The Random Griffith

Now simile and Judas Priest, they were the best of friends

Posted in gosh darn it, hipster gibberish by Jackson Griffith on 12/08/2011

Some people go to bars. My typical M.O. is to swing by Phono Select, that swell little neighborhood record store in Midtown, on the way home from the office. Usually it’s Dal or Nich or maybe the lovely Christina, or a combo thereof, invariably with Downtown James Brown, headphones clapped over his ears, checking out either Famous Flames videos or, today, Google-searching stuff like “Christina Aguilera naked pictures.” Ha, James is diggin’ on some porn, somebody said. “Naw I ain’t lookin’ at no pornos!” he yelled, triggering laughing fits around the store.

Today I found a record in the $1 bargain bin. I don’t usually spring for the cheapos, but once I took a gander at the liner notes on the back of Trini Lopez Live at PJ’s, on the Reprise label, I had to have it. Penned by Mike Connolly from not only The Hollywood Reporter but syndicated by the San Francisco Chronicle, the notes had that yabba dabba doo swagger that could only come from the aftermath of a four-martini lunch at Martoni’s or perhaps Vesuvio’s, depending on in what end of the state Connolly was imbibing, I mean, writing.

I relish writing like this. I’m not going to attempt any kind of critique; I’m just going to string together some of the fine similes and metaphors, and let them do the talking, and let you stand back or sit down and be as totally impressed as I was and still am: “Like an anchor in aspic … as exciting as Bingo in a church basement … stronger than tacos in an Olvera Street sidewalk stand … as disorganized as Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody arranged for harp and trumpet … just like Saturday night at the Paseo de la Reforma.”

The trouble with these kids today is that they’re putting out albums and singles and whatnot, and they’re not hiring half-in-the-bag scriveners to liven up the back covers with prose like this: “That crazy beat, P.J.’s trademark, is showcased typically in Trini’s ‘La Bamba.’ No dancing is permitted at P.J.’s so the customers keep time to Trini’s Latin-scattin’ vocals with their cocktail jiggers, their glasses, their fists and their feet.” Sounds like a good time to me.

So I bought this album just because I needed something to write about this evening. I could talk about almost getting run over twice by the same bus — Sacramento Regional Transit Bus No. 2379, first when the driver ran a yellow-turning-red light at approximately 6:43 p.m. while speeding east on J Street at 25th Street and nearly clipped me at the southeast corner as I stepped into the curb and he or she swerved into the lane to access the bus stop, and then later on J Street at 20th at around 9 p.m., much less of a close call this time, but still, same bus, as I was about to cross at 20th Street — but I wouldn’t want to get the driver into trouble for trying to get to Jimboy’s before closing time. Those tacos can be pretty tasty. Still, being a pedestrian in this town sucks sometimes.

Didn’t have any cool dreams about dark-eyed beauties, either. So, this. —Jackson Griffith

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