Important note. Very important note. For the last year and a half or so I’ve touted the work of the great American humorist Peg Lynch, and her delightful, effortless, and almost innumerable miniature plays she wrote for TV and radio. You may have read of my trip out East to meet her; perhaps you were saddened to learn she took a bad turn and landed in the hospital, and were cheered to learn she’d bounced back. Well, the hows and wherefores are a bit of a tale, but something extraordinary is about to happen.
She’s going to be back on the air on Sunday.
Beamed from space.
“The Couple Next Door” premieres on SiriusXM on Mother’s Day. A round of applause for her daughter Astrid, who has worked tirelessly (that’s a cliche, and wrong; I’m sure it’s been exhausting) to ensure her mother’s legacy is not only maintained but expanded, and a standing O for Peg, please, for creating something that not only captured the spirit of her time but connected with listeners a half-century later.
There’s a dead squirrel in the middle of the yard, and it’s stinking to high heaven. Or so I presume. I was dog-sitting today, and let the beast out to scamper in the yard. She picked up a toy and shook it, and I was amused except I didn’t bring a toy. It was a dead squirrel. I commanded her to DROP and COME, which she did, because I am Mister Consequences. Upon seeing the desiccated corpse I decided that the best way to make sure she didn’t dig, or find poo and roll in it, or burrow out under the fence, was to put a heavy clay pot over the dead squirrel. There’s a hole in the bottom to release those tantalizing Rot Vapors. So for an hour she circled the pot. It was like projecting a fully-realistic hologram of Kate Upton into the middle of a frat party.
Warm day; busy. Spent Thursday night on an work interview and a work video. Took some time out to play. I mention this not because everyone should have a keen interest in how I waste my idle hours, but for Art. Also, for our sense of time. There are years that have resonance, stand in for a raft of ideas, styles, sounds. 1968, alas. 1939: tragic. 1947: hard noir. 1929 means less, I think, because it had an event, and we just think of people milling around in the street wearing straw boaters while stocks decline. Then there’s 1912. Solid, technological, imperial, not yet bleeding out in the trenches of folly. A time where things looked like this:
As someone who loves the classical period of American architecture - commercial and civic - the spaces of Bioshock are a constant delight. Or would be, if there wasn’t the haunting sense of failure wafting through the empty rooms, and people who want to shoot me. Like any game, it is unrealistic; I can be shot multiple times and healed instantly by the contents of a medical bag, hundreds of which are strewn around the city. Life would be much different if that was actually the case. People might be more prone to mix it up if they knew they could survive several shotgun blasts at close proximity by walking over a bag with a Red Cross on the side. Even if it has nothing but emory boards and a stethoscope.
From an abandoned shop, insufficiently looted by the revolutionary Vox Populi: still life with apples.
A kitchen in a house:
Again, these are environments through which you move. Lovely scenes of domestic life that give you a feel for Columbia. Unfortunately:
You don’t want to know. I didn’t want to know. The game has twisted and folded and slapped me in the face so many times I was exhausted after playing it, and I’m at the point where I am outnumbered and outgunned constantly. At the end of a deeply disturbing and disorienting level, there came a scene that’s a cold hard slap, a callback to the earliest hallucinations of the game, a nightmarish vision soaked in your own failure, followed by . . .
If you haven't played the game, you can't imagine the emotions this simple picture conveys. The gramophone was playing a song; I won't say what. There was a rose in the birdcage. I think I stood there listening to the song for a minute, and was almost afraid to turn around. You realize you’ve spent the entire game trying to flee this place, and now that you’re back, you’re almost elated.
I still believe that these games, extraordinary as they may be, are Edison silents projected on bedsheets compared to the 3D IMAX of the games to come. And there may come a day when a studio announces it is remaking Bioshock Infinite for the new immersive platform, just as they’re talking about remaking Ben-Hur for modern screens.
Of course, some CND cues. But first: a heroic cue from the sci-fi show "X-Minus One." I love this. Off to our destiny in the stars!
X-Minus One To Infinity and beyond - tremulously!
Now, this week's batch of "Couple Next Door" cues, taken - I believe - from the depthless CBS EZ Cue music library. They're still in France on the long European trip, a
CND Cue #399 Ttip-toe tentative suspense.
CND Cue #400 Perfect for #400: never heard before, and nice beautiful-music stuff you’d heard trickle out of a supermarket speaker overhead, setting the mood of pleasant modern living.
CND Cue #401 We’re still in France; this is music for touring Versailles and seeing the marvels of the aristocracy. All gavotte now.
CND Cue #402 “Hey, producer, why did you put Scottish music in the French sequence?”
“Listen to this. Scottish as hell. Although there’s something late 19th century French about the trumpets at the end, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you why.”
CND Cue #403 This seems lifted directly from a 1933 cartoon that takes place at sea.
CND Cue #404 No idea why they dropped in the Skulking Villain theme.
CND Cue #405 Official, pompous, self-important: now this is some French music. (Kidding!) (Sort of.)
CND Cue #406 Capping off this batch with my old favorite, the Bumptuous Jaunty Theme.
It's still going, of course - but it's rarely this cheerful.