So I’ve started another fake history podcast! After two seasons of fake military history in The Kraken Busters, I thought it might make sense to switch back into my proper lane and do some fake cultural history. So: I’d like to introduce you to Forgotten Scenes, a show where I look at little cultural supernovas that might or might not have existed.
The first season is called “The Freaks in the Barn,” and it chronicles a little psychedelic glam rock scene that exploded (or didn’t) after David Bowie was (or wasn’t) briefly stranded in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1972 and infected a bunch of local weirdos with the idea of glam rock. Aside from Bowie, you get to meet a Texas-wannabe car dealership heir, a woman who might’ve accidentally summoned the devil to a rock show, and a hardline prairie-Maoist proto-punk band.
The show’s a ton of fun, and should be findable at all of the usual podcast outlets. I’ll also try to aggregate episodes here as they go live (which should happen once a week while the season’s running).
Last October, I inadvertently participated in Inktober by drawing a bunch of funny birds, like the ruby-throated hoverbro or the barre chord owl. Then the drawings sat in my sketchbook, unused and forgotten. Until! Until a friend asked me to make her a calendar, and I remembered that I had a buttload of drawings just sitting around doing nothing. A little bit of photoshop fussing, et voila:
I combined the calendar into a single PDF, printable on regular office 8.5×11″ paper. Feel free to download, print, and let your boss contribute 13 sheets of paper towards making your cube more fun in 2020!
As late fall settles onto Minnesota like an unpleasantly weighted blanket, the natural inclination is to watch some TV. Rebecca and I realized that, while we’d watched the first season of The Office (US) when it aired, we’d drifted pretty quickly. With binge weather upon us, and the clock ticking for the show to leave Netflix, we decided to go in hard on it, and powered through several episodes a night.
And: The Office is
fun! The characters are relatable and human. The writing is sharp, and knows
where to poke at the oddities of spending your days in badly-lit spaces with
other people who don’t want to be there. The observations can be apt: one of
the show’s central (maybe accidental) theses is that often the worst people to
work with are the ones who can’t just let a job be a job but instead have to turn
it into either their family or a crusade that gives their lives meaning (this
is Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute, respectively). The show can also be a
fascinating timeline of cultural change, as with the way the show handles Oscar
being gay moves from turn-of-the-century kid gloves to a more current “so
what?” attitude. And the show gave us Creed Bratton, maybe the most
consistently surreal sitcom character since Andy Kaufman was on Taxi.
But as fun as it was to binge on The Office, I couldn’t help but notice that however sharp the
writing was, it pulled punches. And if you stepped back and looked at the show,
its point of view was weirdly constrained. There’s some value, I think, to
taking a closer look at that.
So, the desire to transform Husker Du songs in weird acoustic ways just seems to be this year’s obsession (see the last post, ferinstance). As threatened there, I’ve gone further down this road. Here are rough mixes of ganked-up versions of Celebrated Summer (yeah, again, but with more thought into the arrangement on this one) and Powerline. These mixes aren’t final at all, but they’re good representations of works in progress. There will probably be more of these, and for that I apologize.
Maybe my apology should take the form of an acoustic cover of I Apologize.