What is a Love Light?

Turn On Your Love Light, Bobby Blue Bland. The great popularizer of the love light. This song has been covered by everyone from the Grateful Dead to the Blues Brothers.


Love Light, CNBLUE. A Korean pop boy-band. Can’t tell what they mean by love light, but it’s something smooth and creamy judging by their vocals.


Lovelight, Robbie Williams. Crazy video in which the heartthrob entertains a factory full of uniformed models, like a cross between Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video. The song was composed and originally recorded by Lewis Taylor in 2003, three years before Williams got to it. The lyrics are a rarity among Love Light songs, in that they comment on such a light dimming:

I wanna know

Baby when you’re with me

Who do you think you’re foolin’?

Making me feel so sure

Turnin’ your lovelight down again.”


Lovelight, ABBA

This one begins with a complaint that a room’s too dark… until “you” arrive. So a love light is like a flashlight?

You must have a lovelight
Everything around you is lovelight
And I can feel your love everywhere
Maybe even when you’re not there
The lovelight
Everything around you is lovelight
You’re shining like a star in the night
I won’t let you out of my sight
I don’t want to lose you, I don’t want to lose your lovelight


Love Light in Flight, Stevie Wonder.

Love light in flight
Fuel injection passion

That’s the chorus. Really confuses the issue. Is love light similar to a lightwave or the speed of light now?


When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes, The Supremes. The group’s first Top 40 hit, written and produced by the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland triumvirate.


The Love Light, 1921 silent film drama starring Mary Pickford about a female lighthousekeeper in Italy who takes a shine to a sailor who is revealed to be a German spy.


Love Life, The Rutles. What’s an “F” or a “T” among friends? Comes closer to the meaning of “Love Light” than any of the above:

Love is the meaning of life

Life is the meaning of love

Love is the meaning of life

Life is the meaning of love

Love is the meaning of life

Life is the meaning of love

Love is the meaning of life

Life is the meaning of love…

Just Finished Reading…. Gold, Frankenstein and Myrrh

Frankenstein: Dead and Alive, by Dean Koontz

I meant to polish off this audiobook quickly in October in honor of Halloween, but it stayed alive on my iPhone, Frankenstein-like, in dribs and drabs, right through December. I finished listening yesterday while chopping firewood, and was astonished that the book—the end of the main trilogy of Dean Koontz’s clever post-technological update of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein legend—ends with a reference to Christmas. The brilliant, elusive and conflicted character Deucalion (the original Frankenstein monster, now joined by a whole breed of other people created from body parts of deceased humans) recovering in an abbey, where he’s considered “the best Santa Claus.”


More than that, this is a series about redemptions, reshaping of opinions about life and death, and a sort of divine justice (visited upon a misguided creator himself) wrapped up in horror-novel scenarios.

Not the Christmas revelation I suspected, but a welcome one. The first three Dean Koontz Frankenstein books are fun action-thrillers melded with social satire, scientific know-how, and far-reaching philosophy. Koontz has chosen to continue the series and the timing seems right for me to continue the plunge.

Rock Gods #284 : Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

The band is called Not Even a Mouse, and they gig in a deserted club on nights when it’s simply not worth the effort to open the place to the public. Like Christmas Eve. It’s an all-star, all-friend band whose members have no real families to go home too. Their family is at the club, so they’re allowed to sneak in and jam all night.

It’s technically an invitation-only show, but folks rap on the door and usually are allowed in. Sometimes they bring presents, or an ornament for the makeshift “tree” made of broken drumsticks, guitar strings and other odds and ends. Sometimes the guests sit in with the band, which is usually a gift but can occasionally be such a clatter we rise from our seats to see what is the matter.

We’ll keep the location and the players anonymouse. Don’t want to chill the buzz. Just call them Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen.

Rest assured that the rocking is hung by the chimney with care.


At the Bullfinch tomorrow: Von Will and the Hodies, with post-Christmas English grog cheer… At Hamilton’s: back to reminiscing with Les & The Carols plus Post-Lewd… At D’ollaires: An Evening With… rap siren Jayuss Got Back! You think we’re kidding…

Four Musical Goings-On

“What Goes On,” The Beatles. Written by John Lennon for his pre-Beatles band The Quarrymen, it was altered and given to Ringo Starr to sing on the Rubber Soul album. It’s a throwback to the Carl Perkins country-rock sound The Beatles so admired.


“What Goes On,” The Velvet Underground. Curious but ultimately upbeat. The Velvet Underground really doesn’t get enough credit for their more positive stuff. “Lady be good, do what you should, you know it will be all right.”


“What Goes On,” Mobb Deep. “Got all caught up in Charlotte’s Web,” Prodigy sings. Got to love the literary reference.


“What Goes, On,” The Archies. From the band’s last and most “mature” album, This is Love, where they forsake bubblegum for soft-rock, R&B and even funk sounds. This one has a tricky intro that lures you in with exotic rhythms, jazz bass and sultry guitar. At nearly four minutes, it’s the longest song in the Archies canon. “You’ve been gone. What goes on? What goes on?”

Just Finished Reading: Corleone vs. Cromwell

This is the year that The Godfather 4 came out in book form—as The Family Corleone, with Ed Falco revising an unmade Mario Puzo screenplay into book form.

This week, a novelist got the sort of acclaim not seen in the arts since the films The Godfather and The Godfather II both won Academy Awards for Best Picture. Violent historical thrillers, not to mention thrillers, don’t usually get that sort of attention.


Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize this year for her new novel Bring Up the Bodies. She won the prize previously in 2009 for Wolf Hall. The Man Booker Prize, like the Oscars, not only carries great prestige but tends to turn its winners into blockbusters. Winners of the annual literary prize regularly rake in millions of dollars in sales. Wolf Hall had already become the biggest bestseller of all Man Booker winners.


Bring Up the Bodies is a continuation of Wolf Hall. Both books chronicle life and political struggles of Thomas Cromwell, told in tandem with the tale of the growth in power, confidence and maturity of King Henry VIII.


They’re pretty amazing books, distinguished by vivid stretches of snappy dialogue. Mantel humanizes these historical characters in a number of other impressive ways. There’s a sense of menace, mission and emotional anguish that gives the stories the epic feel they require, while adding a humanity and reality and vulnerability to the exercise. There are psychological underpinnings, but they’re rich and grounded rather than cheap analyses.


I “read” Wolf Hall by alternating between the audiobook version and the print edition. The audiobook is read by Simon Slater, who brings a real bite to all that testy dialogue between monarchs, religious leaders and their cagy advisors. (The audio edition of Bring Up the Bodies has been entrusted to a different reader, also named Simon: Simon Vance. I haven’t heard it yet.) In both books, information is inparted through loaded pronouncements, well articulated inner thoughts, and subtle doses of historical context:


He gets Sir Francis round and gets him drunk. He, Cromwell, can trust himself; when he was young, he learned to drink with Germans. It’s over a year since Francis Bryan quarreled with George Boleyn: over what, Francis hardly remembers, but the grudge remains, and until his legs go from under him he is able to act out the most florid bits of the row, standing up and waving his arms. Of his cousin Anne he says, ‘You like to know where you are with a woman. Is she a harlot, or a lady? Anne wants you to treat her like the Virgin Mary, but she also wants you to put your cash on the table, do the business and get out.’

Sit Francis in intermittently pious, as conspicuous sinners tend to be. Lent is here: ‘It is time for you to enter into your yearly frenzy of penitence, is it not?’

Francis pushes up the patch on his blind eye, and rubs the scar tissue; it itches, he explains. ‘Of course,’ he says, ‘Wyatt’s had her.’

He, Thomas Cromwell, waits.

But then Francis puts his head down on the table, and begins to snore.

‘The Vicar of Hell,’ he says thoughtfully. He calls for boys to come in. ‘Take Sir Francis home to his own people. But wrap him up warm, we may need his testimony in the days to come.’

He wonders exactly how much you’d leave on the table, for Anne. She’s cost Henry his honour, his peace of mind. To him, Cromwell, she is just another trader. He admires the way she’s laid out her goods. He personally doesn’t want to buy; but there are customers enough.


That deft screenplay-like blend of careful description, constant reminders of who is speaking or thinking, and delineations between thought and expression is constantly invigorating. You never get lost in Hillary Mantel’s books—she nimbly leads you around all the fussy factoids which rise like stalagmites in all historical fiction. She creates characters and enlivens them with context.


Interestingly, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies have already been compared to Puzo’s Godfather books and films by a number of alert critics. Mantel’s books, like Puzo’s, are deeper and richer and more fulfilling than the overstuffed lit genres they tend to be lumped with. Those genres can partly explain the extraordinary popularity of these works. But they transcend, and they deserve awards.

Rock Gods #283: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

The YHPs have read jazz music histories about law students at Midwestern universities quitting their studies after having their lives changed by sinister strains of hipster songs wafting across the river.

The band has taken this as a personal challenge. Not just the corrupting of collegians. The whole “across the river” thing. They itemized for us their attempts so far:

1. Played acoustic really loud on the beach.

2. Put lyrics of “Stud Rats” in a bottle and threw it in the surf.

3. Ate seafood after several shows.

4. Flushed regularly.


When The YHPs play the Bullfinch Tuesday they will further the corruption, they say, by drinking imported Midwestern beer before the show. That should do it.


Also Finch-bound: Foolesque, who parodies ‘60s French pop, Or maybe he’s in earnest… At Hamilton’s: Hot Riffin’s, who parody classic rock. Or maybe they’re in earnest… At D’ollaire’s: an evening with Mike No Toad, solo acoustic. Seriously.

Rock Gods #282: Adventures in Our Little Music Scene

Sign Pole, aka Leo P. the anagrammatic singer-songwriter, debuted eight new numbers at the Finch last week:

“Art Al Al”

“Lub Adores Liar”

“Sop Pong”

“Hot Stinky Knee”

“Gambols As An A”

“Your Cents Went R”

“Moley D”

and “North Orchestra Pit.”

The music was similarly contrived, with samples, backward tapes, stolen riffs and the kitchen sink.

Heard of math rock? This was in a classroom on the other side of the building, in the English Department, but no less geeky.

Out of it all came an extraordinary phenomenon, akin to conjuring.

Aware of the concepts upon concepts, the crowd felt obliged to create a new language of responses. Instead of clapping, they flicked their wrists backwards. They shouted requests in pig Latin. When they solved one of Sign Pole’s riddles, they shouted out the like out was trivia nite.

Or maybe it was just our table. Sorry, Leo, we’d had a wef oto naym.


Coming up at the Bullfinch, in plainspeak: The Dayst, Edgewoodies and solo acoustic Ami Stad… At Hamilton’s: First Achievement and Charter Academy, still doggedly rehearsing those classic covers… D’ollaire’s is closed for after-hours drinking—not in the policy sense but the police sense. The managers got caught serving minors again.