Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rare Gems

I don't know why, but I feel like bossing everyone around today. Okay, suggesting in a friendly, helpful manner that you:

HEAR IT:

This 1978 EP introduced the world to the "Queen of Punk Rock," Nina Hagen. It includes splendid covers of Lene Lovich's "Lucky Number" ("Wir Leben Immer Noch" or "We're Still Alive" – which has that terrific late seventies/early eighties imminent nuclear disaster feel about it) and The Tubes's "White Punks on Dope" ("TV Glötzer," or someone who sits and stares at television all day – same thing, I guess, dope/television . . . ).

To acquire this rare gem, you'll have to surf your local vintage record shops or eBay (iTunes has nothing available), or you can log onto Amazon.com and purchase 14 Friendly Abductions: The Best of Nina Hagen, which includes most of these songs (but not, unfortunately, the hypnotic "African Reggae") as well as nunsexmonkrock's glorious "Smack Jack," one of the scariest songs ever written about drug addiction, accompanied by cackling monkeys and yodeling.

Hagen's style – über operatic and razor's edged – can be a little tough at times, but she's one of pop music's true originals and worthy of rediscovery.

WATCH IT:

Not so much a documentary about the giddily anarchic empire of porno king Larry Flynt, as a sharply observed meditation on freedom of speech, individuality, industry, and our God-given right as Americans to poke fun at other fascinating – and reviled – individuals.

Includes powerhouse performances by Woody Harrelson (Sweet Jeebus, could this guy just lay off the fight to legalize marijuana and get back to acting? He's good and we need him.) as well as Courtney Love, who reminds us early on what a surprisingly open and honest presence she can have on screen and then much later on just how, uh, all Courtney Love she can get on our asses.

Also fascinating because, at the time, Love was making it hot and heavy with Edward Norton (who plays Flynt's long-suffering lawyer), who evidentially asked her to marry him after the movie's release. Think about it: kinder/whore punkette extraordinaire partnered with a man who's East Coast genealogy makes Katherine Hepburn's family look like Arkansas backwoods hicks. At any rate, Love said no, broke Norton's heart, and he went on to lick his wounds in the company of Selma Hayek. Oh, the fodder for contemplation right there, people.

READ IT:

I love apocalyptic-lit. I don't know why and I'm not about to go into therapy to find out. Suffice it to say, this is a truly scary little yarn about the End of the World as We Know It, one of my all-time fave subjects.

Good writing, too, if a little sentimental around the male/female interaction bits.

The book gets really interesting when Wyndham ponders the nuts and bolts of society's reconstruction (who will manufacturer the shoes? oh, wait, that's my pondering . . .) and all that went into making us who we are/were. Think about it. It's mind-boggling.

Ultimately, the question becomes should we opt for the safety of getting by in a sort of neo-feudal state, or strike out on our own and let the chips fall where they may?

Good stuff.

4 comments:

Wicked Thistle said...

Bossing can be fun, especially when you boss us with cool things to read and watch. I've actually never seen the Larry Flynt movie; thanks for the reminder that I wanna. I bought my brother some trashy 50's sci-fi for his fitty b'day, but I haven't given it to him yet; ergo, it's mine to read now.

Boss away, g-friend, some of us need a little direction in our lives!

Doris Rose said...

I've retired from bossing...or being bossed, but appreciate the reviews.Unfortunately,I need to shelve and arrange Books today.

Meghan said...

You can boss me around any day.

Who can resist cackling monkeys and yodeling - I'm all over it. I've seen Larry Flynt (loved it), and I'll have to check out the book. I don't usually do apocalyptic-lit, but on your recommendation...

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