Puss and Glop 2018

This poll that started back when Neanderthals voted in the Village Voice has acted like I don’t exist for years and years now and I’ve returned the favor for a while.

I’ve only thought of one new thing to say: the poll had a lot of power in its peak era because it damn near covered the popular-music profession. The whole gang voted.

Now, given the interwebs horde of podders and posters and piddlers and poopdits, the poll doesn’t represent anything except another Usual Gang of Idiots among the zillions.

So — eeeh.

The Portrait Of Dorian Facebook

Is it new tech or the interwebs or the combination of the two? Anyway, I learned a looong time ago that there was a sort of evil happy-talk associated with online business operations. “Hey, trust us, trust us — we’ll keep things idealized!” The only excuse is that back in them there days, internet commerce really did seem to have open possibilities. But ever since the Amazon flood, that’s been a fool’s delusion.

Walkman Crawls Off To Die

The end of a home electronic era that deeply saddens me.  My vintage Sony Walkman D-EJ958 — metal case, beyond durable construction, never skipped and, coupled with an Airhead amplifier, produced the richest portable sound I’ve ever heard — had a terrible flaw: it was powered by rechargeable batteries that, after years, stopped recharging. And Sony didn’t make them any more. By a miracle, I tracked down a set of rechargeables that precisely matched the originals. After years, same problems.

The glorious hope is that the player could use an external power adapter that used regular AA batteries. Little more cumbersome, sure, but it worked many years longer than both the rechargeables combined. Then last week, it went haywire and began to get hot as hell with the batteries in it. Not. Good. And the final terrible development is that Sony has discontinued the external power adapter.

This was my favorite portable source since CDs were the raging rulers of music. Sure, I already have a second Walkman set with an Airhead, but it is decidedly the acceptable-plus backup player.

(Sob.)

 

Fred W. McDarrah: “New York Scenes”

A superb hardcover presentation I am proud to own.

In sunny moments, I remember how seeing many of these for the first time on microfilm at Montana State University Library thrilled and excited me — this was how this world hidden by my isolated Montana culture looked!

In dreary afternoons like today’s, it can suggest not only a vanished world but a broken, or at least unfulfilled, promise: American bohemia would last forever; there was always going to be places, more and more maybe, where you could run wild and break the rules if you did it with grace and style. But true mass bohemia ruins the phenomenon. And the decline and fall of the Establishment made the rebellions empty.

In calm evenings like this, I can settle on being grateful that I met Beat writer stars Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsburg and found the latter to be especially funny, entertaining, wonderful in a rowdy Montana bar and even a wise, guru-type person. He conveyed a lasting impression of the freedom Beat and Hippie granted youth.

Oh, and the book includes a marvelous photo I had not seen of Leonard Cohen right before his first NY performance.

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.

End of a TV Era

The last boxlike TV set I will ever own has just been hauled away by trash collectors. My family’s first set, about 60 years ago, had a screen about a third as big and tried very hard to be a boxlike piece of furniture.

I did not see the haul happen, but don’t care I did not get to say goodbye. Damned set had become a pain in the vacuum tube when it was evident we couldn’t get rid of it easily. Nobody wanted a boxlike TV even as a donation.