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Let's have a ZIP Code Hootenanny with the Swingin' Six

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • July 1, 2013 - 12:48 PM

The ZIP Code turns 50 this week, and Time Magazine reminds us that it actually stands for something: Zone Improvement Plan Code. Imagine their expressions when they realized this attempt to make things speedier could be summed up by ZIP. Astonishment! What a coincidence! But where does the word “zip” come from, anyway?It’s onomatopoetic. The sound an object makes as it speeds past. Dates from the middle of the 19th century.

The article notes that people objected to being turned into a number. You heard a lot of that. Computers would turn everyone into numbers. When you read science fiction, people in the future had numbers. Winston Smith had a number in “1984.” Patrick McGoohan, in “The Prisoner,” insisted that he was a free man, not a number. Well, the two aren’t exactly mutually exclusive, but I get the point.

So how do you sell the ZIP code to a stubborn, suspicious population? Show  “The Swingin’ Six,” havin’ a Hootenanny on its behalf. Use it day or night!

 

 

UH OH Lionfish will take over the world:

A single female can release upward of 2 million eggs annually that become larvae capable of floating along currents for more than a month, dispersing for hundreds to thousands of miles. They’ll eat whatever they can get their mouths around, which happens to be any fish or invertebrate just a hair smaller than they are.

Only a matter of time before they show up at Lake Harriet, gnawing on bathers. The article relates an alarming fact about the Lionfish: it may be the first fish so successful at eating everything else they’ve become morbidly obese.

MUSIC “Surely one of the most bizarre career trajectories in pop history.” Who? I could play one snippet of one song from 30 years ago, and you’d know. Those drums. Via Coudal, a defense of a brillaint drummer who became the poster boy for MOR:

To say that Collins' ingenuity as a solo artist began and ended inside three minutes and within one song may seem a little unfair, though in reality that's almost how it panned out.

Yes. Now, some full-strength music writing:

As Eno escaped with a more or less spotless reputation after traversing the light year's distance in production values between Talking Heads and U2, Collins likewise headed unblinking into the mainstream, and kissed goodbye to any trace of creative eminence that his nascent solo career had thus far afforded him. Gabriel, after a stuttering start, eventually soared into the decade's back end as the canny Fairlight & fretless slick-yet-intellectual archetype, while any such element of risk for his Genesis successor was apparently forever deluged in an all-out commercialist sonic dysentery. The hits just piled up, only to become increasingly forgettable and trivial, whilst the Collins of the mid-to-late 1980s was a ubiquitous, vapid yet outrageously profitable disappointment.

 And never had such an unrelenting arbiter of the casual provoked such ire.

Why? Because Phil Collins was an incredible drummer who worked with the brainiest musicians and jazzmen in progressive rock. I mean, you can’t work with Robert Fripp and then sing “You Can’t Hurry Love.” You - just - CAN’T. That’s all.

 

VIDEO If I was falling to the earth, I might have other priorities. Not this guy.

 

 

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