R.I.P.: Nicolas Roeg

I pretty much lost track after The Man Who Fell to Earth, but after all the decades some impressions remain as vivid as when they were new.

I saw Don’t Look Now at the old Crystal Theater in Missoula. I remember trembling with anxiety and never being so sorry I attended a movie alone. Thought the dum factual resolution of the plot was not nothing, but did not matter ultimately.

The version of Bowie in Man Who Fell was simply a superb addition to the ones he came up with himself, over and over. But I preferred the Mick Jagger in Performance to the one we have in this world. Bet I wouldn’t be as tired of him these days as I am of the human Mick.

R.I.P.: Stan Lee

A person I have had diverse and contradictory feelings about since I was seven years old. (And didn’t even know who he was — though somebody had be putting out these wacky monster comics.)

But my philosophy is that once someone passes from this world, they are free to live on in your imagination however you like. So other folks can be all “Ah, wow!” about those movie drop-ins. I will always dwell on my mid-60s fantasy of the folks who turned comics as exciting as rock and roll — seemed even to be a printed extension of the music. Overseeing it all — a way-cool head honcho, not the be-all and end-all he was much later.

For that guy, “IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!” now and forever.

CD-Tech Update

OK, now have two-battery powered portable CD players (both Sonys), so the need to solve the problem of my sadly crippled outside-power player is way less intense. (See, kidz, I need to have a headphone player upstairs for my floor exercises and one downstairs for my treadmill exercises in the winter. And the nicer of the two also has to be able to go on the road with me. Yes, I would look like a turnip if I couldn’t select the music from my collection for workouts.)

What bothers me is that both of the players are fossils, no longer manufactured. Current portable CD spinners seem like toys in comparison. The newie is a CD Walkman D-E350 and while I’m not crazy about the zippy-blue plastic case, the controls are easier to use than the ones on my golden defunct oldie and the sound, aided by an Airhead amp of course, has space and detailed kick almost up to the golden oldie if I turn to volume up to 8 (ouch, so much for battery life).

As you see, programming the music I listen to every day is neurotically important to me. And I feel stronger that you need physical-item resources to ensure that can happen. The demise of Filmstruck was, yeah, striking.

There Goes Simon’s Rhymin’

We voted this morning (Yes, Yes, Yes and Mr. Baker is toast and even better there was no doughnut table to guilt-trip you about not donating something to the polling-place school).

Then I did my initial listen to what, for now anyway, is Paul Simon’s final album, In the Blue Light. And it felt like closing a circle.

Back in Park Senior High, the simpering set adored Simon & Garfunkel, but I thought “Parsley” puke and even “Sounds of Silence” too quivering-nerve. “Bridge Over” was impossible to scoff away, however, and did provide my first revelation: the simp set was in love with Artie and Paul was ready to divorce all of them.

I think the Dean has had a damn-near-perfect ear for Simon through the decades and we responded to identical same tracks. Except that I always adored “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor,” which came out the year I became an official adult and started living in my own apartment. Yeah, here’s somebody mirroring my mind. But I did have trouble with “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War” — thought it was abstruse. I have not checked to see how much lyrics were modified, but sure enough, this is now a masterful metaphysician operation.

Biggest stinko of the whole set (I’ve listened to it twice and realized I did not even grok this cut the first time through) is that “Love” is track #2. It’s a plain regression to S&G manners and mores and even language. Worst of all, it confirms that part of Simon still respects simp swill. And if “The Teacher” is clearer than it used to be, I still can’t bother to pierce its opaque. It is abstruse.

“Darling Lorraine” is a casually complex example of the Simon the old pimple farms would never grasp — he became an adult, even a weathered adult, not just a pop star with years heaped on him. “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” pulls back every lonely era of my life and best of all “Can’t Run But” delights me anew as a twittering and trumpeting machine that radiates the sensibility of the saints.

Thanks for the trip.

The Mystery of Alan Wilson

Canned Heat was the first rock band I saw —  an MSU concert that was as uptight as you might imagine. But already the prime songwriter and lead singer was gone. He wrote strange turns of phrase and intuition that suggested the English and even Roots America investigation into the blues was stubby. Never will know what he might have gone on to discover. I see his beach death scene in dreams.