Gutbrain Records

Friday, 07 December 2007, 9:23 pm

Dexter Bierhorst Price

Thursday, 28 August 2008

We have DSL again, thanks to the tireless efforts of the very nice people at Panix, as well as the 12 other pleasant people who visited us in the last month — 11 from Verizon, one from Covad.

Now I will load the larger images mentioned below.

Monday, 25 August 2008

We still only have dial-up here. We've had ten different people come from Verizon to try to get DSL going but so far, no luck. Everybody has been really nice, though.

In the meantime, the twenty-third Soundtrack of the Week is this 3-CD set of previously unreleased music from the British television program Department S.

I've never seen the show but I had heard the excellent theme music before on a compilation. Edwin Astley, who did the music for Danger Man, is one of my favorite composers. The music for Department S is a bit similar in style but has more of a '70s feel. Some of it reminds me of some of Barry Gray's music for Space: 1999.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Mr. Dorgon's new CD, Valerie Solanas, is a change of pace from his last few releases. It's soothing and meditative and I highly recommend it.

FSM's collection of M-G-M western scores, The Naked Spur, was excellent listening, as I assumed it would be. There were some cues for the movie The Naked Spur that reminded me of some of John Williams's famous scores for blockbusters like Superman.

The twenty-second Soundtrack of the Week is Mikis Theodorakis's score for Five Miles to Midnight.

It's another fairly eclectic offering, with jazz, swing, bongos and musette as well as several dramatic and atmospheric tracks. There's a cue which sounds a lot like Henry Mancini's theme for Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Isaac Hayes died a week ago. In September, Film Score Monthly will put out a 3-CD Shaft Anthology. In the meantime, here's what may be the best Down Beat cover ever.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Another celebration of civil liberties can be found in John D. MacDonald's The Executioners, better known as Cape Fear, the title of its two movie adaptations.

I always thought it was interesting how quickly, in the first (and superior) film, the character of Sam Bowden, played by Gregory Peck, that paragon of virtue, starts playing dirty. Max Cady is evil, sure, but Bowden immediately dumps any notions of innocent until proven guilty as inconvenient and dangerous. (Does this remind you of anything?)

In Chapter One of the book, there's this interesting exchange between Sam and his wife, Carol. He's just told her that he's afraid that Cady is psychotic and may have come to the town of New Essex only because he wants to harm them.


"Why don't they put him in jail?"

"What for? My God, it would be nice if you could do that, wouldn't it? An entirely new legal system. Jail people for what they might do. New Essex goes totalitarian. Honey, listen to me. I always use the light touch, I guess, when I talk about the law business. All we moderns shy away from any hint of dedication. But I believe in the law. It's a creaking, shambling, infuriating structure. There are inequities in it. Sometimes I wonder how our system of law manages to survive. But at its base, it's an ethical structure. It is based on the inviolability of the freedom of every citizen. And it works a hell of a lot more often than it doesn't. A lot of very little people have been trying to whittle it into a new shape during these mid-years of our century, but the stubborn old monster refuses to be altered. Behind all the crowded calendars and the overworked judges and the unworkable legislation is a solid framework of equity under the law. And I like it. I live it. I like it the way a man might like an old house. It's drafty and it creaks and it's hell to heat, but the timbers are as honest as the day they were put up. So maybe it is the essence of my philosophy that this Cady thing has to be handled within the law. If the law can't protect us, then I'm dedicated to a myth, and I better wake up."

Of course it could be the whole point of the book that the law is a myth and Sam is naïve. I'm only on Chapter Two, so I don't know.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Back on-line but dial-up only. A humbling experience. I can't yet upload the larger image files mentioned below.

The twenty-first Soundtrack of the Week is Film Score Monthly's The Naked Spur: Classic Western Scores from M-G-M.

I actually haven't listened to it yet but it's the soundtrack of the week because I was worried I would never get it. It sold out within days of its release. I had been one of the first people to order it, but when Screen Archives Entertainment sent the package to my new Brooklyn address, it was returned to them, stamped "DECEASED".

I told the nice people at SAE that I wasn't dead; they sent it again and it arrived today. I'll listen to it first thing tomorrow.

Friday, 08 August 2008

Today is August 8, 2008. Here is Saturday, August 8, 1942.

My parents-in-law gave me this comics section from the Saturday, August 8, 1942, New York Post. They found it in the walls of their house, where it had been installed as insulation 60+ years ago.

There are at least two interesting things about this comics section. One is that it features Miss Fury, a great comic strip, recently reprinted in part by both Fantagraphics and Pure Imagination. Not only is it about a female crime fighter (who wore a proto-Catwoman costume, not seen here), it was written and drawn by a woman, Tarpe Mills. This makes it doubly rare for 1942, (as it also would be for 2008).

The other interesting thing is this Cicero's Cat strip by Bud Fisher of Mutt and Jeff fame. It's a great example ofthe device of cartoon characters being aware of their medium, like when Albert the Alligator, in Walt Kelly's Pogo, would light matches by striking them on the side of the frame. Fisher's use of the panel here is ingenious and startling.

Tuesday, 05 August 2008

Here's something else I found while unpacking, the July & August 1991 Knitting Factory schedule. You can see a larger version by clicking on it. (It's a little blurry because I have a cheap scanner.)

Those were the days. Paul Motian's trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, $10 a set with a free drink. You could see the second set for free if you paid for the first. I'm pretty sure that one of these nights was the first time I saw that band.

Monday, 04 August 2008

The twentieth Soundtrack of the Week is Trevor Dunn's Four Films, just released on Tzadik.

It collects Dunn's music for four different independent films. One of them, V.O., I saw at Anthology Film Archives and afterwards found myself listening to the end credits music at Trevor's MySpace page. I'm very pleased to have it on CD. Check it out, track 4, "End". It's like Ennio Badalamenti or Angelo Morricone, if you know what I mean.

There's a lot of different stuff here, rock, jazz, lounge, noise, even a track that reminds me of something Serge Gainsbourg might have done if his life had been a bit different.

Trevor Dunn plays a lot of the intruments you hear on the disc — his guitar playing is especially good — but he is also joined by great musicians Shelley Burgon, Kenny Wollesen, Chris Speed and others.

Sunday, 03 August 2008

The best part about moving is unpacking. It's like the best birthday ever, where you get hundreds of presents that are perfect for you!

Take for example this photo that I shot at David's Bagels on 1st Avenue between 13th and 14th (my old neighborhood), shortly after September 11, 2001.

I had been looking for this for years and thought it was lost forever. I was thrilled to discover it in a folder marked "Photography". (I didn't even know this folder existed.)

Saturday, 02 August 2008

On the rare occasions that civil liberties and due process play a part in pulp fiction and related formats, they are usually cast as villains. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, when I discovered this novel among my possessions while unpacking in our new home.

Since electronic eavesdropping has been in the newspaper headlines quite a bit recently, I thought I'd read it. I'm a few chapters into it and enjoying it.

The murder of a judge in the town of Aimerly brings an Anti-Crime Commission operative who hopes to use the crime as political leverage. Get enough people outraged and you can change things at the top.

The operative, Sam Murray, is the Commission's "best man", though he seems gloomy about his work when we first meet him.

"Oh, yes," Murray said. "Expose wiretapping and perhaps the state legislature will investigate and then we will have strict new wiretapping laws. It will be illegal to tap another man's phone if he is a confessed sodomist who was bitten by a whale in the South Atlantic on a Tuesday. Otherwise, it'll be okay."

As Murray arrives in Aimerly, Ben Phillips, owner of a chain of liqour stores, is also trying to exploit the political potential of the murdered judge. Standing on the spot where the judge was shot, he campaigns for election to the Board of Aldermen.

They didn't even send a lieutenant to stop him. They sent a patrolman instead. He asked Ben Phillips if there was a permit to hold a public meeting.
"I got no permit," Ben said.
"Can't hold no meeting, then," the cop said.
"They didn't have no permit when they shot down the judge," Ben said.
"He wasn't holding no meeting," the cop said.

The best bit in the first few chapters, though, is when Sam Murray talks to Leclerc, the editor of the town paper. Murray explains his motives and how he has a couple of things working in his favor. One of the things is money. He can pay a lot for information.

"I got something else going for me, too. Justice, or whatever the hell you call it. The constitution. Fourth amendment. Privacy of the individual—unreasonable search—so forth."
"If you had enough justice, you wouldn't need the money," Leclerc said.
"I'm glad you put it that way," Sam Murray said. "For a minute I was afraid you were a real pessimist. I thought you were going to say if I had enough money, I wouldn't need the justice."

Friday, 01 August 2008

Now we live in Brooklyn! So far, so good.

Two nights ago I ventured back into Manhattan to see Eddie Campbell, one of my favorite writers and artists, talk at McNally & Robinson and sign copies of his new book, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard. In this photo he's reading from The Fate of the Artist, one of his best books. (He has a blog of the same name.)

He came all the way from Australia! I told him I enjoyed the introduction he contributed to Volume 4 of On Stage.