Saturday Odds & Sods: (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding

Banjo and Glasses by Juan Gris.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I’m not religious but I was raised Greek Orthodox. This year Greek Easter is the same day as what my most pious relative calls “American Easter.” My memories of Easter revolve around food: leg of lamb was always the main course at our house. I may not celebrate the holiday but I wish those of you who do well.

In Easter related news, it looks as if Team Trump is screwing up the annual White House Easter egg roll. It’s typically an East Wing thing but Melania lives in Manhattan and nobody else seems to be in charge. Holy symbolic ineptitude, Batman. I hear Harvey and Bugs Bunny are organizing a protest…

This week’s theme song is Nick Lowe’s best known and loved song, (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding. Nick himself is not madly in love with his most famous song:

“Everyone seems to know it. But it’s never been a hit, a hit song so to speak, on the charts,” says Lowe, reflecting on the song’s legacy. “It is really strange — and I don’t want to sound too, kinda, ‘wet’ — ‘cause when I hear it, it doesn’t really sort of sound like my song any more. I don’t feel hugely possessive about it.”


“The song had a rather humorous birth,” he says. “It was written, initially, from the point of view of an old hippie who was still sticking to his guns and seeing his kind of followers all suddenly wearing pointy-toed shoes and drinking cocktails. … It’s like they had come to their senses, rediscovered alcohol and cocaine. … They were rather embarrassed that they’d ever been hippies … and thought the hippie thing rather funny.

“And he’s saying to them: ‘Well, you all think I’m an idiot. You’re sniggering now. But all I’m saying — and you can’t argue with this — is what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?’”

I’m presenting three versions for your amusement. First, the 1974 original recorded with the pub-rock band, Brinsley Schwarz. Then the Elvis Costello rendition that put the tune on the map; it was produced by Nick. Finally, the way I like it best: a solo acoustic version by the songwriter himself.

One thing that *is* funny about Nick Lowe is that his hair is still awesome. I should hate him for that but I’m trying to be a bigger man. I am, however, fuming over the injustice of it all right now. It’s best to insert a break at this point while I take a deep breath.

FYI, Brinsley Schwarz was the name of that band’s lead guitarist. He went on to work with Graham Parker for many years including on this song:

We begin with a segment inspired by the ab fab, super fun FX series, Feud: Bette and Joan.

Hagsploitation Movies: In Feud Stanley Tucci as Jack Warner claims to have coined the term hagsploitation for movies such as Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and Strait-Jacket.  There’s no support for this claim but Warner was always full of shit, so there you have it.

There’s a swell piece at The Ringer by Lindsay Zoladz about the so-called Psycho Biddy genre. Whatever you call them, the movies were campy fun. Despite all the dissing it takes from Ryan Murphy and company, Strait-Jacket is a helluva ride. I’m also fond of Lady In A Cage, which was Olivia de Havilland’s contribution to the Grande Dame Guignol sweepstakes. Of course, I’m on the record as liking campy trash. Speaking of which, here’s the trailer for Lady In A Cage:

Let’s move from the ridiculous to the ridiculously sublime. It’s a piece that quite accurately argues that American elections have *always* been down and dirty.

The 1800 Presidential Election: It was the battle of titans and former friends: President John Adams versus Vice President Thomas Jefferson. The election system was even worse at that point as the second place finisher became Veep, which led to the epic stuggle between Jefferson and Aaron Burr in the House *after*the election. Jefferson won and became a legend while Burr became an outcast. Current favorite Alexander Hamilton was there stirring the pot: he hated Adams, Jefferson, and Burr with almost equal ferocity. It was a fucking mess. Believe me.

A. Roger Ekrich has the detail in an excerpt from his book, American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution.

Now that I’ve posted something serious, it’s time to get silly again with a recurring, stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: This is a pretty good one. It pairs teevee quack Dr. Oz with the late punk rock legend Dee Dee Ramone.

I don’t know about you, but that pairing makes me want to follow the yellow brick road to the rock-n-roll high school. At the very least, it’s a good excuse to post this video:

Sign Of The Week: I saw the sign below on Poland Avenue in the Bywater aka Hipsterland, but neglected to take a picture. Fortunately, my friend Will Samuels of  Pizza NOLA and Shark Fest fame had his eye on the prize such as it is.

Somebody should sic the grammar police on the folks who made thatsign. Unless it means that they’re not real rabies shots. The mere thought of such a scam makes me rabid…

Saturday Classic: Speaking of guitarists whose bands were named after them, blues rocker J. Geils died earlier this week at the age of 71. I’ve had a few J. Geils Band albums over the years. Bloodshot is my personal favorite. I even have a red vinyl copy. Are you ready to rock?

That’s it for this week. Let’s close it out the same way we began with Shecky Wakeman:

One thought on “Saturday Odds & Sods: (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding

  1. When my best bud Tony Patterson got married in 1985 (For the second time. To the same girl. Whom he has married multiple times since. You should meet them.), we sang an acoustic duet of “PLU” very much akin unto Nick’s solo version here, but with actual, not-bad harmonies.

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