The Boys of Summer (1984) – Don Henley

Don Henley 1984

Boys of Summer is one of the most indelible rock songs of the 1980’s and was number one on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart for five weeks. In a 1987 interview with Rolling Stone, Henley explained that the song is about aging and questioning the past—a recurring theme in Henley’s lyrics including his classic “The End of the Innocence“. Like The End of the Innocence, Boys of Summer was one of my favourite songs growing up and when I hear it now I reminisce fondly of my youth.

The music was composed by Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He showed it to Tom Petty, but they didn’t feel it fit on their record. So he played it for Don Henley who changed the key, wrote the lyrics, recorded the vocal and the rest is history.  The music video also won many awards. It was a French New Wave-influenced piece directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Shot in black-and-white, it shows the main character of the song at three different stages of life (as a young boy, a young adult and middle-aged).

Interesting trivia:

  • Henley explained the ‘”Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” lyric as an example of his generation selling out. I was driving down the San Diego Freeway and got passed by a $21,000 Cadillac Seville, the status symbol of the right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie – all the guys with the blue blazers with the crests and the grey pants – and there was this Grateful Dead “Deadhead” bumper sticker on it!
  • In 2010, Henley won a lawsuit against Chuck Devore, who was running for a US Senate seat in California. Devore – a Republican – used “The Boys of Summer” and “All She Wants to do is Dance” in his campaign advertising, which didn’t go over well with Henley.
  • MTV exposure from this song’s video raised Henley’s profile but cost him a degree of anonymity. With the Eagles, he was tucked away behind a drum kit, and rarely on TV.
  • Tom Petty introduced Mike Campbell onstage as “the co captain of this ship and my right hand man.” In Petty’s book he tells the story about that song; Campbell brought the demo to the studio where Petty was recording with the Heartbreakers and yes by his own account, he passed on it. Being in a creative funk due to several factors (read the book) he and Iovine were struggling with the album. When Petty heard “Boys Of Summer” on the radio he recognized the song as being almost note for note the demo Campbell had brought to the session and confronted Campbell, incensed that Henley had gotten the song from him. When Campbell reminded Petty that he had rejected the song, Petty’s notorious temper flared and he punched a studio wall and broke a bone in his hand requiring surgery to repair it. That resulted in more delay in finishing his album, and strained relations with the producer Iovine. Petty later admitted that he had dismissed Campbell’s demo out of hand, and had lost out on a great song.

References:
*Songfacts – The Boys of Summer
*Wikipedia – The Boys of Summer (Song)

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Singing the Enhanced Community Quarantine Away (Part 2) — The Open Concavity

I thought I would share the following post from Tina who is a follower of my blog. Tina and her brother have lovely voices and they introduced me to a wonderful new song, which I have shared with family and friends alike here in Colombia to sooth these quarantine blues. Thanks Tina!

Oh well, just to use some of the spare time I have from being a homebody (due to our own version of “lockdown” in the Philippines), I sing songs whenever I am in the mood. And last week was kind of a productive week for singing for me because I sang two songs and share […]

via Singing the Enhanced Community Quarantine Away (Part 2) — The Open Concavity

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Boundary Rider (2005) – The Go-Betweens

It’s a toss-up between today’s song Boundary Rider and Finding You as to which Go-Betweens song I would take away with me to my Desert island. That should tell you everything you need to know about what I think of this song. Boundary Rider is from their classic ‘ultimate’ Australian 2005 album Oceans Apart and is the second song to feature here from that album. The instrumentals which lead into the song impress me so much I find myself chanting them to my daughter. I love how the instruments coalesce to form this thrifty, but sleek rhythm. Then there’s this…

There’s a boundary rider
at the five mile fence
bloodwood, bones + steers

And the sky’s so deep
you can’t find your sleep
keeps you walking through these tears

I think quite simply Boundary Rider is one of the most underrated Australian songs I’ve ever heard. It’s a brilliant song which seems to get better the more you hear it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no Australian band like The Go-Betweens encapsulates more instinctively the quintessential Australia ‘sound’. They have the essence of Australia coursing through their music and Boundary Rider is at the top of the musical pecking order in demonstrating this.

A Boundary Rider is a person employed to maintain the outer fences of a cattle or sheep station. After co-founder of the Go-Betweens Grant McLennan’s father died, his mother eventually remarried and the family then relocated to a cattle station in central Far North Queensland. McLennan’s songs which evoke the impressions and imagery of the regional background of his childhood include “Cattle and Cane”, “Unkind and Unwise”, “Dusty in Here” (about his father), “Boundary Rider” and “Bye Bye Pride”.

Please enjoy Boundary Rider from their concert at the Tivoli theatre…

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COVID-19 Media Resources

Media Resources:

I have been trying to curb my reading of COVID19 news from mainstream media web sites. The only benefit I see from traditional media form is local news about the status of Corona virus infection. Nationwide and international news seems to be highly sensationalized, partisan and frankly depressing to read on a regular basis. The reason for this post is to relay some VERY recent podcasts / programs which I found extremely educational and informative. I haven’t seen or heard anything close to these interviews / programs in the mainstream media and I hope you may find them insightful as well:

Peter Attia 1#The Drive – Peter Attia March 31, 2020
#102–Michael Osterholm, PhD: COVID-19—Challenges ahead & reasons for optimism and concern

Peter Attia has become my Number 1 go-to resource on all things COVID-19. This is “content” and “public service”. In this interview we have two good plain spoken Docs together. It would appear according to Dr Osterholm that COVID-19 will not be contained until more than 60% of the population is infected (immunized) or a Vaccine becomes available, whichever comes first. A vaccine is still at minimum 18 months away. (Listen to entire interview)

Glen Lowry Show#Bloggingheads.tv – Gimme Shelter | Glenn Loury & John McWhorter [The Glenn Show] – March 30, 2020

This podcast debate offers a distinct look at the virus from what one may be accustomed to seeing. These two African American University professors with contrasting political leanings have a robust, but respectful discussion about the state of American politics and leadership as COVID-19 starts to cause widespread mayhem to New York. Their debate about Trump and his administration was particularly informative as it was entertaining. I admire how they used their quarantine restriction to open up to each other other about their individual health and family.  It was also really sweet how John McWhorter introduced his 2 lovely daughters on the podcast. (watch entire podcast)

#The Drive – Peter Attia March 31, 2020
#101 – Ryan Holiday: Finding stillness amidst chaos

This podcast was utterly fascinating especially when they delved into Lessons taken from the life of Winston Churchill—stillness, structure, routine, hobbies, empathy, forward thinking, and more. Ryan Holiday, bestselling author and author of Daily Stoic, discusses practical ways to find stillness and apply the insights of stoic philosophy in the midst of COVID-19 chaos. Ryan discusses the importance of taking back a feeling of control, the benefits of structure and routine, and the idea of being prepared for anything. (Listen to entire podcast)

Posted in Health, News, politics

Murder Most Foul (2020) – Bob Dylan

There I was this morning reading the BBC news homepage…Corona, Corona, Corona, Corona, Bob Dylan, Corona. Wait, this quarantine business isn’t making me see things I wondered? After rubbing my eyes..I read ‘Bob Dylan releases first new music in eight years‘. I even took a photo to make certain others could verify it:

BBC news homepage Bob Dylan

“Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty over the years,” said the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner in a statement.

“This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant, and may God be with you.”

‘Murder Most Foul’ which pivots on the 60’s and Kennedy assassination seems mainly to explore the idea of art and human creativity as a constant. At least, that’s my first read on things. It’s a bit like a musical interpretation of his musicares speech and Nobel lecture. The soft narration, the far-off musical accompaniment, the almost rambling assortment of words.

I love the instrumentals and his voice here. It’s very much in line with his ‘Stay With Me’ singing approach (which I discussed here) and I imagine he recorded it around the same time. The background music definitely reminds me of his Shadows In The Night record which I think is a modern classic. It’s funny too since ideally I desired from him an original album with that style. Hopefully there’s more.

The only thing that put me off about Murder Most Foul is Dylan’s insinuation of widespread conspiracy in the JFK assassination comparable to Oliver Stone’s movie JFK (that which I wrote a long article here refuting its claims), but it’s Bob so I’ll try and not let that dour this grandiose moment.

Obviously the timing of this release is not coincidental as we enter ‘Lockdown’. Bob is recognizing the gravity of the current situation, and maybe suggesting that this pandemic is the biggest, most historic thing that he’s ever seen since Kennedy’s death. I’m not a big fan of Dylan’s long nostalgic songs especially the title track ‘Tempest’ about the Titanic, and Murder Most Foul has many cliche-weak lyrics. It’s not the Bobby Fischer of the early 70s playing, that’s for sure, but Murder Most Foul feels poignant and relevant.

Wake up, little Susie, let’s go for a drive
Cross the Trinity River, let’s keep hope alive
Turn the radio on, don’t touch the dials
Parkland hospital, only six more miles
You got me dizzy, Miss Lizzy, you filled me with lead
That magic bullet of yours has gone to my head
I’m just a patsy like Patsy Cline
Never shot anyone from in front or behind
I’ve blood in my eye, got blood in my ear
I’m never gonna make it to the new frontier

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Day 6 Quarantine in Bogotá (Managing our Emotions and Aeterna)

*Catching some rays leaning out from my window sill this morning in Bogotá

Managing Our Emotions

(Peter Attia MD): ‘Just on a personal level, I could use your help and a lot of other people can as well. Our minds are running amok at the moment and there are few people who I think can articulate the nature of the mind and how we are not our thoughts and yet right now so many of my thoughts are unpleasant. They permeated my dreams. I’ve never had more disturbing dreams than I’ve had in the last 2 weeks…I know part of that is my anxiety playing out as I sleep. How have you dealt with that?
Listen to how Sam Harris PH.D practices mindfulness (from 38:10 in the video below) as we navigate these challenging times.

Aeterna by Liquid Cinema

Anyone who has been following Sam Harris podcast’s recently may have noticed that Sam had been trying out new introduction music, but due to a wave of negative feedback he has gone back to his tried and tested original intro music. Like most other listeners it seems, I am chuffed to hear the old music again. I had always wondered where he got it from, until someone posted the original music link in their comment last night.
I love it, even more so since I have now heard it in its entirety. Here it is:

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Posted in Health, Music, News, Reflections

Coronavirus & Curb Your Enthusiasm (random thoughts on both)

Curb Your Enthusiasm

COVID-19

I hope this message finds everyone well as we enter ‘Lockdown’ mode. It feels to me like we are living in our very own Science Fiction movie. Certainly we haven’t lived in times comparable to the these. Perhaps psychologically you could draw connections to 9-11, but COVID 19 seems particularly more menacing not just in terms of threats to global health (physical and mental), but because the economy as we know it will be trashed. I just hope anarchy and violence isn’t a consequence of extended quarantining.

Hopefully this virus is just a dress rehearsal and Governments and Organizations can learn to prepare and prioritise (stockpile resources) for such emergencies in the future. The ‘just in time’ minimal Government neo-liberal economies are going to get a big wake up call from this. Despite Bill Gates and other tech guru’s warning about epidemics and virus’ years ago nobody heeded the warning. I know it blindsided me too. Did you see the 4 corners episode on the origin and spread of the virus? Scary stuff, but very informative.
The continual propagation of these viruses from Chinese wet markets cannot continue. How that has been allowed to persist by Chinese authorities is perplexing.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Final Episode 10 (season 10)

Regarding the Curb episode I thought there were some funny moments, but it was fairly weak and predictable finale. Overall, IMHO the story arc this season wasn’t as interesting or as strong as other seasons. There was so much potential given the ‘spite store’, sexual harassment allegations and Larry’s fling with Cheryl. In the beginning of the final episode I was wondering if they were setting up ‘Late Larry’s’ to become a viable, real-life franchise, but I suppose given what occurred that’s not going to happen. I still enjoyed watching it and I’m grateful for that.

One thing’s for certain Marty Funkhouser is a huge loss to the show. Vince Vaughn had just one good line the whole series (you got to break a couple of watches to know how to handle a big cock). Where I think earlier seasons and episodes were more effective is when Larry concentrated on fewer scenarios, but built them up to intertwine and culminate to a fantastic gotcha finale. Here there seemed an over abundance of ideas and places it could go, but didn’t amount to a hill of beans, excuse the pun. Each episode had too many plotlines and the payoff wasn’t always strong.

Overall, I enjoyed the season, but the show was beginning to parody itself and the stakes didn’t really feel authentically high like it did in other seasons. I might be being too critical given how much I found myself chuckling each episode. Larry when it’s all said and done is a comedic genius and his observational humour is nothing but enriching to a society dummed down by formulaic Hollywood storytelling, social media and PC hysterics.

I’ll probably delve into earlier seasons as we enter ‘Lockdown’. I’ve already chosen many movies from my collection to see through this quarantine period. I started last night with Casablanca. ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’.

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Posted in Movies and TV, News, Science

Both Sides, Now – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell 1966

Joni Mitchell in 1966

The title of Joni Mitchell’s 1966 album ‘Clouds‘ comes from today’s song Both Sides Now. It is one of her most adored tracks and for good reason – it’s simply a classic. ‘The lyrics explore dualities ― “give and take,” “win and lose,” “up and down” ― the anthem has come to mean different things in different contexts. Universality is its appeal, and perhaps its curse: It can be melancholic or hopeful, sticky or sweet, a dreamer’s optimism or a realist’s heartache’.(1)

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all…..

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know love
Really don’t know love at all

It’s also been popping up more in popular culture and been covered by a plethora of great artists including Frank Sinatra and Willy Nelson. ‘It has also soundtracked or provided fodder for umpteen films and TV classics, starting long before 2018: two episodes of “The Wonder Years,” “Sesame Street,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Life as a House,” “Love Actually,” the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, “Mad Men,” “Steve Jobs,” the 2017 Oscars’ “In Memoriam” segment’. (1)

Joni Mitchell said this about how the song came to be: “I was reading Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King on a plane, and early in the book Henderson the Rain King is also up in a plane,” Mitchell later explained. “He’s on his way to Africa and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song. I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did.” 

Mitchell herself re-recorded the song, with an orchestral arrangement, on her 2000 album Both Sides Now. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked “Both Sides Now” at number 170 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. (2)

References:
1. The Agony And Ecstasy Of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now,’ – Huffpost
2. Both Sides, Now – wikipedia

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3/03 – 9/03 incl. Peter, Paul, Mary Magdalene, Andy Kaufman, Melbourne and Pornography

news on the march

Welcome to Monday’s News on the March – The week that was in my digital world.

Audio interview at Faith Reason:

I have read many of Bart Ehrman’s books and watched many of his debates online. Bart Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar focusing on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, the origins and development of early Christianity. I also studied the Bible at University, so naturally I find these discussions fascinating. I think this audio interview offers a good introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Ehrman. He’s in form here and less condescending than you might find him in other presentations.

Bart Ehrman, author of the highly popular Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code and Lost Christianities, here takes readers on another engaging tour of the early Christian church, illuminating the lives of three of Jesus’ most intriguing followers: Simon Peter, Paul of Tarsus, and Mary Magdalene. ..….… (Listen to entire interview).

Poem by Chris Wallace-Crabbe at the Poetry library:

I lived in Melbourne for many years. It feels more like home to me than Sydney where I was born. Below is the second poem presented on this blog from Chris Wallace-Crabbe about the place I hold such fond memories.

Not on the ocean, on a muted bay
Where the broad rays drift slowly over mud
And flathead loll on sand, a city bloats
Between the plains of water and of loam.
If surf beats, it is faint and far away;
If slogans blow around, we stay at home

And, like the bay, our blood flows easily,
Not warm, not cold (in all things moderate).Read entire poem

Video at AndyOnLetterman:

I remember watching Jim Carrey’s Golden Globe winning portrayal of Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, but I had hardly seen any footage of Kaufman in real person. So this was a pleasant surprise.

Andy appearing on Letterman’s show for the second time. This is the day after his first appearance on the same morning show….(Watch entire video)

Video podcast at Eric Weinstein:

In this episode, Eric sits down with the business woman who created the enduring character of the unlikely top pornstar Riley Reid….Ashley, in the role of the Riley Reid character, has defied all pornographic convention by embracing body positivity, forgoing plastic surgery and opting for natural body hair at times. Additionally she has made a social statement by doing a popular artistic scene which makes a political and business case for greater transsexual acceptance.(Watch entire podcast)

news on the march the end

Posted in Movies and TV, News, Reading

Born to a Family (2005) – The Go-Betweens

The Go-Betweens

Born to a Family is the B side off the Go-Betweens single Finding You taken from their 9th studio album Oceans Apart (see image above). Finding You peaked at Number 17 on the Australian music charts and will feature later in this music project. Grant McLennan described Born to a Family as a “sort of knees-up, 2/4 kind of jump song.” It has a chanty, jangly chime. I can’t help but think of The Smiths when I hear it.

Born to a family
a family of workers
Born to a family
of honest workers
Then I came along
golden boy who belonged
And changed the system

I first heard Born to a Family from The Go-Betweens Live at the Tivoli concert below. I copied the video link at the time of the song commencement 10:51. I like how the band  sounds on-stage just a little more immediate than in the studio. There are no pretensions on display here, just an honest look at what makes them tick.

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