This Merle Haggard Christmas album begins with a cheery If We Make It Through December and stumbles along in boozy haze till everyone’s miserable. His rotten kid is demanding a puppy and tell me that’s not the most self pitying Silent Night ever. And that’s just one side. Think I’ll flip it over and see if he gets insulted by a drunken Santa. It ends with Daddy Won’t Be Home Again For Christmas, which hopefully is about prison. I’ll probably be playing this every Christmas.
Ran into Louis Van Taylor last nite. Damn what a player. Had one of those casually intense conversations that are the hallmarks of jazz players, and I remember how I had to earn my way into those conversations by writing like a motherfucker. I gotta say I miss that rarified air. I vividly remember the moment I realized I’d been accepted into the fold when me and some LA’s finest players were sitting in a Glendale bar between sets, surrounded by drunks and Armenians and insulting each other. You’re one of us, they said. Fuck you, I said. Mutual respect, be bop style. If you’re gonna write about jazz, you need to write as well as they play.
Most vile cup of coffee I ever made was in 1979 when my percolator went berzerk and reduced a whole pot to an an ounce or two of bitter meth. I downed it in a single gulp since I was cramming for a final in some ridiculously difficult class, and while catching a couple hours sleep in the wee hours of the morning had one helluva seizure and when I got to the class for the exam had amnesia and couldn’t remember a single thing. I turned in an empty paper and flunked the course. Never managed a cup of coffee like that again.
Peace by the Rotary Connection is still my fave Christmas LP, a psychedelic hippie stoner funky soul celebration of my fave holiday, complete with groovy Hendrix inspired guitar and Santa so stoned he can’t find the door and comes down the chimney. Minnie Ripperton sounds great on it too. Recommended. I found my unopened copy for a dollar.
I don’t know what movie this is, but Julie Newmar looks like she could hurt James Mason. In fact, Julie Newmar looks like she could hurt me. Pretty good Swedish accent, too, quite musical. Though imagining Julie Newmar hurting me and James Mason in a Swedish accent seems weird.
Saw Dunkirk. Quite a let down. As an action flick it was pretty good, and a lot of it was gorgeous, but as far as being in anyway a reflection or retelling of the battle and rescue at Dunkirk, it flopped. It failed badly as history, which wouldn’t be an issue except that it presented itself as a historical epic. The three primary narrative threads–the RAF pilots, the soldiers on the beach, and the boat–all avoided showing the evacuation completely. The pilots engaged in dog fights over the channel, the soldiers spent the entire evacuation in the hold of a beached fishing boat acting like a cowardly mob instead of a platoon of Royal infantry, and the boat picked up soldiers without getting anywhere near the beach. All three subplots were arranged so that we never saw the evacuation off the beaches at all. It’d be like shooting The Longest Day or Saving Private Ryan without showing the D-Day landings. Perhaps there was no financing. So we get an action flick instead of a historical drama. But it’s a shame, as it was an epic operation, some very high drama, and an extraordinary tale, and we miss nearly all of it in this film that promised all of that. Imagine what David Lean could have done with such material.
Just watched Scenes From the Class Struggle In Beverly Hills for the first time in decades. Funny flick, man, though I suppose it’s even funnier if you’re from L.A. It’s kind of a really fucked up Philadelphia Story. It ends and I turn it off and switch on the radio and there’s Dwight Trible and my mind tripped over itself shifting from one to the other.