We begin on a solemn note. Yes drummer Alan White died recently at the age of 72. White joined the band in 1972 after Bill Bruford quit while Yes was on tour. White had just a few days to learn the band’s complex and challenging music. He stuck the landing and occupied the drum chair for nearly 50 years. The White-Squire combination was something to behold.
This week’s theme song was written by Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White for Yes’ 2001 album Magnification. The piano introduction inspired the song and was written and played by White.
We have two versions of In The Presence Of for your listening pleasure: the studio original with Alan White on keys and a live version with Rick Wakeman on keys.
I released, released myself from my original theme song plan when I thought of In The Presence Of. Beware of rotten tormatoes.
I’m actually one of the few, the proud who likes Tormato despite its ghastly cover.
Alan White was the drummer in John Lennon’s original Plastic Ono Band and played on Lennon’s first solo hit:
Rock on, Alan. You will be missed.
We begin our second act by hopping in the Wayback Machine:
Paranoid History: As a young man, I was acquainted with my then Congressman Pete McCloskey who was a liberal anti-war Republican. He knew my father who tried to talk him out of running against Nixon from the left in 1972. It did not work but they remained on good terms.
I knew that McCloskey was anti-Reagan but had no idea that in 1980 he was convinced that a “gay cabal” controlled the candidate. He was part of an effort to stop Reagan using what was most likely a perniciously false rumor. Gay panic was common back then and even otherwise enlightened people like McCloskey weren’t immune to it.
There’s an excerpt in Politico Magazine from a new book by James Kirchick that addresses this bizarre and little-known incident.
My favorite bit involves former Gret Stet GOP Rep and losing gubernatorial candidate Bob Livingston:
It was 3:15 on the morning of June 26, 1980, and Congressman Bob Livingston was extraordinarily drunk, hiding in the congressional gym beneath the Rayburn House Office Building, petrified that a team of highly trained right-wing homosexual assassins working on behalf of Ronald Reagan was about to kill him.
The truth is always stranger than fiction.
Speaking of strange, let’s visit woody old England for one of the weirdest trials of the year.
Wagatha Christie: Before reading Hadley Freeman’s hilarious account of what is called the Wagatha Christie trial, I had no idea what a WAG is. It’s a Britism for wives and girlfriends of athletes.
Two WAGS, Rebekah Vardy and Colleen Rooney, are embroiled in litigation, which has become a national obsession in the UK.
Here’s one of many money quotes:
… [Rooney’s barrister] then read out an interview Vardy gave the Daily Mail the day after the post: “Arguing with Coleen Rooney would be as pointless as arguing with a pigeon: you can tell it that you are right and it is wrong, but it’s still going to shit in your hair,” he harrumphed. Reader, I laughed (and was again told off by the court). Vardy claimed that some of the quotes attributed to her in the press over the years are “just nonsense”, but I do hope she said that pigeon line.
Let’s move from the ridiculous to the sublime.
The Wire At 20: 2002 was a great year for teevee. The Shield debuted that year as did The Wire. Dr. A and I were among the relatively few people to watch the show from its inception.
We were having issues in our hood with crack dealers and The Wire rang true to our real-life experience. We even had a D’Angelo-type dealer who yelled at the crackheads down the block for not taking better care of their toddler. Gentrification isn’t always a bad thing.
The creators of The Wire, David Simon and Ed Burns sat for an interview with the NYT’s Jonathan Abrams. For the details, get thee to the Gray Lady.
The last word goes to Tom Waits and the season 1 opening credits for The Wire followed by a full version of the song:
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth Casting Edition: It’s George III’s birthday. Many actors have played the mad monarch but none better than Nigel Hawthorne.
Nigel is the chap in the photograph obviously. I feel a song from the British band Madness coming on:
I haven’t gone to a movie theatre since the pandemic morphed into an endemic, but I can still make lists.
The Movie/Teevee List: This week, a list inspired by the above SAB feature. I’m using Spike Lee’s term joint because there’s quite a bit of teevee below, eh wot?
My Top Ten Favorite Joints About British Royals
- The Lion In Winter/Becket
- The Crown/The Queen
- The Madness of King George
- The Tudors
- Mrs. Brown
- The King’s Speech
- Wolf Hall
- Edward The King
- Anne Of The Thousand Days
Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth movies just missed the cut. My crush on her was not enough for her to supplant the joints about her father. Hey, Bette Davis or Glenda Jackson didn’t make the cut either. Neither did Charles Laughton and his atrocious table manners:
The slashes on the list are there because both #1 movies starred Peter O’Toole as King Henry II and both #2 movies were written by Peter Morgan. That’s a whole lotta Peters but only one has a double phallic name.
I feel another musical interlude coming on:
Thanks, Pete. The cover of Rough Mix was featured on Album Cover Art Wednesday in 2018.
The Best Of Johnny: Rickles, Sinatra, and Carson. Who could ask for anything more?
The last word of the segment goes to the Chairman of the Board with a Rodgers and Hart classic that will turn up as lagniappe in tomorrow’s Joni Mitchell dozen:
Feeling buggy? Meet exterminator Dale Gribble of King of the Hill fame.
Meme Of The Week: This popped up on my old friend Chef Craig’s Facebook feed:
The character was inspired by former Congressman and convicted felon Tom (The Bug Man) Delay who actually appeared on Dancing With The
If that Tom left a nasty taste in your mouth, let’s meet a much nicer guy named Tom.
Saturday GIF Horse: It’s Tom Colicchio time. Sorry for making you clean up the Bug Man’s mess, dude.
Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more music.
Vintage Music Video: Alan White day continues with this classic music video. It’s one reason Owner owned the charts in 1983.
That’s all for this week. The last word goes to *some* of the cast of The Wire: