What's better (and more rare) than a sunny top-down morning in November? Well, not much. At least, not much that I'll muse about on a web page. So maybe the better question is, how can you improve on a top-down day in November and keep your clothes on?
Idly search for, find, and then purchase, a Black Taj album, of course.
Today, I found it. And in addition to the song linked above, another one to tide me over till the record arrives.
Skynrd goes to Morocco.....
Let's start with that last title first. I should have been asleep at least an hour ago, on account of I need to be at work early to finish something that I was still writing at 8:30 (thats 2030 to my European readers) tonight. But as is usually the case when I work late, my decompression takes a fixed amount of time. If I'd gotten home at 11 (2300), I'd still need 4 (4) hours to unwind.
Of course, even when I get home at 6 (1800), I still don't get to sleep much before 1 (0100).
Be that as it may, I love the Internets. Yesterday, a crisp, warmish fall day that only a muggy-summer apologist such as myself could find fault with, my day was salvaged by a padded mailer in my mailbox. Barely 48 hours after I'd placed the order, my Back Taj record had arrived (from Tennessee, I think). Let's hear it for micropayments, small record labels, and Your United States Postal Service.
Part of the reason I'm still awake is that I thought it might be good for me to have some quality time today with the mere thrumming sound of the blood rushing through my head, instead of augmenting that with the stoner-Zep stylings of Black Taj, as I have been doing since tearing open the package yesterday. I've seriously been listening to it essentially nonstop, with some time out for Arrested Development last night.
On the whole, clearly, it's a fine, FINE record. As you might expect, there's a lot of Polvo in the sound. But there's also a lot of other stoner-rock from the QOTSA end of the Polvo/QOTSA continuum in there too. The "Skynrd in Morocco" crack I made the other day is still largely true, though maybe not the Morocco part. (One R, two Cs....) (I can't figure out what country Skynrd would have to go to to make this record, but that's fine; I bet they wouldn't have gotten a visa.)
And get this: one song, which I remember from the show, and which kicks major ass, is called Octastone. And that, for better or worse, now makes me think of this.
Final note: the review of the Black Taj show I saw in '03 is actually quite inaccurate. This band shreds, and "acquired taste" or "stoner shit" don't apply.
Final note #2/aside: because two Black Taj folks had also played together in Idyll Swords (along with Chuck Johnson from Spatula, whose record Even The Thorny Acacia was a touchstone of mine when it came out), I was moved to dig around in the "archives" for the one Idyll Swords record I have. No luck yet, which is worrisome.
When (and just before) I was born, my parents and I lived in Rochester, NY. After we moved to MN and then PA, some friends of my parents from wayback still lived there, and taught at UR. Since my grandparents lived in Geneva, NY, we'd go back and visit them whenever we were in the area. They had a pair of Ford Capris from the early 70s, which were the immediate ancestor of my father's Capri II. Originally, the Capri was kind of a European take on the Mustang; smallish, sporty, vaguely exotic. I don't think the Obrechts' cars were what got that particular fascination revved up; I rather think it was seeing the revamped model on a trip through Europe to or from India in 74 or 75.
Ok. Fast-forward 25 years.
A few years ago, my uncle was cleaning out his fridge in NYC, and he found a Ziploc bag of both exposed and unexposed film from the ages. Now, every photographer in my family has one of these bags, pushed way back on the bottom or 2nd-from-bottom shelf of the fridge, near the baking soda, pickles and skunked Heineken. Film ages and degrade over time, and refrigeration slows that process down. So we keep partially-shot rolls in the fridge till we can use the unexposed frames. Or keep the one or two odball rolls of special film like HIE, Kodachrome 25 or tungsten-balanced Ektachrome that you can't use for birthday parties or anything other than perfect/special conditions. But, you know, they cost money, so you hate to throw them out, even though they're a decade or more (and counting) out of date.
So, my uncle's cleaning out his fridge one day, and comes across The Film Bag. He opens it up, and there's an unidentified roll of exposed 120 in there. So he takes it to a lab to have it processed, and damned if it isn't a roll of film that (he deduces) was shot by little Christopher in 1976 (or MAYBE 1977, though I doubt it), from waist high (on him, which at the time was, like, knee-high on a grownup person) of his parents' friends fleet of early 1970s Ford Capris. The camera had a waist-level viewfinder, and you can tell I was short at the time because all of the shots of the backs of the cars are looking UP at the underside of the bumper.
That explains the curious composition. I don't really know what to say about the blurriness.
Big day today, and so I thought I'd start it off by trying to decompress from an absolutely dreadful football result. Early tomorrow I will go to renew my driver's license and get rid of that mugshot (which many of you have not seen, nor will you, though I vaguely recall passing it around on Saturday night to prove that I really am as old as I said I am) which has haunted me since I moved to MA. The last time I had a chance to renew, 5 years ago, I was asked by the friendly clerk, "Do you want a new picture?"
Inexplicably, I replied, "Nah, that one's fine." Though I no longer looked anything like it, and indeed, nobody had looked remotely like that since, well, 1974. I think I'd been caught in some kind of bad hair/big head warp. So that was a huge mistake (which I could have rectified by paying $10 or $20 to get a new license).
But hey. I'm cheap.
I think I might be done paying attention to sports. It's been slim pickings lately and I think I might as well just start raising cabbage or something.
Even in the winter. Growing cabbage, indoors, in MA, must be more rewarding than following football.
So. Let's bring the curtain down (so to speak) on orbit number 2² × 3² (a charming expression someone reminded me of last week) and get busy with whatever comes next.
As long as it doesn't involve football.
This has me a little bummed-out. The day I bought my first Link Wray album was a beautiful Carolina late fall day, I blasted it from my living room, while Brian and I sat in lawn chairs in the back of my Toyota pickup, drinking a mini-keg of DAB we'd bought. And the first time I saw Southern Culture on the Skids, they were celebrating Link Wray's birthday. Hence, they threw links of sausage (get it?) at the crowd, instead of fried chicken.
I figured I was in heaven.
My friend John recounted a recent trip through Chelsea, and ended thusly:
outside of one gallery on 25th or 26th street, there was a low window and inside you could see a guy working in his shop below ground. he was repairing pinball machines. it was one of those moments, fantastic and unrepeatable, when you wish you had a camera, and i instantly thought that if you were there you would have taken a picture. i don't think i can describe the sight well. it was past dusk outside and inside it was very well lit, with tons of old pinball machines and tools in various stages of repair and disrepair, the craftsman was holding a rag, wiping something, seemingly unaware that we could see him. probably most days, he has the shades drawn.
I've been off all week. Which means time for blogging...
I've been waiting for Peter Egan's latest great column to show up on Road and Track's website. And finally it has. Nice summary, as if any were needed, of what's wrong with American drivers.
Plus he uses "truculent" in a sentence.
I think the question (which nobody has asked me lately) has finally been answered. I'm going to go ahead and say that North By Northwest is my favorite movie. I often cite This is Spinal Tap, or Brazil or Stop Making Sense or Dr. Strangelove or Bullitt. Or Pulp Fiction. But no more.
Hmm...Strangelove. Er....Strangelove is pretty great....As is Spinal Tap. And Pulp Fiction.
Ah well. I'll forge ahead. I honestly have no idea how many times I've seen North By Northwest, but it never disappoints. It's beautifully shot. It's hilarious. It's quaint. It's suspenseful (a real "cliffhanger," even...ha). The music is incomparable.
And when Roger Thornhill and Eve Kendall get to talking on the train, it's HOTTT. Not visually explicit, of course. It was 1959, afterall. But the dialogue, the purring innuendo, the batted eyelashes, are all spectacular. There's still that utterly breathtaking shot in Rear Window, which knocks me over every time I see it (IT'S GRACE KELLY, FOR GOD'S SAKE). But this is just as good. I mean, I've ridden trains on three continents, but I ain't never met anyone like Eve Kendall.
So, shit....see North By Northwest. Kathleen Turner's cries of pleasure (to name one of countless thousands of examples, real or faked) , though fun in their way, don't nearly measure up.
It's the perfect movie.
"Now. What can a man do with his clothes off for twenty minutes?"