Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum John Bentley From Gone Dead Train

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. How're you doing? Floridians, how did you fare in the hurricane? Did you find enough horrifying hurricane damage to adequately update your Instagram? You know what? Forty weeks from now is 6/17/18... Irma babies. Haha.  Anyway, I was lucky, a few shingles came off my apartment's roof and a few trees fell down.
At Apple's live event yesterday, the media giant announced the all-new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, as everyone was expecting. There was nothing too dramatically different about the new gadget... which is why Apple fans were relieved when the iPhone X suddenly dropped. The iPhone X, pronounced the "iPhone 10," has the edge-to-edge screen that has been rumored about. Yup... the entire front of the phone is a screen. There's no home button on the iPhone X. Instead, users swipe up from the bottom to go from an app to the home screen. To light up the lock screen, simply tap it. To unlock the phone, you'll have to use Apple's newest technology: Face ID, which uses something Apple calls the "TrueDepth camera system." Every time you look at your iPhone X, a variety of lenses take "mathematical models" of your face to unlock your phone. Good luck with your new phone if you have an evil twin. Apple ensures users that the technology works no matter the climate. Putting on glasses, changing your hairstyle, or growing a beard will not affect it, and holding up a picture of your face will not fool it. Your eyes must be open for the technology to work. However, when a new Apple employee took the stage to demonstrate the feature... it didn't quite work. After a few failed attempts, he was prompted to type his passcode. Oops. The phone will come with a cool feature for emoji lovers called Animoji... using a Snapchat lens-like technology, people can control an emoji by speaking and moving their faces, thus turning a tiny emoji into a video. And Apple is introducing another feature that's been a long time coming: wireless charging. The new technology, called AirPower, is a tiny platform you can simply place your iPhone and other Apple products on to charge. APPLE Apple also claims the phone is its most sustainable yet–it's all made of glass and "surgical-grade stainless steel," it's "highly recyclable," and it's water and dust resistant. The iPhone X costs $999, and will hit stores November 3rd.
Hillary Clinton just DGAF anymore. Since losing the presidential election to Donald Trump in 2016, Hillary Clinton has been mostly laying low, running around the woods, and working on her memoir, "What Happened." But now that said memoir has finally been released, Clinton is back in the spotlight to promote her book, and is giving her first interviews since her stunning loss. One of her first stops was to Refinery 29, where Clinton was asked if Trump's daughter Ivanka should be held responsible for her father’s actions. Clinton did not hold back, "Everyone associated with him... they’re either on board with that, or they’re not. And if they’re not, they need to be speaking out or leaving. But if they remain silent and just give lip service to contrary points of views, then they are part of his agenda and should be judged and held accountable for that." It looks like the former democratic nominee kept things purposely vague... referencing all of Trump's team rather than just the first daughter... but it is pretty obvious that Hillary Clinton has some strong feelings about Ivanka's complicit nature and phony feminism. Perhaps Clinton was fueled to give such a scathing answer since earlier this month Ivanka Trump supported ending an Obama-era rule on gender gap wage data collection... a surprising move given her previous stance on equal pay. Guess the "Women Who Work" author is cool if women work for less than men. Hillary Clinton's book went on sale yesterday, and according to The Huffington Post, the former secretary of state does not hold back while talking about Bernie Sanders, former FBI Director James Comey and even former Vice President, Joe Biden. Sorry Regina George, but your burn book has got nothin' on Hillary's. Maybe the silver lining to not being president is you can pretty much put everyone on blast and say whatever the hell you want. Not that being president has ever stopped Trump from doing any of that.
Ted Cruz brought the whole country together on 9/11 when his Twitter account straight-up liked a hardcore porno, a complicated narrative featuring a stepmother walking in on her stepdaughter getting pounded like he did in the primaries.

She's reacting to the honor. His team quickly went on Cruz Control, and the senator said that the "like" was a result of a rogue staffer." Why yes, the problem is with his staff. "It was a staffing issue," itself an evocative sexual term a la Tobias Funke. "And it was inadvertent, it was a mistake. It was not a deliberate act. We're dealing with internally, but it was a mistake. It was not malicious." NBC News Frank Thorp V reporter was on the scene on Capitol Hill, and with this load off his chest, Cruz even made a funny joke.

If Ted Cruz really were a savvy politician, he'd admit to jerking it, thereby rebranding himself as a human man with human urges, rather than a craven hypocrite trying to ban dildos. He should be relived that he only got caught for masturbating and not for Zodiac killing.
Miss Texas, Margana Wood, may not have won the Miss America Pageant Sunday night (the title went to Miss North Dakota Cara Mund), but she did win over the hearts of a lot of the audience based on her answer during the Q&A segment. Wood was asked if she thought of the way that President Donald Trump handled the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The exact question was, "Last month a demonstration of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KK in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and a counter-protester was killed. The president said there was shared blame with 'very fine people on both sides.' Were there? Tell me yes or no and explain." Wood's answer, which earned her cheers from the crowd, was, "I think that the white supremacist issue, it was very obvious, that it was a terrorist attack. And I think that President Donald Trump should’ve made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and in making sure all Americans feel safe in this country. That is the number one issue right now." As Miss Texas, Wood's platform, "You Belong," took on bullying and support inclusion for all. In an interview with Houston's "Out Smart" magazine, Wood said that she's working towards creating a "judgment-free generation." She explained, "‘You Belong’ empowers communities to foster a judgment-free attitude where people respect differences and value kindness... a place where everyone feels like they belong and are accepted.”
Dena Blizzard is a mom-of-three, comedian and Target shopper, with some very strong feelings about back-to-school shopping. In a video that went massively viral on Facebook, Blizzard goes to Target where she is buying back-to-school supplies, and she goes IN on parents who complain about having to do just that. "I've been noticing lately, when people are doing their back to school shopping, everybody's complaining," she says, while tossing items in her cart. "And my thing is... Listen. It's the end of August. I will give you anything to take my kids. I'll get you a yellow binder or get you a red binder." In fact, Blizzard loves teachers so much she'll get them more than just different colored binders. "You want some luggage? You going somewhere?" she says, throwing luggage in her cart. "Want Spring Break, teacher? I'm gonna get you some luggage." Dena Blizzard makes some very good, and very funny, points. Her video clearly struck a chord with parents: it's been viewed a staggering 18 million times since she posted it on Friday. In the comments section, she dedicated the video to hardworking teachers like her sister, Nicole, who she tagged, writing, "I’m gonna get you some pencils." I thought the video was really, really funny, so I contacted Dena and invited her to be on the Phile. So, she'll be next Sunday's guest.
So, are you thinking or cheating right now on your loved one? You might wanna think twice after seeing this...

Damn! I have never been arrested, but if I was I don't think I'd be wearing this t-shirt...

Haha. She's cute. Ha! Just kidding. I wouldn't wear that t-shirt anyway, it's a girls shirt. One thing about me is I like to follow the rules, but some people take it just a little bit too far...

That's very clever actually. You know I love Star Wars and football, right? Well, some people have me beat...

So, because of Irma they have new "Welcome to Florida" signs...

Haha. So, as well as the new iPhone Apple has another new project coming out...

I think this one is for North Korea only... or France. So, did yo see Ted Cruz's new campaign poster?

Hahaha. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Ways Where The $1,000 Goes On Your New iPhone
5. Fifty dollars goes to reinforcing the window bars and door licks at the Chinese sweatshops where it's made.
4. Two hundred dollars goes to salaries of the design team that changed its background screen's default color from "blueberry" to "denim."
3. One hundred dollars goes to the screen glass, that when dropped on the kitsch floor, will shatter into 100 pieces instead of the usual 200.
2. Three hundred dollars goes to purchase of startups that would otherwise sue Apple for patent infringement on this phone.
And the number one way where the $1,000 goes to on your new iPhone is...
1. Three hundred and fifty dollars goes to research and development for the iPhone 9... coming soon!!!

So, you know I live in Florida, right? Well, Hurricane Irma just went through Florida and you know something happened that happened no where else in the Universe. So, here once again is...

It was Mr. Rogers who said that during times of disaster, his mother's comforting words pop into his mind, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." Well, it is certainly hard to miss this helper. Meet the chainsaw-wielding nun, Sister Margaret Ann.

Sister Margaret Ann, the principal of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in Miami, was helping residents by clearing fallen trees after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc all over Florida. "The road was blocked, we couldn't get through," Sister Margaret Ann told CNN. "And I saw somebody spin in the mud and almost go into a wall, going off the road. So, there was a need, I had the means... so I wanted to help out." PREACH! An off duty Miami-Dade police officer eventually stumbled upon Sister Margaret Ann doing, well, God's work, and snapped a few pictures and a video for the police department's Facebook page. Soon Sister Margaret Ann was making international headlines, and the Internet quickly fell in love with the nun. Hopefully Sister Margaret Ann's kindness will inspire others to get into the habit of helping out as well. GET IT???? Okay, I think I've officially run out of puns now. In other news, Nun with a Chainsaw would be a great name for a heavy metal band. Hey, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff in a pheature called...

Me: Hey, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile. How are you?

Jeff: Always good to be back on the Phile! To be honest, I'm a little bummed. One of my books, "Paranormal Contact Vol. 3" was up from an award, but I lost. But Peverett Phile Alumn Jeremy Croston did win, so a shout out to him on that.

Me: Congrats to Jeremy. He is house was pretty much damaged from Irma I understand. So, were you watching about Irma this weekend, Jeff?

Jeff: Of course I was keeping up with Irma. I lived in Orlando for 13 years so I know a lot of people, you especially that still live there so I wanted to make sure that everyone was okay after the storm was over. So far it seems everyone is, so that's good.

Me: Okay, let's talk about football... did you see Kasey Redfern, the Lions punter was too scared to punt the football and getting leveled by a defender? Needless to say, it was the wrong decision. Redfern was carted to the locker room soon after.

Jeff: Yes, I did see about the Lions Punter. Pretty much the only position that is safe is water boy. But even then you never know if you'll be called on to be a linebacker. Wait, this isn't an Adam Sandler movie.

Me: Haha. Do you have any NFL news from the first week?

Jeff: A few injuries have occurred in week 1, including the Patriots 2nd leading receiver Danny Amendola and Chiefs Safety Eric Berry. I never thought I would say this, the Patriots are in last place in their division and the Jags are in first place in theirs. So that's kind of shocking. Adrian Peterson played his former team and had a career low in number of snaps out on the field, so he wasn't in a good mood about that either.

Me: I'm happy about the Patriots. Haha. Hey, did you see the Browns new logo? I think Disney is still taking over...

Me: Blood on the saddle... hahahaha. I actually love it.

Jeff: That... I don't even know how to respond to that picture right there.

Me: Hahahaha. Alright, so, how did we both do with the first weeks picks?

Jeff: We both picked one correct game and lost a game. However due to the Steelers beating the Browns (BARELY!) and the Giants forgetting to show up against Dallas on Sunday Night Football, I have a one point lead over you 3-2.

Me: Well said about the Giants losing to the Cowboys. It's true I'm sad to say...

Jeff: That was just a pathetic attempt at football was what that was.

Me: Alright, let's do this week's picks for week 2... I say Seahawks by 8 and Jags by 2. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks for week two are Baltimore by 5 and Cardinals by 7.

Me: Okay, I will see you back here on the 20th when I'm in Gainesville. That's a good day to have you back, right?

Jeff: Sounds good to me. I will see you when you are on location. Have a good one, everybody.

Me: Have a good week, Jeff, and I will see you then.

This morning, Donald Trump applied another round of tan to his face... not the eyes... and shot off a few tweets about tax reform and hurricanes. The two subjects are not obviously related, but that didn't stop Trump from tying them together with zero explanation.

Those were his first two of the morning, before the Commander in Chief added them up to make one beautiful, baffling tweet. Tax cuts + Hurricanes = today's confusing message from the POTUS. "With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before," wrote Trump, before turning cheerleader. "Go Congress, go!" Although it doesn't justify the connection, Trump did make a similar statement on Saturday that helps illuminate his thinking. "To create prosperity at home," said Trump at Camp David, "[my cabinet and I will] be discussing our plan for dramatic tax cuts and tax reform. And I think now with what's happened with the hurricane, I'm gonna ask for a speed-up." In Trump's mind, tax reform means a more prosperous America. How prosperity helps ward off hurricanes is anyone's guess. And the idea that presumed tax cuts for the wealthy means increased prosperity for Americans is highly debatable. But at least it helps connect the very scattered dots. To most observers, Trump's comments are GOP self-parody. I look forward to a rational, well-reasoned explanation from the president later in the week.

It's 6:04 p.m., 91°F and Kelly accidentally brought up sex toys on live TV. It was awkward. Live TV is risky enough as it is, but throw an unpredictable game live Never Have I Ever into the mix, and you never know what's going to happen. Kelly found that out the hard way when she guest co-hosted the "Today Show"'s fourth hour alongside Hoda Kotb. Kelly and Kotb were joined by Ellie Kemper, Savannah Guthrie, Sheinelle Jones, and Jenna Bush Hager for a special mom edition of the classic party game. The questions were all related to parenting, such as, "Never have I ever pretended to be sleeping so my partner would take care of the kids." But there was one question that Kelly got a little hung up on. At one point during the game, Kotb asked the panel if they had ever "'misplaced' a noisy toy." She was of course referring to children's toys, but Clarkson thought she meant a different kind of, ahem, play thing. She breaks down into a fit of embarrassed giggles before managing to get out, "I thought you meant a different kind of toy." That's when the entire panel erupts into giggles. (How could you not?) Kelly may be embarrassed, but honestly, I'm not judging. Let he among us who has never had a game of Never Have I Ever go off the rails cast the first stone.

The 36th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Gilson Lavis and this is one of his pieces...

Gilson will be a guest on the Phile next Monday.

Today's guest is a Phile Alum who was a bass player for the band Squeeze and now is the bass player and co-songwriter for the band Gone Dead Train whose new album "Special Feeling" is available on CDBaby. Please welcome back to the Phile, the always entertaining... John Bentley.

Me: Hey, John, welcome back to the Phile, sir. How have you been?

John: Life has its ups and downs... I try and keep busy. I have a radio show on Radio Scarborough now. Don't shoot the DJ I have just signed a recording contract with 3m’s. I am appearing in a stage musical in Hull called "Which is the Story of Mick Ronson," and on that bombshell… 

Me: Nice! Congrats to your daughter Bebe who graduated with first class honors at university. You must be a very proud dad, am I right? 

John: She’s a clever girl. I don't know where she gets it from? My wife left school when she was 15, and I was expelled! 

Me: Haha. Which university did she graduate from? 

John: The University of Life... well, Brighton actually. 

Me: Okay, I have to ask you this question and get to outta the way... last time you were here in 2015 it was before Squeeze's "Cradle to the Grave" CD came out... and now it's released and Lucy Shaw is playing bass on it and is in the band... I have to ask, did you get a copy of the CD? What did you think? 

John: Yes, I have a copy of the album… In actual fact I play on six tracks on the album including the title track which was used as the theme tune for the BBC 2 sitcom starring Peter Kay. Lucy Shaw’s credentials are exemplary… she's a classically trained musician, and regularly plays double bass with the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra… I am proud to be included on a record along side a virtuoso player, (but unfortunately they couldn’t get one ha! ha!). Her electric bass style is not too dissimilar to mine, so there is a certain flow to the bass on the album. I doubt anyone can differentiate who plays on what track? I know I can't! 

Me: Does a part of you wish you were still in the band? You're doing well with Gone Dead Train so I think you're pretty happy, am I right? 

John: Yes, there is a part of me which misses playing with Squeeze… my left knee! Like a lot of groups these days, the band leaders think it's a good idea to mix up the line-up of the band occasionally... I can’t say that I agree with them... I think its confusing for the fans and the musicians play their instruments with a certain amount of trepidation and insecurity. It's your turn next! Gone Dead Train are under-rated. They’ve got some excellent tracks. I collaborate in the writing, and get the opportunity to sing all the vocal harmonies on their records. Which is nice! 

Me: Next Monday I am gonna be interviewing Gilson Lavis, original Squeeze drummer, about his artwork and I am sure I'll ask him Squeeze related questions. First of, do you keep in touch with Gil? Have you seen his artwork? 

John: Gil and I have a chin wag now and again. He’s done a drawing of me which I’d love to share, but it was a private commission (must’ve cost the guy a fortune!) and so sadly I am not permitted to publish it… oooooo get her! 

Me: He plays in Jools Hollands big band... would you ever wanna play in that band? 

John: No... I’m not big enough! And besides... I’m too busy with Duke Ellington. In actual fact I have played in Jools’s band once before along with Chris Difford. I couldn’t help pointing out that there were more original members of Squeeze playing that night than were actually playing in Squeeze! 

Me: That's great. Is there a certain question I should ask him, John? 

John: Ask him when he’s going to pay me back that fiver he owes me! 

Me: Do you have a crazy Gilson story? I like to think the band back then got along really well. 

John: Yes, I have several crazy Gilson stories... and some Jools Holland one’s too... but I think it would be better for all concerned to keep them under wraps for now. 

Me: Fair enough. I love this picture of the band from the 70s… 

Me: That was taken back when "Argy Bargy" came out I am guessing. Back then before I saw any videos and my dad played Squeeze in the car or at home I thought Gilson was the lead singer as he was in the middle of the pics I saw back then. Do you remember when that pic was taken? I love Glenn's look... he looks almost fed up. Haha.

John: September 16th 1979 at 3:46 p.m.! Re Glenn: he probably was fed up... I used to share a room with him on tour back then, and he was a very angry young man. He was really pissed off that we were touring outside of the U.K. while "Cool for Cats" and "Up the Junction" were riding high in the U.K. charts. I can understand that he would have preferred to have been at home in the U.K. at that time. It didn’t bother me though... I was having a ball watching him throw TV sets out the window! 

Me: Okay, let's talk about Gone Dead Train. A few months ago I had Tony Smith here again and since then the band has released a new album called "Special Feeling." How did that album get it's name?

John: Well, Tony put all the names of the tracks into a hat. The hat got stolen. But the thief left a slip of paper, and on it was written… you make me puke!

Me: Sorry. You co-wrote a lot of the songs with Tony, John... do you like to co-write or write by yourself?

John: I like to do lots of things by myself (!?!) Writing songs is one of them. Collaborations can bring more surprises though.

Me: He's in France and you're in England, so how does that work out?

John: C’est formidable! Well, these days songwriters can send computer files over the Internet to "virtually" collaborate. It's not ideal but it can work sometimes.

Me: Does he write the lyrics and the music and you do as well?

John: Yes, that’s absolutely right, Jason. I especially like Tony lyrics... but I sometimes come up with a line here and there. Tony also makes very strong contributions to the music/melody and arrangements.

Me: Gone Dead Train has released a bunch of singles with an attractive couple for the artwork. I recognize those people... they're from a TV show, right?

John: Ha! Ha! that's a perfect reaction, Jason! It is actually Tony, his wife Michelle and Pedro the dog. Michelle is the one in curlers on the settee by the way! The artwork was designed by their son Alex Forge. Your assumption that the couple are from a TV show is probably what Alex was trying to accomplish with this very clever, creative and surreal image.

Me: I love the song and the artwork for "Good Times." I have to show it here...

Me: Were you guys thinking about political figures when that song was written?

John: No, I was thinking about what I was going to have for my dinner!

Me: In England, what do you think of Trump, John? I bet you're glad he's not your president, right? Haha.

John: Who’s Trump? No matter who you vote for the government always wins. No decent and honest person in this world would ever even consider becoming a politician. Sadly the only people who enter politics are megalomaniacs who’s ego’s are totally out of control.

Me: What's your favorite topic to write about?

John: Addiction.

Me: I love your solo material, John. Do you think you'll be releasing a solo album again?

John: I am going to be recording an album with my band the Buzniks this month at 3m’s studio in France. Sounds groovy, non? And on that bombshell… 

Me: Cool. Is Gone Dead Train writing any music right now?

John: No, they’re too busy doing their washing! Sorry, Jason... that was uncalled for! I suspect that Gone Dead Train have always got tunes and ideas floating round. "I got a head full of ideas that’re driving me insane."

Me: Who are your influences music wise? I hear a lot of different influences in Gone Dead Train's music... country, rock, reggae... do you have a favorite genre?

John: I am open to all musical styles. Apart from Neil Diamond! I listen to a lot more music now than ever before. Doing a 2 hour radio show radio requires a lot of listening and research.

Me: John, thanks so much for being back on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Mention your website, or Gone Dead Train's... take care, and keep writing and releasing great music!!

John: It’s always a great pressure … er, I mean pleasure, Jason.,, coming soon...

Me: Great job. Take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and John Bentley. The Phile will be back on Sunday with comedian Dena Blizzard. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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