The Brotherhood of Baltimore (Baltimore)

Baltimore (unreleased 1978 recording).

Baltimore (1980 single).

Like most pop artists, Tori Amos’s career has a vaguely embarrassing starting point. Fame comes slowly, and rarely on the first try, and most artists have some embarrassing recordings from their early efforts at success that are just waiting to be slapped up on YouTube or, in the case of “Baltimore,” tossed into VH1’s Before They Were Stars, a series dedicated to exactly this. The five minute segment in which this was publicly unearthed sticks mostly to a simplistic biography in which Amos’s piano bench gyrations in the “Crucify” video are juxtaposed with her upbringing as the daughter of a minister. The complexity of the story is acknowledged, but the underlying point is unequivocally rooted in teasing Amos for the naive innocence of her upbringing. “Baltimore” is introduced in a veering segue as the segment goes from the infamous image of Amos breastfeeding a pig in the Boys for Pele liner notes to her parents talking with rueful amusement about her love of shocking them, at which point the voiceover interrupts them to say “if you think that’s shocking…” as a leadup to Amos performing “Baltimore” on local television.

It’s cynical, more ...

Ran Tan Waltz

This will be my last blog post to be crossposted to Eruditorum Press, as Elizabeth’s Tori Amos project, “Boys In Their Dresses,” will begin its run on the site come Monday. In the meantime you can still follow me at, or financially support me in exchange for exclusive writing and personal editing at my Patreon. I am literal days from moving out of my current apartment and haven’t found an affordable replacement, so my partner and I could really use your help. Thanks so much for readingIt means the world to me.

Ran Tan Waltz
Xmas special

Numerous times on this blog we’ve talked about Kate, Bush’s classic 1979 Christmas special. As one of the few extended performances of her music Bush has done, and the only one made for television, it documents some of her less performed songs. While the bulk of Kate’s setlist was played on the Tour of Life, with the exceptions of Peter Gabriel’s contributions and a couple of Never for Ever songs, the BBC’s style of “televised theatre” differs from the musical theater Bush spent the tour performing. 20th century BBC shows were often boxed into a ...

Boys In Their Dresses: Introduction

So, my next blog project, starting on Monday August 5th, is Boys in their Dresses: A Psychodiscography of Tori Amos. And I wanted to start by talking a little bit about why this project interests me, and also a little bit about my short to medium term blogging plans in general.

I’ve had in mind to do some sort of piece about the largely female-fronted pop music I enjoyed during my 90s adolescence and how my understanding of my own love of it has shifted since transition. I originally imagined it as a series of essays, but eventually I got the idea of instead doing a deep dive on Tori Amos. The song by song blog has become, I think, one of the real classic structures of long-form blogging, and it seemed like an interesting thing to put my own spin on. And Tori Amos seemed a compelling structure for that—an artist who keeps trying new things and by extension keeps allowing for new perspectives on her work, and who has a sense of visionary personal mythology that appealed to me for all the reasons you’d expect it to.

But mostly I want to understand the sense of awe and ...

I Don't Speak German, Episode 25 - Deconstructing the CV/Striker Debate (with CV Vitolo-Haddad)

In a fun episode, Daniel chats with CV Vitolo-Haddad about CV's recent debate with Eric Striker.

Content warnings.

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The Striker/CV debate:

Eric Striker dox from the SPLC:

Eric Striker (@AarickStriger) complains about snitches. Which are really just people Striker is frightened of.


Who We Want To Be Next (Twice Upon a Time)

In 2063 they should do a special in which they cast different actors as William Hartnell, Richard Hurndall, and David Bradley, then have them all appear together in an adventure called The Three First Doctors.

It’s December 25th, 2017. Ed Sheeran is at number one with “Perfect.” The Pogues, Mariah Carey, Wham, and Eminem also chart, one of them with Ed Sheeran appearing on the track. We’ll call this an exercise for the reader. In news since Series Ten wrapped up, neo-Nazis held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that resulted in the death of a counterprotester, Heather Heyer, when a Nazi deliberately drove his car into a crowd. Following the rally, President Trump praised the “very fine people” on both sides of the  “are black people human” issue. There’s a lot of other Trump bullshit, but honestly summarizing six months of it in a paragraph is a challenge, so let’s just leave that at “also more fascism” and call it a day. Martin Shkreli is found guilty of a variety of crimes including disrespecting the Wu-Tang Clan. Vince Cable becomes leader of the Liberal Democrats. Theresa May’s government promises that Parliament will get a vote on any Brexit ...

Another Day

CW: child sexual abuse

Another Day
Another Day (Bush/Gabriel)

We must address some important facts in this blog post. For starters, folk musician Roy Harper is a songwriter of note. He’s got solid and interesting work in his discography, bits of which get covers by remarkable artists like the Cocteau Twins or, as this post demonstrates, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. It’s intuitive that Bush and Gabriel would choose to duet on a cover of “Another Day”; an sturdy and compelling break-up song, whose themes of wistfulness and the cognitive dissonance of desire overlap with both artists’ interests. The Harper album “Another Day” hails from, Flat Baroque and Berserk, has songs that are the equal of mid-tier tracks from Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, or Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer’s Flowers of Avalon. Harper’s work is firmly second-tier folk music, respectable but not transcendent. Given that he’s a direct influence on Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd (with whom he cut a lead vocal on “Have a Cigar”), and Pete Townshend, he’s clearly a figure with some relevance to both rock and folk music and a force to be reckoned with.

The other thing we ...

Shabcast Returns - Kit Power, 'The Finite' & 'Tommy'

The long awaited (by a small number of people with extremely good taste) return of the Shabcast.  I chat with Kit Power about his new books, a non-fiction book about the movie Tommy and, more particularly, his new novella The Finite.

Instantly one of my personal favourite ever Shabcasts.

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Mild content warnings and spoilers


Show Notes:

Tommy from PS Publishing

The Finite from Black Shuck Books

Kit's previous books Godbomb and A Warning...

Kit's column 'My Life in Horror' at Ginger Nuts of Horror, via his recent piece on Where The Wind Blows

Discussion between George Daniel Lea, Laura Mauro, and Kit on Where The Wind Blows

Kit guests on an episode of They Must Be Destroyed on Sight! talking about Tommy (and Parents)

Wrong With Authority Footnote episode on George Romero movies Martin and The Crazies, featuring Kit and Daniel Harper


You Were Expecting Someone Else: Titan Comics

My my, it’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the comics, hasn’t it? The last time we looked was back at the end of the Smith era, where I did a quick check-in on IDW’s Farewell to the License comic, Paul Cornell’s “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who.” Since then, the comics line has been in the hands of Titan Comics, the comics publishing arm of one of the two the Forbidden Planet chains of comic shops. This had a number of effeects, the most prosaic of which was that Titan successfully negotiated an actual distribution license for the UK, thus ending the bewildering curiosity of a US-only line of Doctor Who comics.

Titan has done a number of interesting projects in its time. Paul Cornell’s fascinating Third Doctor comic is dealt with in the newest edition of TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 3, for instance, and I’ll deal with the Al Ewing-cowritten Eleventh Doctor series in the Matt Smith book. But both of these were daliances with the past, even if the Eleventh Doctor book had a good number of issues out before Deep Breath had aired. It was with this series, or, technically, triptych of series, as ...

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