Friday, September 13, 2019

Blinded By The Light

I mean, was there any doubt I’d go see Blinded By The Light?  Would any true Bruce Springsteen fan possibly skip this movie?  Some observations…

* first things first, the title is very helpful in establishing to people that “Blinded By The Light” is actually a Bruce song, not a Manfred Mann song.  I guess I can understand the confusion, though the fact that Springsteen is a bigger star than Manfred Mann by multiples of 1000, you’d think it would be a more widely-known fact.

* Javed’s new-wavey friend Matt?  Played by none other than King Tommen Baratheon himself!  He survived that fall off the balcony just in time for the fall of late-80’s synth pop.  It’s probably for the best that we never actually got any scenes of Matt’s band in action, since that would’ve tipped the scales into outright comedy.

* okay, so my main source of confusion with the film, and perhaps those more well-versed in British music culture can let me know about this.  Javed’s Springsteen fandom is seen by many as something of an anachronism, with the Boss representing “old” or outdated music that only someone like Matt’s manchild father (oh man did I laugh when I realized it was Rob Brydon) would still be into.  But…..the movie is set in 1987.  “Born In The USA” had been released just three years earlier, to monster worldwide acclaim.  Even the Born in the USA tour ended not even two years prior to when the film is set, a tour that included no less than six big shows in the U.K. itself.  And “Tunnel Of Love” was released in 1987 itself.  Hell, that album even had a bunch of synths, Matt would’ve been enthralled!

I guess my point is that it seems odd that Javed and Roops are seemingly the only two young Springsteen fans at their school, nay, in the whole movie.  It’s even played for laughs that Javed rushes to the HMV to get concert tickets***, only to learn that he’s the first one to even ask.  Wasn’t Springsteen still a big deal in the U.K. in 1987?  I’m not even sure what the modern equivalent would be, given today’s fractured musical climate, but in terms of a huge-selling modern act who is perceived as appealing more to older audiences….maybe Adele?  But if you made a movie set in 2019 about a teen who finds inspiration in Adele’s music, would their classmates be all “Adele?  Who?”  or “Adele?  She’s nobody!”

*** = man, did this ever bring back some memories.  “Standing in line at a record store the day tour tickets go on sale” is one of those definite generation gap moments that young people today simply have no concept about.

* anyway, quibble with the premise aside, I guess it did relate to the general idea of how music can make you feel like a band is singing to you, and you alone.  The film is entertaining and a good watch, if a tad cheesy and predictable in spots.  Probably could’ve done without the goofiness of Javed actually dressing himself up like Springsteen, as if a teenager would ever do something absurd like dressing as one of their pop idols in real life!  On a totally unrelated note, we just recently passed the 20-year anniversary of my wearing large fly sunglasses throughout much of the 12th grade in order to emulate Bono.

* needless to say, this movie is full of great music.  Acoustic “Promised Land”?  Hell yes.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Delusional Merch

Standing in line at the grocery store today, I noticed the guy in front of me wearing a commemorative t-shirt about the Minnesota Timberwolves' 2017 NBA championship.

Wait, what?  The Warriors won the title in 2017.  The T-Wolves went, as records indicate, 31-51 and missed the playoffs entirely.

I took a closer look just to make sure I wasn't reading things incorrectly, and as one tends to notice when someone is staring at you, he caught my glance and chuckled.

"Cool shirt, huh?"
"I'll say.  I must've missed that NBA Finals."
"I'm a T-Wolves fan.  I figured since they'll never win, hey, might as well get a shirt!"

As a fan of truth, logic, and universal order, his attitude is shocking.  But as a fan of random nonsense....it's kind of amazing.  He gets to walk around proudly repping his team as if they were the ones who, say, drafted Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green*, and then ridden that core into becoming a modern sports dynasty.  The majority of people will just walk by and not take a second glance at his t-shirt, yet those that do will laugh at the absurdity.  It's the perfect conversation-starter of a garment.

* = fun fact!  The T-Wolves had both the fifth and sixth overall picks in the 2009 NBA Draft, and addressed their dire need for a point guard by doubling up at the position, taking Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn.  The Warriors, picking seventh, took Curry.  Oof.  Minnesota had the #2 pick in 2011, Thompson's draft year, but took Derrick Williams, long before Klay came off the board with the 11th pick.  Double oof.  It looks like the Timberwolves dealt their pick in the 2012 draft so they couldn't even get any chance of Green before he went in Golden State in the second round.  Oof x3

This takes the old idea of a crossover sports jersey (i.e. a Tom Brady Red Sox jersey, or a Sidney Crosby Steelers jersey) to the nth degree.  This is creating a complete alternate reality of events.  It's so crazy it just might work.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Hot! Live! Music!

Postmodern Jukebox w/Rogelio Douglas Jr., "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
Man, it took PMJ long enough to finally get around to a U2 song.  You know, after years of including Postmodern Jukebox videos in Hot! Live! Music! posts,  it occurs to me that they aren't exactly live -- I mean, they're all taking place in a studio.  Have I been undermining my own post gimmick without knowing it?  Looks like I still haven't found the post gimmick I'm looking for.


Bruce Springsteen, "Ramrod"
Aha, now here's a live song.  It's at a concert, there are people there, it says "live" right there in the YouTube video title.  Also, if "Hot Live Music" had a dictionary entry, I'm pretty sure there would just a picture of the Boss.

David Byrne and St. Vincent, "Road To Nowhere"
I might need to see some DNA evidence before I believe that St. Vincent isn't actually Byrne's daughter.  Though it's actually cooler in real life that they were both like, "hey, we're so clearly cut from the same weird musical cloth, we should tour and make albums together."  It is a drastic oversight that I don't have their album.


The Killers, "When You Were Young"
I'm probably a little late to the party on this considering the building is almost 150 years old, but man, the Royal Albert Hall seems like a great venue.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

NFL Predictions

Well why not, let’s double down on this nonsense.

NFC East: Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, New York
NFC West: Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Arizona
NFC North: Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit
NFC South: Atlanta, New Orleans, Carolina, Tampa Bay
NFC wild cards: Seahawks, Saints

I’m only very hesitantly omitting Carolina because if Cam Newton’s shoulders are ok, I think they’ll win the division.  There’s just too much injury uncertainty for me to make that prediction, however, and we all know that my picks are always based on airtight factual analysis.  For instance, I’m picking against teams like the Rams, Bears, Saints, and Eagles for the not-at-all-nebulous reasoning of “it just seems like they missed their chance.”  L.A. and the Saints still make the playoffs on pure talent alone, but I don’t think either have what it takes to get over the hump.  Minnesota will never win as long as Cousins is their QB, and the Cowboys can win their sorry division but can’t go further as long as their coaching staff is such a trainwreck.  Which opens the door for the Packers!

AFC East: New England, New York, Buffalo, Miami
AFC West: Kansas City, Los Angeles, Denver, Oakland
AFC North: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati
AFC South: Houston, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Tennessee
AFC wild cards: Steelers, Browns

Part of me feels the Browns are absolutely this year’s overhyped preseason favourite who lays an egg, except since I already have punditry darlings like the Eagles, Chargers, Bears, Vikings, and Panthers missing out, Cleveland might as well get in.  Besides, the Browns were my dad’s favourite team growing up, and since his old football jersey number was 54 and this year will mark Super Bowl 54….I’m not saying there’s karma, but there’s karma.  Anyway, the AFC is even trickier to figure than the NFC, since I could certainly see a case for almost any of these teams (minus the Dolphins, Raiders, and probably Bengals) to make the postseason.  But amidst this uncertainty, the boring old Patriots will win again.

NFC championship game: Packers over Rams
AFC championship game: Patriots over Chiefs

Super Bowl 54: Packers over Patriots

Yeah, why not.  The Aaron Rodgers roaring rampage of spite takes everyone by storm, as the Packers actually resemble a team with a playbook from this decade.  It ends with Rodgers hoisting a Super Bowl trophy while Mike McCarthy watches from the breakroom of the gas station he is now managing.