It's Jack White with a couple of iconic performances - Not Fade Away followed by Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground followed by Seasick Steve bringing it all back home, or at least back to SXSW which is sort of home.
And dig all the young people texting their appreciation in the front row! What bands may need is an Applause App so at the end of each song the performer knows we're not all talking about Shah-Lin-Da and how she's like totally into that weird dude, but actually keeping half an eye on the band.
My childhood, several centuries ago, was enlivened with stories of English rock bands and their touring vans, which were cramped and unheated and full of battered cheap gear that musicians these days would give an arm and a leg to obtain - and how often these beat groups got sick on the road, and how often the bands got laid in the back of those vans. Paul Kossoff, the druggiest of Free, was the best driver in that group and would cheerfully drive the length of Great Britain without a protest or a problem. Jimmy Page, touring with a combo of now-mostly-forgotten rockers in a van, famously got sick from Glandular Fever (Mono, in US-speak) and retired from touring forever at the ripe old age of 19 (or something), vowing to spend the future as a session musician. (I believe he went back to touring with some group or other later, when he preferred charter jets with fur-topped beds in the cabin.) The rivalry between those groups who preferred the Bedford van and those groups who preferred the legendary Transit van is the stuff of sagas.
So now Jack has translated the full musical van-experience from live music to vinyl, transferring the romance of the touring troubadours of rock to the staff of the record store. Four or fewer Lovable Moptops (Ben Swank) will soon arrive at our doorsteps to personally provide us with sounds at whatever cost to their selves, their relationships and their health.
One hopes Jack has taken to heart the tales of all those English boys tested - and so many of whom were broken - by the stress of having to get to Bradford St. George's Hall by 1 pm next day after the Hammersmith Odeon gig last night, in the freezing fog with the top two gears f*cked and the brakes a bit slushy and a slapper in the back seat who's forgotten her shoes. If not, we'll no doubt hear these epic tales of struggle and victory from Third Man in their tweets and web-updates.
Actual footage of a fictional group race between a Bedford and a Transit. You don't want to know the movie it comes from.
Also, the first person to glom/glue/clamp/magnet a GPS on the underside of this sucker at SXSW and tell us where it's headed in future will win my undying appreciation.
Last Sunday, inspired by a post on boing boing, we went to Vanalden Cave. This is in Tarzana, Los Angeles. It's a relatively easy half mile hike, although it was quite slippy on the trails that day. If you follow the directions on the internet, it will tell you to get out of the car when Vanalden Avenue dead ends, and follow the trail to the cave. They also state that when you come to the place where you don't know which way to go, go right. This very psychedelic description is quite fitting, as apparently Vanalden cave is where the 'shroomers hang out, but it's not very useful as there are at least two places where you don't know which way to go.
At the first one, go left.
At the other one, go right.
I'm used to great sweeping limestone caves like Gaping Gill, so Los Angeles' sandstone cavern seemed very different to me.
It's dry and warm inside, although there are a lot of holes in the roof where it rains in when it does rain.
What makes it interesting is generations of people have carved the soft sandstone inside, and painted the walls outside. It's like an Angelino Lascauxor Tassili.
This was a fun trip, especially as I also got to eat a double-double at In 'n' Out Burger.
On a Sunday morning, surfing teh interwebs is my favorite activity. Today I spent a couple of hours reading about a fascinating controversy over whether a cabal of writers known as the YA Mafia really do have the power to crush aspiring writers who negatively review their books on the internet. Thrilling stuff, brought to my attention by adult and YA writer John Scalzi's blog, where he protests too much that he and all of his YA writing friends could never find time to fuck with anyone's careers. I read all the source material...well, not all of it. There's reams of blog posts. Hundreds of them. And tens of thousands of comments.
After that I headed off to Fandom Wank to see if the YA Mafia had made the grade to be discussed there and found that it had not. Slow off the mark, FW! At FW, I learned that My Little Pony posts had so overwhelmed 4 Chan that it had been forced to start banning them to avoid being broken. If anything was going to break 4 Chan, I guess it had to be My Little Pony. And then I read some other wanks, mostly about someone called Misha and a rhino.
Yessirree, surfing the nets is the way to go.
Then I followed up on my google alerts, and one of them - for the Dead Weather - turned up a picture of me! Yes, me, on the internets! Here I am.
That's probably too large to display properly, but you could save it to your hard disk and treasure it. I'm the one on the very far left of the picture. Go me. That was at the Roxy in Los Angeles, and I mostly remember being very impressed with Little Jack Lawrence's trousers, which were of a much thicker and costlier schmutter than I thought they would be. Reminded me of Coleridge- 'as if this earth in fast, thick pants were breathing'. One of poetry's greatest lines, I always thought.
I sometimes mention a product on this blog, and I give a URL to Amazon or similar sites. Just to reassure you, I don't get paid to advertise anything here and I don't get any money from your clicks. Everything I say here is because I feel like saying it.