IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #14.7
J Church and Honey BearRecords – Celebrating Bona Dea
Bored boys with nothing to do…

  

TOUR AND ALBUM

I'm still getting details back from different people about the tour and album. Ben is in charge of the tour and I haven't heard anything from Var in a bit. I promise a better-detailed report next time with a full list of stuff happening. I just need to get it organized somehow. In a nutshell, the album is called The Horror Of Life and will be on No Idea, of course. The tour will be mostly of California and the West. I know that it's littered with cool shows with Riverboat Gamblers, Coldbringer, Modern Machines, etc.

  

FUCK THE ASTROS

Russ Springer is a fucking coward! Ditto for that punk Phil Garner. Love or hate Bonds, beaning him just because your team is getting shelled is bullshit. Look, I don't give a shit about steroids or home run records or anything to do with Bonds. I just like the Giants and I used to like the Astros too. But fuck it. Now I can completely revel in just how badly SF humiliated Houston at home in their antiseptic, new jack stadium two nights in a row. Fuck baseball fields that play fucking country music! Oh, and here's an interesting stat from ESPN: May 22, 2001: Bonds homers off Springer. Sept. 21, 2004: Springer faces Bonds for the first time since the home run -- and hits him. Tuesday: Springer meets Bonds for the first time since that 2004 HBP -- and makes it two in a row.

Incidentally, ESPN also ran a poll where 34% of African-Americans believe that race is the main reason that Barry Bonds has gotten all this attention over steroids as opposed to 2% of non-African-Americans. Why is the sport I love still the most racist?

Fuck it, I still like Biggio. I just get pissed off at hayseeds like Springer.

  

MILESTONES

Lou Gish (1967 - 2006)

Like most people who know the name, I mostly was aware of Lou Gish from her role as Julia on Coupling. One of the best BBC comedies ever, she was a great addition during the second and third season. Her character was so funny and different I was really sad that she left the show rather than become a permanent cast member.

Daughter of Sheila Gish (Mansfield Park) and Roland Curram (Darling), she came from an acting family. Sister Kay Curram also acts and her stepfather was Denis Lawson (Wedge from the original Star Wars trilogy!). Her cousin was Ewan McGregor and to top it off, her godparents were Julie Christie and John Schlesinger.

Doing more stage work than anything else, she had been working on King Lear with her sister in 2005, working through the death of her mother, Sheila, from facial cancer. During production, Gish's own cancer resurfaced and she was forced to leave the play. She passed away in February of this year.

  

BAISE MOI? BAISE MYSPACE!

Everyone has been talking about MySpace lately. It's good. It's evil. It's pointless. It's useful. I've been trying hard to write something that would add my two cents but have been having a really hard time. It's odd because, right or wrong, my stupid opinions usually flow pretty freely onto paper. But I just can't get to that place. I can't form an organized opinion and I think I know why: I don't really care.

I want to care. I really do. Arguments both for and against are reasonable. I guess it all just seems like a silly distraction to me.

Let me start by saying that I use MySpace all the time. I should just admit that. That doesn't mean that I discount people's criticisms. But I pick and choose my battles like anyone else. I'm not Ted Kozinski. At the same time, I do understand that MySpace is big business and Rupert Murdoch owns it and he's evil. I get that. When the revolution comes, the paid staff at MySpace will be up against the wall with all the other capitalist running dogs. I'm with you there.

Still, I use MySpace. Yes, it's free and it's a very easy and successful way to get out information about my band, my fanzine, my label… But let's face it: I love the social aspect. I'd be lying if I said my only use for MySpace was re-appropriating their facilities for DIY revolution. No, I like reading Janelle's blog and I like seeing pictures of hardcore bands I've never heard of and, yes, I do want to know how many of your on-line "friends" you've had sex with. I'm not gonna lie. It's a lot of fun and it keeps me out of the bars every night.

For me, MySpace is like basic cable. Of course it's evil. Viacom or whatever the hell it is now? In the immortal words of the Four Skins they're "evil, evil, evil, evil, evil, evil, evil, evil…" I could make up some lie about how shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Six Feet Under are making art out of the vile tendrils of the totalitarian spider plant. But I don't even watch those shows. There's something counter-revolutionary about trying to pass off HBO or Showtime as "art".

Even worse is network TV. I don't have to tell you how evil the networks are. Just pick up any contemporary lefty publication. They can't get over media analysis. All TV is propaganda and the message is from whoever owns the medium. Right now, that's the multi-national corporations who have been our main enemy all along. I don't disagree.

Before I moved to San Francisco, I was living the life. Every other word out of my mouth was either "revolution" or "bourgeois" or something of that aesthetic like "anaesthetized" or whatever. I hadn't even owned a TV in years. If I had nothing to do, I read. If I wanted to see a movie I had to see it in the theater. When people at work talked about pop culture I was happily oblivious and joyously arrogant. Nothing wrong with a little oblivious arrogance from time to time.

I moved to San Francisco in 1989. I moved at that time for two reasons. The first was to help out with the "Without Borders" Anarchist Gathering and that's another story. The second was because there was an open room at the Maximum Rock-N-Roll house and David Hayes turned it down. I think I thought I was moving in with the Baader-Meinhoff and was somewhat disappointed when I found out how normal it all was. I had been to the house before. But it's something else when you live there.

We all worked really hard on the magazine, devoting all of our free time to the voluntary work. Tim Yo was always very, very respectful of that (though he was the first to tear you a new asshole if you slacked… he really lived his Leninist beliefs). We lived in a nice house off of Castro with very cheap rent. We had game nights. We would follow the Giants. We also had a massive TV, the biggest I had ever seen, with every cable channel available.

That TV was like a reward for a long days work and you were sure to find Tim reclined on the couch in front of it every night. After the, at times, intellectually draining work at the magazine, it was nice to just pop on the TV. I think it had something to do with all the compromises you make during the day. It's relaxing just picking whatever you want to watch from 100 different channels. I don't know.

No one at the house had any illusions about what TV was. We weren't idiots. None of us were pretending to be analyzing consumer culture by watching MTV either. I hate those people. The day was over and we watched a little TV to relax. It's like how some people have a beer or smoke a joint first thing when they get home.

I'm not saying that getting into TV was the main thing I took from living at the Maximum house. Far from it. But I have always owned a TV since. I watch TV, drink Diet Pepsi, and play on MySpace, which, to me, are all to varying degrees on the same level of bad behavior. MySpace is like TV and TV is like MySpace, it's free and it can be fun. What's not fun about Scrubs?

  

IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM

ADOLESCENTS, THE - s/t LP

Punks have no imagination. To this day, everyone still calls this "the blue album". What the hell? I remember reading their interviews in Flipside, probably the issue that came with the first Rodney on the ROQ comp. I remember thinking they were the real deal. Back in those days, I was so desperate for punk I would often wind up with records that at least looked punk but ended up being some shitty new wave or worse. But the Adolescents were definitely the real deal. I remember I couldn't tell if they were scary punks or just a bunch of assholes like the military brats that made up most of Hawaii's half-assed punk scene.

This record was a real revelation. Kids Of The Blackhole is an epic about a punk house that seemed to bring all my fantasies into reality. Was this for real? I had to believe it was true. Plus it's a wonderful song. Rikk Agnew is a totally underrated guitar player. At the time we all knew he was the shit. I followed him from the Adolescents to Christian Death to his time with DI. But he's largely forgotten today. People say nice things about the Adolescents and this record. But nobody remembers how important that dude was. Now a lot of this sort of playing is common especially in some of the commercial punk bands. But this record is the first time most of us heard it.

It's a great album. I don't have to tell you all the hits. Wrecking Crew, Who Is Who, LA Girl, No Way and even fricking Amoeba sound great today. Sounds like the fucking theme from Buffy! (Frontier Records)

  

BEATLES, THE - Let It Be... Naked LP

I always liked this record. Not only am I one of those people that prefers the later Beatles stuff, I'm the guy that likes their most fucked up records. Fuckin' McCartney, y'know? I can't even look at photos of that guy. He seems like such a fuckin' phoney. But I loved the others especially John. I Dig A Pony is one of their best songs as far as I'm concerned. Across The Universe! George's tunes are also fucking brilliant especially the haunting I Me Mine.

These recently cleaned up recordings are fucking fantastic. I think Spector is an overrated fucker who had his moment and otherwise fucked up the Beatles and the Ramones. Even silly Paul songs like The Long And Winding Road are more enjoyable especially when you hear Preston's electric piano. (Capitol Records)

  

CLASH, THE - Death Or Glory LP

Back before the recent glut of Clash bootlegs, I was a bit of a collector. While legit Clash rarities have gone far out of my price range (last time I saw a copy of the Spanish Complete Control pic sleeve, it was closing in on three figures on Ebay), some of the first generation of boots are still fun to track down. By first generation, I mean the ones that came out while the band were still active.

This nice looking LP is made up of three different recordings. The first side is all from a 1982 Tokyo show. Most of the second side comes from the Jamaica World Music Festival from 1983. I bought this record largely because I wanted to hear what they would do with the more produced Sandinista stuff live. Between the two recordings there are interesting versions of Washington Bullets, Ivan Meets GI Joe and Junco Partner. It's pretty cool to hear guitar-ed out versions of those numbers. To some people, Sandinista seemed like a band living beyond their means. These live recordings make me wonder what would have happened if the band had gone in and recorded it all in the spirit of London Calling. The LP closes with two tracks of Strummer singing with the Pogues and a live Tommy Gun from some TV show none of which is very exciting. (Leviathan Multi-Media Company)

  

DAWSON - Barf Market: You're Ontae Plums LP

Before you had your Lung Leg, Dick Johnson, and Pink Kross, you had the amazing Dawson. Glasgow's premier noise wavers are often forgotten in conversations about the Ex, Gang Of Four, the Pop Groups… But their debut album in 1990 is as solid as most of those groups records.

Of the bands I mentioned, Dawson were surely closer in sound to the Ex or especially pre-Ex commies, the Rondos. Ten tracks on side one and eight on the other, it's a relentless attack that goes also seems to spring from the Ex style political rantings. It all sounds quite brilliant as well.

If you are a fan of those earliest recordings of the Ex (and I can't imagine that you aren't) than this record is well worth tracking down. All of the band's output was great. But this is the most well-rounded effort. (Gruff Witt Records)

  

THOMPSON, RICHARD AND LINDA - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight LP

From the first note, this is one of the greatest albums of all time. Sweet pop with breathtaking harmonies, they never went TOO folk like Fairport Convention. But it's folk enough that it's soothing while startlingly electric. There's a bit of tension. But just enough to keep it all interesting. The additional musicianship (horns here and there) is pretty and subdued enough as not to sound corny. As far as chill records, I put this right up there with Harvest and Tapestry.

And the title track, I don't know what to say about a song so great. I will say this; it has to have a prominent place on the mix tape they play at my funeral. It somehow captures so many of my feelings without really saying anything. (Island Records)

  

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