Time May Change Me, But I Can’t Trace Time

What does it say that my last post was in remembrance of Lou Reed?

And just a few posts before that was my tribute to Captain Beefheart.

I suppose the only thing that dusts off the Creeter QWERTY is an influential musician passing through to the starry expanse.

And, glory-be, David Bowie was as influential as they come.

Announcement of his death on January 10th left me so thunderstruck that I had no words for several days. I sat by and read friend after friend pour out their hearts and tears. I read article after article praise his career and character. All I could do was passively click “Like” and silently weep.

No, that’s not all I could do. I also cranked up the volume.

Hunky Dory (1971) is, by my standards, one of the top 10 albums of all time. It’s hard to choose a best David Bowie album, it’s true, but Hunky Dory just takes it all to the next level for me.

Everything from his deliciously passionate vocals, to the wide range in music style honoring his favorite musicians, to the ever-present message that it’s not only okay to be an outsider – it’s good, it’s healthy, it’s necessary. You, in being abnormal, are normal. Love yourself. You are the future.

One of my favorite tracks is the song Bowie wrote upon receiving news he would become a father. “Kooks” is so simple and beautiful; the perfect song from a parent to child. I cannot wait for my husband and I to sing it to our baby when we have one.

I suppose it really is fitting that Lou Reed brought me back last time, and David Bowie brings me back now. This time I plan to stick around for a while.

Let’s take you out on a track from Hunky Dory that Bowie wrote for Lou Reed. In fact, the two of them performed it together on stage for Bowie’s 50th Birthday Bash in 1997.

Goodnight,

-Rachel

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You Know, Her Life Was Saved By Rock & Roll

Lou Reed passed away today. He had a liver transplant earlier in the year, and I was so relieved to read an article where his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, said he was recovering nicely. Not only was I worried about Lou Reed’s own health, but the thought of the two of them being separated broke my heart.

Lou and Laurie

Lou and Laurie had been an influence on me with their individual careers, long before I even knew about their long-term relationship. But since their marriage in 2008, when I learned that they had been together since the 1990s, I have always been filled with immense love and hope just thinking about the fact that they were a couple. Two amazingly talented and perceptive people, who may not go by other people’s standards of “normal,” but are beautifully intertwined by their confidence in and respect for themselves and each other.

While I am saddened by this great loss, I am encouraged by the thought that there even existed an artist and human being who could be such a profound influence on the world, and this very Creeter.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna start dancing to that fine, fine music.

-Rachel Creeter

Please, Rock the BOAT

One of my current favorite bands is not so well known. I can’t even find an official Page to put in the Music category of things I “Like” on Facebook (perhaps because they don’t have a Wikipedia entry, as far as I can tell). But! They do have a website, complete with jukebox and YouTube videos and professional-type things.

Oh, the band is BOAT, by the by. (Gosharoony, I don’t think I’ll ever get over my love for alliteration…)

So go ahead and wander over to their site and give their music a listen. I think all the songs are great, but perhaps my personal favorites on the jukebox are “Name Tossers” and “Bee Buzz.”

Because of the catchy tunes and the sloppy vocals, the songs (“Bee Buzz” in particular) are almost cathartic to sing along with. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I accidentally sang out loud on several occasions while I was working in the library in college.

It kind of bugs me that I can add their official Page on Facebook, but I can’t list it under the Music section of my profile. I mean, they’ve been reviewed by Pitchfork and have albums for sale on Amazon…what’s with Facebook and the wikiweb being so behind the times? C’mon Wikipedia, you have never failed me before. Quick, someone go make an entry for them!

-R

“I Can’t Stop Thinking / Always in the Past”

-Tears for Fears

You’ve probably heard of Joss Whedon. I mean, c’mon. Buffy, Firefly, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse (only half of which I’ve seen, by the by, but all of which I’ve heard good things). The guy’s done some creative shows in his time. And he’s done a lot of it with the help of his family. It’s only right he should be the one to interview his brother Jed Whedon upon the release of Jed’s new album, History of Forgotten Things.

So I direct you to the interview, which is both incredibly entertaining and surprisingly insightful.

Even with all of the witty banter between the brothers, my favorite part of the interview is one of the few serious moments. Jed was asked about the title of the album, and this part of his answer served as a kind of epiphany for me:

The title comes from a few things — the terrifying feeling that we are forgetting our life as it rolls along. My obsession with all the history that was never documented (though in the digital age, that may be over). As well as the sensation that history can give you. A feeling that is indescribable. That feeling of connection through the ages. It is related to nostalgia. Sometimes, when I pass through a town I have never seen before, I long to not only live there, but to have lived there my whole life; to be nostalgic for it. I get the same feeling from history. I yearn to have lived during all those times. And, of course, in the future.

This so accurately pinpoints why I have a fascination with history, with traveling, and with pop culture (and especially why much of my favorite pop culture is from an era other than my own).

I am a very nostalgic person. Even the mere suggestion of a connection with history brings a thrill of happiness and comfort to me. I often think about what life would have been like — more personally, how I would have thought and felt — if I grew up in a different place, different time. I like to consider primary sources as though I were there when they were recorded.

Jed Whedon’s answer also reminded me of an interview answer Sufjan Stevens gave, concerning the subject of his song “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!” (Illinois, 2005). He described the song as a “litany of ghost towns” in Illinois:

I’m interested in the cycle of civilizations, because where we live, it’s city upon city, and civilization upon civilization. Even the apartment you live in, there were residents there before you, and they had maybe their own language, their own habits and culture, and before them, the previous generation. I feel like we’re constantly compounding culture upon culture and society upon society; sometimes societies don’t last, or they move on or get wiped out.

Oh, to be witness to all of these cultures! Part of why I find the television series Doctor Who so compelling is because of its deep connection with forever evolving history. Even without the time-travel aspect of the plot, the fact that it has been going since 1963 makes it a unique showcase of both the constant and the variable sensibilities of British culture over the past several decades.

One of the first things I would do if I had a TARDIS (the Doctor’s mode of travel through time and the universe) is visit Disneyland several times in each decade. I have lived across the street from Disneyland my whole life (my last three years of college excluded), and have grown up seeing the changes over the past 23 years firsthand. As a fan of the place, I have also seen a lot of footage from the Disneyland before my time. But I want to be able to go to each of them, at will, as I please. To not just look at a picture of the chickens in Frontierland, or just watch a home movie of the 1987 State Fair themed parade — to actually walk through the House of the Future, or once more ride the People Mover.

Sure, I could run from aliens and save planets, too. But how could I not experience every stage of something as historical and as close to my heart as Disneyland? It’s a perfect example of a forever-changing microcosm, a cultural progression in miniature.

And, who knows, maybe one time I’d run into Walt.

-Rachel

Edit: Because all of this talk about Doctor Who and history has got me all aflutter, I thought I’d do a little picspam (there’s a word I just discovered yesterday) of my favorite Doctor Who companions from throughout the series. So I’m a bit of a sci-fi fangirl, but BEAR WITH ME.

Jamie and Two

The Second Doctor (played by the magical Patrick Troughton…in a woolhat, no less!) with 18th-century Scottish companion Jamie McCrimmon (played by the forever charming Frazer Hines).

If I could travel with any combination of Team TARDIS, the Second Doctor and Jamie would be at the top of the list. They were so great together, because even though the Doctor was far more advanced than this bagpiper from the highlands, the two of them were best friends. And, thanks to Frazer Hines being extremely touchy-feely (seriously, the guy would cling to anyone he shared the screen with), some people say even more than that. I’m keeping Jamie for myself, though, thank you very much. Hahaha.

Jamie and Ben

Here’s Jamie again, this time with fellow companion Ben Jackson (Michael Craze). In wet suits! Meow! Ben was a fabulous companion, too, in that he had a great relationship with fellow companion Polly (a beautiful girl in go-go boots and a miniskirt). Ben and Polly were the first to witness the Doctor’s death and subsequent regeneration into a new man, so I’d say they went through a lot together.

Martha and Ten

The completely awesome and tragically underrated Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant, the most popular Doctor of the current series…and with red Converse and a suit, you can see why).

Martha

Martha was a very capable companion who deserved to travel with the Doctor a lot more than some other companions I could mention (take that, Rose shippers!), plus she always looked gorgeous while doing it.

Martha and Ten

My only regret is that the writers totally gave Martha‘s character the shaft by giving her the “unrequited love” storyline with the Doctor, and especially right after getting rid of Rose “I’m the only girl in the universe for the Doctor!” Tyler. Ugh. (In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of pairing the Doctor with Rose…or any of his companions, for that matter, except Romana II. Which brings me to my next set of pictures.)

Romana was a Time Lord, the same alien race as the Doctor. That makes her the only companion that was actually on even footing with him, who could match him intellectually, culturally, and — since she also had two hearts and could regenerate — biologically. Here she is in her second (my favorite) incarnation, played exquisitely by Lalla Ward, with the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.

In Romana II‘s first outing with the Doctor, she decided to be cheeky and dress to match his trademark mile-long scarf and long coat. Friggin’. Adorable. There was so much chemistry between them, each of their episodes together are like tagging along on a date with two of the most witty people you’ve ever met. Most of this is because the actors actually fell in love and got married soon after working together (it was the trip to Paris that did it). Unfortunately the real-life couple had a short-lived romance that ended badly (and in the departure of Romana’s character from the series).

In my mind, though, Romana somehow comes back and she and the Doctor live happily ever after, making little Time Babies and starting their now almost-extinct race all over again. Hahaha. All while still repeatedly saving the universe, of course.

And one more picture of Romana and Four. Because they’re just too lovely not to:

So those are some pictures of my favorite companions with my favorite Doctors. See how they span from different eras? Two and Jamie from 1966-1969, Four and Romana II from 1979-1981, Ten and Martha from 2007-2008. I love me some comprehensive pop culture history.

In case anyone’s familiar with the show, I’d like to give a shoutout to runners-up Three and Liz, Seven and Ace. It breaks my heart to have to leave them out, but I promised myself I’d only do my top three.

I Sing the Body Electric

This entry is a twofer! I’m putting a music video at the end, so it’ll count for Mix Tape Tuesday. Because I said so.

One of my most cherished friends gave me an iPod “just because.” She was able to get it for free after rebate and, since she had her own iPod already, decided I would appreciate it. Consider me thoroughly appreciative. I’m still in awe of how much love this woman has in her heart. Okay, I know that sounds cheesy, but there’s no uncheesy response to a gesture like that.

That being said, I’m quite proud of myself for coming up with the perfect engraving for the back of the iPod:

I Sing the Body Electric

It’s a reference to multiple things, it fits well in the context of a music player, and it’s a phrase that I’ve always found intriguing.

Poetry isn’t generally my cup of tea; I’m a prose girl. I have my fair share of favorite poets, as any English major ought, and I have penned my fair share of poems, as any writer ought. But for the most part I find I connect best with novels and short stories. That doesn’t, however, mean I cannot be passionate about a poem. And if ever there was a poem I was passionate about, it’s “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman.

My first encounter with that phrase was through Rod Serling. (He is one of my heroes, but I will save my thoughts on him for another entry.) It is the title of an episode of The Twilight Zone written by Ray Bradbury (another of my favorite authors), adapted from his short story of the same title. I highly recommend both watching the episode and reading the story.

That’s all I have to say about that.

-Rachel

P.S. And now for something completely different, does this video remind anyone else of The Adventures of Pete & Pete?

“Rue the Day” by Young Knives, from their album Superabundance (2008).