Friday, September 20, 2013

Sid and Nancy (Love Kills)

Sid & Nancy gifCould someone please ‘splain to me how I managed to miss this movie all these years? Argh!

Since Ken is on a business trip (he’ll get home late tonight), I watched a movie or three that I know he wouldn’t have much interest in watching, either for the first time or as a repeat viewing. We both have our favorites and our dislikes, and we know that if either of us isn’t in the mood for a movie, the other can watch what they choose. For him, it’s repeat viewings of some of my favorites or certain rock and roll movies. For me, it’s anything with Steven Seagal or any kind of Fast & Furious-type stuff. Just not my cuppa, and Steven Seagal just makes me cringe. Anyway, I was in a rock and roll mood last night, so I took the opportunity to watch “Sid and Nancy.” I’ve had a copy for a while, but just hadn’t gotten around to watching it.

Well, shame on me. Feel free to throw safety pins at me, because it is on the verge of inexcusable that someone who is STILL a fan of the Sex Pistols never watched this movie. It’s even more egregious than missing out on “The Boondock Saints” all these years.

Before I comment more on the movie, can we set aside our partisan differences, and whether right or left, gay or straight, black or white, freckle, burn, or tan,  Miley is gross or just a kid finding her own way...can we all just admit that Gary Oldman is one of the finest actors of our time? Holy shit, the guy just disappears into whatever role he’s playing. He just OWNED the Sid Vicious role, getting his mannerisms down perfectly. Whew. Blown away.

Okay. Apparently John Lydon, AKA Johnny Rotten, was not pleased with this movie. He felt that he should have had more of a consulting role, especially because he was one of Sid’s best friends in the early days. He felt like it glorified heroin addiction, portrayed a somewhat glamorous picture of Sid. I love John, and I get his objection to some of the stuff in the movie. But glamorous? Not even close. Sid going on the nod and burning Nancy with his cigarette isn’t glamorous; Nancy throwing it on the floor and starting their Chelsea Hotel room on fire isn’t glamorous. Shooting up isn’t glamorous. Puking in the subway isn’t glamorous. The screaming, tears, blood, and vomit isn’t glamorous. John especially objected to the final hallucinatory scene, in which Sid hops into a cab with a lovely Nancy (who was already dead by this time), saying that it was just awful and made Sid’s death seem somehow a sort of redemption. I have to disagree...I just found it sad and tragic.

Sid and NancyI love the Pistols to this day, and I have a soft spot for Sid. But he was a troubled and addicted young man. Some would make the case that he was taken advantage of by Malcolm McLaren and the record company. I wouldn’t argue very hard against that viewpoint. I feel that he was also taken advantage of by Nancy; she was also very troubled. I read a biography of her years ago, And I Don’t Want To Live This Life, written by her mother. I think this was a case of two seriously fucked up individuals meeting and being drawn into a seriously fucked up and mutually destructive relationship. I don’t doubt that they loved each other, but they both had major problems that were only compounded by their relationship. It was like reverse synergy: neither participant benefits from the relationship. It ends up killing them both. Nancy is portrayed in the movie as a real pig. She had her problems, too, but I don’t think you can blame either one for bringing them both down. It was mutual destruction.

Visually, the movie was just lovely. Whether it was crowded club scenes, street scenes, or the scene up there at the beginning of this entry where Sid and Nancy are leaning up against a dumpster with trash raining down all around them as they kiss...if that isn’t a perfect metaphor, I don’t know what is. The soundtrack is fantastic, with Joe Strummer providing the title track “Love Kills.”

The movie was fascinating for me, and man, the Pistols’ music STILL stands up. Sid couldn’t play for shit, but he had a sort of raw talent that was perfect for the time. I think he had a lot of potential, but his addictive personality and the influence of Nancy brought him to an untimely end. I wish he would have lived so we could see what he would become. John Lydon is one hell of a smart businessman and artist, and continues to make music and headlines; Steve Jones is still out there making music; Paul Cook is, too. They all made it through the crazy years, but Sid flamed out so soon. TOO soon.

This movie didn’t make me want to go out and do drugs because Sid and Nancy were somehow “glamorous.” It made me sad and angry that addiction killed them both.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I got a nice early start this morning (for me, anyway), and had planned to make a quick trip to the store, followed by a good workout, cleaning the oven, then just relaxing and enjoying the rest of the evening. Although I’m not too far away from the relaxation part, it was supposed to happen much sooner than it is! There was quite a thunderstorm happening this morning, so I stuck around waiting for it to pass. Waiting...and waiting...I finally realized that this storm was going to stick around most of the day, so I’d better just scrap the shopping plans and get to the rest of the stuff.
Thanks Obama gif
I’ve made good progress on stuff, though, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson. I need to clean the oven more often! At least I’ve managed to keep from passing out from the Easy Off fumes, but man, that shit is putrid. I’m glad it’s warm enough that I could have the kitchen window open all day, and I set up a fan to blow the fumes away from me towards the window. It hasn’t been too bad, but if you don’t hear from me after this, I succumbed!

Look at it, though. Just look at it! I’m still working on the broiler pan and still need to do a little more rinsing, but I can say that I feel a real sense of accomplishment after getting this em-effer done. Late summer resolution: more frequent maintenance cleaning rather than one huge afternoon-long desperation cleaning!
Clean oven
For anyone who wonders why I haven’t cleaned the oven more often, all I can say is that cleaning the oven SUCKS. It is not even remotely close to a chore that you can kind of convince yourself that is a little bit fun. I hate to vacuum, too, but at least you can kind of dance around and be silly with the vacuum cleaner. Laundry isn’t too bad, because Sheeba likes to help with the laundry by jumping into the basket of warm clothes, and I can carry him around in the laundry basket.

Ain’t no dancin’ or cat-carryin’ going on when you’re cleaning the oven. You’re wearing rubber gloves, kneeling down and sticking your head in an oven, and cleaning off all this nasty, greasy goo. To hell with that noise! But I realize that if I do a little more maintenance cleaning, it won’t be this bad next time. Next time we buy an oven, though, it’s going to be a self-cleaning one, I guarantee!

I had a really nice lunch with my friend Dan yesterday! It was nice enough that we were able to sit outside and enjoy a late summer day. Since it was us, we spent quite a bit of time talking about politics, local, state, and national. We didn’t solve anything, but we both agreed that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a political rock star destined for national politics (fairly soon, too), and that Hillary is probably going to run in ‘16. Dan is almost certain of her candidacy, and I said that I’m about 85% certain.

As always, it was great to see him and get caught up, and I hope a larger group of us can get out soon! In this current absurd political atmosphere, it’s important to have a few laughs about it. It’s either laugh or punch someone in the face, you know?

I occupied myself last evening by finishing the miniseries version of “It,” then watched “Psycho” for good measure. I’m not quite sure yet what tonight will be. Maybe “The Runaways,” or “Sid and Nancy.” I’m feeling a little rock and roll tonight. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be a pleasant evening, and I wish you the same!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Everybody in the whole cell block

Jailhouse RockKen was off to Wisconsin today for a few days, so I occupied myself this afternoon with a visit to the fabulous State Theater to watch a showing of “Jailhouse Rock.” I met our friend Doug downtown, and it was his first time back to the State since it reopened recently.

As you can see, I came prepared, with my Elvis shirt that I got in Memphis at a gift shop across the street from Graceland!

We chatted with Drew and Mara for a bit, and got to meet Trish. I saw our old couch, and both Drew and Mara said that it is super comfortable, and Drew has even fallen asleep on it a few times! So happy that it has found a new home. Drew said I could take Doug up to the balcony and let him see that, which was a nice treat, since the balcony is usually off-limits. When you get up to the balcony, you get an idea of the size of the theater. I asked Mara, and she said that the original capacity, with the balcony and everything, was around 1,800. That’s a big theater!

It was especially fun to be seeing “Jailhouse Rock.” First of all, you all know that I’m a huge Elvis fan. Second, I had never seen it on the big screen before. It’s fun to catch older movies on the big screen. It gives you a whole new perspective. Third, it was a good tie-in to my History of Rock online course. The prof did an entire lecture on The Rise of Elvis, and recently mentioned the Elvis movies and cited “Jailhouse Rock” as one of the best. Of course, I loved hearing the music, and that Jailhouse Rock dance scene is one kicky blast, Daddy-O! I also loved seeing the mid-century modern furnishings and decor of the late ‘50s in the movie. Far out!

The main goal of this matinee was as an outing for a couple of downtown retirement/housing communities, one of them housed in the former Robertson’s department store building. The crowd was sparse, but I hope word gets out that it was fun. I’ll do my best to get the word out for the next movie! (More about that in a moment.)

After the movie, a local Elvis impersonator did a few songs. Doug and I grinned about the lady in the front row who was swaying and knew all the words to the songs. Then, what was really sweet...a lady involved with the housing community asked a few of the folks to share their “Elvis encounters.” One lady had open heart surgery in Indianapolis, in the early days of open heart surgery. Elvis was playing a show there and came to visit her! One guy was a kid in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and his Dad delivered telegrams for a living. He was along when his Dad delivered a telegram to Elvis, and said that Elvis was really nice.

Finally, the lady that Doug and I noticed in the front row. Mary said that she saw Elvis at Notre Dame (the same show that Shane went to!), and one of the security guards noticed her crying when Elvis opened with “My Way.” He came over and got her and took her up to the edge of the stage. Elvis came over to her, got down on a knee, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and put his scarf around her neck. After the song was over, he told the security guard to make sure that she got back to her seat and that NO ONE tried to take that scarf from her. Mary said that she still has it in a cabinet, and it still smells faintly of Elvis’s Brut cologne.

The reverence in her voice, and the memory that Elvis gave her...well, I teared up a little when hearing it, and I’m tearing up a little as I write this! He had his faults, just like any other human being, but he gave Mary a memory that she cherishes to this day. From everything I’ve read, he was a kind man who appreciated his fans, and I love him even more for giving Mary such a wonderful memory. That’s something special, you know?

As for October’s movie, those of us in attendance got to vote on it. There were some good choices, but the one that jumped out immediately for me and Doug was “The Blob.” Drew announced after the show that the people have spoken…”The Blob” it is! How fun will that be? I’ve never seen that one on the big screen, either! I exchanged a few messages with Drew, and he said he’d like to have a more formal start to the movie, maybe have a brief discussion about it, ask who has seen it, that sort of thing. I think that’s a great idea, and we both agreed that trivia about various movies can be a lot of fun and add to the movie and make it a richer viewing experience. So I’m going to do a little Blob research and see what I can scare to speak!

It was a very enjoyable afternoon. Thanks to Doug for going with me, and thanks to Drew and everyone involved for doing this for the folks downtown—and for the rest of us!

Please enjoy one of my favorite Elvis songs. This song still makes me want to shake it, and this is a great clip with some groovy dancing and super cool outfits! Check out the ginger in the brown vest and orange shirt. Work it, Ginger!


Monday, September 16, 2013

A world gone mad

Angry gifI’m trying really hard to find my Happy Place™ today.

Everything started off well, I was having a mellow day, and although I caught the news of the latest shooting—the LATEST!—online, I chose not to turn on the news at all. I just got my updates online and tried not be be immersed in it.

However, later I posted an update on Facebook, something to the effect of how there will be the usual outpouring of rage and disgust, but we’ll end up doing exactly nothing, just like we always do. A few friends commented, and then there was a comment from someone (now a former friend) about how it’s our mentality as a nation (he’s not from here) and he hoped he offended some liberals, and liberals can “suck it.” My friend of at least 15 years, Raquel, told him to fuck off.

Then the shit really hit the fan. He called her a “dullard,” another friend weighed in and didn’t like what he had to say, so he attacked HER and called her ignorant, called liberals assholes, and blah di fucking blah. That was it for me, and I said that you don’t get to come on an avowed liberal’s page and say “I hope I offend some liberals” and then get offended yourself when said liberals tell you to fuck off! Defriended and blocked. Then I got a message from an alternative account of his, rather threatening and quite creepy. Also blocked.

Somebody’s off their meds. I’ve never seen anyone react so virulently to Facebook nastiness. It was ridiculous, and good riddance. Way to harsh my mellow, dude. I don’t need or want the drama, so seriously...piss off.

After that, I tried to settle down a bit by watching more of my online class videos, and I enjoyed those quite a bit. One of the things the History of Rock prof talked about was TV and movies in the ‘50s, and how rock and roll began to be marketed. He mentioned the Elvis movie “Jailhouse Rock,” and that’s especially fun, because I’m going to a showing of that movie with our friend Doug tomorrow afternoon! It’s going to be at the fabulous State Theater, and I’m looking forward to it. If anything will get me in a happy mood, it will be this!