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DEREK'S 2011 PERSONAL WEBLOG
 
 
1 - 27 - 11: Hello. About the videos. The first video we made was to Tony The Pony, a song by Morrissey, in New Hope, Pa., a moody town where General Washington passed the night before his famous attack on Trenton, Christmas Day, 1776. Abbie Hoffman's life also ended, unfortunately, near the borough, I think... I started that day in Spring 2007 about midnight in Delaware. I drove a car packed with computer equipment, food, and other video-oriented things to pick up Jason and Tomo at the train station in Trenton. We were driving to Bethlehem Pa., and they were going to help me with Milk & Honey's computers. Jason was also going to build the store a new one for multimedia purposes...... I had grown up near the Delaware River and used to visit New Hope to buy concert T-Shirts and walk the town (afternoons are best, I remember). Around 2007, I was thinking about how to get started with Milk & Honey's videos, and was poking around the internet to see what might be missing. Tony The Pony was missing!!!... So I went around a bit telling people I was going to make a video to it... I forget their initial impression... I think they were quiet, ignored me, or thought the worst, of course.........
The reason I did it...The story of Tony The Pony is the opposite of what you find on social video sites. Plus, it's a universal theme. As an added bonus, it's excellent music. What I like about it, and I think I will reprint this to the posted link, is the quality of the delivery of the vocal track. It's top rate. The technical production helps things along. Also, the band plays great. But what I like, is the vocal delivery of the subject matter. Tony The Pony... It's the story of a loser... In Milk & Honey's version of the video, I add a twist to that... I play the loser, the outsider, but then it shifts (About 3:15 in the video), and ALL MANKIND is the loser, and thus a winner is born so that all mankind...,,,. or something like that. We shot the video around the Bucks County Playhouse building, a former mill. The towpath shots are from the Delaware Canal, I believe. It was really a beautiful day in early Spring. It should have been much colder. The way I see it, technically speaking, the video is representative of American scene management of British subject matter. The flow of the video is American. The scenes are British. You put the two together you get...Tony The Pony. It's like at 2:00 minutes in the video, with the pine trees in the breeze, and then at 3:20 with the white duck in the water, Very British Material... American Scene Management... Tony The Pony...... In the spillway below the bridge, where the Aquetong Creek meets the Delaware River, we picked up the additional footage, the waterfall and the beautiful river shots, (New Hope is an attractive town) towards Lambertville N.J. that went into Always Crashing In the Same Car, Milk & Honey's third video. In that one, we added footage from our (Jason, Tomo, and I) trip "North On Route 32" "To Bethlehem Pennsylvania", Just Like It Says In The Video, to work on the Computers. Along the way we made a few stops at likely scene locations. There's some wineries and other things you might not expect in that part of the state, there. I'll have to start a video-weblog page so I can post the pictures... In keeping with the spirit of the thing, we stayed on the road... No wineries for us. Upon reaching the hotel, we unloaded the stuffed car (I think Tomo had to keep her head kind of to the side while riding to keep clear of a... suitcase) and  I quickly drifted into a catatonic sleep on a bed, of all things, amidst video card wrappers, motherboard instructions, and optical drive boxes. The next morning, the three of us emerged with one enormous plastic bag of computer packaging trash and a large, black, race-car, space-ship of a computer courtesy of Jason. The hotel had english muffins (British) with sausage and eggs (American). I think I had three. And so began another day that would....."I Don't Want To Say I Told You So...... Oh, But Tony, I Told You So!!!". 
1 - 29 - 11: Our second video was of Maja. It was to Nico's cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Saying". It's a beautiful rendition, my favorite Nico song, largely because of its unadorned, brutal treatment of the subject matter...Love... Nico's voice sings with the pop/folk-tinged intonation of One Large, Black, Freight Train Of... Love...bustling in the wilderness....Lost.... Nico was German, historically an exacting culture, though I have a hunch her talent was grown not from its strictness, but from her fundamental emotional sympathy for the world's... imperfections..., forming a kind of romantic, personal plateau she stood on with sadness... Alone...(Chugging Along, that train)... The song, I believe, it was from her first single release in 1965, along with "The Last Mile". Please have a listen... I think you'll like it... There's a link at the bottom of mlkhny.net.... Apparently, the ravages of the glamor industries quickly caught up to and stayed with Nico. In any case, she recorded a few more beauties and Milk & Honey will have to revisit her music for some future videos. They're a lot of fun.... For the footage, Maja's dancing... it's a pretty fitting story. I was real keen on Maja being the subject of the video. My thinking was that there was a kind of spiritual parallel between Maja and Nico, a kinship (Her dancing and Her singing)....Ooohhhh Very Deep... That said, I am involved in the food business, a tiring vocation, and it was the end of the day... I think it was getting dark, fully dark. Maybe it was our day off... sometime in the summer, I don't remember exactly but I had to set the space up with equipment and whatnot to make the video... The problem was that Maja was having a real bad day. She was very sad and didn't really feel like or even want to be in a video or videos that day (We also took footage for Siouxsie And The Banshees' "Kiss Them For Me" that day... Maja and I both like that song...). This was a bit of a problem because the video images are all about... MAJA... So it's about five minutes before I have to shoot the video, or the window of time will have elapsed, and Maja is not at all happy and I am tired from moving equipment, and if she can't do it, I have an hour and a half's worth of work putting everything away... and it's busy, and I need to get things done because there's other things to do... And in a few hours the whole business of prepping food will start again....(Deep Breath #1)....And things are not right, and they are not flowing, and then...(2nd Deep Breath)... Perhaps inspired by The Beautiful One Herself... Maja sits down quietly, puts on some high heel shoes, listens to me tell her the idea again, and composes herself sort of...... I turn "I'm Not Saying" on a p.a. system... And we're off! It's Lights, Camera, Action!!!, or something along those lines...... A lot of fun, and a great video of Maja's spiritually-oriented dancing to Nico's spiritual-centric beauty of Gordon Lightfoot's original folk song, "I'm Not Saying".... A great song and a visually harsh, strident, fun, and romantic finished Milk & Honey multimedia product... (That Horrible Black Freight Train Emerged From The Countryside... And Alas...It Did Pull Into Its Depot!!!).... Hopefully, Nico, born Christa Paffgen (Oct. 16, 1938 - July 18, 1988), and her mother Mrs. Paffgen I imagine, would be proud/happy... and feel a bit less alone...And.....And...... And By The Way......NICO.........WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 2 - 2- 11: Milk & Honey's fourth video was to R.E.M.'s "Wolves, Lower" from their 1982 extended play album, Chronic Town. The band did not release any of the five songs from that EP as singles, however, "Wolves, Lower" is the song that functions most as single material, in my humble opinion... In fact, it is very similar in concept to "Radio Free Europe", which was both the non-album single and, what was soon to be, the album single the band, had released, and would release next; they recorded two versions... On the day in September 2007 that Melanie and I shot this video, we also took footage for two others, "One Inch Rock" by T. Rex and "Jug Band Music" by The Lovin' Spoonful. We were also able to do a few other things with video that night, scenes that were more narrative based, more like movie footage than music video, which I think Milk & Honey will take a look at for the first time this coming Fall, when we get a bit more serious about, well, making a movie... It's going to take some practice, but I think it is possible...
What was different about Melanie's video is that the setup was some elaborate, what with special effects lights and things. I had grown up listening to R.E.M.'s early albums, Chronic Town to Fables Of The Reconstruction, and the kind of analog-light-show idea I use in the video is how I always heard the band or saw the songs visually, mentally over the years, technically lo-fi, but as very complete, finished songs. R.E.M. was putting out an incredible dearth of critically acclaimed popular music in the first five years of its existence, but in looking back 20-30 years later, it seems that it must have come at a great expense to the band members, from their personal lives. Record sales weren't really as great as they should have been in those years for R.E.M., and English critical acclaim was slow in coming their way, unfortunately. Add to that, the amount of pressure from the Plasticine American music business surrounding them on all sides, and I think one begins to see the seriousness of the situation they were in; not one characterized by a whole lot of fun... but rather one pointing in the corner of... defection. That said, R.E.M.'s musical output is worthy, in every sense of the word, of revisiting time and again for its critical merit, and Milk & Honey will, with all but absolute certainty, return to it, and hopefully many times, for more fan-based videos........... ........."In a corner garden......... Wilder, Lower Wolves.........House in order!!!......" Thanks R.E.M.!!! Really, Thank You Very MUCH!!!!!!
     To the best of my knowledge, the footage I took of Melanie for this video was the first I took of any person with Milk & Honey's equipment and setup at the store and everything...... I think I had hounded her for about a year or two before she agreed to do it... which was nice of her...... I remember she was not having a good day, but then things were alright... and it was all kind of fun... and a good time and everything... I think Melanie and I both felt she more or less fit with the musical selections... Great fun!... We were both tired because it took so long, what to shoot enough for three videos and all, a lot of work... Also, when we were finished that night and I, at a later point in time, went to go back over the footage to plan everything out, the video formats for about 95 percent of the footage we had taken were not compatible with the editing program I was using. So the finished product was limited by this, very limited at the time... (the footage is now back in action).
     I really like a lot of the shots in the video, but you can tell that at times... well...... I just needed some more footage... The fact of the matter was that I had it... and it just wouldn't work... Perhaps that is why, as a form of poetic justice, this weblog entry has been made over a photo originally taken for the return of a broken video monitor, damaged in transit. In starting a multimedia business, you need quite a bit of equipment. Bearing in mind the struggles I have previously alluded to that R.E.M. went through to put out music material the way they saw best fit, I could tell you quite a few stories about "getting started", but here's a shortened, condensed one.
     "I had purchased a brand of CRT computer monitor. I was sent a different brand, the wrong one. I was then sent a replacement. It arrived broken. I returned it... and ultimately was sent two more before everything seemed about right, and I think the seller and I averaged costs, and came to some conclusion. At about the same time, I bought a laptop. It arrrived, minus the...laptop, just the bag and accessories. I had paid for insurance. It had not been insured. The seller accused me of fraud. The item had been stolen in the mail stream, because it had been packed with inadequate tape and broke open (Requiring a written statement from the postmaster, etc.)...I then ordered a personal stereo so people in the videos could hear the music...It never arrived...I would still be waiting...I ordered another...Bingo!!!
You know, I just thought I'd bring it up. The struggle for quality is really a struggle... a real thing, not fake. I think it was R.E.M.'s early business manager Jefferson Holt who coined the phrase to describe the business, or was somehow commenting on the ethic he saw in the band, or was perhaps just making a statement on what he thought of life... He said something like, "It takes a lot of 'Uh huh' and a whole lot of 'Oh Yeah" (...to make it in the music business...). I see what you mean Mr. Holt. 
Currently, I am mentally working on another video, with footage Maja and I took of Melanie at a different point in time, to an Elvis Presley song. I am also going over scenes and photos from The Battle Of Gettysburg that I am planning to set to a lesser known R.E.M. song. Hopefully things will go.....smoothly (...House in order...)...... Just kidding!!! Thank you for reading and please check out the video at mlkhny.biz if you have a free minute. Have A Good Day, Mrs. Wolves, Lower! 

2 - 5 - 11: The fifth video, and the last of the first set of Milk & Honey's videos, was "Money" by the American group, The Lovin' Spoonful. This song is very interesting, as is much having to do with this top-rate pop rock band. "Money" was recorded  in something of the latter days of the groups critically acclaimed career. The Spoonful began with founding members John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky. In 1967, it was apparently necessary, due to some problems with the law, for Z. Yanovsky to leave the band. Artistically, that was a big deal for the band... since he played lead guitar... and was otherwise a bona fide, pop music powerhouse... Jerry Yester is the name of the man who stepped in to replace him on the strings... J. Yester also played the banjo, it seems. The revised Spoonful recorded the album, Everything Playing, in 1967 and the song "Money" was born at a coy minute and 55 seconds in length. It broke into the top 40. Pretty fantastic for such an unusual song. In it, lead singer John Sebastian sings with childlike sincerity of the personal motivations behind the... economic flow of money, something of an otherwise mature topic, I might say...... What a tune, and what a trip!!! Really... For the video I took some shots with Maja's help of some of Milk & Honey's stock market type activities... I edited this into some footage from a library-type educational video concerning stock market operations... up until about the 1980s... I like the feel and look of these shots... They are warm and good, I believe... Then, in the video, I try and play some boogie-type guitar, a la Elvis Presley era James Burton or something like that, but with a broken acoustic guitar... I like it!... All in all, I think it gives the video a mixed feeling of both serious social protest and also great mirth, great humor. For me, this is what the Lovin' Spoonful were all about, this type of complexity and experimentation with the paradigm of rock & roll, a very special experiment, and their own. Apparently, it was also a successful musical concept, because the Spoonful were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in the year 2000, showing that things can end up where they rightly belong, even after taking a circuitous, less traveled route, perhaps... Cheers and congrats, gents!!! Pop-rocker extraordinaires!!!......

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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