Mini Grab Bag, Pt. 4

You oughta know the drill by now, kiddos. The Countess has hit a dry spell, ain’t got nothin’ too excitin’ or comprehensive to blog about, so she just performs a lobotomy on her brain and opens up a huge grab bag of whatever’s floatin’ around up there for all the world to read and weep…

I watched Love & Mercy again recently for the…oh, I don’t know, eight millionth time? 150611_gma_connelly2_0633_16x9_992:))))))))))))))))))))))))) all the smile emojis in the world for this movie :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Ok, so that’s a bit of hyperbole. I’ve actually only seen it approximately seven million times. But really, I’ve seen this film many, many, many times. I couldn’t stop laughing about three minutes into the film, which perplexed my husband because it wasn’t exactly a funny scene. “I’m just laughing because I know exactly what he’s going to say next,” I told him. It’s such a great film and makes my heart so, so happy. Can someone remind me why neither Paul Dano OR John Cusack were even at least nominated for you-know-what? I guess the nominating committee didn’t close their eyes like Brian told them to. (“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I closed my eyes, didn’t see a thing.” What a party pooper, that Murray.) So many great moments and lines in this film. “You’re grass, and I’m a power mower.” “I’m already eating as fast as I can!” “Does it sound like a drug song to anyone else?” “Mike, you can leave if you don’t want to be here, thank you. I’m working with the cello players.” “See you tomorrow, Hal!” And on and on and on. Ahhh. I love this movie.

(Pssst, anyone else uncontrollably amused by Mike Love’s one critique of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s album of Beach Boys songs? “When the first list came to me, they didn’t have ‘Kokomo’ on it. Now, it wasn’t a big hit in the UK, but it was No.1 for eight weeks in Australia and a No.1 in the US, so I said, ‘Actually, it’s the biggest-selling single we ever had – bigger than “I Get Around”, bigger than “Good Vibrations”, so that’s really saying something.’ Not having it on the album would be a mistake. In the end it turned out great.” No, in the end, it turned out hiiiiilarious. Listen for yourself here but only if you want to be cursed with having “Kokomo” in your head ALL SUMMER LONG, grrrrrrr.)


Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) hears the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of “Kokomo.” Or just the regular version of “Kokomo,” same difference.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock with my sister, then you probably already watched Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke. 

Not that I really watch The Late Late Show with James Corden on a regular basis or anything (or at all, really), but it is easily the best Carpool Karaoke ever. It’s funny, poignant, and magical as only a former Beatle can conjure. I’m also so lovin’ the new Macca trax. How blessed we are to have Sir Paul McCartney in this world!!

On the other hand, I’m still trying to figure out this new Arctic Monkeys album. 

Do I like it? Do I not like it? Am I awake? Am I asleep? Do I want to book a trip to the moon? I just don’t know. But I’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop trying to figure it out and finding snippets of lyrics popping into my brain:

What do you mean you’ve never seen Blade Runner?

Dancing in my underpants
I’m gonna run for government
I’m gonna form a covers band and all

Kiss me underneath the moon’s side boob

(Wait, what?) 

Bear with me, man, I lost my train of thought

Since the exodus it’s all getting GENTRIFIIIIIIED 

I launch my fragrance called “Integrity”

Confused, unsure, and looking for answers, I sought inspiration from a higher power. That’s right, I turned to Google and discovered a clip of an interview with Noel Gallagher being questioned about the album.

The journalist puts forth the premise of the album (a retirement home for rock stars on the moon–no, really) to Noel and wonders if he fancies it. “I don’t know what to make of it,” Noel answers simply.

(Meeeeee toooooo.)

The journalist presses a little, describing the album as experimental, off-the-beaten track, not really what you would expect from Arctic Monkeys.”No, you’d expect a few choruses. There wasn’t any of them,” Gallagher quips dryly.

Love that guy.

It is completely different from anything Arctic Monkeys have done before, it isn’t exactly what you’d expect, it might make you a bit uncomfortable or even outraged that those “We’re Arctic Monkeys, this is ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, don’t believe the hype” have grown up, grown some facial hair, changed a little…but, alas, I haven’t stopped loving you once.

There’s also been a ton of outrage (apparently) that Alex Turner grew some facial hair and has been sporting a beard.

I just wanna know where ya’ll were when Jarvis Cocker grew a beard. Like, that was outrage, and it was a protest party of one as I recall. At some point–oh maybe two or three years later, I think it was–I had to accept that Jarvis wasn’t going to shave his beard or wash his hair on a regular basis. You can’t change people, people. You just have to love them for who they are.


And Jarvis is a really weird guy. But I still like him a lot.

I still got it. 

And by “it,” I refer to the ability to win the Turner Classic Movies edition of Scene It despite not spending all my spare time watching old movies anymore. I won even when my opponents got questions like, “What does Zuzu tell Daddy happens every time a bell rings?” and “What film stars Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift?” and “What color are Dorothy’s shoes in The Wizard of Oz?” Come on, now, I’m sleep-walking here, answering these questions!!

But really, I won because I always choose The Maltese Falcon as my playing piece, and it never, ever lets me down.humphrey-bogart-maltese-falcon-steve-wynnHearts in my eyes for Sam Spade forever.

I’ve been to the movies twice recently (to see Jurassic World and Incredibles 2, both very enjoyable) and saw the absolute worst trailer for a movie, ever. Like, ever, ever. 

I don’t even know if I can post it here in all good conscience. Some virtually braindead individual had the dumb idea to not only make another film version of Little Women but also “re-imagine” the story by placing it in a modern setting. I’m appalled, really. I have no words. This is like in Back to the Future II when Marty finds himself in an alternate 1985 where his mom has had a boob job and is married to Biff. We have to go back to 1955 and stop Biff from giving himself the Sports Almanac from 2015. We have to stop this movie from being made. We only need the perfect, definitive film version of Louisa May Alcott’s story produced in 1994, starring Winona Ryder as Jo. And if you can’t deal with that, at least respect the author’s work and LEAVE IT ALONE. I SAID NO NO NO!!!!!!!

I need to calm down.

Happy birthday, Ringo!

Peace and love.

I’m the greatest and you better believe it, baby!

I finished watching all eight seasons of 24…my life is now devoid of meaning. 

I haven’t watched the “revival” or whatever you wanna call it, but I must say, I was little underwhelmed by the series finale. It seemed…a little reminiscent of an earlier season finale????? Come on now. But Jack Bauer is still awesome.

Meanwhile, I haven’t been watching much–like any–Dark Shadows lately. 

I kind of cycled through all the story arcs I wanted to and I don’t know if I really want to watch the Leviathan storyline (like who needs that kind of negativity in their life???) or if I should actually watch the pre-Barnabas (gasp!) episodes for the first time ever. I remember seeing a few on Sci-Fi as a kid, and as I recall, they were one long yawn. Apparently, however, there are fans who argue that some of the series’ best acting and writing is found in those early episodes. I just don’t know if I can stomach 209 episodes of no Barnabas or Quentin. I don’t know if that life is worth living, frankly. Let me know your thoughts.

That’s it, kids. This is just a “mini” grab bag–for when you need a Hand of Count Petofi fix but don’t want all the calories. Unless you’re like me and eat the whole bag anyway and then end up in bed, shutting out the rest of the world.852664894-brian_wilson_1968_laying_in_bed_with_smoke

It’s waaaaay past my bedtime. As if that weren’t clear enough.


Five Favorites I Would Induct into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In 2006, it was announced that the Sex Pistols would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In response, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) faxed a handwritten letter to the institution, politely declining the honor. He described the hall of fame as a “piss stain” and “urine in wine”, and he also raised some legitimate criticisms of the institution–the fact that it is a non-profit organization lacking transparency as to where exactly its funds go (you have to exit the actual museum via the gift shop, y’know), the anonymity of the nominating committee, and the vagueness of their criteria. It is a great letter, full of sneering Rotten-isms and grammatical errors, and it addresses many of the things I dislike about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But most of the time I don’t care about the Rock and Roll of Fame, whom it inducts and whom it snubs. Except last night the 2013 induction ceremony was on television. It was vapid and tasteless, and it reminded me of all the things I hate about the Hall of Fame–its elitism, its inconsistency, its unpredictability. Why are some genres (er, prog rock) so underrepresented? Why is a performer’s induction so dependent upon commercial success in the United States? And why oh why is Randy Newman an inductee but not the Zombies? Odessey and Oracle, hello! It’s not rocket science, people.

The value and meaning of an artist’s music isn’t found for me in recognition from a board of anonymous weenies. A band or artist is going to mean the same to me whether they’re in the Hall of Fame or not. But because I’m in a contradictory sort of mood, let’s discuss five (out of many) of my favorite artists currently eligible for induction that I think deserve a spot in the Hall of the Fame.

 5. Pulp


Eligible Since: 2008
Nominated In: Never
Essential Albums: His ‘n’ Hers (1994), Different Class (1995), This Is Hardcore (1998)

Pulp was a band that was always slightly out of step with the rest of the world. Fifteen-year-old Jarvis Cocker formed the band in 1978, they released their first record in 1983, and, after many lineup changes but with Cocker still at the forefront, they finally achieved mainstream success with 1995’s Different Class–in the UK, at least. And that, more than anything, is what is  going to bar their entrance into the Hall of Fame. Because, you see, a band has to have HUGE SUCCESS in the United States to have any credibility for the Hall of Fame. It’s ridiculous. It’s especially ridiculous in the case of Pulp because Jarvis Cocker is one of the greatest songwriters and lyricists. He writes about the mundane, the seedy, and the misfits with warmth and disgust and humor and the keenest details. There is no one in the world like him, and I was intent on marrying him all through college.

Actually, I still would.

Britpop is one of those genres and musical movements that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is probably going to ignore as long as possible. Which is stupid as it produced some of the best music of the 1990s.

4. The Monkees


“I got a chandelier!”

Eligible Since: 1991
Nominated In: NEVER!!
Essential Albums: The Monkees (1966), More of the Monkees (1967), Headquarters (1967), Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd. (1967). Also you have to watch both seasons of their television show because it is fun, funny, zany, and did I mention FUN? Also John Lennon watched it and loved it.

The Monkees are a tricky one. There’s still some confusion as to whether they were a real band because apparently all those albums they made without Don Kirshner playing puppet master isn’t enough proof. Yes, they were initially a manufactured band, but they went on to write and perform their own material. And even when they weren’t writing and playing ALL the instruments on those first two albums, they were still, you know, singing. Other groups used session musicians and performed the work of other songwriters. Other groups who are currently in the Hall of Fame. So, what’s the deal, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Oh yeah, I forgot, y’all are elitist wieners. The Monkees had some great songs, written for them and by them, and they are a unique cultural phenomenon.

3. The Smiths


Eligible Since: 2008
Nominated In: Never
Essential Albums: The Smiths (1984), Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986), Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)

Johnny Marr’s guitar playing. Morrissey’s morose, biting, hilarious lyrics, sung somberly and gloomily as only Morrissey can. Does a more perfect musical marriage exist? Nope. Their influence is palpable, and the fact that all of their studio albums (and you also have to listen to the singles compilations, of course!) are essential listening speaks volumes.

But in order for Morrissey to attend the ceremony (which would be a major long shot anyway), there would probably have to be no meat within 50 miles of the venue because, you know, meat is murder, and he does not tolerate your alternate views.

2. T. Rex


Eligible Since: 1993
Nominated In: NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Essential Albums: Electric Warrior (1971), The Slider (1972). I also really love Futuristic Dragon (1976), but, y’know, it ain’t for everyone.

I had forgotten that T. Rex has never been inducted–or even nominated!–into the Hall of Fame, and I suddenly got very, very, very mad because that is absolutely ridiculous. Bolan (the man I wanted to marry before Jarvis, sigh) and T. Rex may have not had been able to sustain the same level of commercial success as their contemporary David Bowie but their influence is incredible. My suspicion is that the Hall of Fame is wary of inducting them because they are so closely linked with “glam” rock, although Bolan did experiment with other genres (soul and R&B, notably), and that’s embarrassing for some reason. Fact is, Bolan wrote some great rock ‘n’ roll songs. Some of the best. Summer is heaven in ’77! 

“I can’t cleverly theorize about Marc,” Morrissey once wrote. “I just loved him.” Me too, Mozzer. Me too.

1. The Jam 

Photo of Rick BUCKLER and JAM and Bruce FOXTON and Paul WELLER

Eligible Since: 2002
Nominated In: Never, because, once again, the nominating committee are actually shareholders in Oscar Mayer. (Translation: They’re WEENIES!!)
Essential Albums: In the City (1977), All Mod Cons (1978), Setting Sons (1979), Sound Affects (1980), The Gift (1982). I just listed all of their studio albums, save one. OOPS!!

In case I haven’t made it clear here before…I worship Paul Weller. I mean, I really have it bad for this guy. I think he is the world’s most wonderful human being and a stunning lyricist and songwriter with unquenchable passion for and belief in what he does. And wham bam, long live The Jam! I would induct Weller into the Hall of Fame in all of his incarnations–with The Jam, The Style Council, and as a solo artist, but The Jam probably holds the most value as far as influence and a solid, cohesive body of work. It still blows my mind that the group produced six albums in five years, with so many great songs, and they broke up at their commercial and critical peak. What guts 24-year-old Paul Weller had! Love that guy. But The Jam never really achieved any kind of success in the United States, which is commonly explained by their being “too British.” (And the Kinks were…?) Yes, because the stream of images painted in “That’s Entertainment” are only relatable and vivid if you are British: “Two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight/Two lovers missing the tranquillity of solitude/Getting a cab and travelling on buses/Reading the graffiti about slashed seat affairs/I say that’s entertainment, that’s entertainment.”

Name me a songwriter in the hall of fame who can write lyrics like THAT. I can probably count ’em on one hand.

My 21 Favorite Things About Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Britpop

Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop is not a comprehensive study of ’90s British pop music or the culture and politics surrounding it. I mean, it discusses Suede for all of thirty seconds. But it is highly entertaining. The interviews, featuring the Gallagher brothers, Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, and some other people (including members of an Oasis tribute band where the bass player looks NOTHING like Guigsy, ummm–OUTRAGE!!), are witty and insightful. It’s worth a watch, if only for the 21 following quotes…my favorite things about this little documentary.

1. Liam Gallagher’s heroes 

Did you have heroes growing up?
Incredible Hulk was probably one of ’em. Evil Knievil. That’s about it.
What was it you liked about the Incredible Hulk?
His greenness.

2. Damon Albarn on media images of Blur and Oasis 

Blur were suddenly the inauthentic middle-class pop band and Oasis were the real, gritty, working class heroes. How did you feel about all that?
That was a very intelligent observation by whoever made that, wasn’t it?

3. Jarvis Cocker on mariginalized turds: “You were kind of used to being this marginal piece of turd and then, suddenly, the piece of turd was moved into center stage. That felt exciting.”


4. Noel Gallagher on Definitely Maybe versus (What’s the Story) Morning Glory: “I personally think Definitely Maybe is a far better album. And it’s for the life of me that I can’t understand why in this country in particular when people were going to buy Morning Glory they didn’t buy Definitely Maybe, and I’d just like to say: Where do you get off on that? When you go into HMV to buy a copy of Morning Glory, you don’t buy Definitely Maybe. What’s that all about? Just do it to piss me off? I could sit and think about that for hours. [To interviewer] Have you got Definitely Maybe? And Morning Glory? See, I can understand that. People are weird.”

5. Liam on why he wouldn’t want to interview John Lennon: “Because you ask him one question and it just go into anything…and before you know it, I’d end up licking his face. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?”

6. Noel on Liam believing he is John Lennon reincarnated: “Liam started believing everything that was written in the NME about him. It was a good couple of weeks that he was talking in a Scouse accent. Now I’m all for madness in rock music, and I’m all for surrealism, but he was trying to convince me that I should call him John.”

7. Damon playing his ukulele instead of answering questions. 

8. Liam on his hobbies and interests growing up

Didn’t like music then. Just played football and come in late for me tea and knocked  on people’s doors and run off. Run through people’s back gardens and pinch things.
What sort of things would you pinch?
Clothes off the washing line if I thought they looked pretty cool, I thought, ‘I’ll have that.’ Mountain bikes. Anything. Lawn mowers.
You used to pick lawn mowers?
Mmm. And sell ’em. For weed.

9. Jarvis on “Common People” 

That song you did, “Common People,” I heard it described as the perfect encapsulation of the Britpop aesthetic. 
Oh dear. Right.

(Just as a side note: still trying to wrap my head around the interview locations. Noel looks like he’s in a spare room of Buckingham Palace, and then we see Jarvis in squalor. Okay.)

10. Noel on Knebworth

Were you aware at the time that you were making history? 
If we would have sat down and calculated that we were going to make history…I certainly would have worn a better outfit, let’s put it that way.

11. Liam on Knebworth 

Biggest freestanding gig in history.
Very proud of that.
What do you remember of that?
Nothing. Not a lot, really. I remember forgetting…I thought we were only doing one night and then we done the second, so I got really drunk after the first night and can’t remember anything else.

12. Jarvis on drugs

I was just a mess.
Well, taking drugs doesn’t help. That never helps in a situation. You don’t often hear people saying, ‘Oooh, since he’s been taking them drugs he’s such a nice person. He’s really come out of his shell, he’s really nice. He’s blossomed.’

13. Liam attempts to understand the word “androgyny” 

What does that mean?
You have a feminine quality about you as well. 
I have a what?
A feminine quality about you. 
What does that mean?
Well, you’re not just some…
I’m a bird?
No, I’m not saying you’re a bird, but…
What does that mean?
Well, you’re not some fifteen stone hog, you have that kind of–a bit of femininity in your masculinity. 
Have I? Explain.
I suppose just in your looks. 
I’m a pretty boy, yeah. Yeah, I’m pretty good-looking. I take care of me hair. Bit obsessed with me hair. You gotta have a decent haircut if you’re a frontman.

14. Noel on Liam’s Vanity Fair cover: “I thought he looked like an absolute idiot. ‘Cos they wanted me and Liam to do it, and I remember taking the phone call and somebody saying, ‘Well, if you don’t do it, Blur will do it.’ To which I laughed and handed the phone to Liam. I was like, ‘Oh, well, I better do it, then.’ Y’know what I mean? And Liam ends up on the cover with a nipple on his head looking like a baby’s bottle with his missus. In a Union Jack bed, that’s the one. Topless—oooh! Rubbish.”

(Just trying to imagine the Noel/Liam version of this…)

15. Jarvis on the side effects of cocaine: “Well, all around that time was people taking loads of coke…It’s a very self-congratulatory kind of drug, you know. ‘Yes, we’re inventing the future!'”

16. Damon’s demonic glow when questioned whether “Beetlebum” is about heroin: “Does it matter? I mean, obviously, Head and Shoulders, whoever used it on their advert, didn’t think so.”

17. Noel on Be Here Now: “It’s the sound of a bunch of guys on coke in the studio not giving a f***. There’s no bass to it at all. I don’t know what happened to that. And all the songs are really long. And all the lyrics are s***. And for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there’s a guitar riff in there in a Wayne’s World styley. Air guitar gone mental. But Liam thinks it f***ing rocks.”

18. Noel on the value of Be Here Now (and how to increase it): “People can b**** about it the rest of their lives, but y’know, sell it. Get four or five quid, I would imagine. Come ’round my house and I’ll sign it for you. Probably get a tenner then.”

19. Noel on visitors to the studio while mixing “The Hindu Times”: “Actually, we were mixing ‘The Hindu Times’ in Olympic Studios in London and where the room is where we’re doing this mixing is like a conservatory type thing and there was all these kids doing their dancing thing. And Liam and Andy Bell walked in. And I went, ‘See all them kids out there?’ And they went, ‘Oh, you mean Junior S Club 7?’ And it took me twenty minutes to realize, ‘How the f*** do you know what they’re called? I thought they were just some kids from a special needs school who were hanging out in the studio for a day ‘cos it was free food or something.’ And they knew their names.”


20. Liam on Junior S Club 7: “I don’t mind S Club Juniors…Good little kids, man.”

(Just imagining him listening to this does my head in. I don’t know. Perfect human being.)

21. Noel on choreographers: “And where did all this come from? What does this mean? I don’t get that at all. The choreographers are taking over the world, man. Everything’s choreographed now, isn’t it? It’s rubbish.”

…And that’s excluding Noel’s impersonation of Damon Albarn (which is a bit dated, seeing as they’ve reconciled), talk of Afghan clowns, and Liam Gallagher being Liam Gallagher. Oh, Britpop. You’re too much fun.