Song Saves the Day: Dori Freeman’s “I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight”

I was driving along, enjoying Freeman’s new Letters Never Read when her cover of this tune jumped out and spun my head around. Immediately brought back the moment when, the third or fourth time I had listened to the song, I realized it was not merely an excellent hooray-for-the-weekend number, but a more profound reflection on the human condition and the need for release and freedom. And Linda Thompson flat incarnated the number. (Linda and Richard’s son Teddy Thompson plays guitar on this “Bright Lights,” produced the album, too). The Dori Freeman debut slipped past me last year. Now I will have to check it out.

Newspapers in Trouble; Likewise Newspaper Delivery

We’ve had more screw-ups with a Sunday Only Times this year than ever before by a huge margin. Today was a beaut — fractions of the Globe and NY Times scrambled together.

As I’ve said before, no young’un could ever imagine what a glorious medium newspaper comics were once upon a time if all they had to look at was today’s examples. Only “Mother Goose & Grimm” made me smile — and it got a slightly grotesque joke right. Other strips trying to be “edgy” were more strange and crude. And some are so sloppy and slight with the artwork as to sicken me. Like I say, if you want a prime example of an extinct form …

R.I.P.: Michel Jouvet

I knew only bits about his remarkable career. My mother was fascinated by dreams and astrology (thought they were related in some way I could never quite understand — dreams predict the future, maybe). But for her (born 1910) and my father (born 1890) dreams were utterly mysterious, unexplained in any way. (The one item I most wish I could find in my mother’s possessions is her paperback The Dictionary of Dreams — it’s a kind of lost fantasy compendium.) Neither had read Freud, but he’s gone more into the wastebin than I imagined way back when. So Jouvet’s work is very profound.

But why do dolphins and whales not dream?

Short List of Bogus Philosophies Sure To Be Big Hits

If you find a way to dress them up in new terms and spins.

  1. There’s a way to eat and eat and eat and not get fat.
  2. Big organizations and institutions can’t be understood by anybody.
  3. Gender roles are really in the genes and can’t be fundamentally changed, ever.
  4. The government is hiding some big secret about (pick one): UFOs and aliens; paranormal mind powers; why gun violence really happens.
  5. Being an asshole isn’t really being an asshole.

 

Real Estate Developments I Pass Every Day

I think it was Anthony Bourdain who noted that certain business locations can become, well, cursed. No matter what opens in the space, it quickly goes out of business. This can last for years (maybe even forever), but it can also end.

This one corner spot on Beacon had been a superb convenience store for ages and ages. Then it got kinda outta touch and closed. The location became cursed and about four different operations tried to make it work;. The two I recall were the bad Asian gift shop with a misspelled word in its sign and a store that offered a strange mixture of plants and make-up products and never seemed to have staff that knew nearly enough about either. The spell broke when the space changed direction entirely and became a tres-hip Yoga center that won a Best of Boston award.

Only a block away was a very chic bicycle store that had a cool display of bikes on the roof (I don’t ride myself, so I never went inside), but seemed to do next to no business in the winter. It closed and has been replaced by a crushingly mediocre liquor store (that claims to have gourmet foods and cheese but I sure as hell didn’t see any).

Finally a salute to my late, great friend and editor at the Phoenix and Boston Globe, John Ferguson. The deeply authentic Irish pub where we held his Official Wake has been torn down to make way for another faceless glass tower. Especially sad because it helped me think about him many days when I drove past. He’s been gone for more than 13 years now. He was only 52.

Couple Quick Music Points …

… as I struggle to find something I like today.

I am a tough sell for pure voices-and-percussion albums. And I don’t think it’s a “just me” kinda taste quirk. I know voice-and-percussion can be captivating, gripping, on stage, but the format is too hard to follow all the way though a whole album.

Next, it’s hard, lotta work, to redeem corny tunes though improvisation. If you roll out one lame-o, half-gimmick tune after another, I come to suspect you may like corny tunes. Because, I mean, there’s no question there’s an audience for them.