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March 07, 1985 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-07

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The Michigan Daily Thursday, March 7, 1985 Page 5

Robert Mitchum-Calyp-
so...Is Like So (Pathe Mar-
coni/Capitol, French import)
I'VE ALWAYS liked Robert Mit-
chum. Not particularly for his acting,
but rather because he seemed one actor
who never bothered to b.s. about either
the profession or about the oppor-
tunities for wholesale decadence being
a 'star' afforded. He got arrested and
even briefly jailed for marijuana
possession admirably early on, in the
late '40's, and if he made any sort of
public apology (which seems doubtful)
in the customary Hollywood manner,
it's a sure bet nobody believed he was
really sorry. He's possibly the only per-


son I could like for posing in pictures
with Boy George, as he recently did;
you know he knows it's a joke.
Calypso...Is Like So, a French reissue
of a forgotten 1957 album, makes me
like Mitchum even more-what other
Fifties American macho-action star
would have had the nerve (or even the
passing idea) to do a straight calypso
record? What's more, the guy is even
good. His voice is hardly great, but it's
serviceable, and his intonations sound
pretty convincing, as if they might have
sprung naturally from "some small
native bistro," as the liner notes say.
They go on: "Deep down, Robert Mit-
chum is a wanderer, and he probably
would have got to Trinidad anyway, but

actually it was Hollywood that sent him
there, 'on location' for two feature
films...to Port of Spain, a colorful and
sunlit place where people have come
from many corners of the earth,
mingling accents and spilling out their
hearts in a unique musical idiom called
The music here is probably pretty
cleaned-up compared to the real stuff,
but this isn't another embarrassing
bastardized film-fan vehicle on vinyl
like, say, Jackie Gleason Presents
Music for Lovers, Hawaiiannette or my
personal favorite, Richard Cham-
berlain (TV's Dr. Kildare) Sings. The
rolling Calypso beat is conducive to lots
of dancing with your shoulders, and the
songs, though admittedly "not ab-
solutely as he first heard them (the
censor wouldn't stand for it)," are pret-
ty amusing-one, "Tic, Tic, Tic," is all
about the police energetically frisking a
young peasant girl for a stolen watch,
which turns out to be in her mouth.
(One suspects in the original version it
was probably lodged in some more
southerly orifice.)
"Mama, Looka Boo Boo" is about as
great as one would expect from such a
keen title, and the tongue-in-cheek
parental rock-'n'-roll paranoia tune
"What is This Generation Coming To?"
("Parents tell them they should
like/only the opera and the sym-
phony/But the young kids are too
busy/diggin' Mr. Belafonte.") is a
must addition to the Nectarine
Ballroom's Monday Stud Club camp
playlist. (If people can dance to Yma
Sumac, they can certainly dance to
this.) Numerous remarks along the
lines of "If you want to be happy,
livin' a king's life/never make a
pretty woman your wife... Therefore
from a logical point of view, always
marry a woman uglier than you."
will not endear the album to those sen-
sitive to political incorrectitude regar-
ding women. But oh well. Needless to
say, the unchanged original cover art
(Mitchum looking jaded with arched
eyebrow and a glass of Dagger rum in
foreground, 'slinky brunette number'-
type with hands on hips and hey-sailor
look in background) and sleeve notes
are first-rate.
The Arms of Someone
New-Burying the Carnival
(Office Records, EP)
A FEW YEARS AGO when the
strains of "Don't You Want Me"
heralded the emergence of synthpop
and the return of grinning dance-dance-
dance imbecility as a respectable at-
titude, the wave camp split. It seemed
for a while that either you had to a.)

become a fun addict or b.) listen to Joy
Division a lot. And never the twain
could meet-at least not in 1981, when
serious waving meant creating a
Credible and complete -visual/per-
sonality package for yourself. (Of cour-
se, it's questionable whether this has
changed much since.)
And, for a while, that meant either a.)
or b.). Few compromises were possible
between "I wish I could be one of those
girls in the Human League or boys in
Depeche Mode" and "I'd kill myself if
Ian Curtis hadn't done it already-God,
everything's redundant." If synthpop
quickly won over the majority, it
wasn't just because the music was
vastly more danceable/commercial. It
was also because a persona just
couldn't take all that J.
Division/Bauhaus/etc. Gothic despair
forever without longing secretly for
some plain old moronic happiness. As
suddenly as they started, a large num-
ber of bands stopped wearing only
black and khaki, refusing to play en-
cores or talk to the audience, and
playing existentially panicky dirge with
lots of echo. Christ, even New Order
(the surviving members of Joy
Division) started doing disco 12-inch
remixes eventually.
As a result, decent gloom has been
hard to come by of late. Maybe that's
why The Arms of Someone New's six-
song EP Burying the Carnival sounds
so good-hearing it is like re-
discovering an old friend you'd dumped
without much thought a few years
before, and in this case absence has
definitely made the heart grow fonder.
T.A.O.S.N. (obnoxious, yes but who
wants to type that whole name again?)
are two troubled boys from Champaign,
Illinois who play all the instruments
and do the producing in exquisite
isolation. The cover art and enclosed
mini-poster are in gloriously stark
black and white. The lyrics are obtuse
as hell. There are printed quotes from
T.S. Eliot and Robert Graves. All words
are left tastefully uncapitalized. The
vocals are echo'd unto infinity. The
guitars buzz ominously, the rhythm box
does its thing icit, the organ makes
blurred-cathedral sounds, I lay down
the Collected Kafka volume on the rime
of the bathtub and reach for the razor...
Before we get too carried away with
painting a picture that might be cap-
tioned "Nightmare of Pretension At Art
School Party,"it must be firmly noted
that Burying the Carnival does what it
does definitively, and I like it. The two
boys, Steve Jones and Mel Eberle, are
very strong songwriters, though it
takes a bit of burrowing beneath the ex-
cellgntly thick production atmospherics
to figure that out. The EP is even
terribly pretty at times, in the ap-
propriate depressive-ethereal manner;

it's rather like that Whistler painting
with the wasting-away girl in the white
dress standing amid scattered flower
petals, looking as if whatever recently
happened to her was, well, not nice.
Uh-oh, there I go using highbrow
cultural references-something this
band would doubtlessly approve of too
In any case, like that girl, Burying
the Carnival is terribly pale and
disillusioned, and it has no intention of.
spelling out why for us. That would
spoil everything. Any record that in-
cludes a song title like "The Spiral of
Silence" and lyrics like "Transient
mists/and desolated terrain/lighted by
the moon" may appear too stoned on
rarefied poetic airs for your average,
say, Cyndi Lauper fan, but there are
rewards in even such a determinedly
evasive and self-absorbed style. The
exquisitely refined angst peaks with the
last two cuts, the solemn "Angel of the
Odd" (which would be great for an
ascension scene in a David Lynch
movie) and beautifully simple acoustic
ballad, "My friend," which in a touch of
fitting mystery seems to have ab-
solutely nothing to do with the lyrics
printed under its title on the accom-
panying sheet.
Good poets, good musicians, good
songwriters and exceptionally good
manipulators of the studio, Jones and

Eberle make you glad there are some
people out there completely oblivious to
the winds of musical change. Burying
the Carnival is a bit like a Victorian
heroine fading away in a state of
austere glamour from tuber-
culosis-the more frail and ghostly it
gets, the more appealling it becomes.
(The record is available for $6 from In-
visible Hand Productions, Box 2081;
Station A, Champaign IL 61820).
-Dennis Harvey

/*0iNE c 10 1


The cast of Heaven Help Us flaunts blazers and fun loving smiles.


By Emily Montgomery
he brothers at St. Basil do a
great deal of preaching, but not a
lot of teaching in the Animal House-
goes-parochial comedy Heaven Help
The film stars Andrew McCarthy,
from Class, (the one that wasn't Rob
Lowe) as Michael Dunn, the "new guy"
and seemingly only sane factor at a
catholic §chool for boys. Michael lives
with his grandparents and his younger
sister. His grandmother wants him to
become pope, or at least a bishop. After
witnessing the near-torturous
disciplinery tactics some of St. Basil's
faculty employ, though, he begins to
wonder if priesthood is really such a
good idea after all. While he's pon-
dering the question he manages to fit
right in with the school misfits and
The so-called plot of Heaven Help Us
doesn't reach much farther than that,
with the exception of a clumsy
sidestory following Michael's affections
for a girl who works at the local soda
fountain (Mary Stuart Masterson). She
is whisked away in a black car midway
through the movie, and doesn't return,
nor is her disappearance sufficiently
Heaven Help Us isn't a monumental
film by any standards. It has its
humorous moments, though. These are
largely due to the successful teaming of
McCarthy with newcomer Kevin Dillon.
(Yes, he is Matt's brother). Dillon is the
picture of stupidity, mixed in with a
cocky, smart alleck exterior, as
Rooney. As he cleverly explains to
Michael, "Look Dunn, you decked me
in front of everyone, so, in order to save
my reputation, I figure, I either have to
make you my friend, or kick your ass.
And you wouldn't want me to kick your
ass every time I saw you, so you might

No reward
as well be my friend." McCarthy, with
his bug-eyed look of disbelief, is the per-
fect straightman to Dillon's foot-in-
mouth antics.
Not all the brothers at St. Basil are
sadistic. Donald Sutherland and John
Heard (Cat People) star as brothers
Thadeus and Timothy. Together they
put St. Basil's strict teaching methods
into perspective.
Heaven Help Us is a simple movie,
with a simple message. One cannot help
butf to draw the parallel between its
coming of age theme and the changing,
coming of age, role of religion in its sub-
ject school, St. Basil. Seeing Heaven
Help Us definitely won't change your
life. It might not even change your
week, but it will do something to you. It
will make you laugh.

The Michigan Union Board of Representatives, comprised of stu-
dents, staff, faculty, and alumni, provides policy and user advice
in the operation and planning of The Michigan Union.
MUBR has nine student positions open for 1985-1986. Both Grad-
uate and undergraduate students are eligible.
-leadership experience
-a direct working relationship with staff, faculty, and alumni
-practical experience in policy setting, public relations,
fund raising, and long range planning.
Applications and Information Sheets available at the
CIC Desk Michigan Union.

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