Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I was on Deborah Harry's Wikipedia page today for some work-related reason that I've already forgotten and got a bit sidetracked looking at her discography. Where I thought she released a bunch of solo albums, she's only put out seven over the last 27 years. The one that came out last year was her first since 1993's Debravation, an album I listened to all the way through back in my college radio days. It was, like Billy Idol's Cyberbunk, at least partly an attempt to fuse William Gibson's fiction with rock music. It didn't work, though Sonic Youth had better luck with at least one Gibson-inspired song years later.

I've always been curious about Harry's first solo album, Koo-Koo from 1981, which I know mainly because of the famous controversial cover by H.R. Giger:

Giger is the Swiss artist whose disturbing and/or erotic depictions of "biomechanics" found their most famous expression in his designs for Alien. What I didn't know was that Giger directed a pair of videos for the album filmed at his studio. The pairing is much more intriguing than it sounds. Here's Harry performing "Now I Know You Know":

And here she is performing "Backfired":

What's weirdest about this to my eyes, apart from the Gigerian body stocking, is how poorly it all fits together. Blondie was expert at taking trends in fashion and music and making them their own. Alone Harry doesn't do nearly as well. Both songs were written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic, the go-to guys for late-disco pop sounds and Giger was both edgy and trendy at the time. It's all the right elements at exactly the right moment and it should have worked briliantly. And yet... Well, the evidence is above.

I'm less curious about Koo-Koo now.


I've got a piece on The Price Is Right up on Slate today. It's a show that brings back fond memories of childhood and of misspent dorm hours. Here's an amusing clip I didn't find a way to include. It pretty much speaks for itself:

So close!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Boing Boing had an item this week on a site called Muxtape.com that allows users to upload virtual mixtapes to the Internet to share with others. And that's it. It's remarkably simple and fairly unslick, which is in its own way pretty refreshing, even if users would currently seem to be limited to one muxtape at a time. Or at least it's that way now. A related blog keeps announcing new features. It seems like a site worth keeping an eye on.

Oh, and I totally made one just for you. Here it is. The title comes from the fact that this cold I've been dealing with all week took a bizarre turn yesterday that found a headache settling behind my left eye. I admire its specificity.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A crimefighter gets specific.

In case you can't read it, here's the added text:

"Stranz is the man who has the machine that sends electric shocks. He lives at..."

Here the text has been crossed out and someone else has pointed out that this is a "whorehouse." Somehow I can't imagine that this is what CAPS had in mind.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

From Facebook's new "People You May Know" feature:

Can I bring the person to bring Stipe and Kasell together at last?