Monday, December 20, 2010

"Who'll remember the buns, Podgy?"

Wow!  Dig that photo.  Could that be some new, hip, psychedelic folk rocker from England or Europe engaged in that post-Incredible String Band thing?  Ah, no...wait, oh god, it's a photo of yours truly found from the archives of oblivion.  41 years ago?  Oh, how the body aches, the conscience reels.  Has it been this far down the path?  Oh well, Happy Christmas folks.  And this coming from a pagan.  Well, sort of pagan.  More of a hip gnostic.  At least that's what I thought.  Dig the colour coordination of the photo.  That really was the true colour of my hair.  Note the matching hues of the ensemble: brown cord coat; gold turtleneck; flowing Siegfried locks; Michael Caine Ipcress File-style horn-rimmed glasses; and rust suede zippered high-heeled Beatle boots from Hardy Shoes.  Too cool, man.  Carnaby Street comes to Orange County.  At least in that photo, which I think was taken in Brea, I lived in Diamond Bar at that time having fled the cultural oasis of Fullerton.  But I digress. 

Back to Christmas.  Or Paganmas to us Nancy Druids.  But religion aside (because my fanaticism was never in this area), I've always enjoyed the rich humour that comes from this time of year.  Cynicism came early.  Does anyone remember Stan Freberg's A Green Christmas from his album, Stan Freberg And The Original Cast?  The Goon Show Christmas programs were always a hidden pleasure.  The Beatles carried on the tradition with their Christmas discs for fan club members.  Each year becoming more surreal.

Christmas shows on Space Pirate Radio were always fun.  How many people enjoyed each season listening to Chef Bruno's Christmas album?  Which one was your favourite?  "Chet's nuts roasting by an open fire.  Jack Frost's nipple in your ear..."  Or "Oh come Marianne Faithfull, riding in her Triumph.  Oh come Marianne Faithfull, oh come on me." Or maybe "Good King Senor Wences Saw."  Mayhaps these classic tunes were inspired by the early days of Pogo: "Deck us all with Boston Charlie.  Walla Walla, Wash an' Kalamazoo!"  To this day, I can't hear a Christmas song in a store without rewriting the lyrics in some demonic sort of way.  Recently, I've retooled Andy Williams doing "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year."  Seriously, it comes on in Albertsons and I start singing:

It's the most horrible time of the year.
Family is dying and people are crying and living in fear...
It's the most horrible time of the year.
This can really change how a person looks at you in the produce section.

On stage, after doing Nothing Is Sacred and Casanova's Lips, I seriously wanted to rearrange the classic Dickens story with my play, A Christmas Maggie.  ("But isn't it A Christmas Carol, Mr. Scrooge?"  "I don't know Carol, but I did know Maggie and that's why it's A Christmas Maggie.")  It was an insane idea, of course.  But I wanted to do it anyway.  Scrooge, for all outward appearances, would be true to the Dickens period, except at the time, on his frock coat lapels he wore buttons that said "Nixon Now" and "Bomb Hanoi."  It was definitely a '70s piece.  Scrooge was a letch, attempting to seduce the wife of his employee, Bob Crotchairs.  In one scene, Ebeneezer, enjoying the view of the amply endowed Maggie Crotchairs, puts on a pair of 3D glasses and stares at her in a heightened sense of abandon.  Anyway, the play never made it to the stage but it did end up in various forms on Space Pirate Radio.

There were certainly many other Christmas moments on the program.  We all did our shopping with Don Wenow (from Our Gay Apparel).  And how about those holiday specials from Madame Rhumba's House Of Certain Pleasures ("Where else are you gonna get those rectum sticks?  You won't find them at Robinsons").

The holidays were a lot of fun spent among friends, especially if those friends were the multiple personalities that peopled my imagination on Space Pirate Radio.  Over the years, many a show was done on a Christmas morning and it was not a bad way to spend the holiday. 

So I hope the end of the year is good for you.  Here we are wrapping up a year's worth of these glowing, nocturnal emissions.  Heinz 57 varieties.  Did you ketchup? 

No Christmas would be complete without a message from the Beatle Pope, Pope JohnPaulGeorgeRingo II: "I've got nothing to say but it's okay.  Good morning, good morning, good morning."