THE INFORMATION #794 JULY 25, 2014

THE INFORMATION #794
JULY 25, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO
http://dimenno.gather.com
francisdimenno@yahoo.com
https://dimenno.wordpress.com

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER NINE: PART TWENTY: THE MAYOR OF HELL

“There is no God but Reality: to seek him elsewhere is the action of
the Fall.” –Sufi saying

Thanks in large part to the ministrations of “Doc” Ketman,  Red Mary
slowly began to recover her senses, but she still frothed at the mouth with
nonsense gab–especially whenever anyone mentioned a priest–and she
would vow to get back at the Reverend John Otis Cross, whom
she heard and was convinced had been rousing the people up against her.

In the meantime, she had developed a hearing problem, and was prone to
saying things like “I see the wind blow, Yob, but I don’t hear it.  So how
do I know it’s really blowing?” And “How strange to see the little birds and not
be able to hear them. Are they always so lively and quiet?”

In all her scattered talk she (rightly) reserved much of her ire for
Cokey Stolas, he who must be obeyed; he who must never be
mentioned in vain, hence her naming of him as “The Big Man” or BM.
The things she started out to say I almost cried out to make some kind
of sense of. But just as I thought I was making progress she then
would begin to ramble some. I guess there’s no cure for wanting to
say what’s on your mind, whether other people want to hear it or not.
Most of us observe the social graces that way, but I guess she just
couldn’t help herself. You got a better sense of what she was like in
all her mad ramblings then when she was sane and sober–because that
was when she kept herself buttoned up. It was as though her madness
freed her to say all the things she had been keeping under wraps.
The fact that she had had a few nips of strong waters behind Doc
Ketman’s back didn’t slow her down none, either,

“If I was the BM,” said she, “so help me God I would clear out the
pimps and punks and jockers from all the cheap dive bars and hotels and rooming
houses. I would sweep away all the bawling tradesmen and low-down
fancy-men from the streets of the city. I swear I would have them killed, and
killed again: all the preachers and the Bible-pounders and the
Go-to-Jesus Men who are creatures of the well-off and well-born; all the jolly bent coppers, their fists dripping with lucre stolen from the mean and forsaken; all
the helplessly sheepish fawney-men who would murder you rather than
cross Mr. Sam Tolliver Orville Louis Andrew Stanislaus. All the Damsels
in Distress and all the Silly Little Mollies who make themselves easy
prey for Wolves and Jockers and Heelers. If only something would come
along and roast all these birds from off’n their perches!  Yellofs as beat
the poor sick horses with the bellows and beadles who stand by and
watch ’em; the cut-throat reporters of the yellow press who see all
and say nothing, save it suits their disposition and their
pocketbooks; the poor binnis as sleep in the brickyards and back of
the bakery; meanwhile their fathers are jack-gaggers on the earie for
fresh hot meat; haunting the dance halls and the burley-Q clubs for
some down-and-out drab in need of a livelihood and turning them out on
the street after a hot feed and a pat on the rump.”

She grew quite heated as she cried out, “All of Noxtown is
full of devils; spies for the BM; bribers who work for the BM;
lobbiers for the BM; washed-up jackass gamblers and down at the heels
sporting men, all of them owing money to the BM; Christian infidels
who swear on the Bible with one hand and loot the pockets of the poor
with t’other, all of them in league with the BM, or very nearly so;
white slavers, black slavers, yellow slavers and just plain ponces,
and all of them beholden to the BM; receivers of stolen goods and
recoverers of stolen goods each with one strong arm twisted through the
strong arm of the other, and all in league with the devil; policy-men
who steal the widow’s mite and the poor man’s penny and hardly ever
come through on the dealio; gunmen who…I need chloral so badly.”

Doc Ketman shook his head No, and she resumed.

“Do you get it now, Yob? Do ye get it? All the world’s a play and we
are strictly walk-ons…Martins and Calvins…Jacks and Johns and Jills and
Jackies…it’s either be a star or stay a bit player all your born
days…beware a star…stars fall…sometimes you can make a splash on
the sidelines…sometimes you can keep your head down, dog, down…the
divas and the stage hogs will trip you up…backstage rats will
clobber you with sandbags if you get too smart…keep one foot pointed
at the door because you never know when the curtain will fall for the
very last time.  Give me some chloral, you devils. “

She looked at Doc Ketman. the answer was still No.

Then she started to rave.

“Giant ladies. Greek satyrs. I’d pave the street with fresh
graveyard dirt so decent folks don’t have to wander though mud and
dust. What a tease. Skull and crossbones. Insane traitors! Ought to
have their brains blown out! The elephant!  Shoot the elephant! Lock
him up in chains. Crucify the polecat! Jungle bunny deluxe. And what
about all them damn lunatic hoss-drovers who run over the sidewalk and
don’t care who they kill? Ought to be horse-whipped their own selves.
The streetcars are a disgrace. The devil clangs the trolley-bell. Hell
to be a woman in this town, or anywheres else.  Nobody can tell ME
what to wear.  I think I would like to wear my hoop skirt. And garters
and bustles. Salty peanuts. Mmm good. A drop of honey. Hell to pay.
Barter me. The way they race their horses around the streets is a
disgrace. Fields of skulls and snakes. Shed a tear for the charioteer.
More misty malarkey. My cat has better sense. Snatch a man
bald-headed.”

Doc Ketman finally gave her a soothing dram, and she quieted down.
Though not for long.

1*SALUTATION
PSYCHEDELIC ROCK SONGS
http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=xa3Jo0tQMaM&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D5IKskY9-BDU%26feature%3Dshare

2*REFERENCE
100 MOST EDITED WIKIPEDIA ARTICLES
http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-100-most-edited-wikipedia-articles/

3*HUMOR
ACCURATE MAP OF AFRICA
http://www.upworthy.com/we-have-been-mislead-by-an-erroneous-map-of-the-world-for-500-years?c=ufb7

4*NOVELTY
HOW TO TELL SOMEONE’S AGE FROM THEIR NAME
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-to-tell-someones-age-when-all-you-know-is-her-name/

5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
WORD OPTIONS FOR WRITERS
http://weareteachers.tumblr.com/post/90368883502/love-this-chart-of-wonderful-words

6* DAILY UTILITY
21 ANTHOLOGIES EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD OWN
http://www.buzzfeed.com/richardthomas/anthologies-every-author-should-own

7*CARTOON
DIGITAL COMICS MUSEUM
http://digitalcomicmuseum.com/
WANTED COMICS #11
http://digitalcomicmuseum.com/index.php?dlid=21158

8*PRESCRIPTION
THE GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL SONG
http://brooklynbugle.com/2014/07/10/this-is-the-greatest-rock-n-roll-song/

9*RUMOR PATROL
RESTAURANTS 2004 VS. 2014
http://news.distractify.com/culture/craigslist-surveillance-restaurant/?v=1

10* LAGNIAPPE
CLASSIC JAZZ ONLINE
http://www.jazz-on-line.com/

11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
GOD SAVE THE KINKS: A BIOGRAPHY. By Rob Jovanovic. Aurum Press 2013,
paperback, 330 pages.
A Review by Francis DiMenno.

Rob Jovanovic has written other well-regarded books about musicians,
notably Pavement, Nirvana, Big Star and REM. Here, however, he is
taking on territory which quite a few people have a fanatical interest
in. After all, just about anyone can be a diehard fan of the Beatles
or Stones; however, it takes a special type of personality to be
mesmerized by the Kinks. Sadly, as even the occasionally star-struck
Jovanovic notes, their period of peak popularity took place in the
late 1970s and early 1980s, when they were well past their
prime–pursuing long-deferred mass popularity, particularly in the
United States, by becoming sloppy and obvious and blunting the edges
of their wit. I want to say, as an opinionated devotee, that the rot
started in 1972, with their 11th studio album (going by UK releases and counting
their soundtrack album Percy), “Everybody’s In Show Biz”, with the
maudlin “Celluloid Heroes” and a batch of other, regrettably sub-par
songs rounded out with live renditions of some awful chestnuts (“The Banana Boat Song” anybody?). This was succeeded by a series of albums which, we might charitably say, were more theatrical than strictly musical, with 1975’s “A Soap Opera” as quite possibly the nadir of this period.

That Ray Davies was well on his way to having a nervous breakdown
probably should have been apparent by 1970 and the band’s ninth album,
with the unwieldy title of “Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround
Part One,” in which Mr. Davies devotes several songs to the witty
evisceration of the very music biz sargasso in which he had somehow
managed to survive if not thrive, despite low sales following their
excellent (and possibly untoppable) single “Autumn Almanac.” Jovanovic
is good (in a way that say, an agenda-pursuing critic like Mendelssohn is
not) in giving a fairly objective viewpoint of the band’s
accomplishments; particularly, their recordings. He notes, for instance,
that their first album, “Kinks,” is crammed with the rafters with
cover versions because at that stage the Kinks were, more or less, a
blues-based cover band with a few originals–more like the Stones than
the Beatles. He is not afraid to say that the version of “Dancing in
the Streets,” on 1965’s “Kinda Kinks,” was really quite dire. He
doesn’t give enough emphasis, perhaps, to the great sea change which
took place in the latter part of 1965. “The Kink Kontroversy” featured
breakthrough tracks such as the high-life tinged “I’m On an Island,”
and more personal and heartfelt numbers such as “Where Have All the
Good Times Gone?”

It is the string of albums they recorded from 1966 to 1969–sadly, at
a time when their album sales had started to taper off, and they were
unaccountably barred from touring in the United States–that the Kinks
recorded some of their best work. It may be a consensus viewpoint, but
albums such as “Face to Face,” “Something Else,” “The Kinks Are the
Village Green Preservation Society” and “Arthur” are almost
indisputably the high points of their discography, and Jovanovic
accounts for these records in a way which will enlighten the neophyte
and mollify even the most diehard fanatic.

Jovanovic is also good about noting the major bands who were obviously
influenced by the Kinks: The Jam, XTC, Blur, Oasis and quite a few
others.But he also points out that the Kinks provided such innovations as
deliberate distortion (“You Really Got me”) and Indian influence “See
My Friends”) to pop music. But what we really learn
from this biography that we may not have learned from other books
about the Kinks largely revolves around the oversized personality of
the band’s egocentric leader, who is, perhaps, overly fond of acting
like, as well as proclaiming himself as, a genius. For instance, we
discover that Mick Jagger and John Lennon had, at best, a rivalrous
relationship with Ray Davies; that the Who were inspired by “You
Really Got Me” to write their own breakthrough single, “Can’t
Explain”; that Ray’s brother Dave, although addicted to supernatural
woo-woo and perhaps mildly schizophrenic, was an accomplished songwriter in
his own right but was deliberately held back by his older brother Ray
from contributing more songs to the band. (Mindless Child of
Motherhood, Death of a Clown, Susannah’s Still Alive, Lincoln County,
This Man He Weeps Tonight, and other songs would have made a fine Dave
Davies solo album, but that album, “Hidden Treasures” wasn’t to be
released until 2011, a fact which Jovanovic fails to note in his
otherwise comprehensive discography.) We are told quite enough and not
too much about the band’s managers and early backers and their role;
we are also told just enough and perhaps a little less than we might have liked
about bassist Pete Quaife, drummer Mick Avory, keyboardist John
Gosling and producer Shel Talmy–all of whom were interviewed for this book.
Davies’ affair with Chryssie Hynde is also given a fair amount of
attention–but no more.

Although Ray Davies did not always cover himself with glory from 1973
to 1996, when the band ended, Javanovic’s account of the band in
comparative decline is fair and even-handed rather than thoroughly
dismissive. We are not spared a fairly graphic account of the
personality conflicts within the band, and Ray’s bad behavior on
numerous occasions is neither downplayed nor excused. In short, this
is a compact, easily readable and entertaining history of the band. No
truly startling revelations here, and no compelling insights into anybody’s
character, but perhaps that is more the province of fiction than of a
modest band biography. For indeed, one cannot call this a definitive
biography of Ray Davies, to say nothing of Dave–the narrative
imperative is proceeds too briskly to allow for troublesome (and, some
might say tedious) minutiae. But for those who are interested in a
compact history of the band and its recordings, this book is going
to be difficult to surpass.

CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
752. DOWN BY THE RIVER
“Down by the River,” Neil Young informs us, “I shot my Baby.”

It also sounds like he shot his voice.

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