It's going to be a war path week on here--am I allowed to say that?--in which I do what I need to do, and take down whom I need to take down, so a bit of calm before these clouds open and the floods commence, to mix attrition metaphors. The chart room of this ark is ready to go, the instruments are at hand, and the course is set.
This is the very first episode of Quiet, Please, from 6/8/47, called “Nothing Behind the Door.” Listen past the crackles and hear the rhythm of the show. The scene is well set, a hallmark of the show.
I had not seen this previously, though I had looked for it. It's the first game of the 1981 Preliminary Round--a best of three--between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens. The latter were a year removed from their run of four straight Cups. Guy Lafleur was still a top player, but beginning to break down with injuries. He did not take top care of himself. The Oilers were still finding their way, and the Canadiens were supposed to brush them aside easily. Wayne Gretzky had just set the NHL's single season scoring record, but it wasn't until the next year that he destroyed notions of what was considered possible by scoring more than 200 points. Canadiens goalie Richard Sevigny--who was no Ken Dryden, either in net or in being smart enough not to say something like this--stated before the series that Lafleur would put Gretzky in his back pocket. The Oilers swept the Canadiens. When Game 3 was in hand, Gretzky took a slow skate between whistles past the Canadiens' bench and touched the back of his hockey pants where a pocket would be. I like things like that. In this first game, Gretzky had a mere five assists. Realistically he could have had about ten.
Been enjoying the radio broadcast of Game 1 of the 1960 World Series, between the Pirates and the Yankees. When the Pirates won, it was close; when the Yankees won, it was a blowout. Then we get the greatest Game 7 in baseball history. I'm making my way through all of the games, imagining that I am hearing in real time.
I realized last night that 1953’s Return to Glennascaul, a perfect short horror film—it truly is perfect—featuring Orson Welles, is based on Oliver Onion’s 1911 ghost story, “The Cigarette Case.”
If you listen to outtakes from the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, you hear a lot of Lennon and McCartney stoned out of their minds. If you listen to outtakes from the Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, you hear very focused guys and Jerry Garcia as a martinet.
Watched Otto Preminger’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. Every true noir has a moment when the male protagonist makes a single decision that changes his life and there is no going back. You can pinpoint it to the second. Andrews is reprieved in the end, though, which is what we want to see happen, making this noir unusual in that manner. Most of the time he'd just be crushed.
I watched The Empire Strikes Back again. I love the first three Star Wars films--and have linen-backed one sheets from each in storage, which I will put on the walls of my house in Rockport again--but only the first one works at all as cinema. The sequel can be summed up by saying, "run away." The film is a series of characters running away. Not much else. They have to pad it, too, over the last quarter, which is why C-3PO has so many lines that are supposed to be funny but they really aren't, because it's the same thing repeatedly. One would have done as a mood-lightener.
Yesterday (which also marked 1953 days, or 279 weeks, without a drink) I listened to James Brown's Live at the Apollo and Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown while running 5000 stairs, then Green Day's underrated second album, Insomniac, and The Best of the Animals, which was also the first Animals record I ever heard, while reading Washington Irving at the Starbucks, which now closes every day at 4 for some reason, despite being a popular spot for people to gather at that time and in the evening. Then I took a three mile walk last night and listened to the first album from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Breakout! Those guys sure could play. I love their three albums. Green Day has an album of their BBC cuts--which I've had on bootleg for years--coming out in December. Their 1994 session is some of the best pure rock and roll one will ever hear, and I made a note to pitch this, but, of course, the situation is what it is. This morning I saw an awful piece on the new McCartney book in The New York Times by David Hajdu. This guy can't write. It's pizza review writing. As basic as basic gets. The vomiting of Wikipedia factoids, but with less panache in the writing than one finds on Wikipedia. It's useless. You could make a computer program to write this piece. Someone just gets a job for reasons that have nothing to do with ability. There isn't anyone who couldn't write something at this level. No knowledge, no skill, no attempt to pull in a reader.
Next time you hear the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” consider: the band had a gig the night before, drove to the studio, tested their levels, and nailed the song in a single take. The whole thing took 10 minutes. Great art doesn’t exist without skill, passion, vision, energy.
Found a place where I can download all of the Grateful Dead Dave's Picks records for free. Was listening to one of them yesterday, with this show from the Thelma Theatre in LA in December 1969.