Boneyard Media

Archive for April, 2011

Jon Savage, Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture (2007)

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

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When I dropped by the Austin Central Library last Wednesday to check out a copy of Jon Savage’s Teenage, it wasn’t on the shelf. Right in front of where it should have been, though, was a freshly written call number slip (bottom, upward optimistic scrawl) that matched mine (top, downward pessimistic scrawl).

The car crash in Medium Cool

Sunday, April 17th, 2011


I watched Medium Cool again, one of those classic bummer films of the late sixties. It’s about dispassionate journalism and the end of the sixties and is famous for being filmed in the midst of the real-life mayhem at the ’68 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The car crash at the end, though, uses the standard-issue sound effect first made famous by Nervous Norvus in his “Transfusion” single from 1956 and subsequently used in a number of records and TV shows. There’s a high-pitched male-voiced squeal at the end of this sound, and I always figured it was the voice of Nervous. Whatever the case, that goofy, familiar sound clashes with the somber, cinema verite vibe of the film, serving as a sort of buzzer handshake. Was this intentional? If so, it’s a better film than I thought.  Update 6/10: Just watched It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and heard the “Norvus squeal” in Jimmy Durante’s opening car crash.

Nervous Norvus – “Transfusion” (1956)
Scatman Crothers – “Transfusion” (1956)
The Cadets – “Car Crash” (1960)
Jan and Dean – “Dead Man’s Curve” (1963)
The Shangri-Las – “Leader of the Pack” (1964)
Medium Cool (1968)

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Song ID: Magazine – “Shot By Both Sides” (1978)

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011


Debut single by Howard Devoto’s post-Buzzcocks quintet built on a menacing ascending guitar riff that would work well as a US cop show TV theme. The single version strikes harder than the version on their Real Life LP.

In his Heart of Rock and Soul, Dave Marsh points to Bruce Springsteen’s opening riff for “Roulette” (recorded in 1979 and released as a 1988 B-side) as a “Shot By Both Sides” mimic, but it’s really just vaguely similar.

Magazine – “Shot By Both Sides” (single version) (1978)

Magazine – “Shot By Both Sides” (LP version) (1978)

Bruce Springsteen – “Roulette” (1988)