Friday, February 10, 2017

I Sing The Bookcase Electric

If you follow my blog I wrote a post in September of 2015 called Paperback Criers (http://blackhairedboy.blogspot.com/2015/09/paperback-criers.html ) about people heralding the rise in popularity of paperbound books. I can be a sentimental old man with the best of them, but this time I'm going to sit the parade out. I like my electronic books, damn it.

One of the great things about owning a Kindle is the way I can carry 100 books around in one slim volume. I can download an unlimited amount of books and go back and forth with them as often as I want to without grabbing them from a shelf and plowing through endless pages. They're all sitting there in my tablet side by side ready to be opened up any time. How can you hate that? And just think, no trees were cut down in the production of these books.

No torn pages! No torn off cover! Nothing yellows or smells! What's to hate?

Another feature I really like is the way I can get samples of books downloaded on my device, so I can sample everything without having to buy it blind. You can read the sample any time you feel like it and not be hampered with standing around in some bookstore.

A quick list of my eBooks currently living in my Kindle:

1. Lord of Garbage - Kim Fowley (he promised a second volume of memoirs - um, yeah the best laid plans of mice and men....)

2. Concrete Island - J.G. Ballard (you think electronic books are cold and alienating? Good, download some J.G. Ballard, then)

3. The Woman Aroused - Bruno Fischer (one of the most twisted noirs ever written; HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

4. The Fox - D.H. Lawrence (the movie was better but still worth a read. I think it was 99 cents)

5. Redheads Die Quickly - Gil Brewer (some of the greatest noir short stories next to Lawrence Block's sleazy stuff)

6. The Flesh of the Orchid - James Hadley Chase (crime classic about an heiress who escapes from a lunatic asylum and tears men's eyes out for kicks...and that's just for starts!)

7. Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life of Tiny Tim - Justin Martell (a great biography on the Sixties phenomenon)

8. Every Good Boy Dies First, Iron Curtain Baby, etc. - Andy Seven (I have four books for sale and they're all fabulous punk crime novels)

SAMPLES OF BOOKS in my Kindle: Notorious Byrd Brothers (33 1/3 album series), The Mayor of MacDougal Street - Dave Van Ronk's memoirs. The Big Bite by noir demon Charles Williams and much more Gil Brewer sleaze like The Brat and Little Tramp. And I'm pretty stoked about that Ann Dvorak biography.

The prices to most of these tomes are actually lower than the average paperbound book since it costs nothing to download these babies. Ahem, my books retail at $2.99 and $3.99, depending on their volume. What are you waiting for?

My Kindle also has an unlimited music cloud library as well as tons of movies, too. All in one slim volume. talk about a home entertainment center in the palm of your hand! By the way, did I mention I have some books for sale?

Friday, January 20, 2017

The 10th Anniversary of My Obsessions

Ten years is a long time to be doing anything, and the fact that I've spent the last ten years of my life writing a (once) weekly blog feels incredible. I got a lot of weirdness off my chest, which encompassed everything from baking ideas to clothes making to favorite obscure film directors and anything else crazy that struck my fancy. Most importantly, I published serialized installments of five novels - one still unpublished, but that's another story. There were also countless short works which found their way on my latest compilation, Iron Curtain Baby, available in eBook form on Kindle, Nook and iTunes.

When I began writing my blog in 2007 I didn't belong to MySpace, Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook, so in the beginning this behemoth was the only means of Internet self-expression for me. In a way that was good, because there was little interference in the way of public opinion in terms of what was acceptable. Without a visible audience it was a lot easier to produce installments without fear of commanding or losing the crowd. It didn't matter, I was the guy in the tiny radio station out in the middle of the desert broadcasting my madness to whomever felt like listening. Isolation can be a blessing.

If anything's changed in the past ten years it's the popularity of my fiction pieces, sometimes a mixed blessing. With the rise in internet plagiarism full chapters from previous novels have had to be pulled down, as well as any upcoming works. I'm writing two novels simultaneously and can't post them as I have in the past because the possibility of plagiarism is highly likely. Too bad. We'll just have to wait for the finished products.

Writing a blog has always been more gratifying to me than posting my work on some social network site, largely because I've always hated the message board format. Sometimes you just want to express yourself without worrying about some uninformed loudmouth attacking your ideas. I get a little bit of that here, like the idiot who refused to believe that Alice Cooper catered to the gay community in the early stages of his career, or the crazy woman who had a one-woman Trixie Merkin crusade, but for the most part there's not a whole lot of cranks screaming at my writings.

For the first seven years of my blog I wrote anonymously and loving it, but all good things must come to an end. It's very strange when you go to work and people approach you and want to discuss your latest blog post, and you never even told anyone you had one. It's a secret celebrityhood that you can't really enjoy, because now your private thoughts have gone public, but that's the internet for you.

Basically, this may very well be the final year of my blog, because: 1) I feel all talked out, written about everything under the sun that interests me; 2) People don't read blogs anymore. My numbers are lower than they've ever been; 3) Everybody wants to talk about the new President and nothing else. I'm just not a political person; 4) I want to focus on my books and nothing more.

Without further ado, let's talk about my four current books, all of which are available as mentioned previously on Amazon Kindle, iTunes and Barnes & Noble Nook:

Every Good Boy Dies First: Punk rock noir novel about Griff, the leader of Garbage Truck during the grunge era who struggles to realize and protect his artistic vision, compromised by crooked musicians, gay bashing skinheads and a dead nightclub bouncer.

Every Bitch For Himself: Crime novel about a heist at a punk rock club called Rocket USA featuring amoral thug Big Jason Gulliver and his punk rock posse. With a few borrowed riffs from The Killing and The Asphalt Jungle, there's enough late Seventies Hollywood punk memorabilia to make your head spin.

Wranglers' Canyon/Crash Walker: Two novel set about a man named Crash Walker, a shiftless cowhand in the Old West, and then a third-rate television actor in the mid-20th Century with a western cowboy show wrangling psychos on the Sunset Strip. Sound confusing? Get the book and read it. You'll figure it out and you'll be glad you did.

Iron Curtain Baby: A collection of short fiction, mostly culled from this insane blog, featuring modern Yiddish folk tales, surreal noir fiction and scrawlings about the early days of the Hollywood Glam & Punk scene as experienced by yours truly.

So there you have it: the past, present and future as experienced by Andy Seven. There will be a few blog posts here and there this year, but the regularity will slow down even more, sorry. I'll make an effort to spit out a few syllables here and there for you, but novelizations await.

P.S. As you can see, there are a few selfies posted here. While some people think it's the creation of the devil, I'm pretty certain that Andy Warhol would have approved of them. They're so Andy.

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Oldies For Ear Canals

What once felt like a gridlock of rock albums during the Seventies and Eighties now appears to be an embarrassment of riches in terms of new albums and bands to discover now that there's very little new product grabbing your attention. I've just begun to discover all kinds of old treasures, and while I come off looking like Johnny-Come-Lately, I'll gladly accept that title with a smile on my face. What great new sounds await!

Here are some finds, some you may have enjoyed through the years, but new noise for my pink ears:

Fanny Hill (Fanny): Yes, I've always known about them and even bought their Casablanca Records single Butter Boy when it came out, but never really looked further into their albums. Big mistake, there's some great stuff going on here. Fanny Hill may be their best album of the bunch, featuring some great original songs and a legendary cover of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine song "Hey Bulldog".

Among the great originals are the Glam-Bowie /Suffragette City sounds of Borrowed Time, Nickey Barclay's great keyboard playing and soulful vocals on Blind Alley, and the overwrought soap opera drama of Knock On My Door. Great lyrics on that one! There will never be a complete Fanny reunion ever (Barclay's turned down several offers) but we'll always have this entertaining album to enjoy.

Faust IV (Faust): This may be their most accessible album (that's a good thing) and I hear a lot of Frank Zappa in Giggly Smile and some Joy Of A Toy-era Kevin Ayers in It's A Bit Of A Pain and Jennifer. Tracks definitely have more of an acid-drenched picnic vibe to them than on their other albums, and if you're normally afraid of Krautrock this is a good place to start. There's even a jazzy reggae number called The Sad Skinhead.

Huffin' Rag Blues (Nurse With Wound): How do you follow up several decades' worth of industrial skronk? How about releasing a lounge album with enough curve balls to drive you crazy? Well, Huffin' Rag Blues is all that and more. Favorite tracks include Thrill of Romance, Cruisin' For A Bruisin' for the car crash set, and the David Lynch-Julie London nightmare Wash The Dust From My Heart.

Other tracks I like from other scattered albums are The Bottom Feeder and Beetles Crawl Across My Back, definitely not so loungey as the Huffin' album but still pretty amazing stuff. Not for the weak of heart but ultimately rewarding, nevertheless.

Nurse With Wound is the brainchild of Steven Stapleton and he has collaborated with other legendary artists such as Stereolab and Faust, who really get around.

Black Antlers (Coil): It's feels weird hyping an album with a set of testicles on the cover, but when it sounds as outstanding as Black Antlers, nothing's going to stand in your way. A synth & electronics duo featuring Jhonn Balance and Peter Christopherson, the sonic landscapes created by the dearly departed duo have a cinematic intensity to them that you definitely need to check out.

Favorite tracks include Departed, Things We Never Had, the somber Teenage Lightning, and the title track. This is great music to get in your car and fly down the dark highway in the dead of night. This is very moody music best enjoyed for those days when the sun is nowhere to be found.

Subliminal Sandwich (Meat Beat Manifesto): Jack Dangers' electronic soundscapes run the gamut from downbeat to jazz to dubstep and beyond. Tracks like Transmission and She's Unreal have a sexy trance dancability to them, while tracks like Cancer offer bleak, dark urban soundtracks in the Blade Runner mode. Future World indeed!

There's some great listening to be had from these bands, and it's pretty sad that these artists never got the attention they truly deserved. Look into these albums or any other ones by these artists and you'll discover a brave new world of insane sonics guaranteed to crack your brain open like a pink porcelain piggy bank!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Suburban Adam and Eve

There were green lawns with sprinklers
shooting water towards the azure sky
Spanish tile towered with television antennae gables
tropical palm trees swaying in the soft wind
blowing away dark gray clouds coughing out of battered station wagons

Things were cool when I was sixteen years old
there was the girl, with her long, dark, wet brown hair
which often fell into her dark, wet brown eyes
she gave me a dark brown smile and said,
“Wait a minute”

she climbed over the backyard fence
and I waited
I heard her voice over the fence,
“well come on”
I climbed over the fence too

she stood next to her neighbor’s peach tree
she pulled off a peach and handed it to me
“Bite” she said

I bit into the soft flesh of the fuzzy fruit
The juice ran all over my hands
she took my hands holding the bleeding fruit

She bit deep into the fuzzy peach
her eyes boring into me
her warm, hungry, brown eyes not moving away from me
the stare of a tiger
the stare of a wolf

This is the way it began
and this is the way it goes on
Even in suburban Culver City

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lovers Come and Gone

The world is full of love songs about people you love madly and the ones that broke your heart and the ones you drop as well as the ones that drop you in return, and…it got me to thinking. I want to talk about the loves I’ve had in the past. Real and imagined (the imagined ones can be defined as Internet Lolitas with the accent on the first three letters LOL).

There are the girls you ran after and the ones that ran after you. You worried about looking like a stalker when you ran after that girl, but when a girl runs after you she makes no bones about the fact that she’s stalking you. She’ll even tell you straight out, “I’m stalking you”. “Don’t you wish you never met her”, as PJ Harvey sang in Rid Of Me. Well, sometimes. It’s sexy when it’s the girl you want, but if she’s not then it’s a scene from Play Misty For Me, all signs of manic desire, obsession, unhealthy fixation, so on and so forth.

But I digress: I’m driving up Pacific Coast Highway making a delivery, staring at the big, blue waves and listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers. Feeling like such a California boy. “She’s the devil in disguise, she’s been telling dirty lies…she calls me ‘The Man In The Fog’, ‘Take me’, she says, ‘Just one time’”.

I think about the Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers, where he visits a few of his ex-girlfriends to find out who is the mother of his only child. In his quest for the mystery woman we see him visiting a biker mama, a high-strung animal psychiatrist, a reformed hippie turned Stepford Wife, and an over the hill dragstrip queen.

None of the women are connected in any way, and collectively represent the phases of his life and what interested him most at that time about women. I think we’re all like that in many ways, and in that respect I can say that what interested me in a woman thirty years ago would never interest me now, because I’ve changed. I think we’re all like that; we change our taste in people, as we do in music or films.

People search endlessly for someone to love, not because they lack independence, but because who they choose to be with marks a milestone in their life. To live an entire life without love is a life lived without reference or signposts.

But I digress: Drove for 11 hours straight yesterday, and the last job was delivering some fashion over the hill from Laurel Canyon. It was pitch black and I was already tired and felt myself floating in the darkness up the canyon and when the job was done I drove back down the canyon, floating in the darkness and feeling like a Laurel Canyon ghost. It was a beautiful feeling.

There were the girls that made me cry and the ones I made cry, but above all the ones that gave me fire, inspired me, great pretenders of the muse…some of them were the real thing and others who just didn’t have it.

I think about people who have love all the time and others who never get any, and even worse, the ones who have to fight for it, like beggars in a tent camp. Do the people who never have love dream pleasant dreams or is life just a long nightmare for them? I wonder.

P.S. Many of the girls I've loved are either still single, a few are divorced, and most of them have gone mad. What’s it all about? You will know love and love will drive you mad, but loneliness is worse.