Dean Clough

October 21, 2022

Portico Darwin: What Clinical OCD Looks Like

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS

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My recent post on my life as told via Esquire covers may have struck you as a bit strange. 

Today's is worse.  Or at least obsessive and probably also compulsive.  But at least it might give you something to do this weekend, apart from reading books.  And perhaps some will see the method in my madness. 

In fact, you probably will if you like singular guitar rock.
 
Because if you know me at all, you know I've been pushing Guided by Voices for something like forever.  Robert Pollard's band - he is the only consistent member, and its driving force - has a particular guitar/pop/rock sound and sensibility that I love.
 
I remember precisely when I first heard their name, or really anything about them at all.  It was in an A/V magazine (remember magazines?) called Sound & Vision, and the editors named their album "Isolation Drills" as the best rock album of 2001. 

True enough - frankly, it's one of the best rock albums of all time.  From then on, as I discovered earworm after earworm, they've been my favorite band (along with Rush, of course), and among Julie's, too.  And I can further attest to the fact that their concerts are rightfully famous - we've seen them 3 times, and they kick ass.

So what?  Well, let's just say they're still going strong.  Quite strong.

Because did you know that, since April of 2017, they've released THIRTEEN albums of completely new material?  With exactly the same band personnel on all 13?  Or that each and every one is >= Killer, at least in this fanboy's opinion?  And that some, like the superior "Space Gun" and equally fab "Crystal Nuns Cathedral" are Diamond Certified? 

Well, take a look at this.  If nothing else, it's fun eye candy.  But it's better ear candy.
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For the record, a lot of bands don't get to make 13 albums over an entire career, let alone in 5 years.  So "prolific" (or "successful") doesn't quite cut it.  But I like this take, from the music critic Mark Deming:

With their 40th anniversary on the horizon in 2025, is it possible Guided by Voices have become the best recording act of their day?  Add "Tremblers and Goggles by Rank" to the dozen other LPs they released in the 60 months previous, and the argument doesn't seem the least bit unreasonable.

And for the record:  "Scalping the Guru" - something like their 36th album - comes out October 28th.  

FROM THE UNWASHED MASSES

As expected, the future Detroit tourist Nicki Vale had something to say about lift tickets at . . . Vail. 

Side note, if you buy an Epic Day Pass (which is basically an advanced lift ticket), you pay half the price 😜.

And surprisingly - said no one - Hunter Deuce had a LOT to say on my pricing riff

Regarding golf - to be fair, Harding Park is a PGA-caliber course, so those (resident) prices don't seem unreasonable for a weekend twilight round.  Also, even in summer you're pushing it to try and get a full 18 holes in, so why not try 9 holes at Fleming?  It was renovated along with Harding, and the same tee time will cost you $32 for 9 holes as a resident.  Admittedly I am glad to see you've now grasped the concept of making a reservation for a tee time.

Pro sports?  Well yeah, with great success comes expensive seats - we saw firsthand what happened to Giants ticket prices after their run of 3 championships in 5 years.  And the Giants still offer deals that make seats reasonable. You're not sitting in Premier Field Club, but you're at the game.  As far as the Dubs go, 6 trips to the NBA Finals in 8 years will have the same effect.  Which is why Fi and I are looking forward to this season of men's hoops at the new Koret Center at USF.  A little planning and you can get reasonably priced tickets, even when schools like Gonzaga and St. Mary's roll into town.

Live music?  Yeah, I've kind of given up on arena shows - although I did see Pearl Jam at the Oakland Arena earlier this year with seats in the lower bowl for $110.00 each.  Not bad.  But there are very, very few acts I'll shell out "arena dollars" for.  I'll stick to venues like The Independent, The Chapel, The Fillmore, The Warfield, and Great American Music Hall for more reasonably priced shows. 

Also, there are always shows at Stern Grove and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - you can't beat "FREE"!

Is it me or did Hunter help make my point with his examples?  And he's right here, too:  I'll put our top free concerts (Stern Grove and HSB) up against any city's.

And know that high pricing is fouling even the rarified air of Chicago's North Side - this came in from the Windy City A-lister Steven Simon.

I know this will sound like our dads, but when I first came to Chicago I would sit in the bleachers for $4.
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Now, Steven is of course comparing apples to oranges - or shall we say peanuts to Cracker Jack?  But only to a degree, because sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley is one of the best experiences in sports.  Regardless - we're talking about $200 to watch a baseball game, albeit from the "best" seats?  And I have a feeling bleacher seats at Wrigley aren't a lot less expensive nowadays?

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

KLUF

Of course I did.  Here are all 13 albums featured above, on Spotify, and in the order of their release. 
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And here is "Space Gun", which you can download and own yourself using the link. 

Oh, what the heck, I said "Isolation Drills" is one of the best rock albums ever - so here it is, too - also ownable using the link. 
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OCD?  Nah.