In my world, though, The Blizzard of 78 isn’t a storm. It’s the name of a terrific local band that contributed to my Sandinista Project (still in print! still cheap!) many years ago. They contributed a smashing version of the side six stalwart “Silicone on Sapphire,” which I’ve included below as a gift to everyone stuck in tonight because of the snow. Their version includes an unexpected but perfect contributor: dub giant Mikey Dread. Dread, of course, was an essential contributor to the original Sandinista!, producing some tracks, helping write some more, toasting over even more. Abe Bradshaw and I were honored to have him on the record and I’m particularly grateful to the adept Blizzard boys for making it happen. Now listen to this while the snow continues to pile up outside your window …
Forget that the stories tend to be self-aggrandizing and factually dubious; the actual writing in celebrity memoirs is often brittle and awkward, in part because they’re trying to capture the celebrity’s speaking voice. Jane reminded me of that this morning when she read me a paragraph she found online from the recent autobiography of Mike Huckabee (someone we don’t often quote around the house).
Even autobiographies from entertainers you like tend to be boring, which makes it all more exciting when you come across a paragraph as full of life as this one from Viv Albertine’s memoir Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys, in which she chronicles how the members of her band, the Slits, carried themselves:
When we were on a TV show in Holland, Mike Oldfield’s sister, Sally, was on the same bill. She had a single out at the time (“Mirrors”). Sally was dressed in a peasant gypsy-type dress and warbling away in a breathy little-girl voice. We went up to her afterwards and told her she was shit, that she was compounding stereotypes and doing a disservice to girls, that she should take a good look at what she was doing and how she was projecting herself and be honest about who she was. She burst into tears. We do that sort of thing all the time.
(For more on the Slits’ influence, you may wish to see the brief note I wrote for BoingBoing after Ari Up died, in which I quote the great Amy Rigby.)
My latest post for work: A new theremin, a new way to learn, a new way to work together
My latest post about blogging for work: Blogging for business: you are no longer just you
The trick, even if you are no longer just you, is to figure out how to bring as much of yourself as you can.
Enjoy the recursion …
I think it was in the Old West because there were Indians, and it was dusty and stuff. He married this Indian girl, this guy’s daughter, and he kept yelling off a cliff, “I am Pete!” I don’t really don’t know why he was doing that.
Now 65, Richard Thompson lives in Pacific Palisades in a cottage with a small pool in back, as well as a modest guesthouse with an island theme — a surfboard lodged in the rafters, sofa cushions with a palm-frond pattern, a mural of Polynesian bathing beauties smiling down from the wall. Teddy briefly lived in the guesthouse when he was first starting out in the music business, but now Richard uses it as a recording studio. As they set up, Richard and Teddy untangled cords and fiddled with equipment. Richard worked barefoot and wore black cargo pants; Teddy, who has his mother’s expensive tastes, wore skinny jeans. They talked about some sounds they were going to try out later that day, including the hurdy-gurdy, of which Richard is a fan. “It’s very easy to play,” Richard said. “It’s simply hard to play well.”
“Which one will you be doing?” Teddy asked.
— Teddy Thompson’s Folk-Rock Family Reunion (Susan Dominus, NY Times Magazine)
It’s hard for me to describe at this late date how exciting this was in 1981: funkiest thing around, outstanding antiwar song, all of George Clinton’s promises finally coming true. Prince hasn’t done anything that’s moved me since the 1996 double-shot of Chaos and Disorder and Emancipation, but this is still thrilling and I’m grateful to this site for unearthing it.
The effect on the business was profound, as if Chuck Berry had walked into a Glenn Miller show and started playing guitar.
— One of many, many wonderful sentences in David Carr’s remembrance of Ben Bradlee
The whole column is worth reading and probably worth memorizing, but if you’re in TL;DR mode at least read the full paragraph in which that sentence arrives:
So in 1969, [Bradlee] conjured Style, a hip, cheeky section of the newspaper that reflected the tumult of the times in a city where fashion and discourse were rived with a maddening sameness. The effect on the business was profound, as if Chuck Berry had walked into a Glenn Miller show and started playing guitar. He expanded the vernacular of newspapering, enabling real, actual writers to shed the shackles of convention and generate daily discourse that made people laugh, spill their coffee or throw The Post down in disgust.