Posts Tagged ‘Traffic’

Finally found a boat I could afford
Finally found a boat I can afford!

I’m back from Cape Cod with plans to build either a lighthouse or a windmill in the backyard. We had a wonderful, though emotional, trip, with many indelible moments; for example, the store on the New Bedford waterfront that advertised the four basic food groups of Massachusetts: SNACKS TOBACCO LOTTERY COFFEE. (It was closed.)

How can we not cherish the memories of the bored teenager, the adoring grade-schooler, the parents who can only talk about their cat, and the three hours it took us to drive the 50 miles the hell off Cape Cod? Bliss! Will we ever forget the T-shirt that proclaimed “What happens at the Eastham Turnip Festival stays at the Eastham Turnip Festival” or the bumper sticker at the approach to the Sagamore bridge that said “Never forget Chicken Man”? Sure we will.

Favorite meal of the week: The Reuben Flounder at the Yardarm in Orleans.

Favorite ice cream experience: Poit’s Lighthouse Mini Golf. The ice cream was OK. It was the experience of eating it on a hot, humid night in front of a mini golf course where vacationers have been dodging the mini lighthouses for 60 years that wins the prize.

I could rhapsodize further. But first, my novel.

In our last, very exciting episode, I had discovered that continuing the Write-a-thon while also coping with my family was impossible. I had to fight to hold on to every brain cell. The only writing I did was three hours on the plane to Boston and three hours on the plane back to Portland, but those were six productive hours. Today was our first full day back in the non-vacation world, and when I wasn’t emptying sand out of suitcases and restocking the fridge, I plowed into the pages of dialog, stage directions, character studies, and miscellaneous notes I brought back.

Plus I finished Chapter 6. That last one easily counterbalances the 300-motorcycle parade that stopped us cold in Barnstable on Saturday while we were still trying to escape Cape Cod. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

In life the firmest friend/The first to welcome, foremost to defend
We returned to an empty house. This was the first time since 1992 that we weren’t greeted at the door by happy barking. The silence was louder than the loudest bark. I kept going by keeping going, ticking off chores one after the other.

A dog. Got to get one.

Box score
– I’ve written 23 days out of 29
– 29.5 total hours
– Word count: Got lost in all this unpacking. Next week.
– This was my first post on the Write-a-thon

My sponsors (all hail):
– Karen G. Anderson
– Laurel Sercombe
– Mitch Katz (he and Liz celebrated their 16th anniversary yesterday)

Thanks for waiting for me!

Random Pick of the Day
Peter Rauhofer, Club 69 Future Mix: The Collected Remixes of Peter Rauhofer (1998)
Herr Rauhofer, who died in May, grew up in Vienna and became a pioneering New York dj. Club 69 Future Mix pulls together many of the remixes he did for new wave and R&B acts of the ’80s and ’90s. At this distance, the only names that still resonate are Depeche Mode (“It’s No Good”) and Falco (“Der Kommissar”). The CD falters in the final tracks, but if you like house, try this one. I especially like it because I found it for a quarter at a yard sale this morning.

Random Pan of the Day
Traffic, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (1971)
In the early ’70s the title track seemed like the essence of cool. Now I’ve heard it surpassed many times by jazz players. Also, now I understand that it’s a rant against their record company, like The Clash’s “Complete Control” and The Sex Pistols’ “E.M.I.” If I’m going to listen to someone complain, that someone is going to be me. OK, this 11-minute slo-mo monster still has power, particularly when played at 2am, but the rest of this disc doesn’t. The prog-rock is dull. “Rainmaker” sounds like Yes needs a nap. The only Traffic song I still seek out is the title track from their debut, Mr. Fantasy (1967).

Queen: Greatest Hits
1994
Queen

I am never in the mood for Queen. There is no time of the day or night, no day of the week, no season in which I would choose to listen to Queen. This isn’t because I hate them; I don’t. They’re literate, which means a lot here at the Bureau. They use adjectives that are uncommon in a rock song (“warily”) and when the situation demands it they can concoct their own (“belladonic”). I’m just unmoved by their music.

One thing I do enjoy about Queen is that you can arrange their song titles to tell stories:

Fail Whale
It’s a Hard Life
I’m Going Slightly Mad
I Want to Break Free
I Want It All
Fight From the Inside
Keep Yourself Alive
Don’t Stop Me Now
Another One Bites the Dust

Get a Room
Get Down, Make Love
Spread Your Wings
We Will Rock You
Sheer Heart Attack
Sleeping on the Sidewalk

Placing them within the context of their ’70s contemporaries, Queen is less pompous than Yes, wittier than King Crimson, looser than Traffic, warmer than Pink Floyd, better dressed than Mountain, hipper than The Grateful Dead, kinkier than Steely Dan, nastier than Carole King, more electrifying than War, and smarter than Grand Funk Railroad, though that one is easy. My dog is smarter than Grand Funk Railroad. Queen could toast and eat Bread and wash them down with ELO without missing a beat. They are the Monitor to Black Sabbath’s Merrimack. They are not just superior to Chicago, they make Chicago look like Fall River, Massachusetts. Their song about women with overlarge derrieres is AC/DC with metaphors and flashbacks. AC/DC can barely manage a point of view. And their song about murder, the nature of reality, and Galileo made Wayne’s World possible.

Queen was obviously a respectable unit, but this is music, not quantum mechanics. If you could explain art you wouldn’t need misinformed critics like me. Honk if you love David Bowie.