The Charlie Parker Anniversary Waltz


Do I look like Charlie Parker to you, pilgrim?

Christ, what a lame way to start a blog, no?

But what could anyone have expected? It was early in the morning, October 24, 2004 and, as usual, I couldn't sleep a wink. To this moment I don't know exactly what it was; perhaps all that talk about the rise of the blogosphere during the 2004 Presidential election, when a raft of intrepid (albeit right wing) bloggers brought down the once-mighty Dan Rather of CBS News over some harebrained, forged documents pertaining to . . .

Whatever.

The point is, I started this blog on an impulse; no more than that. I had no plan, no formula. If I knew anything to a certainty, it was what I didn't want to do; namely take whomever wandered into the thing through some leaden, day-by-day account of life in the Community Television racket, where I make what it pleases me to call my living. Public Affairs television is dreary enough to watch; who on God's green earth wants to read about its creation? Damn skippy, no one does; and, what's more, I knew it from the get-go. I started posting images simply because I had them on my harddrive by the hundreds (now they number in the thousands) and it was easier to do. All very Andy of me; in keeping with the above image.

Oh, I had vague intentions of writing here occasionally (something I was not doing much of then), but only that. My first choice for a title was from an old Frank Zappa composition, Nasal Retentive Calliope Music. But when it came time to typing it in to the Blogger form, I went with something else. As I'm wont to do of a sleepless early morn' I was blasting music through my headphones; Charles Mingus, as it turned out. And one of the pieces on the CD I'd been cranking was Gunslinging Bird. I remembered Mingus's provisional title for the piece and . . . here you have it.

If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats celebrates its two-year anniversary today. Speaking solely for myself, this blog has somewhat sustained me through some rather evil patches, morale-wise. Many times it's been a chronic pain in the neck . . . particularly when I'm behind on regular series such as Hitchcock/Truffaut . . . but more often I've thought of it with a rather odd species of affection. I truly did not believe it would ever last this long; and I daresay without the contributions, generally better than my own, of Stephen Cooke (who joined me in February of 2005), and Richard Gibson (who signed on in June of this year) it would have been gone inside of a year. At the risk of engaging in showbiz blather and false modesty (at worst it is anything but false), I think whatever character of success we've achieved in this production has been as much a consequence of their effort as mine. This is more than to say I could not have done it without them. I should not have.

I thank them both, equally, for that.

Speaking for my co-bloggers . . . and without, I hope, turning hopelessly maudlin on you . . . I want to extend thanks to our regular visitors and comment-providers (with special thanks to our earliest and best contributor in that respect, Rob Carver . . . aka, Vanwall), along with many of our very fine blogging confreres (Dennis Cozzalio, Sheila O'Malley, Andy Horbal, Flickhead, Ivan Shreve, Steve Carlson, David Hudson, Girish Shambu, Glenn Erickson, Jeff Duncanson, Tim Lucas, That Little Round Headed Boy, Andy Rector, John McElwee, Jim Emerson, Sam Johnson, Zach Campbell, Brent McKee, Mark over at Movie Masterworks . . . this is a list which could go on and on; with the unnamed finding no less appreciation than the named) for their support and encouragement, their links, their respect. More is thy due than we can pay, no doubt . . . but we will do our damnedest.

I guess this is the point where I promise great things for the future, right? Vast improvements, new features, more and more and more; all that New Frontier, John F. Kennedy jive?

I'll say this: We're going to keep doing what we're doing. No more, no less. We'll try everything we can think of, certainly. And some of it will no doubt be as lame as that first post; but if we're lucky we might just maintain a consistent level of quality in this corner of the blogosphere and, it is my hope, prove ourselves worthy of another two years of your very welcome attention.

Thank you again,

Tom Sutpen

22 comments:

Tim Lucas said...

Tom --

Congratulations on reaching your second anniversary. Your blog remains a uniquely visual voice on the internet, and I check in every single day to see the latest "seminal images" you've found. Seldom has their been such a valid demonstration of the maxim that a picture is worth a thousand words as ICPWAG -- and I'm grateful to Hitchcock and Truffaut for luring me into your gallery. Keep up the very good work!

Tim Lucas
www.videowatchdog.com

Vanwall said...

Happy anniversary, to the incorrigible M. Sutpen, the unparalleled M. Cooke, and the inimitible M. Gibson, who have made this little slice of the blogosphere a regular stop as I meander thru the day, and thanks, also, for all the excellent commentary by some very astute and funny bloggers, who've provided plenty of extra tidbits for discerning readers. Thanks, Tom, for the tip-o'-the-hat, too, as I seem to find some very cool stuff to comment upon, every time I visit. Keep up the great work, boys, you've got plenty of Moxie!

BCNU

swac said...

Thanks for the high praise everyone, high praise indeed!

Certainly working on this internet excursion has taught me to keep my eyes open a little wider to ideas for possible posts, and I'm as entertained by my fellow bloggers as you are.

One of these days I'm going to have to take a vacation so I can dive into the photo morgue at the paper where I work (it's not as tempting as it sounds, there was a massive purge of materials in the mid-'80s) and see what I can come up with...

Jeff Duncanson said...

Just to chip in for myself. My knowledge of Mr Sutpen (and Mr Cooke, FTM) predates Chalie Parker, back to the days when we all used to hang out in Usenet together. I still have a copy of Tom's essay "A Personal Journey through the Auteur Theory" (remember that?)stashed away somewhere. So yeah, It was a given that I was going to be reading whatever showed up on his blog.

I also have to acknowledge Tom's role in my getting filmscreed up and going. I might still be sitting at home, thinking about doing it if not for his encouragement.

So congrats, Tom, Steve, and Richard, and keep up the good work. As Tim says above, it's become a daily ritual now.

Thomas said...

Congrats, mate!

I really like your blog and visit it every day. It's a great niche among those dozens and hundreds of movieblogs. And all the pics and stuff you are posting is truly amazing.

So, keep up the good work!

Greeting from Germany,
Thomas

Mike D said...

one of the best things about this blog i think is its lack of words. thats not to say that the writing is bad (it's excellent in fact) but the briliantly chosen images and movies just speak volumes.

to paraphrase don van vliet - 'if you got eyes then you gotta look'.

my god thats lame sorry.

easily my favourite site on the web - well done to all involved

layne said...

Congratulations, and thanks for everything!

That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

Tom — Let me add my congrats. And thanks for the kind words. You have carved a special niche among your fellow bloggers, and we appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

I'll say this: We're going to keep doing what we're doing. No more, no less.

Damn straight! "You do what you do" is my personal philosophy's tagline...

What is it about October? I started blogging in October, you started blogging in October, Jim Emerson started blogging in October...

Anonymous said...

Ha, oh and congratulations!

SomeNYGuy said...

Stay the course. I mean, uh, what all those other guys said. Thanks most of all for providing a very pleasant escape from my workday.

Bill said...

Happy anniversary. Keep 'em coming!

swac said...

Mike, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Van Vliet quote.

(Me I just got the double CD of Spotlight Kid/Clear Spot, so I'm in a kind of Beefheart zone at the moment.)

Tom Sutpen said...

Sorry I'm only getting to this now, but I really appreciate all your comments and wishes for 'le future'. If the number of friends/admirers of this blog never widens beyond this present circle I'll still consider it something of a success.

Mike . . . I concur with Monsieur Cooke. The Beefheart quote is anything but lame. In fact, if I'd run across it at the time I would have used it here in place of the Walker Evans quotation.

Thank you again, Cousins (to strike a suitably folksy note). You do us an honor which I cannot appreciate enough.

Mike D said...

the van vliet 'quote' is actually a lyric from.... i think its 'tropical hot dog night'

its originally -

If you got ears then youve gotta lissun...

keep up the good work chaps

Bill Chinaski said...

Congratulations to my all-time favorite blog! Keep up the great work!

swac said...

If you got ears then youve gotta lissun...
Reminds me of something similar Roland Kirk once said...but I forget the exact quote...

John McElwee said...

Tom, yout taste in imagery is impeccable! I look forward every day to checking what treasures you've found to enrich your site (and my morning). Interesting pictures in themselves are one thing --- insight and inspiration in selecting the perfect image is another. You are inspired, my blogging friend!

Steve said...

Two years? Damn. That's a lot of great photos. Congrats, man... keep postin' 'em and I'll keep checkin' 'em out...

Anonymous said...

Tom,

I'm sorry to get to this so late in the game. When I discovered your photoblog, I was amazed by some of the stills, but the personal photos were a surprize. By the way, I finally understand your feelings on Joan Blondell now that I have Turner Classic Movies back in home. Good call on that. Happy Anniversary, friend. May an ice cold Moxie be near you all your days.

Tom Sutpen said...

Sam . . . thanks! You were an early supporter and link-er to this here blog and that does not go unappreciated, believe me.

Steve . . . muchas gracias, Senor. Btw, I'm still waitin' on that Herzog review (joke).

Bill . . . believe it or not, but your blog was extremely helpful in my finding a focus for this one, so it's I who should, in a sense, congratulate you.

John . . . this might sound like hyperbole, but it's not: If this blog is ever half as good as Greenbriar, then I'll consider it a total success. You, as much as anyone, have my thanks.

Steve said...

Hee hee... I'm-a watch it tonight, which means I should be writing about it sometime around the turn of 2007... :-)