Pretzels & Dick

pretzels1Man, pretzels are so good sometimes! -know what I mean? Most of the time, you don’t even think about pretzels, it’s as if they weren’t even food, and then, suddenly, for whatever reason, the memories come flooding back: lord, these are so salty and good with booze!

It’s the same with getting drunk. When I grew up, people valued getting drunk, but nowadays, being pie-faced has somehow acquired a patina of unrespectability, as if it just wasn’t p.c. -almost as if it was looked down upon! Sometimes I think it’s this whole no smoking, avoidance-of-cancer thing, taken to extremes. Sure, you don’t seek out cancer; but do you really want to see who’s sitting next to you at the bar that clearly? At one time, these were like phantom figures. Now that everything’s smoke-free, I can see my friends way too well. And now I’m supposed to stop drinking?

And if that’s true, why did God give us pretzels? I mean, I’m glad He did and everything, but it’s hard to believe nourishment was His goal with the pretzel. But pretzels are so full of mystery! Isn’t it obvious that drunk people would’ve been satisfied with so much less?

Which brings me to browsing for music in the digital age.

Look, you’ve got to understand: I was a hard-core vinyl guy. I still have literally thousands of records, untouched for many years, surrounding the stuff I do touch, and in most cases sounding way better than the stuff I do touch, but all the ?new? stuff is on cd, so I end up playing nothing but cds. Records were my first love, and perhaps my truest, though even the ceaselessly, effortlessly, unavoidably radiant Mrs. Kelp might agree that I’ve tried to become more moderate in my ways to the point of appreciating in-person humans to a roughly similar degree (at least after the fact, on reflection); but oh my god, records were SO CUTE!!! So large, so space-ship like! Man, that was a product!

But cds would make nice earrings…

Anyway, the only reason I mention that is to explain that I’m not, by nature, a computer-y guy, though I definitely have become one. If you’d have told me ten or twenty years I’d be spending this much time TYPING! -well, I certainly would’ve denied it, in fact did deny it when some of you did in fact point out the painful obviousness of it: we’re all in thrall to these little screens, these little keyboards. And they’re, like, wicked cool!

OK, so, like, check it out, here’s a message to my brethren old and cranky-ites: this is an arguably good browsing situation.

The premise is that you can pretty much hear thirty seconds of anything, on Itunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic, all these digital music outlets, whatever, people will play you thirty seconds of absolutely anything. They’ve somehow declared all beginnings completely worthless -what a nineties point of view!

So you’ve got to decide, really fast, is it good, or is it stinky?

Being contemporary is so relentless.

But here’s the good news: I tried this test on the new Wilco album, “Sky Blue Sky” (I’ve always kind of liked Wilco), first listening to the songs as 30 second samples (on Itunes) and then in full (on Rhapsody, as some sort of promotion), and I’m gratified to say that in retrospect the 30 second samples seemed to give me all the information I needed to choose the two or three tracks I liked enough to keep (this also takes into account the possibility of liking something ok, but not quite to the point of ever needing to hear it again.) This situation in turn made it possible to (more or less) avoid an entire Bjork album! (her latest, whatever it is.) (Which makes it sound like I don’t like poor Bjork, and I do, I like Bjork a lot, but the thirty second hints told me I don’t need this particular album. It’s like I just found ten bucks!)

Remember, the world is getting worse and worse, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Dick Wetmore albumSpeaking of everything going downhill continuously, I have to tell you that my good friend and personal hero Dick Wetmore died a few months ago, down in Naples, Florida, where he’d spent the last few years so happily with his terrific wife Marge. I’m sure Dick will be remembered by many locally, as he spent many years on the cape, which he obviously dearly loved -and visa versa. He was famous with hepsters as being one of the first guys to play bebop on a violin, and he was a wonderful musician on both violin and cornet as well as a truly charismatic singer. Dick was personable beyond reason, and playful as a pup. He always said he was from the planet Twylo, and most of us believed him.

And I wrote way more about Dick than I wrote about anyone else. After all, how often do you meet someone from Twylo?

A memorial service will be held for him at the Duck Creeke Inn in Wellfleet at 12 noon on Sunday, May 27th … there’s bound to be some great anecdotes, so come on down.

They may even have pretzels.

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