Santarchy 2016

It’s back! Time to say a not-so-fond farewell to 2016 with my annual collection of holiday oddities. Disco, retro, beatnik power-pop for everyone.  Don you now your gay apparel and dig this track listing:

01 Seasons Greetings From Krystol
02 Mr. Little Jeans – Dear Santa (2014)
03 Anita Kerr Singers – Snowbound (1962)
04 Kylie & Danii Minogue – 100 Degrees (2015)
05 Raindolls – Disco Santa Claus (1978)
06 Sheila E. – The Belle Of St. Mark (1984)
07 Ice Choir – It’s Different Now (2014)
08 Computer Music All-Stars – O Holy Night (2015)
09 ShiSho – Get Behind Me Santa (Original Version, 2005)
10 Seasons Greetings From Weird Al Yankovic
11 Rudy Ray Moore – Merry Christmas Baby (1986)
12 Dustin the Turkey – Christmas Tree (1996)
13 Conan O’Brien – Santa’s Secrets (2016)
14 Nuclears, The – Nuclear Winter Wonderland (2011)
15 Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet – Faster Santa Claus, Ho Ho Ho (1988)
16 Shake Some Action! – Christmas In the Sun (2015)
17 Ryan Adams – Hey Parker It’s Christmas (2003)
18 Seasons Greetings From MC Hammer
19 Patsy Raye & the Beatniks – Beatnik’s Wish (1958)
20 Judith Owen & Harry Shearer – Christmas With the Devil (2004)
21 Saturday’s Children – Christmas Sounds (1966)
22 The Stylers – Frosty the Snowman Medley (1960s, Singapore)
23 Seasons Greetings From Lloyd Cole
24 The Gasoline Brothers – Hungover Boxing Day (2013)

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Time to reorder

Photo Apr 09, 12 55 02 PM Photo Apr 09, 12 55 33 PM Photo Apr 09, 12 55 38 PM

Dear Jamaica Inn’s English Pub,

Hello again!  We had such a wonderful time this past January when we visited.  Can’t thank you enough for accomodating my son Mike’s dietary restriction.  I know it’s rare but he can truly only eat beef.  The doctors say he may have overlapping DNA with jaguars.  But I digress.

I’m writing to ask if we can please reorder a print we purchased in your gift shop.  It’s the one with the dogs relieving themselves against a wall.  Not the one with the german shepherd taking a dump on the dandelion.  Ours is the one with the Scottish terrier taking a leak onto a drawing of two lovers’ hearts, and the boxer pissing so hard at the wall that his pee is splashing off and a little bit is going into the pekingese’s mouth.  So cute!

Please don’t ask what happened to the first one we bought.  The less said, the better.

With Fond Regards,
The Ogilvies, Madison, WI

GOD IN THE MIRROR, VOL.1: 1982-1985

God In the Mirror vol.1

A DECADE IN THE MAKING!  30 PAGES OF LINER NOTES!  The finest rock songs from 1980s cinema, guaranteed to send you straight to the gym and give you muscles of steel.

From the liner notes:

Welcome to “The God In the Mirror.”  Your first question is probably what the title refers to and that is you, my friend.  You are the god in the mirror.  Why?  Well, because the 1980s were a unique time for American cinema and this great nation in general.  For most of the decade we could feel Communist USSR breathing down our necks (or so we thought).  It’s rather quaint to recall it now, with the great Soviet bear just a memory, but there were times when nuclear annihilation seemed just around the corner.  If you go back now and examine the films, television and books of the era you see it everywhere.  Paranoia and fear were the order of the day and the American Action Movie was born anew from the womb of President Ronald Reagan.

None of the action films from the 1980s could have succeeded quite so well if it weren’t for the music.  Hard-rocking vocals near the upper limits of human hearing, squealing guitar solos, a pounding drum beat, and those lyrics…sweet Jesus, the lyrics!  The finest examples of the era (featured here) speak directly to the listener, goading him to start pummeling his problems into submission.  Eschewing proper grammar and logic in favor of testosterone, these songs have come to be known as “You Songs” by me and my friends.  They address the listener directly like a badass sermon from the pulpit of pain.  Check out the lyrics and your questions will all be answered.

Assembled here in this collection are the best of the best, a batch of headbangers meant to move you to action.  They are songs to inspire you to shrug off defeat and fight for your country, your life, and the possibly fictional American dream of being “a winner.”  Whether these are legitimate aims is for you the listener to decide.  I warn you though:  when I first started this project I was a quiet, unassuming guy with little drive and no prospects.  Now I’m an unstoppable force, crushing those who get in my way and bedding women by the score, all in the name of Me.  Hetero ladies and lesbians, gay men and my trans sistren and brethren, I encourage you to listen too!  The power exists in every one of us.  It’s up to You to use it.

TRACK LISTING:

01 – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (1982, Rocky III)

02 – 707 –  Mega Force (1982, Megaforce)

03 – Paul Engemann – Scarface (Push It To the Limit) (1983, Scarface)

04 – Paul Engemann & Giorgio Moroder – Success (1983, Scarface)

05 – Frank Stallone – Far From Over (1983, Staying Alive)

06 – Joe ‘Bean’ Esposito – You’re the Best (Karate Kid 1984)

07 – Shooting Star – Get Ready Boy (1984, Up the Creek)

08 – Bobby Caldwell – Don’t Quit (1984, Body By Jake)

09 – Chris Thompson – The Runner (1984, The Philadelphia Experiment)

10 – Survivor – Moment of Truth (Karate Kid 1984)

11 – Joseph Williams – Firepower (1984, Body By Jake)

12 – John Cafferty – Heart’s On Fire (1985, Rocky IV)

13 – Dwight David – The Last Dragon (1985)

14 – The Power Station – Someday, Somehow, Someone’s Gotta Pay (Commando 1985)

15 – Chaz Jankel – Number One (Real Genius 1985)

16 – Derringer – Real American (1985 WWF album)

17 – Survivor – Burning Heart (Rocky IV 1985)

GET IT NOW AND GET PUMPED!

[As always, if you enjoy the music, don’t forget to support the artists.  And visit the great Hard Rock/AOR Heaven blog to learn more about this kind of stuff!]

 

SANTARCHY 2015

Hold on to your candy canes, true believers…this is it! My all-new, all-festive, annual compilation of Yuletide cheer…

Santarchy 2015

Guaranteed to have at least three songs you never heard in your life, or you get your download back!

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Tracklist:

01 Chris Lohr – Oh My God It’s Christmas (L4D2 Remix) (2009)

02 The Shades of Love – Sho Nuff Boogie Down Sock It To Me Sleigh Ride (1979)

03 Village People – Special Christmas Message (1979)

04 And What Will Be Left Of Them – Have Yourself a Filthy Little Christmas (2005)

05 Kenn Rowell & the Baghdaddios – Christmas At C.B.G.B.s (2008)

06 Gary Owens – Christmas ad

07 Marty Marchant – E.T.’s Helping Santa (1982)

08 Nina & Frederik – Christmas Time In London Town (1966, Germany)

09 Europe – Season’s Greetings

10 Sammy Davis Jr. – A Kiss for Christmas (1962 promo single)

11 Turk Murphy & His Jazz Band – Santa Claus Blues (1954)

12 Gaz Coombes & Adam Buxton – I Believe in Father Christmas (2014)

13 The Three Stooges – Wreck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly (1959)

14 Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – Big Bulbs (2013 single version)

15 Three Day Threshold – Hot Chocolate Kisses (2008)

16 The Figgs – Christmas Sake (1995)

17 Crowded House – Season’s Greetings

18 Julian Cope – Christmas Mourning (1988)

19 Stephen Colbert & Henry Rollins – Carol Of the Bells (2015)

20 Kathy Garver – Lem, the Orphan Reindeer (1969)

21 Ray Coniff – A Special Holiday Message

22 Latch Key Kid – Christmas Everyday (2009)

23 Postcode – Black & White Xmas (2012)

24 The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing – Ebenezer’s Carol (2010)

25 Julie Brown – Christmas Minute and a Half (1980s)

26 Decoration – See You In the New Year (2012)

Book Review: THE BONE MAN OF BENARES (A LUNATIC TRIP THROUGH LOVE & THE WORLD) by Terry Tarnoff

bone_man

“The world loves a lover, so the saying goes, but really it’s a lover who loves the world. I felt guilty that not everyone could share my joy, because that’s what I wanted, I wanted the whole world to feel that tingling sensation, I wanted the whole world to blush slightly, I wanted the whole world to wake up a little late one morning and not care if it was late for work, I wanted the tides to ebb a little later, for the sun to sleep in, for the fields to lie patiently in wait, for the rivers to stretch out and dangle lazily like toes hanging over the edge of a bed.”

One of the prototypical draft-dodgers of the Vietnam War era, American student Terry Tarnoff left the States in the early 1970s and embarked on a worldwide journey of self-discovery. Lest you think this book is filled with platitudes and Buddhas, however, allow me to set you straight: this is a fiery, drug-fueled voyage from The Netherlands to Scandinavia to Greece to Africa to India and beyond, with Tarnoff romancing women and blowing blues harmonica the whole way.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition, his very grounded addictions to sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll contrasting with the inner peace he seeks and the spiritual locales in which he finds himself. The book is filled with apocryphal encounters and conversations he couldn’t possibly remember decades later, so in one sense this is partially autobiographical and partially fictional. But one still gets the sense that Tarnoff has covered the essentials and really put himself out there, warts and all, for the reader to judge.

As for me, I was also once a young American who left the States and ended up lonely and confused in Asia, so I guess you could say I’m the ideal audience for the book. But it may have hit too close to home because I found myself frustrated by his initial carelessness with his lovers’ hearts, and his self-centered posturing. Was I rooting for him or for my younger self to find their way? That confusion added an emotional element and the book has stuck with me since I finished it two months ago.

This book isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of a flawed main character and a boatload of serious drug use, this tome will turn you off very quickly. But those readers with a modicum of wanderlust and a habit of introspection will surely find themselves in good company. After reading the book I was glad to discover that Terry is still very much alive and well, has written more books and even shared some of his vintage music recordings online. Now parked in California, he’s still expressing and discovering himself through art. For some, it seems the journey never ends.

Book Review: THE PRODIGY by Amy Wallace

prodigy

Perhaps I expected something more from this book than I got and if that is the case, it mirrors the expectations America had for William James Sidis. Born in 1898 to educated immigrant parents, young William’s mental acrobatics quickly surpassed their wildest expectations. He supposedly spoke 8 languages by age 8 and even invented his own, Vendergood. He entered Harvard at age 11 and famously lectured to adult scholars on the subject of 4-dimensional bodies. Eventually he would swear off mathematics entirely and he spent his adulthood obsessed with radical politics, ticket transfers for public transport, and New England (particularly Boston) history, even going so far as to write books about Native American tribes of the area.

As with many child prodigies, he was in a pressure cooker from an early age, hounded by reporters and paraded by his parents to their dinner guests. Questions abound regarding what is fact and what is fiction in William’s life. Certainly he was incredibly gifted and no doubt achieved much of what was said, but despite Ms. Wallace’s best efforts, it never feels like she gets to the truth behind it all. She is hampered by decades having passed and much of the original paperwork missing when she wrote the book.

What is apparent from her surprisingly tender, protective portrait of the man is that he suffered that most horrible of fates which befall the vast number of young prodigies: the struggle to live up to expectations as they mature. The natural human inclination is to expect a superior intellect to produce superior work, and we think these young men and women will push forward the human experience in some way. But this is not only an unreasonable expectation, it often includes an invasion of privacy and deprives them of living a “normal” life out of the public eye.

The book makes it quite clear that William suffered much of this in his all-too-brief life of 46 years. Indeed, he was so damaged by the tribulations of his youth that he shunned the public eye in adulthood and did his best to make people think he had no extraordinary mental gifts. It’s difficult to tell how unhappy or lonely he may have been. At times the book makes it seem like his brain was above that type of emotion, then brief passages make him seem very sad indeed.

We will likely never know the entire truth about what was in his head or if he really was the smartest American child prodigy who ever lived. It certainly doesn’t answer the big question looming over the proceedings: was he always destined to be a uniquely intelligent young man or (as his parents claimed) was their upbringing responsible? I recommend this book for the curious, just don’t expect it to bring the man fully into focus when there simply isn’t enough extant information to achieve that aim.