Blogging the Commercial I Just Watched: The Heineken Closet

The lady is just finishing giving the other ladies a tour of her ostentatious new house, finishing with none other than her closet. It’s so nice! It’s so full! Full of all the stuff that we’re meant to believe reduces the behaviour of ladies to that of little girls: footwear that’s undoubtably been hand-stitched by nameless, faceless little Third World girls, racks of clothes that will all be replaced when the styles change next season, purses and jewelry and other assorted bric-a-brac that’s meant to complement all that other shit, et cetera.

The ladies start screaming and crying, but wait – they can’t make a proper scene the way they’d like! There’s something – another, greater noise from elsewhere in the ostentatious new house – that is interfering with their carrying-on.

It is men. Men are interfering with the ladies’ nonsense with nonsense of their own! It seems the woman has pair-bonded, and her “other half” as they are sometimes described, also has a closet in this house that is full of all that he cares about in this world. Which is beer. Heineken beer. And it is making the men scream and cry and carry on even more loudly and awfully than the women were. They are bugging their eyes and pulling on their faces, elongating and distorting them. They are doing pee-pee dances. Oh, look! LOOK!

But maybe it’s not exactly all that beer that is exciting them so. Maybe it is this walk-in beer closet’s overall aesthetics, with fog rolling around on the floor and overbright white light, the likes of which we have come to expect to find on alien spaceships. The way it makes the shelves of green Heineken bottles glow, like so many rows of cold, clinical anal probes, intended for those men and those men alone…

Kickin’ It Live from 3 to 5

Tom was unexpectedly called in to save the day on this, December 16, 2010, and this exact list of songs, played in this exact order, was the exact soundtrack tool he required in order to prevail. Funny how things work out, eh?

Monks  –  Complications

Say Hi  –  November Was White, December Was Grey

Lab Coast  –  For Now

Sister  –  Wishbone

the Replacements  –  Customer

les Tabernacles  –  Ten Most Wanted

Ohama  –  Julie is a TV Set

Bauer  –  I’m Starting a War With Dolphins

Hank Mobley  –  Greasin’ Easy

Ox  –  Good King Wenceslas

Memphis Complaints Choir  –  Can You Hear Me Now

the Kinks  –  People Take Pictures of Each Other

Suuns  –  Sweet Nothing

Thelonious Monster  –  Sammy Hagar Weekend

Iron & Wine  –  Peng!33/Sacred Vision

Shooting Guns  –  Dopestrings

Pissed Jeans  –  Sam Kinison Woman

Sugar Hill Gang  –  Kick it Live from 9 to 5

Peaches  –  Relax

Spoon  –  Everything Hits At Once

Miniature Tigers  –  Japanese Woman Living in My Closet

Hellogoodbye  –  Something You Misplaced

Phono D’Enfant  –  The Night is Wrapping Its Wings Around Us



Burying the Lede, 68 Comeback Style.

I’ll allow right up front that this qualifies as neither bleeding edge nor breaking news. You and I are both going to have to accept that until they either release another David Lee Roth soundboard vocal or make some headway with their rumoured uranium enrichment program (or simultaneously come out of the closet, but lotsa luck with that), Van Halen posts are just…not… There, see? I can’t even maintain my own interest long enough to finish that sentence.

But hey, you want bleeding edge breaking news from the depths of the internet? Go ‘friend’ Tom on Facebook. Just go.

Are you still here? GO. Leave me alone with my black and white photographs and my revisionist history.

You’ll be sorry, but I won’t.

While out for a stroll the other day during a break from work, I found myself in need of some crossing-the-street theme music. The ol’ memory banks had the following to offer…

Unfortunately, it’s also overstayed its welcome, so I blog it in the hopes that it lodges itself in somebody else’s head, thus vacating my own. Sorry about that (but not that sorry).

Otherwise Known as Amy the Great

We dedicated the entire December 9, 2010 edition of the 68 Comeback Special to you, Amy van Keeken. Now it’s just a list of songs, but we dedicate that to you, too.

Guillermo Gregorio Trio  –  Red Skies

The Supersuckers  –  the 19th Most Powerful Woman in Rock

Heart  –  Barracuda

The Secretaries – Woman, Woman

Cadence Weapon, The Joe, Mitchmatic – Lemonade

Syl Johnson – Sockin’ Soul Power

Black Mountain – Rollercoaster

Esther Lamneck, Roberto Fabbriciani – 4

Jonathan Richman – If You Want To Leave Our Party Just Go

Royskopp – Coming Home

Christine Bougie  –  Chet & Chomsky

Steven Jesse Bernstein  –  Morning in the Sub-Basement of Hell

Treepeople  –  Big Mouth Strikes Again

Smokey Joe (Live In-Studio)  –  The Worm

Sointula Complaints Choir  –  History Always Trumps Common Sense

Spinanes  –  Noel, Jonah and Me

Replacements  –  Hey Good Lookin’

Robbie Fulks  –  Busy Not Crying

Kathleen Edwards  –  The Cheapest Key

All hail the paltry sapien!

All hail the paltry sapien, and woe be to he or she who doesn’t!

Seriously! Everybody! Hail already!

What the hell are you all standing around for? Do it already!

What do YOU have to complain about?

It wasn’t immediately obvious what it was when I picked it up, but the fact that it had Complaints Choir plastered across the front of the package made it easy to be curious about. Chad showed up at the door of the on-air booth partway through the proceedings and asked, “Did you find Complaints Choir?” That man knows a treasure when he finds one.

I know people say shit like this about all sorts of human activities – we obviously hold ourselves in rather high regard – but even more than holding ourselves in rather high regard, there is not a more distinctly human activity than complaining*. It’s the very first thing we do from the moment we exit the birth canal, and from that moment on, practice makes  perfect.

Think of all the ways we use our powers of complaint: to effect change under conditions with which we are dissatisfied where we have the power to change things, to blow off steam under conditions with which we are dissatisfied where we DON’T have the power to change things.  We write formal letters of complaint to the parent company when the fish guy at the supermarket doesn’t know enough about mercury levels, but not before we’ve recounted the episode to our mothers, sisters and significant others (not to mention blurted what an undertrained doofus that guy was all over the Twitterverse and Facebook).

Ah yes, there are those who will try and tell us, either right to our faces or more indirectly, that we shouldn’t complain so much. These people can get stuffed, for all I care about what they have to say. Complaining is something that is in us, which brings me, more or less, back around to Complaints Choir, because the complaining instinct is especially strong in our impulse to create.

It’s right there in all of our creation myths. First, there is nothing – well, nothing but some all-powerful someone- or something-or-other who exists outside of time and space and all that. And it stays that way for a long time, until our all-powerful someone or something decides to start making stuff – people, places, things – and setting them in motion. Why? The complaint is implicit, but obvious: Because there’s nothing to do.

Now, not everybody can just up and make a whole universe, or even a paltry little planet, when they’re bored. But just about everybody can sing. A song. And it makes sense to do it because just about every song ever written is a complaint about one thing or another, even if it’s wearing a tuneful disguise.

And it also makes sense to sing your complaints in a group, because another thing that humans are is social (Think about what you’re doing when you chat up a stranger at a bus stop, and your opening line is, “Cold enough for ya?”**). People getting together to sing their beefs: that’s definitely the most human activity going.

Hence, the worldwide phenomenon of Complaints Choir. And the documentary movie about them. And the soundtrack package, with four (FOUR!!!) discs – 3CDs and a DVD of the movie itself – for the documentary movie, because the absolute most human activity going, we social complainers who hold ourselves in such high regard, is the one where we gripe in groups while we record the whole thing for posterity.

*If there is, I don’t know what it is. Perhaps Buster Friendly knows?

**Did I just BLOW YOUR MIND or what?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: