Season's Gratings

Trashman gets a hangover for Xmas

On the day before holy International Western Commerce Day (Xmas), I awoke with undigested La Tolteca burrito bits glued to my face and hair whilst my head was aswim in Canadian whiskey murk courtesy of Marty, my jolly/drunken new neighbor from Canada. The previous day (December 23) was to have been the birthday of a once dear friend whose body just recently decided to call it quits--and the reason I was caked in my own pungent gak. Why must one, like my deceased pal, who defined the term "sweetheart," die, while others, like the abominable Emilio Estevez, or worse, Axl Rose, continue to eat, sleep and crap?

And today, January 5, more death ensued when the guy who once took to doing lines of blow, then slapping Cher around, and who altered my life forever with the AM staple "Needles and Pins"--the very one whose surname became His Name in U2--was killed by a tree dressed in white. (Maybe it's a serial-killer tree, a loner dedicated to its mother, with a kiddy-tree porn habit; maybe it's the same one which recently knocked off yet another Kennedy; perhaps, even, it was the leafy one on the grassy knoll that fired the mystery bullet that had Oh Jackie scrambling across a convertible's trunk for hubby Jack's hood-bouncing head goop.)

All death digressions aside, what's a New Year's Eve all about? Joy? Nah. Rebirth and hope? Nope. Happiness? Huh? Redemption? Repetition? Maybe.

And what of the resolution-list-making dorks of Amateur-Drinker Status whose fierce sense of social denial and satellite-dish dreaming breeds refusal to pull their fingers from their widening asses and acknowledge the slow sinkhole? Whose usual night's entertainment is a TV flickering celebrity vanity and faces of local newscast hams, and whose New Year's Eve Nite Out does nothing but cram bars with artificial mirth and streets with DUI cops-as-Texas Rangers leaving booze fear in their wake and us true drunks shakin' like whores in church.

Happy Suburban New Year! And I say, Blah!
Beyond my usual scribe of spiritual/economic hopelessness and pints of proletarian liver-pickler, I can see in this grand new year we are nothing if not another year older, deeper in debt--in fact, likely backpedaling--and having jack's shit to show for It All. And as I began yet another day of another inconsequential year with a healthier sense of the misanthropical being I am discovering myself to be, I say: Tra la la la la. I'll stay in bed like I usually do with the covers pulled up and over, listening to the Ramones: "Nothin' to do, nowhere to go."

Rick James
Urban Rapsody
(Mercury/Private 1)

Aside from the Artist Formerly Known As ?/Barry White/Snoop kypes, this set of unintentional self-parody sounds (and reads) like a Saturday Night Live skit: A Superfreaky funk-stah gets wronged, jailed, then paroled three years later and emerges 12-Steppin' clean with a woe-was-me vengeance and a new recording stuffed with self-glorified lyrics, absurd sense of romantic macho drama and spiteful liner notes. Yeah, and like . . . we're supposed to feel sorry for him?

On "So Soft So Wet," Centaur James prefaces his sexist squack with this tryst of jail-cell cocksure: "My woman had just sent me these very sexy pictures. I didn't want 2 jack off, so I decided to write my feelings out." Hee hee hee hee.

What follows is a Me-So-Hornyesque sample of moans and groans over bad, gener-O funkgroovesexangst with this chorus: "So soft so wet/So soft so wet/Baby funk me."

Oh, please!
Elemental pettiness makes for complex song and text, proven here when stretched to include a dissing of Teena Marie after she failed to make good on a promise to lend her vox on the recording of "Never Say You Love Me." In that song--set to a boring two-chord back 'n' fro bass and keyboard sway--James makes Ms. Marie a fictional lover who comes crawling back on her knees beggin' for Rick's luvvy-duvvy, to which he replies: "I never want to see your face/This is finally the end/And I never want to hear you say you love me again."

Yet perhaps even more stomach-churning are the booklet notes accompanying "Somebody's Watching You" in which Mister Freaky whimpers: "When I was in Fulsom the CO's tried to make my life hell. Especially the punk-ass bitches in my building where I was housed. . . . Shift after shift I'd have to deal with their silly bitch-ass attitudes. Always watching me, wanting to be the first to say 'I got Rick.' It became a slogan around prison. . . . This is dedicated to all you pigs." Uh, HELLO! Sir James, ol' buddy, ol' pal. Whaddya want, all of us to mourn for you? Ya want our sympathy? Uh, HELLO! You were in jail for holding a girl hostage in your house, then raping her and burning her with your stinkin' crack pipe! Jesus fucking Christ! HELLO! Wake up. That is an intolerable sin against mankind, and you're insanely lucky to be out and about gettin' record deals an' shit! And ya claim that'cha avoided the hiney roast-a-roony in jail? But did ya really? Did ya really avoid the old punk derriere-dive? Only the jailhouse "punk bitches" know fer sure. Yuk yuk yuk yuk yuk.

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