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Monthly Archives: January 2012

#MusicMonday: “Trip To Your Heart” – Britney Spears

This is a little embarrassing. Let me try to explain.

I’ve been really into synthesizer pop lately, because Studio Krisis has come into possession of a new synth and it’s not a language I speak fluently.

I am also working my way through roughly 1,700 songs from 2011 that I acquired in December.

Okay, enough excuses: this post is really about a Britney Spears song. I think it is awesome.

There, I’ve said it.

Two weeks ago E and I were lounging in our hotel room in Las Vegas between adventures when this came on my iPod. I looked up from my book. “This is really good,” I said. E nodded behind her book. When the song began to wind down I reached beside me and clicked back to the beginning without looking at the title or artist.

After two listens I picked up my iPod, curious to know who the singer was. It had a sort of UK pop sound to it, but also reminded me of the electric lounge of The Bird and The Bee or even The Cardigans.

Imagine my surprise to discover the singer: Britney Spears.

Let’s be clear here – I love pop music, but I do not like Britney Spears. In fact, 2011’s Femme Fatale is the only LP of hers I even own (mostly because we dance to a couple of the songs in Zumba).

This is mostly because she generally does not sing very well on record, and if you don’t sing well and you don’t write your own songs I don’t really get the point of you existing as an artist. At that point your face is just an ad campaign for someone else’s beats.

“Trip To Your Heart” disproves that theory, to a degree. She sounds lovely on it in a higher register I didn’t even know she had. Sure, she probably has a super-computer’s worth of digital processing tuning her up. She always has that, yet many of her other vocals still sound like hell.

Britney or not, if you like dreamy synth-pop with a good beat, this song is for you.

What I Tweeted, 2012-01-29 Edition

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What I Tweeted, 2012-01-22 Edition

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What Happens In Vegas…

Scene: Yesterday at the Las Vegas airport, just after 9am PT.

I am scheduled to rehearse with Arcati Crisis in approximately six hours. E and I have just been deplaned. I texted Gina an update on my flight.

This is our actual text message conversation, unabridged.

Peter:  Our plane is delayed due to a bad smell. Will text you upon arrival. I still might be home in time.

Gina: Bad smell like a rotting carcass, or like an “OMG PLANE CRASH” kind of bad smell?

G: I don’t know what the latter would smell like. Fuel?

P: I suspect a dirty sock has been sucked into the air circulation system. We have been grounded due to a dirty sock.

G: Probably placed there by an angry flight attendant.

P: They keep beckoning the attendants back into the plane for a “sniff test.” I do not think “sniff” is a technical acronym. I believe they are actually testing our safety with their finely trained noses.

G: That’s amazing. “Flight attendants: it is time for you to sniff once again. This is what we’ve been training for all of our lives.”

G: If there was a chemist there, they’d make sure people were wafting.

P: Do you think I should go over and explain wafting to them? They seem very pleasant. Maybe they are lifelong learners who would appreciate the knowledge.

G: Well, I suppose wafting would only be useful if they are looking to stick their noses into bottles or cans of questionable materials. If there is an exhaust pipe somewhere with a dirty sock in it, I guess that counts.

G: It is my opinion that they should have hired people who walk around in lab coats with the airline emblem on them to do the sniffing … to add legitimacy to the whole thing. Nothing says “legitimate” like a lab coat.

P: Maybe they have the lab coats in the overhead bin with the sample oxygen mask. Maybe SNIF stands for “sensing nefarious intrusive fragrances.” They serve many roles, flight attendants.

G: It’s true. Perhaps they just ran out of miniature liquor bottles and they’re trying to come up with how to handle the passengers without them.

An hour passes.

P: Now we cannot reenter the plane to retrieve our luggage. I will be secretly thrilled if the bad smell is actually toxic.

G: Wow, you still haven’t taken off yet? Are they going to put you on another plane?

P: No. We are relocating Arcati Crisis to Las Vegas. We will be staying in the executive suit of The Flamingo. We will be alternates for Donnie & Marie.

G: This all sounds completely reasonable and appropriate.

G: Of course we would be staying at The Flamingo. This would only be more sensical if we were staying in a suite next to a penthouse filled with Elvises.

G: Elvi? I don’t know.

P: Oh, it gets better.

P: There are paramedics with a stretcher waiting in the jetway. Except, everyone from the flight is seated out here at the gate.

G: I am guessing they found an alien life form in there. You might actually be living out Terror at 30,000 Feet … but … at sea level and not trapped in a plane … and without William Shatner. So, not nearly as dynamic or exciting.

G: It occurs to me that the presence of William Shatner in any form at this point would improve your situation.

Several minutes later…

P: They just took a single large bag out of the plane on the stretcher.

G: Oh my god. There is a human head in it, isn’t there?!?

P: Or a small E.B.E.

[That’s Extraterrestrial Biological Entity, for those of you who did not watch The X-Files.]

G: I think this entire conversation will be making it’s way onto my blog.

P: Yes, mine too. Clearly.

G: So, rehearsal’s off, then?

Epilogue, three hours later … around when rehearsal was set to begin.

G: Have you made your way onto a plane yet.

P: No.

G: Oy. Did you find out any fabulous details about the Mysterious Odor?

P: No further information. I was told by an airline rep that I was “very nice,” so clearly they are trying to cover something up.

G: Intrigue!

P: This is an actual message I just heard on the overhead: “We want to let you know this flight does not have running water, which means you will not have coffee service, or be able to flush the toilets.”

P: Then, after a brief pause: “We jut want to clarify – you will be able to use the toilets, but will be unable to flush them or wash your hands.”

G: Wow… just wow. Purell for all!

E and I touched down in Philly just after 10pm. Our plane smelled lovely and did have running water.

Leaving Las Vegas

Circus Circus

I did not have many must-do items on our itinerary. Just one, really.

Circus Circus.

I am a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo Journalism, and one of my favorite books is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Many of the locations from the book have since been demolished or converted into something new, yet two significant ones remained: The Flamingo and Circus Circus.

As luck would have it, we were staying at The Flamingo – the scene of Thompson’s freak-out trip and his attorney’s accosting of a hapless maid turned informer. I gleefully read these passages to E, who shook her head in a mixture of bemusement and disgust.

The other intact monument to the book is Circus Circus, a casino complete with its own trapeze act and merry-go-round bar. Since the casino is farther north on the strip, it wasn’t somewhere we would idly walk past. We had to plan a day around it.

We finally arrived on day four of five, fresh from our arial adventures atop the Stratosphere. Circus Circus looked exactly how I pictured it – a low dilapidated facade dominated by an eery neon clown.

Circus Circus is now a children’s amusement park.

I don’t know what else to say, really. The merry-go-round bar that Thompson mercilessly ejected his attorney from now serves pretzels and sorbet, and the acrobat show is a purely family-friendly affair with no rabid wolverines in sight.

I thought the Circus Circus revelation was pretty much the final nail in the coffin of this trip for me. It represents the ultimate disappointment of Las Vegas. Everything here is an illusion or a faded recollection. Everything needs the night air and a neon facade to brighten the corners of an otherwise dismal and callous place.

(Then my travel companions brought a bottle of champagne on a roller coaster and we had a major dance party to an 80s cover band, which helped reduce the Circus Circus disappointment to merely an amusing sidebar to the best day of our trip.)

(I still don’t like it here.)