Jim Trainer

Archive for September, 2013|Monthly archive page

One From the Heart-The Sweetheart Parade “Sings Like A Priest”

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Sweetheart Parade

Sweetheart Parade
Sings Like A Priest

Recommended for the dissolution of your marriage.  Listen with rusty glasses of bourbon while the wasted winter cleaves a cold white chasm between you&yr love.
Your sweat tasted like snow,
pines singer Josh Britton at the beginning of album opener Wren, and it starts the fever dream.  You’re on the train platform with her.
You’d be riding for days…
Britton and Laura Walsh sing haunting harmonies.  The kind you find yourself singing,  suddenly awake and alone on your bed at 2:30am.  The fever dream over.  The nightmare beginning.
I don’t know how this blackbird died
he must have fell out of the sky

This album places you in its Backyard, looking down at the dead bird, under the heaviest of skies, buried there in sorrow&snow.  It is then that the Sweetheart Parade gives you the Shovel.
Sings Like A Priest is a stout&frigid listen.  Its sturdiness comes in equal parts from Britton’s chunky barred chords on a dread nought, Daniel Harvie’s malleted&muted thump&wash of toms&cymbals and the solemn upright electric bass tones of Johnny B.  The reverb-soaked leadwork of David Janes on guitar and atmospheres of old, lost radio that bleed from track to track and mingle with the syrupy-sweet melancholia of Slo Mo’s pedal steel curate loneliness to surreal degree.

This is boot-gaze.  Indie music with some bassy balls.  Neutral Milk Post Punk fittingly self-credited as ghost folk and sadder than Death Cab For Cutie on a morphine kick.
This album has got it-the strange power of any great album to always take you on its journey-subtle, unsuggesting
and happy with what you find there, even if it is your own heartache&ruin.
All the reasons you should leave her are within these 8 tracks.  Recommended repeat listening to prompt, ease and navigate your mutiny, with tattered sails and a bitter cargo in the heart.
The best things always end when I’m sober…

To listen and order The Sweetheart Parade “Sings Like A Priest” click here.

singslikeapriest

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Laid Up Blues, Trainer Blows Out Back As The World Burns

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm

What a drag it is getting old, eh Brother? I blew out my back getting the old man out of bed on Sunday and these days I spend most of my time flat, laid up, immobilized and otherwise worried to death. I ask myself, will I be able to play my monthly gig at House Wine on Thursday? Will I make it to the Cabaret on Friday? What about Letter Day and the Headlines? Who will judge the righteous? And what about the blog?!
Aho and even darker fears grip me as I lay on my Yoga mat. What if I don’t make it? What if I can’t make this dream real? What if I never live my dreams?

Questions of a different magnitude were asked in D.C. last week, and the answers, if they came at all, were grim&strange&sad.
And in Nairobi and Peshawar and any number of places unlucky enough to land on the other side of the great Wall of American Hegemony.
Aho. I’ll make it through. And with a little help from my friends I’ll be up&swinging again, punching down the savage road, talking shit and stalking this dream. If there’s anything shining in the mire of all this misery it’s that we’ve pulled ourselves back from the brink of war. Common sense would’ve made it a foregone conclusion that we can’t, as a country, continue to bomb dictators from out of their bunkers in small countries in the middle east anymore, without our New World Order coming home to roost. There’s people getting angry in these darkest hours, we’re no longer safe in our own country and we’ve been disabused of even the illusion of safety.
What could this be but the age of Nutter’s Rule? 12 dead at the hands of a mentally unstable Navy Reservist and at least 85 dead in the other hemisphere has become “the new normal”. Hunter Thompson was right.

It’s Sunday-we are not bombing Syria today! No children beneath our rubble-no grandmothers aflame-no death in our message-no shot across the bow. Let’s think how we each will contribute through our active love of those close-through our ease and acceptance of strangers to us as we are to them. Let’s contribute through our work-and our art. Let’s not take this moment-this new week for granted.

-Don Bajema, makin’ ’em know on Facebook last week
Aho. There he is. I dropped the ball last week and failed to bring you Chapter 2 of Too Skinny, Too Small. But as I mentioned, I blew out my back and this much madness was too much sorrow. I’ve been corresponding with Brother Don however, and I’m sitting on 2 Chapters of his latest lament on the bloodsport of American masculinity. Not only that, starting next week Bajema will be providing readers with a new chapter of Too Skinny, Too Small every Sunday until the Super Bowl. Aho. Some fresh wisdom and something other than
these angry alcoholic rants chronicling heartbreak in America and lamenting the death of rock&roll.

I watched 5 guys probably in their 50’s hand most current bands their ass last night and then still Keep going. Energetic, Tight and powerful.
-Jarrett Pritchard on seeing the mighty FLAG in Baltimore on Tuesday
Ah, but not so fast. Those guys are pushing 50 and they’re still raging against the machine. In life, there are those that do and those that criticize. In some strange&incredible twist of fate, it has become my job to criticize. As such, Greg Ginn may try to shut this rig down but rock and roll can never die. That’s from Brother Neil Young, a finer patriot than many Americans born here. But shit, considering the war on the poor in this country, maybe Canada ain’t so bad after all.

we love you so much / our country is fucked.
-GY!BE’s statement regarding their recently awarded Polaris Prize

Aho. I’ve still got 4 letters to send out to folks who responded to my Letter Day post on the GFtT Faccebook page last Friday. The headlines made it out on Monday and we’re booking December in Philly, people. Brother Don Bajema will be F-ing the NFL straight through February and Friday I’ll be revisiting One From The Heart, my music-critic series, and presenting you with a very special album to me.
The 24hour news cycle can be relentless but, ultimately, my petty complaints pale in comparison to the horror folks are subjected to elsewhere in the world and on the daily. As I down another Ibuprofen 800 and stare at the ceiling, I grapple with my own mortality-aho, and even consider the futility of my own existence. But then I punch down another 800 words and send this post off to you, good reader. Transmission, it’s keeping me alive. Your readership is my everything.

And once there was a time to join the army

And once there was a time to hear the news
And once there was a time for easy silence
But now the jury waits for you
Witness Blues, A.A. Bondy

backbrace

#fuuuuuuuu

Shrieks of Paradise, Correspondence&Rails#13: Fired From the Life Coach

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

Absolutely, Jim…

I would like to begin by emphasizing that this is not about blaming/shaming or finding falut-for either one of us! I will attempt to put into words what is somewhat intangible. In my time working with individuals, I have developed a sense that communicates to me when there is a fluid, easy and mutually committed rapport between myself and my client, which indicates a readiness and contributes to a momentum that motivates us toward the best possible outcome. I have on occasion felt the need to suspend the relationship when I sense it is not there. The reason that this rapport is missing is often not apparent – and it may not always be necessary to know. We humans often need to know the reason ‘why’ – and often it is irrelevant and simply eludes us. All I can say is that I have learnt to trust my intuitive instinct and in this case it is telling me that it’s in the best interest for all to let go right now. I have faith in your wholeness and your capacity to express your talents in the way that’s right for you and truly wish the very best for you, Jim. I hope these words support you in knowing that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with you- and you trust the wisdom that is guiding my choice.

Kindly,
Mahatme Lourdes, MA
reclaimyourspirit.com
1-800-NAMASTE

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Too Skinny, Too Small by Don Bajema

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

1.
Everyone knew it would happen; they had to. But everyone shed the tears, bemoaned the game and watched the replay. Then the gurney and the straps around him, and the announcers were saying it was serious, and everyone was prayers with the family.
They sat at the bar, on the couch, in the silent stadium scared to utter the words; then it was all anyone talked about.
Five minutes after he was in the tunnel we were playing again.
On the sidelines and then in the locker room my teammates said a lot of stupid things intended to console me, intended to assure I felt no blame, intended to distance themselves from the reality. Then they ostracized me when I didn’t respond to their bro-down gestures. The coaches selected three very popular and media pleasing players to speak for the team. I was excused-at first.
Being a week before Thanksgiving heads were bowed over turkey from one coast to the other like the dark days of Dallas. The men glanced out of the corners of their eyes, mumbled as they excused themselves from the table pushed their chairs back and went into the living room and watched the game. The kids followed them. At halftime all the front rooms all over the country were watching in depth discussions of the tragedy and everyone cried again by the end of the profile piece of Chad Washington.
I couldn’t get the sound out of my mind, or the feel of the total sudden rag doll feeling of his body but I didn’t tell anyone. I was supposed to see a counselor and the police offered a shrink who had experience with cops who’d shot people on duty.
The league called it a clean hit-I don’t know what a clean hit is, and I haven’t seen the replay.
Pundits and writers condemned the game, everyone talked about the concussions, protecting the players, called into question the future of the league but the ratings went through the roof.
The league office called the owner who agreed with the Commissioner that my silence was making the situation worse, I didn’t know then how it could get worse, but they had a franchise to protect and called me into the inner sanctum to personally ask why I wasn’t saying something on camera.
I sat on his couch with my hands folded looking at a very uneasy man.
He cleared his throat four times, twice with his back turned to me facing the forest outside his window. When he turned he gave me that rich man smile that had nothing behind it but bemusement at the notion that anything but having his way was possible. He seemed to be in a mood to make it easy for me, but he took on a firm paternal tone,
“Why are we here, Eddie?”
I shrugged.
“Don’t start that with me. We’re talking here.”
I locked eyes on him without directly challenging him but I shook my head slowly left to right.
“Look, Eddie, I understand. And I want to help.”
He went to his desk and picked up a sheet of paper.
“Any of these statements would do you, and this team, and the league a lot of good.”
He waited.
“Anything you say is going to feel inadequate, Eddie. I know that. But you have to say something.”
I sat there.
He walked it over to me and extended the sheet about the height of my forehead.
I took it but didn’t read it.
“Try one.”
I put the paper on the table before the couch.
“Eddie. Eddie. Your silence…is..it’s putting a bad light on you, on my team, on the league, on the game.”
He started to say something more, I could see the rage building under his collar.
“I’m never going to say a word about it. I’ll just play the game. Nothing I can say will do anyone any good.”
He got brave, he owned the team, he signed the checks, he had the power,
“You’ll play the game? You play the game because I say so. We give you the money and the privilege to play the game. This is a business, Eddie. I am the boss of this business.”
“You know, Gordon..”
He swallowed hearing me use his first name, his eyes blinked, then he smirked, no one called him anything but Mister or Sir.
“..what’s weird about all this is that up to now you have had all the power, but now, oddly enough, I do. If I quit, if I site the reason why I quit the foundation of the league will drop into a sink hole. If I play you’ll make more money, the league will make more money than it ever has. Businesses like money, Mr. Shafer. So, don’t fuck with me-the tables have turned.”
I got up from the couch, balled up the sheet of paper and bounced it off Mr. Shafer’s chest.
“I ain’t saying shit, Gordon.”
I walked over the carpet opened the door and walked through the cameras and the writers who Shafer had planned to make a statement to, me standing beside him brought back into the fold by the benevolent and understanding owner from the tragedy that had driven me to silence.
Everyone shouted my name, microphones were thrust in my face and I kept walking.
All that was six weeks ago. I kept playing, never said a word, made four interceptions, scored on two them and had more fan votes for All Pro than any player in history.
Then I disappeared, now I’m on the phone with an interviewer named Clarence Johnson.
Johnson was going for ‘the apple never falls far from the tree’ angle for the havoc I’d brought to the national obsession-the generator of a million parties, the violent wet dream of much of the male population, the curious acquiescence hoping for insight and proximity into things male by women sitting beside them in front of television in bars and on the couch watching football like it was war and church rolled into one massive orgiastic celebration of violence and intimidation. Which it is.

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Who Will Judge the Righteous? PT II-Introducing Guest Blogger Don Bajema

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

PT II
violence is all around me
still my city sleeps
fallin through the curtains
I see nations crumble for me
Horizon Lion, Bev Haven

Who will judge the righteous?
It ain’t me, Brother.  That would take tenacity and wisdom.  It would take the strength of conviction, knowing what’s right and not giving an inch.  It would take what those young men do out on the field every day of the NFL Season, but coupled with the guidance of a crack playcoach whose cool&disaffected exterior only masks a keen&calculating hunger for victory.

Novelist, screenwriter, actor and spoken-word performer Don Bajema’s been there.  The former world-class athlete not only played for the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s toured Europe as a spoken word poet beside Henry Rollins and Hubert Selby Jr. no less.
There is a beautiful and searing clarity in his work.
Winged Shoes and a Shield, released last fall, offers a view of Sunrise in America that is both sweeping and penetrating.  Panoramic views of seemingly idyllic youth growing up in the 50s and 60s are presented in tandem with the malignant undercurrent of the draft and specter of the Vietnam War.  It’s not lost on Bajema that many of protagonist Eddie Burnett’s peers were using their young&naïve prowess to destroy villages of civilians in jungles far away from the track and field where Eddie excelled or the beaches south of San Diego where he fell in love.  Or worse, like Eddie many were suffering right here at home at the yoke of violent fathers who never really came home their War years before, if only as shells of men, bitter and beaten.

I like Bajema’s America.  Maybe even better than the real one.  The man certainly offers a more authentic view of the “greatest country in the world” than the one that’s advertised.  Bajema’s America is at once hopefully idealistic and savagely dark.  It’s no accident that I hear rock&roll when I read Don Bajema.  It has as much to do with his paens to rock music’s innocence&potency as the dangerous world his characters live but dare to be in love in.

Aho.  My respect for him goes beyond acknowledging that he was there for that sublime and golden burgeoning of the middleclass and introduction of leisure such as the NFL to the gen pop.   Brother Don has kept his eyes open.  I’ve written it before, the man has remained beautifully awake.  He’s watched the whole thing come tumbling down.
He’s witnessed the murder of a dream and seen the promise of the hippie generation all but rot while a backlash rolled this country back 30 years and stalled our history sometime around 1989 and somewhere between willfully ignorant and grossly apathetic.

But, what do I know?  I’m just an apathetic ex-Pat postpunkrocker who admittedly sometimes just wants to flush it all down and watch it sink utterly into slothful oblivion.  I know, a bit much, eh Brother?  A little dark.  That’s why people like Don Bajema are important.  He’s wont to check me on Facebook sometimes, when I’m on some nihilistic, anti-Christian anti-American jag.  He never tells me I’m wrong but he doesn’t have to.  I can’t help but hear light and love coming from the voice of a man who’s been there, seen it come down, but somehow still believes.  The man is a true patriot and as close to a hero as you can get these days, when leaders and pundits and the big business of news reporting are all so busy telling you who to hate and what to fear.
Brother Don ain’t goin’ in for that bullshit, brother.  He knows that we won’t get fooled again, even if he needs to remind an unemployed and apolitical journalist like me sometimes.

Stay tuned for the first three chapters of Don Bajema’s newest work Too Skinny, Too Small, to be run serially on Going for the Throat over the next couple of weeks.  Order your copy of Winged Shoes and a Shield from City Lights Booksellers.

wingedshoesandashield

Who Will Judge the Righteous?

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

PT I
F the NFL

Who will judge the righteous?
It’s a fair question.  Am I right, brother?  That is, assuming you’ve measured up.  You pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and you’ve stomped boot to face of any weakerthan on your way up because you’re a winner and you’re not a pussy.  You didn’t piss your pants on the first day of Kindergarten and you drank beer like a Roman around bonfires in High School and you bro-downed at the Frat House while taking advantage of dumb girls in College.  It’s high time you were rewarded for towing the line of American masculinity, so sit back and enjoy the game.
Aho it’s football season.  Now you can really work out, jam those buggers and crush the enemy.  Get lost in bloodlust behind a blue wall of television light, drink and cuss and fight before you head to bed on a Sunday or Monday night, and sleep like a baby throughout autumn in America.  Ah, the game.  With its lines clearly drawn and an identifiable enemy to be conquered and humiliated.  Thinking back over your entire life, there was always the game.  Except for that dark and confusing week in September of 2001 it’s been business as usual, let ‘er rip and shutup honey the game’s on!

I don’t watch football anymore.  The last game of pro ball I watched, or listened to, as it were, was the opening Sunday of the 2011 Season.  It wasn’t the unending misery or sorry excuse for a pathetic career of my hometown Eagles that queered me to the NFL either.  Many of my homeboys have solved that problem by defecting to less dismal and dysfunctional franchises like the NY Giants or the Dallas Cowboys fer fuck’s sake.  Aho

The last time I listened to the game was on the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.  Commercial breaks were flooded with ad agency spun sympathy for the victims and first responders of 9/11.  It appeared that the NFL had sold ad time to the pounding of a tired trope-one that subliminally equates any dissent of American Hegemony with the murder of 3,000 innocent people.  You know, that old patriotism-or-treason trip.  I’m used to it.  But when I’m inundated with it, and it’s crammed down my throat on a Sunday afternoon 10 years later, and after all that time thinking I was safe behind a wide wall of apathy and listening strictly to liberal radio, I get upset.

The NFL and its sponsors were wasting my time with maudlin attempts at blind patriotism and otherwise dancing on graves to hawk wares and further the bullshit business-as-usual of consumerism.  Meanwhile my own country was quagmired in three senseless wars that, as the truth slowly started to slither out just 10 days before, were not moral, righteous, nor even humane.

This schadenfreude of manufactured consent was grossly disrespectful to the dead.  I was suffering from my own loss suffered that same rueful Autumn 10 years ago, and I’d be good and goddamned if I’d let a company like Budweiser or the NFL tell me how to feel about it.  It got worse after commercial break.  Even dumber things were happening down on the green and on TV.  There were cops&horses, flags out the yin-yang and the National Anthem sung by Lady Antebellum fer fuck’s sake.  All under the proud banner of a
customized NFL 9/11 ribbon and the official NFL 9/11 logo.

These were mawkish efforts at best, willful ignorance and an “odious exercise in corporate branding” at least.  It made me sick and I haven’t listened to a game since.

And now, as the war drums start to roll and a poisoned toad like John McCain can be heard on liberal radio and John Kerry drones on and on with some of the best paid men&women in the country on the Senate floor, debating the morality of murder, theirs or ours, and by ours I mean you&me Brother-what could this be but Autumn in America?
I thought we put down that pig of a man with stumps for arms last November.  I thought the only thing neocons would be getting out of the American people this term would be book deals and spots on Fox News at best and a dirty, shameful place in the history of the greatest country in the world besides.
As far as the Dems go, John Kerry must be the biggest shill of a man, perhaps better remembered as a dove not so very long ago, on the Campaign Trail and at the onset of all this madness.
I thought the President of the United States stood for something besides getting the Latino vote and an easy ticket out of Chicago.
I thought I could remain grossly apathetic and I thought my old man would still be around and we might watch a few more cursed Birds games together over cheesesteaks&Marlboros.  I thought we’d always have the game.
I was wrong.
This changes everything.
-Tool

Make no mistake, those who are busy deciding how best to blow another trillion dollars in a war far away will not be the ones fighting it.  You really want to see Congress get along with the Forty-Fourth President of the United States?  You really wanna see some action?
F the NFL, let’s go to war.

And 10 years from now, with your middle class and your Fourth Amendment gone, your highways jammed with suicide bombers and the news clogged with religious nutters stroking a hardon for the end days, you can enjoy another henous instant replay of American history brought to you by the NFL.  You deserve it.  You’re a winner.  Why should I care?  I’m a baseball fan.

whowilljudgetherighteousptI

LET’S GO PHILS!

I will switch channels when the NFL glorifies the military and DHS.
I will gently dissuade anyone thinking of joining the military.
I will not listen to prayers for the military.
I will not listen to the military or war being raised up from the pulpit in church.
I will not talk to people who worship the military.
I will not say the Pledge of Allegiance.
I will not salute the flag.
I will not stand for the National Anthem.
I will not vote.
I will not listen to the voice of any President.
–Switchblade commenting on Truthdig.org