Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ski Patrol

The most fillerly filler on Slow Dazzle (and in the Island years in general), "Ski Patrol" plays the syndicated sitcom to Cale's Lynchian miniatures and cinematic epics. Or the Snow Patrol to those songs' Velvet Underground: not worth skipping, but not worth intentionally listening to either.

There's nothing irritating about it - it has an interesting hint of a political spin on it ("And the candidates who ran"), it's pleasant listening, he puts in a good vocal. But there's nothing to sink your teeth in, nothing to actually inspire feeling. It's curiously static. It feels improvised, but there's no risk to it. It's a sweet nothing.

Interestingly, it sounds more like Vintage Violence than like anything else post-VV. Maybe it's a demonstration of the dead end his pastoral period might have ended in. Or maybe not.

(All that being said, it gets stuck in my head irritatingly often.)


Mark of the Asphodel said...

I have an irritating Cale recording stuck in my head-- "People Who Died." It's been stuck in there for two days, and it's all your fault.

Inverarity said...

Those were people who DIED DIED
Those were people who DIED DIED
Those were people who DIED DIED
They were all my friends, and they DIED

Wanna write it up? ;)

ZephyrJW said...

It's a drug song. A sweet, fat, lazy, locked in your chalet, world-go-away-till-the-bag-runs-out, drug song. The snowdrifts piling up outside are the mountains of cocaine our Mr.Cale was variously reported to be doing in those days, and he's admonishing himself for his "heavy snowfall" while at the same time luxuriating in it. He's snowbound in his own head, and yet he knows someone will save him from himself : the "Ski Patrol." Just like the "Last Detail," right? "I AM the fucking Shore Patrol!" Well, Cale IS the Ski Patrol. So who better to rescue him than himself? Meanwhile - oh, the fun of being lost!

Jack Feerick said...

Ugh. You know, it's not like heroin songs are so much better, but Jesus—cocaine songs are just the worst.

Just. The. Worst.

Inverarity said...

The cocaine connection is obvious on Ski Patrol, but there's never any really plausible innuendo. I dunno. I thought Cale's real "cocaine period" started after Helen of Troy, anyway? I guess Helen of Troy does sound like a coke album, so perhaps he was already snowblind at this time.

Fully agreed on cocaine songs (though Cale never wrote a song called "Cocaine"), but heroin songs... many of Cale's and Reed's best songs are heroin songs! "Fear", "Sister Ray", "Heroin", "Waiting for the Man", etc. etc. etc.