Darrell Vickers: As the World Turntables

darrell-vickersThe Overview

Countless magical hours of mirth, tragedy and love that have been gifted to us by the miracle of the motion picture, yet these same cinematic divertissements have also given birth to a staggering amount of griping and controversy.  People have been caviling and kvetching in equal measure about the inappropriate depictions of violence, sex and ugly people kissing since the days of Fairbanks and Keaton.  And those very same bastions of moral rectitude and fiery condemnation become more and more convinced, with each passing annum, that the already horrifyingly low standards of propriety on the silver screen continue to spiral ever downwards.  Until the other day, I was proudly Not among their number but…

My Tipping Point….

High Fidelity john cusack and jack blackThere is a bone-chilling, skull-scraping and appallingly gratuitous event that occurs at the 17 minute and 29 second mark of the movie High Fidelity, starring John Cusack.  This charming collection of celluloid and light starts out as a funny and engaging film about a troubled soul trying to come to terms with a questionable career choice and his tenuous and erratic history with the female of the species.   Early on, it’s an enjoyable little piece of harmless romantic fluff until something black-heartedly monstrous suddenly jumps out of the screen and stabs you through the eye with a cobbler’s awl.

spiderman 2Now, I’m a guy who can tolerate a lot.  I’ve watched both Independence Day and Spiderman 2 without becoming psychotically enraged and cold-cocking the guy sitting in front of me with a rope-knob fashioned out of petrified Twizzler-sticks.  Quite a feat of restraint!  While more tender constitutions become faint or sickened when viewing those cable programs that show actual medical operations being mt. olive kosher dill petitesperformed, I am unmoved.   I can sit munching on Mt. Olive Kosher Dill Petites and Fresh & Easy Rosemary-Wheat Crackers while surgeons are slicing and dicing their way into tender, pink abdomens all day.   I can lounge comfortably while watching blood-soaked rubber gloves yanking out diseased or defective organs from some poor putz until that little bumpy line goes flat, an alarm goes off, and they have to fire up the cardiac paddles.  It’s a gift.

distraught maple leafs fanBut 17 minutes and 29 seconds into High Fidelity, I met my entertainment Waterloo.  My Agincourt.  My Toronto Maple Leafs vs the Boston Bruins/game 7/last 1 minute and 22 seconds.  I was made to jump and squirm and flinch like Mitt Romney accidentally touching someone who made under 200,000 dollars a year.  What I am ever-so-circuitously referring to?  “This act most vile?”  To be another asshole putting a needle onto a recordprecise, it’s the exact moment in High Fidelity where Mr. Cusack maliciously, and with extreme prejudice, drops a needle onto a record…by hand!   Why!?  Why would any real record collector without severe mental problems do that?  There is no excuse on McKinley-assassinationGoddo’s green Earth for that kind of callous vandalism.  If his turntable didn’t have a cuing feature, I’ll eat Dwight Yoakum’s deforested-pate-concealing chapeau.  (I originally wrote “I’ll eat Minnie Pearl’s price-tagged hat” but I thought only people born before the McKinley assassination would understand the reference.)

fingernails on chalkboard betterNow, some of you may turn your heads and scoff.  Getting upset over a silly needle drop?  Really?  Well, go take a big dump on your sister!   Let me drag my biotin-fortified nails over this chalkboard for you.  Perhaps I’ll chew on some aluminum foil while dragging these fork tines over a pane of glass and see how silly it is then!  To quote the legendary philosopher and poet, Jeffrey Lebowski, “This aggression will not stand…man!”

What kind of signal is Johnny Boy sending out to our impressionable children and adolescents by exposing them to this sort of unacceptable three stooges commemorative platephonographic violence?  Remember, most of these holy slabs of sound are as irreplaceable as Franklin Mint “Three Stooges” commemorative plates.  (Perhaps I watch too much late-night cable television.)   Let us just say, that every time this kind of unspeakable brutishness goes unchecked, it brings us one giant step closer to Tone-Armageddon.

Leading By Example….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, being a comedy writer in Canada in the late 1970’s, was a little like being a health food salesman in the Deep South.  While attempting to ply my risible trade in the Great White North, I took the art of fiscal insolvency to heights previously only seen by people soon to be visited by fairy godmothers.  But even during these arduous years of severe monetary privation and intermittent penury-imposed sobriety, I steadfastly refused to compromise my values when it came to the care and well-being of my precious pop platters.  I gnawed the lichen off neighborhood trees for sustenance while squirreling away my horrible apartment in oshawameager literary recompense so that I could one day purchase a top of the line Shure Microgroove cartridge.  So there I sat in my ghastly apartment next to the General Motors plant, after consuming a filling meal of lichen-bolognaise and a rusted baked-bean tin of puddle-water, and attached this staggeringly-pricey-but-worth-every-penny hi-fi accessory to my trusty Thorens turntable.  With care – and an awful lot of love – I placed my first nugget of black gold onto Thorens TD-240 Black [large view]the rubber matting.  I may have watched it spin for awhile, to bask in its dark revolutionary resplendence, I don’t recall.  A quick bath and delicate brushing later, my petrochemical-based lady of song was ready to fulfill her auditory destiny.  With all the concentration and precision of a Jedi Knight disc jockey, I slowly maneuvered the tone arm into place and carefully lowered it into the groove (Dyno-Groove if the record was on the RCA label) with the cueing lever.  And…Oh yes, the one thing I didn’t do?


Got that John!!!????

Phew!  I feel much better now.

Back to the Movie….

iben hjejle - high fidelityIn the end, things turn out pretty swell for our inconsiderate record-store owner, if not his piteously abused vinyl wards.  Lucky Mr. Cusack gets to fire his man-cannon up the skirt of Iben Hjejle in a Passat convertible because her father dropped dead.  (Alas, all of my old girlfriends had fathers who were considerably more robust, thus cutting john cusack and nice bald guy from hi fidelitydown my own chances of post-funereal, automotive coitus to almost nil.)  The only other sad note in the movie is the knowledge that the dull bald guy, who you sort of like, will eventually lose the girl of his dreams to Linda Perry.

Lebowsky comes once more to mind. “Bummer man.”

On Another Subject

I feature all sorts of great music on Radio Vickers.  (You can be added to my mailing list by simply writing me at radiovickers1@gmail.com )

Below are some of this month’s discoveries and favorites.

First off, Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa have a new album out.  I didn’t think anything could come close to their last epic effort.   I’m so glad to be wrong.  Sublime, doesn’t even come close to describing this pairing of the ages.  Alas, there isn’t a video from the new CD yet but the link below will give you a taste of their work together.

Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – I’d Rather Go Blind (Live)

Love this song from Magneta Lane!  They’re from Toronto, so get out there and see these girls!  Below is their new video for Burn.

Escondido – Black Roses – I just really like this.  There’s a tiny bit of Mary Lou Lord’s girlie dreaminess in these guys – plus a trumpet.

Gabrielle Alpin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me – Cute girl and cute song.  A joy to look at and a joy to listen to.  You could do a lot worse!

The Royal Concept – On Our Way – Peppy – The song reminds me of Supergrass but then it drifts into a latter-day Slade-type chorus.  Major ear candy.

Brooke Waggoner – Go Easy Little Doves, I’ll be Fine – This song builds from ethereal to powerful.  A little like early Jane Siberry?

Radio Vickers goes bilingual!  This is Zaz (what a voice!) and the title song from her album, “On Ira”.  Cool pop en Francais.

The Pigeon Detectives – Animal – Classic pop song.  The magical kind of tune that makes you loose weight, grow more hair and washes your dishes while you sleep.

The Weeks – Brother in the Night – Phenomenal tune by these southern rockers.  Their new album is well worth checking out.

Valerie June – Workin’ Woman Blues  – This song has a wonderful bluesy groove to it.

A Minor Epiphany….

Spock-Zachary-QuintoI realized something about the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie.  Spock goes down to Vulcan to save the high council because they can pass the Vulcan culture on.  Fair enough.  (Coincidentally, he saves both his parents by doing this.)  What doesn’t he do?  Spock is in the transporter room, he’s going to be beamed down and it takes 20 odd minutes to get his parents out of the cave.  Before he’s beamed down to save them, he doesn’t say, “Beam up as many Vulcans as you can until I call to be rescued.  At ten a time, he could have saved a hundred or more but he lets them all die.


Darrell Vickers appears here every 4th Monday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.co

DBAWIS ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com .

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