Songs »Got a Hold on Me

By Christine McVie (1984)

Got a Hold on Me is often mistaken as a Fleetwood Mac song but it’s pure McVie.
Shunning the spotlight for the past many years, she left is this lovely adult contemporary love song behind before taking the high road to peaceful living.

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on September 1, 2011

Songs »Somebody’s Watching Me

by Rockwell (1983)

I am shocked I haven’t recommended Rockwell‘s Somebody’s Watching Me yet!

This catchy (sometimes too catchy – I’ll find myself with the phrase “Or maybe showers remind me of Psycho too much” repeating in my brain for days) ode to paranoia is a household favorite over here.

And no offense to Rockwell,  but how did he manage to snag Michael Jackson for some backup singing? However it happened, from the photo below, it looks like the recording sessions were fun – and Micheal’s jeans, tee and band jacket – excellent.

BTW, I just read that Rockwell chose his performing name because he “rocked well”. Totally love it.

If you want to continue on Rockwell’s odeyssey of being messed with, watch and listen to his follow up number “Obscene Phone Caller“.

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on August 14, 2011

Books »Fane

by David M. Alexander (1981)

There’s not a ton of information about the fun imaginative sci-fi novel, Fane but that David M. Alexander is, like me, a huge fan of Jack Vance would be apparent even if he didn’t state his admiration in his dedication to the author.

The tale begins with a lazy, selfish young man sent by his powerful wizard Uncle on a seemingly simple errand, which he promptly messes up. This leads to quite an adventure on the planet Fane, which is ruled not by known rules of science but bizarre magical powers. Can our unwilling hero harness these powers to not only save his own hide but those of his alien companions and the planet races as a whole?

Man, I better hope that Van grows up with the same love of goofy, fun science fiction, or else I am going to have a whole lot of out of print paper backs to find a home for.

While this particular out of print paperback is a little hard to find, I’ve learned that it’s been re-released under the name The Accidental Magician and now sports some insane cover art that unlike the original, doesn’t really have much to do with the storyline.

PS, this forgotten little book is not to be confused with the Fane werewolf romance series by Susan Krinard.

See more: Books

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on June 24, 2011

Movies »The Apple

directed by Menahem Golan (1980)

Trying to cash in on the success of Grease and Rocky Horror, the makers of The Apple weren’t terribly ambitious with production values. Their future is one of hologram stickers and aluminum foil but their expectations of how the world would change by 1994 (!) were ambitious indeed. Surprisingly, we are not all being controlled by the devil with holograms and pop music… or are we??

A totally eye popping crazy thing, The Apple is worth at least one viewing in your life. The Adam and Eve parable that could only be described as both dumb and fascinting has become a bit of a cult classic, though to be perfectly honest, it wears a little thin after about an hour.

But just know that between the seemingly unending weepy songs there is a simulated sex dance that looks like it takes place in a Sleepy’s in heaven and a floating car in the sky that abruptly ends everything (though not in quite as cool a way as it does in Repo Man).

The fact that this is a German made film is clear in a million little ways, but the leading lady is unmistakably Canadian, with the kind of slutty, round faced loveliness that I never fail to be charmed by.

Trashy fun, this gem can be seen on Netflix streaming and even if the plot lacks a bit, some of the songs are undeniably catchy. Plus there’s ton’s of latex jumpsuits, see through rain coats, studded everything, and diamond encrusted grills.

It has the dubious distinction of being one of the few movie musicals not made into a live musical. Seems about time to change that, no?

See more: Movies

One Comment →
Posted on June 7, 2011

Songs »Pizza Party

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty Eight: Best Song for a Terrible Looking Board Game:

Pizza Party by Unknown (1987)

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 28, 2011

Songs »Poison

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty Six: Song That Makes You Wish It Were 1989 and You Were Living Your Life as a Heavy Metal Slut:

Poison by Alice Cooper (1989)

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 26, 2011

Songs »White Horse

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty Three: Most Danceable Argument Against Starting Heroin:

White Horse by Laid Back (1983)

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 23, 2011

Songs »Hard Ticket to Hawaii

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty: Best Movie Theme Song (Action/Adventure):

Hard Ticket to Hawaii by Gary Stockdale

PS – Hard Ticket to Hawaii = Also One of Our Favorite Movies of All Time

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 20, 2011

Songs »Joysticks (Totally Awesome Video Games!)

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Nineteen: Best Movie Theme Song (Comedy):

Joysticks (Totally Awesome Video Games!) by John Caper Jr.

PS – Joysticks = One of Our Favorite Movies of All Time

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 19, 2011

Songs »Wild Thing

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Seventeen: Best Song to Play Non Stop for a Week to Promote Your Radio Station:

Wild Thing by Tone Loc (1988)

(those that lived in Providence in 1999 know what I am talking about)

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 17, 2011

Songs »(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Sixteen: Best Synthpop Cover of a Bad Song:

(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me by Naked Eyes (1983)

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 16, 2011

Songs »We Belong

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Ten: Best Song With Which To Close A Karaoke Bar:

We Belong by Pat Benatar (1984)

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 10, 2011

Songs »Institutionalized

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Two: Best Song to Wreck a Hotel Room to if You’re 16:

Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies (1983)

See more: Songs

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on May 2, 2011

Songs »So Many Men, So Little Time

30 Day Song Challenge – Day One: Best Song to Choreograph Your Chippendale Audition To:


So Many Men, So Little Time By Miquel Brown (1983)

See more: Songs

One Comment →
Posted on May 1, 2011

Movies »Coup de Torchon

directed by Bertrand Tavernier (1981)

If nihilists believed in heroes then Lucien, the small town sheriff in Coup de Torchon could be the man for them. He comes by way of Jim Thompson, darkest noirest extraordinaire and his novel, Pop. 1280. That book is set in 1917 Texas but the movie is cleverly moved to 1930s West French Africa, Senegal.

I haven’t read the book to compare it to (though it’s definitely making my list), but I think director Bertrand Tavernier has captured the weird, almost surreal darkness of Thompson’s work most effectively on film. (P.S. – other notable adaptations: Serie Noir, After Dark My Sweet).

To say Lucien is disrespected is an understatement. He’s called ass licker and turd more than by name, he is kicked by other policemen, pushed around by the local pimps, mocked by his own wife – and for good reason. As a policemen he never arrests anyone and ignores crime as much as possible, even when own mistress is being abused publicly.

He seems to initially be a gentle and simple sort who detests violence and has more respect for natives than most. Which is why you are almost on his side when he begins to take action against the “trash” of the city by committing righteous murder.

But, as the film progresses and his motives become less about justice than his selfishness, any semblance of morality is blown. Played with just right amount of pathos and underlying insanity by Philippe Noiret, the sheriff, if I had to imagine him cast today, could be pulled off by a bitter little Patton Oswald and his unassuming baby face.

Scrounging around in the mud of human depravity with him are his scheming wife played by the always amazing Stephane Audran, her “brother”/secret lover – a half witted brute (I’d cast John C Rielly in my remake), his mistress, Rose, a piece of amoral work with a naive lust for violence and chaos played by the also always amazing Isabelle Huppert.

The cast is astounding, turning almost cartoonish physical comedy into something dimensional. Not that it’s cartoonish due to sloppy film making, quite the opposite, Tavernier manages the tough balance of darkest comedy only to reveal something very sinister.

The totally bizarre alternate ending, featuring dancing man apes, is worth a look on the Criterion Collection release. The only way this low profile masterpiece could have better is if it had stayed in.

Click here for the rest of Coup de Torchon

See more: Movies

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on February 12, 2011

Books »Ham On Rye

by Charles Bukowski (1982)

There is a great tradition in American literature of tough men telling masturbation soaked tales of youthful losers. I can’t say it’s my go-to source for reading, which is probably why Ham on Rye has sat on my book shelves for over a decade. I bought it in my high school years, exactly the right time to want to be into Bukowski. But I never was.

I wondered how his coarse, depressing stuff would read with an older me – and have a loose resolution to watch, read, and listen to artists I’ve never experienced but am curious about. I started with Tom Wolfe (big success) and Bukowski was right next to him on the shelf.

Like other rough and manly men of the written word, his writing is to the point. it’s sparse but still conveys a very vivid picture. The picture Ham and Rye shows is this: it sucked to be Charles Bukowski as a kid, or I should say, Hank Chinaski, his semi autobiographical anti-hero. If anyone asked him why he drank, he could probably just plop this book down on the table.

One almost expects this portrait of a young man, forced to the outside fringes of society to end with a mass murder perpetrated by the shunned, horny misanthrope rather than a penny arcade defeat. But true to Bukowski’s negative eye on the world – things end more poignantly with a whimper.

I was surprised to enjoy this book (well, enjoy is maybe too joyful a word). Though I do have a weird knack for reading bleak stuff when it’s at odds with my life (Miss Lonelyhearts before I got married, this one as Van sleeps peacefully next to me).

See more: Books

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on February 2, 2011

Books »Bonfire of the Vanities

by Tom Wolfe (1987)

There are people who know how to tell a story and those who don’t. Tom Wolfe can tell a story. With an ear for dialogue, a sharp eye for details, and an almost tabloid journalism joy for exposing and wallowing in the character’s flaws, in his first fictional novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe is wry, smart and highly entertaining.

Little wonder that it was a national best seller that spawned a (reportedly terrible and definitely miscast) star studded movie.

The writing is Dickens by way of Richard Price. In less deft hands, lacking the dark sense of humor, this could have been a self riteous bore, but it’s crisp, witty and makes me want to read more from the well dressed icon.

Set in the mid 80’s Bonfire is the story of one Sherman McCoy, a Wall Street millionaire who ends up embroiled in scandal when he and his mistress commit hit and run while lost in the streets of the Bronx. Race, class warfare, politics, greed, and yellow journalism all play their part in this epic story.

See more: Books

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on January 30, 2011