SOUNDTRACK: 1-SPEED BIKE-Droopy Butt Begone [CST 014] (2000).
1-Speed Bike is a remix project by Adian Girt who has played in Godspeed You Black Emperor and Exhaust for Constellation Records. This is his first release as 1-Speed Bike. He has released several more on other labels but I haven’t heard any of them.
The most interesting thing about this disc are the titles of the songs. And those titles are so clever that it gives one high hopes for the album. I don’t know who Mauro and Elwy are (track 1) but the rest are certainly interesting if not confrontational.
1. The Day That Mauro Ran Over Elwy Yost
2. Seattle/Washington/Prague 00/68 Chicago/Nixon/Reagan Circle-Fighting Machine
3. Yuppie Restaurant-Goers Beware Because This Song Is For The Dishwasher
4. Just Another Jive-Assed White Colonial Theft
5. Why Are All The Dogs Dying Of Cancer?
6. My Kitchen Is Tiananmen Square
7. Any Movement That Forgets About Class Is A Bowel Movement
But what’s disappointing is that the album is comprised almost entirely of a drum machine and some other sounds. The drums are very very loud in the mix, and there’s very little variation in each song (which befits a remix, I suppose). And yet, the “musical” section is largely nonexistent. There’s a lot of spoken word stuff, which is fun, but it also seems randomly thrown on there. The disc opens with him asking someone to be quiet because he has to flush the toilet. There’s a lengthy declaration of love for his family and war against capitalism. And that everyone else can fuck off if they don’t want to hear him talk politics.
There are samples sprinkled around the disc, but most of them are inaudible or played with so much that it renders them hard to figure out. There are some interesting sounds in “My Kitchen is Tienanmen Square,” but the rest is kind of dull. The end of the last song offers a voice mail message that gives you the title of the album.
Overall, not an exciting debut for 1-Speed Bike.
[READ: April 12, 2014] The Strange Case of Edward Gorey
I bought this book many years ago when I was on an Alexander Theroux kick (which actually means I wanted to read some of his books but did not, although I do hope to). Anyhow, this book has been staring at me for some time so I decided to just dive in. I actually know precious little about Theroux except that his novel are supposed to be weird or difficult or something. I know slightly more about Edward Gorey, although little more than his drawing style (which I love) and his sense of humor (which I share).
So this book is a sort of a biography of Gorey by Theroux. Theroux was one of Gorey’s close friends. This is saying something because as a rule Gorey was rather a recluse and didn’t much like people (he did like cats, though). The book is not a proper biography–a biography of his works or even of his life. It is more of a biography of the man and his quirks. There’s very little about his childhood, and not a lot about his books (except for Theroux’s admiration). But mostly its about what it was like to hang out with Gorey–and to delight in the baroque and fun turns of phrase that Gorey used.
We learn a lot about what he liked (soap operas, classic movies [Metropolis, M, Sunrise, Gold Digger series], obscure horror films [The Town That Dreaded Sunrise, Women of Straw, Suspiria (at least I've heard of that one)], TV shows [The X-Files, The Golden Girls, Matlock, Buffy the Vampire Slayer] and of course, classic literature [he was well versed in many original languages]. We also learn what he most assuredly did not like. He did not like Star Wars, he did not like Mel Brooks, he did not like Robert Altman or Woody Allen [Gorey was a film critic for a time]. And as for our foremost actress, Meryl Streep, he has this to say:
“Oh please!” said he, every time she opens her mouth, the critics insist Dostoevsky’s speaking!” He paused. “And who’s even dippier is Glenn Close. Sexless as a teabag. Neither man, not woman, nor in-between! Julia Roberts’s face looks like it’s made of rubber — remember those Snap, Crackle and Pop cartoon faces? And of course Streisand. God help us, I won’t even go to see.” Gorey loathed her with a passion, even more than John Waters does. I once heard him fulminate for a good half-hour on the impossible stupidity of her 1962 hit, “People,” a song that, with its mawkish, politically correct soul-sharing, shrinkingly embodies to a T everything that Edward Gorey utterly loathed: “Pee-pull, pee-pull who need pee-pull are the luuu-kiest pee-pull in the wooooooorld!.” I cannot honestly think of a single sentiment that would have driven Edward Gorey battier faster than the flaccid lyrics of that song with its, to him, canasta-closeness, hideous interconnectedness, and ultimate meaninglessness.
He also hated Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Marquis de Sade’s writing, right-wing talk show hosts, every movie Al Pacino ever made [Of Bobby Deerfield he cried out during the movie, "oh for Christ's sake...what is this in aid of?"] and Martha Stewart. And while he had great disdain for Barbra Walters and Maya Angelou, he was especially appalled by “the invincible vulgarity of the preposterous Kathie Lee Gifford and the host of miniature faces she was constantly pulling” (20) saying: “her facial contortions would be excessive on Daffy Duck” (44).
One thing to note about the book. As you can see form the page numbers above, similar sentiments about Gifford are on page 20 and 44. Theroux tends to circle back onto the same topics a number of times. So the same names tend to pop up three or four times (Buffy comes up at least 3). It feels like Theroux (who published this soon after Gorey died) wrote it in fits and just needed to get down as much as possible. And while the book feels repetitive, it never feels flaccid or like it’s full of padding. It just feels like a huge outpouring of information. Or like an essay collections by a person who tends to revisit similar material.
Interestingly, the book isn’t necessarily for fans of Gorey. I honestly haven’t read any of his works in years, but I found this book funny and strangely cathartic (if you like bitchy, opinionated scholar-types). If any of the above appeals, you’ll get a kick of out Gorey, whether you like his drawings or not. The book is also full of Gorey’s drawings (although nothing new), from his books and from some of his posters.
I was also intrigued by the fact that Gorey, clearly no friend of people, did not shy away from the outside world. He lived on Cape Cod and New York City where his number was in the phone book the whole time. He walked around Manhattan in a big beard and fur coat (until he gave up the coat for animal rights reasons). When he moved full time to Cape Cod, he lived in a residential area and did not turn away any fans (he always had manners even if he knew the whole thing was kind of silly). And apparently his house was simply chock full of fascinating geegaws and gimcracks.
For all of his proclamations about others, he did not have a large ego about his own work. And the book gives the impression that he was just an opinionated guy who knew what he liked and was happy to share his thoughts with others (or his cats).
I just found out that Theroux reissued this book in 2011 and updated it from 68 pages (my version) to 168 pages. I don’t know how much has changed. In looking online it seems like maybe all he has done is make the original pictures larger, but there may be other textual changes as well.