Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm Getting Tired Of...The Banjo

"When you are listening to a rock & roll song the way you listen to 'Jumping Jack Flash,' or something similar, that's the way you should really spend your whole life. That's how you should be all the time: just grooving to something simple, something basically good, something effective and something not too big. That's what life is. Rock & roll is one of the keys of the many, many keys to a very complex life. Don't get fucked up with all the many keys. Groove to rock & roll and then you'll probably find one of the best keys of all." --Pete Townshend

I grew up reading Rolling Stone thanks to my father's general addiction to periodicals and inability to throw anything away, and, though its cultural relevance is only a cold, pale shadow of what it once was, I recently opted to receive a few free issues through a special deal that came with my subscription to Salon. Lucky me, I was just in time to receive the big 1000th issue, which you may or may not have seen screaming at you on newsstands in lurid, holographic 3D. I feared that its bulk and overly glossy packaging would make me want to puke with its self-importance and self-referentiality, but it's actually really stellar. I spent a good portion of the weekend devouring it. There are the predictable contributions from Jann Wenner, Cameron Crowe, and Greil Marcus (who cites the above Pete Townshend quote from the eighteenth issue of the magazine in 1968 in his longish piece on RS's early years), but there's also some extremely enjoyable guest essays, perhaps my favorite of which is Bret Easton Ellis's meditation on Tom Cruise's appearance on the cover in 1990 (Days of Thunder era). Referencing the scene in American Psycho when Patrick Bateman shares an elevator ride with Cruise, Ellis writes, hilariously, "I keep thinking about that scene in the elevator in American Psycho and how different it would be played today. Would Bateman, the man also obsessed with appearances, either see a kindred soul or--after witnessing the couch-jumping, the hectoring on the Today show, Scientology, the thing called Vanilla Sky--quietly back away and hope to go unnoticed?"

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's a beautiful essay about the famous photograph of John and Yoko taken on the day of his death (writer Scott Spencer ruminates, "Remembering Lennon's boyish boast about the Beatles' being more popular than Jesus, and seeing again the profound artistic sympathy with which Leibovitz composed this last portrait of him, we realize: Here is our Pietà") and many in-their-prime photos of some of the sexiest motherfuckers ever to have worked in popular music. I'm thinking here specifically of this shot of Mick & Keith and this shot of Bowie paying intentional homage to James Dean. Yes, yes. As Giddy once famously said of me, in jest (somewhat), on her Friendster page, I like magazines.

In Eddie Izzard voice: We've got suits of babies! We've got babies on suits!

Did everybody read the Fork's looong interview with Sufjan today? I nearly fell out of my chair when I read that part about his "small obsession with birds" ("I think I might have gone a little overboard, because I have three field guides, I'm saving up for a pair of binoculars, and I want to buy the elephant folio book of Audubon prints of birds of North America. So I've probably invested a little too much time in this"). Sure, sure, on the surface it looks like it can just be chalked up to all the research he did to write the "Lord God Bird" song for NPR, but the Wrestling Entropy family knows better--there must have been some weird voodoo going on with the avian-themed packaging Chris conceived for my 2005 year-end mix and the inclusion of "Chicago" thereon. (Just like when Ben Folds and Neil Hannon went on tour together a few years ago, and CTLA claimed I magically made it happen by rubbing their albums together in my big CD binder.)

And a big ol' happy birthday to BAK today!!

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