2011: A Few of My Favorite Things

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Bass Drum of Death: In February of ’93 I was stuck in a shitty job at a brokerage firm in Dallas, Texas. I was The Human Resource Dude, which meant I recruited new brokers into the firm and taught them how to pass the Series 7 exam (the SEC’s test to see if you’re fit to peddle stocks and bonds) as well as getting on the phone to peddle penny stocks myself. Honesty made me a terrible penny stockbroker, and our firm was in a whole bunch of trouble, so instead of jumping to the new, equally-shitty firm, I opted out of that world. Which is a fancy way to say I quit. I had no idea where I’d end up, or what job I’d have (a few months later I was selling Nissans and enduring the darkest days of my working days). Anyway, a lot of times when you’re in that kind of phase in your life, it’s always a great time to hit the road. So, without telling a soul, I jumped into my jeep and drove to Memphis to tour Graceland. Then I headed south, to Oxford, Mississippi, to walk through William Faulkner’s home and witness his writing room…the one in which The Fable is outlined on the wall. I also discovered Square Books. I stayed at a great Bed-and-Breakfast I can no longer name, but I can tell you the lady who ran the joint knew I was a “Yankee” the second I asked for cheese grits with my scrambled eggs and sausage. “How could you tell?” I asked. She just smiled. How would I know almost 20 years later my very favorite band of 2011 would hail from that great, little town?

The Hedgehog: Did I ever tell you why I can’t watch any James Bond movie? Cause there’s nothing to fear. You know he’ll NEVER die…no matter what nifty shit the enemy pulls. Which is why ya gotta love French cinema, mostly cause they have no problem killing off their main characters. So when I went into The Hedgehog, I was quite certain Paloma was going to fulfill her chosen path — to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Paloma lives in an upper-middle class apartment in Paris, with her Pill Poppin’ mom, Pain-in-the-Ass older sis, and Big Business Dad. But it’s the Hedgehog who steals this show, and all I’m gonna tell ya is Paloma doesn’t wind up ending it all.

Gravity’s Rainbow: From its Wiki — “Gravity’s Rainbow is a postmodern novel written by Thomas Pynchon and first published on February 28, 1973.” That’s one way to put it. Another is it’s a totally unreadable, 750 page mess that (kinda) centers on the V2 rocket, the first weapon that travelled faster than the speed of sound. Which Pynchon obsessed about. Cause more than once he talks about the rocket hitting you first…and then the typical noise an incoming rocket sounding. Cause it was that typical noise that cause the poor souls of WWII London to scramble for the underground to save their lives…before the V1 hit. Try to imagine it: you’re just trying to survive through the nastiest war the world has ever known, and far off in the distance you hear the incoming, and you haul ass to safety. With the V2 there was no more of that. Oh, and one of the main characters of the book pops a boner whenever the Germans launch a V2. How ’bout that? I’m about 100 pages in — and determined to finish it this time — and so far there’s been a zillion characters tossed my way, but I finally figured out the main character of the book is WWII itself.

Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves: Books, music, and movies. The three things that make my life worth living. Oh, and the fourth thing — flea markets. Sure, the Pasadena one is gigantic (overwhelming) and very great, and the Portobello Road Market in London is where I scored one of my very favorite things (the “Careless Moments” tobacco card set featuring the pin-up girls of 1922), but the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves is my very favorite flea market…maybe cause it’s in my very favorite city in the world.

Riley Reid: I’m over The Whores. Really, I am. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t hate whores; in fact, I love them! I just don’t want to engage them in anything more than a working relationship. Which is to say I’ll say “hello” to them when they walk in my studio, and I’ll treat them with respect while we’re working, and I’ll say buh-bye to them when they leave. And that’s that. Except maybe Miss Reid, who likes old, useless things more than I do.

Allie James: I swore when I was about to blast out this blog I’d mention only one (potential) future “porn star” (always an interesting term), but here I am mentioning two. Allie James is a barely-legal blonde from a tiny town in Upstate New York who jumped into the Porno Game a few months ago. And she gets it…which usually only happens to a girl after she’s been in this whacky biz for a year or more. (And never, ever to a barely legal). Unless she’s a Speigler Girl, of course.

Fucked Up’s “David Comes to Life“: I walked into Amoeba last spring as they were playing what would become the best record of 2011, “David Comes to Life“. I walked out with the LP tucked under my arm, and when I saw they were slated to play the El Rey, I was all over it. Not just cause of the band, either. I’ll go to any historic theater in LA just to check out the venue itself. (One of the reasons I’m psyched for Wilco’s show at the Los Angeles). By the time Fucked Up came to LA, David Comes to Life had been on my turntable almost non-stop for weeks. The band runs their Swag Table, so in addition to spending $50 on 7” records, I chatted it up with their lead singer, Damian Abraham. He mentioned they were on their way to The Casbah next, and I knew about The Casbah cause it’s a legendary San Diego punk club, so I asked, “Hey, do you mind if I photograph you guys tomorrow night?” He agreed. He’s the nicest dude, as is the band, and I left San Diego the next night with a couple hundred photos. I’d call some of them great, but no one likes a braggart.

The Minion: We’ve had our up & downs, and we drive each other crazy almost all the time, but I couldn’t do what I do without him. Do what? Add to the decay of the moral fiber of our society, one scene at a time.

Bass Drum of Death

2 thoughts on “2011: A Few of My Favorite Things”

  1. Billy, I don’t know if I should be glad or sad because Gravity’s Rainbow isn’t yet published in my country: Portugal. And speaking of flea markets, you should defenitly check out Feira da Ladra in Lisbon, the mother of all flea markets. Happy New Year!

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