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Category Archives: bios

cover #24 – Suede, “The Wild Ones”

Cover #24, and yep, we’re still doing this, whether you like it or not, until we get 30, dammit, because I say so, is Suede’s “The Wild Ones”, from Dog Man Star, released in 1994 and written by Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler.

So, Suede never really got much attention in this country, and that’s really a pity.   You’ve maybe heard “The Beautiful Ones” or, more likely, “Filmstar”, if you sat through the credits after Eddie Izzard’s Dress To Kill comedy show.  But, man, they had some great songs.  This one in particular should have been the “In Your Eyes” of its generation.  It should have been in some movie, where boy loses girl and gets girl back again by playing her some heartwrenching ballad.

This, my friends, is a heartwrenching ballad.  I think it’s about Brett breaking up with Justine from Elastica, but I’m not sure.

Justine, by the way, went on to date Damon Albarn from Blur for several years (see cover #8, “End of a Century'” and, well, basically all of the albums Blur and 13.)   It should be noted that I freaking love Elastica.  Of all the bands that came out of that era – England from 1993-1998 aka “Britpop” – they were my favorite, moreso even than Oasis.   Unfortunately, Justine’s bandmates were all massive smack fiends and it’s really hard to be the best band in the world when everyone’s lying on the floor staring at the babies crawling on the ceiling instead of, you know, rehearsing.   So, Justine’s influence – apart from their self-titled 1993 record which gave the world “Connection” and 15 other rad little tunes – is mainly as the chief muse of the Britpop era.  She dated Brett from Suede, dumped him for Damon from Blur,  dumped him because he was being – let’s face it – kind of a dick, and then went on to host a home improvement show of some type.  The whole thing is written up beautifully in the book The Last Party, which I’ve re-read many, many times because I’m a massive Britpop fanboy and it’s sad.

There’s a story about what Suede means to me, but it’s sort of personal.   I mean, it’s dumb high school stuff, mostly, but I’m putting a break here in case you don’t care/feel uncomfortable with the idea of me talking about kissing girls and such.

DownloadStream.

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Andy Hicks is probably done with the internet forever.

Andy Hicks wrote something on his blog three years ago, and it was a funny something, but he had to remove the post today because  there was one line in it that could very easily be taken out of context.

The post in question was written during the summer of 2007, and was a satirical series of one-line bios that I had supposedly rejected.  Some of them were fairly witty.  Some of them were just silly.  One of them was specifically written to sound awkward and skeezy, but within the context of the rest of the (now deleted) article, it was pretty darn funny.   Out of context, however, it sounded… well… awkward and skeezy.

Guess what one line shows up when you Google “Andy Hicks”? Guess which single line, out of twenty, happens to be the one that happens to show up at number 3 in your search results when you look for my name?  Guess which line googlers JUST HAPPEN to see first, forming their impression of me before I even have a chance to utter “Hello,”?

oh-well-of-course

Readers: consider this a warning.  Never use your real name online.  Never write anything remotely salacious online.  In fact, just disconnect your computer from the Internet right now and throw it out the window and run off to Vermont and live off the land.  Your computer will only bring you pain.

I deleted the post.  Not that Google cares.  It takes a while to re-cache.  Me, Andy Hicks, Capable And Talented Individual Who Owns Every Tori Amos Album, Including The Winter EP, labeled as a Horrible Sexual Harrasser because of one silly line I wrote three years ago in an attempt to be funny.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Google says “we are not evil,”  but I can’t help but think that Googling might be.

Now you know what I’m talking about when I say I should just post a bunch of pictures of me golfing or doing other boring things, instead of doing anything that shows off who I really am.  Because, see, who I really am is a snarky but ultimately kind hearted beast, and that doesn’t translate well in the age of the search engine.

Look – it’s not fair.   I’m trying to not be afraid to write what I want.  And because the kind of career I’m seeking normally has some sort of creative aspect, I want to use my real name and link to this site, because I think it’s – overall – a good thing.  There’s a reason I rarely talk about anything personal on this blog – it’s none of your damn business.  And, look, I’m proud of the stuff I’ve written here.  If you know me, you know that 90% of the time when I say something controversial like that, I’m kidding.   But if you don’t know me, and you search for my name, that one line – THAT ONE SINGLE LINE – is what comes up.  Out of all the silly lines I’ve written over the last three years, the one that comes up is the one that makes me sound like a pervert.

I can’t for the life of me explain why that is.  All the other lines in that post had “Andy Hicks” attached to them, so it could very easily have been “Andy Hicks has a head full of snot and a heart full of love,” which I’m particularly fond of.   Or “Andy Hicks is the recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize for Awkward,” also in that post.   But no.  The one that pops up in the search results is the boobs one.  Thanks, Google.  Now I’m a meth addict.

See? Kidding.

Now, now, Andy, you shouldn’t have posted that and used your real name and – yes, I know that.   And don’t write anything you wouldn’t want the world to see, I know that too.  See, I have no problem with the whole world seeing that post.   My problem is that the whole world might only see one part of it and not understand that I was joking.

Mark Twain used the N-word in Huckleberry Finn, but no one calls him a racist.  Edgar Allan Poe wrote The Tell-Tale Heart in the first person, but no one thinks he really killed a guy.   Johnny Cash never killed a man in Reno just to watch him die, either.  Now, if you think I’m saying what I do here is on the level of Johnny or Edgar or Mark, you’ve missed the point completely.

But let’s say that you’d never heard of Johnny Cash, and you were vetting Mr. Cash for a job, and the first quote you pulled up was him admitting to a particularly cold-blooded murder.  Would you hire him?

What I’m saying is this: because Google is purely mechanical and unfeeling, there’s nothing that’s really stopping it from pulling up a single, incriminating line and presenting it as being just as true as anything else.  In its “summary” box, Google could just as easily have pulled up my most recent post, where I mention my new portfolio blog with my name attached to it. Or it could have pulled up any other post where I use my full name.  But no: it pulled up that post, and that line, from three years ago.  No rhyme or reason to it.  It just did.

Anyone who would have clicked on that link (you can read a cached version here) would have seen that it was perfectly innocuous and part of an obviously satiric take on the futility of trying to sum yourself up in one sentence or less.  (They would also have seen that it was written during my “I want to be Chuck Klosterman when I grow up” phase.)  But maybe they didn’t click on the link.  Maybe they passed judgement and moved on.  That’s what frightens the hell out of me.

“Andy Hicks is “married to the Lord.”  They have three beautiful children together.”

See?  Could have been that line.  That line’s funny.  But no.  Cold Unfeeling GoogleBot 6000 wanted to be cute.

For the record: Andy Hicks does not stare because he knows it is rude and his Mama raised him right.  He does, however, still have an unnatural fear of clogged drains.

 

GeekUSA has a grown-up twin brother

I’d like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of my portfolio blog, charmingly titled Andy Hicks Has A Portfolio.

ahapAHAP, as we call it at my house, is where I’ll be posting links to my various creative and professional endeavors; songs and audio projects, graphic design work, theatrical work, and resumes.   It will be updated whenever I do anything impressive and cool that I want people to know about so they will give me lots of money and I can buy, like, burritos for lunch every day.

The jerks you hired instead of me.

In the Before Time, you see,  I’d apply for a job, and they’d ask for a personal website, and I’d give them the link for this site.   And, inevitably, they’d click on the link, and the post on the front page would be something like “Interestingly Shaped Poops I Have Taken: A Photographic Guide” or “Here’s A Link To A Drunk and Embarrassing Picture Mikey Took Of Me Last Weekend!” or “Why Star Trek Is AWESUM!!,” at which point the HR person at whatever company was interested in hiring me would quickly close his/her web browser and immediately hire the last person they checked out, whose website was probably boring and full of pictures of them golfing or some whitebread shit like that. 

Therefore, in the interest of “proffesionalizing” my image, I’ve created AHAP.  Please feel free to comment on the things I have up there now, and if you have any advice on how I could do things differently or better, please feel free to share them.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2009 in bios, not here, self-aggrandization

 

sail, baby, sail

My grandmother, Kilty, passed away last friday.

Kilty was the first person I ever knew who owned a personal computer.  She was the only person I ever knew who really liked grapefruit juice.  She loved sailing and her old camp in Maine and word games.  She could beat you handily at Scrabble.  She could probably beat you at Trivial Pursuit, too, but I got her once or twice.  She encouraged me to write and to think for myself and to be myself.  She was stubborn and rarely gave up her side of an argument.

We disagreed about politics more often than not, but I always wondered if she’d heard that Obama’s grandmother insisted on being called Toot, because she thought she was too young to be a Grandma.  That’s why I call my grandmother Kilty  (she read the name in a Leon Uris book she happened to be reading when I was born.)  I never got the chance to ask her about that.

She taught herself how to play the piano.  All three of her kids can play at least two musical instruments, and one of them – Aunt Chris –  did it professionally.  She was deeply interested in politics and current affairs, loving nothing more than to discuss and argue about them, and passed that passion down to my Uncle Phil, a Washington lawyer.  She was a devout Catholic who raised a theologian – my Mother – and was godmother to Mum’s cousin Jack, who became a priest.

Kilty was a loving soul, but she wouldn’t hold back her opinions or her criticisms.  She was honest – what you saw was what you got, and more often than not, what you saw was someone who fiercely believed in her own sense of what was right and what was wrong.   Let it be said, though, that she was usually right – she swore she had ESP, and that she could read people.  She studied handwriting analysis and at one point she could read Tarot.  I think the concept of knowing people, on a deep level, fascinated her, and that challenge is probably (I’m guessing here) one of the things that first attracted her to my grandfather, a remarkable person in his own right, but someone who has always been very reserved and quiet.

One of my favorite topics to write about, as you know, and as she knew, is popular culture – where it comes from, and how it affects things, large and small.  In pop cultural terms, it’s strangely appropriate that Kilty was born the same year as Mickey Mouse and died the same week as Bettie Page.  Somewhere, in the cultural space that lies in between those two American icons, stood my Grandmother.  She was humble and glamorous.  She was pure-hearted and a little bit wild.  She believed in all of us, and inspired us, her family and friends, and she was proud of us.  She taught me, more than anything else, the value of resolutely living your life to the fullest.  Always be there for your friends and family, always give of yourself, but make sure you’re happy while you’re doing it.

My grandmother is no longer with us, physically, but her spirit is.   Her birthday is Christmas Eve – light a candle for her, or raise a glass to her if you get the chance.  Even better, find someone you love and tell them you believe in them.  That’s what Kilty would have done.

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Posted by on December 17, 2008 in bios

 

odontophobia

Here’s the thing:  I’m terrified of going to the dentist.  This has nothing to do with the drill, the blood, the pain, the guilt, or the loss of control that people normally associate with the dentist’s chair.  I’m terrified that, whatever’s wrong with my teeth, my insurance isn’t going to cover it.  Because the insurance I have, in the year and four months since I got it, hasn’t covered a goddamn thing.

Now, my parents owe me a huge “I told you so,” here, because they thought my choice of health plans was a bad idea, but I went ahead anyway.  See, they’re actually paying for it.  I’m 28, by the way, and I honestly can’t tell whether I’m pathetic or my country is.  I am nearly 30 and my parents are paying for my health insurance.  It should be noted that I’m a radio personality who, by virtue of being a part-timer hired after a certain date, doesn’t get benefits from work.  Sucks to be me.

I had Fallon (FCHP), which I liked, but as they kept doubling their monthly premiums, it soon became necessary for me to seek out other options.  I settled, out of desperation, on Healthmarkets/ Mid-West Life.  I would highly recommend that anyone in a similar position, when contacted by anyone from Healthmarkets, not only refuse their services, but do so in the rudest way possible.  I suggest screaming obscenities at the top of your lungs into the phone at whatever clueless shill tries to sell you their “health plan.”  It doesn’t matter what the obscenities are; if your religion forbits such things, you can shriek “fiddlesticks!” until your throat gives out.  Just so long as it’s ear-splitting and annoying.

These are fiddlesticks, by the way.  Just looking at this makes my molars ache.

They don’t cover psychiatric drugs, so I was sort of forced off Adderall by the price.  That’s fine, as it turns out people prefer “moody and stupid Andy” to “workaholic jerk Andy,” but the principle still sucks.  What if I had clinical depression?  What if I was epileptic?  They don’t cover doctor’s check-ups for the first year, for reasons that escape logic.   Particularly disgusting is this: they don’t cover STD or AIDS tests.

And now, with definite tenderness in the right side of my mouth, receding gums, bloody spit in my sink when I brush, and over-sensitive to cold, I need to go to the dentist.  I’m not dying, though, so Healthmarkets probably isn’t going to cover shit.  I called their hotline a while back to see if I could score myself a trip to the dentist, and they said “oh, just go to any dentist, and they’ll send us the bill, and we’ll see how much we cover.”  This wasn’t very reassuring, and no matter how much I prodded or asked, the clueless stooge in customer service wouldn’t or couldn’t go into further detail.

So: going to the dentist is for rich people.

Now, granted, I did just get a new computer, so I should quit my whining.  True, I can use my new one to work on projects that may one day make me rich enough to see a dentist (this is very unlikely).  True, my old computer would occasionally shut down and restart in the middle of stuff for no particular reason.  True, it also had two faulty cd drives, and wouldn’t boot up unless you had the XP startup disc, and we can see where this is going.  I obviously did not have to spend $799 on this computer, plus whatever the “Special Care” plan cost, plus the cost of a snazzy new case to keep it in.  Instead, I could have spent that exact amount of money on one dentist visit.  Apparently, I’m the irresponsible one around here, as you can clearly see by this snapshot of my little cousin Beppo.

Andy and Beppo: Adventures in babysitting.

So, I’ve got to go see the dentist, and my health plan isn’t going to cover anything, I just know it.  Sure, they sent me a big ol’ book detailing exactly what I get and don’t get, and I’m sure somewhere in there is something about dentistry.  But here’s the thing:  according to their website, some dentists are covered by their plan, and some aren’t.   According to their customer service person, all dentists are more or less covered by their plan (at least, as much as anything else.)  Every local dentist I’ve found on their website, by the way, either doesn’t exist or hasn’t worked at that office in years.  It’s getting pretty silly.

So, in conclusion:  my teeth hurt, my media conglomerate doesn’t give a shit, and Healthmarkets is pretty much a scam.  If anyone can recommend a low-cost health plan that actually provides preventative care of any kind, I’d be very happy to know about it.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2008 in bios, politics, self-deprecation

 

Worst Years In Music: 1991 (part one)

I haven’t done one of these for a while, so I figured it was time.   In case you’re new around here, “Worst Years In Music” is a feature I write every now and then where I take (most of) the Top 100 songs of any given year (according to Musicoutfitters.com) and give ’em a good shellackin’.  I’ve already done 1988, 1990, 1996, 1997, and 1998 (doing things in order is for lame-os), so I figured what the hey, it’s 1991’s turn.

In 1991, blah blah seventh grade blah blah girls blah blah I was a nerd blah.

“Blah” is a good word for this year on the Top 100, actually.  Mind you, this is just before Nirvana and just after The Eighties, so no one knew what they were bloody doing.  Popular music in 1991 sort of showed up, fell to the floor, flopped around, and then sort of died.  For the most part.  And, for every ray of hope – REM, the KLF, Seal – there were a million Gerardos.

Part one: songs 100-60, below the cut.

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1988 Was The Worst Year In Music Ever

(Note from Andy in 2008: I wrote this three years ago. I haven’t tweaked it since, so it’s still got all sorts of fun errors and whatnot, and it’s definitely a product of 2005. Having said that, it’s still really funny. I’m posting it here because it was languishing on my Myspace site, ignored and unloved, and it told me that it wants to be where people can see it and access it easily. )

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