The sun’s first early rays warmed my face enough to wrench me out of a pleasant dream, ensuring that I would begin the new day with the burden of ditching a bad attitude. I pulled my raft up to the buoy, untied the rope, and headed toward Mission Bay’s eastern shore. In the shade of the cliffs bordering Riviera Drive I deflated my occasional summer night “bed,” then stretched out on my back in the sand where, closing my eyes, I tried to resurrect that last image from my interrupted sleep. Yeah, baby, that’s right… lick the salt from my face like a good girl… yeah, do those eyelids… nice and wet…
Her warm, frenzied panting was unexpected but not unpleasant, not like her sudden frightening bark, which jolted me awake again, now face to face with a large and drooling Labrador retriever. I felt humiliated and used.
“No, Martha, don’t! I’m so sorry; I’d better leash her. Forgive me please,” were the first human sounds of the day, lilting, earnest, and English-accented; a nice consolation prize now expanding through the beauty of a young lady from whose exquisite lips they had issued.
As our eyes met, hers seemed to widen quickly before relaxing. Then, her music continued. “I know who you are, don’t I? Don’t you write for the Troubadour? Mr. Sinatra, I presume?”
“Call me Hose.” Yeah, you’ll be calling me your joy toy soon enough, babe….
“I’m Jenny Lane.” Her voice was getting harder and harsh, the sweetness I yearned for now submerging in venom. “You have blasphemed, infidel! Twice in the September issue, you assaulted the honor of our masters and have enraged more believers than you can imagine. You must pay the penalty!”
“No offense,” I said, “but how can such a hot looking chick be brainless enough to confuse me with somebody who’s made a film to piss off Muslims?”
She drew back her hand and I thought she was going to try to slap me. But she just growled before continuing. “This is not about that film on the Internet! Although I must say, personally, I thought it was a jolly bit of fun… and the director did show a bit of promise. No, Mr. Hose, you are among the infidels who seem determined to alter the truth concerning the history of the Beatles. Your foul falsities continue to multiply and all true believers demand satisfaction. So we try and we try and we try and we try…”
“But can’t get no –”
“Oh, no, no, no!” (Oh, God; a Stones fan as well.) She was livid.
I wanted to tell her that the number one proponent of false Beatles history is Trivial Pursuit, but she went on.
“Two things that are in your September issue. Two different articles, not your column, actually, but you’re equally guilty since you are involved with the shameful paper.” (Okay, so she took Terrorism 101.) “One of the pieces was about merchandising. It greatly overstated the prevalence of unlicensed Beatles gear during your country’s early Beatlemania days. In actuality, Brian Epstein was well on top of the counterfeit situation from the start. He set his lawyers upon the relatively small number of pirates like hungry hawks.”
“Then why didn’t you fix it?”
“Because it wasn’t my piece. I didn’t write it. Now what was the other problem? I think I may remember something… was it something to do with Paul McCartney or touring and something…”
“Paul didn’t write ‘Something,’ George did.”
“I didn’t mean that.”
“It was the thing about Rickenbacker guitars. It said that Paul played a Rickenbacker 4001 bass on…”
“Their 1965 American tour,” I finished.
“Right. It was still very much Hofner time. I mean, look at the photos, the bloody Shea Stadium film!”
“Again, it wasn’t my piece. So sue me.”
She almost seemed to smile. “Sue you? I was going to slaughter you.” “But I’ll give you a chance to save yourself this time. I propose a duel of trivia, Beatles trivia. I’ll ask you a question, then you’ll ask me one. Whoever gives the first incorrect answer is the bloody loser. And when that loser is you, you’ve struck out; it’s your ass, Mr. Hose.” Willing to bargain, is she? She was obviously beginning to crack in the presence of my overwhelming masculine appeal and animal sensuality, despite her deplorable egotism.
“All right,” I said, “And if you lose, same penalty, but in a less figurative sense. Now, I will admit you’re right about ongoing revisions to Beatles history. It happens so often, but I don’t think there’s any sort of agenda; it’s more like it’s coming from writers who are too young to have been there, and they’re getting their misinformation, their “facts” from either the Internet or Trivial Pursuit, when there are authoritative, contemporary texts available…”
Jenny now stared at me with a look of concern or worry. Her voice was like a song once again, somewhat fragile as she asked, “What’s wrong with Trivial Pursuit?”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. She’d be a piece of cake.
On to another archival matter, this one a great deal more pleasant. I was privileged to preview a new DVD from Dawn Treader Films (805-528-7508.) Assembled with a lot of love and well-directed by David Baumgarten, the 26-minute Folk Arts Rare Records isn’t, as it may sound, some sort of commercial for one of San Diego’s most precious institutions (although the uninitiated will certainly want to visit after viewing this.) It’s a sweet look back at the valuable contributions Lou Curtiss has made to our town’s musical heritage (and indeed our country’s!) along with his wife Virginia, bolstered by the talent of a number of performers who have graced so many of Lou’s festivals over so many enjoyable decades. There are performance clips galore (my fave was Tom Waits, who waits for all men) and Lou’s narration is relaxed and appealing. It’s a lovely, breezy, thoroughly enjoyable little film and something to treasure, as is the real subject himself, and yes, it’s available at Folk Arts Rare Records.
The Soft Rockets, my subject last month, have been on some sort of adrenalin rush. Or maybe it’s the megadoses of Viagra, but there are a bunch of new songs and interviews and other healthy musical mucous all co-mingling on their very entertaining website, thesoftrockets.com. The site is one of the 15 national finalists selected by the Department of Education for possible inclusion in the upcoming Mandated Curriculum for Middle Schools. Remember: you’re never too old to learn… unless you’ve lost your mind, as I continue to prove.