Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Galactic Pot-Healer

Joe Fernwright fixes ceramic pots in a future Cleveland. Since most of the world uses plastic, Joe doesn't have much work. He's kind of desperate, so when he gets a job offer plopped in his
toilet bowl, not only de we know we're in PKD novel, but he's ready to accept right away. The job offer comes from this Jabba The Hut like alien ("The Glimmung") from another galaxy. After Joe accepts the job (raising a cathdral from the bottom of another planet's ocean) the Glimmung transports Joe to Plowman's Planet where he's supposed to get to work.

Galactic Pot-Healer is probably in the top 5 strangest PKD novels. Sometimes it is completely random. However, in my humble opinion it is Dick's funniest novel. Healer was written in 1969 (PKD's late-60s novels are my favorites). However, it can probably be most closely aligned to Dick's Maze of Death published in 1970. Both novels are overtly religious, and also have a theme of migration to a new planet to begin a new endeavor.

Rumor has it that there will be a 3rd Library of America volume and it will include: Maze of Death, Valis, The Divine Invasion, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. While all of these novels display PKD ruminating on religion, I'm a tad aggrieved that Galactic Pot-Healer will not be included. If you're looking for some deep thoughts, and some good laughs, check it out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Back in the world of PKD and reading The World Jones Made. Like all of his novels, this one concerns precognition, or a dude who lives his life one year in the future. Basically he lives his life twice so he always has a sense of Deja Vu. PKD makes this kind of precognition out to be a blessing, but mostly a curse.

Another person who can be considered to have lived in the future is Klaus Dinger. Dinger, along with Michael Rother, was an original member of German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk. However, Dinger and Rother left Kraftwerk because they didn't think the band was pushing the boundaries enough. They went on to form Neu! After Neu disbanded, Klaus went on to form La Düsseldorf with, among others, his brother Thomas. 

Both Neu and La Düsseldorf were well ahead of their time. Indeed, David Bowie once said that La Düsseldorf was the sound of the 80's, even though their seminal LPs were released in '76 and '78. They did make one more record in 1980. I can safely assure you that Neu/La Düsseldorf/Klaus Dinger influenced everyone from the Sex Pistols to Joy Division. OMD even had a b-side called 4 Neu; one of my favorite OMD tracks of all time.

After Neu, Michael Rother went on to make some solo LPs that I'm quite fond of, including: Flammende Herzen and Sterntaler. These records, too, evoked the sound of the 80's well before the decade rolled around. Sometimes I wonder if they too, were living their lives more than once.

I've been digging a lot of this krautrock lately as a matter of fact. Thomas Dinger went on to record some swell solo LPs, including one of my favorite krautrock records, Für Mich. Other current favorites include: Wolfgang Reichmann, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Emtidi, Peter Baumann, and Robert Schroeder. 

As you can imagine, this forward looking music makes the perfect soundtrack for The World Jones Made, and certainly for any other PKD novel you may have lying around. Check out one of my favorite Klaus Dinger/La Düsseldorf songs, "Geld", by clicking on the title of this post.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)

I had to get away for a little while. I guess I just had a little too much Dick. 

Anyway, I've been bopping around the Con-Ap today, basically cleaning. There is no better song to clean to than Icicle Works' "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)". To be quite honest I haven't been able to get into the band's other songs (maybe some Loyal Boxers can't show me the light).

But this song, which you can access by clicking on the title of this post, is a true barnstormer in the spirit of Big Country's "In a Big Country". Another band that only has one song I enjoy.

You may be thinking, "what does Icicle Works have to do with Dick?" Well, the band named themselves after Frederik Pohl's 1960 short story "The Day The Icicle Works Closed." The real lesson here is that one can find real cool band names from Science Fiction titles. In fact, I think I'm going to cull a nice list of potential band names from Dick titles. Aspiring rock stars stay tuned.

Anyway,  if your Con-Ap is in need of some Mr. Clean, Birds Fly may aid your quest.

In other news, I'm thinking about heading to The World Jones Made. I'm ready to get some Dick back into my life. I hope that makes you happy.