From the Stacks: Ian Hunter – Short Back n’ Sides

ian hunter short back n' sides Down in the city just Hoople and me. That’s from Queen’s “Now I’m Here,” and it was my introduction to Mott The Hoople. That’s all they were to me as an elementary schooler, an obscure reference in a Queen song — and then I heard the glorious “All the Young Dudes.”

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Deep Cuts: Motorcycle Songs

motorcycle songsThe motorcycle has been the perfect rock and roll accessory since Elvis dressed up in Brando gear. We had the Mod scooter era, the Easy Rider wave, and the hair metal Harley revival in the eighties.

So it’s no surprise that there have been some great (and not so great) motorcycle songs over the years. Here are a few from my playlist:

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27. I’ve Been Trying to Get a Message Through the Air to You

6:00 p.m. Tower Cafe, The Police on the headphones.  That’s a bit contrived, though.  This whole set up is, beginning with that notation.  I have made the same notation on every journal entry for the last twenty years.  Every Tuesday evening I come here, sit alone with notebook, sketchbook, book book, and either draft what I’ve been noodling about or polish previous noodles.  I drink the same thing and if I’m lucky I sit at the same table, but you’ve heard this story before.

The routine works for me, and that’s all that matters.  The locus of writing is simply doing the work, but the magic is in the voodoo ritual — whatever secret combination of factors that calms my panic long enough to allow pen to meet paper.  I worry, though.  Playing with routine and ritual is for me a bit like a junkie playing with heroin.  Since at least my early twenties I’ve dealt with — or more appropriately haven’t dealt with — obsessive compulsive disorder.  I wasn’t aware of this until a few months ago, though the few friends I’ve told have greeted the news with a “duh” and a laugh, so apparently I’m the last one to the party.    They seem to think its funny — that OCD is some quirky personality trait.  It’s more like chassis rust on your ’65 Mustang:  You’re not likely to notice it until you snap in two while speeding down the highway. 

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21. Who Are You?

Money was tight for twelve-year-old me:  allowance, what I could get mowing lawns, that’s about it.  Used record stores didn’t exist, at least not in Spartanburg, and new records were expensive.  Enter the cutout bin.

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