My wife and I had just been discussing whether to give our building's superintendent a Christmas tip this month when we saw him (and several other building workers) dash into the side door the other day. Remember, this Super is the primary reason we had to get rid of our family dog in February. (The whole Jackson backstory is on this page.)
In 2006, the Super's two interactions with us, as tenants in his building, were thus:
1) The aforementioned forced-removal of beagle-dog Jackson.
2) A visit to our apartment to tell us we are not allowed to keep a doormat outside our apartment door.
Every single time I see our fellow tenants walking their four- and five-month old puppies through the hallways and on and off the elevators, I wonder why the Super had to make an example of us.
Anyway, I don't want to rehash all that. But it's important to remember as I tell you what happened on Wednesday, after we saw all the guys running into the building. We were waiting at the basement elevator (because building rules forbid bringing baby strollers through the lobby) when the Super, I'll call him Elfer, comes out of one of the many doors in the catacomb-like basement. Behind him, we can hear water gushing onto the floor. Elfer shuts the door, says hello to us, and trots down the cinderblock corridor. As he comes to the first left turn, we see him slip and WIPE OUT on the painted floor. There's a sickening thud. (In the histories of both literature and reportage, there are indeed only two types of thud: sickening and regular.)
From our vantage point, all we can see are his legs. He was flat-out. We could tell he was face down, and we heard him let out a little moan. It didn't sound good. As we watched for another second, we see the legs slide forward across the floor, like Elfer is doing a sort of crawl with his elbows. My wife glances at me as I decide to treat the guy like a human being and go help him.
When I get to him, he looks pretty bad. Face down, moaning, writhing in pain, and holding the side of his face. He is not getting up. I put my hand on his back, bend down, and say, "Can we get our dog back?"
No, of course I didn't say that to him as he lie there in pain and all fucked up, but it occurred to me. Along with: "These painted floors get slippery, no?" "See, there ARE roaches on the floor down here!" and "Settle a bet: How much Christmas bonus does a mean, dog-hating, do-nothing Super get?"
I lifted him to his feet and leaned him against the wall, and suddenly I was a corner man and my boxer's head was swirling. He was well on his way across goofy street. After a minute of actually swooning, he thanked me and said "A pipe burst." I asked, "Did a dog cause that?" (In my head, I asked.) Off he went, dizzily bouncing off the walls of the basement like a pinball.
Here's this week's Friday 10, and a new type of thud.
01 Private World - New York Dolls: You know the band, you know this song. It's been available on vinyl or CD for the last 30 years, and still sweeps the floor with most of what's come in its wake. What can I tell you here that you don't already know? Perhaps nothing, but I'll give it a shot: The new album... no matter what your preconceived notions or anti-nostalgia-record prejudices, is damn good. It's worth a listen.
02 A Pretty Girl is Like A... - Magnetic Fields: The answer is simpler than you think. A pretty girl is like a pretty girl. Stephen Merritt is an amazing songwriter. And that's that. (Get it on 69 Love Songs.)
03 The Sound of The Sinners - The Clash: Strummer is the voice of God on a superb track from Sandinista! that rarely gets a mention. I always thought that the Clash tried to do something a little different on each of the six sides of this album, and I quite liked side 3 (on which this song appears), because it seemed to speak to music's power to heal, inspire, and incite. Of course, that's my opinion; I could be talking out of my ass. Anyway, if that was their intention, it was lost once this came out on CD. (On later editions of Sandinista!, like the 1999 remaster CD, the song is re-titled "The Sound of Sinners," without the second article the in there. This was probably a proofreader's error, because I think the band was making a sly self-reference in the original song title.)
04 Butterfucker - Butter08: I don't know if this is pronounced "butter eight" or "butter oh-eight," but I know it's Miho from Cibo Matto and Russell Simins of JSBE, and the shit is fun. I've always loved Miho's voice, it never mattered to me that she was usually singing about chicken, ice cream, and other edible delights. The other band members include the graphic designer (but not REM bassist) Mike Mills, and Skeleton Key's bassist Rick Lee. (Which reminds me: I've got to clear up some megabytes on the the iPod and add some Skeleton Key. THERE was a band ahead of its time!) You can find this cool song on Butter08's self titled disk, but mine came off a Grand Royal comp called A Sampling of Our Prestigious Pedigree that I got at a show. I think I wrote about it a few months ago, after hearing a Kostars track on an F10.
05 Love Song - The Damned: A classic off the Machine Gun Etiquette album, which I've been listening to since I was in high school with Theodore Roosevelt. If you like this record, you probably know that Big Beat (Chiswick in the UK) released the 25th anniversary edition a couple years ago, with all the b-sides, the single versions of this song and "Smash It Up," and the (once) dreadfully rare alt version of "I Just Can't Be Happy Today."
06 After The Lovin' - Englebert Humperdinck: Oh, no he didn't! Yes. I DID just type that. Random song number 6 today was this "gem" from Englebert. It's on my iTunes because -- for years -- I'd jokingly sing this song to my wife, and she never believed me that it actually existed. So, I had to download it illegally to prove that yes, there is a song about singing to a woman immediately after intercourse, and ol' E.H., was just the crooner to bring it. Hard to believe there exists a tune in the American musical canon which includes lines like "So I sing you to sleep / After the lovin' / I brush the hair from your eyes / And the love on your face is so real that it makes me want to cry." But indeed there is. (And, um... that's not love on her face, pig, get a towel.)
And More On That Subject, Dept.: I saw Englebert Humperdinck in concert.
It Gets Much, MUCH Worse Than That, Dept.: It was dinner theater, actually. And my "date" was my grandmother. And I wore an actual, no bullshit, corduroy leisure suit. I shit you not, Sticking Point readers. I saw Humperdinck at dinner theater, with my Grams. I wore a wide-wale cord tan leisure suit over a black, superwide-collared shirt, and I had the veal. It was around 1976, I suppose. I was nine years old, and all I can remember from the show (apart from the toughness of the veal) was that the guy could hit some high notes, and that I spent most of the time wishing he'd stop talking dirty. He billed himself as the King of Romance, but all he kept talking about was sex. He even made weak and inappropriate wordplay on the last syllable of his name. All this made me cringe in my seat because, even at age nine with a limited understanding of what the Humper was talking about, I knew I didn't want to be hearing it next to my Grams. So, thanks, E.H., you pathetic, ghetto-brand Tom-Jones douchetard.
07 Teenage Warning - Angelic Upstarts: Nice way to cleanse the palate, with some (late) first-wave UK punk, don't you think? Their Teenage Warning album was produced by Sham 69's Jimmy Pursey, and he got a real good sound out of it; not like many other punk records of its time, it sounds almost mainstream.
08 Come Back To Me - X: A great one from the great ones. The album it's on, Under The Big Black Sun, is a solid record, and I wouldn't trade it in or anything, but for me, Wild Gift, Los Angeles, and More Fun in the New World are... the business.
09 Out of Step - Minor Threat: Ian MacKaye is a chapter of rock and roll history all by himself: Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Embrace, Egg Hunt, Fugazi, and now The Evens. No two of these bands are alike, and they are all so consistently good that Ian may be the Elvis, Lennon, and Dylan of indie music. Minor Threat was Lyle Preslar, Jeff Nelson, Brian Baker, and MacKaye, and I always thought of them as a sort of perfect musical storm: fans like me are lucky that those four guys got together to make that music. Their importance cannot be understated. "Out of Step" is from the legendary album of the same name -- the only real "album" the band ever released. You can get it, combined with all the singles, on the Complete Discography comp. That one's like the Gideon's Bible -- you knock on any punk rock fan's door, and you'll find a copy inside.
10 Simply Irresistible (L) - Rilo Kiley: Robert Palmer did a shitload of coke and then he died. But before he did, he wrote and recorded this song. And then after he did all that, Blake and Jenny of the great Rilo Kiley played an all-acoustic show at SUNY Purchase (01.21.04) and did a sweet, sweet version of it. This is on a boot I got off the RiloKiley.net site.
This... was a fucking great Friday 10. But why should I have all the fun? Put your mp3 player or digital jukebox on "shuffle all songs," and let us know the first ten songs out the chute.
[posted with ecto]