Philip K Dick

The New York Times’ Simon Critchley writes a three part series on the life, philosophy, and madness of Philip K Dick.

Dick’s life has long passed into legend, peppered with florid tales of madness and intoxication. There are some who consider such legend something of a diversion from the character of Dick’s literary brilliance. Jonathan Lethem writes — rightly in my view — “Dick wasn’t a legend and he wasn’t mad. He lived among us and was a genius.” Yet Dick’s life continues to obtrude massively into any assessment of his work.

I recommend a little Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, while you read:

Great Albums For a Rainy Day

It’s a cool, rainy, overcast day in St. Louis today after a week of temps in the 80’s.  Here are a few albums I like to throw on for days like this one:

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

Young Team – Mogwai

Dummy – Portishead

Classic Yes – Yes

Coma Divine – Porcupine Tree

Start with Kid A – Radiohead:

El Monstero Pulls Out All The Stops

The outdoor show put on by Pink Floyd cover band El Monstero last Saturday at Jefferson Barracks Amphitheater was nothing short of spectacular.  Despite the heat,  despite the dangerous and near disastrous problem of the lack of enough vendors for food and drink (the Schlafly vendor ran out of beer before the main act even began!), despite the semi-mysterious location of the venue (unless you were familiar with the park), the show went on and El Monstero held nothing back for the 7,000 strong concert goers. The performances were all spot on amazing.  El Monstero took care to get every nuance, costume, and extra performer to provide a concert nearly indistinguishable from the real Pink Floyd or even from the studio tracks.

As the sun set and the moon rose El Monstero started with several cuts off of Wish You Were Here and then moved on to multiple cuts from The Wall when the first surprise of the night happened.  During Another Brick in the Wall a live helicopter approached and flew over the crowd exactly on que, circling the crowd twice as it beamed its spotlight down on us all, cheering in amazement.

After the few Wall tracks, El Monstero played nearly through the entire Dark Side of the Moon album.  The highlight of this part of the set was the incredible vocals provided by Tandra Williams on The Great Gig in the Sky.  Her powerful and flawless voice delivered the most beautiful performance I’ve ever heard at any concert hands down.  Dave Farver on saxophone should also get an honorable mention for his performance. After Dark Side El Monstero moved back to second album of The Wall and an encore performance that included fireworks and, of course, a crowd sing along favorite Wish You Were Here.

The crowd was a nice mix of people from nearly every age and demographic.  The heat and the horribly long lines at the vendors didn’t dampen the spirit and afterwards the local traffic police were more than well prepared, making an easy and quick exit. The band did mention that this might not be the last time for this kind of out door show and I for one can’t wait.  How about next weekend?

The best I could find on Youtube, doesn’t do the actual sound justice but you get the feeling and power of her performance:

Early May Roundup

Lots of great stuff out there that deserves an honorable mention rounded up from the first few weeks in May:

  • In music we have news from Ars about the Library of Congress’s new National Jukebox and also the announcement of yet another collection of Pink Floyd music I will be forced to purchase (can’t wait for Wish You Were Here in 5.1).
  • In Chicago media news Alton Brown has called an end to ‘Good Eats’ to work on a new project.  The tv series The Chicago Code has been cancelled much to the chagrin of the wife and I.
  • In science fiction and fantasy news the 2011 Hugo finalists have been announced.  Here are some very cool (ok, epic) science fiction artists and some of there latest work.  Also, LOTR/Weta fans may want to act fast to get their own signed print of ‘Disturber of the Peace.’
  • From the LOL files, we have a special book for frustrated parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, and even though I’m not a Red Wings fan, this video of a Red Wings assistant coach owning a Sharks fan deserves a standing golf clap.
  • And last but not least from the Shit Just Got Real file, sitting down is killing you, here’s how to track how much bandwidth you’re using now that AT&T is metering your internet (log in using your ATT credentials).  And if you haven’t read and been enraged yet by the financial mess this country is in, the most recent article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone, The People vs. Goldman Sachs, is a great place to start and a must read.