Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"I've been too long with my nose stuck in a book..."

Each year I try to read at least 50 books between January 1 and December 31. Last year I got #50 in just under the wire. This year I reached #50 last week, and I've still got two months left.

The list:
1. Margherita Dolce Vita by Stefano Benni
2. Just In Case by Meg Rosoff
3. 40 Acres and No Mule by Janice Holt Giles
4. Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War by Nicholas Lemann
5. Hannah Fowler by Janice Holt Giles
6. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrill
7. The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby
8. The Kentuckians by Janice Holt Giles
9. Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield
10. Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire by Ron Elliott
11. The Appalachian Photographs of Earl Palmer by Jean Haskell Speer
12. Miss Willie by Janice Holt Giles
13. The Fur Person by May Sarton (a re-read. Probably my favorite book of all time)
14. Beverly Hills: The Anatomy of a Nightclub Fire by Robert Lawson
15. Broken Moon by Kim Antieau
16. The Real Animal House by Chris Miller
17. I Had the Right to Remain Silent....But I Didn't Have the Ability by Ron White
18. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
19. 33 1/3: Exile on Main Street by Bill Janowitz
20. Another River, Another Town: A Teenage Tank Gunner Comes of Age in Combat 1944-45 by John P. Irwin
21. The Luger Handbook by Aaron Davis
22. The Sound and The Fury: 40 Years of Classic Rock Journalism by Barney Hoskyns
23. Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters
24. Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan by Frank Abagnale
25. Working Stiff by Grant Stoddard
26. Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders by James Scurlock
27. Shanghai Diary by Ursula Bacon
28. Strapped: Why America's 20-30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead by Tamara Draut
29. Eternal Strangers by Ursula Bacon
30. The Keep by Jennifer Egan
31. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
32. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
33. Sala's Gift by Ann Kirschner
34. Rucker Park Set-Up by Paul Volponi
35. Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull
36. The Years of Persecution: 1933-1939 by Saul Friedlander
37. Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
38. Lonely Planet Guide: Czech & Slovak Republics
39. Lonely Planet Guide: Prague City Guide
40. Lonely Planet Guide: Best of Prague
41. DK Eyewitness Travel: Prague
42. Old Timey Recipes compiled by Phyllis Connor
43. Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians by Jean Ritchie
44. Heart In The Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan
45. Crosley: Two Brother and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation by David Stern, Michael Banks & Rusty McClure
46. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
47. The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by David Mendelsohn
48. Pies and Prejudice - In Search of the North by Stuart Maconie
49. That's Me in the Corner by Andrew Collins
50. Agent ZigZag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman by Ben Macintyre
51. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Currently reading:
52. Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Monday, October 22, 2007

"There lies a man who fought for equality..."

The first time I heard Lucky Dube was as a college student working at the campus radio station. The song was his anti-Apartheid anthem "Together As One."

I liked it enough to seek out more of his stuff, special ordering the albums - and later the CDs - from The Record Store. Me, TC and Aaron were massive Lucky fans and it was a real treat whenever we all worked together because invariably one or more of us would have a few of his CDs on hand to play in store. We turned a lot of folks onto his pure, uplifting, soulful vibes.

Of all of his albums, 1993's Victims is my favorite, the songs indelibly stitched into the fabric of that sunny, tie-dyed summer. It was the summer we did a lot of camping, hiking and Grateful Dead concerts, and Victims was with us always. It was the summer of Bo Derek-stylee cornrowed hair, capped at the ends with tiny skull beads. We wore crystals - huge purple chunks of amethyst wrapped in spiraling copper wire - and bells around our ankles. We stank of patchouli and Nag Champa, and danced around the fires, moving to the rhythm of the drum-circles, laughing delightedly for hours and hours.

And we sang his songs, believing we could change the world.
"Hey you government
Never try to seperate the people
Hey you politician
Never try to seperate the people
They were created in the image of God
And who are you to seperate them
Bible says, he made man in his image
But it didn' t say black or white
Look at me you see BLACK
I look at you I see WHITE
Now is the time to kick that away
And join me in my song..."

But we didn't change the world. Instead, the world changed us. We lost our ideals, and we lost our way. And last Friday, we lost Lucky too.
From the BBC:

Shock at South African reggae star shooting

Fans across the world are mourning the South African reggae star, Lucky Dube, who has been shot dead.
He was dropping his teenage son and daughter off in a Johannesburg suburb when he was attacked by car thieves.
Local radio stations have been flooded with tearful callers expressing outrage at the murder and renewing demands that the authorities act to curtail crime.
South Africa's leader paid tribute to him and called on people to "confront this terrible scourge of crime".

Alongside Bob Marley, Lucky Dube was thought of as one of the great reggae artists - singing about social problems.
He was also one of the apartheid regime's most outspoken critics.

Correspondents say the killing of the 43-year-old singer has shocked South Africans who are already accustomed to one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Music producer TK of TS records and a friend of Dube's told the BBC the killing was tragically ironic.
"The whole continent has lost a performer, musician, a guy that fought for freedom in his own way, in his own right, was just shot by some guy who wanted to take his car, you know, which is Mickey Mouse really," he said.

Opposition parties and the youth wing of the ruling African National Congress party have called on the government to take drastic measures against crime.
Callers to radio stations have urged the country's rugby team to show some form of respect when they take to the field in Saturday's World Cup final against England in Paris.
President Thabo Mbeki is attending the final and took time to pay tribute to the dreadlocked reggae star before he jetted off to France.

"It's indeed very very sad that this happens to an outstanding South African, an outstanding musician - world renowned," he said.
"We shall continue to act together as a people to confront this terrible scourge of crime, which has taken the lives of too many of our people - and does so every day."
The BBC's Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg says police are still hunting for three men thought to be behind the attack.

Police say Dube's son and daughter were already out of the car when three shots were fired through the car window killing their father on Thursday evening in Rosettenville.
Witnesses say the wounded singer tried to drive away, but lost control of his car and hit a tree.
"He was declared dead on the scene," Police inspector Lorrain Van Immareck told the BBC.

Lucky Dube's Rastas Never Die album was banned under apartheid

"I am a 27-year-old black South African girl. I have dreadlocks and I love reggae music so much and I am proud to be who I am, being black and African. I will miss Lucky Dube, you are an inspiration to many of us," Sbongile Diko in Durban wrote.
But the tributes have been worldwide - especially from Africa.

"Lucky filled up stadiums all over the continent. I would say he was far bigger outside South Africa then he was in South Africa," South African music journalist Peter Makurube told the BBC's Network Africa programme.
Dube began his career by singing mbaqanga (traditional Zulu) music and recorded his first album with the Super Soul band in 1982.
He later moved into reggae, producing Rastas Never Die which was banned by the apartheid government.
His albums Slave, Prisoner and Together As One saw him gain first national, and then global, recognition.

Three years ago his 1989 anti-apartheid hit Together as One, which calls for world peace and harmony, was voted one of Africa's top 10 songs by BBC readers and listeners.
Lucky Dube released his most recent album, Respect, in April.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Standard Gargoyle Decisions, decisions...

Bob Pollard is playing Southgate House on Dec. 1.

It's one of only two shows he's doing this year to promote his two superb new albums, Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast to Coast Carpet of Love.

Tickets are an affordable $10.

I've not seen him in a very long time, so it's probably a good time to walk across the burning bridge before it's too late.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

"U're just 2 much 2 take - I can't stop I ain't got no brakes..."

I have never been a fan of Prince, or the Artist Formerly Known As Prince, or Symbol, or whatever he's calling himself these days, but I have to admit that the man puts on a helluva show.

Hubby and I have been on vacation in Europe for the past month, and some friends of ours scored four tickets to see the little purple one on the last of his 21-night stand at London's O2 Arena. Of the four of us, I was the only Prince virgin - hubby, Rockin' and Lou have all seen him a number of times, including Earl's Court, Hammersmith and a couple of times in Paris. I was also the only one who was dubious about going, because he's simply never really appealed to me. I mean, there are a few of his songs that I really like (Delirious, When You Were Mine) but I guess I just got so burned out on the whole Purple Rain phenomena that I kind of wrote him off.

My bad!

He's a superb showman and certainly gave us all our money's worth. On top of that, I was staggered by the number of songs that I knew - me, who doesn't own a single Prince album (unless you count the 12" of Erotic City) - recognized nearly every song he performed that night. And boy did he play a lot of them: nearly 3 hours worth of funkin' us up! Time just flew by too - always the mark of a good performer when you are enjoying yourself so much that you don't realize that three hours have passed.

The arena itself was very clean and nice - perhaps because it is so new (it's the former Millennium Dome) and perhaps it's because the British are more conscientious about trash and litter (no food was allowed inside the arena), but the whole experience was top notch. There was a good variety of food and beverage vendors on hand - everything from the standard burger and chips/fries to pasta and baked spuddies. They also had a good beverage selection (Becks, Boddingtons, alco-pops, wine and spirits) and prices weren't nearly as ghastly as they are at U.S. venues.

Upon entering the O2 everyone was given a free copy of his Musicology CD and a purple glow stick. Most of the crowd milled around the vending areas, eating, drinking and shooting the shit until the announcement came that the show would begin soon. I thought that was pretty cool, having never been to a show where they informed you ahead of time how long you had to finish your food and drink. They made an announcement at 30 minutes, and again at 15, giving us all ample time to find our seats. When the lights went down the sight of 23,000 glow sticks was really magical to see. And everyone went absolutely bonkers the moment His Purpleness hit the stage.

Here's the set list. Feel free to be jealous!

I Feel For You
Somewhere Here on Earth
U Got the Look
Chelsea Rogers
Sexy Dancer/Le Freak
A Love Bizarre
Pass the Peas

Solo piano set
Diamonds & Pearls
The Beautiful Ones
Little Red Corvette
I Would Die 4 U
Under the Cherry Moon
Sometimes it Snows in April

Purple Rain
Take Me With You
Let’s Go Crazy

Nothing Compares 2 U

Solo synth medley
Sign O The Times
When Doves Cry
Darling Nikki
I Wanna Be Your Lover
Erotic City
Alphabet St.
Gett Off (Housestyle)
The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Irresistible Bitch
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
Raspberry Beret

Second encore
When U Were Mine
Girls & Boys