Monday, November 13, 2017

Pheaturing Declan McKenna

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Pedophilia should be a non-partisan issue, but 2017 is a horrible, bad year. Last night, conservative firebrand Ann Coulter attempted to defend Roy Moore, an Alabama Senate hopeful accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, by comparing him to the late John F. Kennedy. In the tweet, Coulter "informs" Democrats that JFK had an affair with a 19-year-old woman while married, as if this information would make everyone go, "Oh! It's okay for grown men to sexually pursue young girls now!" Well, the tweet backfired spectacularly. Mostly because, and say this with me folks, PEDOPHILIA IS ILLEGAL. Having an affair with a much younger ADULT woman, though kinda skeevy, is not. In the United States, the age of consent is anywhere between 16-18, and varies by state. Darn. Looks like JFK just lost a ton of votes! Too bad. Seriously, Ann. What the hell did you think would happen when you tweeted this nonsense?
Speaking of... The Vermont single serving coffee company Keurig officially pulled their ads from airing during the Sean Hannity show, after he defended Republican senate candidate Roy Moore from sexual misconduct allegations from four different women. During the interview, Moore claimed innocence and vaguely referenced seeing "lots of young women" when he was young, but denied the allegations that he fondled a 14-year-old when he was 32-years-old. In Moore's defense, Hannity suggested the women's accounts could be politically motivated. "So, there’s politics in all of this. Then you have false allegations that are made, and you know... how do you determine? It’s he said, she said. I just... I don’t know how you find out the truth," said Hannity. He also went on to suggest that Moore “deserves the presumption of innocence” and that “none of us know the truth." Following his cringe-worthy defense of Moore, Keurig, and Eloquii decided to pull their ads from his show. Needless to say, Hannity fans aren't taking the decision lightly and have decided to take their anger out on Keurig. There are an alarming amount of adult humans out there who are so angry a mediocre coffee company pulled ads from Hannity they have started a hashtag... #BoycottKeurig.
Can you imagine if they were this angry about grown men preying on teenagers?! That would be a better world indeed, but I'm not holding my breath. I appreciate the emphasis on "misbegotten." Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of people on the hashtag responding to the anti-Keurig rage with accolades for the brand's decision. In some cases, people are straight up roasting the theatrics. In a perfect world, we'll all join hands in our joint hatred towards mediocre coffee AND child molesters. Until then, this hashtag adds a ridiculous dose of levity to an otherwise heavy newscycle.
According to a recent article from "Daily Mail," the "Smallville" actress Allison Mack is a key recruiter for the terrifying sex cult known as DOS. The cult title stands for "dominus obsequious sororium” which is Latin for “master over the slave women." The members of DOS are composed of the highest ranking women from the self-help group NXIVM, which is a larger cult targeting women. Just last month the "New York Times" did a chilling report on NXIVM, which reveals that women are regularly branded with cauterizing rods, placed on starvation diets, and forced to recruit more "sex slaves." The group was founded by the human hellscape Keith Raniere who allegedly recruits women through the model of a "self-help" group and then traps them in a cult where they're required to have sex with him. What in the living fuck? To make matters (somehow) more terrifying, a Wednesday report from "The Sun" reveals accusations that Mack, the actress most known for playing Clark Kent's bff Chloe Sullivan, is one of the main recruiters. A former spokesman for the group, Frank Parlato, told "The Sun," “If it was just Raniere by himself he would persuade almost no one but he has all these women to induct and hypnotize new women... so you are not just indoctrinated by him but a group of other women... one of them is a well known TV actress so she has influence over them. They induct the women into this secret group by telling them it is an all women’s group... they don’t tell the women that Raniere is actually in charge." According to Parlato, the cult is marketed as a women's empowerment group, thus Raniere's reliance on women to recruit other women. Then, as part of the joining process, women are brainwashed into divulging nudes or financial collateral as a way of blackmailing them to feel trapped. Once part of the cult, women are allegedly encouraged to recruit other women into their "slave pods," stop dating altogether, and be available 24/7 to their master. Essentially, it's a massively organized abusive relationship. Parlato shares that he was fired after Raniere discovered him investigating the cult's financial records, and he's currently caught in a legal battle. I sincerely hope all of these women get free. This is fucking terrifying.
As is often the case with Donald Trump Jr.'s tweets, our big boy GOB Trump tried to seem all macho and cool only to reveal how sad(!) his existence is. Yesterday, in honor of the anniversary of the Trumpocalypse, Trump Jr. shared a personalized card from his dad that is hardly personal at all.

"Great Job! Thanks"?! If that's all he got in his childhood too it explains so much. People were laughing at the cold greeting he scored from his dad. A few things are off about this. Why does the design seem so incoherent? Why is the order of the date the European "8 November" instead of the American "November 8"? What happened to America First? Is it for Russia? But hey, at least he got the date right this time. It's also funny because these map photos conveniently ignore little things like the popular vote and population density. Who knows what the world would look like today if Donald Trumps Jr. and Sr. got enough love from their fathers.
Tiffany & Co is a pretty ubiquitous brand, with their signature color and heart-shaped necklaces. But the jewelry company is apparently seeking world domination and has expanded further into home decor. REALLY EXPENSIVE home decor, under the line Everyday Objects. Here are some items that especially stand out for being ridiculously overpriced. $95 paper cups, made from bone china. Normal people price: $2 for a pack of 20, or the cost of the guilt you'll feel when stealing paper cups from your office. $1,000 tin can. Normal people price: $0 because who buys tin cans??? Use an empty soup can. $1,500 off-brand LEGOs Normal people price: maybe $4 since this set only includes 10 pieces and I have no idea how much LEGOs cost. $9,000 ball of yarn. Normal people price: $9-30. Imagine a room filled with yarn. That's how much yarn you could buy for this price. Sadly, Tiffany is only selling five of these balls of money. $425 protractor. Normal people price: $5, but the price of being that obnoxious spoiled kid who pulls out a designer protractor in third grade is priceless.

So, ever go to a public restroom and see something that you thought was kinda weird? Check this shit out...

WTF? So, I went to the book store the other day and realized something... they don't write books like this anymore...

Hahaha. Parents, I hope you don't get a note like this sent home from your kids teacher...

I once in third grade got in trouble for drawing a gorilla with a penis because I was dared by the other kids in the class. My mum was piiiisssssseeeeeddddd. So, the other day I wanted to Google "drug smuggler" for a certain reason and I accidentally Googled "drug smuggler" and looked what I found...

I try and follow rules as much as I can but some people take it just a little bit too far...

Hahahahahaha. The other day Melania Trump tried calligraphy during the Trumps' trip to Japan, as I said on the last Phile and I don't think she did quite well...

So, once in awhile Disney, the greatest company to work for ever, sometimes experiments with different looks for their characters. I don't know who these two are... but they look odd...

People here in Florida try to get away with crazy saying on their license plates... like this one...

So, if I had a TARDIS I would love to go back in time and meet Eisenhower but knowing my luck I'll end up with him and Patton examining stolen artwork in a Nazi mine.

So, I have to say one of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn easily and free. That's not good though if someone is reading this blog and gets bored and decides porn is a lot better. It is, but that's besides the point. Anyway, I thought I can show you a porn pic here so you don't have to go and look at porn on another site. But then I thought you might be at work and I don't want you to get in trouble. So, I came up with a solution. Check it out...

You're welcome. Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things Trump Is Doing In China Today
5. Admiring all the Trump-brand shots and ties rolling off a sweatshop loading dock.
4. Demanding to be introduced to this General Two guy he's heard so much about.
3. Casually admitting that until 20 minutes go, he thought China and Japan were the same country.
2. Pulling his eyelids taut and making buck teeth, a show of respect.
And the number one thing Trump is doing in China today...
1. Touting the fact that not a single Mexican has ever scaled the Great Wall.

Ha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, do you know what's best? Lemme tell you...

Roofer Gary McKenzie, 22, is accused of farting on a child's face. He denies the charge, saying its “disgusting and disgraceful.” He has also been charged with punching the boy in the arm and sucking his eye while play fighting. The official charge sheet states that McKenzie “willfully ill-treated the child, namely by breaking wind in his face, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health contrary to section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.” McKenzie says he was simply “playing” and claims the only farting episode he knew of had been accidental while climbing stairs. In a police interview played to the court, the boy related the horrors of his ordeal. “He was right next to me and bending down; he was wearing shorts; his shorts were right next to my face. I said ‘why did you do that?' and he said he did it because he wanted to be nasty.” The boy said McKenzie was a serial fart attacker and that he had seen him do the same to another boy. “He pulled his pants down and farted right on their face. I knew he had because I heard the noise.” Okay, maybe in some cases it isn't the best.

So, with all these sexual harassment stories coming out I wondered if a friend of the Phile ever encountered that. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

With everyone coming forward lately with their tales of sexual abuse/harassment/assault, many of you have asked if I had ever been either victim or perpetrator during my time as a singer. The answer is no... other than being "hit on" in a casual way by men and women who claimed they could help my career. I never experienced it from a victim's standpoint. I never was a perpetrator either... I may have slept with a few women who threw themselves at me because I was lead singer of a band... but I never forced myself on any of them and always turned down such advances by women I felt were too drunk to make rational decisions. Translation... I was a bastard but not a RAT bastard. I was however the victim of molestation by a family friend when I was all of 13-years-old. Her name was Andrea and she was a friend of my mother's when she was a kid. In fact, she introduced my parents and used to babysit for me when I was a baby. She came over one night while my mother was tending bar and asked if she could come in. When I said mom was at work... she said, "I know, I'm here to see you." So I let this tall, curvy woman in (who looked like Loni Anderson) and she asked if we had any beer. I got her one out of the fridge... by then, she had walked upstairs. I followed and found her standing in the doorway of my mother's bedroom naked. She told me to get myself a beer and lit up a joint... I'll skip the details of how I lost my virginity over the following five hours... but I will say that I was a willing participant to what went on between myself and a woman 16 years my senior. When all was said and done and I was laying in bed next to this woman, the phone rang... It was my mom. I picked up and said hello. Mom said, "Put Andrea on the phone." Shocked by this, I covered the phone and said, "It's mom... she wants to talk to YOU." Andrea took the phone and said, "Hey, babe... how's your night going? Yeah, everything went well over here... see you later, sweetie." I asked Andrea what the fuck that was all about and she said this... "Your mom said I could be your first and take your virginity if I paid off her hundred and twenty dollar bar tab at the King George Pub." Yes... my own mother sold the virginity of her 13-year-old son for $120. Yes... it fucked me up in many ways. Yes... this and many other reasons are why I haven't spoken to my piece of shit mother in 30 years. Yes... my father found out about it, drove to Andrea's place, kicked in her door, put a gun to her head and told her to be out of town within 24 hours. She left in 12 hours and never returned. Kinda gives you an insight into why I am... what I am... as well as why I have little tolerance for stupidity from arrogant women and why my closest friends are all beautiful women. Have a nice day...

Ummm. wow. Thanks for sharing that, Laird. Okay, the 69h book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author will be on the Phile on Thursday.

President Trump gives... interesting handshakes.Whether he is pulling French president Emmanuel Macron in for a painfully awkward 30-second handshake, or making Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe giggle with his aggressive grip, the President likes to make a statement with his handshakes. But while visiting the Philippines for the Association for Southeast Asian Nations conference (ASEAN), the Trump really struggled to nail the traditional ASEAN handshake.You see, the handshake is done in a chain, with all participants crossing arms and linking hands in a giant circle. Our president couldn't quite the hang of it at first, and once he did, he painfully grimaced through the entire thing...

Yeah, that was awkward. First he tried to grab Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc with two hands... Then he realized he left Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte hanging on the other side.  Yeah, he didn't look too comfortable being all tangled up. But honestly, this is maybe the least embarrassing thing President Trump has done this week.

Today's pheatured guest is an English singer, songwriter and musician whose debut album
"What Do You Think About the Car?" was released this past summer. Please welcome to the Phile... Declan McKenna.

Me: Hey, Declan, it's great to have you here on the Phile. I first heard about you when you were on the TV show "Conan" over here in the states. I have to show a screen shot of you when you were on that show...

Me: How are you?

Declan: Thanks. It was fun doing "Brazil" on "Conan." I was so nervous.

Me: Well, you were great. I love the album, Declan. I love the song "Humongous" that opens the album... not many songs or people use that word. What was the inspiration on that song?

Declan: "Humongous" is my favorite one on the record mostly because it's the most recent one I wrote. I wrote it so close to the deadline when I was supposed to finish the album. It kinda just happened when I was at home sitting and playing my guitar, messing around with some chords. I think I was listening to Abba or something and I was messing around with chord progressions. It was written with a big chorus, something I'd want to shout and put a lot of energy into it when I do it live. It started going that way when I started writing the lyrics as well, it started to come together like powerful and progressive but not like fast pace or anything, just putting a lot of power with a few words. It's not overly wordy, but I was happy making that, it seemed to go in the right direction as well considering it was the last one I wrote.

Me: You have a lot of background vocals in your songs, Declan. Do you write those as well or does that happen when you're in the studio?

Declan: Depends. Sometimes it'll start with an "ooh" and an "ahh" or whatever. It could almost be the first thing I think of but other times it'll be like main melody and when I get into the studio what I like to do is try harmonies. I'm not particularly into perfect harmonies and that sort of thing. It really just depends on the song.

Me: The album is called "What Do You Think About the Car?" which comes from the little piece of audio that opens the album. Is that a recording from when you were a kid?

Declan: I was four-years-old and it's from a video my sister was filming outside my grandma's house. She just got a new car and she turns to me as I walked up the driveway and she went, "Dec, what do you think of the car? Do you like it?" And I was like, "Yeah, it's really good and now I'm gonna sing my new album now." And I start singing. I think I was singing like a Boston song or something. I felt like for my first album it kinda made sense. It's my first reference to making an album. It also is like I feel the album came from my family and people around me. That sort of what inspired a lot of the stuff on the album. It kinda inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing and it just felt like a nice thing to do. And my sister got on the album so... hahaha.

Me: Where did you find that audio, Declan? It's nice you had it.

Declan: Yeah. The only reason I was able to find it was because a couple of years ago we made a birthday video for my dad with a lot of home videos and my sister put that one on there. We didn't find the original tape but we did manage to get that little clip out of my dad's birthday video.

Me: That's cool. You're from England, right? What part?

Declan: Hertfordshire, but I went to school in Cheshunt.

Me: Ahhh. Cool. I love the song "Make Me Your Queen." You must be singing about someone in mind, right?

Declan: Haha. That's actually the second last one I made. It was written about the same time as "Humongous" and recorded in the same session so it has a bit of continuity. It was inspired between Abba and George Harrison I think. I kinda wanted to make like a post truth serum love anthem. It's like an anti-love song to the politically elite. It was kinda pretentious like that. LOL. I didn't really know what it was gona be but it kinda came together from parts of other different songs. I turned these country love song lyrics into something a bit sarcastic and a little bit of satirical or something like that. I was trying not to take myself to seriously with it. It's a song that kinda touches itself to something that is a little bit serious and a little bit humorous. It was an interesting writing process on that one. I wrote it pretty much in an hour or two like once I got all the ideas together.

Me: Okay, so, what comes first, the lyrics or the music?

Declan: Ummm... it depends on the song. Sometimes the lyrics comes out seconds after the track with melodies and stiff. Sometimes the lyrics are the motif. I start off with a couple of words, but don't have a tune. It's like where I'm gonna start the song from. Sometimes I go into something that is already made and make it a little different. So, yeah, it's like I like to spend a lot of time on lyrics but that's not always where I start or where I end. It's like it really, really doesn't matter.

Me: Do you work with a band when you record or just when you perform? On "Conan" you didn't have a band.

Declan: I haven't written anything or recorded anything with the band other than love versions and stuff. With the recording of the actual album there was no involvement with the band. I had though of trying to do it... I think maybe it'll help with the live show a bit if we sort out what we were doing than just having a song recorded and trying to create it. As for the majority of the album it was myself and James Ford, and Jimmy his engineer as well who were working on everything. In between they learnt how to play all the parts and stuff so it just worked out a lot easier to do it that way. There weren't a lot of people sitting around waiting to do something. There was a lot of experimentation going on sonically like with what we were doing. A lot of the demos were quote raw, quite like we could go one way or another with this. Having too many cooks might've been a negative thing for this first release. It would be of been quite fluttered and all over the place.

Me: Like I said, when you were on "Conan" you were alone with just a loop pedal, or whatever it was called. Did you start out performing that way?

Declan: Yeah, yeah. After awhile I wasn't a fan of doing the loop pedal thing just because I wanted too perform and jump around and doing all the stuff I saw my favourite bands doing. I was kinda confined to a big stage or whatever. It's cool, when I started out I didn't have anyone to work with or wanted to do music full time. It's just as well as I wasn't signed to a major record label and could pay for musicians. LOL. It's something I did, but I do sometimes think about pulling it back out... not like that. Haha. I haven't really done that yet with the band. But we'll see what happens.

Me: Did you start young playing guitar? What am I talking about, you are young now. Haha. But you know what I mean.

Declan: Yeah, I always wanted to play electric guitar. It was just at my school, you can basically learn classical acoustic guitar or you can learn the flute. So, once I got fifty or sixty quid I went to Cash Converters and I brought a Squire Stratocaster guitar and I just tried to learn stuff on my own. Eventually that guitar got stolen from my conservatory but I sort of always had my guitar as the main instrument. But more and more I've been writing on piano. It's sort of different, mostly because I don't know much about the piano so I will accidentally play things and think that's really good. It's nice to write with something I don't have that much knowledge about.

Me: You've been writing songs for actually a long time, right?

Declan: Yeah. A really long time to be honest. I've been writing songs forever, it's like when I was really, really young, like six or seven, I had a band with my sister and two of my cousins and we sort of wrote songs and performed them in the living room. You know, stuff like that, I think a lot of kids do, but I think I was one that never really got out of that phase. Haha. I just kept doing it.

Me: You had a musical upbringing like I did, right?

Declan: Yeah, yeah, most of my siblings did, and my parents as well. All were kinda arty. My dad plays guitar and my mum plays keys, the flute and sings and stuff. My oldest brother played electric guitar so I was kinda brought up around music.

Me: Who were your musical influences growing up, or now, Declan?

Declan: Bowie and Ray Davis. I saw Ray Davis before I really appreciated them as much as I do. I was only ten and saw Bob Dylan, Ray Davis... it was like crazy. Thinking about that now, if I can go back and see that show again. After awhile I become a fan of the Kinks and that sort of era. I'm a big fan.

Me: On the album there's a song called "Isombard." What is that?

Declan: That was a song I wrote on piano in a piano room in my school. Around the school there were inspiring quotes and one was like a Martin Luther King quote where it said, "If we can't run, then we'll walk. If you can't walk, then we'll crawl." I kept singing that in my head and got on the piano and went over and over it and recorded it with my phone. Then when I got home I sort of structured it and out that line over it. As far as that word, it was sort of written as a character. I had that bit of the song where it sort of goes "Isombard." I spelt it wrong when I initially made the demo and I looked it up and it was spelt differently. I just kept it with the spelling mistake because I just preferred the way to was spelt now... so...

Me: Did you write all the songs on this album alone?

Declan: Ten of the songs on the album were written by me alone. The last one "Listen to Your Friends" I co-wrote.

Me: What was it like writing with somebody?

Declan: It was weird and quite long. It was my first time co-writing with somebody. It was with someone I looked up to musically. It was a strange feeling at first but once I got used to it we came out with a song I really love. I'll be interested in doing it a bit more but I like kinda writing on my own because I feel like I'm not pressured or that sort of thing. I think I came out of it with a better thought process. 

Me: Do you like being on tour, being so young, and seeing so many cool places?

Declan: Yeah. I'd just love to spend more time in places I get to. A lot of times I play then I'm off straight away. I don't get to see the city or the nightlife or whatever. Going from show to show is not an experience to draw from so I'm trying to wake up a bit earlier and see a bit more of places when I get a free minute, but sometimes I get so exhausted on the road.

Me: Some of your songs are politically charged songs. Do you have a list of issues you like to write about?

Declan: Yeah. LOL. One question I often get asked is "what are you gonna write about next?" I don't know. There's really not like a check list I go through. It's just if I do write something kinda political I'll see what is on the news or I'll pass something in the street. It's just if I see something or hear something, or someone will say something and I'm like okay, I'm gonna write about this. Or if I start to write a song about said topic it just kinda happens if I write something on the personal side of things.

Me: I love the spoken section in "Listen to Your Friends." That's so cool. Did you write that down on paper as a kind of monologue first? How did you come up with that?

Declan: It's actually a good story on how I wrote that. I was co-writing that song and we made like a chat but it was structured properly. I was playing it over and over and I got the train into London one of those days to go see my friends and I saw someone reading an article... it was basically about parents taking their kids on holiday term time and complaining how much of an issue this was. It kinda stems from that, but it was awhile ago and I was on a train and I got fined because one of the workers at one station said I can go through because my car wasn't working and I was really angry, and I was like taking the piss about double standards I experienced. When I got back I was like cool, I like this.

Me: And what about "Paracetamol"? What is that song about?

Declan: It's kinda dark, but I tried to make it kinda positive with a positive message. I feel like when a subject matter often touch something in a negative light it's already bad. It's about when people try to commit suicide and parental or authority figures in their life force them to go into antihypertensive therapy. I think kinda hearing about that stuff is still round, still happening today in this day and age, I was like it just struck me and was one of those things I had to write about it. I didn't really expect anyone to hear that song, but it felt powerful to me, and I wanted to speak out against the wrong doings in the world, and not over step the line in what I talk about in songs so...

Me: It's very topical, Declan. I don't know about the U.K. as I haven't been there in the years, but in the U.S. that is kinda going on now.

Declan: Yeah, especially with that topic where we have transponders in the bathroom and all this stuff going around it and it's very backwards and confusing the way stuff is going on in America but I think things often in the world do get worse before they get better. The thing for me is not dropping the cause but being persistent with it. Which I think people around the world are doing now. There's been a lot of confessing and a lot of people speaking out. We haven't seen such numbers in recent years so I think it's exciting in that sense.

Me: Before you go I have to ask you about the song "Brazil," which is the one you did on "Conan." That was your first single, right?

Declan: Yeah, it was one I wrote for the album. I was about fifteen and it was the summer of 2014 I think when the World Cup was happening and I just saw a lot of things around with Internet information about a lot of corruption and bad negative things going on around the Brazil World Cup. It kinda happened very quickly... I had this guitar part where I sort of worked the melody quite easily in. I wrote to pretty quickly once I realized what I was writing about. Yeah, I guess I wanted to write against the corruption in this FIFA organization. Making a lot of money but not doing anything for the poor local people that are generally poorer then the FIFA executives need more money. There was all these bad things going on around it getting into the song and there were a lot of bad things sort of happening at once.

Me: So, are you working on the next album yet, Declan?

Declan: Yeah, definitely, I've got loads of good ideas. I think I'm gonna do something with more conviction. I don't know, I haven't thought about it too much.

Me: Cool. Thanks so much for being on the Phile, Declan. You're gonna be huge.

Declan: Cheers. Lovely to talk to you, Jason.

Me: Thanks so much, Declan.

That about does it for this entry. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Declan McKenna. Before I go I have to mention a friend and fan of the Phile named Steven Wolther passed away from a  seizure. His funeral is today in New Jersey and I wish I could be there. I last saw him last year when he visited me at work at Disney's Hollywood Studios. You will be missed, Steven. Okay... the Phile will be back on Thursday with Phile Alum Laura James. 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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