What is THAT? – Oddities from the MT mailbox

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Here’s the deal. Every day here at the Metro Times, our mail delivery includes CDs, books and all sorts of other promotional items. A lot of it we can use and review – local-interest music, DVDs, etc. But we also get a lot of weird and whacky items that just kinda build up. So that’s where this idea came from. Each week (or at least most weeks) I’ll gather up some of the more interesting, freaky and brow-furrowing promo pieces and offer them up here for you. I could be about to show you anything. On that note, feel free to send us anything to Brett Callwood, 733 St Antoine, Detroit MI 48226.

Ian F. Svenonius of the band Chain & the Gang has written what I assume to be a tongue-in-cheek book (though I kinda hope it isn’t too) called Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group (Akashic), in which he claims to spell out the secrets to creating a successful rock band – secrets that other rock bands have held close to their chests for fear of extra competition. So he holds a séance and interviews Hendrix, Brian Jones of the Stones, Buddy Holly, Mary Wells and others, and gets the lowdown from a few souls (pardon the pun) who are no longer concerned with their careers. Highlights of the book includes the bit where he talks about successful bands like Led Zeppelin and the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and the chapter called “Sex” in which the author tries to tell us that musicians must abstain completely from sex if they are to perform at their best onstage, because performance is a “replacement for erotic conquest.” Good luck with that.

The Petraeus Files (St. Martin’s Griffin) is a collection of the correspondence sent between Gen. David Patraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell during their much-publicized affair. The fact that there’s enough to fill a book nearly tells you all you need to know. Nearly, but not quite because there are some truly awesome lines in here. “Weapon loaded and prepared to fire,” said Patraeus, along with a picture of his knob. He also sent her a sketch of two donkeys fucking, explaining that he found that to be beautiful. My favorite line – “Sorry about the fisting thing. I certainly wouldn’t do it without asking first.” At least he has manners.

Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow is a superb collection of essays by Minneapolis writer Andy Sturdevant, which kicks off with a beauty – Sturdevant is upset because the all-ages punk club that he used to frequent is now a Buffalo Wild Wings. He said as much through social media, and so began a chain of emails between himself and the then-marketing dude at B-Dubs. “Don’t you think it’s extremely arrogant to presume that because I enjoy the music of Wayne County & the Electric Chairs I am somehow obligated to share your worldview?” said the B-Dubs guys. The book is chock-full of similarly amusing anecdotes.

With new album 9ine (Shanichie), artists Musiq Soulchild and Syleena Johnson have attempted to meld contemporary American R&B with reggae, but have actually created music that sounds like it would be at home being played on a cruise ship stage to a bunch of drunken, elderly vacationers.

Also of note – we received an advance copy of the series premier of a new show called Trust Me I’m a Game Show Host, which sees hosts pitted against each other. Mildly amusing, but don’t rush to DVR it. That show starts on Tuesday, October 22.

Finally, we received The Newer Yorker Book III, edited by Joshua S. Raab. It’s tough to know where to start, but this short collection features art, poetry and all manner of weird little entries. The listed definition of comedy in here is, “Tragedy you laugh at.” Pretty much says it all.

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