternoon. (That was a year or two before I joined the station; I was still in Athens at that time and thus cannot play the I Was There card.)

I worked for a Japanese company in the very early 1980s, where three of the four managers were Japanese. When they’d return to the office after a saki’ed lunch, they’d get me to sing “Turning Japanese,” particularly “No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women / No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark.” They thought it was a hoot. I never explained what “turning Japanese” meant.

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08 January 2008

7 and 7 Is

The coolest couple of the blogworld — Flannery and Doc — both tagged me for the latest in blog memes: seven things you don’t know about me. I’ve posted a few of these memes, so coming up with fourteen new things you don’t know about me is a challenge — a challenge worthy of blowing off some office hours.

Flannery’s request was for a song-laden seven — and I’m more than happy to oblige. So, Flannery’s seven will be music-related, and Doc’s will be filled with deep, dark secrets.

And so, as Love sings, here is 7 and 7 Is.

Flannery’s Seven

1. The first album I ever owned was Blood, Sweat & Tears. Santa brought it to me the year our family got a hi-fi stereo. My favorite track on the album is “Variations on a Theme by Erik Satie” — but today I’m sharing one of the hits off the album, Spinning Wheel.

2. The first album I bought with my own money was the Help! soundtrack. Since it was the soundtrack, it included the various orchestral pieces played throughout the movie. Sadly, that version is not available on CD and I have yet to get my LP converted. Probably my favorite song on the album is You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away; John’s vocals are dreamy, and you can never go wrong with a well-banged tambourine.

3. The first 8-track tape I bought proves my extreme coolness: Jefferson Starship’s Red Octopus. Oh, yeah, I was groovin’ between the ch-chungs. It took many turntable Miracles to earn my record collection cred once I hit the college campus.

4. The first concert I was a Willie Nelson show, with Waylon Jennings and Leon Russell on piano, in the early 1970s. The whole family went. It was also the first night I smelled pot. I don’t think they performed this, but I love Willie and Waylon’s cover of (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay.

5. I embarrassed myself in front of Eddie Money. He was in town for a show, and came to our campus radio station for an interview. Musicians are notoriously late for interviews, so I was in the cafeteria, no doubt flirting with my latest victim. Well, Eddie got to the station early — and, as PR Director, I missed out on my job of welcoming him. I dashed downstairs to the studio, where Eddie and a couple of the jocks were hanging out. I greeted him, then told him I brought in some albums (I’d just bought) that I’d like him to sign. He asked if I was going to his show, and I explained I was very hung over; he suggested some hangover cures. I yammered like a yokel and giggled out some inane, college-age crap — until I noticed the jock was glaring at me and the On Air light was lit. I handled it professionally, shrieking and dashing into the news studio. I was, as Mr. Money sings here, Shakin’ with embarrassment. He was a charmer, coming into the news studio post-interview, bowing and asking me to make it to the show. I didn’t.

6. You’d think my favorite band during my freshman year at UGA was R.E.M., but no; Michael and Peter had yet to find each other at Wuxtry. I was a typical freshman girl in 1977, swooning over Dan Fogelberg and songs like Aspen/These Days. Still sad that we recently lost him, although I haven’t listened to a Fogelberg album in eons.

7. I’ve become a digital queen in the last few years, buying fewer and fewer CDs. The last CD I bought was Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, which includes tasty aural morsels like A Foggy Day and Medley: Almost Like Being in Love/This Can't Be Love.

Doc’s Seven

1. I coordinate my reading glasses with my outfits. I have reading glasses in all the must colors: black, brown, red, lime green, turquoise, blue, rimless. Choosing that day’s reading glasses is as important a morning ritual as baubling up with the earrings, necklace, bracelet, and watch.

2. I’m very anal about my PC’s taskbar. Applications must always be opened in a particular order. For my office PC, it’s Winamp — Outlook — Yahoo e-mail — Current Projects folder — and then the application I’m using. If one crashes, I must close, then reopen all that follow so that order is restored.

3. I’m obsessed with Bridget Jones’s Diary (alternate title: The Cup’s Life on Celluloid). More than once I’ve watched back-to-back viewings on Bravo. Nothing better than a Friday night of take-out Thai and four hours of Bridget. I have the DVD, but I must always watch the broadcasts.

4. I got in trouble in kindergarten for kissing all the boys. (RCofCHS, it was your fault, I’m sure.) I also had problems learning how to tie a bow … probably because I was always trying to tie one on with all those beaux.

My graduating class at Kiddie Dude Ranch, 1965. I’m third from the right. Look at the wide berth those bitches gave me. Why wouldn’t anyone stand close to me?

5. I may have a problem with commitment. When given the choice of a five-year or ten-year driver’s license, I opted for the shorter-term license. If you knew my problem with getting licenses renewed, you’d be concerned, too. But who knows where (or who) I’ll be in ten years?

6. My left pinky is twisted from breaking the bone. I have no idea how or when I broke it; it has been that way as long as I remember. When I’m nervous, I click the broken joint back and forth. To further mar my short, stubby hands, I sport a writing bump on the inside knuckle of my right ring finger. I’ve never held a pencil properly — and thus cannot use chopsticks, either. My Japanese bosses tried teaching me in the early 1980s, but quickly gave up.

7. I’ve been a member of the R.E.M. fan club for at least twenty years. I get opps for presale tickets and a Christmas package every year, as well as a quarterly newsletter. It’s the best ten bucks I spend every year. (Did you really think you were going to get out of here without an R.E.M. triviality?)

And thus we close out another edition of Seven Things You Didn’t Know about me with Billy Bragg’s cover of 7 and 7 Is.

But not before I tag others — that’s seven and seven others:

  • All the Way from Oy to Vey’s Katie has 7’ed!

  • Bad Tempered Zombie’s Barbara has 7’ed!

  • Gifted Typist has 7’ed!

  • Give Me My Blue Blanket

  • I, Splotchy’s Splotchy has 7’ed!

  • Politits’s DCup has 7’ed!

  • Reject the Koolaid’s Jacy

  • Ribbed for Your Pleasure’s Mountjoy has 7’ed!

  • Save Your Generation’s Pistols at Dawn has 7’ed!

  • Scrivener

  • Tanya Espanya has 7’ed!

  • Wapentake has 7’ed!

  • What I Like About the Universe's Evil Evil Genius has 7’ed!

  • Yawp's Third Worst Poet in the Galaxy has 7’ed!

  • Get your seven spillin’, kids.

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    07 January 2008

    100 Things About 2007

    This is my 400th post. I listed 100 things about me in my 200th post, and considered adding to that. But since it’s a new year, I thought I’d relive some of my 2007 highlights … 100, to be exact.

    1. I moved at the beginning of 2007. I left the ‘burbs, returning to my favorite area of town. I hope to never leave Decatur again.

    2. Among other cool things, Decatur has long been one of our major lesbian neighborhoods. Possibly because in the Southern tongue it’s pronounced “dick-hater.”

    3. While I love my life in Decatur, I have not become a dick-hater. It’s flattering, though, to go to the grocery store sans makeup and still get hit on.

    4. My cup runneth over in the romance department the first few months of 2007 … “runneth over” being the key phrase.

    5. A bit dramatic, a bit over the top by spring — so I took a boy break by the time the azaleas were blooming.

    6. That break is ready to be broken.

    7. Other than the rom-drama, my scariest 2007 moment was my brush with Karl Maldenism.

    8. Luckily, the gin blossom faded away and left my nose intact, thanks to a pharm cocktail of antibiotics and steroids …

    9. … although the steroids wreaked havoc on my body. Hate the ‘roids. My body is still raging from the ‘roids.

    10. Runner-up for scariest moment: My eyelash bonfire during the Horrific Move of 2007. They’re back, too.

    11. I thus stopped scaring small and mid-sized children by May, and was back to batting eyelashes by June.

    12. (I’ve been sorting through my 2007 blog archives to fill this list. I didn’t blog much last year, did I?)

    13. (Did I live a boring, noneventful 2007 — or was it just too busy and exciting for me to sit down and write about it? I’m still not sure.)

    14. My mother and my sister had surgery last year, and both mended ahead of schedule.

    15. We Coffey chicks are super-women.

    16. Thank you for your comments and e-mails; your thoughts meant a lot to me.

    17. The professional side of my life went very well in 2007.

    18. The creativity level was cranked to 13, and I knocked off a lot of office socks.

    19. But, really, do you want to read about the corporate Cup? Yeah, let’s move on to important things.

    20. My beloveds were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

    21. I’m still brimming with R.E.M. pride.

    22. Rumor has it that the new album will be awesome — their best in years.

    23. I was hoping for a March 25 release date, since that’s a Tuesday and my 49th birthday.

    24. I think my undying love for R.E.M. deserves that honor. Don’t you?

    25. But it’s coming out the following Tuesday — April Fools Day. The only fools will be those who don’t buy the album.

    26. On an R.E.M. side note, I kept to my promise of a Peter Buck post ban after finding my blog was monopolizing the Technorati searches.

    27. But I still love him.

    28. In a non-sexual, non-stalking way, of course. I just want to be his best friend.

    29. Is that creepy?

    30. I saw nearly 30 concerts in 2007 — my busiest live-music year in a decade.

    31. The best were Glenn Tilbrook (he’s funky — he told us so) …

    32.Wilco, in the pouring rain …

    33.Rufus Wainwright, Judy Garlanded to the nines …

    34. … and Stevie Wonder, under the stars on a balmy night.

    35. I hope to hit even more live shows in ’08.

    36. After all, R.E.M. will be touring ...

    37. … and I’m hitting the road for some Wilco shows.

    38. Didn’t hit the road as much as I would have liked in 2007.

    39. I enjoyed a holiday weekend in Chattanooga.

    40. And I left my heart again in San Francisco.

    41. I scored cocktails, appetizers, and dishing with liter-hottie Write Procrastinator while in The City — and that may have been the best part of the trip.

    42. I went all self-indulgent on you with a new blog series, Mix Tape Fridays. You know I can’t resist a chance to blog about my favorite tunes.

    43. I published twenty mix tapes and four holiday tapes — 864 songs.

    44. Guess who appeared on every mix tape? Yep: R.E.M., or a Michael Stipe or Peter Buck appearance.

    45. Second most appearances (excluding Warren Zevon on his tribute tape): The B-52’s and Elvis Costello tied with nine, followed by David Bowie.

    46. I spend way too much time on these mix tapes: coming up with themes … pulling songs … working out the flows … rearranging the order for better segues … logging tracks on the Excel spreadsheet.

    47. (I am nerd. Hear me roar.)

    48. I listen to the mix tape tracks all week at work, which is interfering with me listening to actual albums.

    49. But one must sacrifice in the name of art, right?

    50. I hope I’ve turned a few of you onto new acts via these mix tapes. They definitely get conversations going in the comment box.

    51. My favorite album of 2007 was Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky. It’s the album I played most often this year.

    52. Because of the mix tape phenomenon (well, it’s a phenom in my mind), I didn’t get to fully listen to many of the new albums I like.

    53. If I had listened more to 2007’s crop of new albums, I’m sure Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, The Black Lips’ Good Bad Not Evil, Of Montreal’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer, Nick Lowe’s At My Age, The National’s Boxer, and Modest Mouse’s We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.

    54. But I don’t want to fake a list since I didn’t listen as I should.

    55. Favorite book — by a landslide — was Robb Sheffield’s Love Is a Mix Tape — and Robb’s going to be at my corner bookstore in a couple of weeks!

    56. I can’t thank Artful Dodger enough for telling me about it.

    57. It made me laugh — it made me cry — it was better than Cats.

    58. And it inspired the ever-popular Mix Tape Friday posts. (See #42.)

    59. Speaking of authors, I enjoyed a few brushes with liter-hotties in 2007.

    61. Michael Chabon was the prettiest — and I finally learned how to pronounce his name.

    61. Wesley Stace was the most entertaining, with Chuck Klosterman coming in at a very close second and Brock Clarke placing third.

    62. But my greatest ’07 liter-hottie moment was when the much-adored Sherman Alexie sang Kiss’ “Beth” to me as he signed my book.

    63. I’ve hated that song since it came out in 1976. That is, I hated it until Sept. 1 at 6:12 p.m.

    64. I hate to admit it, but the most disappointing book in 2007 was Armistead Maupin’s Michael Tolliver Lives. It wasn’t bad; it was just okay.

    65. I didn’t see as many ’07 movies as I would have liked … but I have some favorites.

    67. My top movie was Once. How could it not be, with a perfect combination of great music and romance?

    67. Plus, we saw Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová in concert in November, which increased my movie love.

    68. Other fave flicks included King of California and Waitress.

    69. Boy, I didn’t see much, did I? I have a lot of DVDs to see in the coming months to get me ready for awards season.

    70. The most important movie news in my 2007, though was my first weekend solo show.

    71. I’ve repeated the solo movie outings, and have yet to be mistaken for a homeless person.

    72. TV didn’t offer many stellar moments for me in 2007.

    73. The Sopranos finale, of course, was fantastic.

    74. My favorite show of the year was Mad Men ...

    75. ... and second favorite was Pushing Daisies.

    76. And, of course, the Bravo staples: Project Runway and Top Chef.

    77. My 30th class reunion was held in November, but I didn’t attend.

    78. I did, however, reconnect with the person I most wanted to find. Thank the Google gods for blogs!

    79. Since Favorite High-school Boy found me, we’ve had a great time catching up and one-upping each other on music and books and bawdy jokes.

    80. He’s firmly back on my favorite list, thirty years later. Cool, huh?

    81. We had a great time getting together when he was home for Thanksgiving …

    82. … and even more fun during his Christmas visit.

    83. I can’t wait for his Arbor Day visit. Lucky for me, Georgia observes Arbor Day in February.

    84. On the friendship side of my life, many of my beloveds went through some tough times this year.

    85. Breakups seemed to be the theme for the last half of the year.

    86. In hindsight, I think most of them are much better off getting away from their not-at-all-better halves,

    87. but there will be challenges for them this year as they venture back into the dating world.

    88. Lucky for them, they have a professional dater on hand to give them advice.

    89. All in all, 2007 was a great year,

    90. filled with music and baubles and books and merriment,

    91. fun times, fabulous friends, the joy of being a Decaturite once again.

    92. A bit of adventure, a (wee) bit of maturing, and some gloriously giddy moments.

    93. What do I want in 2008?

    93. A lot of adventures …

    94. … a new friend or five ...

    95. … more blogger meet-ups (already met one in 2008; story to come this week) …

    96. … more interesting blog posts …

    97. … a smaller ass …

    98. … a Democrat in the White House …

    99. … more time to read your blogs …

    100. … and a year filled with R.E.M., margaritas, and fish tacos.

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    04 January 2008

    Mix Tape Friday: Happy Stipey Day!

    Today is Michael Stipe’s 48th birthday. My love for him is pure and everlasting, a love affair that hasn’t disappointed during the quarter century of my devotion (well, maybe on a couple of Aftermath tracks, but every great love is allowed a stumble or two). He’s cool, he’s funny, he’s smart, he’s weird — and, damn, he has an amazing voice and gorgeous eyes. Michael is everything I want from the rock star love of my life.

    No doubt Michael’s off somewhere glamorous today, celebrating and hobnobbing with the pretty people. We here at the Cup don’t want to let this auspicious occasion slip by, so we’re honoring my beloved’s birthday with 48 Stipey songs — one song for each glorious year of his life — guest appearances, soundtrack solos, R.E.M. rarities, great party favors. These tracks run the gamut — alternative and rock, punk and rap (yes, rap!), techno and jazz. A few are a bit ridiculous, but most are as fabulous as he is. Now you glamorous, pretty people can hobnob aurally and blogally.

    Michael Stipe feat. Chris Martin :: In the Sun

    Placebo feat. Michael Stipe :: Broken Promise

    Dashboard Confessional feat. Michael Stipe :: Hands Down (live)

    Golden Palominos feat. Michael Stipe :: Omaha

    Automatic Baby :: One

    Radiohead feat. Michael Stipe :: Leave (live)

    Annie Ross & The Low Note Quintet feat. Michael Stipe :: Full Moon

    Michael Stipe, KRS-One + Harmony :: Civilization vs. Technology

    Warren Zevon feat. Michael Stipe (and Buck/Berry/Mills) :: Bad Karma

    New York Dolls feat. Michael Stipe :: Dancing on the Lip of a Volcano

    Patti Smith feat. Michael Stipe :: Glitter in Their Eyes

    Michael Stipe + Eddie Vedder :: Begin the Begin (live)

    R.E.M. :: Voice of Harold

    Jason & The Scorchers feat. Michael Stipe :: Hot Nights in Georgia

    Billy Bragg feat. Michael Stipe :: You Woke up My Neighbourhood

    Mandy Moore + Michael Stipe :: God Only Knows (Beach Boys cover)

    Spacehog feat. Michael Stipe :: Almond Kisses

    10,000 Maniacs feat. Michael Stipe :: To Sir with Love (live 1992)

    Michael Stipe + Vic Chesnutt :: Injured Bird

    R.E.M. :: Texarkana (outtake with Michael Stipe on vocals)

    Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians feat. M. Stipe :: Dark Green Energy

    Michael Stipe + Bruce Springsteen :: Because the Night (live 2004)

    Kristin Hersh feat. Michael Stipe :: Your Ghost

    Indigo Girls feat. Michael Stipe :: Kid Fears

    R.E.M. :: Hey! Hey! Nadine (live at Tyrone’s, 1981)

    Stephane Pompougnac feat. Michael Stipe :: Clumsy

    Utah Saints feat. Michael Stipe :: Wiggedy Wack

    Tanzplagen :: Peter Pan

    Michael Stipe :: L’hotel (Serge Gainsbourg cover)

    Miguel Bose feat. Michael Stipe :: Lo Que Hay Es Lo Que Ves

    Michael Stipe + Asha Bhosle :: The Way You Dream

    Faultline feat. Michael Stipe :: Greenfields

    Michael Stipe + Mike Mills :: Galveston (live)

    Coldplay feat. Michael Stipe :: Nightswimming (Austin City Limits)

    Michael Stipe + Natalie Merchant :: Little April Showers

    Neneh Cherry feat. Michael Stipe :: Trout

    Michael Stipe :: We’re Not so Bad

    Michael Stipe + Rain Phoenix :: Happiness

    R.E.M. :: Funtime (live Iggy Pop cover, 1992)

    Golden Palominos feat. Michael Stipe :: Clustering Train

    Michael Stipe + Everyone :: People Have the Power (live 2004)

    R.E.M. :: Where’s Captain Kirk? (Spizz cover)

    Hugo Largo feat. Michael Stipe :: Eureka

    Syd Straw feat. Michael Stipe :: Future 40's (Sting of Pearls)

    Little Jimmy Scott + Michael Stipe :: Ill Wind

    Michael Stipe :: Hope (live solo)

    Michael Stipe + Thom Yorke :: Be Mine (live)

    R.E.M. :: Tired of Singing Trouble

    Is there a lovelier, more heart-stopping song than Michael’s cover of Joseph Arthur’s “In the Sun”? If I play it, I must listen to it at least six times straight. It’s a swoon in song.

    One of my favorite bootleg tracks is the cover of “Funtime” included here (read this good post about that show). Michael's patter is good … then at 2:17, Mike’s bass begins teasing us ... until at 2:38, when Bill bangs in the best g*ddamn live payoff you can get at an R.E.M. show. I’ve played this track eleven times tonight, dancing and spinning so hard up and down my hall that the balls of my feet are now throbbing. But who cares? This is exactly how an R.E.M. club (not arena) show sounded. Soak up that energy as you dance and spin your birthday wishes.

    I coulda, I shoulda been at this 40 Watt Club show. I’d returned from the U.K. the day before, and a friend called to invite me thirty minutes before the show began — just enough time for me to NOT get there in time. Damn him. Damn no e-mail in 1992. At least I have a good recording of the show.

    “Voice of Harold” is my favorite R.E.M. B-side ever (and my boys have recorded many a fantastic B-side). Using the music track for “Seven Chinese Brothers” (a favorite fable as a child, and a damn good song), Stipe reads the liner notes from a gospel album (The RevelairesThe Joy of Knowing Jesus) — and it’s brilliant. Simeon and I have spent way too many hours arguing over who first discovered this great track — but since it was on my 12-inch, I win.

    Bonus Tracks!

    What’s a Stipey tape without R.E.M. tunes? I pulled one song off each studio album — the ones with some of my favorite Stipe vocals, trying to give you a track you don’t hear as often as you should.

    Chronic Town (1982) :: Gardening at Night

    Murmur (1983) :: Pilgrimage

    Reckoning (1984) :: Letter Never Sent

    Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) :: Green Grow the Rushes

    Life’s Rich Pageant (1986) :: Cuyahoga

    Document (1987) :: King of Birds

    Green (1988) :: Turn You Inside-Out

    Out of Time (1991) :: Me in Honey

    Automatic for the People (1992) :: Find the River

    Monster (1994) :: Crush with Eyeliner

    New Adventures in Hi-fi (1996) :: The Wake-up Bomb

    Up (1998) :: Lotus

    Man on the Moon OST (1999) :: The Great Beyond

    Reveal (2001) :: I’ve Been High

    Around the Sun (2004) :: Leaving New York

    Accelerate (coming 4.01.08) :: Accelerate (live in Dublin, 2007)

    Show of hands for those excited about the April Fools’ release of Accelerate?

    Show of hands for the fellow Stipe nerds who noticed that 4.01.08 is Michael’s birthday sideways?

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    01 January 2008

    Happy 2008!

    From Ryan Adams:

    and from me! Hoping your year is full of fun and flirts and frivolity!

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