Sunday, June 28, 2009


Someone came here looking for the chords to Rudi, a Message To You. They're C-F- and G7. In that order. Played over and over. It doesn't get any simpler. I'm not hardly a natural musician and it took me under a minute to figure out.

Some kind soul has provided us with access to a DL of the Dandy Livingstone original. Link

Too hot

It's over 100 degrees today. I really don't like hot weather. I'm staying indoors. In honor of pride weekend I'm watching Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls and sitting in front of the fan.

This has nothing to do with any of that. I just really, really like Japanese garage rock. God knows why, but they really get it.

KING BROTHERS- Drum Rock Part II (buy)

This is real, sensitive acoustic music, just like Burl Ives only different.  No sampling. No digital effects. Just the artists and their instruments. Kumbaya. 

Lesbian firefighters

If you hurry you can catch part of the SF Pride Parade on the internet. It's kind of like the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade except with condoms instead of balloons. Link

Nothing ukulele related but I'm watching the Pride At Work contingent. Link. Good people.

Update: Too late now, but there are some pictures here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More damn ukuleles

This is the most seriously punk rock thing I've seen in years. Courtesy of a new (to me) blog called Uketoob.

By the way, she's playing a Bugsgear Eleuke. I have one and I hardly ever play it. It's great for making random punk rock noise. I should get it out more often.

A Message To You Rudie

Originally recorded by Dandy Livingstone but made famous, for me anyhow, by The Specials, rerecorded by many artists since, but never, to my knowledge, on the ukulele. The wait is over.

Nor Shall My Sword Sleep In My Hand

I worked in this particular dark satanic mill for a year. That was back in the seventies. I didn't actually have time to notice the counterculture falling apart. I was too busy trying to overthrow the culture. Like so many of my schemes, that one didn't work out too well.

Esteemed comrade and occasional instigator, if not leader, Mick Farren is blaming himself for selling out the counterculture. He's also worried about his health and his self image as a romantic hero. When Mick gets depressed he does it in writing and in public.

I think he's taking himself a little too seriously. Mick's version of the counterculture was being watched for some time by men who were far more guileful than him. The decision to appropriate the gains of the counterculture was made at high levels, if not consciously still quite deliberately. The symbol language of the counterculture translated into the language of marketing. With a few simple changes in form the counterculture could easily be emptied of content.

I'll go a step further and suggest that this was done best by members of the counterculture. They weren't exactly doing it consciously, like I said. They were just tired of being poor and they knew they were on to a good thing. The thing is, most of them weren't poor. Even if they didn't have much money, they were just white kids who had chosen to exercise the austerity option. They didn't sell out, they walked back in through a door that had always been left open for them.

The other problem with weeping over that one particular manifestation of counterculture is that any one person's little experience of stepping outside of custom and into the possibility of freedom is different. Even if your experience is as special as Mick's, there's still nothing that special about it. The special hairdo, the special clothes, the special music, they change all of the time. What is universal is the moment when we see before us that shining city on a hill.

John Ball saw it. So did the Anabaptists. Gerrard Winstanley saw it and The Diggers tried to build what they saw on St. Georges Hill. The Wobblies saw it. The Spanish anarchist cab drivers who rammed their cabs into the fascist's defenses saw it and died happy.

I heard the rumors of Jerusalem during Mick Farren's glory days, but I didn't see it plain until 1974. That was when I played my tiny part in The Dodge Truck Wildcat. For a few days in a few blocks of the ugliest industrial city in America it was easy to see the most ordinary people in the world, factory rats, turned into visionaries and poets. It didn't last long. It couldn't. I promise you nobody was wearing flowers in their hair.

Sometimes I get a little weepy for industrial America. There's no good reason for that. Those factories sucked. I pity the workers of industrial China. I just miss being young and feeling like I was part of something that could change the world.

The good news is that somebody is feeling that way right this minute. The good news is that somebody just caught a glimpse of Jerusalem.

If Mick Farren is feeling bereft think how William Blake would feel if he knew his magnificent poem had been turned into a bit of imperialist doggerel. Billy Bragg did what he could to restore Blake's Jerusalem to it's rightful place.

Blake's Jerusalem- Billy Bragg (buy)

No worries comrade Mick, history will absolve you and Fidel too.

I've come to believe that ukuleles can save the world. Unfortunately they can only save it sometimes and only for a few minutes and they might only be saving the part of the world that is contained by this trailer. That'll have to do. Towards the cause of momentary ukulele world salvation, here's chords and lyrics for Hubert Parry's original musical version of Blake's Jerusalem

C Am F C
And did those feet in ancient time
F C Dm Am F
walk upon England's mountains green?
C Am Em Am
And was the Holy Lamb of God
Em Am Em D G
on England's pleasant pastures seen?

G Dm Gm Dm
And did the countenance divine
F Bb F
shine forth upon our clouded hills?
Dm G G7 C
And was Jerusalem builded here
Am F C F C G C
among these dark satanic mills.

C Am F C
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
F C Dm Am F
Bring me my arrows of de-sire!
C Am Em Am
Bring me my spear! O Clouds unfold!
Em Am Em D G
Bring me my chariot of fire!

G Dm Gm Dm
I will not cease from mental fight,
F Bb F
nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Dm G7 C
'til we have built Jerusalem
Am F C F C G C
in England's green and pleasant land!

Golly, what if Jerusalem really was builded here among these dark satanic mills?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Them red spots on my bumper ain't rust

I have a new schedule, very long hours but very little work. Not much time for the internet though. The doctors aren't done with me yet, but I'm still here.

I leave you with this from Sheb Wooley. Hippies and fellas with purses. Boy howdy.

The Love In- Sheb Wooley

What kind of a sick world do we live in? It appears that this masterpiece is out of print. Undying gratitude to Red Neckerson's Radio Roundup


Thursday, June 11, 2009


It's Thursday evening,  about 8:30. The window is open. I can hear traffic noise from the road. Behind the traffic noise, drifting in on the breeze, I can hear someone playing bagpipes. Bagpipes? 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Me and the doctors

Alright, I'll have to fess up. I have an ongoing resentment towards doctors. It's my problem, not theirs.

I went to the sleep clinic. I slept hooked up to machines. It wasn't that bad. The interesting thing was that I met three guys with commercial licenses who all got tagged for the same sleep disorder thing as me. They all told me that they are now forced to sleep with a mask and all that, but they all said it was the best thing that ever happened to them.

See, I don't like to admit to the fact that I have certain chronic medical conditions. I'm an alcoholic from a long line of alcoholics. I've had a life long history of depression and related problems. I've had ear nose and throat infections since I was an infant. I have type II diabetes. I've had quite a bit of luck managing those problems, but I've also had quite a bit of help. In fact, I've done nothing about any of those problems until someone stepped in and made me pay attention to them. After I've been convinced of the severity of a problem, I will usually, grudgingly, accept help. When things turn around and I get some relief from the problem, I like to believe that I did it all myself, or that the problem wasn't all that bad.

So when that doctor looked me over, he was looking for potential problems and, as I've just admitted, I don't like to look at health problems if I think I don't have to. Given all that it's no surprise I got mad. Not that I feel justified by my resentments. I just have to live with them until I can let go of them.

I haven't heard back on the test results, but I'm willing to accept them and do what I have to. I don't think I have sleep apnea, but I've been living alone for a few years with no one to tell me about any weird snoring. What do I know? I know I don't have most of the self diagnosable symptoms of apnea, but I suppose it's time to get a second opinion.

Here's the cool news. I heard from my friend and ukuleleical inspiration, Madame Pamita, not only here at this blog, but by email, or, if you will, electronic missive. The good news is that she and fellow ukulele heroine, Tippy Canoe, will be returning to Santa Rosa this summer. I'm looking forward to showing up with some more friends in hopes of bringing together a few more post punk ukulele enthusiasts.

Madame also informs me that she will be returning to the United Kingdom this fall. She is interested in performing in Glasgow and she is looking for venues that might be open to the wonders of Euphonious Prognostication. Brother Ib, your help is needed.

Do Whatever You Please- Madame Pamita (buy)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

With it's origins in Turkey, by way of surf music as played by Lebanese American guitarist Dick Dale as learned from his uncles and interpreted, in Glasgow, by Gus and Fin for the ukulele, which comes from Portugal, by way of Hawaii. They make it look so simple.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hell with it

                                                   The Trailer In California

I called in sick today. I've been fighting a sinus infection but really I was just plain stressed out. As a commercial driver, I am expected to pass a physical examination every two years. When I was younger, I would go for my physical with a brutal hangover and never worry about passing. Now that I'm old the doctors are trying to find something every time they look at me.

I went for my physical this week and got a little weasel of a doctor. He was born about the time I started driving for a living. He wanted to know how much I get paid. He wanted to know why I wore glasses when I can read the eye chart without them. He wanted to know why I am taking a micro dose of high blood pressure medicine when I don't seem to have high blood pressure. (Because a goddam doctor told me to you idiot.) I passed every single test on his form, but he didn't seem to like that. He kept asking me more questions.

Finally he announced that he wasn't going to pass me because my body mass index was three points too high. He told me that I needed to lose ten pounds right there, in the office, or he would have to assume that I have a sleep disorder and suspend my card until I went to the sleep disorder clinic.

It turns out that he was being arbitrary. I tried to tell him that I don't have a sleep disorder but he started explaining the transportation industry to me instead. It seems that commercial drivers are constantly falling asleep at the wheel and getting in accidents because we don't exercise enough, we're too fat and we have sleep apnea.

I suggested that he might want to look into the state and federal laws concerning hours of service. If we're falling asleep at the wheel, it might have something to do with the fact that we can be forced to work sixteen hours a day, or the fact that federal wage and hours laws don't apply to us and we don't have to be paid overtime wages if we work for an interstate carrier. By the way, if one of your employer's vehicles crosses a state line, once a year, you work for an interstate carrier. I could go on. Fuck yes I could go on.

But as I said, the doctor was an expert on the transportation industry so he explained to me that the problem is that drivers are fat and unhealthy because we're lazy and in need of discipline. I know that drivers fall asleep but I'd like that asshole to name one.

I wasn't going to fight the guy. No point. So I called the sleep clinic and tried to make an appointment. I got to talk to an appointment person in God knows where. I explained my predicament and she was sympathetic. She told me she would explain that I needed to be seen right away and pass the message on. That was Monday morning and I still haven't heard from them. I got a message that my message had been received and I would be contacted, some day.

My current physical expires in three weeks. I contacted the union and my bosses. They contacted their law experts who assured them that the doctor was talking out of his ass, but this does me no good as he refused to return any of my paper work and is essentially holding it hostage.

I am finding this distressing. I don't even want to be a bus driver any more. I have to do it for a little more than two years and I can retire. I want to retire. I've been in this business for 36 years and I have a feeling there's more to life than this.

The good news is that I walked out in the yard and saw three different kinds of fowl, male and female, domestic and wild all with babies, looking at me. The chickens ran up to me, expecting to be fed. The turkey hens chased their babies into the undergrowth while the toms gobbled at me and displayed their mighty tail feathers. The California quail ran back and forth and made little sounds. Why do I work all the time anyway? The neighbor's back pasture is full of some kind of purplish flowers that I don't recognize. The look a lot like chicory, but purple like thistles. I've lived here for years and I've never seen these flowers before. Now I'm looking at a couple of acres of them. Mysteries to explore.

Maybe I'd be happier if I had an elderly punk rock girl friend. I doubt it. Kitten On The Keys plays a Pohaku Ukulele she wants a geriatric punk rock boyfriend. My kinda girl.

Geriatric Punk Rock Boyfriend- Kitten On The Keys(buy)

I like my living situation.

My House Has Wheels- Southern Culture on the Skids (buy)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Had To Tell You

Despite appearances, I am not dead, yet. I wanted to do something nice for the few misguided souls who find their way here. Bless you all. A couple of months ago I mentioned that (the) Volebeats are my new faves. So look, let me share the best 13th Floor Elevators cover ever recorded:

I Had To Tell You- Volebeats(buy)

I am familiar with the Eye Meets The Pyramid compilation. I"m very fond of it, but this beats anything on that fine collection.

Every day I see something interesting or think something interesting and I say, "I'll have to write about that", then I continue to muddle through my day until I am allowed to collapse on my lonesome pallet. (sob) Maybe I can break my leg or something so I can get in some writing.

One piece of exciting news: I have been appointed as my local's delegate to the North Bay Central Labor Council. This means that once a year, on Labor Day no less, I will have to get up early to serve pancakes at the Carpenter's hall for the Labor Day breakfast. Nice to know that someone thought about me though.

'Til next time.

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