A Taste of Honeycombs

Big Beat Scene Programme

Five years ago this month I posted a lengthy review of Martin Aston’s encyclopedic Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out.1 Last week one of Aston’s subjects came to life as it was pushed my way courtesy of YouTube: 1964’s “Have I the Right?” by the Honeycombs. Lyrically it’s reminiscent of Sixties songs that became gay and lesbian bar hymns. Think Sinatra’s “Strangers In the Night” (1966), Bobby Darin’s version of “My Buddy” (1962), Connie Francis’s “Where the Boys Are” (1961). Such songs were appropriated by this social set, but its membership included a few of the hymnists as well.

I couldn’t recall why I knew the Honeycombs’ music until I found that these clips come from Top Gear (1965) aka Go Go Mania (US), which I taped from cable years ago. It’s available for viewing, gratis, via Kanopy.
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Picture-Perfect

Bachelors Anonymous photo

Ten days ago Rob Berg and I rounded out the Bachelors Anonymous studio catalog with The Big Picture. Rob came up with the album title and the cover design: a rainbow emerging behind us as we frame ourselves (at a 1990 New Year’s Eve party held at the home of Anne Atwell-Zoll, who sang backup with Ann Russell). My first thought was that the rainbow is passé, but with the resurgence of a loathing that never left, I’m reminded of those peace symbol posters from an earlier era: Back By Popular Demand.

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I’m Dreaming of a White Bicycle

Neil My White Bicycle cover

While searching for half-remembered short films on the theme of public restrooms last month (see In the Can), I ran across a parody of “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” posted last fall as a commentary on the trans* bathroom con-troversy.

The performer, Christopher Trautman, explains:

This song was recorded in North Carolina. The only State in the United States that passed a law specifically directing that the restroom you use must be based on the junk you possess. It was later repealed after a national embarrassment campaign [led] by Comedy Central where they opened a food truck called Bone Brothers Barbecue in downtown Raleigh and discriminated against everybody who they determined to be gay… which was everybody.

That barbecue pi—er—bit, which aired on The Daily Show in 2016, was by Roy Wood Jr., assisted by Jordan Klepper. It’s hilarious and is, mm…, cued up below.

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What’s This Feeling?

Portrait of E. M. Forster by Paul Cadmus

Now we shan’t never be parted.
It’s finished.

— Alec Scudder, from the film

Rob Berg and I released a thirty-year-old song by our band Bachelors Anonymous last week on the the occasion of the Winter Solstice; it also happened to be the birthday of Michael Tilson Thomas, whose work we knew as guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the early 1980s.

“What’s This Feeling?” asks a question that Rob posed to himself, and his affecting account is in the latest post from our BachelorBlog.

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Idol not Idle

Idol Not Idle header

Billy Idol has a new music video. And four dates in Vegas.

At the Chelsea. In October.

I remember first hearing Idol’s band Generation X on Rodney Bingenheimer’s show on KROQ. I thought the song was titled “Wild Dove.” Rather, it was the dub side to their second single, “Wild Youth.” It sounded so mysterious, this up-paced power-pop tune pulled apart.

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