I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in “Cheers & Jeers”. For example …..
SEPARATED at BIRTH – San Jose Sharks hockey player Brent Burns and the Vonage advertisement Homeless Guy.
OK, you’ve been warned – here is this week’s
tomfoolery material that I posted.
ART NOTES – commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK – the Dallas Museum of Art will bring together the works of art installed in the president’s suite at the Hotel Texas during his fateful trip in 1963 (which included paintings by van Gogh and sculptures by Pablo Picasso) and are on display until September 15th.
PROGRAMMING NOTE – as previously noted, I will be moving next week – and as I have not only much to do, but also may not have cable/internet service over next weekend – I will not have a regular posting next weekend (may do a drive-by). Will rejoin you at the end of August.
BRAIN TEASER – try this Quiz of the Week’s News from the BBC.
THURSDAY’s CHILD is Buddha the Cat – a Tennessee kitteh who – at 31 pounds – has now been placed on a diet by the shelter his former family (unable to care for him) surrendered him to.
1960’s SIGN of the APOCALYPSE – the present-day campaign that is being waged to change the nickname of the NFL’s Washington Redskins is not the first time the franchise has had to deal with racial matters.
The original team owner George Preston Marshall refused to integrate the team (which was the last one in the NFL to sign an African-American player) until he moved into taxpayer-supported D.C. Stadium (now RFK Stadium) in 1961 … and was told he had to integrate.
Marshall had some supporters … and this is one of the most surreal photos of all time. An American Nazi Party rally (yes, really) supporting Marshall had members carrying signs that read ….. “Keep Redskins White”.
From the BiPM FLATULENCE FILE – police in Michigan responded to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance (with a neighbor hearing a woman shouting ‘Stop! No!’) …. to find that she indeed uttered those words to her boyfriend, telling him to cease ….. breaking wind.
THEATER NOTES – the modern-day replica of William Shakespeare’s London stage Globe Theater includes inexpensive tickets in its mix of the old and new.
FRIDAY’s CHILD is Miffy the Cat – an Australian kitteh believed lost after two years, but reunited with her family …. due to her microchip.
HAPPY TRAILS to a real life Norman the Doorman – Norman Pashoian, who welcomed guests to Boston’s Taj Hotel (formerly the Ritz Carlton) that included heads of state, famous actors, and prominent politicians for 66 years – who has now retired at age 85.
AT ONE TIME only those in Germany who were conservative wore Lederhosen – but now it has been adopted by both hipsters and ordinary folk.
SEPARATED at BIRTH – TV star Gillian Anderson (“X-Files”) and film star Virginia Madsen (“Sideways”).
……and finally, for a song of the week …………… no time for a full profile at this time, so will simply post a video and story.
In June, 1968: yours truly’s favorite rock band was playing in my hometown of West Hempstead, New York – at Long Island’s rather decrepit Island Garden – which was demolished in 1973 (with a new arena constructed nearby, some twenty-five years later).
Alas, my father told me – a few months short of my twelfth birthday – that I was too young to attend a rock concert. (As it turned out, the show was cut short due to some faulty equipment problems). And Dad was a fair man – just two years later, he let me (as a fourteen-year-old) and my thirteen year-old brother see Led Zeppelin at their first Madison Square Garden gig (being a Saturday matinée helped, as did getting a ride from a friend’s father).
But the band known as Cream – featuring a 23 year-old Eric Clapton on guitar, 25 year-old Jack Bruce on bass/vocals (who was also their main songwriter, along with lyricist Pete Brown) and 29 year-old drummer Ginger Baker – would break-up five months later. That was the show I really wanted to see.
The band did reunite at their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 ….. but I hadn’t known of that until all the tickets were sold.
It was not until a dozen years later in 2005 that they finally announced some reunion concerts, to be held at the Royal Albert Hall in London – the same venue where they had their farewell show in November, 1968. Months later after these shows were successful, they announced three shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
But as mentioned, those shows were not added until later …. and this time, I was determined not to miss them, even if it meant traveling to London. Since none of my friends/family were crazy enough, I sought a single ticket for the Royal Albert Hall shows.
I tried the telephone and Internet at 4:00 AM (9:00 London time) when tickets went on sale …… to no avail. (Part of the problem was that their website had no “Best Ticket Available” option, unlike the NYC shows months later). They were being hawked on ticket broker sites (and eBay) later that day …. “Grrrr, rat bastards, #!##*&* cretins” … and other un-Ed Tracey-like sayings came out of my mouth.
But I sucked-it-up and paid 7-1/2 times face value for a seat in the balcony of this 5,200 seat venue – for the first show, Monday, May 2nd 2005. I did get to meet some fans who came from around-the-world (including two ListServ pals from Australia). Still, I felt like I had overpaid. I looked up the address of the ticket brokers, who stated they’d deliver tickets to your hotel the morning of the show. On the Saturday before, I decided to pay them a visit.
Wotta stroke of luck …. by not having to send a courier, they looked through their ticket assortment and were trying to unload single tickets. They told me I could – for an extra £50 – upgrade to an Orchestra seat. Or, for no additional cost, I could upgrade to a Choir seat (behind the stage, but high enough to see all).
When I saw the Choir seat was for the front-row overhang – an unimpeded view – I thought it was the perfect solution. And so by taking an hour to visit their office, I went from paying 7-1/2 times face value for a mediocre seat … to 3 times face value for an excellent seat. Still a rip-off … but one I could bear.
That day, I met (below photo left) Grant Scale and Dennis Lawrenson (the Australian fans I had never met before) for dinner before the show. The three of us are (especially) Jack Bruce fans and – as Jack had never played in Australia before – they were super excited. Grant even asked me, “Ed, why aren’t you going crazy?” It was because I had seen him (and the others) on a few occasions, I told them.
Photo right was the line-up to get in the venue – with TV helicopters flying overhead. Dang, in more recent years I’d been attending smaller jazz and blues shows … hadn’t been at a spectacle like this in years. I was seated next to Beto (a fellow from Brazil, a guitarist who was delighted to see vintage Fender Tweed amps on-stage) and a couple from London who, like me, thought we’d never get to see this day come. And what a beautiful venue it is, if you ever get a chance to attend a show there.
Now, talk about an “old school” beginning to the show, as:
a) There was no opening act
b) At 8:07, the lights dimmed
c) No smoke bombs, dry ice or flares went up
d) They walked on-stage, picked-up their instruments
e) And just counted-in to their first song without saying a word.
As it turned out, they did nearly all old songs of theirs (except for Stormy Monday, which Eric and Jack had performed in John Mayall’s band). There is both an audio CD as well as a DVD composite of these shows. And when the band added the Madison Square Garden shows, I attended the last one (along with my brother and two of our best friends).
For now: perhaps the most unexpected highlight of the night. We’re Going Wrong is a rare Jack Bruce tune … insofar as he wrote not only the music, but also the lyrics (usually written by Pete Brown) … partly because it was Jack’s story of how his first marriage was going downhill (and later ended in divorce). And below you can listen to it.