This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Theme for 2022 is My Vinyl Record Collection. This will be about the music I still have on my shelf. Be sure to check the links for samples of the albums and music I'll be talking about. There will be a lot of interesting music ahead for your listening enjoyment.

Monday, August 1, 2022

L.A. ( #BOTB & #IWSG )

     What do you think of L.A.?   And I mean Los Angeles CA in case you're in doubt.  Those of you who live here or nearby certainly have some kind of opinion.  If you used to live here you must have left for some reason, but was it L.A. that made you leave?  

       Whatever you may have seen or heard or read about L.A. is probably true and a whole lot more.  It is one heck of a diverse place.  Rich, poor, conservative, liberal, crazy, sane--they're all here (with an emphasis on the crazy).  There are some who are happy as well as some who are discontent with this place.  And there are likely many who think whatever they think depending on the circumstances of the day, the hour, or the minute.  This city sucks and it's amazing at the same time depending on how you're viewing it and any given time or perspective.  And someday the powers beyond our control might just suck this city down into the bowels of the Earth.  Did I hear someone say, "that's where it belongs"?  

      There are a lot of people and groups to try to please in this metropolitan chaos and one thing is for certain:  You can't please everybody, not even some of the time.   It's kind of like writing I suppose...

(cue music for opening credits...)

        

The Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

The co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!




August 3 question - When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

        Just like managing a city or a business in that city, you want to try to accommodate as many as you can, but the fact is you cannot please every single customer.  That's how I look at my writing.  I'm not looking to be totally absolutely original in what I write, but I try to stick to a style and subject matter that I want to read.  If I like what I've written then I will hopefully find that target audience who appreciates the same thing.  Naturally the more who want to read my writing, all the better--especially if I'm making some kind of income from that writing.  

        Then if I've established some kind of audience (customer base) then I want to give what they expect which is what they very likely want.  It would seem kind of nutty to write something that was way out of my realm of interests that would turn off readers unless I were doing so for purely experimental reasons and that is something I only might do for the novelty of doing it.
         
       Original ideas are great, but trying to go out of my way to sound original doesn't make that much sense unless I've been paid specifically to to that and in that case I doubt that I'd want to keep doing it.  Unless I liked the new style.  How often does that happen?  No, I'd rather write what I know, as the saying goes, and that includes a style and topic that I'm comfortable writing. 

      After all, I don't write to torture myself or any readers I might have.  Just like I don't live here in L.A. to torture myself.  Though that point I might question. 

        How about some views from some songwriters who have written about very different aspects of Los Angeles in some very distinctive musical styles?   

   cue intro for....


Battle of the Bands


        Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.


L.A.

     If you look up "Songs about Los Angeles" on Wikipedia you will find hundreds on the general topic and well over 30 with just the simple title "L.A.".   A lot of songwriters have been inspired by some aspect of the city both good and bad.  Let's face it--not everyone is singing "I Love L.A.".   A place as big, diverse, historical, and influential is bound to provoke a lot of inspiration and discussion.  Many songwriters and musicians come to L.A. because of the music scene and invariably many write songs about the city.   In this Battle I will present three different perspectives of opinions about L.A. in three different styles.  Please listen and let us know which song is most to your liking...


Los Illegals   "L.A."  (1981)

        This song was the inspiration for this Battle.  The song was performed in a documentary I recently saw on TCM.  Mur Murs (1981) is a French film directed by Agnès Varda which explores the graffiti and murals of Los Angeles.  I found the film to be a fascinating look at Los Angeles in 1980.  Seemed not much different that the city is now except many of the murals in the film are now gone though new murals have taken their places.  This song by Los Illegals is about the situation faced by illegal immigrants coming to the city.  Things haven't changed much in forty years.  The punk style seems like the appropriate genre to express the feelings conveyed in the song.  Lyrics are available on the video if you want to know what they are saying...




Neil Young   "L.A."   (1973)

        When I heard the previous song in the film Mur Murs, I immediately thought of one of my favorite Neil Young songs of the same title and decided that I had a Battle of the Bands installment.  That's often how these Battles come about for me. Neil Young's song "L.A." comes from his somewhat obscure and difficult to find live album Time Fades Away. This song is Young's snarky poke at the city complete with earthquakes and pollution.  Some bleak fun that has a rather nice musical sound...




Jackie DeShannon   "L.A."  (1969)

        Life in L.A. isn't all that bad when you hear it coming from Jackie DeShannon.  Almost makes you want to come here to see what she's talking about.  But it was the hippie sixties when she wrote this.  Love, flowers, and sunny days is what it's all about in this song that sounds like a commercial track or the theme song for a fun television sitcom.  Is this one more to your liking?  Or do you prefer the darker, grittier, and more realistic side?




Time to Vote!

         Don't rate the city in this Battle!  It's all about the songs.   Which song do you prefer?  
 Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.



Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 




Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday July 8
      
           Not only will I announce the winning song/artist in my next post, I'll also have some of my own reflections about Los Angeles.  I could write my own song about it.  So much to say.












36 comments:

  1. Not a Neil Young fan, but he gets my vote.
    Hopefully you get out of California before it does get sucked down to hell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex, we might already be sucked almost to hell. Hope Jesus holds on to us until he takes us away from here.

      Always funny when the one we don't like gets our vote.

      First vote goes to Neil Young.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. I try to write stories that I want to write as opposed to writing for the reader.

    A vote for Jackie DeShannon, simply because I want to hear something just a tiny bit positive of what LA used to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GB, if we don't write stories that we want to write then it's more of a task that is arduous. In that case I'd definitely feel like I'd need to be paid to do it and even then I don't know how long I'd keep doing that.

      A happy vote for Jackie DeShannon.

      Lee

      Delete
  3. Lee,

    We've not been to L.A. I don't think I'd like to live there but I would like to visit that crazy jungle someday. Turning my attention to your battle. I wasn't familiar with either song. I know both artists. I'm not a huge Neil Young fan. His song was just so-so. Jackie DeShannon came out smelling like a flower in this contest and she gets my vote. Maybe as you pointed out the lyrics are from a different time. Even then L.A. was labeled as quite the wild and weird city by most in the USA. Have a bandtastic week, my friend!

    Die Another Day BOTB Showdown

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy, L.A. can certainly be a nice place to visit, but I'd take caution in some parts of the city. The part of town where we live isn't too bad actually--not the nightmare sometimes seen on TV.

      Another vote for Jackie DeShannon.

      Lee

      Delete
  4. I don't think the inspiration for this battle is going to garner many votes... unless the count is tabulated by Dominion, then they are a shoe-in. Did not like that first song very much.

    Jackie's song does not harm the ear, but seems a rather mundane song. It is fine. I would not punch the seek button on the radio if it came on.

    Of the CSNY members, Y was always my least favorite, and he has only driven himself down in my esteem through the years. Frankly, they all have because they don't shut up and play music, but rather they foist their stupid political opinions on us. These musically gifted clowns have been making bad decisions and then lecturing us for over 50 years. STHU.

    However, in spite of that, Y gets my reluctant vote because I prefer that style/genre of music more than the other choices here. There are lots of L.A. songs not on the ballot that would get my vote over these, like "Walking in LA" by Missing Persons,

    Sixgun McItchyfinger

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 6-Gun, I wasn't sure if anyone would take well to Los Illegales, but they had to be in the mix since their song inspired me to do this theme.

      The DeShannon song is like so many others of that era. It had a formula that worked to pick up listeners, but maybe not keep them in the long run.

      As you probably know by know I've been a long time Young fan though he has disappointed me with his opinionating. Just shut up and play your music Neil!

      Still, a reluctant vote for Neil Young.

      Lee

      Delete
  5. When I have written short stories etc... I actually wrote for myself so I can say I will always do that. If I start thinking about writing for money or what others want I would get befuddled and stop writing.
    As for the battle, I vote for Neil as that seemed the nicest to listen to. I'm not into punk but I did like the Spanish( was it Spanish?). My last would be the gal because it wad boring and you are right, it sounds like something for a sitcom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birgit, if I were getting paid some ridiculous amount I'd write whatever I was paid to write. But I'd always rather write what I'd want to read.

      Yeah, it's Spanish. I guess maybe they're illegals living in L.A. Or at least that seems to be appropriate for their name and song content.

      A vote for Neil Young.

      Lee

      Delete
  6. I'd prefer to give the audience what it wants.
    We've always joked that maybe someday California will just slide into the ocean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. L.Diane, the audience ultimately is what matters unless you don't care about people reading your writing.

      They've been saying that about CA at least since the sixties. I've heard it for a long time. It might be interesting to see parts of the state slide away, but I'd prefer that my side of town stays intact at least until I could move away.

      Lee

      Delete
  7. Growing up in L.A. in the 1960s, '70s (and even the early '80s, to some extent), it was like coming of age in a place akin to Paradise (by Earth standards, anyway). But the people just kept on coming, and coming, and coming. And in 1986, something changed. I could feel the mood of the city darkening, and it got worse and worse very, very quickly. By '92, I'd had more'n enough of what my homemegalopolis had become and I packed my bags.

    In November of 2017, I did a similar BOTB installment.
    The Positive: 'I Love L.A.' by Randy Newman
    versus
    The Negative: 'How Much Is It Worth To Live In L.A.?' by Waylon Jennings.

    In the video portion of the contest, Randy beat Waylon 16-4.
    In the song portion of the contest, they tied 10-10.

    In this Battle, I preferred the JACKIE DeSHANNON song by a huge margin. (I even played it a couple extra times just for the pleasure of it.) It was happy & jaunty, and sounded more like what I remember feeling about helL.A. when I was young and felt so alive there.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. STMcC, Yes, I was thinking of you as I compiled this post. I remember the L.A. Battle you did and I did another about the same time. I actually have a couple more L.A. Battles in the hopper, but there are so many songs with this theme I could do a bunch of them. Maybe, We'll see.

      Jackie DeShannon does a nice job of capturing that bright spirit of those days.

      A vote for Jackie DeShannon.

      Lee

      Delete
  8. Definitely a vote for Jackie DeShannon. I didn't like the other two at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John H, that's pretty succinct.

      Another vote for Jackie DeShannon.

      Lee

      Delete
  9. From Facebook, my cousin Tom cast a vote for...

    Neil Young.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Lee,

    Ah, yes. L.A., City of angels and transplants. More dreams than people are born there. But until recently, not many people ever left. I think that says a lot about the allure of the biggest (by land measure) city in America. I don’t care for big cities, but I enjoyed a visit many years ago.
    Please give my vote to Jackie DeShannon for her ode to happier days ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diedre, I'm glad I live in the part of L.A. that I'm in. So far it works well for me.

      A vote for Jackie DeShannon.

      Lee

      Delete
  11. Los Illegals was catchy as all get-out. Neil was typical Neil- which isn't bad, by any stretch. Jackie sounded like she was working for the tourist board. I'll go with Los Illegals!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CW, I also thought Los Illegals did a pretty catchy job and I normally don't like that style.

      A needed vote for Los Illegals.

      Lee

      Delete
  12. Great prompt! Sounds like we have about the same take on "original" vs "market". I suppose in the ideal case, people found you in the first place because of what you were trying to do, trying to express, exploring with your work. One would hope that most could follow you on that journey, even as it might evolve into newer stages, styles, and topics.

    I'll take Los Ilegales -- some of my favorite memories of LA are walking around in East LA (yes you read that correctly) and hopping the taco wagons (some definitely not legal businesses!).

    And apropos of Original vs Giving the Market What It Wants: Without any comment one way or another on Young's particular politics, I think it's kind of silly to try and separate any artist from their art. Their views, ideals, and beliefs are part of what fuels their artistic output. Even if we disagree with it, if we like the product, we should take the challenge to engage with the artist and their process. It would seem to me any other stance is implicitly trying to reduce the artist to a machine to feed us a commodity designed cleanly for our enjoyment -- the epitome of the "market" stance. Like art? The artist comes with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right about the connections of artists and their artistic output. We likely miss most of this as time goes by and an artist has taken an established place in the history of their art. But some artists seem to divide their audience and alienate segments because of an overly aggressive stance on issues. As much as I try to separate the output from the source, sometimes my appreciation becomes influenced in a negative way.

      I sensed nothing derogatory about your L.A. memories. East L.A. is essentially where I live although it's more of a suburban area. The community where I live is mostly middle class Hispanic who are hard-working with conservative leanings. I feel very safe in this area.

      A vote for Los Illegales.

      Lee

      Delete
  13. As far as the songs go, I attach first to the sound, then the lyrics. Therefore my vote goes to Neil Young.

    The thought of comparing writing to managing a city makes me shudder. I'd make a terrible leader because most of my writing choices is "how can I make this character's life more miserable". And people like that kind of stuff sometimes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loni, yeah, with the outlook you mention I don't think I'd want to be living under your leadership. I don't think I'd be too great at managing a city. I'd probably be better at being a dictator as long as I had powerful force to back me up. Maybe it's best for me to just stay out of that arena.

      A vote for Neil Young.

      Lee

      Delete
  14. If money were a consideration, there is apparently a truckload of it to be made in the billionaire s&m genre. Thankfully, I can plunk around with my chaste historical mystery.

    Songs. Don't like the first one, won't vote for Neil Young, so my vote goes to a mediocre performance by Jackie. That is not her best work, but at least it speaks to happier days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, I guess I don't know anything about any s&m genres and probably that's a good thing. Your chosen genre sounds much better to me.

      A vote for Jackie DeShannon.

      Lee

      Delete
  15. I agree with you Lee. Although we must accommodate as many perspectives as we can, one must simply not lose the essence of their writing while doing so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damyanti, one should focus on whether they are striving to entertain readers or something else. Entertainment tends to be more relaxing. That's what I want for vacation type reading or whatever I need to put me into a desired state of mind.

      Lee

      Delete
  16. I came up with a kind of uber-plot a few years ago and my writing is still running along that channel, with occasional side tracks.

    On L.A.: My feeling towards is best set in L.A. Freeway by Guy Clark.

    Of the offering I will choose El Lay, because I have no nostalgia for the city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig, if something works well for us might as well stick with it.

      Maybe I can take the Guy Clark song into consideration when I do songs about L.A. Freeways or traffic.

      Another vote for Los Illegals.

      Lee

      Delete
  17. LA must be very complex. Having the richest and poorest in the same space must make government difficult. There seems to be a beautiful amount of diversity, which is great. But the views I've seen always look like nature is lacking. I wouldn't want to live there.

    I'll vote for Beverly Hills by Weezer. No, it's not one of the options. Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Look... I'm in the right general area... 😄

    “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”
    ―Anne Herbert
    My IWSG blog post discussed my love of originality. I'm looking forward to the bout of books readathon and WEP's flash fiction later this month.
    Life threw me a curveball with a neighborhood crisis this week, but we got through it.
    Winnie the Pooh is the world’s Ambassador of Friendship. In the US, National Friendship Day is the first Sunday of August. #FriendshipDay2022

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. J, there is nature around, but not as much as I'd like and it's mostly dried up. Lot's of CA inspired songs from which to choose, but this time my theme was L.A. Since you didn't vote won't have to alter my results post that I finished right before your comment. Appreciate the comment though.

      Lee

      Delete
  18. It's true that we cannot please every reader but somehow easy to forget that when we are beating ourselves up about a bad review.

    Living in a rural part of England, I can barely imagine what it's like to live in a big city like LA. It always seems so glamorous and sunny on TV but I suppose there are pros and cons to it like anywhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anstice, if all the reviews are bad then that would get really discouraging. In the end we need to just keep on writing if that's what we feel destined to do.

      L.A. does have its good aspects, but it's just too darn expensive for me to enjoy it as much as I'd like to.

      Lee

      Delete
  19. Results for this Battle are now posted at:
    Battle of "L.A."

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee