sad imitation of a pop hero Wednesday, January 14 2009
At some point today I could be found down in the greenhouse using a drywall taping knife to apply a thin veneer of Portland cement to the interior concrete block walls of the greenhouse. I love the look and random textures of Portland cement (both tinted and, in this case, untinted). It's both hard and soft, both smooth and irregular. For the past few days I've been considering drawing reproductions of ancient cave art on this wall, and Portland cement makes for an ideal cave-surface gesso.
This evening Gretchen and I watched another two hour episode of American Idol (which on a Tivo is only an hour and a half). As an antidote to this much time watching so many people aspiring to be bland pop stars, you couldn't do much better than the latest YouTube memetic sensation: Mark Gormley. He appears to be a highly-unphotogenic genius who has been cranking out rock and roll since the 1970s in total obscurity. His range is from late-60s psychedelia to late 70s British New Wave Metal, two genres that, though impossible to see on American Idol, happen to be my favorites. His video for "Without You," though unintentionally hilarious, showcases a touchingly gorgeous song performed by a guy who will probably die a virgin. It once again reminded me of the fact that there are pockets of creativity all over the country that exist below the radar of pop culture and will never be famous unless they accidently stumble into some recipe for viral success.
The entity that brings us Mark Gormley is a possibly-web-only phenomenon called the UnchartedZone Music Television Show, a goldmine of unpolished content. It's a 1996-era website streaming YouTube videos, most of them cookie cutter productions of songs you've neard heard, all of them filmed on green screen with clipart backgrounds. The hilarity extends to Phil Thomas Katt, its wickedly-dry Roy Orbison impersonator VJ, as well as a cast of fake blondes with poofy hair and thick Gulf Coast accents and (I kid you not) names like Misty and Amber.