THE INFORMATION #804 OCTOBER 3, 2014

THE INFORMATION #804
OCTOBER 3, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO
http://dimenno.gather.com
francisdimenno@yahoo.com
https://dimenno.wordpress.com

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works and of greatest merit for the public have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men, which both in affection and means have married and endowed the public. –Francis Bacon 
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER NINE: PART THIRTY: THE MAYOR OF HELL

It should go without saying (but it never does) that when Red Mary was
having her little mad fits–though they were by no means little–she
was letting me run wild, and, as we all know,  a twelve year old boy
without adult supervision can get up to all kinds of devilment. Having
a whore for a mother ain’t exactly a recipe for respectability to
begin with. Red Mary’s advice always tended to be eccentric, even when
she was well in her mind; she told me repeatedly to stay away from the
Seven Stars Saloon, which only made me want to go there all the more.
She told me to stop running in the street, but she didn’t offer any
alternative to that other than to stay in my room and study my
readin’, writin’, and cipherin’, which quite naturally was good sound
advice I was  disinclined to follow.  
Maybe if I had spent less time pounding an idiotic ball against 
the side of a building and annoying all the neighbors, and had 
spent more time studying, I might of amounted to something. 
But I doubt it.
So Red Mary tried her best with me, but it was no use her talking to
me about this and that–not when she made her money catering to mens
as had some girlin’ in their blood as needed satisfying.  “You’re a
bad boy,” says she, “and if you keep on running with a bad crowd
you’ll be a bad man. And you’ll break my heart. I can’t tell everybody
else what to do. I can’t tell those bad boys to behave. But I can tell
you. And you will do what I tell you. Don’t let me catch you doing it
again, Yob, or I’ll dust your britches.” What was a yellof to say to
that?
When I didn’t want to go to bed and I told her I hated her, she would
tell me she hated me too, or she would try to bribe me with ice cream
for dessert tomorrow–of course, a lad of twelve doesn’t never want to
hear the word ‘tomorrow’ because mostly he lives like a little animal
with no conception of any but the most recent past and no conception
whatsoever of the future, except maybe the most cloudiest, where in
daydreams you are a fireman or a great actor…or maybe even a
streetcar conductor. “Why bother,” she would say to me, when I told
her my dreams. “You can’t change the world. You’re only one person.”
She thought she was doing me a favor by telling me this, and maybe she
was.
It seemed Red Mary had eyes and ears everywhere. When she heerd I was
doing something bad, she would confront me with it. Which I suppose
was better than the alternative of punishing me for mischief without
explaining why. Her problem was that she would try to reason with me,
but it all turned out somehow wrong. “Why do you have to steal apples
from the Dago fruit stand? Whatever you want, I will buy it for you,”
said she. First of all, I knowed this wasn’t literally true. She was
very likely claptrapping me. Second, I knew she couldn’t buy me the
thrill of literally getting away with something. She would put on a
sad face when I wouldn’t answer, and she would say, “Sometimes I think
you’re just not very good at all.” This would make me say, “Well, if
you feel that way anyhow, I’ll show you just how bad I can be.” Then
she would come back with”Don’t ever say that!” And I would counter
with, “If I can’t do what I want to then I don’t want to live.” And
she would say, “You don’t know what you’re saying! You don’t mean
that!”
“Yes I do!”
“No you don’t!”
“Yes I do!”
“You’re too young to talk like that! You can do better than me. Do as I say!”
And on and on it went.
At times that that, I must have been her worst nightmare. And she had
bad actors a-plenty to contend with as it was. You can’t change the
past, but if you could then I would go back in time and tell my
younger self not to give her such a hard row to hoe. Who’s to say it
wasn’t me as drove her slightly off her rocker? I know you’ll say that
whores is crazy anyway, just as a rule of thumb, but there’s no point
in actin’ in a way that is calculated to drive them over the edge.
I will say this much: Red Mary was persistant as a woodpecker on a
stump peckin at a termite in trying to reach me. She would also say
things like “You better be good, Yob. Stop stirring up so much
trouble.” “It’s not me who’s making trouble, it’s some of them other
boys,” I would say. “Then just ignore them and stop running with them
and stop making trouble. I don’t like them Yellofs; you stay away from
them.” But how could stay away from them when they were my friends?
Besides, if I stayed away, they’d think I was giving them the high hat
and come after me, and they wouldn’t be my friends no more, and, by
the Neddy Jingo, friends is what I needed.
“You are ruining my life. You don’t have to listen to what they say,”
said Red Mary. “Don’t listen to them. Listen to what I say. “
But all she had to say involved some nonsense about “being good” and
“earning my keep” and “not causing her any worry” that I couldn’t
properly take a cotton to.  No matter how fond I had grown of Red
Mary.1*SALUTATION

13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS
YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME (LIVE)
SCIENCEGASM
SF ITALIAN RESTAURANT BATTLES YELP
SUGAR RICE KRINKLES AD
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
MCDONALD’S IS FALLING APART
SIGN POSTED AT WALMART STORE
COMIC BOOK MARTIAL ARTS ADS
BEATLES V. STONES
BY RICHIE UNTERBERGER
AGE OF IGNORANCE
BY CHARLES SIMIC
Christians are persecuted in this country. 
The government is coming to get your guns. 
Obama is a Muslim. 
Global Warming is a hoax. 
The president is forcing open homosexuality on the military. 
Schools push a left-wing agenda. 
Social Security is an entitlement, no different from welfare. 
Obama hates white people. 
The life on earth is 10,000 years old and so is the universe. 
The safety net contributes to poverty. 
The government is taking money from you and giving it to sex-crazed college women to pay for their birth control.

10* LAGNIAPPE

30 OF THE GREATEST DOUBLE ALBUMS OF ALL TIME
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
COWBOYS & INDIES: The Epic History of the Record Industry 
By Gareth Murphy.  Hardcover. St. Martin’s Press. 364 pages.
The first thing which ought to be said about this impressionistic slab of reportage is that it is neither epic, nor really a history per se. It is more like a series of sharply written and carefully shaped anecdotes in which selected highlights of music biz careers are chronicled and then hung out to dry, as it were. It reminds me very much of the recent book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop by Bob Stanley. It is not a comprehensive but, rather, an idiosyncratic history of independent and major labels on both sides of the Atlantic. The episodes, which are set in the post-Elvis climate, are far more compelling—perhaps because far more secondary sources exist and are cited—than the earlier parts of the book.
      In the hands of an actual historian, this tome would likely be five times the length and would very likely be a drearily complex chronicle of various minutiae of interest only to serious scholars and ethnomusicolgists. In Murphy’s hands, we are given a breezy summary of trends, fads, and technological breakthroughs as well as the names and often brief biographies of certain important music biz figures – nor are we denied at least a glancing run-through of formative musical movements over the years. By making this a history solely of the record industry and the men who dominated it, Murphy is in the position of being able to not mention at all the popularity of sheet music, on one end of the timeline. He also gives short shrift to CD and digital formats of more recent years. Occasionally, the convoluted history of some of the movers and shakers of the industry begins to read like the Byzantine maneuverings explicated in tomes such as “Apple to the Core.” (For example, Murphy has clearly thoroughly read and excavated from Tom King’s massive Geffen biog, The Operator). However, for the most part, Murphy eschews the nitty gritty for the broad outline, though he does from time to time indulge in the telling anecdote: Andrew Loog Oldham insisted that The Rollin’ Stones change their name to “The Rolling Stones”: “How can you expect people to take you seriously when you can’t even be bothered to spell your name properly?”  (Oldham insisted also that the band jettison Ian Stewart.)
      In sweeping terms, the story of the music industry is told in terms of standard-issue musicland lore: how the industry develops from wax cylinders to vinyl. This section is convoluted but also rather cursory. We are then told how the industry is threatened by radio and how it eventually adapts to the challenge and diversifies. We also learn—nothing new here—how ragtime eventually gives way to Dixieland, swing, and be-bop; The Original Dixieland Jass Band is name-checked, along with Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, and Billy Holiday; we hear tell of Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson; Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Fletcher Henderson. Well and good. But Louis Armstrong apparently doesn’t make the cut, although Fiddlin’ John Carson and Vernon Dalhart do. (I’d like to double-check this omission, but I can’t; there’s no index. No footnotes, either.)
     That’s an exemplar of what I find lacking in this book; it touches most (though by no means all) of the major bases, but it all seems rather idiosyncratic. Firstly, it seems to be shaped by the received wisdom of musicland lore: Phil Spector was a talented nut; Brian Wilson was talented but schizophrenic; Joe Meek was a bloody genius (why? how?; we’re not told). Secondly, Murphy devotes more space to the stories he is itching to tell—we hear far more about, say, U2 and far less about, for instance, Nirvana than perhaps is warranted. One can hardly blame Murphy from focusing on the more colorful players in his pantheon of “music men”; but giving little space to influential but reactionary figures such as Mitch Miller is a defect in that it shows a certain selectivity which some might characterize as a biased viewpoint.
    What makes this book worthwhile is what one might call the Wow factor: there are plenty of insider stories: about the struggle to record “Strange Fruit” (which appeared not on Columbia but on Commodore Records); about the appearance of the last Cream album, Goodbye (“Jerry Wexler has cancer, and he’s dyin’, and he wants to hear one more album from you.”); about the zany doings over at the Casablanca office in the coke-addled late 1970s (“Jerry, gonna have to hang up now, my desk is on fire.”). This reliance on insider lore sometimes makes this book a shopping list of received wisdom.  But more often, it pays off in a corresponding series of entertaining trivia tid-bits. Murphy has tried hard to interview surviving industry insiders, and this lends his book a certain amount of credibility that a production solely dependent upon secondary sources would lack.
In fine, you might refer to this book as “Gareth Murphy’s Greatest Record Men.” It’s not a wholly satisfactory history of indies vs. majors, but it is seldom short of entertaining, and will do nicely until a better one comes along.
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
762. TEEN RUBS JUNK ON PATRON’S PIZZA
Papa Murphy’s sounds like a rather sketchy name for a Pizza Chain. What’s next?
Killer O’Houlihan’s? 
Paisano O’Malley’s?
Ratso’s Irish Pizza?
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