Just here for the old music clips? Go here.

The Full Fair today; hot. Summer came back with 90s this week and it’s all 90s next week. The Fair is not a place to be when it’s 96.

When I walked in there was a woman standing by the entrance with two lit cigarettes, one in each hand; that set the tone, I think, for this one. Later saw a guy in the brand new bathroom leaning over the brand new trash can, face full of blood. 10:30 was too early for beer-garden fisticuffs, so it had to be something else. I shot my Instagram video, testing out the Bratwurst-flavored lip balm vs. a real brat, seeing which made for a better moisturizer. I looked silly and my daughter said my hair was Einsteined.

Getting there was no fun. The highway was jammed; construction has throttled the choke-point where two highways merge, and the right lanes are immobile for miles. The street was slow, because they took out a lane for bikes. (Saw one bike in the entire 40 block trip.) Then there’s a detour because a bridge is being replaced, routing me through an intersection favored by people who have no regard for traffic signals, and just walk across the busy street when the fancy strikes. They know no one will hit them.

Then you have to go through downtown and take the long way around to the U, because they closed off a venerable thoroughfare FOREVER for the light rail. I drove the length of University yesterday, the first time I’ve done so since the light rail was finished; it’s completely changed the street. No parking, of course. Good luck local businesses, but: eh. So? The train tracks in the middle of the street and the busy electrical wiring overhead compresses the street, makes you feel as if you’re driving down a tunnel, and has the immediate effect of making everything feel dense. Lots of new condos going up, although I have no idea why anyone would want to live there; not a spot of green anywhere for blocks. It’ll be different in ten years, newer and better, but the old ramshackle downscale cheap-rent / incubator storefronts will be gone.

Then the big free lots at the U of M by the enormous stadium. Park, wait. Here we are again, the summer coming to an end but unusually potent, looking at the biomedical research buildings. All this was dirty industrial ruins when I first came here.



360 that to see what I mean about the stadium.

The bus goes down a secret passageway, and voila, the Fair. I wish it stopped at the great Main Gate:



Keep going, if you like - the Google Street View tours the Fairgrounds. A strange summertime view, depopulated and shuttered.

While I was at the Fair I got a call from home: "Dad, there's a guy in an orange jumpsuit in the backyard."

Huh. "What is he doing?"

"Spraying something on the lawn."

"Probably not an escaped convict, unless he's one who really hates weeds."





Now, the Cues! Do I have to explain? Fine. As I say every week: if you're just joining the Listen project, it includes a selection of music cues gleaned from old radio. Library music the producers dropped in to get them in and out of scenes. It's the background soundtrack for mid-century life. Many more can be found here.

You’re probably thinking “the inexhaustible supply of music cues from the ‘Couple Next Door’ is interesting, but don’t you have anything from Australia?"

I can oblige. I discovered a few episodes of a long-running Australian radio sitcom called “Life With Dexter,” or “Dextah” as the announsah pronounced it. The show was written by Willie “Phooey” Farrell, who stahd as Dextah. He was a bit of a bumbler, had a good opinion of himself, but a good chap. His wife tended towards the shrewish. His children regarded him with amusement. Blustery next-door neighbor with snooty wife. With a premise like that, it takes sharp writing to make it stand out, and I’ve yet to find a moment in the show that was funny. The half-hour shows seem like hours. It’s not a case of changing tastes, or antipodean standards; it’s just mild as can be. But it was beloved. Billed itself as a show for the whole family, so I can imagine the family sitting around the radio on Sunday night, enjoying it together, pining for the price of television sets to come down.

One of the episodes revolves around the purchase of a TV set. The father has to be persuaded to buy one, because he doesn’t see the point and doesn’t want one. I’m sure there were people like that. Odd to think about that, isn’t it?

Anyway, music cues GALORE. Here’s the end of the theme - generic as it gets for psot-war string-soaked uptempo fun. The ending always makes me laugh: it’s so forced and unsuccessful. Dum da dah!





This music cue has limited application. Dragging a yokel to the marriage altar, perhaps:





More of that circus-type music, but like the others, it’s lacking something. It’s apt that the show lacks something and the music cues lack something; it’s like a desaturated version of the American products.




This has a bit more punch. It was recorded before a live audience, which made for a strange result: hardly anyone laughed. An undercurrent of titters and the occasional chuckle, but no one’s laughing.




Except here, obviously. More "Music To Be Not Consciously Heard While Shopping."




Better, but still generic. Then again, I suppose it's all supposed to be a bit generic. More of the Holiday for Pizzicato Strings variety; they could do this forever until they got blisters.





Then: hellllo, what's this?





And: hellllo, what's this?




Those are cues I heard on the “Couple Next Door,” which I presume used the CBS EZ cue library. Did they rent it out to Australia?






Finally, commercials. The sponsor of the Dexter show wanted you to save money, so you could buy things:




That's it for this week; not a bad series of Bleats, if I say so myself. The usual early-week burst, tapering off as duties interceded, but hey. It's free. See you around!

Oh: column up here; scroll down to the COLUMNS pane.



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