What I Wouldn’t Do For Taylor Swift To Form A Grrll Power Supergroup & Release A Protest Rock Album

by Shelt Garner

Ugh. Tay-Tay. You want us to think you’re so woke, hows about you put your career where your wokeness is and rustle up an all-girl supergroup. I was thinking it would like something like

Taylor Swift / Vocals, guitar
Annie Clark / guitar
Meg White / Drums
Melissa Auf der Maur / Bass Guitar

It could be a quickie, one off. Here are the covers I want to hear:

Fortune Son
Would I Lie To You?
Suffragette City

A few others, plus some original stuff. Get going!

Of Music And The #Novel I’m Developing #AmWriting

by Shelt Garner

As I keep saying, music — specifically pop rock — is at the heart of this novel for no other reason than the novel is really me talking about those brief few months about 15 years ago when I was both DJing and publishing the sole magazine for expats in Seoul.

I finally figured out a way to tell that story, but only as a very deep layer. You would have to have a fairly lengthy drunk conversation with me for it all to make sense relative to what’s going on in my mind. But tell that story, I have, at last, figured out to do.

So, there you go.

Because I really, really have no clue what I’m doing and I’m doing it in a vacuum, I have spun my wheels for months and months and MONTHS. But, now, I think, out of sheer desperation, I’m going to just wrap up the outline about the July 4th weekend and just go for it.

I have to write a first draft so I can have a second.

I’ve worked really hard for this, now it’s time to follow through.

Music Is At The Heart Of This Novel

by Shelt Garner

I’m listening to a lot of soundtracks of serious, dark thrillers these days, hoping that some of it will rub off of me as I develop this novel. I simply don’t take myself all that seriously, so I need to get into that vibe as I develop the novel.

At the center of this story (two novels, one story) is music. I’ve come up with a rather unique way to use music in this novel. I only use titles of songs because, well, the medium is the message and all that. But I’m hoping people like me who like the type of music I like will dig it, as they say.

One of the layers of this novel is me reminiscing about those few, brief — but extremely exciting — months in Seoul in late 2006, early 2007. I simply can not tell what really happened in a way that anyone would want to read because it’s a tragedy with a forgone conclusion.

But I can, essentially, hide that story inside another story.

As such, I’ve spent a lot — A LOT — of time figuring out how to re-create the dynamic in my personal life during late 2006, early 2007 when I was publishing a magazine and DJing at a expat bar. Pretty much the entire novel, by accident, is simply an excuse for me to remember how cool I briefly was a long time ago.

I’m going to try to work music into every aspect of the novel. This, of course, hopefully, will make it easier to adapt into a movie should somehow I manage to sell this thing after all is said and done.

We’ll see.

My life in Seoul, 2006-2007.

‘Burn, Hollywood, Burn’ #COVID19

It’s going to suck.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner

Hollywood, we got a problem. It’s at least within the realm of possibility that not only will all entertainment production shut down soon because of a pandemic, but people will stop going to the movies for a solid year. If you work on the assumption that for about a year — until a vaccine is finally approved and mass produced — some fundimental assumptions about everyday life will be suspended then Hollywood as we know it is a Dead Man Walking.

By the time things go “back to normal,” we may not even have a traditional Hollywood anymore. “Immersive media” in the guise of VR and AR may pop out of the rubble and take over the entertainment world. But another thing to remember — when will the crisis reach such levels that there aren’t live studio audiences for late night talk shows? Or everyone on TV starts to wear a mask? The issue is if you see the coming pandemic in the United States as a process, not an event, a “new normal” will happen at some point where we move past the “event” stage into the “process” stage where everyday life begins to come back, albeit in a dramatically different form. It will be surreal, at first, but it will have to be done.

The whole thing is going to suck. But at some point The Powers That Be are going to encourage “normal” TV to come back for no other reason than to make the life of pandemic — where everyone has to stay inside — at least a bit more bearable. Remember, whatever the pandemic is called will be, will said in the same breath as the Civil War and World War 2. So, eventually, inevitably, we’ll figure out some way to go back to “normal” while we wait for it to end.

But one thing that will be interesting to look at will be the rise of Immersive Media. How fast will that happen? Telepresence will be a huge growth industry in the middle of a pandemic. It will be interesting to see how that will work out specifically.

I am curious what will happen to music. Will someone write a pop song that alludes to the effects of a pandemic? How would they pull it off? I’m tempted to write some doggerel. But I see writing song lyrics a huge waste of time when I have a novel to develop and write. But someone should start thinking about that.

In the end, even with a pandemic all around us, life will go on. People will have sex. Babies will be born. People will die.

Life will go on.

A ‘Ready: Player One’ For Middle-Aged People Who Love Pop Rock

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Let me start off by saying I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m essentially working in a vacuum as I develop this novel. And I write a lot of blog posts when I’m trying to distract myself from the novel problem of the moment. So, take a lot of what I write with a grain of salt relative to your personal expectations of my ability to actually make what I can articulate a reality.

But, I would note in passing that I’m kind of obsessed with the type of music I point out in this novel. So much so, that the argument could be made that if you like good music — or, at least the type of pop rock music that I like as a middle aged white man in a flyover state — this novel is shaping up to be something of a Ready: Player One for you.

At the core of this novel is how several very important characters love “good” music that fits a very wide spectrum of “pop rock.” But, this is a novel we’re talking about, not a movie. So, the actual implementation of this concept will likely be far more limited than I would like. There are plenty of people who won’t know any number of the songs I reference. But, who knows.

All I know is, I need to hurry the fuck up. If I don’t get back to writing soon, I may not be able to sell it a finished product for no other reason than I’m going to be rotting in the American Killing fields in some weaponized ICE camp.

Or, maybe I’ll escape to Canada and publish the novel there.

Wish me luck.

Deconstructing Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’

by Shelton Bumgarner

I really like Taylor Swift’s latest song. But while I won’t call it derivative, I will suggest that it’s heavily influenced by two other songs.

One of the songs is Lily Allen’s “Straight To Hell.”
The other song is Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For the Boy.”

Swift’s song has been slowed down, however. So it’s not a one-to-one. But if you listen carefully to the background music, the “wall of sound” if you will, you can definitely hear the Allen song floating around.

Now, when it comes to Williams’ song, I think the producer of Swift’s song simply wanted to evoke the feel, the vibe of that song. But that sound was all over the place in 80s music so hearing it in Swift song is kind of driving me crazy.

Thus Swift’s song is a mixture of this song slowed down a lot:

And a big chunk of the sound of this song used as something as both a tone setter and a “cover” for the use of Allen’s song.

Both those two songs together, throw in some awkward modern lyrics about haters and…ta-da!