Friday, February 29, 2008

Classic Pictures I

OK, I gotta bump down that last post because that picture of my poor Honda is just too depressing. Here's a classic picture from 2003:

This is my good friend, Peter Shea. Pete's a real fun guy, and by that, I mean he's a mushroom. But seriously, the kid is a legend. Here he is standing over some passed-out hipster douchebag at an old 56 Wyckoff party. I mean, look at this hipster scum: he's got a gold blazer on, sunglasses at night, and some sort of sash. 2003 was a good year for hipsters, they seemed to be popping up on every streetcorner, infesting parties like some demon spawn of cockroach. This one is kind of a Jim Morrison hipster, but obviously can't drink like Morrison, and definitely was not fun to hang out with. Then you have Pete Shea, the real fucking deal, standing over this doucebag in glorius triumph. You can't out-party Pete. Even if Pete has some slight hipster tendencies (Pete will acknowledge this), he is too bad-ass to be considered an actual hipster.

I like to think of this as some version of that photo of Muhammed Ali standing over Sonny Liston, like Pete has just knocked out the epitome of hipster douchy-ness in a victory for all those who despise it. Peter Shea: The Greatest.

Monday, February 25, 2008

R.I.P. - "The Honda", 1993 - 2008

It died a gruesome, unnatural death (and yes, I'm OK, thanks for asking!). For almost ten years, it was the vehicle which enabled myself and some good friends to have some wild, wild times. Initially, Stella would use it to drive Pauly to school. When little Pauly got all growed up, it would tandem with the Jeepster in wreaking havoc across Union County. From the Watchung Mountains to the abandoned Overbrook Psychiatric Hospital, from Club Bene to the summer camp where Andre hooked up with some skanky chick in the back seat, and shuttling the likes of such horribly named bands as Technicolor Highway, Dawn's Promise, and The Special People Club. Paul probably has (and can remember) some way better stories, so I'll leave that to him.

You're probably wondering what happened, and so I can save myself a few explanations, I'll detail the events of Saturday, February 23rd for you here. The day began promisingly enough, a lovely breakfast and a "river view" with my lady friend at the legendary Tom's Restaurant (apparently immortalized in the song "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega, also the place I recently resolved to become a Soda Jerk after sampling the Cherry Lime Rickey and Vanilla Egg Cream sodas.) I had the crabcakes florentine and said vanilla egg cream, and life was grand. Next on the day's agenda was a trip to the movies for a matinee screening of Juno. Sitting at a red light, waiting to make a left turn, I glanced up at the rearview mirror. The next .5 seconds seemed more like 5 to 10 seconds.... I remember thinking, "wow, that car is going really fa----"... that's when, from pretty much from out of nowhere, a fucking fuckface who was driving way too fast on roads that were just a little bit too dangerous, hit me from behind, at a solid 40 MPH. I hit the car in front of me, the change dish exploded, sending nickels and quarters everywhere, and the smell of leaking fluids was pervasive. It was the first time I ever called 911.

The first thing I should note, is that when I got out of the car, the fucking fuckface that hit me was just kind of gawking at the damage. He didn't ask if everyone was all right, made no attempts to apologize. Just kinda stood there. I don't remember how long it took the cops to show up... my head was going a million miles an hour. I'd guess it's how someone might feel if they had gotten shot at, and missed. Except if you get shot at and missed, you generally aren't losing a valuable piece of property.

So the cops finally show up, the guy in front of me who I had hit is one of those shady cab-not-a-cab drivers. There is no damage to his tank of a taxi, and after a brief conversation with the police officer, of which he probably understood three words, he thinks the cop told him he can go. So he gets into his car and drives off... the cop flips out and jumps back in his cruiser and chases him down. So another 10 minutes or so later, we're finally back to square one with the cabbie re-assuming his position post-accident. While we're standing around, the passenger of the car that hit me is trying to convince me:
-to ask AAA if they can tow his car AND mine, since they don't have AAA.
-to send my car to his buddies' auto body shop.

I could feel rage building up inside me quickly, his lack of compassion and understanding that he is absolutely the last person on the planet I want to deal with right now could only be attributed to the possibility that he is :
-one of the biggest assholes on the planet
-completely clueless when it comes to Life In General

Obviously, the presence of police officers prevented me from losing my shit on this guy.

Later on, the accident investigator goes:
"You Willyard?"
"Yes sir." [hands me my license and documents]
"That's a hell of a name!"

Which is the first time anyone has referred to my last name being a "Hell of a name".
He then decreed the accident an "open and shut case". This cop won my heart.

A few moments after this, the driver who hit me was handcuffed for giving the officers a fake license.

Nearing the two-hour mark, the tow-truck operator shows up. He is sporting the remains of what was probably once a proud mullet and a severe lack of dental work. I mention I need to retrieve the contents of my trunk, as it contains valuable DJ equipment.
"Oh yeah??! I'm a DJ too!"

He then proceeds to remove his jacket, and then his shirt.
"Yeah man! Check out my tattoo!"

It is a tattoo of a squirrel manning a turntable. He mentions something about some DJ who once played for seven days and seven nights straight, and walks away to tow off the remains of the 1993 Honda Accord LX which has been my vehicle and friend for the past four years, but which has been a part of my life for almost 10. This one's for you, Honda.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I took a picture of my friend Paul's cat, Gomez, this weekend, and decided it would make a good LOLCat:

my first LOLcat. Thanks, Gomez!

Monday, February 18, 2008

New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Lo these many years I have spent in various clubs and bars in the boroughs of New York City, Manhattan in particular. As a resident of the state of New Jersey, rarely is my opinion "relevant" to a New Yorker, and Manhattanites in particular. Now, as a DJ I realize there are DJs who are actual DJ's in the more "professional" sense of the word (those who make their entire living at it), and also DJs who are paid for their progressive taste in music (kinda like if I was paid to do my radio show).

For some time, I held New York DJ's to somewhat mythical standards, and generally the ones I heard were pretty top-notch. Perhaps I have become jaded with the passage of time, or possibly wiser, and I'm just not as naieve as I used to be, or maybe I just go to the wrong places, but when did DJ's in New York start sucking so badly?

Are there too many venues and not enough DJ's? Too many venues hiring the wrong DJ's? Has the Laptop and the MP3 begat an overly amateurish and inbred class of DJ? Surely the latter would favor trust-fund kids with lots of free time and disposable income, and without the need of a gig as a means of survival, they can DJ at below-market rates. Maybe I shouldn't expect much from a guy sitting in the corner with his laptop, looking disinterested in his surroundings. Maybe the lack of "cabaret licenses" has wiped out many of the better, smaller dance clubs. Whatever the case, a great little venue like the one I visited Saturday night for an 80s dance party deserves better than the DJs who would only rank as the 15th best in Somerset County (meaning they would rank somewhere in the lower 900's in Manhattan).

Apparently, just being able to press play on a cd player or mp3 interface on a laptop will net you a downtown DJ gig these days. Who needs to mix! Or learn to EQ! Or learn a little beat-matching! How about a crossfade? Naah! A good rule of thumb as a dj: when a cute girl asks you to play "Situation" by Yaz, on freakin' 80s night, YOU PLAY IT!!! (also, you don't need to play the Smiths twice and the Cure twice... WE GOT IT. There's already a "goth/industrial" dance party downstairs!)

I'm wondering if non-dj's even notice shit like people not mixing songs or the EQ being out of whack. Maybe we're just trying too hard. All I wanted was to hear "Situation".

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm moving to Canada

- My previous post will probably be my last politically-themed post, ever.
- I just found out today the National League has a Silver Slugger Award for pitchers.
- Whatever the reason for global warming, it really sucks that it doesn't snow here much anymore.
- The Grammys and I agreed on something for the first time ever (the awesomeness of Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album).

My weekly radio program on 90.3 WVPH-FM in Piscataway, NJ allows me an outlet as a DJ to express myself more freely musically than I am normally able to (mostly because it's not a paying gig). DJ Milky Manchester can currently be heard every Sunday night from 8 pm to 10 pm at 90.3 FM in the central New Jersey area and worldwide on the internet at ... Feel free to call in at 732-445-9300 or via AOL Instant Pestering at "CoreRequests". I thought this past Sunday night's program was particularly excellent, have a go at the playlist if you're looking for some new music to dig into... (* = indicates a recently released album) [ listed as: artist - song - album ]

Fu ManchuSaturn IIIThe Action Is Go
She Keeps Bees *
Meat PuppetsAurora BorealisII
Various ArtistsContort Yourself - James White & The Blacks (August Darnell Remix)Disco Not Disco
FunkadelicBack In Our MindsMaggot Brain
Mike Ladd *
How Electricity Really WorksNostalgialator
Black GrapeA Big Day In The NorthIt's Great When You're Straight, Yeah
Brian Jonestown Massacre(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was SixTake It From The Man!
Lightspeed Champion *
Everyone I Know Is Listening To CrunkFalling Off The Lavender Bridge
WeenMister, Would You Please Help My Pony?Chocolate & Cheese
Commander Cody And His Lost Planet AirmenGoing Back To TennesseeHot To Trot
Willie Nelson *
LouisianaMoment Of Forever
The KinksPeople Take Pictures Of Each OtherThe Village Green Preservation Society
Os Mutantes *
TechnicolorMutantes Live: Barbican Theater, London, 2006
Johnny RiversSeventh SonAnthology
Betty DavisGame Is My Middle NameBetty Davis/They Say I'm Different (Reissue)
Stevie WonderYou And ITalking Book
Eddy Meets Yannah *
Once In A WhileOnce In A While
Serge GainsbourgIntoxicated ManSerge
SlitsOr What Is?Return Of The Giant Slits
Jackie MittooEarthquakeChampion In The Arena
The Ergs!Man Of InfirmityJersey's Best Prancers
Loved Ones, The *
The InquirerBuild And Burn
Del Tha Funkee Homo SapienSunny MeadowzI Wish My Brother George Was Here

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gettin' Political with Milky

I distrust 94% of all politicians. I haven't decided who I would cast a presidential vote for yet (assuming my main man Ron Paul is officially out of the running by then), but one name that was crossed off the list a long time ago was Hillary Clinton. Her embodiment of pure evil can be summed up by her absence at today's senate vote. There was a vote today "To strike the provisions providing immunity from civil liability to electronic communication service providers for certain assistance provided to the Government." Barack Obama was there (he voted in favor). Why isn't Hillary Clinton in Washington DC, representing her constituents in New York who elected her to serve as a Senator for their fair state, and to vote in their interests on important matters of concern such as this? Because she doesn't give a shit. About you, about this country. I don't know what, exactly, she DOES give a shit about... but I hope we never find out.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"_____ is the new _____", Episode 1

I've decided to borrow another phrase from the hip kids' never-ending lexicon of hip vocabulary. "_____ is the new ______". It never gets old. We need some way to convey the ever-changing ideas of what is hip (man, I wish I had an mp3 blog... this is where I'd put a link to Tower of Power's seminal funk gem "What Is Hip?"). It's always tough to predict what, exactly, the next hip trend will be. There are lots of educated guesses, and what with "____ is the new ____" sounding so authoritative and bandied about constantly, we are endlessly bombarded by these cultural Nostradamus' predictions and their thoughts on the next paradigm shift of pop culture.

Now, in the world of DJ's, theres been some talk that 80's music is in a sort of cultural recession. I can't say as I agree, given the response that 80's music still gets at 2 am. I will, however, purport that:

Early 90's music is the new 80's music.

It's been slowly gaining momentum the last year or so. The time is ripe for a new wave of musical nostalgia. Kids who grew up on early-90's Z100 are at a time and place where the early 90's dance-pop and rock can be appreciated for the truly great works of musical craftsmanship they are. Certain songs and styles have withstood the test of time from every era of music, and this time period is no different. It has an immediate sound, which is instantly recognizable, and enough classic hits for at least a solid 60-minute set.

I don't think the fondness for the 80's will ever truly die out, at least not for quite some time. There are just too many good songs. And we're still three or four years off from a grunge revival (which WILL happen, eventually). The moment is upon us, however, to celebrate once again the magic of such acts as C+C Music Factory and Dee-Lite. I can hear some of you laughing, which is OK. You were either too young and missed the golden era of the early 90s, or have simply forgotten how great these classics are. Soon, you won't be able to escape it. This is the next wave, and it's a big one. Collect thy Funky Bunch LP's and go forth, preach the early 90's dance party!

[stay tuned for the ultimate early 90's dance party playlist...]