Here Come the Swans

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Songs for the Dumped

Here's my goal for this post: I'm going to pull an anecdote out of the memory bank and find appropriate videos with which to accompany it.

As I've written about before, I used to DJ at my college radio station. We were a fairly incestuous bunch: This Guy dates This Girl, but he used to date That Girl, who dated This Other Guy, and so on.

One day, during the spring of my freshman year, one of the senior DJs asked me out. Ooooo, I thought, an older man! He asked me if I wanted to go see Basic Instinct (yeah, there's a great date movie!) and I accepted. On a Friday night, we went out to eat and watched Sharon Stone expose her hoo-ha. At the end of our date, he asked me to go to a radio station party with him on Saturday. Ooooo...awesome! Are we going steady?

So, that following night, he picked me up and drove me to an off-campus party. He brought some cheap beer, and I quickly got buzzed.

Then I walked outside...and lo and behold, what do I lay my eyes on? My date making out with some other girl. What the fuck? Now, as I said, about 1 1/2 sheets to the wind, so I decide to get to three as soon as possible. So I went and raided his stock of cheap ass beer and soon I'm blitzed. I sat down on the couch, trying to understand what the fuck happened, which was very difficult in my state of inebriation.

Soon thereafter, this other blitzed guy, whom I vaguely knew from the station, sits down next to me and starts kissing me! (He had briefly dated the girl that my date was making out with, so I guess it was a revenge move, like the way I was drinking the PBR or whatever rotgut I was guzzling.) Then he got up from the couch and puked all over the floor. This is the kicker: the girl that stole my would-be boyfriend was hosting this party, so she had to clean up that mess. Ha! That's what you get you little harlot!

The part that sucked most was that I was left without a ride home. My couch make-out buddy was in no condition to drive, so some other radio station guy (who, it turns out, I found out later, had a crush on me) did the honors of driving my drunk ass back to the dorm.

Of course, my would-be boyfriend's not blameless, and from what others told me later, he was quite a womanizer. Here's the story's resolution: the guy I was making out with on the couch would later--and I'm talking a couple years later--would end up being my boyfriend. (I told you we were an incestuous bunch.) The jackass womanizer and his little harlot got married. He's now an ambulance chaser lawyer (seriously). So I guess it worked out for them. Goody.

One more anecdote within the anecdote: A few months after this incident, I was in a mall parking lot with my mother. Who's approaching us from the opposite direction? The happy couple! Oh, noes. I audibly whisper to my mom, "Oh, shoot, that's [jerk's name and jerk's floozy's name]." Now, Mom had no idea who the heck these two people were, and I sure as hell wasn't going to tell her about my underage drinking antics and make-out sessions with guys I barely knew, but anyway, I guess she thought she'd say "hi" to the happy couple!
"Hi [jerk's name and jerk's floozy's name]!" she said enthusiastically, as they passed by.
They nodded.
I could have died from embarrassment.

Jerk was a big grunge fan--shit, I should have known the relationship would have been doomed--and he HATED that late 80s/early 90s alternative pop that so many of his grunge-loving cronies did. So, this is for you, jackass!

Beautiful South, "36D" and "Let Love Speak Up Itself"

Jerk wrote on the cover sheet for the CD on which "36D" appears, "This adult contemporary music sucks." Uh, what the fuck?

Frazier Chorus, "Dream Kitchen" and "Cloud 8"

This gloriously twee band also incurred Jackass's wrath. I never knew why they were more popular. Hmmm, could it have been they got lost in all the grunge hoopla? We grunge-haters like to blame all the underexposure of our favorite 90s alternative bands on the grunge movement.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

YouTube post!

Ranking Roger, "So Excited"

For the ska-uneducated, Ranking Roger was a member of the (English) Beat (remember the video with the dancing skeletons?), and then teamed with fellow Beater Dave Wakeling to form the splinter band General Public. That twosome split and Ranking Roger went out on his own, releasing this pop gem in 1988, which is yet another in a long line of "if it weren't for CFNY, I would have never heard this song." The video screams late 80s/early 90s--bright colors, extraneous dancing girls--but the song holds up well.

Speaking of early 90s and extraneous dancers...
Euphoria, "Love You Right"

I'd bet lotso money that Simon Baker doesn't put this video on his resume. For us Baker-philes, the man with the "lustrous blond highlights" (as Mark Harris of Entertainment Weekly described him in this week's issue) doesn't make his shirtless appearance until the 2:20 mark. This song reeks of that manufactured early 90s disco-pop--see also C+C Music Factory and Technotronic--and the video, well, there's a lot of gyrating and obvious symbolism (really, could the rocking horse be any more phallic?). Most of all, there's too much lip-synching and fake instrument-playing. Still, I'd be a liar if I said that this song wasn't catchy.

Bill Nelson, "Another Day, Another Ray of Hope"

Honestly, this fan-made video had me grabbing for my Dramamine, but lest I sound ungrateful, thank you Bill Nelson fan with the Blair Witch camcorder for uploading this fantastic--and dare I say beautiful--song from a highly underrated musician. And once again, thank you to the DJs on CFNY for introducing me to this song. (I can't hear the ending pianos without thinking about the a female DJ's voice saying, "Bill Nelson..." before the tape cuts off.)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Alphabet Movie Soup

Over on another site on the interwebs, someone posted a thread about listing your favorite movies by alphabet letter. Here's my list, followed by commentary below:

As Good As It Gets
Breaking the Waves
Conversation, The
Days of Wine and Roses, The
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Haine, La
In the Company of Men
Killing Fields, The
Longtime Companion
One, Two, Three
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Quiz Show
Road to Perdition
Shawshank Redemption, The
Three O'Clock High
United 93
Velvet Goldmine
Whole Wide World, The
Citizen X
You Can Count on Me

Yes, Citizen X bends the rules a little, but it's a fantastic movie, and I don't think I've seen any movies that begin with X. (Frequent readers of this blog know my views of comic book adaptations, so I'd rather leave X blank than put X-Men. Believe it or not, I actually saw the first one. Can't say I remember much from it, except that Bruce Davison, star of my favorite L movie, was in it. Oh, yeah, there was that freaky Xtro movie, whose VHS cover scared the shit out of my ten-year old self. Can't think of any other X movies--so Citizen X it is.)

I've only seen one movie that started with Q, and luckily, it's one of my favorites. Otherwise, I would have had an X-sized quandry on my hands.
Thanks, Yum. Turns out I've seen Quadrophenia, and how could I forget The Queen, with my favorite Tony Blair delineator, Michael Sheen? Still, Quiz Show is my favorite of the three Q movies.

V was hard. Turns out I don't love too many movies that start with V. Ditto J.

H was hard. I think I had a tie with La haine and Henry Fool. Could have gone either way. Sorry Henry and Simon.
Same thing with K--I went with The Killing Fields because technically King of Hearts is Roi de coeur, and I like to be consistent. And then I almost put Karakter. And then I thought, wow, I'm thinking too much about this.

U was a toss-up between United 93 and Urgh! A Music War, and I just couldn't justify a selection for Urgh!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Number One!

My list has come to an end:

To jog your memory:
10. Chiwitel Ejiofor
9. James McAvoy
8. Jemaine Clement
7. Aidan Gillen
6. Raul Esparza
5. Mark Rylance
4. Roger Federer
3. David Morrissey
2. Emile Hirsch


#1--Mathieu Almaric

A couple of years back, Hubs and I Netflixed one of those obscure foreign films he likes so much, an acclaimed French film called Kings and Queen. I had never seen Mathieu Almaric before that time, but his performance is one of my favorites from any male actor this decade. Soon thereafter, he was cast in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and after that, a little indie called Quantum of Solace. (He's this Bond flick's antagonist.)
I normally don't go for Gallic types, but there's something strangely attractive about Almaric, and I look forward to his tete-a-tete with my guy, Daniel Craig.

Speaking of Mr. Craig...when I saw this week's Entertainment Weekly cover, I got all girly....OMG!!!1111!!!! He's so dreamy! Really great picture, much better than Zac Efron, eh?

One more six degrees of separation note between Craig and Almaric: They both appeared in Munich, the movie in which you will find quite possibly the most ridiculous sex scene ever put on film. I want to chuckle just thinking about it. I bet Steven Spielberg regrets that scene more than he does taking his name off of Three O'Clock High's producers credits.

And one more note about sex: There is a film on Almaric's filmography called, L'Histoire of Richard O, which is described as such on Wikipedia's "List of mainstream films with unsimulated sex":
"Contains several sex scenes between actor Mathieu Amalric and various actress, although no penetration is shown (lighting during sex scenes is generally dark, and camera angles are chosen to obscure what may or may not actually be happening). Erections are shown."

Uh...okay. I don't think I could handle all that.

Thanks for reading. I like lists, and I was glad I could actually finish this one. :)

YouTubes of the week:

The Afghan Whigs, "Blame, Etc."

The Whigs are one of those bands whose music is inextricably linked with a time of my life I'd rather forget. Still, Gentlemen is one of the best albums of the last twenty years, and I shouldn't let stupidity in my younger days cloud that fact (or informed opinion :)) Here's one of their better post-Gentlemen songs, Blame, Etc.
I regret not seeing Dulli and Co. open up for Aerosmith in 1999. (Strangest opening act/headliner combo I think I've heard of--I probably would have not stayed for those bombastic old fogeys.)

One more:
Bruce Cockburn, "Call It Democracy"

When I was going through some old Night Flight tapes, I came across this song. For whatever reason, I don't recall ever hearing it before--and this particular tape got a lot of airtime chez Karim Amir. I probably couldn't wrap my 13-year-old brain around the complex sociopolitic/socioeconomic arguments in the song (International Monetary Fund?). So many years later, I have revisited it...and it is quite freaking good.