Friday’s cartoon will be a bit late. I hope to have it up by 1 pm, Central US time.

I’m just sayin’, is all…

*****

It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks, but with luck, the schedule should become a bit more manageable soon.

Oh. Wait. I forgot.

DORKSTOCK UK will officially be happening Dec. 4.

A-yup…it’ll be an official Dorkstock. .

Most likely involving the British Dork Tower boardgame championship, regionals of Munchkin and Chez Geek, the Beat John at Blink game running throughout the day, as well as an Out of the Box Pentathlon and the infamous Igor Bar bake-off (the recipe can be found HERE, or in the Dork Tower trade paperback 1d6 Degrees of Separation.)

Oh, yeah. And more…

***** .

In the meantime, an airline industry column I read this morning (stay with me on this one, folks) got me listening to some old Reivers CDs, so life is pretty good. .

There is much music to try and fit into the budget this month. U2; Paul Weller; Matthew Sweet, and the aforementioned Reivers, with two vintage albums re-released at a discount price (“Saturday” and “End of the Day) .

The Reivers (nee Zeitgeist) may well be the most quizzical of any on my all-time top-5 bands list, but in college and beyond, they meant a great deal to me. I still get shivers when I hear Kim Longacre’s soaring vocals counterpoint John Croslin’s earthy tones on songs like “Electra,” “Freight Train Rain,” “Saturday,” “Secretariat” and “Keep Me Guessing.” The result is pure alt-pop nirvana. .

What surprises me more is that — as I only recently realized — Blondie is not on my all-time Top-5. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to put them in my Top-10 anymore. And I’m a bit flabergasted by that. .

But the other week, I grabbed “Eat To The Beat” on CD at long last, along with the DVD of their video hits. “Eat To The Beat” certainly has several sublime moments on it. “Union City Blue” is almost ethereal in its production and execution. Still, to be brutally honest, there is some filler to the album. As important as “Eat” and “Parallel Lines” were to me in my late high school/early college days, I now recognize the increasingly hit-and-miss nature of the material that would soon lead to the likes of the atrocious “Autoamerican.”.

I mean, I was INTO Blondie back then. WAY into them. So for me to essentially up and lose faith because of one really, REALLY bad album was something. I mean, I still pick up Paul Weller CDs, hoping, as Wilco puts it, “every song is a comeback.” And that’s after so many late-era Style Council snoozers (to be polite)… .

Yes, there are moments on “Eat To The Beat” that are simply exquisite, and Debbie Harry’s vocals will always rank among rock’s greatest gifts to the world. Yet, start to finish, the album just doesn’t resonate with the way it did in times gone by. .

But if “Eat To The Beat” seems not quite the release it once was, “Blondie’s Greatest Video Hits” may we’ll be one of the worst things I’ve ever watched. Which is saying something, considering so much of it consists entirely of watching Debbie Harry (who, as astute friends will know, is on my chronologically-sensitive “Top-5″ list). .

As much thought was put into this video compilation as goes behind your average peanut butter sandwich. Slapped together and slipshod, a series of vignettes involving (for no apparent reason) a New York city taxi driver making his weary way around town try and link the individual videos, annoyingly bleeding into some. Why someone would wish to add an omniscient observer to “Atomic” and “Heart of Glass” is as perplexing as why anyone thinks plot or leitmotif are important in softcore porn. .

Bands like the Jam have kept their pole positions in my life and my thoughts, and influence me as much to this day as they did when I was 16. Others, like the Ramones, the Clash or Elvis Costello, have grown in importance (I just checked: there are now 381 Elvis Costello songs on my iPod). .

I can still return to the Replacements, the Smiths, Stiff Little Fingers, the Stranglers, the Pretenders, Husker Du, the Minutemen, the Meat Puppets, the Wedding Present, Happy Mondays and the Reivers and become enraptured all over again. Even the Boomtown Rats, who produced a stinker or two, will never fail to woo me the moment the opening notes of “Rat Trap” come skipping along. Yet as little as ten years ago, I would have unthinkingly guessed that Blondie would easily shine above them all, in the Pantheon of Bands That John Finds Essential. .

OK, so Blondie obvious ranks higher than SOME of the above bands, but, in my mind, not most of them…at least not anymore. .

So why am I harder on Blondie than I am on Dexy’s Midnight Runners? As a group, Blondie hasn’t aged MUCH worse than others of its generation. The band members never pretended to be Important in the way that other post-punk acts were pretending to be Important. Blondie got me through my high school years, and even early into college. Songs like “Rip Her To Shreds,” “Denise,” “(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear,” “Sunday Girl,” “Heart of Glass” and “Atomic” to this day produce a splendid remembrance of things past that’s the nostalgic equivalent of an E-ticket ride at Disney.

The problem is, Blondie was my first musical love. .

And when your first love dumps you — or, say, releases “Autoamerican” or “the Hunter” — it rips your heart out.

Rips it to shreds.

John


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