Ah, top watery-eyed loon Vladimir Putin is at it again. Today we get a speech that, according to the NY Times advocated that Russians lift their birthrate, and spend more money on upgrading the military. This was in part in response to US concerns, voiced by Dick Cheney of all people, that maybe Russia was becoming a bit fascist.
Now I'm being more than a little fatuous here, I know, since Putin's speech was a lot more nuanced that that, and that it noted that US foreign utterances must be set against the US' tolerance of oil-rich dictators, many of them, um, ex-KGB. But the sight of a man who sets himself up as some kind of father of the nation calling for more guns and for Russia's womanhood to lie back and think of the motherland is disturbingly familiar.
I'd thought, I'd really thought, that fascism had been relegated to jazz bars and intellectually bankrupt rhetoric. Oh, and the Young Ones, though that's allowed. Then along comes this former judo master with the world's largest gas reserves to remind us that it still has a certain panache.
I don't have a solution, needless to say, except for wait till he dies or the economy collapses on the back of falls in the oil price. What's the local angle? You can find fascist imagery in Brooklyn's landmarks, and even its flag. Boo.
I also offer my best wishes for a speedy recovery to the model that took a tumble on the Gowanus Expressway. Would it have been worse if the thing was underground?. Probably. Note on that last link - follow the little camera icon for Live! Molly! Kroon! Action! Or just a report.
But the Gowanus Expressway incident, while a shocking fate to befall the Staten Island bound Tatyana Simanava (even if I don't buy Gawker's theory), at least provides me with a music hook.
I mentioned a week or so back that I'd had the honour of crashing musician Dave Rick's wedding. Not content with that affront, I'd like to post a snippet of music from his first band, Phantom Tollbooth. The Tollbooth were a sort of angular, arty hardcore band not unlike the Meat Puppets, only less country, or Mission of Burma, only less tunesome. Quite a challenging listen, but you're rewarded with moments of occasional beauty.
Their 1988 album Power Toy was re-released in 2003 as Beard Of Lightning, with Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices singing new vocals and playing new parts over instrumental versions of the originals. But Power Toy is one that I bought from Miguel's record pimp, and is the one with the topical reference, so that's what I digitised.
Of course, I could have waited for the announcement of a huge new development around third avenue and carroll street for a super-relevant posting opportunity, but sod it, this one's for the dim clotheshorse.
Phantom Tollbooth - "Down By The Gowanus"
Try as I might i cannot find someone selling "Power Toy" anywhere. Buy "Beard Of Lightning" instead I guess
[UPDATE: Sorry, Gari's being a moron. Have I ever heard of Froogle? apparently not. Idiot]