Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's Hal and Mals

Well the New Year is upon us, gang. In a few hours, the Western Hemisphere will be ringing in the tidings of 2008. Your Expatriate, dear reader, will be spending a quiet safe New Year's here at my fortified compound in the Northern most reaches of the Great State, sipping Ice Picks and contemplating my writing endeavors.

I want to send out the blessings of a New Year to all of my family, and to my wonderful friends throughout this wide world, who I cannot be with tonight, especially my dear friends in Jacktown, a few of which will be ringing in 2008 at one of my favorite rathkellers, Hal and Mals.

Happy New Year's Hal and Mals, happy New Year's Katie, Todd, Jenn, Laura, Lucy, Zuga, G-man, and most of all, happy New Years Frank. Thank you for the picture.

The Ghosts of the Past

Ok, I admit it. Goddamnit, I admit it. I live in the past, when it comes to music. I’m sure everyone is glad to hear me say that. Especially one very vocal critic of my musical tastes. I love Led Zeppelin, I love Santana, I love CCR and The Beatles. Sue me. My favorite songs and artists come from a time, a simpler time, when Rock and Roll was Rock and Roll. A time before Hip Hop and Rap. One of my friends once said that I didn’t really like anything that wasn’t produced before 1982. That is basically true, but with a few qualifiers. I love some grunge and I love some 80s rock. Yes, I also love Jazz and a good bit of Country. I also have a deep affinity for Classical music. However, when everything shakes out, my true love is great 1960s and 1970s Rock and Roll. Gimme a hard driving beat, drums, guitar and screeching vocals. Gimme folksy Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons. I’ll take it.

There comes a time, dear reader, in every social critic’s life, when they have to eat some crow. So, for the sake a pretty good new pair of musicians, I’m going to pony up to the table and ask for seconds on Today’s Special of Fried Crow. Pass the fork, knife and hot sauce. I have to begrudgingly admit that a new band that I was recently hipped to, is actually, sort of, possibly, maybe………….good. The band, you ask? Ghostland Observatory. The other night, my very vocal critic of my musical tastes, called me up and told me to check out this group, Ghostland Observatory, on Austin City Limits. I bitched and moaned about how it was just electric slop and griped about the lack of real Rock and Roll being present in their music. Well, the next day I found myself on Myspace listening to their songs and have been listening steadily ever since. Yes, I dig them. Yes, I think they are pretty bad ass. And yes, I probably will go see them when they come around my way. So there you go, folks. My admission of guilt. I was blinded by my own self-righteousness about what is good music. I am digging the Ghostland.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


So I have decided to update the look of my blog. I experimented with a few new names, such as "American Colossus" and "The Mississippi Mega Blog Monster Experience" but concluded that I better just stick with being the Ole Miss Expat. I hope everyone approves, however I doubt I would really give a shit if people didn't, considering there are only a handful of people that actually read my musings and rantings.

So inspiration hit me the other night. I began writing a new story and I really think its going to be interesting. I ran it by the Panda and she was repulsed by the theme and imagery. Score. She made an interesting note. She told me that my ideas for stories are pretty dark. I guess they are. She said she likes more uplifting stories. My adventures in writing have been to experiment with as many different styles and genres as possible so I guess I'll have to add some inspirational stuff for the Panda.

I have a deep fascination with very dark southern Gothic themes. I guess I just enjoy exploring the darker sides of humanity, rather than the happy bunny side of life. My life is pretty mundane so I find my kicks in the fiction of the macabre.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Music Mind/Holidays

The holiday blues are always a big topic around, well, the holidays. I pointed out to a friend of mine that there are two types of Christmas music; melancholy, such as “The Carol of the Bells” or happy, such as “Here Comes Santa Claus.” There really is not a middle ground. People usually divide up into either the melancholy group or the happy group. I am most certainly a melancholy type of fellow during the Christmas season. I cannot say that I am melancholy because of Santa not delivering what I really want and I cannot say that I am melancholy because my family is desperately insane. The real reason I am melancholy during these wreath and garland days has more to do with the uncertainty that next year will bring. The Christmas/New Year’s revelry only makes me reflect on the mistakes of the previous year and inspire an intense fear for the next 12 months. So I sit in my apartment and listen to “The Carol of the Bells” ringing out a Medievalesque warning that the holidays have arrived.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Is it the fact that the old return and usurp what the young can never duplicate? Is this idea of Modern Music at its end, only to have the death knell played by a band that disappeared ages ago? Or perhaps this is just something magical, something that happens once in a lifetime, that a group of musicians, musicians who made some of the greatest music in the history of Rock and Roll or any other genre, rise up again and cast a spell over everyone.

27 years ago, Led Zeppelin broke up after the untimely and tragic death of John Bonham. During their tenure as a great Rock and Roll group, they inspired the next 25 years of music with their driving beats, meaningful lyrics and epic songs. All of the members of the group have been hailed as timeless and powerful.

Flash forward to 2007. A reunion show. People clammering for a tour. Bonham’s son taking the place of his father. A rebirth. The gods return from Olympus. Like so many fans of great Rock and Roll, I along with the multitudes of kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s, only knew Zeppelin from posters, bumper stickers, box sets, radio count downs and the legends of people who saw them live. We never got to see them. We only heard about them through our speakers. Well the time, hopefully, has come again. An older band, maybe slightly out of their prime, but they return at the turn of the tide.

Rock and Roll needs this. Rock and Roll needs guidance and a resurgence back to its roots. Rock and Roll needs its gods.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

-Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Trying New Stuff

Slowly, slowly, slowly, I join the technolog-i-macal human race. Here is a video for you kids to enjoy. Its one of my favs. A classic Washburn guitar and one of the oldest, most classic blues songs. Its called Make a Pallet on Your Floor. The song is about cracking.

Music: Assasin of Youth

I was thinking a lot about music today and I stumbled onto a revelation. Perhaps it’s the beer I’ve been drinking. Who knows, the disparity between the two is so slight, does it really matter? Anywho, I was contemplating great music while listening to Ruby Tuesday by the Stones and something struck me in the face. Great music should have the same affect on the audience as a person who walks into the middle of a conversation. Not just a mundane conversation, but a great conversation between people who are talking about amazing and interesting things. You, as the innocent passer-by stumbles in and only catches great poetic phrases that stick deeply into your brain, such as, “She would never say where she came from…” That is from the Ruby Tuesday by the Stones. That is a great phrase that is almost like the end of a sentence, rather than the beginning of a song. As a music critic in the Classic meaning of the phrase, I think that is what I strive for. To find great songs that are poetic endings and beginnings. Who ever really cared for the middle, anyway? By the way, Scarlet, this is how you should be blogging.