Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Outsiders

This episode we take on S.E. Hinton’s rough and tumble teen gang drama, The Outsiders. Old fashioned class warfare and sensitive bad boys abound in this 7th grade required reading classic. So, grease up your hair, flick open your switchblade, and ponder on your copy of “Gone with the Wind”, here we go.

Stay gold here, Ponyboy.

“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home.”: Rebel Rouser – Duane Eddy

The Greasers: Bad Seeds – Beat Happening
When one is from the wrong side of the tracks, you better have a cool Elvis haircut and a broken bottle handy at all times.

The Socs: Maintaining My Cool – The Sonics
“Hey, bro! Nice seersucker! You wanna go beat up some poor kids (provided they’re small and/or physically handicapped) and then watch some Vince Vaughn movies?”. Alas, today’s preppie gangs just don’t have the same umphf.

Walking the Streets: Late Last Night – Paul Anka
Paul Anka was indubitably a soc dude, but I imagine he was a guilty pleasure of many greaser gals. And, well, probably Ponyboy too.

Ponyboy Curtis: A Shark in Jets Clothing – Blondie
I would have thought that being known as “Ponyboy” would give you a “A Boy Named Sue”-level toughness. Nope…Apparently just a propensity for reading Robert Frost poems.

Cherry Valence: Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
A rich, beautiful cheerleader named “Cherry”. Yup, that pretty much a textbook “out of your league” chick.

Darry Curtis: The Boss – James Brown
‘Cause I would just feel shameful for subjecting you to George Michael’s “Father Figure” even once more in your life.

Dallas Winston: Black Grease – The Black Angels
I’ve always pictured Dally has kind of an unholy mash-up of John Travolta characters. A little goofy like Vinnie Barbarino, a little violent like the hitman from Pulp Fiction, a little bit of smooth like Saturday Night Fever guy. Oh, a little straight up crazy like that weird scientology-alien from Battlefield Earth.

Fight at the Fountain: Somebody Got Murdered – The Clash
While it is not advisable to bring a knife to a gunfight, it is, in fact, very useful to bring said knife to a knife fight. Good for stabbing and stuff. And while I haven’t been in very many knife or gunfights, I also have never received any kind of message beforehand letting me know what kind of weapon should be used at the upcoming rumble. Who sends out this info?

Johnny Cade: Knife – Grizzly Bear
Poor, poor Johnny. S.E. Hinton’s loyal whipping boy throughout the book. Abused in the beginning. Riddled with guilt in the middle. Dead in the end. Yup, sorry ‘bout that Johnny.

On the Lam: Runaway – Del Shannon
Tangentially-Related Marginally-Interesting Fun Fact: Evil genius singer Tom Waits played the Hank Sr. loving cowboy/criminal Buck Merrill that helped the boys escape town in F.F. Coppola’s film adaptation. He opens the door for Ralph Macchio. Their chemistry is undeniable. Bonus Fun Fact (also involving Waits and Macchio): Tom Waits was all set to play Vinny, in My Cousin Vinny, but had to cancel at the last moment because of an incident involving a camel. Not something you should ever bring up to Mr. Waits, by the way.

The Abandoned Church: (Wish I Could) Hideaway – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Two things to say about this: 1) CCR is way underrated 2) Abandoned churches are kind of creepy places. Wait, even churches that haven’t yet been abandoned are kind of creepy places.

Saving the Kids: Heroes – David Bowie
Okay, I know this song is pretty much the most over-used “Hero” song ever, but dang if this song doesn’t soar! I feel if you get crushed by a flaming pillar whilst saving a school bus load of children from fiery death, you deserve a Bowie memorial song. Off topic – but who decided it was a good idea to take a field trip to the aforementioned weird abandoned church anyways? “Next year, let’s all go to an Indian burial ground!”

The Brawl: Rumble – Link Wray
Really is there any other option for a song to soundtrack a 50’s teen battle royale?

Johnny Dies/Ponyboy’s Case: Your Funeral My Trial – Nick Cave / These Boots are Made for Walking – Lee Hazlewood
Apparently juvenile judges were a bit more lax back in the day. “Well kid, even though you were involved in a fight that left a teen dead and ran from the law for weeks, you are a totally sad sack. Acquitted!”

Dally Gunned Down: I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive – Hank Williams Sr.
If you are going for a storybook dramatic ending, calling all your buddies to watch you commit blue suicide pretty much takes the cake.

The Family: We’re a Happy Family – The Ramones
This song works…you just have to replace “Me, Mom, and Daddy” with “Me, ‘Pop, and Darry”.

Pony’s Assignment/The End: That’s the Story of My Life – Velvet Underground
Is there a “coming of age” novel that doesn’t end with the narrator reminiscing on their life? Just wait around, son. It’ll get tougher.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

This episode we take on Philip K Dick’s sci-fi-noir masterwork Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Faith, consumerism, technology, and morality get thrown into the dystopian blender and comes out a mind-bending humanity-questioning headtrip. I heard they even made a pretty decent movie about it starring the Han Solo guy (Blade Jogger or something).

Go ahead and test your humanness via emotive response to an artificial mix here. It’s a real “Dubious Cube of Margarine”

World War Terminus: Metal Machine Music – Lou Reed / Nuclear War – Sun Ra
It’s a fact that if you subject any non-android to Metal Machine Music, in its entirety, they will become a chickenhead.

Rick Deckard: Satisfaction – Devo
Bit of a Goldilocks dilemma for the Deckard song. Kate Bush’s “Running Up The Hill” is too girly. Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” is too manly. Devo’s just right!

Penfield Mood Organ: Moody Fucker – Lambchop
Man, why can’t we really invent a dial-a-mood machine?  While I am sure its a necessity in a pre-extinction society, it’d still be a heck of a lot of fun in this pre-pre-extinction society. Dial 194 for “Hungry for goat cheese and licorice”. Dial 76 for “Denial of impending baldness”. Dial 93 for “Unfounded self confidence in one’s writing, dancing, and pie-eating skills”.

Iran Decker: Never Make Me Cry – Camper Van Beethoven
Dial 443 for “Make me sadder than Nick Drake”.

Black-faced Suffolk Ewe: Black Sheep Boy #4 – Okkervil River
Well, even though earth is dying, you are deemed unworthy of escaping this death, and your job gives you constant existential crises, at least at the end of the day a man can dream. Of course, my dream wouldn’t be buying a sheep on a 30 year mortgage. But hey, different strokes…

Rosen Industries: Robots – Kraftwerk
‘Cause the “Less Human than Human” slogan just didn’t have the right ring.

Voigt-Kampff Test: Fight Test – Flaming Lips
Question: You’re at a Flaming Lips concert. Fake blood. Animal costumes. Wayne Coyne crushes fans to death with giant bubble. Crowd cheers. (Pupil dilation? Yup, you’re a replicant.) Note: This also applies to GWAR concerts.

Rachel Rosen: You’re Not Real, Girl – The Swans
A fake girlfriend…but still significantly more real than my “super hot Canadian girlfriend from summer camp” in 8th grade.

John Isidore: Are Friends Electric? – Tubeway Army
With electric friends like you, who needs electric friends?

Mercerism: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
Using this song here means I won’t be using it for any Shirley Jackson books. Shucks.

Buster Friendly: Transmission – Joy Division
Whenever I attempt to picture Buster Friendly, I only ever see Krusty the Klown. “Hey kids! Your religion is a sham! Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-Hahaha!”

Luba Loft: Opera House – Olivia Tremor Control
The way Deckard feels about the mechanized opera singer is close to how I feel about all electronic music. I often wonder how music so pretty and magnificient can be made from a machine, but eventually I mostly just want to “retire” the DJ.

The Police Station: Shot by Both Sides – Magazine
My favorite scene in the book has to be the android police station. It has Hitchcockian tension, Kafkaesque paranoia, Darwinian undertones, and of course Dickish plot twists. Or is that just Dicky twists? Basically, if you combined Hitchcock, Kafka, Darwin and Yogi Berra, you’d have Philip K. Dick.

Phil Resch: Bad Detective – New York Dolls
It’s your usual good cop, bad cop situation. And by bad cop, I mean total heartless sadistic  sociopath cop.

Pris Stratton: In Every Dream Home a Heartache – Roxy Music
Only PKD can take a situation with a human and an android and somehow make the human be the inflatable doll of the relationship.

Roy Baty: Leader of the Pack – Shangri-Las
Can’t you visualize robo-greaser Rutger Hauer (leather jacket and all) riding his motorcycle around Mars just breaking human necks and making the ladybots swoon?…What? You can’t? Simple. Try dialing Moods 48-67: “Rutger Hauer Fantasizing”

The Spiders: Boris the Spider – The Who
Contrary to popular opinion, gleefully plucking off spider’s legs is no longer only a recreational activity  of junior high school psychos.

Retiring the Andys: I Wanna Destroy You – The Soft Boys
Terminating robots hasn’t been so gleefully exciting since Megaman on the Nintendo. Or maybe not since Terminator. Or maybe that scene in Office Space with the printer.

The Toad/The End:  Fool on the Hill – The Beatles 
The only way to truly know you are human is by screwing up so thoroughly and so often that there is no doubt of your humanness. To be a decent human is to empathize with those who screw up because you know your time is coming.