Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I feel Voxish (with apologies to The Fall)

This morning's cold, continuous RAIN perfectly fits the mood of my latest iPod playlist.
"Voxish" alternates between the best-known songs of the Eighties synth-driven bands VISAGE, JAPAN and Midge Ure-era ULTRAVOX.
The songs are alternated in a rather random order, so the playlist opens with Visage's "Fade to Grey," Ultravox's "Sleepwalk" and Japan's "Gentlemen Take Polaroids."
I'm still tweaking it. It would be jarring for a slow Japan song such as "Ghosts" to sit adjacent to a rousing Ultravox number such as "Reap The Wild Wind."
So, while my playlist is a work in progress, it's also a nice accompaniment for a cold, rainy day.
That is, there is no need to "Fade to Grey," because it's grey anyway today. Sorry, I just had to write that bit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feeling fortunate with a tune and a missed storm

I'm feeling fortunate this morning.
Although it's grey and gloomy here, a wicked WINTER storm rages a few hundred miles to our north -- dumping more than a foot of snow on some places.
I'm also feeling fortunate because you don't always hear "TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS" by PHILIP OAKEY & GIORGIO MORODER on the radio, but I did today.
The collaboration between THE HUMAN LEAGUE singer and the pioneering electro-disco producer provided the centerpiece of the soundtrack to the 1984 film "ELECTRIC DREAMS."
The song has easily overshadowed the film, in which a man and his home computer both fall for a cellist.
It's always great to hear that song.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Everyone in the world can sing "Hungry Like The Wolf"

I've brought out the DURAN DURAN records, CDs and MP3s this week.
Now that the current crop of bands makes no bones about their debts to Birmingham's "Fab Five," Duran Duran seem almost like pioneers, instead of pop stars.
In his book, "Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and...," Rob Sheffield writes about the longevity and cultural resonance of a band many of us once pilloried for their haircuts (while subtly nodding our heads along with the music):
"(Duran Duran) have been famous and beloved for 30 years. It's fair to say that at the time, we all thought this band would be forgotten by now, yet everyone in the Western world can still sing 'Hungry Like the Wolf.'"
There's a charm about Duran Duran that endures, somehow, across the generations.
I'll explore that charm while listening to them in the car today.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In praise of the pioneering Coyle & Sharpe

Nearly 50 years ago, a pair of fast-talking, well-dressed men with microphones took the streets of SAN FRANCISCO, quizzing unwitting passersby about absurd topics, recording them, and presenting their work on the radio as comedic bits they termed "terrorizations."
JAMES P. COYLE and MAL SHARPE pioneered a type of prank that has since influenced radio stations and modern comedians across the globe by methods such as asking a druggist if he could sell them sterilizing equipment for an amateur open-heart surgery, by asking a tourist if he would participate in an underground ritual involving unarmed humans fighting off fierce animals and more illogical scenarios.
I spent much of yesterday feeling rather ill, but still laughing as I listened to a collection of Coyle and Sharpe's work.
Writer Kenneth Goldsmith describes how the pair "inflicted a hilarious brand of man-on-the-streets interviews on an unsuspecting public:"
"Their straight appearance a ruse,they would pull in unwitting and unsuspecting passers-bye to answer their ultimately absurd questions, often convincing the victim to do something as outrageous as agreeing to commit murder or rob a bank."
The pair asked a print shop owner to paint a house, asked a tailor to place insects in the pockets of suits and asked a landlady if they could live in her building's elevator shaft. Somehow, they kept straight faces and their targets grew increasingly frustrated, incredulous and alarmed -- with hilarious results.
Sharpe recalls why they were successful:
"In the early 60's, it was a rarity for someone to encounter street reporters. That's why we could get away with putting people on. We were well-dressed in suits, and people would stare at the microphone because they had never seen one before. Part of the reason that we could be con men was simply because we had a tape recorder."
Check out the Coyle & Sharpe website here, for more of their story and some audio samples of their early form of guerrilla humor.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Make the time for "Once Upon a Time in America"

If you have the four hours to invest, there are few better films than the SERGIO LEONE opus, "ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA."
ROBERT DENIRO and JAMES WOODS star as Jewish gangsters who find their friendship crumbling amid differing ambitions at Prohibition's end.
Released in a clumsily condensed version in 1984, the film has grown in stature once it was released in its restored version.
Director Michael Polish is an unabashed fan of the film.
He describes Leone's approach to mood and time in "The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark:"
"Leone wants to create mood with style, and that's because he allows time and picture to be one, as opposed to you seeing just the style and cutting and filmmaking. He allowed the scene to play out in the fullest extent. He was probably the best director to evoke time."
Again, if you have the time yourself, you should watch this spectacular film.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Question goes up, up and awaaaaaaay!

Spiderman could scale walls, Superman could fly, Aquaman could communicate with fish, the Flash could run really fast and Batman could insert himself into police investigations while hoarding all manner of equipment in a cave and living off inexhaustible levels of personal wealth.
Wow! Super powers are cool!
Here is what ROUTE 1 readers said when we asked them the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What super power would you most like to have?"
INGER H. -- Teleportation! It would be incredible to be able to travel wherever I wanted in moments and without expense. Oh, how I would take advantage of that!
KERI M. -- To fly.
JIM S. -- SuperSwen, strong man! I would use my strength only for the good of mankind, namely to do a lot of landscaping at my home on Hill Street - using very large boulders.
ANNIKA H. -- Mind reading!
JEFF T. -- Understanding women.
BRIAN M. -- To read minds and see the future.
ROSEANNE H. -- The power to magically have the garage clean and organized and to have our master bath remodel finished!
SASKIA M. -- Seeing the "true colors" of other human beings.
SANDYE V. -- In fairy tales, these things always have their downside -- as in be careful what you wish for. But the ability to fly without taking your shoes off, the pat-down and other indignities -- that would be awesome.
JOHN S. -- Endless wealth, like Bruce Wayne!
ERIK H. -- I've often thought time travel would be a good one, simply so I could travel back and undo some of the stupid mistakes I've made. Of course, then I wouldn't have the wisdom gained from those mistakes, which is almost a super power in itself.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Post No. 2,300: Led Zep in the morning, folks!

CHRIS EVANS opened his BBC RADIO 2 BREAKFAST SHOW this morning with one of rock history's best "wake up songs," "ROCK AND ROLL" by LED ZEPPELIN.
The song definitely put me in the mood for some more Led Zep the remainder of the day.
I work a Sunday through Thursday shift now, so today also marks the week's end for me.
One more reason to crank up the music!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What a start to Lent: I'm craving STEAK?!

I dreamt last night I was back in the West, driving through a small ranching community in the shadows of peaks.
I woke up craving STEAK, naturally.
Of course, it would have to be ASH WEDNESDAY and the beginning of 40 days of LENT, now, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Duty, self-preservation collide in "Sword of the Beast"

Duty, self-preservation and personal responsibility collide in "KENDAMONO NO KEN (SWORD OF THE BEAST)," the 1965 HIDEO GOSHO classic film I watched on DVD last night.
Mikijiro Hira plays Yuuki Gennosuke, a samurai hunted by members of his own clan after he assassinated the tyrannical clan boss.
Gennosuke seeks refuge on a mountain where a husband and wife illegally pan for gold that will benefit their own, impoverished clan.
When the couple becomes endangered and ultimately betrayed, Gennosuke must choose between risking his life for theirs or continuing his flight from his deadly pursuers.
Gosha (1929-1992) made what are considered to be among the darkest films in the samurai genre. "Sword of the Beast" adheres to this tendency with enough double-crossing (and numerous flashbacks) to fill several film noirs.
I highly recommend this film.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Feel old the Depeche Mode way

OK, now I *really* feel old.
DEPECHE MODE released "DREAMING OF ME," their debut single, 31 years ago today.
Thirty-one years!?!?
The casual reader deserves some perspective.
* Thirty-one years before "Dreaming of Me," the biggest-selling singles in America included "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry, "Rag Mop" by The Ames Brothers and "Mona Lisa" by Nat King Cole.
* Thirty-one years before "Dreaming of Me," the song "Are You Lonesome Tonight" was a hit... for Al Jolson.
* Thirty-one years before "Dreaming of Me," Elvis Presley remained four years away from releasing his debut single in 1954.
What's more, Depeche Mode were the contemporaries of me and my friends. They were a band as old as we were.
That's why today's anniversary makes me feel so old.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Kurtz and Willard relationship

I watched the 1979 FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA epic "APOCALYPSE NOW" on DVD this weekend.
I was particularly interested in the relationship between the characters of Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen) and his upriver target, Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando).
In his book about "Apocalypse Now," Peter Cowie explores the pair of characters who meet in the film's final act.
"The character of Willard, the army captain who toils up-river to terminate Colonel Kurtz and his renegade command, was based on Fred Rexer, whom (scriptwriter John) Milius had met at a gun show soon after completing 'The Wind and the Lion.' Rexer had been a Green Beret in Laos and had taken part in the Phoenix programme to subdue VC influence in the villages. Rexer had actually experienced the scene recounted by Kurtz in the film, where the arms of children are hacked off by the Vietcong. Sensing the symbiosis between Kurtz and Willard, (director Francis Ford) Coppola wrote in one of his earliest notes about the film in prospect, 'if (Willard) can accept Kurtz, then he can accept himself.' By comprehending Kurtz he also enters into some strange alliance with him."
I watched with interest as the two interacted, and Kurtz instructed Willard to take his story back to civilization.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Art appreciation: Will Eisner's "The Spirit" edition

WILL EISNER'S creation, "THE SPIRIT," has been my favorite comic book character since childhood.
I read some of the early 1940 adventures last night.
Oh, and by "read," I mean I marveled at the high art of Eisner's work.
Eisner studied under an anatomy teacher for a year as part of his artistic training and "The Spirit" featured then-pioneering effects such as characters extending themselves beyond the panel.
"The Sandman" creator, the graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, called "The Spirit," "perhaps the finest and most consistently ambitious creation of its kind."
I have literally spent hours studying single panels of Eisner's work.
Picking up my book of 1940s "Spirit" comics is as much a visit to a fine arts museum as it is a journey to a dark city infested with crooks that live like rats.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Good readin' the Friday Question way

Here at ROUTE 1, we have decided that since the eye doctor gave us prescription reading glasses, we might as well use them.
Besides, the frames are based on NERDY 50s JAZZ PIANIST EYE WEAR. How cool is that?
That leads us to this week's FRIDAY QUESTION, the perennial favorite:
"Read any good books lately?"
BEKAH P. -- I recently read the "Hunger Games" trilogy. It took me all of one weekend to finish all three books: that's how addictive they were! That being said, they weren't the most literary selection, so now I'm nursing my brain with David McCullough's Pulitzer-winning biography of John Adams. It's part of my (relatively recent) decision to read a biography of every President. Alas, I've only finished one about George Washington, but in fairness, that's a pretty big one.
BRIAN C. -- "Sweetness," the biography of the late football star Walter Payton, by Jeff Pearlman. Excellent book, but it shows how complicated (and hypocritical) lives can be. "Unbroken," by Laura Hillenbrand. Young track star becomes WWII pilot and somehow survives unspeakable ordeals. It's non-fiction that no novelist would have the imagination to concoct.
KERI M. -- "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert.
RICK T. -- No, but I'm sure there's one out there I should be reading today! Hello from a sunny Florida!
BRIAN M. -- I just finished (about three years after the rest of the planet) "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". I enjoyed it... I've been wanting to see the movie, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I want to read the other books in the series.
MIKE M. -- I’ve been on a Richard Pike Bissell reading jag, lately, the Dubuquer of “Pajama Game” fame. Blurbs from pocket editions of Bissell’s first novel, "A Stretch on the River," proclaimed it to be “Tough, Boisterous, Uninhibited” and “Rowdy, Racy, Riotous,” though a Dubuque grand jury declined to make any indictments after they scrutinized the book in a 1951 obscenity probe initiated by Auleen Eberhardt’s Catholic Mother’s Study Club.
SANDYE V. -- Lately, I have been savoring a long arm-chair travel book, "1,000 Places to See Before You Die." I found that travel books are great light reading for when I don't have time to get sucked into a page-turner (or in the case of Kindle reading, a tab pusher.)
ANNIKA H. -- "The Hunger Games."
MIKE D. -- "Incredible Fishing Stories," by Shaun Morey. It was given to me last
spring by the widow of my 92-year-old neighbor, who passed away months
earlier. She thought I might appreciate it. I did.
ERIK H. -- I've spent so much time inside the pages of "Got, Not Got: The A-Z of Lost Football Culture, Treasures & Pleasures" the outside binding is beginning to tear. I only received the book at Christmas. English football supporters and journalists Derek Hammond and Gary Silke collect and present the soccer treasures of their youth -- a time before the sport became so commercialized and moneyed. I have been astounded to find that many of the cards, books, pennants, scarves and other items they saved were the same types of items I saved on the other side of the Atlantic.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Seeds of my obsession

I'm not going to say "here is where it all began," because my mom wouldn't have taken 12-year-old me to the OAKLAND STOMPERS v. LOS ANGELES AZTECS match if I hadn't already been a soccer fanatic.
I will say the May 10, 1978 match at the Oakland Coliseum (attendance: 8,771 other fanatics and my mom, God bless her) was the moment that probably cemented ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL as the sport I regard the highest.
I'm afraid remembered details are scant. The Aztecs won, 2-1, on a NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE rule adaption called the "penalty shootout." I can't recall George Best playing for Los Angeles but I know the center of attention in Oakland was the presence of SHEP MESSING in goal.
Goalkeeper Messing was one of the first American soccer players with anything approaching a national profile -- he played for the national team and appeared in magazine advertisements and television commercials.
The remainder of the players were that curious NASL mix of unknown Americans, aging Brits and talented Yugoslavs.
I didn't care. This match was the first I watched live, in person. This match helped launch an obsession.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My dad would have loved "Little Britain"

My late father, GEORGE W. HOGSTROM, would have been 85 today, had he not passed away in 1992.
Among his many influences upon me was an endearing love of BRITISH TELEVISION COMEDIES. My dad showed me the greatness of MONTY PYTHON from my earliest days.
My dad would have loved "LITTLE BRITAIN."
I needed some relief last night following a particularly draining day at work. I turned to episode one of the first season of "Little Britain" on DVD, and the comedic genius of DAVID WALLIAMS and MATT LUCAS.
Upon its debut in 2003, "Little Britain" unveiled a memorable cast of characters played by Walliams and Lucas, including Lou and Andy, a "disabled" man and his naive carer; Emily Howard, an unconvincing "lady" and Vicky Pollard, a quick-speaking delinquent spewing gossip.
My laughter eased the strains of the day, and I couldn't help thinking my dad would have loved the show, too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A morning of space-age Roxy Music rock

It was a good morning for the space-age rock 'n' roll of "FOR YOUR PLEASURE," the second album by ROXY MUSIC.
I drove KERSTIN and a friend to school in pre-dawn darkness, with icy streets and snow-covered grassy areas.
Songs such as "Beauty Queen" and "Grey Lagoons" seemed like the perfect accompaniment.
Synthesiser specialist BRIAN ENO was one of the star players, appearing on his final recording for the band before heading for a solo recording and production career.
Eno takes many of the instruments, including oboe, saxophone and guitar, and remakes them with a variety of electronic effects.
The result is a band sound that sounds futuristic, despite the 39 years that have elapsed since the record's release.
It all sounded perfect this morning.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Down South" in the midst of war

Fighting an unseen enemy in the dark, with death choosing comrades with seemingly random abandon.
That's the life described by WILLIAM H. HARDWICK in his war memoir, "DOWN SOUTH: ONE TOUR IN VIETNAM."
Hardwick was an artillery officer in the war and his memories surround some of the most intense fighting in the country, circa 1968-69.
His descriptive powers place you in the heart of the jungle, in the middle of the rice paddy and in the heat of the battle.
Hardwick also writes with the benefit of hindsight, as he proves in his preface:
"Perhaps we should have paid less attention to the similarities between Korea and Vietnam and more attention to their differences. Korea is a peninsula. We could seal and control three of the country's four borders, and no organized indigenous guerrilla movement existed in South Korea. Vietnam on the other hand has a long, difficult land border, and its guerrillas had been organizing, training and permeating the community for years before Americans arrived. The problems faced in Vietnam are more similar to the problems we face today in trying to stop the flow of drugs into the United States."
"Down South" has been a quick and interesting read. I recommend it for an "everyman's view" of war.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black mood for some in the Black Country

Peter Odemwingie's hat-trick -- aided by some dodgy defending and goalkeeping -- helped visiting WEST BROMWICH ALBION defeat WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS, 5-1, in today's BLACK COUNTRY DERBY.
I cheered for the visiting Baggies -- the club I supported as a youth growing up in California.
There was no joy for the home support, who have never really warmed to Wolves manager Mick McCarthy and let him know it after the match.
Boos and ill-tempered chants filled Wolves' Molineux ground.
Well, I head to work now. I'll wear my West Brom scarf from childhood.
Unlike McCarthy and Wolves, today's result was good news for me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Racism spoiling football, again

Wayne Rooney scored two goals and Luiz Suarez scored one, but it wasn't the match action that drew attention to MANCHESTER UNITED v. LIVERPOOL today.
That match was the first of three we watched live on television today.
The action on the pitch lost its place of importance to petulance and racism. As the teams arrived on the pitch, Liverpool's Suarez refused to shake the hand of Patrice Evra -- the player he was found guilty of racially abusing earlier this season.
The disregard for sportsmanship permeated the match.
Actually, racism was behind much of this week's drama.
The Football Association stripped John Terry of the ENGLAND captaincy because his trial for racially abusing an opponent has been adjourned until July.
That decision eventually prompted the resignation of England manager Fabio Capello.
Racism must be erased from the game, however, so that all participants may enjoy the sport.
That's why today's display so troubled me.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fillings placed between two slices of bread

JOHN MONTAGU, FOURTH EARL OF SANDWICH, didn't invent the practice of placing fillings between two slices of bread, but he certainly popularized the meal.
We at ROUTE 1 adore the simplicity of a SANDWICH, which is why we posed the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What's your favorite sandwich?"
KERI M. -- Chicken panini from Tastebuds
INGER H. -- Lately a big fresh cheddar cheese and tomato has been my go-to sarnie, as long as it has crisp lettuce and some nice mustard. Yum!
BRIAN M. -- Generally, a BLT or Subway meatball marinara, but my favorite, that I don't think exists anymore, is the Togo's grilled veggie, at least not the way it was made at the Corvallis Togo's. Veggies perfectly grilled so all the flavors and the cheese melded together. Thanks, now I'm hungry, too.
JIM S. -- Probably the steak, tomato and lettuce on wheat, six-inch long sandwich at Pickle Barrel (#21!). No cheese, salt, pepper, oils or dressings of any kind. (There's reasons why I'm so thin!) My least favorite is a bologna sandwich; I had that in my bag lunch for school, two or three times every week, all the way through school. I was too fussy for hot lunch.
MIKE D. -- Buttered white bread with skinless bologna and ketchup, smashed and warmed to just the right temperature after being in a lunch bag stuffed inside a school locker for several hours. Mmmmm!
RICK T. -- Maggie Hoffmann's Summer Sausage Sandwich at the Dubuque Eagles Club noon lunch.
ANNIKA H. -- Peanut butter.

ROSEANNE H. -- Patty melt is my favorite...and a BLT is also a favorite.
SANDYE V. -- Tuna salad on homemade bread.
ERIK H. -- I'll never forget the surprise, the delight, when I consumed my first Cuban sandwich -- ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread. I order them whenever I encounter them on a menu, which is not too often.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Linmania takes hold in New York

As professional basketball fairytales go, the JEREMY LIN story feels refreshing and satisfying.
A star hoops player growing up in PALO ALTO, CALIF., Lin passed up the rinky dink local college, Stanford, to attend HARVARD.
Harvard grads aren't always held in the highest esteem on the hardwood, so Lin went undrafted and ultimately rather undiscovered, even during a brief stint with his hometown GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS -- that team assigned Lin to its minor-league Reno affiliate three times during the season.
Lin was an anomaly, the first Chinese-American to play in the NBA.
By all accounts, Lin is a perfect teammate. Other players describe him as a devout Christian and a joy to have in the locker room.
Lin began this season with the HOUSTON ROCKETS, but they cut the 23-year-old and he was claimed off waivers by the NEW YORK KNICKS.
This week, his star began to ascend, as Lin has scored a combined 76 points with 25 assists in three Knicks victories.
A mania is enveloping Madison Square Garden, and Lin's story is even pushing the Super Bowl-champion NEW YORK GIANTS off the front of the Big Apple's sports pages.
It's hard to tell how this particular fairytale will end, but it's fun watching it unfold.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Startling jacket from 1979

"This is currently one of the most successful sports supporter jackets in SCANDINAVIA."
-- February 1979 advert in SHOOT! Magazine.
Not much startles me in a soccer magazine.
This advertisement did.
The new "TRUKER" BOMBER JACKET was heralded the latest and greatest gear for football supporters everywhere.
I'm not so sure.
"A quilted bomber jacket," it says here, "Made from Nylon, Polyester Wadding and heavy knitted trim plus our unique hand screen printed sleeve panel."
It was upon this sleeve panel that you would broadcast to the world your club.
"Featuring all your favourite 1st, 2nd,3rd and 4th Division teams and including major Scottish teams."
Actually, the more I gazed at the jacket and the long-haired models -- supporters of MANCHESTER UNITED and LIVERPOOL, it appeared -- the more I understood the Truker Jacket's place in history.
This is why PUNK had to happen.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Why not make Anfield Cat the England captain?

It's a sad commentary on a match when the feline pitch invader is the universally acknowledged highlight.
That seems to have been the case yesterday, when a CAT romped along the ANFIELD pitch during LIVERPOOL'S rather ill-spirited goalless draw with TOTTENHAM.
Of course, the cat became a sensation. Liverpool supporters chanted:
"A cat, a cat, a cat, a cat, a cat, a cat, a cat..." instead of the customary "attack, attack, attack."
TWITTER responded, with the cat trending in the U.K. and competing Twitter accounts springing to life. One such account, @AnfieldCat, has nearly 20,000 followers by this morning.
Newspaper reports jokingly(?) considered the cat the "man" of the match.
With all of this universal acclaim, I began to wonder: There is so much angst surrounding the England captaincy right now, with alleged racism an ugly, complicating factor; why not make ANFIELD CAT the England captain?

Monday, February 06, 2012

England's cricketers in their death throes (not literally)

In a sense, it makes for perfect MONDAY listening.
ENGLAND'S cricketers are in their death throes (not literally, mind you) against PAKISTAN -- currently 90 runs behind with a mere two wickets remaining.
The score stands Pakistan (99 & 365) and England (141 & 236-8).
Barring a miracle, England will make dubious history. The last team dismissed for a double-figure score in the first innings of a Test match to go on to win England themselves back in 1907 at Headingley, when they were all out for 76 at the start before defeating South Africa.
Pakistan have earned the victory this week, with bowlers such as Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal taking bushels of wickets and Azhar Ali scoring 157 during an epic second innings.
There goes another wicket. Sad days indeed.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Marillion's secret? The memorable tunes

I have listened to "SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR" and "MISPLACED CHILDHOOD" during the past two days.
With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to see why the band MARILLION would have been popular, despite the out-of-its-time nature of the music.
Marillion recreated a type of PROGRESSIVE ROCK deep in the heart of the PUNK, NEW WAVE and NEW WAVE OF BRITISH HEAVY METAL eras.
How on Earth did they pull it off? On paper, it never should have worked.
The answer is memorable tunes. (Isn't that always the answer?)
"Kayleigh" and "Lavender" are the songs most people remember. "Heart of Lothian," "Garden Party" and "Childhood's End" are equally worthy.
Here is how Keith Goodwin, the publicist who discovered Marillion in the early 1980s, described the launch of the band:
"I sensed the guys had the drive and talent to go all the way. So I took them under my wing. All sorts of people in the music industry warned me that I'd be banging my head against a brick wall -- 'prog rock' was washed up, the music was desperately unfashionable, and Marillion stood no chance. But I knew differently, so I ignored the critics and forged ahead. Slowly, I convinced the British music press to take not, and by the time Marillion cut their first maxi-single for EMI, we had created a big waiting public for the product. 'Market Square Heroes' climbed into the charts -- and the rest is history."

Friday, February 03, 2012

Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise?

Sure, they occasionally run aground on Tuscan rocks, and if they're serving norovirus in the main dining room you should definitely just stick to your stateroom, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich you packed yourself.
Otherwise, cruises remain one of the most popular forms of travel.
Not that we'd know: We've only "cruised" the San Francisco Bay, Lake Tahoe and the Mississippi River.
That's why we at ROUTE 1 asked our readers for cruise suggestions by posing the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"Where would you most like to take a cruise?"
CLINT A. -- Dude, easy answer. Antarctica! Penguins, Leopard Seals, Whales, and the ever decreasing polar ice cap, how could one go wrong?
RICK T. -- Up the Mississippi River on the Delta Queen river boat. Let's get this river boat, with the BEST safety record in maritime history, back on the waterway again.
SANDYE V. -- Alaska. That's the only one that would tempt me.
KERI M. -- I would love to go on the Disney one.
STEVE M. -- Around the Tahitian Islands, focusing on Moorea and Bora Bora. Plus some other little ones. Or the Baltic, checking out the main cities in Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia. Plus St. Petersburg of course.
JEFF T. -- The theoretical vast ocean beneath the icy crust of Jupiter's moon Europa... Or Tahiti.
INGER H. -- Antarctica: and not the quick lunge to the Antarctic Peninsula and back... oh no! Ever since working for photographer Galen Rowell and learning about the epic journey of Shackelton, I need to get to South Georgia and see his preserved hut and grave... so it's a $20K, 20+ day trip for me! Ah, someday....
ANNIKA H. -- Caribbean.
MIKE D. -- I'll stick to Midwestern rivers and (non-Great) lakes, thank you.
BRIAN M. -- I'm not sure I'm inclined to take a cruise, anyhow, what with this running aground problem and this problem of people falling overboard on occasion and the occasional Somali pirate attack, along with the seeming cheesiness of these floating cities of escape and baccanalia. One of those National Geographic voyages to the southern tip of Chile or around New Zealand would be fascinating.
MARY N.-P. -- Like a week down the Rhine River in Germany. We took a half day boat trip on the Rhine and it was spectacular - castles, quaint villages, hillsides of grape vines, etc., etc. I want more!
ERIK H. -- I've been tempted to take one of those "fan cruises," where they pair fans with old players from sports teams. However, I would hate some of the "bandwagon-jumping" new fans who would invariably turn up, asking inane questions instead of the important questions I would pose to the former players, such as "why did you bunt with that guy on second in the third inning of that April 1978 game against the Padres?" or "What were you thinking when you came up just short of making that century against Pakistan in the third Test at Bloemfontein in 1967?" So, I guess I'd just like to be put on a boat with a lot of old baseball, cricket, soccer and football players and no other fans. Just a captain that recognizes rocks on a map when he sees them.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Battle of the baffling: Dream vs. Song Lyrics

I can't decide which is more unsettling and baffling, the dream I just woke up from or the lyrics of "CAN-UTILITY AND THE COASTLINERS," a song from the 1972 GENESIS album "FOXTROT."
I stared out to sea as thousands of eagles scoured the waves for food, while a kid with round glasses played "House of the Rising Sun" on a banjo that actually sounded more like a mandolin.
"The scattered pages of a book by the sea held by the sand, washed by the waves. A shadow forms cast by a cloud, skimming by as eyes of the past, but the rising tide absorbs them effortlessly claiming."
Actually, maybe I had that dream because I've been listening to so much Genesis lately.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

We called them "singles"

I'm listening to some PETER GABRIEL music today.
Pictured is the cover of one my 45s.
For our younger readers, those were smaller, vinyl records that generally contained one song per side -- called a "SINGLE."
The 45 refers to the speed at which the record was played -- 45 revolutions per minute.