DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Ninety-Four.
Thursday, 2009.06.04, 5:12 PM CST.
Tienanmen Square and Fine Young Cannibals:  Memories from 1989.

Well, today has gone well.  I had the day off work (from my day job) and I have spent the time at home relaxing with my son, reinforcing a "full-length mirror" on a bedroom door, and discovering how to make some absolutely wonderful Vermont sharp white cheddar mashed potatoes.

Not the most productive day ever, but still a nice day.

I also heard today that David Carradine was found dead in Bangkok.  He was hanging by a curtain cord in a closet or wardrobe.  The easy explanation is that he committed suicide, but to be honest, I'm not 100% sure.  It's mighty sad news in any case; I liked his work and was especially fond of his part in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films.


I have had a lot of memories on my mind lately.  That's not unusual for me, as many of you know.

But, I've had special memories as of late.  Today, June 4th, marks the 20-year anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre in Beijing, China.

I remember the news reports well.  I remember "Tank Man," the gentleman who, while just walking along with some groceries, decided to walk out in front of an entire line of tanks, stopping them in their tracks (even if it was only temporarily) as they rolled in to clear the square.  I remember the "Goddess of Democracy" sculpture that the protesters carved to emulate the USA's "Statue of Liberty."  I remember feeling extremely saddened, but not altogether surprised, as the Chinese government cracked down and ended the protest.

It's hard to believe that was two decades ago.  Some of my current friends at the Gypsy weren't even born when it occured.

Oddly, though, I have happy memories of that time as well.  That was the summer that I started putting together the mobile DJ system for my first DJ company, EKG Pro Mobile Music.  My mentor, DJ Dave, helped me out a great deal.

Earlier that year, my parents bought and installed a swimming pool.  That was great because at that point in my life, I was still pretty awkward and I really despised public pools.  (I'm still not a fan of them.)  However, this pool was ours, and it was great to be able to head out there, swim privately, then dry off a bit and walk right back into the house.


So, anyway, you may be wondering where the Fine Young Cannibals come in.  We're almost there.

In 1989, just as the Tienanmen Square thing was coming to a proverbial head - I am quite sure it was 20 years ago this very day - my mentor, DJ Dave, and I, went on a "music run."  If I remember correctly, I drove over to his apartment in Tulsa, and then he drove us around after that.

The thing I remember most clearly from that day is what we bought.  I only had enough money to buy a couple of 12" singles (this was back when you could still buy a new domestic 12" vinyl single at Buttons for under $5), so I bought the 12" of the Rocky Horror Picture Show's "The Time Warp" (with a decent extended remix!) and Front 242's "Politics of Pressure" EP, featuring "Funkahdafi" and the very cool "Don't Crash."

Dave bought a domestic 12" of Fine Young Cannibals' "Good Thing."  This featured the new "Prince Paul Remix," which was quite wonderful and much more faithful to the feel of the original version than the (also impressive) "Nothing Like the Single Mix" which was released on the import 12".

The Prince Paul Remix featured a number of unusual elements:  additional instrumentation, somewhat bizarre overlays (such as a quick "I'm A Little Teapot" section from an old children's recording), and unusual spoken-word segments at the beginning and end.  The beginning included a bizarre bit of dialogue about a missing woman being a "citizen" who would eventually "show up - dead if she's lucky," and the end included a guy talking about a recipe that included cooking a live chicken.  It wasn't until years later that I first watched the cult horror classic Bloodsucking Freaks and recognized it as the source of those samples.

So, anyway...  I remember sitting there with Dave, listening to that mix, and thinking how I was going to go back and pick up that 12" eventually.  That day was a wonderful experience, and one of the last times that I ever went record shopping with the DJ who changed my life so much.

I then went home, talked with Mom and Dad a bit, and even though it was raining somewhat, I remember going out for a brief swim.

I never did go back to pick up the domestic 12" of "Good Thing."

Several years after that, I finally obtained the Prince Paul Remix of "Good Thing" - as one of the extra tracks on an import 12" single of Fine Young Cannibals' "Don't Look Back."  For sentimental reasons, however, I still wanted that domestic 12" single as well.


Of course, life has changed a great deal since June 1989.

EKG officially "started business" on September 29th of that year, and the last EKG gig was towards the end of 2002.

Buttons (formerly Peaches, at 51st + Sheridan in Tulsa) eventually stopped selling vinyl in the mid-to-late 1990s and became a Wherehouse Music.  That Wherehouse Music eventually became a Blockbuster Music.  That Blockbuster Music eventually became a Furniture Factory Outlet, which eventually became IQ Furniture (hellaspensive) and then became some other upscale furniture retailer, which it is now.

Dave and I fell out of touch for a long while, and even though we have recently communicated, I haven't seen him in person for over ten years.  He owns his own company in Texas now, and from the looks of things, he's doing very well.

Mom died in July 2007, and Dad sold off the swimming pool a little while after that.


A few things are still the same:  Twenty years after the Tienanmen Square crackdown, the Chinese government still sucks, the Chinese people are still censored and oppressed, the United States still supports China by buying lots of cheap Chinese crap (you know, like all those toys with lead paint from a little while back), and Tank Man has never been positively identified.  God bless him, though.  I hope he's doing okay.


Finally...  Although I have recently been in a bit of a financial crunch, I did a bit of negotiating with a music dealer online last weekend, and I now have a STILL-SEALED domestic "Good Thing" 12" single on its way to me.  It should be showing up in the mail any day now.

It will not be staying sealed much longer after its arrival.

Damn, I miss 1989.