Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pod Alone Knows...

I've been making semi-decent radio for around 12 years now in three cities radically different both in location and culture. Recently my friend and radio mentor John Collins asked me if I'd be interested in trying out an experimental podcast with him. Readers familiar with the happy(ish) days of yore over in talk radio land will remember John as our international correspondent in the mornings and, latterly, sporadic afternoons. John's a born programmer and radio genius in addition to being an extremely gifted and natural host, so it's an offer I didn't shrug off. With the prospect of non-music broadcasting again, my mind automatically jumped to another friend and radio mentor Paul Wheeler, who has since retired from radio to do other, more important things as a natual addition to John's suggestion of "transatlantic politics, gossip and geekdom" Whilst I would love to work with my two radio idols again (wow, how very obsequious!) I question in my mind whether a return to the talk format is a good idea. Despite the fact that Paul 'n' Spike era-58Live has been offair for more than a year, he and I still get compliments about it. In radio, that's an achievement in and of itself, but in a market like Charleston whose listeners are fickle and forgiving at the best of times, it's practically unheard of. If Charleston radio listeners can be accused of anything, it's not caring when things change. As much as our egos would love to have seen a revolution at the gates of the Death Star when it all came crashing down, we knew it would never happen.

I'm excited by the prospect, but totally overwhelmed by the scope of it. Paul hasn't responded to the idea yet and the setup is very much embryonic, but I'm a tenacious dude when I've committed to something.

So here's the conundrum; Is it better to let sleeping dogs lie, ride the compliments until they fade and say no, or do we risk shark-jumping by pulling out our heaphones and headlines again?

I'll let you know what I decide.... when I decide.

Mum... Can We Keep Him?

Total brain-fart moment. I decided to get a blog-dog.

adopt your own virtual pet!

Give me a break, it's totally pointless fun. It reminds me of those pet screen savers you used to get back in the day. If you click on the treats bag, it will give you a wee bone. Hold it above his head and click and he'll jump for it. He barks when you click on him too.

Let's just hope next time I come back to the blog it won't be all torn up with crap everywhere.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Case Against: "The Rainbow Connection".

Remember that happy little ditty that Kermit the Frog was singing at the start of "The Muppet Movie"? That sweet little song about rainbows? Well folks - I'm here to tell you that "The Rainbow Connection" is, quite simply, THE MOST DEPRESSING SONG EVER WRITTEN. It's so damn... defeatist! "But no, Uncle Spike," I hear you cry, "Kermit the Frog wouldn't intentionally bum us out! You must be mistaken and you were listening to The Smiths. Or Leonard Cohen." No m'friends, I'm not. Let's take the lyrics to "The Rainbow Connection" and analyse them bit by bit, and you'll see why the song is worthy of a minor key Morrissey makeover.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.

Here we go, then. First line and already the tone has been set with a question asked in a semi-sarcastic tone. Why are there so many songs about rainbows? Because people like them, that's why. They are pretty anomalies of nature. They look nice. They're sweet. But, the song reminds us, they don't actually exist. You can't reach out and touch it or keep it. It's just an illusion. Optimists look at a rainbow and see something that looks beautiful. Pessimists, like the author here, look at one and say "pff! It's just light reflected off water particles." Well thanks, Mr Bum-Me-Out. Bugger off back to your half-empty glass.

So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

What does this actually mean? If you were going to be nice, you could say that the first two lines apply to the last verse. Is he saying that the people who choose to believe that a rainbow is just an illusion are wrong or is he saying that the lovers, the dreamers and him aren't all going to find this hallowed rainbow connection. The fact that these lines start a whole new verse makes me think that it's the latter option. F'rinstance, look at the last line. "The lovers, the dreamers and me", the inference being that he is neither a lover nor a dreamer, the sort of people in an idyllic state of mind who would look for the magic and mysticism in a rainbow. It looks to me that he doesn't believe there's a rainbow connection. Stick in the word "that" before the third line and you'll see what I mean. "So we've been told and some choose to believe it - I know they're wrong, wait and see - that someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me."

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.

Jack shit, that's what it's done so far - that's what he's saying here. He's being sarcastic! He's telling us, presumably the lovers and dreamers, that wishing on a star is pointless and just something that someone made up. His evidence? "Look what it's done so far." Has your wish ever come true? Are we millionaires? Are we successful and happy? Are we princess astronaughts? No! Wishing on a star, says the author, is, essentially, pointless.

What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

So he's alluding to the previous verse here. He's telling us we're looking up to the skies, trying to find something that's not there. In his rational and logical mind, he's chastising the romantics for thinking that there's something amazing about looking up at the stars. Nice pick-me-up, Mr Spock.

All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.

Your guess is about as good as mine on this one. All I'll say is take notice to the way he uses the word "probably". Is this more sarcasm?

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.

So now I'm getting really creeped out here. This is clearly a reference to Sirens - in Greek mythology, the Sirens were these pretty little creatures (sometimes birds, sometimes women, sometimes a combination) that sang sweet little songs to attract sailors. BUT WAIT! Before you non-mythology lovers say "aaww, that's nice - it was like the 'American Bandstand' of ye olde times", they did this for reasons above and beyond entertainment. They did it to attract young and innocent sailors to the rocky island they lived on, in order to kill them! Yes!! They sang sweet, attractive songs to sailors in order to get them to crash into the rocks and die! So what does this mean in the context of the song? He hears voices in his sleep and he thinks they are calling him to his doom. The writer admits that he hears them with a frequency that won't allow him to just mark it down to chance and that "it's something that I'm supposed to be". Hmm. What does this actually mean? Does he think that he is supposed to be a siren, or is he referring to something that the sirens are calling him? Is the theory that the sirens are tailoring a sweet song specifically aimed at him with the express intention of making him a past-tense person? Is he crazy? Is this a suicide note? Is he about to do away with himself and say "the sirens made me do it?" Tell me that verse isn't creepy as all getout and I'll tell you you're smoking crack.

And finally, we end with another

Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

So there you go. Happy ditty, or the swan song of a schizophrenic? You decide!

Lyrics and Music

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Feeling, Sweet Feeling / Drops From My Fingers, Fingers....

well, check THIS out, m'friends!

The hot new malady du jour is Blogger Depression! Isn't that awesome? It even sounds like a real condition like Athlete's Foot or Diesel Penis (a very real condition of loss-of-feeling in the ol' family jewels caused by the vibration of a certain area, usually suffered by long-distance drivers) but what it deals with is the fact that the "OMFG!!!11 i luv teh bl0gging!!1" crowd often suffer sudden flashes of realism, and find that in between writing meaningless pish all the live long day, they are radically insignificant. So there's now a pamphlet to help repair their fractured egos.

Firstly; OK, OK... I know it's a fake. But swearing language aside, it looks pretty genuine and it's "teh funnay".
Secondly; why in the world do we want to stop these people from killing themselves?
Thirdly; was it me, or did anyone else read the URL as "The Onanist"? (Dorothy Parker once said she used to have a pet parakeet called Onan. She got rid of him because he kept dropping his seed on the floor. Cue rimshot.)

Have a read of it, it's pretty funny. Stick it in any public library or high school and I bet it would be taken seriously. Well if you'll excuse me, I have to cut the post short. I need a Wellbutrin.