Saturday Odds & Sods: The Ghost Of You Walks

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Richard Thompson-Edward Hopper month concludes with a perverse pairing of Hopper’s most famous painting and a lesser known RT gem.

There’s not a lot to report this week since we’re on lockdown like everybody else. The polls don’t seem to reflect the Impeached Insult Comedian’s notion that people are desperate to resume normal life and take another bite out of the COVID-19 apple. Even 70% of rank and file Republicans would rather not die. Imagine that. So much for the Trump Death Cult.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson for his 1996 album You? Me? Us? Dig those crazy question marks. It also has a cool Max Ernst-like collage album cover, which may turn up some Wednesday. You never can tell.

We have two versions of The Ghost Of You Walks for your listening pleasure. The studio original and a live teevee performance on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland. The latter is just the two unrelated Thompsons: Richard and Danny.

I’m not afraid of ghosts but if you are, let’s jump to the break to escape.

We’ve left the ghosts behind but not the gossip. It’s surprising that Back Street Slide never received a Tongue In The Mail shout-out. It’s a mystery to me, y’all. I’m not telling you Whodunit either.

One more lesser known RT tune before we get to the meat of our second act. It’s a train tune. I’ve always liked train tunes. I suspect you can handle it.

We begin our second act in earnest with a book excerpt.

The Ex-Presidents Club: Even if President* Pennywise slithers his way back into the White House, he’ll still be ostracized from the world’s most exclusive club: the Ex-Presidents club.

Vanity Fair has a swell excerpt from a new book by Karen Andersen Brower describing Trump’s troubled relationship with the Bushes, Clinton, Carter, and Obama. The book is Trial By Fire, click here to read it and weep. Weeping is strictly optional.

More Restaurant Blues: Independent eateries are on the ropes because of the plague. The chains are apt to survive because they have big bucks behind them. Hell, Ruth’s Chris Steak House got a $20 million bailout out from the feds. Unlike Shake Shack, the former New Orleans based chain has not returned the lucre. Fuck them sideways twice. First for abandoning New Orleans after Katrina and now for this.

There’s an interesting article in Esquire by Jeff Gordiner warning that the CARES Act will wipe out indie restaurants. The money is going to the wrong companies.

Time for a third fuck you to Ruth’s Chris. This piece may well reduce you to tears. You may even set it all down in a Tear-Stained Letter:

UPDATE: Ruth’s Chris has been dragged kicking and screaming to return the money. They can still fuck off.

I’m a liberal who likes the true crime genre. Netflix has a series for people like us.

Do-Gooder True Crime: The Innocence Project was established in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck. That’s right, two guys who were Dream Teamers in Los Angeles in 1994-5, not Barcelona in 1992.

The Innocence Files is an 8-part documentary series that gives us an inside look at some of The Innocence Project’s more noteworthy cases. My favorite story was the Mississippi case, which had a truly hiss-provoking villain in Dr. Michael West.

Here’s the trailer:

The Innocence Files is streaming at Netflix. I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+.

Did I say People Like Us? The last word of our second act goes to Talking Heads:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: We have another casting edition with Barry Scheck and Rob Morrow who played him in The People Vs. OJ Simpson:

Rob Morrow is good at playing snarky lawyers from New York. I loved him as Richard Goodwin in Quiz Show. I love the movie too. It’s a stone cold 4 star classic with great performances by Ralph Fiennes and John Turturro as well as Morrow.

Speaking of quiz kids:

I’m not sure why Ian Anderson added another Z. Another mystery that I refuse to tell you Whodunit.

The Movie List: A friend of mine asked for movie musical recommendations on Twitter this week. You can never go wrong with Fred Astaire.

My Top Ten Favorite Fred Astaire Movies:

  1.   The Band Wagon
  2.   Shall We Dance
  3.   Top Hat
  4.   Swing Time
  5.   You Were Never Lovelier
  6.   The Sky’s The Limit
  7.   Easter Parade
  8.   Royal Wedding
  9.   Blue Skies
  10.   Carefree

This was tough. It was hard to omit Roberta, Funny Face, and Follow The Fleet. Hey, sailor.

I’m obsessed with the recordings Fred did with Oscar Peterson in 1952. Here’s a swell track with an intro by the great man himself.

Our Astaire heavy third act continues.

Saturday GIF Horse: Fred loved working with special effects. Here’s a mirror trick.

Since we’re up and dancing, how about a double dose of Richard Thompson? Unlike Fred Astaire, the protagonist of the first song has Two Left Feet. As to The Razor Dance, don’t try it at home.

Random Image Of The Week: A friend of my Bayou Brief colleague Sue Lincoln photographed a sign made by a Trumper who cannot spell:


This person lives in Baton Rouge, I wonder if they spell the last bit Rogue? There are many rogues about when the lege is in session, after all. Some may even be trannies for all I know…

I’ve been listening to a lot of the next artist during my voluntary incarceration.

Weekly Vintage Music Video: Peter Gabriel’s commercial breakthrough was largely due to the great videos made for his 1986 album So. This is not one of those videos but a beautifully done clip from his Peter Gabriel 4/Security album. It’s one of my favorite PG tunes; the opening number on The Portable Peter Gabriel CD I just burned.

Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more Richard Thompson.

Saturday Classic: We have another double dose of RT. First, a 1983 live set from the German Rockpalast TV series. Second, RT’s appearance on Elvis Costello’s chat show, Spectacle. Levon Helm, Bick Lowe, and Allen Toussaint were also Declan’s guests. It’s a spectacular Spectacle lineup.

It’s always good to commune with such illustrious musical ancestors as Levon and Allen.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to the President’s Club illustration by Mike Tofanelli that accompanied the excerpt from Trial By Fire.