Friday, May 29, 2015

Show Notes for HMOTD 007: Nowhere Band

0:50 "Your handy TV Guide": I miss you, TV Guide. I am also very upset there is no online archive of the interior of TV Guide issues. I want to look at TV grids from Boston in 1982, dammit, internet, what are you good for?

7:30 "NEVER. Bet against Pete Rose." Oh dear. Ahem.

That's David Hartman, by the way, host of Good Morning America throughout much of the late 70s and early 80s. Here's the full clip, from March 1985. Definitely a firm, welcoming childhood memory for me. When Rob sent me the preview audio of this episode, I thought I was listening to CBS Sunday Morning host and notorious bigamist Charles Kuralt. Battle of the bass-voiced avuncular network morning show hosts!

Speaking of not betting against Pete Rose, HOLD THE PHONE. We may have a new candidate for the Fisher King of Ohio:

"Pete Rose was born April 14, 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of four children born to Harry Francis "Pete" and LaVerne Rose. He was a member of the Order of DeMolay as a young boy, and was encouraged by his parents to participate in sports."

Plus his last name is Rose, I mean come on.

9:50 "The early 80s were not neon." Here's an article about the early 80s aesthetic as described by the set designers of The Americans. And here's an article about the Sears Catalog from 1981 on LASERDISC.

11:35 Herb's tux: Yeah. Um. This photo shows my godfather and my dad (l. to r.) next to Frank Bonner. In my dad's wedding party's defense, they were in 1972, and Herb Tarlek was in 1979. So yeah.

11:45 "So, Rob, I have a proposition for you..." Here's the Grasso family in its 1970s splendor. Rob promises to reciprocate next week.

13:10 "Hey, John John, you wanna count?" Yes, this is exactly the kid I was thinking of when I described my late-70s sartorial "choices." In college (obviously influenced heavily and shamelessly by David Foster Wallace's views of television and media and nostalgia) I wrote a short story about a college student who was on Sesame Street back in the 70s and how he deals with it and, again, John John was my internal mental inspiration. If you follow that Muppet Wiki link, you'll see he had a very similar real-life experience with his wife.

(To preview our bit on hauntology later, Boards of Canada has sampled Sesame Street extensively.)

14:10 Jaime Weinman: Jaime Weinman's blog is here. And it is truly a fantastic read; thanks to Rob for making me aware of him.

15:57 "Both of us really want to talk about Edie McClurg." [Rob:] We'll talk more about Edie in the next podcast. Promise.

19:20 Bowling Alone was quite a big deal when it came out. (Here is Putnam's original Journal of Democracy article from 1995.) Our thoughts on how the modern workplace has stolen our third-space time along with the history of the coffee shop and political organizing in person vs. online is I think, modestly, one of the best, most incisive discussions we've ever had on the podcast. Hear it from 19:20 through 31:00. I think it honestly speaks for itself without further gloss.

25:45 "This has long been Starbucks' stated goal." [Rob:] Starbucks' colonization of the "Third Space" or "Third Place" has been widely commented on. Here's an article describing the chain's recent decision to make its stores less comfortable, for some reason.

27:15 "I remember this great interview with George Meyer..." [Rob:] I got the George Meyer quote wrong. He didn't mention coffee shops at all, just living rooms and "generic urban settings." I still like it, though:
When you and I were kids, the average TV comedy was about a witch, or a Martian, or a goofy frontier fort, or a comical Nazi prisoner-of-war camp. That was the mainstream. Now the average comedy is about a bunch of people who hang around in some generic urban setting having conversations and sniping at each other. I remember watching, in the sixties, an episode of 'Get Smart' in which some angry Indians were aiming a sixty-foot arrow at Washington, and Max said something like 'That's the second-biggest arrow I've ever seen,' and I thought, Oh, great, shows are just going to keep getting nuttier and nuttier. I never dreamed that television comedy would turn in such a dreary direction, so that all you would see is people in living rooms putting each other down. [read more]
29:25 "There's a very good book by a friend of mine..." [Rob:] The book is Fred Turner's From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism.

33:05 "Music for people that don't have anything better to do than stay up all night listening to music." Hey, I think I'd enjoy listening to Heavy Early's show, especially if I were insomniac! It also reminds me of the graveyard shift that Alan Partridge ends up on in the first season of I'm Alan Partridge.

35:40 "He was on Lost..." I am really bummed I did not recognize young Bernard.

37:20 "I have the worst [bleep]in' attorneys." - George Bluth Sr.

38:33 "Have you heard about Charles Nelson Reilly?"

39:00 Payola: For payola, a good primer is the Wikipedia entry because there's a very long detailed history with this issue going all the way back to the very beginning of music on broadcast radio. You can also see a reference to our second Stan Freberg clip of the podcast, "The Old Payola Roll Blues." Stan Freberg: eternally relevant.

44:50 "Welcome Back, Johnny": Yeah, we seem to slip into calling "Johnny Comes Back" by the title "Welcome Back, Johnny," no doubt influenced by Welcome Back, Kotter. Or by weird videotape hauntings. And yes, here's Josh Glenn's blog HiLobrow.

46:00 Nowhere Band: I still can't believe the Soundtastics weren't real. Styx was real, though, and you can read about their exploits with payola and cocaine and payola cocaine here. "Thank goodness for cocaine." Indeed, Tommy Shaw. Indeed. Also, color me unsurprised that Styx's manager now works for Fox News.

51:45 "We're the Tres. And you know more about the Tres than we do."

53:00 Small Wonder. For you, dear readers and listeners, I have prepared a Storify of my Twitter observations while watching "The Bad Seed", i.e., the second rape-iest episode of a crappy syndicated 1980s sitcom next to, yes, "For Every Man, There's Two Women." Share and enjoy.


55:20 Candle Cove. Please, PLEASE give the excellent Kris Straub all credit for his seminal creepypasta.

55:30 "This idea of being haunted by the past..." Hauntology primers: yes. Needless to say, I have a lot of very strong feelings about hauntology. I watched a lot of the seminal hauntological television programs from England when I was very young: Children of the Stones was on Nickelodeon's The Third Eye anthology series in the early 80s and I watched it and it buried itself deep deep in my subconscious and influenced a lot of my aesthetics in the intervening three-plus decades. I'd count some of the Tom Baker episodes of Doctor Who, particularly "The Android Invasion" and "The Hand of Fear," as hauntological in that decaying technological British countryside in the 1970s way. For information on the hauntological aesthetic today, yes, Mark Fisher's Ghosts of My Life is absolutely indispensable. I'd also recommend this very very long essay/podcast by Adam Harper, from when hauntology was beginning to become a thing back in the late 00s. (Two side notes: 1) he notes in 2009 that hauntology is already passé, which I find hilarious, and 2) this essay shows off a lot of hauntological visual artists, which I think is a medium that we hauntology aficionados sometimes ignore.) Ghost Box Records, very very yes. Throw in Boards of Canada while you're at it: specifically the albums Music Has The Right to Children and Geogaddi. The films of Ben Wheatley, absolutely. He's doing J.G. Ballard's High-Rise next, holy crap. And yes, Scarfolk, while parodic, distills the aesthetic exceptionally well. Also old friend Warren Ellis has just started a new comic series called Injection that, while very very Ellis, also has aspects of the hauntological aesthetic in it. And of course, you could do worse than reading Derrida's original paper which introduced the term.

Whew. See you next time.

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