02 May 2010

Joni Bitchell?

Joni Mitchell has always bugged me as some sort of self-important artist.  I remember seeing her in Rochester, maybe with Bob Dylan, and she was getting pissed off that the crowd (the nerve!) was still finding their seats when she was performing.  Last week she came out and called Bob Dylan a phony in an interview with the L.A. Times:

LA Times: As well, you've had experience becoming a character outside yourself [Mitchell caused controversy when she appeared as an African American male on the cover of her 1977 album, "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter"].The folk scene you came out of had fun creating personas. You were born Roberta Joan Anderson, and someone named Bobby Zimmerman became Bob Dylan.

Joni Mitchell: Bob is not authentic at all. He's a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.

So everything about Joni is truly original and Bob (it's not even his real last name!) Dylan is a phony.  Interesting.  This article questions what plagiarism actually is.  Dylan, with no apologies to anyone, lifted the melody for "Blowing In The Wind" in 1962 from the old folk song "No More Auction Block," a song that had long passed into the public domain.  Dylan copped Woody Guthrie's persona for years before he moved to Greenwich Village from Minnesota.  The genius of Dylan, the turns of phrases that he collected, was that he made much of the stuff his own.  There is a snippet of vocal on the Bob Dylan Bootleg album where he is a dead ringer for Woody, not just in tone, but the remark and the words themselves.  The folk scene of the 1960's, not that I am any sort of expert, was artists doing old, standard folk songs.  It's what folk songs are.  You might as well bust Joseph Campbell for writing about mythology or George Lucas for writing Star Wars

If you've read my blog beyond this post you will see lots of stuff lifted from somewhere or someone else.  "Are You There, Vodka?"  The Pop Culture thing I like to do towards the end of the week is not an original idea.  What is an original idea?   Is Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger not truly his?  He didn't write all those songs, but look what he turned them into:  something truly unique with his signature on it.   Sometimes I think that Neil Young could be the only true original artist alive today (with, I suppose, apologies to her Heiness Joni Mitchell - who's real name is Roberta Joan Anderson - but I guess that's okay).  He's the only guy weird enough to come up with the stuff he comes up with.  So Joni (if that is your real name): gfy!

Cheese With Whine

So I broke my leg, which I'm sure you heard about.  I had my DishTv service suspended because, come on, $65 a month and nobody's home.  Paying bills is not my forte, as the first George Bush would have said, but I only owed a handful of money on it, a little more than a full month.  I get my most recent bill a few weeks ago and just opened: $415.19.  Curious, no?  It turns out they wanted to charge me for the equipment I still have hooked up in my house and if I returned the equipment my amount owed would drop back down to the handful I owed them.  I thought, what a strange way to do business?  To get service restored I had to pay two months in advance.  Also curious because I just paid for a month in advance and wasn't even home to watch the damned thing.  But this post is not about DishTv and their payment policies.  It's about the Roger Moore - James Bond movies.

G4 is the only channel that is coming through my cable box that is not about baldness, losing belly fat (are you cussing kidding me with that shit?), or buying stuff.  G4 is a guy's channel, allegedly, with stuff like "Expand Your James Bond Dictionary."  Example:  I've got James Bond syndrome.  I prefer exotic women to white women.  Pretty gay, right?   G4 comes in because it's being offered free this month as some sort of gimmick.  So, tv whore that I am, that is what I watched last night from 8:30 until after three in the morning.  I grew up in the 1970's, before I knew that someone named Sean Connery even existed.   Someone should have lent Connery Lloyd Bentsen's line about Dan Quayle not being Jack Kennedy, because you, Mr. Moore, are no Sean Connery.

For Your Eyes Only, Moonraker, A View To A Kill, and Octopussy all aired back to back.  I liked these movies as a kid.  I remember going to see Moonraker and being excited about the space shootout.  It had the great Richard Kiel as Jaws but the endless slapstick is hard to take as an adult.  In the beginning of View, Bond escapes on a pair of skis while California Girls plays in the background.  Where is this music coming from?  His pursuers crash into each other and sink in the water which Bond of course glides right over and at the bottom of the hill there awaits a submarine with a beautiful girl in it.  They have five days to themselves before they get back to London or wherever and we all know what James Bond will do with a girl in close quarters for five days.  The endless sight gags were tough to take.  View had a police captain (overweight of course) chasing Bond in a hijacked firetruck through San Francisco.  When you see the bridge go up, you know Bond will make the jump with the fire engine but the cops won't.  Then the police captain is cursing his guys, saying they're gonna pay for their damaged cars at one hundred dollars a month.  When Bond is racing through Vienna in a souped up gondola, you just know he's gonna sink the boat of the couple kissing romantically.  Sure enough, he cuts the boat in half and the paddle guy is still paddling as he sinks into the water.  In two of these movies we had double-takes from a camel and a pigeon as Bond does some fancy driving, first in a terrain able gondola with wheels and then a rickshaw through an Indian market.  Speaking of which, he hurts one guy by pushing him against a bed of nails, to which the Yogi yells, "Hey, get off my bed!", then he grabs a sword from a sword swallowers mouth to defend himself and pushes that guy onto a bed of hot coals.  What is my point to all this?  Thank God Daniel Craig came back and put some real life back into Bond.

Octopussy was probably the best of the lot, maybe because of the endless t and a.  It has Maud Adams, yeah, but Magda (Kristina Wayborn) was way hotter.

So that's my really lame blog post for the day.  When you're up til three a.m. faced with the fact that you're a tv junkie, you have alot of time to reflect about things that aren't a) oil slicks, b) enforcement of immigration laws, c) car bombs planted in Times Square, or d) the systematic dismantling of the American capitalist system.  Thank God for cheesy James Bond movies.

4 AM And Nowhere To Go

What do you do at four in the morning when you can't sleep?  Get up and make a cup of coffee?  Turn on the tv?  Lay in bed and listen to the tickticktick in your head?  I wish I had that luxury.  What I hear (until the birds come out) is the remnants of a Rob Zombie concert at least five years in the past that makes my brain think I am sleeping next to a low roaring ocean.  It was Ozzy, and Priest, and (my personal favorite of the day) Rob Zombie and it was a good ninety degrees out.  It was one of those shows with a million bands, scorching sun and blacktop.  I remember wondering how cool the kids wearing black denim accessorised by silver chains thought they looked when the rest of us took cover under the tiniest slice of shade.  I don't begrudge Mr. Zombie (if that is his real name!) my hearing, not even on a beautiful May 1st morning like this in Western New York.

I started to hear the birds around five and then I noticed how light it was getting.  Definitely not nighttime anymore.  I left the windows open last night and had gone outside several times to do what guys and dogs sometimes go outside in the middle of the night to do: pee.  The moon was full, the stars were bright, and the clouds were scarce.  It was beautifully warm out.  Eventually I settled down on the couch and hugged my pillow and thought of a girl I used to know.  The thoughts and stress that had been banging around my head slowly subsided and I finally relaxed and let go of my awakened state.  When I opened my eyes again it was 7:20 and an absolutely beautiful morning.  Sometimes I don't mind starting my day at four o'clock.  It is crazy early when you have no reason to be up but after lying in bed for an hour what the heck is the difference?  But not this day.  This day I went back to sleep and woke up thinking about pancakes.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote a great piece about breakfast, what he called his psychic anchor of the day. He had been invited to the White House for breakfast by Jimmy Carter, a meal that, for Hunter, had a measure of solemnity to it.  To wit:
"I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon.  Breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess.  The food factor should always be massive:  four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound either of sausage, bacon or corned beef hash with diced chilies, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of key lime pie, and two margaritas...for dessert.  All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of a hot sun, and preferably stone naked."    

That is a mighty fine breakfast, more of a Las Vegas breakfast, but mighty fine indeed.  I'm gonna have to try the diced chilies in the corned beef hash.  Maybe the best breakfast I ever had was when me and my pal Ralph decided to drive to the ocean one crazy summer morning.  We stopped at a rustic motel for the night (I say rustic, Ralph says rat-trap) and the next morning I drank a beer under the cool of a pine tree, my elbows leaning on the roof of the car, in a state of wonderment that I was waking up in the Adirondack Mountains.  We drove into Lake Placid and had breakfast on a deck overlooking the lake.  I don't recall what I had but for sure it didn't matter.  It was a vacation breakfast and I was eating it outside.

These are the things I think about when I am up at four a.m.  I finally got around to eating four eggs, sausage, corned beef hash, Simply Potatoes homefries and a double espresso in that cool coffee mug.  And now I'm hungry again.