FOLLOWING THE UNHOLY THREE HOLIDAYS THAT MAKE NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER SUCH A STRESSFUL MISERY (THANKSGIVING, CHRISTMAS, NEW YEAR'S) AMERICA HEADS INTO JANUARY, AN ENTIRE MONTH OF UNREPENTANT IDIOCY...
"Hysteria for a football team," as Sammy Walker sings it. Or, "teams."
Americans go berserk as the playoffs lead down to the moronically named "Super Bowl," which practically shuts down the entire country. Stores are deserted. Everyone is obsessed with watching a game that involves two teams that 90% of the country never saw in person and couldn't reach without a plane ticket. It involves a bunch of millionaires carrying on for a city they most likely don't live in. It also involves the incredible idiot hype over...get this...being sure to WATCH TV COMMERCIALS. "Wow, these super-rich companies that make enough to pay over a million dollars for 30 or 60 seconds...are gonna do their utmost to get our attention, so let's all WATCH and later talk about which ad was our favorite!"
That's hysteria for a football game, all right; another reason to hate Americans. Yes, let's all watch Madison Avenue's sick but "clever" ads...as if we haven't had enough of a slimy gekko, a loud duck, and all the other daily pests in TV ads.
Ooh ooh! Lets not move off the couch for a moment, in case we miss that Oprah ad everyone will be talking about Monday morning, or Schwarzenegger, or some "hilarious" beer commercial, or maybe just some stupid girl in Viley Virus gear getting risque (at only a lad-mag Maxim level). Oooh, she's whoring for some stinky cologne. Or an Internet company. Oooh, you go girl, you Go Daddy!
Oh yes and let's not forget the hysteria over a "rock concert" plopped in at halftime. Let's watch some pretentious superstar asshole (Broooooose) singing his gratingest hits, or some fading rockers try to show they still have it, or some newcomer bitch giving a performance that would embarrass her gynecologist.
Meanwhile, people are dying. More than likely, a call to 911 on "Super Bowl" Sunday wouldn't get a response for a half hour, and the only personnel at the hospital on duty would be a few hapless bedpan cleaners.
The contrast between a stadium of screaming fans and one old woman's silent last moments on Earth, is the subject of Sammy Walker's song, which sort of takes his friend Phil Ochs' "Flower Lady" to a logical extreme. While a football game is going on (at the time, the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the perennial top Super Bowl contenders) nobody is caring much about an old lady living and now dying alone.
Do I watch the fucking "Super Bowl?" Not usually. Thanks to the Internet, more "American-wanna be" fetishists are doing it. The ones who sit around calling themselves Cal E. Fornia and desperately import Velveeta over their own country's cheese. If I do watch, it's generally the last quarter, when it might be mildly interesting to see how the teams cope with pressure in a close game.
PS, it ain't exactly over on February 2nd. Once the football insanity has finally died down, including the post-game week of analysis and listing "favorite commercials" and how the rock act did...it's BASKETBALL idiocy, and an entire month of "March Madness." Ugh.
Watch the "Super Bowl?" I'd rather "support the artist" and go see Sammy Walker in concert. Unfortunately, ticket prices are high, times are tough, transit is impossible, and the number of decent venues for a singer-songwriter continue to shrink. Indie artists desperately need and often can't afford a booking manager, and small clubs don't pay enough to pay for the hotel and car fare. Some deserving artists chronicled here on the blog may perform locally once in a while Severin Browne, Martin Briley, Turley Richards and that's about it. Most aren't making money off royalties, either.
Sammy Walker was recently interviewed by Kasper Nijsen at the SomethingelseReviews.com website, mentioned that he hasn't performed much, except for a few local dates in North Carolina. It's just not easy for any singer-songwriter on an indie label, or no label, to get worthwhile gigs "Without the internet and the new technologies, no one would be listening to my songs at all..."
And most important is to actually listen: "Sometimes it seems a lot of people have forgotten to listen to the words to songs. I mean, the general listening public. I don't know how many people today can still sit and listen to the words and contemplate what they're hearing. But there's always the exceptions, of course, who are influenced by that kind of music and do listen to music where the words are a big part of the song."
Listen to "Cold Pittsburgh Morning," one of the great songs that has often led reviewers to link Sammy Walker with such contemporaries as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs.
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