Segarini: Miscellaneous Stuff That Drives Me Nuts

Every now and then I get cranky. Most of us do. Normally I just suffer in silence, not wanting to bitch and moan because I see enough of that online and in Letters to the Editor, but sometimes, you just have to spout off. The disturbing thing is that most of what makes me want to stick my head in a blender is well meaning and generally benign, but for some reason I can’t shake the feeling that there is an underlying layer of neediness and desperation in all its good intentions. Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it’s the constant barrage of information I neither want, need, or request. Then there’s the never ending ‘improvements’ made to things that don’t need improving, and those who have ruined so many things I once loved in the name of commerce. Good Lord, I’m a curmudgeon!

Here are some of the things currently giving my brain a wedgie:

The Record Industry

Why do they release so much crap? Why do they concentrate on radio format-friendly records when the music with the longest staying power and continuing sales are very rarely even on the radio? Why do they charge so much for CDs? Rumour has it they are going to drop the CD format in the near future. This is interesting on a couple of levels. First of all, I keep reading how CD sales still account for most of the record companies revenue, far overshadowing digital downloads. If that is true, I can’t imagine the labels giving up the largest portion of their revenues. Have they been fibbing all this time? I haven’t bought a CD in years. I do have an extensive collection of Indie CDs that have been given to me, and that’s the best use of the format I can think of. For new artists and Indie bands, the CD is a terrific calling card, and can generate income at live shows and more gigs if the band is good. The price is usually reasonable, and when you buy one, you know the money is going to the people who created the music, a win-win for everyone. If the record companies were serious about entering the present (finally), they should first apologize for demonizing Napster instead of embracing it as the new form of distribution it should have been, and monetizing downloads from the get-go, but what’s done is done. Here’s what they should do; digitize their product (all of it, the whole catalogue including the obscure and long-out-of-print) and offer digital downloads from their own website. A dime to a quarter a download would make them amazing amounts of money, even if they split it 50-50 with the creators. No warehousing, manufacturing, or shipping costs. If someone wants a CD, they can burn one at home, the labels having sent pictures, info, etc, with the downloaded music. Labels could also do vinyl on request if they so chose. Pay them a little extra and get alternative takes, demos, and other bonuses, the money to be split with the artist/creators. Take the music back from iTunes and over-charging retailers. Want to keep the retailers in business? Let them burn whatever their customers want in the way of hard copies. Supply them with new artist compilations every month. A side effect of all of this would be the disappearance of those in the record and retail business who signed on to make scads of money and leave those who love music and records. The labels would be the ‘good-guys’ again, Indie acts would flock to them for distribution, and the labels would once again be gate keepers of good music.

Music Radio

Support and play local music, think for yourselves, and make it fun again, not a bunch of Ryan Seacrest sound-alikes playing the same records on every station. Good looks don’t last, develop a personality or nine. Until you do, I can’t listen to you. Check your numbers. (not that they count for much anymore), I am not alone.

Superhero Movies

Does anyone who works on these things ever read the source material? Considering the amount of these films, you would think they would get it right once in a while but they rarely do. In fact, only one movie in recent memory came close to nailing it and that was Xmen: First Class. For a change they got the time period right, the attitude right, and still managed to bring something new to the table. They still screwed up the line-up, but over all a fine effort. Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel would have made it almost perfect, but no…let’s change it up for no reason whatsoever. At least when they did take some creative chances (the origin of the Xmen) they choose interesting ideas and made them work. Setting it in the ‘60s was the best thing about it, though, How wonderful it would be to see a Batman or Superman movie set in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. Speaking of Bats and Supes, will there ever ne a movie about either one that gets it right? There has never been a good Superman movie. I may go to hell for saying this, but Christopher Reeve was the worst Clark Kent imaginable. I get hives (and embarrassed) thinking about Supes being a wuss in his Clark persona to protect his true identity. The glasses and sissy act clearly wouldn’t fool anybody. Brandon Routhe didn’t help by trying to channel Reeve in the latest effort, but I guess we can blame the director for that one. The sad thing is, years ago someone at DC created a perfectly logical and workable solution to the secret identity problem that apparently was only read and remembered by me. The explanation? Supes vibrates when he’s Clark Kent (or Superman, I forget which) just enough to change his features. He also stoops a bit and wears clothes that do not hug his body when he’s Clark. What he doesn’t do is act like Niles Crane. The glasses also change the color of his eyes (or he wears contacts, I dunno, one or the other). So now they’re working on a new Superman film and God only knows what we’re going to get this time. Tragically, they’ve already let it slip that Jor-El and Zod are in the movie (Again? Why?) and Lois is going to be a redhead. If they do some kind of origin again I’m going to set my seat on fire. There is one ray of hope, though. The Superman suit is almost identical to the one in DCs re-launch  of 52 of their comics. My fervent wish is that they have also seen the first two issues of the new Action Comics. In them, Supes is running from the police and the military, Luthor is trying to capture him and experiment on him his powers are just starting to blossom and he is somewhat vulnerable to a few things. He starts out in Metropolis in a Superman T-shirt, cape, dungerees and workboots, eventually getting the whole outfit somewhere down the line. Some people are afraid of him, and that makes sense. Clark isn’t portrayed as a momma’s boy either, in fact, he’s kinda cool and unkempt. Let him fight crime, criminals, and corrupt politicians and such, and start the movie off with the opening of the ‘50s TV series updated. Throw in a couple of giant robots, genetically created dinosaurs, or the bottle city of Kandor and I’ll be in line tomorrow. As for Batman, the only one I’ve liked was Michael Keaton, but only in the first movie. That damnable ‘60s television series besmirched the character and ever since, he’s been either a campy bore, or (lately) a brooding loser. For some reason, everyone involved in these films forget that Batman was and is first and foremost, a detective. He solves stuff, and in the best stories he solves puzzles, mysteries, locked room conundrums, and, using his Bat-Lab, tracks down killers, crazies, and villains by using his wits and scientific know-how. When he fights, let us see the punches thrown and give them some weight, not the fast-cut, quick-edit choreography that passes for exciting these days. I’d love to see a Batman movie set in the early ‘40s, but there is no chance of that, so here’s what you could do; film Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns set slightly in the future, and cast (wait for it) Steven Seagal as the aging Caped Crusader. He looks like him, sounds like him, and with the right direction could be the best Batman ever. Don’t believe me? Rent or download “Under Siege 2: Dark Territory” and give it a spin. Minus the cape and cowl, this is a great Batman movie. A little more wounding and a lot less killing and it fits old Bats perfectly. By the way, Thor, the first Iron Man, and Captain America were pretty okay, so I have hopes for The Avengers flick…but I’m not holding my breath.

Bono

Enough already. Give him offices in the Vatican, the White House, and at 10 Downing Street, maybe a cubicle at the United Nations. Just shut him up.

Facebookies

Facebook is free. Quit complaining. Have some patience with what they are working toward, from what I’ve read it is pretty amazing. Learn how to use Facebook’s tools, that way you’ll have very little to complain about. You can control damn near everything that shows up on your wall. Quit asking people to make your status their status. It’s your status, you don’t need anyone else’s affirmation. We can find groups we want to join on our own, thank you. Please use ‘message’ to have an argument with someone, having a negative thread constantly popping up is annoying to most of us. Create your own homilies and philosophical thoughts instead of posting the ‘pop wisdom’ that seems to be all the rage right now. Quit telling people to ‘pass it on’. They will if they want to. We all know there is a lot wrong in the world today. Quit reminding us. Please post whatever it is you want us to see on your wall, it will show up in the news feed and all your friends will see it. Don’t tag me in a picture unless I’m in the picture. If you post a picture, kindly include either what or who it is, or some kind of context. Otherwise, most of us won’t be able to appreciate it.

-0-

A Halloween Footnote

My daughter is taking her two little ones out trick or treating tonight. Marshall is the Dragon, Matilda is the Ice Cream Cone. Last year, Marshall was a Monkey and his mom, Amy, was Morticia. Matilda was just 2 months old, so this year is her first Halloween. I was hoping to go with them but this column has kept me up all night and I don’t know if I’ll be up in time. I’m expecting lots of pictures either way. If you’re out tonight and in Toronto, you can join Pie at Old Nick’s on the Danforth and enjoy her favourite band, Jumple, who dress for Halloween every day. More fun you can’t have. An extraordinarily entertaining band, pick up their new CD if you make it to the show. If I can be anywhere tonight besides asleep, it will be at Cherry Cola’s cheering on The Brains, the perfect band for the perfect night in the perfect club. Last year, the costumes and the party there were waay too much fun. I expect the same this year. Have a safe and happy All Hallows Eve, look both ways before you cross the street, take along a thermos of hot chocolate for the kiddies if you have any, and watch out you don’t get a Dr. Happy Spider Infested Pop Corn Ball in your Treat Bag. Yuch!

We now have an email address where all of us here at Don’t Believe a Word I Say can be contacted: dbawis@rogers.com Please use it to ask questions,tell us what you’d like to read about, send links you’d like to share, and let us hear what you have to say.

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, The Segarini Band, and Cats and Dogs, and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now sadly gone), and now provides content for radiothatdoesntsuck.com with RadioZombie, The Iceage, and PsychShack. Along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop, (who hosts and writes “I’ve Heard That Song Before” on RTDS), continues to write, make music, and record.

2 Responses to “Segarini: Miscellaneous Stuff That Drives Me Nuts”

  1. Terri Rosales Says:

    You read my mind about the over pricing of digital recordings. With no bricks and mortar, no shipping, no physical product, why does it cost a buck a song?

  2. Jim Chisholm in Campbell River Says:

    Sorry for the late reply. These rants are right on. Finally, because I’m listening to a great recornding of him right now, why the hell does nobody ever talk about or play any tunes by Marshall Crenshaw? Tell me why.

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