Aug 072009

In honor of recently deceased ’80s coming of age director John Hughes, it’s only appropriate that today’s Friday Flashback dips into our small archive of Ally Sheedy-related threads. This is a topic that I suspect some newer Townspeople will be relieved to get off their chests.

This post initially appeared 6/13/07.

“No one understands me!”

Today is Ally Sheedy’s birthday. The last misunderstood teen icon of my generation is 45. In honor of her birthday and her everlasting character from The Breakfast Club, I’d like to give you the opportunity to express a song, band, or album that only you seem to like, either presently or during your formative years. Perhaps Ally Sheedy’s character would understand.

Here’s one I think about playing for Ally’s character…

Glenn Branca, “Lightfield (In Consonance)”

If I haven’t tried to shove Glenn Branca’s The Ascension down your throat already, be certain that I’ll get to you yet. Despite my best intentions, I’ve never found a buddy to hang with and high five over the playing of this album. The other night I dreamt that Conan O’Brien and I hit the town on a raucous coke binge. We were snorting up piles of the white stuff, high-fiving over each other’s assorted hi-jinx and quips. It was a wonderful time. Perhaps the coke-hound Conan of my dreams would understand this album. I listen to The Ascension like I’m watching replays of the 1980s Phillies-Astros National League Championship playoff series or Secretariat’s 31-length Belmont Stakes victory, cheering on the known and inevitable outcome, cheering on that moment when the victor’s foot presses down on the opponent’s throat and an unspoken (in everyday life) joy is released. This type of activity first stirs then washes away memories of hard times. I’m sure it’s a psychologically sound – probably even recommended – practice.

So that’s my Ally Sheedy moment. Let’s hear yours!


  15 Responses to “Perhaps Ally Sheedy’s Character Would Understand”

  1. I’m probably the only person alive who thinks Walls and Bridges is John Lennon’s best solo album. Yes, yes, I know, Plastic Ono Blah Blah, but the self-pitying poor-famous-me aspects of that one have always turned me off. There’s a bit of that in W & B, but at least John has regained his sense of humor about the whole thing, this business we call show.

  2. I would more than happy to come over to your house and listen to The Ascension with you, bonding over it in the process. I love that album!

    As for the album I like which no one else seems to get, the first one I can think of is Rehearsing My Choir by The Fiery Furnaces. Sure I don’t play it often, but in certain instances I’ve really enjoyed, mainly listening on headphones. It’s an album you really have to concentrate on. It got a few favorable reviews in the indie blogosphere, but Pitchfork and many others slammed it. I guess they were just annoyed that their grandmother handled most of the vocals. Personally I think that says a lot about these so-called tastemakers’ prejudices in favor of the young, hip and weird but not too weird, but that’s just me.

  3. Mr. Moderator

    Good stuff, so far, and as Matt has let me know, there’s even hope for some of us poor, poor pitiful me’s!

  4. I forgot to mention that you’re always more than welcome to come over to our humble abode in West Philly. We’ll have to listen to it in the living room instead of the proverbial basement since that’s where the stereo is and since our basement is in really sad shape.

  5. I can’t seem to think of anything from my high school years that I was listening to that lots of other people weren’t.

    By early college I was a Fairport Convention fan, which no one could understand. One roommate of mine referred to them as “Those English weirdos who Wallace is always playing.” AndyR in particular often looked at me with bemused disdain when noting the existence of those albums in my collection.

    It’s funny, but I was thinking about rock and roll and the physical rush of triumph one gets from it sometimes when Mr. Mod asked me if I wanted to step up and make a post. I find that songs that can make me feel that way aren’t always songs that, in my right mind, I can say are good songs. Nor are they songs of triumph either necessarily; the rush of triumph can equally come from songs whose messages are real downers. That’s what the blues can do: make triumph out of tragedy.

  6. sammymaudlin

    I grew up in what was then a small town and was the oldest in my family. None of my friends had older brothers in college. Not any that weren’t listening to Alice Cooper anyways.

    In I think a way to acknowledge my own difference I sought out different music but before there was MTV I had zero exposure to any rock stuff.

    So I got into big band. Phoenix had a VERY high senior citizen population so all the famous big bands (mostly minus the deceased leaders) would play the senior centers. A few of us would get high and go eat a banquet dinner with some octogenarians and watch the Benny Goodman Orchestra play or Glen Miller or Count Basie or …

    At first the old folks (especially at our table) were very suspicious and disdainful of us but as the evenings wore on they would tell us stories of the first time they swooned when they saw Frank Sinatra play at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and whatnot.

    And many of these seniors in their 70s would go out there and jitter-bug , some even twirling the ladies around, over their heads, between their legs. Absolutely amazing, like something out of Cocoon.

    It gave me a deep sense of the value created by the mixture of youth & music.

    I became the youngest (by 40 years they told me) member of the AM big band station’s listener club. And though I don’t spin hardly any of those artists today, I do probably monthly, still play Duke Ellington.

  7. saturnismine

    my life has been one long ally sheedy moment. and i always wind up being wrong anyway.

    i don’t want to talk about it.

    MAN is the Belmont a long race. a record time by secretariat of 2.24 and a 31 length victory (despite the estimation of 25 in the race call).

    since 1926, when the race was lengthened to its current distance, “easy goer” (’86) and “a.p. indy” (’92) have logged the closest times: 2.26 even. Seattle Slew? a slow 2:29 plus. Affirmed was a respectable 2.26 4/5.

  8. Mr. Moderator

    Thanks for verifying my memory of a 30+-length victory, Saturnismine! I thought I was creating a fish story. This will be corrected in text.

  9. Mr. Moderator

    Come on, Townspeople, don’t let Ally celebrate alone!

  10. BigSteve

    When I was in college you could get these very cheap Vox Boxes of classical music. I bought several Bach harpsichord collections, maybe by Wanda Landowska. They were perfect for reading and studying and writing papers to, and also good for blotting out family noise (I lived at home during college, which I do not advise any of you to try). Anyway my mother and older sister staged an intervention where they laid down the law — no harpsichord music while they were in the house. They said it hurt their ears. They never understood me.

    They were never too fond of Beefheart either. And I also remember my mother making me turn off the radio when the song Every Picture Tells a Story was winding into its screaming chick singer coda. It’s amazing I turned out so well-adjusted.

    2 solo albums by MICK KARN from the band JAPAN.
    I love these 2 records, still I have yet to play them with anyone else around who doesn’t say, “What’s this shit?, get this shit off!” Maybe Ally Sheedy.
    Did you guys see the Breakfast Club sequal, HIGH ART?
    In this film, we catch up with Allys character about 13 years later as she enjoys HEROIN, LESBIANISM, and PHOTOGRAPHY!

  12. saturnismine

    i didn’t like “high art” all that much, because 95 percent of the film glamourizes heroin use and makes all the people in the film who are uncomfortable with it seem square. it’s not until the end that we get to see the other side.

    but i couldn’t help but be highly amused by the german junkie’s repeated dismissive references to the aspiring heroin hipster with the fashionable eyewear as “zuh teenager”.

  13. what about Mick Karn?

  14. Mr. Moderator

    Was Mick Karn part of that Dali’s Car record? That was somehow related to David Sylvain and that crowd, right? Anyhow, I remember a friend playing me the Dali’s Car album and it wasn’t bad. Kind of reminded me of my A Certain Ratio albums, if memory serves. I know this is not as good as Ally’s full understanding, but I also feel your pain, Townsman.

  15. That’s right!

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