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Random Shuffle: The Cure, Bruce Hornsby, Amy Winehouse, Jenny Lewis

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Periodically (or do I dare say randomly?) I put my music collection on shuffle and discuss what comes out.  I'm less interested in reviewing the songs in this article than talking about the memories, and emotional responses the music brings to my mind.  You can click on each song title to hear the music being discussed.

"Let's Go To Bed" – The Cure
From Greatest Hits – Acoustic

It seems quaint to think about it now, but I can remember fondly the days of my youth when cable channels that you didn't subscribe to were simply scrambled out. I don't see that anymore, so I guess it doesn't happen anymore, but perhaps there are some who have old cable boxes and can still see what I am talking about. The sound on these channels would be perfect, but the images would be whack. What you would see would be a negative of the picture, and the alignment would be off. And moving.

As a teenager, I have to admit that I still watched. Like I said, the sound was still good, so you could hear what was going on, and in that way it was a bit like those old radio serials. I wasn't bothered by a negative image and sometimes it would stay still enough that you could make out what was going on.

What can I say? I was a kid with conservative parents and this was the only way I could watch R-rated movies. I was excited by the cursing, the action packed violence and the occasional booby. It was a negative image, often scrolling booby, but I'd take what I could get.

Beyond the movies I wasn't supposed to watch I also like watching concerts and music specials on pay-per-view. I remember quite vividly watching the Cure doing some kind of acoustic concert one time. I couldn't quite tell what they were doing, but I remember them sitting cross-legged on the floor of some room, playing all their hits and completely mesmerizing me.. The music sounded fantastic, and it was curious to try to make out each band member and try to figure out just exactly what was going on.

"I Know You Rider" Bruce Hornsby
From Furthur More

Several years back I went to one of those big summer music festivals. It was very Jam-bandy with Bruce Hornsby, some variation of the Grateful Dead post-Jerry, possibly Arlo Guthrie, maybe Rusted Root and some others. I had gone there with a group of college buddies and we were all laid out on our blankets in the blazing summer sun.

It was an all-day show and we spent it dancing, napping and generally grooving to the tunes. At some point some guy came by selling home made tie-dyes for five bucks and we swooped handfuls of them up. On the edges of the grass field they were calling the floor there were tripped-out hippies twirling, swirling and getting off in the most beautiful of ways.

Behind us were three gorgeous women in short, thin, flowing sun dresses. They too were singing, twirling and inhaling every bit of the moment. My old roommate, the handsomest of us boys tried to strike them up in conversation and they were pleasant and kind, but obviously not interested in anything more than having their own good time. Later, as the setting sun lay gently over the horizon, and we found ourselves lying on our backs too sun-baked and exhausted to stand, the girls moved in front of us and gyrated in the most lovely of ways.

That's a good day right there: good friends, beautiful women, and lots of brilliant music cascading down from the summer sky.

"Rehab" – Amy Winehouse
From 08/03/2007 London

I first heard of Ms. Winehouse from our very own Mark Saleski. He praised her Back to Black album in a "Friday Morning Listen" or a review or something (or maybe it was someone else entirely, I can't find the article of my memory anywhere on the site.) I made a mental note of it at the time, but then paid it no mind. Later, some morning while relaxing before work I flipped the channel to MTV and they played her video for "Rehab." Dang, man, that's a good song. It grooves and moves and those horns freaking blow it out. I quickly bought the album and although the rest of it is really nothing like that song, it is equally fantastic.

Winehouse these days, of course, is nothing but a tabloid joke. How easy it is for them to bend this hit song and apply it to her own drug-addled ways (she sings she's not going to rehab, and in reality she needs rehab, get it?) I hate tabloids. I hate this culture of celebrity. I hate that an incredibly talented musician cruises towards oblivion in front of cameras and millions of gawkers. I hate that instead of offering help or some semblance of humanity, we instead offer nothing but accusation and tawdry puns.

"See Fernando" – Jenny Lewis
From Acid Tongue

Last summer before leaving China for good, the wife and I took a couple of weeks to do some South Eastern Asia traveling. Part of this trip was spent in Cambodia which proved to be an amazing, exotic, beautiful, heartbreaking, and very weird country.

On one Sunday, right after Sundown we decide we need a snack and maybe some juice so I take off on my own to look for a market. Not really knowing where I am going I walk fairly aimlessly down one street and then another. Quickly a guy on a motorcycle pulls up beside me and says, "Hello." I had long since become used to strangers approaching me and trying to sell me one thing or another and so I ignored him. Completely.

He didn't mind being ignored, nor apparently driving at a snail's pace in the middle of a busy chunk or road and again greeted me. I admit I broke quickly and responded in kind (the Cambodian people as a whole are amazingly beautiful people and I found it harder than anywhere else to ignore their pleas to be heard.) He then asked me what I was doing and I responded that I was just walking. He then asked me if I needed a girl, I chuckled and said, "No."

Then he asked me if I wanted something else of the oral variety. That nearly knocked me off the curb. At this point I had lived in Asia for about a year. As stated I was used to strangers asking me for all sorts of things. I had been to the markets where they yelled at me to buy their wears. I had spent the last couple of days being followed by hoards of poor children begging me to buy water, maps, and books. I thought I heard everything. But I wasn't prepared for random offers of oral pleasure.

Certainly I had heard before about the sex trade in Asia. A few nights before we were in Bangkok and everywhere were fliers describing the abuse of children and how to look for signs and how to report them. But there, on the streets of Siem Reap, in front of God and everyone I was in no way prepared to be asked that question.

"No" was the word I finally uttered.

"We have very pretty girls." He responded in kind.

"No, thanks." I said again.

He then bargained down to offers of pleasure to be given by hand.

I began to wonder about the strategy of moving from the sexual favors of the mouth to the hand. Are there really people out there who pass up oral sex but say yes to the hand? Come to think of it why hadn't he asked me about intercourse before offering the BJ? What was next? Perhaps a dry hump? Maybe some tickling with feathers? What were the bargaining chips of the Cambodian pimp?

I said no again and tried to quicken my pace. He kept following so I chose a different strategy, I turned around and headed back. Finally, he moved on. I found my market, bought my snacks and headed back to our hotel.

Before I could make it, I kid you not, two other people approached me for similar oral pleasures. Good grief, man, what do I look like? A middle-aged, balding, pot-bellied single man on the streets of Cambodia, is what. I'm surprised I wasn't asked by a dozen more folks for sexual pleasures.

As Yakoff Smirnoff used to say, "What a country."

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About Mat Brewster

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    you are referring to The Cure on MTV Unplugged, which I have seen in its entirety on online.

    Amy’s backing band on the album are the Dap Kings of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Check them out.

    You need to random more frequently

  • http://www.themidnightcafe.org Mat Brewster

    I thought it was MTV Unplugged at first too, but we had MTV back then so it wouldn’t have been scrambled. It must have been a pay-per-view special or something.

    I do need to random more often. I constantly tell myself to do it, but laziness almost always wins.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Then I don’t know what Cure special that could have been. Do you remember the year?

  • http://www.themidnightcafe.org Mat Brewster

    Early 90s, but that’s as specific as I can get.

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    You returned with some very… cultural stories, Sir Brewster.

  • http://www.themidnightcafe.org Mat Brewster

    You should hear the things I can’t publish.