I'm back, technical issues resolved. Went a couple weeks without Internet access, now fixed.
The real news: The Novel is now over 36,500 words, and I'm still going. Added about 1,500 words earlier today. Have been able to write at least 500 words a day; on my best days it's been more like 5,000.
This story is the longest thing I've ever written, already. I finished proofreading through what I have so far a couple days ago, and I think it's not bad. I think parts of it are pretty good, vivid, funny.
The downside is that if this is really going to be a novel, I'm only about half done. The good news is, more stuff to toss into it is still coming to me.
I plan to post at least one or two small sections here -- something short and funny. I already have a couple things in mind. They'll be appearing soon.
I'm surprised that I've been able to remember as much about my record store days as I have for this book. I've only had to consult my journals a couple of times for extra details -- most of the time stuff just pours out. And that's a good thing.
But I need more. So I'll be thinking about it....
While on vacation, about all I did was write. My Girlfriend had to work, and with no direct Internet access I had plenty of free time, so it was all good. We did get down to see my GF's Father in Oregon, again -- and we took the DIRECT route home this time, not the eight-hour scenic tour. Also got out to the beach before I went on vacation, so that was all taken care of.
While off, I sniffed at a couple of music-related books. Jim DeRogatis and Carmel Carrillo's KILL YOUR IDOLS lets a new generation of rock critics have at the older critical generation's sacred cows -- with mixed results, so far.
While I agree that SGT. PEPPER and DARK SIDE OF THE MOON could both have been better, I'll not put up with young snot-noses going after PET SOUNDS and SMILE. And SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO is a total bore, no arguments here.
But Jim Walsh's write-up on RUMOURS is just a fantasy about shooting the members of Fleetwood Mac -- he doesn't even TALK about the ALBUM. And that album could USE a good trashing. I've always thought that there's a lot of filler on it....
I don't think Walsh's fantasy is very funny, but then I remember Lester Bangs once suggested going after James Taylor's throat with a broken beer bottle, and I thought THAT was funny, so....
There are a few newer albums critiqued: NEVERMIND, OK COMPUTER, MELON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS, etc., but most of the items up for slashing are the critic's babies you'd expect -- Dylan, Springsteen, Clapton, U2, Stones, Neil Young, etc.
I was shocked to see someone go after the Sex Pistols. And the Dead Kennedys! And Patti Smith! Co-editor Carrillo reviews her old boyfriends in the context of old rock & soul hits. That's a breath of fresh air -- at least someone did something different with the idea.
There IS a cut-up of TOMMY, and a hilarious discussion about LED ZEPPELIN 4 that ends up defending the album instead of critiquing it.
But I was looking for some DANGEROUS critical choices. Why didn't anyone go after The Velvet Underground, or Lou Reed? Between them they have three good songs in their careers.
Or how 'bout Bowie, that poseur! Four good songs in a decade and he's STILL making albums?
Or The Ramones? One great joke -- three great songs!
Two former Beatles get chopped up -- Springsteen gets zinged twice! Even Captain Beefheart takes a beating.
Other than Pink Floyd, no prog-rockers get slammed. This was kind of disappointing.
I'll be reading more of this, but it's not quite the cheap laughs I'd hoped for, so far.
And at the back of the book, there are short bio notes on each of the contributors, plus a list of their Top 10 fave albums -- most of which are raked over the coals by somebody elsewhere in the book....
BLUES AND CHAOS is a collection of late music critic Bob Palmer's best work, covering topics from blues pioneers to classic rock to late-'90s guitar noise. Some of it's pretty good, though I haven't gotten very far. So far have enjoyed his liner notes for the Led Zeppelin box set, a lengthy interview with Eric Clapton, and a short but hilarious piece on why he took a "mojo hand" with him to studio sessions when he was producing blues albums.
There's a lot more here -- over 400 pages -- and you can still get copies cheap. Palmer was the blues and world-music expert at ROLLING STONE for a lot of years. He knew a lot about a lot of different music, but he comes across as really modest -- like he's sharing all this info with you, not lecturing.
...Will be back soon, with some book sections, plus I'm coming up with a list of hit songs I wish someone else would re-record BETTER -- starring The Kinks, Buffalo Springfield, The Supremes, and more.
Oh, and I've got another nominee for that "Worst Best-Of's" post I did awhile back: THE BEST OF WEATHER REPORT....