Made a friend in Hollywood.
'Blues Man the Blues' he called himself. He told me that and then he asked for $5. Being in LA I am used to being asked fairly consistently throughout the day for money and usually don't mind helping out when I can, but five dollars seemed a bit steep. In fact the strangeness of it stopped me in my tracks just long enough for my brain to start wondering why he needed exactly five dollars. Then my ADD took over and it turned more to why he thought it was a better marketing approach to ask for it all from one person as opposed to spreading the arm around a bit so to speak. By this time it had been at least 30 seconds and I neeeded to move on or say something, so I did the first thing that came to my mind: asked for a trade.
"You a musician man?" Oh man, here we go. I continued "Is that why you call yourself The Blues Man?" He nodded and started to look around me, beginning to get impatient for someone to lend the fiver. I sensed his attention slipping away and maybe I should have taken the opportunity to save my money but something pushed me to continue our little back and forth. "Fine, I'll give you $5 but I want to hear a song. Are you a singer, guitar player, what?" I had a guitar, bass, banjo, and plenty more less than a block away and for the price of a pack of Camels I was fully willing to put my new friends claim to name to the test. "Nah man, I mean I sing a little now and then when the ladies wanna hear something sweet ya know? Harmonica though brother thats my thing. Been playing for 35 years baby and I play for anyone, anytime, all the time. I'm The Blues Man Blues I know ya heard of me!" I hadn't of course but I humoured him and mentioned something about how my ex's mother was a semi- famous harmonica player 'back in the day.' As if I was desperate for him to know that I too was surrounded by music- that he could trust me (although with what, I am not quite sure I could tell you) but I can't ever remember any specifics and he is too busy with the task at hand to really hear anything I am saying anyway. Out of a briefcase that looked to be from the 1970's he pulled 3 harmonicas, each a different length.
He looked slightly past me "What do you wanna hear brother?" Hmm, I hadn't thought out anything this far into the exchange. I was blanking on anything interesting to request so I said the first thing that came into my head "The blues man, I guess." He gave me a sideways grin "Yeah, the blues is always a good choice."
He began to play. Something beautiful yet raw, rambling but somehow focused upon with pinpoint accuracy. I stopped. Music is my life so when I can feel- literally feel, that vibe pouring from someone else I pay attention. After a minute or so he stopped and I asked him if I could snap a few pictures while he played me just one more song. He obliged and I began to shoot him while he gave me 2 and a half minutes of his soul.
It was one of the most wonderful and devastating things I have ever heard. Dude was great. I thanked him and reached into my pocket for the five, but all I could find was a crumpled up $10. Fair trade.
The people you meet.
- [ORIGINAL SONG]Lover/Fighter, Beginning/Enders
I walk through strange fields with strangers.
My how we've grown.
I speak in strange tongues with scriptures,
for that Holy Ghost, for that HOLY GHOST.
I sleep in straight lines, straight lines.
Holding my breath, like I needed the air.
Smooth voice, don't point your fingers
Sexually hunt, run and grab your guns
Run and grab em'
I don't believe we've met
I didn't catch your name
You thought you were on fire
You were putting out the flame
Cool kids and close calls with coffins
Tearing at flesh like there was gold in their bones
I built my house on the sand
Where the tide is sure to come
Let the water come, pull me under
I don't believe we've met
I didn't catch your name
You thought you were on fire
You were putting out the flame
Sharp toothed wolves in
New wave sheep's clothing
The moment you left I started counting the seconds
Until you'd come around again.
So I could open you up and take the heart from your chest
Put some beauty in that skin.
Diamonds and lines I saw my face in your eyes,
and I believed it was the end.
The secrets you keep from all the people you meet,
are gonna find you here my friend.
I do not know you now but Lord I used to know you well
the message didn't send.
I tried to float away but didn't beat the current
so I let the ocean win.
I don't know your name,
only where you lay.
In the dirt beneath my feet.
Its on her third or fourth trip to the bathroom that I start to notice.
This cunt is up to no good.
Jabber mouth, tell me about your problems, talk about college and all the great times you had.
Realize at this very moment that you are your mother.
Laugh it off.
Get me the hell out of here.
5 drinks, 6 drinks, catching fire from the bartender because sometimes the company you keep sounds like a pack of dying puppies.
I suppose there is no one to blame for this but myself, and you do smell nice.
Vanishing into a taxi driven by someone who could only be described as a living, breathing infomercial for the effects of meth.
Laugh it off.
$43.60, but you still smell nice and the way you keep shifting your legs I can see that you aren’t wearing any panties.
Continue ignoring every word that comes out of your mouth.
You are probably doing the same.
Set forth, young captain.
Cannon balls and wrecker’s hearts.
Barely even breathing when the first waves crash in.
You, I, and no one else particularly very interesting, all sleeping naked.
Cold water awakening.
What kind of a secret society is this?
Some strange, forthright individual with a bullhorn tells everyone to get lost.
Fuck him. Fuck this whole fucking ship.
We will get out of here fine you say, and I agree.
Mostly halfheartedly but always hopeful.
I thought they said this would be easy?
Stop being ridiculous you say.
Grabbing onto the sleek, steel railing
Goddamn the water is cold.
Wake up in a room.
You are there, and I am pretty sure I can hear your brother and father.
I try to move but I cant.
A shark you say.
A fucking shark?
And you laugh.
And your brother and father.
And I as well.
- SNWTWN [ORIGINAL SONG]
just a little something I was working on today, maybe it'll inspire something in someone or something or other. :)
i was alone staring at my feet
trying to keep my balance on these
boxes of books that nobody reads
i speak i speak, don't mean a thing
i was a bad man lying through my teeth
just hoping everybody would see
under the dirt is just a dirtier me
good grief i sleep but i never dream
spirit i never want to leave you
this vessel is dying just to see you u
speak through the bottles and ivs to
see if communications reach through
i know you're scared im scared as well
in fact im scared as hell
but since i've been born ive always felt diseased
the dark sings to me
- [CALLING ALL MUSICIANS!] Bellevator [instrument...
Hey REcorders and friends! So this is "Bellevator" a VERY new, rough, instrumental idea I threw together yesterday and while I like and think it is a cool IDEA, it obviously needs a ton of work and fleshing out.
So let's do it together! GO nuts with this, there are no suggestions or creative boundaries. I'll be coming back around as well to add to any awesome ideas and just have some fun.
I would love for us to all make some beautiful music together, and if you dig this idea and we are able to make something work, then who knows how much creativity we could bring into the world in the future.
Hope to hear from any and all of you interested in adding your touch to this (or any) idea, now hit that shit! J.
- RE: Black Hole [tiny tune]
this was inspired by RandomProcessVol2.0's wonderful Black Hole piece, which was in turn influenced by rajasoup's amazing tiny story Space- a love story, from which I took the opening line.
There's a black hole in my heart
bleeds out the light in me
and always sings awfully soothing things
to all the spaceships that I meet
I've spent so long 'not growing up' that i'll be young forever.
You're just an old abandoned movie theatre
repeating forgotten silent films
that nobody ever watched
in the first place,
back when they made em'
I am a painter without a paint brush,
Spit blood on canvas to remind us-
We were bigger than sinking ships once
Please be kind- someone rewind us!
You're a fraction of what you were
and I'm subtracting all of my lovers
Until we're all that is left and sure-
There's no more ghosts under our covers
(in between the sheets.)
There's a hole in the floor
I keep staring down
look in every corner
inch and border
like you're still around
no matter what I find
it's never what I wish Id found
in every single word I write
I have to fight myself to write you out.
There was an empty room
we used to lay inside it
spirits often floated 'round us
you got scared but tried to hide it
Somewhere in Texas I found a door with a lock
I kick and push it forever
but never get what its got
until I get to my senses again
or at least start to breathe
and every cloud and every number
starts to seem like the key
and Ive been young as a child
and I did childish things
and I grew up and continued
Im not a product of people
I am the strangers you meet
the end isn't coming my love
its been past us for weeks
(and these days)
before you can do anything
it seems its already done
we are a voice in a system
shift all your phasers to stun
I lay my head on concrete
stare straight at the sun
this body is just a vessel
this world is just a test run.
- Outsiders, a Creation Myth VO
So this is my one take attempt at the voice over for Wirrow's amazing "Outsiders..." piece.
Jackson Matthews is a goddamned genius, at least according to the post on October 23, 2012 on the ultra-hip culture blog 'Americunts' entitled "Hollywood's Handyman".
What they and nearly everyone else failed to realize, was Jackson Matthews "Hollywood Handyman" no longer existed. In fact, as far as his job description was concerned; any change of which was kept quiet and completely out of the eyes of the public and press; when it came to big business in the U.S- Jackson Matthews was now America's "Handyman."
Age 29 and rather tall at 6'4'', he stood a good half a foot taller than most of his peers. His style was impeccable- only the most fashionable names graced his wardrobe, which consisted almost entirely of custom stitched designer suits. He had thick black hair, long by professional standards, which he slicked back, and a seemingly unchanging perfect 5 o'clock shadow. Underneath his attire, out of the view of his professional peers but of course not of the paparazzi, he had 2 half sleeves of tattoos from a mega- famous female tattoo artist, and the ultra toned body of (insert name of any current young, hip, and attractive actor.)
He was often spotted at the hottest nightclubs in cities like Paris, Sydney, New York, and LA.
He was often spotted spending obscene amounts of money and romancing the hottest young stars and supermodels while in these cities and clubs.
He was often spotted leaving these places in the newest and nicest luxury cars and private jets.
These were also often spotted full of the most attractive women currently in the public eye. Not to mention the bevy of film directors, rock stars (major and 'underground' to be clear,) C.E.Os of some of the largest corporations in the country, and quite frequently sons and daughters of extremely prominent figures in government, that he was quite often spotted spending time with.
In the public eye he could almost always be found doing what he did best- convincing the people; that is, you and your middle class friends and family; one simple and easy to swallow truth: Jackson Matthews is a fucking badass.
What would never be seen publicly however, was the one thing that made it all possible. The one thing that had opened all of the doors, all of the bank accounts, all of the bottles, and all of the legs. The thing that his mother and father had always told him, whether they realized it or not, that he was great at. The public would never see him actually do his job. They would never watch him stare straight into the eyes of some of the most powerful people in America, and without batting an eyelash, tell some of the most powerful lies of this decade.
No one would ever see the process behind the beautiful products and people that he turned into veritable gold mines. The blood, sweat, tears, and multitudes of other cliches about working hard in every corner of his life. The sleep deprivation and endless pharmaceutical cocktails needed to make each job possible.
The all night meetings, the battles to ensure the most complete control possible, and the long term result of each victory would never be part of his public persona, and this was completely understandable from a Public Relations point of view. In fact, those in the know would probably agree that the way he handled his own PR was arguably one of the smartest approaches taken in the history of big business politics. No one saw anything that they weren't supposed to and it worked perfectly that way. That was nothing new or out of the ordinary of course, in big money there lies the biggest egos which means even bigger back stabbings and betrayals to cover up than an episode of 'Pregnant and Potty Training." What was unusual however was the scale at which he was able to distance and shield the celebrity he so publicly enjoyed, from his professional work and reputation.
Usually, if you are known for being the most manipulative, dishonest, controlling, and/or heartless person around the office you will not be very well liked and most certainly not trusted. So how is it that Matthews was able to be all of those things and yet still be loved in the glossy gossip rags and the most sought after professional in his field?
It's simple enough to understand- in America celebrity is everything. Sports, entertainment, politics, and product are all in someway based on or around key players and their public images which in turn shape that same public's opinions of them. What is the actuality of celebrity though, really? Easy. Celebrity, like all big business and politics, hell- all big money in general, is kept afloat and governed by a simple, one- word weapon. A weapon which is wielded at every unassuming person not only in our country but the entire world, and has been since the first recorded instance of power in history.
Even the most beloved celebrities and company heads can be caught leaving threatening voice mails to their grandmothers or skinning Chinese kids to make boat shoes. When that happens there are two options for you.
Your first option and the most commonly occurring of the two is to choose to ignore the problem. After all, there's no such publicity as bad publicity, right? Wrong. In fact, not only is that contradictory to the actual point of publicity as a marketing tool, but in an era of complete over saturation of both people and products to choose from, it is irresponsible from a business perspective. Add to that- the rise of some of the most moronic "activists" that our great country has ever seen, scouring the internet forums, fast food HQs, school yards, and movie sets making sure that no ones feelings get hurt (unless of course you believe in a Judeo- Christian God of any kind, in which case your opinion is irrelevant. Also-please stop reading this now as it is for people with half a fucking brain. Science cannot and has never before been wrong, you fools. Just look at Jurassic Park, can your messiah do that kids?) and you can be sure that your ass will be hung out to dry in no time. When this happens you can kiss your great public image and opinion goodbye, because you are 1 year away from starring in a Lifetime movie or selling your product strictly through your blog and all out of your own pocket. Anyone not already under the umbrella of protection offered in option number two who chooses to seek out the help of any outside source; or even worse; their own PR agents, should be included here. That will not work. They cannot help you now.
The second option and road less traveled; though the more sought after solution of the two; is to hire what is known as a "Re- Marketer."
The term was coined originally in the mid naughts behind closed doors, at some of the highest level meetings of the entertainment industry. There was a sort of panicked buzz going around all of the major studios in LA over a certain problem that no one seemed quite sure how to fix.
The problem was a young, extremely famous, strikingly beautiful actress, who along with actually being incredibly talented, had at the time seemed just as adept at making a complete mess out of the empire she had spent years building. This empire included but was not limited to: Two huge franchises at two major studios, a fragrance line, an album in the works with the largest record company in the world, a previously published "mid- life memoir" on the best sellers list for 22 months, with a second fictional YA novel on the way, along with the job of being the face of both the best selling woman's makeup brand in history and one of the most well respected and trendiest names in fashion. Her father was also one of the wealthiest men in the world. That last one is probably the most important, or at least the most relevant to this story.
By the time that these meetings were called, her public opinion had plummeted and the image she could most usually be seen projecting was less a modern day Grace Kelly and more a cocaine addled alcoholic stripper who can't remember how to dress herself fully or properly and has no concept of the actual outcome of the flash on a camera. Usually, this wouldn't be an issue. Kids come to Hollywood, become huge stars, squander all of their earnings, and pick up ridiculous amounts of addictions along the way all the time. The solution to that problem is almost always to convince them that option one is a good idea... or you could always just suicide them. Either way, the problem is an easy one to fix. Usually.
Some people however, are wealthier than others. This is a fact of life and it is a fact all the way up to the top. The young star's father's money was important to a lot of very wealthy people, not only in Hollywood, but in Washington, and even more importantly in the kinds of dark places and seriously shady circles of people that you don't want to believe exist. Without his money a lot of those people would be either out a job or out a life and in America- wealthy people don't lose their jobs. The only problem was Daddy wasn't willing to admit that his little angel could possibly make any poor choice on her own, without the influence of people who must be hiding in her circles under the guise of being friends, peer pressuring her into doing $600 worth of cocaine on a TransAtlantic flight and/or otherwise trying to sabotage her career.
So Daddy tightened up the grip on his proverbial wallet and put the word out- until her image was returned to "sparkling as a fucking diamond straight from the mines of South Africa" and her empire restored, his money would no longer be available to anyone or any company involved in anyway with his daughter.
This pissed people off, and royally. For months they tried their best to hide her away in rehabs and healing centers around the globe while they scrambled to find a solution. They would spend weeks planning an appearance on a late night talk show, or a guest judge spot on a hugely overblown karaoke competition, and every time without fail, she would almost beautifully destroy every shred of dignity and respect she had left with the kind of feverish intensity and determination rarely seen.
Oh, she was popular as ever- if you show your baby vending machine to the world once every three weeks or so they will pay attention. No one actually vehemently disliked her yet- but no one respected her anymore, she was a joke. Once you start in on the subtle racism and ignorant comments that show you are nothing like the average human being though, people will generally begin to hate you. For real, and a lot.
With companies being forced to abandon campaigns and studios putting major pictures on hold, all anyone could do was wait for her to die and hope that Daddy would be more susceptible to emotional manipulation during the grieving process. Then, maybe they could get some money for a tribute concert (which could ultimately be filmed and released wide, in 3D of course) and try to earn his trust back through faux sadness and sympathy. It was worth a shot they all supposed.
It wasn't until July of 2006 that anyone met or had even ever heard of Jackson Matthews or the ideas behind Re-Marketing.
He was Introduced to a Mr. Stephen Scalanda, the head of Paramax Pictures, one of the aforementioned two major studios holding a franchise starring the doomed dame, by his cousin Harden Bennet who was at the time working in marketing for the record label Getton; which I'm sure you've already correctly assumed is the same mentioned earlier that our lovely leading lady was hoping to release her pop debut through; and long time friends with Scalanda's youngest son, James.
Harden had set Matthews up in his guest room when he first arrived in Los Angeles in 2004 and over the course of the following year and a half, had allowed his cousin inside knowledge of the label and all of its successes and dramas, which Matthews in turn used to create the outline for a project he believed could revolutionize the way that celebrities images could be marketed and utilized for the highest return value possible.
At 23, Matthews was fresh and almost definitely a little wet behind the ears, but Harden knew that given a little time and the right guidance he could quite possibly solve their current problem and maybe even similar situations in the future. He sat with Matthews as he presented the idea to Scalanda in a board room on the 30th floor of one of the nicest high rises in downtown LA, where they sipped green teas and overlooking what felt like the entire valley to him at the time, he laid out his plan.
The idea was simple enough- If they could convince the public and paparazzi that everything was getting better, they could buy some time and assemble a team of undercover "agents" to infiltrate her life, influence her through faux kindness, love, and friendship- basically completely bullshit her until she inevitably succumbed to peer pressure and followed the agents advice and example. Then, they could begin to build the publics respect and opinion for her back up, and make her out to be some sort of role model for young women with problems everywhere. Then not only could they solve the issue with Daddy, they could use the problems she was causing now to actually make money for them in the long run. After all, the bigger the fall the more spectacular the comeback story right? In fact, you could actually engineer situations to bring a client down further if need be, and although that certainly wasn't the case here, it was discussed in those early meetings and would later seem tame when they all looked back on those first days.
The only problem was in order to project any kind of progress they would have to actually get her to not only remain conscious, coherent, and sober for at least 30 minutes at a time, but graceful, well spoken, and inspiring as well. If only for 30 minutes. No one but Daddy really cared.
No one except for Jackson Matthews that is, but that was the last time he would ever make that mistake.
TO BE CONTINUED....