Darren Hanlon @ the Columbia City Theatre (7/23/15)

I have seen four Darren Hanlon concerts since I started writing here on WordPress.  That means there are already three write-ups floating around the internet (#1, #2, #3).  Do I want to write a fourth?  Do you want to read a fourth?  The answer to both of those questions is probably no.  Therefore, I’m going to keep this one quick and simple.

Beth and I stopped by Tutta Bella for a pre-concert pizza.  It was a nice evening, so we got a table outside.  Beth saw Darren Hanlon come strolling up the sidewalk and enter the venue a couple doors down.  I didn’t see him as I was too cool to turn my head.  I did, however, see Lydia & Aaron Lavender standing on a corner across the street.  I was about to run after them when I realized they were coming our way.  We had a loud sidewalk reunion.  It turns out they were also going to see Darren Hanlon.  We ended up sharing a table with them for the concert.  It was a big surprise and a lot of fun.

Here’s the setlist.  Songs marked with an asterisk featured Shelley Short on backup vocals:

Main Set: Don’t Cheat the Future/Happiness Is a Chemical/Electric Skeleton/He Misses You Too, You Know/2480 (the Simpletons)/I Waited For the 17/Butterfly Bones/Folk Insomnia/Halley’s Comet, 1986/Salvation Army*/The Duet*/Modern History*/All These Things*/The Chattanooga Shoot Shoot

Encore: The Last Night of Not Knowing You/Wrong Turn

After the show, we waited for Darren Hanlon to finish talking to his fans (including one guy who appeared to be dressed up as Darren Hanlon).  We were hoping to buy some backup tea towels, but those sold out earlier in the tour.  I think Lydia picked up a couple CDs, but Beth and I couldn’t find anything we didn’t already have.  All we could do was thank Darren for the show.  I’m not sure, but I think I may have awkwardly gushed about how “Halley’s Comet, 1986” is my favorite song of the year.

Here are some of the usual concert-related photos:

Also, thanks to Shelley Short for giving me the scoop on the second song she and Darren sang together.  That’s the one where they sing about all the different places they could live and Shelley mentions wanting a good library.  According to Shelley, the song’s working title is “The Duet”.  They haven’t recorded it yet, but she suspects that Darren will give it a better title if they ever do.

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Huey, Bruce, Laura, Phil and TSMFwtHV

I recently read that the owner of the Columbia House music club has officially declared bankruptcy.  Although I’d purchased a couple random 7″ singles prior to joining the club, Columbia House was really how I got most of my music when I was a kid (when I wasn’t just taping it off the radio).  I specifically remember my first batch of cassette tapes from early 1985.

There must’ve been more than five tapes, but these are the ones I’m certain about.

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Librarian Snowball Fight…and other (vintage) pictures from Seattle.

Every time I get back from Seattle I do a post called X…and other pictures from Seattle where X equals the name of my favorite photo in the batch.  Although I took 365 pictures on my most recent trip, I don’t feel like posting any of them right now.  So I’ve decided to mix up the theme a bit and make the post using the six vintage snapshots I purchased at Fairlook Antiques down in Pioneer Square.  These photos hit many of the usual topics: Marion & Herb, old bicycles, and girls/women on/near boats/ships.

I’m sorry to report that the Marion & Herb wedding shot is a double.  The big guy on the left looked new to me, but I suspect I was just remembering this one.  Either way, this is the first time I’ve posted a picture of the full four member wedding party.

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The slow, steady decline in value of one of my favorite albums.

I bought a used copy of Daniel Martin Moore’s Stray Age at the Easy Street in West Seattle yesterday.  It was on one of the 2-for-$5 carts parked out on the sidewalk in front of the record store.  I bought Stray Age on vinyl when it first came out in 2009 and bought this CD version yesterday because I didn’t like seeing one of my favorite albums sitting out there in the sun with all the unwanted Björks and Monsters.  (And it’s always nice to have a more portable copy.)

imageThe CD featured four price stickers one on top of the other.  The bottom three stickers were hidden, so I meticulously peeled them apart to see the price history.  As the above photo shows, Easy Street priced the CD as follows:

  • June 2011 – $6.00
  • January 2012 – $6.00
  • October 2012  – $5.00
  • July 2015 – $2.50

Soon they’ll be giving it away for free.  Meanwhile, the digital version of Stray Age can be purchased on Amazon for $9.49.

I guess this is the kind of thing that interests me.

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Expect to Pay Around £1.15

After some on-ramp difficulties, Beth and I finally made it back to the Fantagraphics Bookstore/Georgetown Records shared space yesterday afternoon.  She was the first to notice that my purchases there were strangely similar. image(That’s a Kate Beaton sketchbook on the left and a Bette Bright 7″ picture disc on the right.)

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“You’re so nice I fuckin’ hate you.”

That’s a direct quote from the drunk guy I found sleeping on my front lawn at 2:30 a.m. on Friday night.  When I first looked out my window, I thought he was a dead deer, but then I saw his head move and realized he had arms.  Oh, just a human.  I left him there and went back to watching that movie where Denzel Washington plays a hostage negotiator who butts heads with Clive Owen’s bank robber.  I looked out the window again when the movie was over and the guy was still splayed out in the exact same position…curled up on the wet grass with his feet on the sidewalk.  He was wearing white canvas shoes.

I thought about calling the cops, but I ended up going out there with a flashlight and checking on the guy myself.  It took me awhile to wake him up.  He grunted some indecipherable grunts.  I eventually got him up off the grass, put him in a lawn chair, and got him a glass of water.  His grunts gradually turned into real words.  I offered to walk him home if he could remember where he lived.  That’s about where the quote came in.

….. .. …. . …… …. …

He couldn’t remember his address.  He’d also lost his wallet.  I looked around my front yard for it, but we never did find the thing.  I did, however, find his cell phone and a cigarette.  He eventually got his bearings and figured out in which direction he lived.  We headed off that way.  It wasn’t long before we were in front of his house and he was giving me one of those bro-hugs dudes sometimes do at the gym.  I’ve seen them enough to know I’m supposed to pat him on the back with my left hand.  That’s what I did.

Then I walked back home.

I bet his name was Josh.

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I have a folder on my desktop called “future wp pics”.

As the name would suggest, it’s where I store pictures for posts I intend to write.  Here’s what’s currently in the folder:

discos compactos

(CDs from as far back as April)


(records from the same period)

all better

(post-op shot for Broken Leg Babo)

newest lps

(the most recent LPs and a CD that looks like a 10″ but isn’t)

newest cds

(recent $2 CDs from Half Price and a selection of CDs from Everybody’s)

These pictures were intended for three different posts, but I’ve managed to cram them into one.  I’m not being lazy…I’m being efficient.

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SIBR: The Last Six Weeks of Reading

It’s been six weeks since I wrote my previous book post.  I’ve really been tearing through the titles since then.  I’ve read so many, in fact, that my Books to Read Shelf is completely empty for the first time in over five years.  I clearly need to get to a bookstore.  I also need to write a post so that the backlog of titles doesn’t get too overwhelming.  Here we go:

The Unmapped Sea–Maryrose Wood
This is the fifth book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.  I wish it was the last.  The new illustrator is far inferior to the original one, the Incorrigibles are no longer incorrigible, and the numerous mysteries surrounding the children and their governess are getting solved at a snail’s pace.  Just finish the dang thing, Maryrose…and with a lot more Nutsawoo.  The squirrel is your best character.

Kickback–Ace Atkins
This is the author’s fourth book in Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series.  Ace Atkins continues to handle the series better than Mr. Parker did in the years immediately prior to his death.  This fine addition to the collection has Spenser investigating a small town judge with a reputation for sending kids to a private island jail for the slightest offenses.  Make a fake Twitter account for your principal?  Go to jail!  This kind of dishonorable behavior riles Spenser, Hawk, Susan, Rita, and me.  I had trouble putting this one down as I really wanted to get to the part where Spenser busted up the crooked judge and his backers.

The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories–George Pelecanos
George Pelecanos was once one of my favorite authors.  For reasons I can’t recall, I stopped reading his crime novels around 2004.  Well, I was in Port Townsend a few months ago and saw this collection of stories for sale at a sad little bookstore and bought it to give the shop some business.  As far as pity purchases go, this was a good one.  There wasn’t a single dud in the collection and George Pelecanos killed off all the characters who used the phrase “just sayin”.  That’s the way it should be.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz–L. Frank Baum
I bought this book as a souvenir at a charming shop in San Francisco called The Booksmith.  I liked the feel of the green leatherette cover and the look of the flying monkey on the spine.  The story itself was good, but I must admit to being shocked at how many creatures the Tin Woodman killed with his ax.  There must’ve been at least forty.  They definitely left that out of the movie adaptation.

Missing Person–Patrick Modiano
This one is about an amnesiac wandering around postwar Paris trying to discover his real name and piece together his true identity.  Despite working at a detective agency, he’s not a very good investigator.  He fails to look in the most obvious places and repeatedly sabotages his own investigation.  He instead latches on to the most unlikely “clues” and imagines himself as characters in the stories he’s told.  I read this book on my front porch on two unseasonably cool mornings.  I honestly don’t remember how it ended.  I think I may have rushed through it to get to the next book.

Finders Keepers–Stephen King
This is a sequel of sorts to last year’s Mr. Mercedes.  This one has an obsessed fan stealing a reclusive author’s unpublished works.  The criminal buries the manuscripts in a trunk, but decades go by before he can return and dig them up.  A few of the characters from Mr. Mercedes show up once the action makes it to the present day, but you don’t need to have read that book to understand what’s going on in Finders Keepers.  If you read and enjoyed Mr. Mercedes, though, you should definitely read this one.

The Jewels of Paradise–Donna Leon
This is the author’s first detective story that doesn’t feature Commissario Guido Brunetti.  Had Brunetti been around, he probably would’ve suggested that Caterina Pellegrini take everything out of the trunk and see if there were any jewels in there instead of hanging out at the library all day doing research.  This was a pretty darn boring book, but I’m happy to admit that it ended well.

The Judges of the Secret Court–David Stacton
Did you know that four people were executed in connection with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln?  I’m not even talking about John Wilkes Booth (who died in a shootout); I’m talking about his supposed conspirators.  I had no idea.  David Stacton’s novel about Lincoln’s assassination and the political and legal aftermath was a revelation to me that managed to fill in some embarrassing gaps in my education.  It also happened to be a very exciting, well-written book that I managed to zip through in about two days.  I’d highly recommend this one to fans of historical fiction or to people interested in the Civil War.

Can’t and Won’t: Stories–Lydia Davis
This is the author’s first book of new short stories since The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis came out in 2009.  The Collected Stories was one of my favorite books that year, and Can’t and Won’t is just as fun and originalMy favorite stories were “The Language of the Telephone Company”, “I’m Pretty Comfortable, But I Could Be a Little More Comfortable”, and the series of complaint letter stories.  I love a good complaint letter.

The Hollow Land–Jane Gardam
I bought this one just because I liked the cover art.  The book is a collection of related stories (or maybe it’s a novel divided up into story-like chapters) about two families in rural England and their relationship over the course of a few decades.  The first family lives in the countryside year-round while the second family is from London and rents a nearby house for the holidays.  I liked this one enough that I’m going to seriously consider reading Jane Gardam’s more famous Old Filth trilogy.

ten titles from may and june

(ten titles from may and june)

New York Drawings–Adrian Tomine
Scenes From an Impending Marriage–Adrian Tomine
I like Adrian Tomine’s drawing far more than I like his writing, so his collection of artwork from The New Yorker was far more interesting to me than his little book of marriage-related comics.  I got both of these from the library…along with this last one.

George Sprott: (1894-1975)–Seth
I liked Seth’s It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, but this book about the life of an arctic explorer/TV host never really got off the ground for me.  I think I’d get more out of it if I read it a second time, but that’s probably not going to happen as I already returned it to the library.  I had to take it inside as the book was far too wide to fit in the book drop.

recent library books

(comics from the library)

I’m currently reading three books: Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov, a gigantic Drawn & Quarterly anthology, and Ron McLarty’s The Memory of Running.

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Sloan @ Fountain Square (6/26/15)

What do I do when a band I’ve liked since the 90s comes to my town to play a free concert ten minutes from my house on a Friday night when I’ve got absolutely nothing else going on?

I pray for rain.

I’m not kidding.  The local weather prophets were raising a hubbub about severe thunderstorms all Friday night, and I found myself hoping they’d be right so I wouldn’t have to leave the house and accidentally have fun.  I didn’t want to drive downtown.  I didn’t want to look around for a parking space.  I didn’t want to be anywhere near people.  I didn’t want to hear some fuckwit use the word “whatever” three different times while introducing one of my favorite bands.  I didn’t want to get wet.  I didn’t want to do anything.  All I wanted to do was sit in my front room where it’s nice and dry.

But if I paid attention to everything I tell myself I want, then I’d probably never do anything at all and eventually turn into a poor version of Howard Hughes sitting around sorting peas.  So I set an alarm for 9:20 p.m.  I decided if it was raining when the alarm went off, then I’d stay at home.  If the weather still looked good, then I’d go see the all-time greatest band from Canada down on Fountain Square for free…driving, parking, bad announcers be damned.

9:20.  No rain.  I headed off.

I didn’t have any problems with the drive or finding a parking space.  I got down to Fountain Square with plenty of time to spare before the 10:00 show.  I took a picture of the WKRP fountain all lit up with red lights.  It was probably for the Cincinnati Reds, but it made me think of that scene in The Shining where the wave of blood comes out of the elevator.

fountain square

(blood bath)

I looked at the merch table and bought a copy of The Double Cross, a Sloan CD I somehow overlooked when it came out a few years back.  It’s the yellow one in this picture.

sloan merch table

(No, I didn’t buy the deck of Sloan playing cards.)

Sloan came out a couple minutes later and started playing “If It Feels Good Do It”.  That’s when something unexpected happened.  All my grumbling and whining and anti-social tendencies disappeared and I felt the urge to do a celebratory rock ‘n’ roll kick and stick my hands in the air and maybe wave them around a little bit.  I didn’t do either of those things, but I did tap my toes.

It turns out that I really like Sloan.  They’ve been doing it a long time and still do it well.  Sometimes people call it power pop, but I consider Sloan a rock band with far more talent than most of the groups in that genre.  Wonderboy, anyone?  All four members write and sing their own songs.  I noticed they were taking turns singing in concert.  It went Patrick, Jay, Chris, Patrick, Jay, Chris.  What about Andrew?  Well, he only took one turn.  It was some turn, though.  He left his drum kit and picked up a guitar about halfway through the show and proceeded to sing “Forty-Eight Portraits”, his entire 18-minute-long suite from last year’s Commonwealth album (that had each of the band members contributing one side of a double LP).  It sort of killed the flow of the show, but I knew the song and was happy to hear it live.

sloan on stage

(Patrick, Andrew, Chris, Jay)

As soon as Andrew’s turn ended, the members of Sloan went back to their usual instruments and began cramming in as many songs as they could before the 11:00 curfew.  They got in four more.  Highlights from this portion of the show included “Losing California” and the last song of the night, “Money City Maniacs”.  I’m writing this post a little over twelve hours after the show ended and I’ve still got that perplexing “Money City Maniacs” chorus stuck in my head.  It was the last thing going through my brain when I went to sleep last night and the first thing I thought this morning.

And the joke is when he awoke his…

As always, here’s the setlist:

Setlist: If It Feels Good Do It/C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get It Started)/Carried Away/Keep Swinging (Downtown)/Who Taught You to Live Like That?/Ready For You/Forty-Eight Portraits/Losing California/I Hate My Generation/The Other Man/Money City Maniacs

I should probably bring this post full-circle by telling you that it never did get around to raining and that I’m glad I went to the show.  Or maybe I should make another reference to sorting peas.  I don’t feel like it.  I’ve written enough.

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The sticker said FRAGILE.

Vinyl Babo hasn’t made an appearance since he was caught writing his name in wet cement with a coffee stirrer back in 2011.  Well, today’s the day for his triumphant return.  Here we go:

vinyl babo gets a box

(Vinyl Babo got a box in the mail!)

vinyl babo uses his apple peeler

(He cuts the tape with his trusty apple peeler.)

vinyl babo dives in

(Vinyl Babo dives in!)


(Hmm, this guy looks familiar.)

oh no, his leg

(Oh no, he’s having difficulties!)

i'll help you up

(Here, I’ll help you up.)

To be continued…when I find some glue.

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