Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Messer Chups


Especially interesting are the pictures and photos and the song the sight keeps playing. I'll hear it in my sleep tonight.

Maybe the coolest band on Earth.


Monday, February 26, 2007

I didn’t catch a whole lot of the Oscars last night because who gives a ripe fuck? But I did see this morning that Marty won, at long last. Not having seen The Departed, I can’t say he does or does not deserve the little golden statuette, but I suspect he won it as a sort of lifetime achievement award. The Academy surely looks back at its blunders of days gone by and realizes that Dances With Wolves, a cinematic attempt to assuage the white-man’s guilt, really ought not to have beaten Goodfellas. I mean, the rest of the thinking world knows as much, so it’s time the Academy catch up.

So congrats to one of my favorite filmmakers, even if I haven’t seen any of his films since Kundun. I did catch about 10 minutes of Brining Out the Dead, enough to realize the book was better and that Marty ought to have passed on that project. The little bit of Gangs of New York I saw made me sleep. I avoided The Aviator completely. Still, the man made Taxi Driver and Mean Streets and After Hours, and to me those are about as good as American filmmaking gets. So good going Marty; please cast De Niro in something again instead of DiCaprio.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Poetry Corner: Medbh McGuckian

Sky in Narrow Streets

Rose posing in air-hungry water
With a duellist's stance:

Sky so disordered by decomposing colours
It takes light from the house:

Unhellenised moon, harsh yellow petticoat
lined with red, prevents the leaves from moving.

My watercolour of trees, seascapes at dawn,
Noon and night, the unmade furniture of earth,
Promise to pay what is never going to be kept.

I am a knife-rest or a spoon-rest
For your winter's love, the hollow bitten
Into the midday dream of your address.

I drive words abreast
Into the interior of words;
It is murder or kindling when two meanings
Rush together from such a distance,
No multiplicity can distress them.

There is a month that can take care
Of itself, there are flowers
That go on opening down the stalk:

When I have over-yellowed the parchment
From the honey of my walls,
Or added a living shape to my bowl of deads,
There is a lovebird green between the tree-roots
So transparent, it is the flowers that are obedient.

This needed gleam, as one comes out
From the supreme surrender of an arch,
The relative silence of a kissing sound,

Is from the tree being seen
In a different place in the garden,
And everything I had thought about trees, nowhere.

The Albert Chain

Like an accomplished terrorist, the fruit hangs
from the end of a dead stem, under a tree
riddled with holes like a sieve. Breath smelling
of cinnamon retires into its dream to die there.
Fresh air blows in, morning breaks, then the mists
close in; a rivulet of burning air
pumps up the cinders from their roots,
but will not straighten in two radiant months
the twisted forest. Warm as a stable,
close to the surface of my mind,
the wild cat lies in the suppleness of life,
half-stripped of its skin, and in the square
beyond, a squirrel stoned to death
has come to rest on a lime tree.

I am going back into war, like a house
I knew when I was young: I am inside,
a thin sunshine, a night within a night,
getting used to the chalk and clay and bats
swarming in the roof. Like a dead man
attached to the soil which covers him,
I have fallen where no judgment can touch me,
its discoloured rubble has swallowed me up.
For ever and ever, I go back into myself:
I was born in little pieces, like specks of dust,
only an eye that looks in all directions can see me.
I am learning my country all over again,
how every inch of soil has been paid for
by the life of a man, the funerals of the poor.

I met someone I believed to be on the side
of the butchers, who said with tears, 'This
is too much.' I saw you nailed to a dry rock,
drawing after you under the earth the blue fringe
of the sea, and you cried out 'Don't move!'
as if you were already damned. You are muzzled
and muted, like a cannon improvised from an iron
pipe. You write to me generally at nightfall,
careful of your hands, bruised against bars:
already, in the prime of life, you belong
to the history of my country, incapable
in this summer of treason, of deliberate treason,
charming death away with the rhythm of your arm.

As if one part of you were coming to the rescue
of the other, across the highest part of the sky,
in your memory of the straight road flying past,
I uncovered your feet as a small refuge,
damp as winter kisses in the street,
or frost-voluptuous cider
over a fire of cuttings from the vine.
Whoever goes near you is isolated
by a double row of candles. I could escape
from any other prison but my own
unjust pursuit of justice
that turns one sort of poetry into another.

All this and a lot more available from the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry website:


Pod People

I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of Invasion of the body Snatchers in regard to Ipods, right?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Just So Silly

Today is my favorite day to work in the loop simply because I love watching powerful men and women, attorneys and traders and rulers of the proverbial world dressed in $500 ties and finely stitched coat-and-slacks combos, pants suits and heels, meticulously crafted hair cuts and glimmering wing tips, all walking around with ashes on their foreheads.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Culture News and Traditional Cosas


Easter is coming and that means only one thing, it’s time to reread your favorite book. Hmmm, this year I may be stuck with Dostoevsky’s The Adolescent, which bothers me little as the book is quite good and one of the only ones of his with a first person narrator. Okay, Notes From Underground, but that’s a short book and not the staggering 600 page spectacle sometimes translated as The Raw Youth. Still, Notes is pretty powerful stuff. Big things come in little packages, you know.

But while mi niña contemplates revisiting her favorite poetical journey into hell, a Lenten tradition, I was thinking of starting a new tradition of my own by rereading The Master and Margarita every year sometime between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. It seems fitting. The Devil is in there, as is Jesus and Pilate and Matthew, and the action takes place during the weekend of Easter. And it’s my favorite novel, so, perfect! But I doubt I’ll get through The Adolescent with all the schoolwork to do, thus my break will be spent finishing off that book. And I promised myself that this would be the year I finished Karamazov. And I’m still waiting for the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace, but sources indicate I’ll be waiting until 2008. Ah, I am sure I can squeeze a third reading of Bulgakov in before reacquainting myself with Ivan, Alyosha and Dmitri Karamazov. Besides, I own so many copies of The Master and Margarita that I really ought to read it at least as many times. Current estimate… I believe I have eight copies and am in need of at least two others I know to be in existence. Oh, and I still need a copy in its original Russian if I am to truly call myself a collector. So that means I have to read the novel six more times. Hmm, well I ought to get at it.


Can you believe it has been this many months and I have not bought the new Melvins record? What is my goddamn problem? I know I can find it for cheap (9 bucks or so) but I am lazy and keep thinking that one day it will appear in the form of a present (I was sort of hoping I’d get it for Xmas, but I can’t complain as I got books and money and the sights of Taipei) but as of yet no package has arrived with even a burned copy of the thing. Damn people, I thought you loved me? I am a fan, a HUGE fan so I ought to do as I often preach and just go buy the thing. Yeah, I get paid next week, I think the first thing I ought to do is part with a sawbuck and get the full experience, cover art and all, of (A) Senile Animal. For fuck’s sake, they retooled the line-up again, and while seeing Kevin kicked out of the band (he is a damn good bass player, one of the best they’ve had) was hard enough I suppose I was a little put-off by the addition of a second drummer. Dale Crover is without a doubt my favorite drummer and, to me, there was no need to add someone else's kit. But, as Buzzo said in an interview, “we didn’t need a second drummer which is exactly why we did it.” Ah, the Melvins are always ones to stupefy and go against any and all grains, god love them.

On the subject of musical heroes and new CDs and me not having any of it, I have not gotten it within myself to get a hold of the (count ‘em) 3 CD box set of Tom Waits music. Sweet Jesus, once upon a time I would have robbed a store to get my hands on anything by Tom, but that was the old, drunk, less respectable me. Now I'll just wait for some extra money to come my way or for one of my friends (hi, Xtop!) to burn me a copy. Forget that there’s probably liner notes and photos galore—I just want the music.

I actually could find the money. I probably already have it, but I just don’t want to spend it. Like I didn’t want to spend 75 bucks on a ticket to see Tom last year. Yeah, there was a day I’d eat ramen noodles for a week in order to get a copy of a new Tom Waits release. It’s funny how I didn’t care about money as much when I had none. Having a little can skew one’s view of the value of a buck.

And you know who else has a new CD on the shelves? That’s right Dälek, New Jersey’s finest hip hop outfit and purveyors of dark samples, noise beats and spoken word style rap have put out another CD. Thus far, nothing has matched the brilliance of their first release, Negro Necro Nekros, but they always manage to raise a puzzled ear. Puzzled ears are good, far better than complacent ears. I can wait to nab this one but not for long. Someone needs to support these cats.

And now for the old.

I need to get my hands on the following discs soon, as I can’t believe I ever parted with them in the first place:

Quadrophenia – The Who
Live at Leeds – The Who
Rum, Sodomy and the Lash – The Pogues
Old Lead – Boiled in Lead
Give ‘em Enough Rope – The Clash
It’s Understood – Estratosphere

I especially need the Boiled in Lead CD as that one does not pop up often. And where else can one get Celtic rock from Minnesota? And “Biker Hill” is truly a fantastic song that haunts me though I have not listened to it in well over six years.


None. Really, there is nothing new that grabs me. Okay, I do need to see Pan’s Labyrinth, but otherwise no new releases seem the least bit worthwhile. There are scores of midnight shows and second runs that I will seek out, but no new movies are anticipated by lil’ ol’ me. 300 looks like a big digital nightmare, ditto Ghost Rider. Eh… movies are second-rate art anyway.

Okay, enough out of me. I’m off to see how the Chicago land lays and plot the demise of my enemies. I’ll taste their blood yet, the bastards.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

AMC gets an F

I saw American Movie Classics is showing some De Niro films in honor of… I’m not sure, really. I was surprised and thrilled that they were showing the always amazing Once Upon a Time in America in its entirety and not the lousy cut version.

Or so I thought. Plopping down to catch the last quarter of Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, I noticed many things that seemed to be missing. Okay, I’ll allow that difficult to endure near-rape scene to be trimmed down for sensitive eyes, but it’s still cable TV and there is no reason to change the many swears. Nothing worse than watching a gangster movie where the naturally flowing expletives get replaced by nonsense that would get any gangster shot on sight. (Mother daughter, Chinese dentist!)

Worse, they trimmed the end. No vision of De Niro in an opium den, none of that whatsoever. It just ends with the famous garbage truck and carload of partygoers singing “God bless America.” Ugh. AMC decided that four hours was long enough, but they had to make room for constant commercial interruption, so the solution is to trim off moments that, while not detracting from the plot, are rather nice stylistically. Then again, every frame of the movie is fucking wonderful. The bastards ought to have allotted for the movie to be shown in full, even with commercials, even if it made the experience five hours long.

I ought not to complain. I have the DVD of the film and can watch it whenever I choose (assuming I ever get four straight empty hours). But still, as my brother would have said, it’s the principal, goddamnit. Fuck those butchers at AMC. If they’re trying to display De Niro’s acting chops, they ought to have left that final scene in, as that smile Bob flashes is unforgettable. It sums up so much of the film, all the pain punctuated by brief joy, all the surrealistic twists, all of the film’s epic scope, yep, that smile seems to convey it all perfectly. That’s acting. It’s arresting.

Sorry for the rant but it irked me. Kind of like listening to some shitty cover of one of your favorite songs. Even though you have the song at home, it still rubs you wrong hearing it butchered. And this is hardly their first offense. I mean, I’m not some art snob or cinephile who can’t make room for enjoyable crap, but some of the choices AMC has made are pretty laughable. And they have neglected some important American films and filmmakers as well. Eh, we all have to put asses in the seats I suppose.

Well I say screw ‘em. It’s just another reminder of why cable is such a waste of money. There is not a single channel that truly cares about cinema. If there was it would show movies from all over the world, uncut, fully restored with neat little bells and whistles in the form of inside tidbits… you know like the DVDs always do. There would be a cult channel so I could see Santa Sangre again without having to but a new VCR. There would be films by Herzog and Truffaut and all those people you’ve heard about but rarely experienced. There would be oh so many chances to see Grand Illusion or Rosemary’s Baby or Repo Man.

Ah well, dare to dream.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Poetry Corner: Ciaran Carson

Read this:

Bloody Hand

Your man, says the Man, will walk into the bar like this — here his
Mimic a pair of legs, one stiff at the knee — so you'll know exactly
What to do.
He sticks a finger to his head. Pretend its child's
play —
The hand might be a horse's mouth, a rabbit or a dog. Five
Walls have ears: the shadows you throw are the shadows you
try to throw off.

I snuffed out the candle between finger and thumb. Was it the
left hand
Hacked off at the wrist and thrown to the shores of Ulster?
Did Ulster
Exist? Or the Right Hand of God, saying Stop to this and No
to that?
My thumb is the hammer of a gun. The thumb goes up. The
thumb goes down.

– Ciaran Carson, my man from Belfast, a man of magic.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How Can I? Defending Christopher Hitchens

One of the better things about this country, in the idealistic sense, is that everyone despite their atrocities is due the best defense. Of course, one is free to despise them as well. If the person is a former liberal turned post 9/11 conservative who possesses the simultaneous talents of astounding erudition and an often needless acid tongue then the whole thing gets harder to suss out. I’m speaking of my favorite asshole, Christopher Hitchens.

I cannot stop reading his stuff, nor can I stop reading about him. Both are equally fun. Recently, a friend sent me the New Yorker’s profile of Hitchens. It is an interesting piece that shows the man as he is, bloated and drunk, chain-smoking and verbally adept, as well as cunning and almost dangerously brilliant. Apparently he is also willing to fuck over a friend if it also fucks over an enemy. He’d be an evil genius maybe, were he not so sodden from the bottle. As his wife says, Hitchens is an alcoholic though it does not interfere with his life and his work. Maybe he does drink constantly from afternoon to well into the night (he favors long nights of discussion and sleeping in late) but he also churns out books and articles like sweat of a jogger’s brow. And he flies all over the damn world putting himself in the situations where he feels he ought to be. (He was very upset to have missed by one day the judgment of Saddam’s sons.) Whatever else one can say about Hitchens, and there is plenty, it is clear he believes what he writes and says or he has somehow managed to make himself believe it.

I don’t really know what to think about the Hitch. I know what I am supposed to think. He’s a sexist pig, a fat drunk with gifted intellectual skills going to waste under Neo-Con dogma. He coined the term “Islamic fascism” which has made its way, in a slightly transmuted form, into the President’s lexicon. He has, as the New Yorker piece points out, a natural gift for debate and is merciless to his opponents. Who doesn’t like a good debate? The problem with Hitchens is that he loves a good fight so much that, in the absence of one, any old fight will do. Why else would he devote his talents to writing about blowjobs or how women aren’t funny? Clearly he has numerous axes to grind (Bill Clinton, religion, Mother Teresa) but when the opportunity is missing, claiming that women don’t need to be funny because they can fuck whomever they please—as opposed to men who must be funny in order to fuck women—will do.

Here’s the rub. Hitchens is clearly one of the most erudite and brilliant people walking around in public spotlight. Stacked against the salivating dogs of the west coast media machine, he shines intellectually brighter. I agree with the politics of Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, but guys like Hitchens impress me a lot more. When I wished Michael Moore would shut the hell up and stop making my side look bad, Hitchens was there to do what I knew someone inevitably would, which is offer evidence of what a moron Moore truly can be. Damn, it had to have been Hitchens, the one person who, when he pounds the right-wing hammer, sounds like he has thought about what he is saying.

Except on one point: Hitchens has been defending the War in Iraq consistently since it’s inception. 9/11 clearly altered his political leanings. As a young man he was socialist, a Trotskyite no less. But the sight of the smoldering Twin Towers changed all of that, as it did for many. Of course, Hitches has long been critical, one could say contemptuous, of religion. This only added fuel to the fire. Citing the hijackers as religion loons bent on murder in their god’s name (which is true), Hitchens made what some would consider an apology for anything the Bush Administration felt like doing in the Middle East. Of course, the Hitch would not call it an apology, as he would not see anything to apologize for. Let’s be fair, he does come out and say some coded things that suggest that he is not in favor of all that Bush and co. do. He does not seem to support wire tapping on private citizens, which many within our great, terrified nation do. I say “seems” because he does not always come out and admit that Bush is an inadequate President who happens to be doing what Hitchens thinks is the right thing. Hitch is smarter than that. Still, he has no problems clearly stating his feelings about his enemies. Clinton is a sex criminal and Mother Teresa’s connections were with despots who funded her activities. Kissinger he calls a mass murderer and a horrible person, and with that I agree. So yes, Hitchens does not shy away from saying what he thinks, unless, of course, it has to do with our President, a man he could not possibly respect but a man for which he will hold his tongue (somewhat) so long as he keeps up the fight against “Islamic fascism”.

I’ve seen the Hitch on a few C-Span televised panel discussions. During one he was promoting his book on Thomas Jefferson (it is said he finds a way to circumnavigate the owning slaves issue). During the Q and A portion, someone asked him what he thought Jefferson would have to say about a preemptive war, suggesting our current military involvement. Hitchens dismissed the question, claiming that the war in Iraq started back during Desert Storm, and that we have essentially been at war since, thus it is not preemptive. When someone else asked a similar question, pressing Hitchens to overtly defend the war, he simply said that he had already addressed the issue and to “pay attention in the back.”

Why would Hitchens, a man who has no problem articulating his views, run from these questions? The first answer was a thin justification (although he padded that out to a pamphlet in print) and the second felt like evasion. Whether or not he’d admit it, the Hitch appeared to be running. He also looked as if he is biding his time until his next drink and cigarette. For a man with so famous an appetite for public speaking, Hitchens often seems bored at these events. The footage I saw from the Miami Dade Book Fair showed him to be distant when speaking, except for the moment he took the bait and tore into Mother Teresa with his patented quick barb style (“That bitch had it coming for years.”) I suspect that the man was only truly ecstatic during that moment, the rest a mere formality until he could get his chance to say something controversial.

In case I have not stated my position clearly enough, here goes: I think Hitchens is a pig. Still, he’s a smart pig. He says some things I could never agree with, but he says them with enough vigor to make me listen. In short, I love hating the gastropod.

I wish there were more conservatives as learned as Hitchens. No one can say that he is not a compelling and accomplished scholar, a fantastic writer and in possession of a fierce intellect. He does not simply align himself with all things on the right, which I admire as well because one thing that scares me is a person fully committed to either partisan side. A good example came in the form of the New Yorker piece wherein he tore down Ann Coulter, as any thinking person would. He objected to her last book, Godless, for the same reason he opposes many things: religious foundation. Ann thought calling someone godless was insulting. Little did she know it isn’t to Hitchens, or me or a lot of people. Sorry Annie, nice try. The difference between someone Coulter and Hitchens is clear. While they both stomp for the same political side, Coulter clearly does so because it is all she knows and therefore she’ll swallow all things conservative. Also, she attacks her enemies for silly reasons, most of which have been shown to be petty and poorly researched. Hitchens, on the other hand, looks into thing, or at least he appears to. And he is infinitely more articulate and skilled at (as the New Yorker profile also points out) academic discourse to lull his opponents into a sense of safety before cunningly switching to a quick, stinging assault. Coulter just goes for the immediate shock, which wears off quickly and inevitably makes her arguments look thin.

For these reasons I do respect Hitchens more than Coulter, despite not agreeing with him on much. But I still cannot let go of my suspicion that the Hitch is guilty of many of Coulter’s worst qualities. Like Coulter, he seems to revel in shocking statements and starting fights. Why else would one publish an article claiming that women simply aren’t funny, or at least aren’t as funny as men? Like Coulter he is contemptuous of those who disagree with them, to the point of literally telling Bill Maher’s audience to fuck off. Like Coulter, his arrogance has earned him boos and ridicules (he’s a big target on the net, go look for yourself). Like Coulter he seems unable to imagine any other possibility save for a black or white situation. They’re wrong, we’re right, case closed. Howard Dean lied and therefore he’s a terrible person with no morals. Very cut and dried, but when it comes to the liars he supports the facts get murky behind the bigger concern, like riding the world of terrorists. And when it comes to addressing his betrayal of Sidney Blumenthal in order to leak a nasty bit about Bill Clinton, an act that might have resulted in Bluemnthal, Hitch's friend, getting charged with perjury, he sidestepped the question claiming he couldn’t quite remember everything going on during that time of his life. This from a critic of Reagan and Clinton. This from the man who is noted for having an exhaustive memory for historical facts. Maybe the booze is catching up to ol’ Hitch.

I could go on, but I think that’s all for now. Thanks for listening, it felt good to get that all off my chest. Back to the regularly scheduled Hungry Inferno ravings.

Ta ta.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Savage Beast returns

Some call him Fraction, I call him Nazi McKrautmick. Once upon a time he used to do something on his blog (which is, oh why not, found here: http://www.mattfraction.com/ ) that I liked, which was make up fake mix tapes and write all about the songs and what they meant to him, what they did, whatever. Well, I’m stealing this idea because I don’t think he does that anymore, saving his time for writing geek fantasies of revenge against the corrupt, thinly masking schoolboy fantasies of paying back the abusive jocks who actually got laid in high school. Some call this Punisher.

So let’s begin.

“Green Fuzz” by the Cramps

As simple as The Cramps can be, straight ahead catchy fun that I usually put on around 3:00 PM at the workplace when the lawyerdogs nip at my tender heels. It helps.

“Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard

I can’t speak to the rest of Return to the 36 Chambers CD as each time I put it on I can’t seem to get past this little gem. Just under three minutes, it’s really too short and needs about six listens in a row to be fully appreciated. Endless fun.

“$2.50” by Vincent and Mr. Green

A very laid back, cool song. More bands should do this—“this” meaning make good music. There’s nothing to say that would do it justice.

“Aktion 13F14” by Tomahawk

Easy to overlook as it comes at the end of their last release, Mit Gas, but it is one of the more interesting things this Patton band has done. Mostly Tomahawk serves as Patton’s vehicle to simply write lyrics over that Jesus Lizard guitarist’s 4/4 timed rock. Nothing wrong with that, but Tomahawk can lack the oddball genius of Mr. Bungle or the spastic drive of Fantomas. Still, listening to the robot vocals and noise assault outro of this track, one can sense there’s hope for the band yet.

“You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

I think I wrote a whole entry on this song a few months back. Either way, it’s stayed with me, being played again and again at work and in the car, both being places where I tend to play music the most. Both are places that demand something extraordinary to combat the inherent banality, and this is the perfect song to fight such a war.

“Doctor Doctor” by The Who

A bonus track from the Quick One re-release and one of the better things I’ve heard in a while. John Entwistle wrote this one which means, yes, that it’s dark and strange. And awesome.

“Satan Jeans” by Messer Chups

The best thing to come out of Russia (and Germany) since Mikhail Bulgakov. The entire Crazy Price CD is a must have if you like evil sounding goofy surf rock with electro beats and bonus videos of blood drinking and goth shimmy dances.

“Jimmy” by Bongwater

Sorry, niña, I know you hate this band (the name alone bugs you) but what’s better than rhyming “now don’t you think I’m insane” with “and stop comparing me to Shirley MacLaine”?

“Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue” by Bach, played by Maggie Cole

Who doesn’t like the harpsichord?

“Space Wrist” by UFO or Die

Boredoms side project that is very out of control. Yoshimi screams, Eye plays sloppy guitar. Wonderful.

“Lawyers in Love” by Jackson Browne

Thanks, Xtop for coming over to my side and realizing the beauty of this forgotten ‘80s classic. Thanks also for finding it and putting on my laptop.

“Bottle of Smoke” by The Pogues

Yeah, the upcoming concert is $50 a ticket, which means I might go back on my previous blog post’s promise of toasting the reunited Irishmen, but in the meantime I’ll be driving around Chi with this song on full blast.

“Celebrity Lifestyle” by Swans

Everything Gira and Jarboe did was interesting and always very sinister, but this one takes the cake. Dark without being a slow dirge like a lot of their material, you can’t knock a song with the lyric “and she ties her naked children up with wires and lace.”

“If You Want Me to Stay” by Sly and the Family Stone

Like many people my age, I was first introduced to this song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers who nicely covered it on their 2nd record back when they were red-hot and not the lukewarm pop machine desperately scrambling to rewrite “Under the Bridge.” Still, a good song is a good song and this one, be it played by a black man or a bunch of white punks from California pretending to be black, is quite good.

That’ll do for now. There’s more that I’ve been spinning as of late, but that suffice. Get ready to do your taxes and go hit the bastards right between the eyes.

Friday, February 02, 2007

“First we drank some whiskey, then we drank some gin, then we had tequila and that’s what did me in”

Way back ten or eleven years ago, I used to listen to If I Should Fall From Grace With God and Rum, Sodomy and the Lash about as obsessively as I have ever listened to anything in my life, certainly more obsessively than I have listen to most of my bosses, and without question more closely than I listened to my boss from Mail Boxes Etc. The Pogues represented something I wished I could be, Irish. More to the point: drunk. While close to a quarter of my blood runs green, my name, hair and upbringing are all things Italian-American. Nevertheless, I sang along with “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Everyday” and “Bottle of Smoke” as if I were raised in County Cork.

While I don’t regularly put the Pogues on the CD player way I used to, I was excited to hear that they are coming to Chicago, full line up including the incomparable, rat-faced Shane McGowan. Though he didn’t write my favorite Pogues song, “Thousands are Sailing” he may be the best lyricists since Ray Davies, and you know how I love Ray Davies. So I’m glad to have him back in the band and working again and, hopefully, off the fuckin’ skag.

So I am going to try and nab a ticket. The trouble is no one wants to go with. Mi nina bella is not interested in watching an emaciated, toothless Irishman slur lyrics about the broad majestic Shannon. Xtop gave a tentative “yeah” but I wonder if he’s willing to make the trek from KC. Ditto DC who I invited, but hell it’s a long ride from Taipei to Chicago and I don’t know if Shane and co. are enough to get the boy back in town. Of course, this may be the last chance to see the boys before Shane drinks himself to death. Then again, the British press has been giving the guy 5 years to live for the past 20.

Alas, I may have to raise a solitary glass at the Congress Theater and hope they play “Night Train to Lorca” all on me lonesome.