August 9, 2011

never stop I’m always rollin

So doing a set of amateurish college radio in the yawny dawny hours of the day (6-9 AM EST) for the first time in… a while (more than a year?) gave me a lot to reflect on. I’ve got some thoughts about DJing and the Wagnerian ideal of ‘endless melody’ that might eventually turn into something worth reading; and some nitpicky stuff about genres and curatorship that is too boring to make myself think about right now.

But it also sent the wide-eyed Benjamin-quoting cultural-materialist in me into overdrive, because WXYC is a treasure trove of wonderful ephemera.* My friend Jacques requested Miles Davis’s cover of “Time After Time”, which turned out to be a pleasant and only-slightly-cheezy** artifact of the ‘embarrassing’/’old and irrelevant’ later Miles, the sleeve of which prominently features a signed statement/endorsement by Cyndi Lauper about what an incredible honor it is to have her song deemed worthy of being covered by Miles fucking Davis—she’s right, of course, but under the circumstances can’t help coming across as slightly douchey—in her defense though it was probably the record company’s idea.***

While looking for that record, I flipped past On The Corner, at the top-left corner of which was scrawled, in faded permanent marker, “I AM YOUR FANTASY COME TO LIFE”. It was obvious that whoever wrote that felt strongly about the record; but there’s also something ominous about the statement.**** I wondered just what the person who had written this intended by it: A recommendation? A criticism? A warning? Maybe, to steal a line from the Dirty Projjies, they had no intention—’they’, this vague neutered non-person, only nameable in English by an ungrammatical abuse of the third-person plural.***** Maybe it was the collective spirit of WXYC speaking through some individual’s body; maybe it was just a physical reaction to the music, translated into whatever words were handy, like a meaningless dance upon the page.

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*: Less so since the decades of accumulated posters (& accompanying graffiti/vulgar drawings/etc) were taken down to comply with some bullshit ‘fire code’…

**: I tried to balance this out a little later on in the show by playing Grant Green’s “A Day in the Life” cover, which is (imho) an excellent example of this sort of pop-jazz crossover done right.

***: Printing that on the album sleeve I mean; not Miles covering the song. But who knows, maybe the second one too.

****: And, okay, I can’t lie: before I started doing any heavy reflecting, I had a pre-conscious lol at the unintentional echo of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

*****: … although of course it was almost certainly a dude.

  1. bloodletters posted this