Saturday, September 11, 2021

Pheaturing Britta Phillips


Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Saturday. Not just any Saturday, it's the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Don't ever forget. Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at the September 11th 20th anniversary remembrance ceremony in Lower Manhattan today. Following a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attack, Springsteen took the stage to perform “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” a song from his latest album, "Letter to You." “May God bless our fallen brothers and sisters, their families, their friends and their loved ones,” said Springsteen prior to his performance. Springsteen famously addressed the September 11th attacks on his 2002 album, "The Rising," which went on to win Grammy of the Year for Best Rock Album. 

Today I bring you the AOC vs. Sarah Palin feud you never knew you always needed. The former VIP-candidate recently slammed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during an interview on Fox News, calling the New York congresswoman a "fake feminist" after her criticism of Texas' recent abortion ban. For context: AOC recently said Texas Governor Greg Abbott didn't understand a "menstruating person's body" in response the stringent law illegalizing abortion after only six weeks (when many women don't yet realize they're pregnant). "Wow, AOC she’s really milking this, isn’t she?" said Palin on Fox. "She’s such a fake feminist that she would bring up an issue like this and try to use it to make some kind of political point." AOC responded to the criticism in the most AOC way possible, by trolling Palin in a satirical video shared on Twitter. "I'm so sorry Sarah Palin is mad at me!" she wrote, "In fact, to address this I set up a special hotline just for her. In the video, Ocasio-Cortez asks, "Does my existence make you mad? Does the fact that, yes, I am a mouthpiece for the people of New York's 14th Congressional district upset you? Well, I have help for you. Call 1-800-Cry Now." People enjoyed the clap-back. In addition to the video, Cortez shared a link to a website her team set up to help fund abortion and reproductive health providers in Texas. She says they have raised over $250,000 so far. 

Greta Thunberg supports a woman's right to choose, and has made her thoughts abundantly clear by sharing a blunt infographic on Twitter. Responding to the radical anti-abortion laws implemented in Texas last week, the 18-year-old climate activist tweeted out this "why women have abortions" pie chart to her five million followers...

Reactions to the tweet were mixed. Many supported the strong sentiment and praised Thunberg for taking a stand. But others called the infographic "flippant" and unproductive. Still many others criticized her for weighing in on a subject that isn't climate-related. But if there's one thing we know about Greta Thunberg, she won't let the haters silence her. 

In the wake of the expiration of unemployment benefits, millions of Americans who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic are struggling financially, but what is the solution Texas Senator Ted Cruz is suggesting? Why, it's just "get a job," of course! Considering the global pandemic and the fact that you had to have a job in order to apply for the unemployment benefits you had already paid into in the first place, the number of jobless Americans in the United States is far more complex than people simply not wanting to work. Has Ted Cruz ever had to quit his career because he could no longer afford childcare, endure a 12-hour serving shift on his feet without being able to take a sick day, or find himself unable to afford rent despite working full-time? While there are jobs currently available, the reason many people have reevaluated their career paths or physically cannot go right back to their 2019 job (if it still exists) vary widely. 

Following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, close to 200 songs were shadow banned from American radio stations by Clear Channel Communications, known today as iHeartMedia. There were little to no consequences for DJs who broke the embargo, though as The Daily Beast, Kerrang, and others have noted, it had a chilling effect on radio play for the targeted songs. Today, the list stands as a curious relic of a time where unfathomable tragedy led to one of the most sweeping censorship movements in recent history. Clear Channel announced the “suggestions” in a memorandum sent out to its over 1,100 radio stations on September 14th. Many songs were cited as “lyrically questionable,” which meant that the words could be triggering, as in James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” AC/DC’s “Shot Down in Flames,” or Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly.” But others were struck from playlists for political reasons. Rage Against the Machine’s entire discography... four albums and over 50 songs... were deemed unacceptable, apparently because the band had been critical of America and capitalism. John Lennon’s “Imagine” was also banned, because envisioning a world where we all got along was at odds with the public demand for bloody justice. And several heavy metal songs found themselves on the wrong side of the censor, seemingly for no other reason than the suits at Clear Channel didn’t like aggressive music. “Bad Religion” by Godsmack has nothing to do with fire, planes, killing, or New York, but it was unceremoniously yanked anyway. So, too, were Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff,” Tool’s “Intolerance,” and dozens of other relatively inoffensive tracks. And what could be the possible reason for excluding The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian,” except for blatant Islamophobia? 

I have been to the Twin Towers, World Trade Center twice. Once was in a field trip and the other was in 1991/1992 when my friend Jim and I went to New York to see my dad play at the Marquee. While we were there we had a few days of sight seeing and went to the World Trade Center. Here is a photo of me with the Towers in the background from that trip...

And this is me in one of the Towers...

If I had a TARDIS I would go to New York in the 70s and watch the Towers being built...

I was thinking of getting a new tattoo but someone had the same idea I had...

Hahaha. Did you see the billboard signs that are popping up all over Texas? I'll show you...

Do you watch that "Antiques Roadshow" TV show? You never know what is gonna be on that show and how it's gonna be described...

Hahaha. Spoilers for movies and television shows can be a divisive subject for fans, but ruining the series finale for everyone surely won't earn you any popularity points at the watch-party. Some people quell the anxiety of watching a suspenseful film by sneakily searching the ending, but it's always best to keep that knowledge to yourself. If you live for spoilers and can't sit through a movie without knowing how the plot unfolds, respecting that others enjoy to watch films in the way they were intended to be watched is important. It's one thing to assume someone has seen a television show that came out five years ago and accidentally reveal a major plot twist, but repeatedly ruining someone else's viewing bliss when they've told you not to is some casually evil behavior. It doesn't matter if the The Sixth Sense came out in 1999, it's still rude to ruin the twist at the work Halloween party. So, when a frustrated woman decided to consult the Phile about whether or not she was wrong to blow up on her spoiler-loving boyfriend, I decided to  deem a verdict. 

"Am I wrong for canceling movie night with my boyfriend after what he did? I'm a movie lover I love watching TV shows and movies (like "Star Trek," The Greatest Showman, Star Wars, and I have tons of favorite actors like Jake Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert De Niro and Keanu Reeves!)  I even have rituals for when I watch movies. Especially new ones. My boyfriend Andy and I have movie night every Thursday (together for 9 months btw we don't live together) He has a habit of Googling spoilers whenever we're watching a movie for the first time. It may not be a big deal but... I hate it! I hate when he does that! It ruins the mood, the excitement of the movie and so far he's ruined over 14 (what would've been) great watching experiences. He did it again after I had a talk with him about it. He says he just can't help it, but I said I can't let him ruin the one thing I'm so madly interested in. I can't even enjoy our Thursday movie night anymore because of it. He said I was right and promised he won't do it again. Heck, he even promised he won't keep his phone with him and will leave it elsewhere. This past Thursday he came over to my place so we could watch a new movie together. I prepared popcorn and drinks and we sat on the sofa and started watching. It was a great movie choice I was in the mood/excited to see how events turn out. Andy's phone was in the kitchen so I didn't have to worry when he started moving in the sofa looking uncomfortable. I kept staring at the screen and in few minutes I heard the "tic tic tic tic tic" keyboard sound! I turned my face and saw Andy had my phone in his hand and was seemingly looking up spoilers for the movie. I was like, "you know? YOU KNOW! What the hell did you do that for, you also took my phone?" I got mad he just kept smiling at me with his sharp teeth. He promised he won't spoil it for me and I can trust him this time to not say anything. I took my phone back hoping I'd still find out what happens in the movie on my own. He kept harassing me asking if I wanted him to tell me what was going to happen at the end. I said no. Minutes later he spoke up and said "hey babe, I just wanted to tell you that XYZ will happen at the end." I blew up, I yelled calling him unbearable and selfish to have ruined yet another great movie watching experience. He said he wanted to ease my mind about the ending after seeing me so worked up like that but I said I was done and canceled our Thursday movie night and will have a girl night in with my girls instead. He got offended saying I overreacted over a movie and that he was hurt after I canceled our "special night" of the week together. He left and then texted me later saying I ruined the night and was hard on him since this is a habit of his that's hard to get rid of but he's trying and I'm not giving him chance. He wants me to reconsider." It's not a NORMAL thing for someone to actively ENJOY sucking the joy out of your life. It's sick. Here's a new movie for you, it's called Red Flags. It's best watched alone. Do not date a movie spoiler. In general, do not date someone that spoils life’s little pleasures for you. I feel it’s super manipulative he would make it seem like you are the unreasonable one. So, there you have it! You weren't at all wrong to snap at your boyfriend as his behavior is not only annoying, but downright malicious. Ruining an experience for yourself is one thing, but repeatedly crushing your partner's joy seemingly for the thrill of it is a serious red flag. Good luck, everyone! If you have a problem you'd want my opinion on then email me at 

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, let's have a live look at Port Jefferson, shall we?

It looks like a nice day there today. I wish I was there. A friend of the Phile who is from Long Island has something to say about today. He's a singer, patriot, and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Twenty years… It always upsets me when people say things like “we need to move on, this was twenty years ago... get over it.” I hope I never “move on" from how I felt that morning. From the fear I felt when informed that my younger brother was missing... from the pain I felt when informed that three people I knew since childhood, had perished when the Towers fell... the relief I felt when my brother was found, safe and sound. The smell in the air, as I arrived on site, the anger and rage I felt as I saw the full scope of what took place that day. I hope someday people will understand why this is such a dark day for people like me. It forever changed who I was, just one day before. Never Forget. #RayDowneyJrFDNY #DennisCrossFDNY #JamesLeahyNYPD. 

Ed Asner 
November 15th, 1929 — August 29th, 2021 
Up, up and away.

On presidential elections...

Now for some 9/11...

Phact 1: After 9/11, the Masai tribesmen of Kenya donated 14 cows to the U.S. to help with the aftermath of 9/11. To the Masai, the cow equals life. 

Phact 2. On 9/11, when all transport out of the city was shut down, boat owners managed to transport over 500,000 people from Manhattan Island in an amazing act known as the “9/11 Boatlift.” 

Phact 3. On September 11th, 2001, Officer John Perry was at police headquarters filing his retirement papers when he was notified about the first airplane striking the first Tower. He rushed to the scene to assist with rescue operations and was killed when one of the Towers collapsed. He was the only off-duty officer killed on 9/11. 

Phact 4. On 9/11, after the first plane hit the North Tower, people in the South Tower wanted to leave but were advised by an announcement to stay at their desks. Some of those who tried to leave anyway were turned back by security in the building before the exits. About 1,120 of them died. 

Phact 5. After 9/11, the Queen of England authorized the Coldstream Guards to break protocol and play the U.S. national anthem during the Changing of the Guard, giving some comfort to Americans stranded in London due to airport closures.

Today's guest is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, actress, voice actress and last female guest on the Phile. Her music career spans more than 30 years. She came to prominence in the mid-1980s as the singing voice of the title character of the animated television series "Jem." She has also been a member of the bands Luna and as one half of the duo Dean & Britta, both with her husband Dean Wareham, and has had a solo career which has included one studio album called "Luck or Magic." Please welcome to the Phile... Britta Phillips.

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

Britta: Hello, Jason. I am good. I love your blog. 

Me: Thanks. Enjoy it while it lasts. Haha. Months ago I interviewed Samantha Newark who voiced Jem but you did the singing for Jem, and Samantha recommended I interview you as well. And here you are. My dad was a musician and your dad was as well, right? 

Britta: Yeah, my dad was a musician and started out as bass trombonist and started out with Herbie Hancock and then he got into Broadway musicals and eventually jingles. 

Me: That's cool. So, you're a rocker, Britta, and have your own musical career, how did you get involved with "Jem"? 

Britta: My dad knew Anne Bryant for years and played on jingles with her on all of her stuff. 

Me: Britta, who was Anne Bryant? 

Britta: Oh, sorry, I figured you knew... she was the music director on "Jem." 

Me: Ooooh, that Anne Bryant. Hahahaha. So, your dad introduced you to her? What was that for? 

Britta: I think he took my sister and I into the studio when I was about 12 and we watched a jingle's session and she heard us sing because se was interested in using us, but we lived in Pennsylvania so it didn't work out, we weren't living in New York City. 

Me: So, when did you and how did you do the Jem thing? 

Britta: Years later when I was 19 I made this demo tape and my dad helped me make it. He got his friends, his studio musician friends to play on it and he gave it to Anne when he found out they were looking for a young rock singer for this "Jem" project. 

Me: So, did you have to rerecord all your music or was it new music you had to record? 

Britta: With my memory they used the audition, when I auditioned for "Jem" they just had me sing the theme song and maybe couple of other things. And they used that audition as the theme song. 

Me: Were you happy about that? That's kinda cool, right? 

Britta: I had a cold which I could always hear but I like it. 

Me: They must've liked you a lot, right? 

Britta: Yeah, yeah, I guess so. If it's not broke... 

Me: If they had you redo it would you have changed anything? 

Britta: Um, I don't know. You mean now? 

Me: I meant back then, if they had you rerecord the song? 

Britta: I like it how it is. I think I warmed up and started singing a lot. Actually I think there's some high notes in the original. I don't know, I probably got better as it went on but I liked the original theme song. 

Me: What was the recording process like for you as the singing voice of Jem? 

Britta: Um, well, I would go in and Anne Bryant and Ford Kinder would teach me the song on the piano, run through it and they would explain. This was done all before the animation. They would explain what was going on in the script, so I'd get the drama. In fact, I probably got more what Jem was about by the recording sessions and talking to them and they'd be talking to the script writers rather than watching it because I was like 20 at the time and not getting up early on Saturday mornings. LOL. 

Me: Did you get to meet the cast? 

Britta: I only met the other singers. We would meet because the same singers were there voices for the Misfits, who did the Holograms. They just had their good girl, bad girl voices. LOL. 

Me: So, when did you meet Samantha? 

Britta: We met at JemCon years ago, like maybe it was like 10 years ago. We had kinda been in touch on social media. 

Me: I can't believe there's such a thing as a JemCon, Britta. I guess there's a con for everything. What is it like? 

Britta: Well, I've only been to two and both really blew my mind. With the first I really didn't know what cons were. I didn't know what cosplay was and all that stuff. I got there and I'm meeting all these quiet normal looking people. LOL. Then day two they are all dressed up like Jem characters. Then the last night, the disco night it's like full on, not just dressed up as Jem characters, but whatever character they want to be and it's s total fantasy party, it's so fun. It's really a full escape and a vacation for these people. 

Me: So, what is it like when you meet these Jem fans? 

Britta: What always moves me the most is I talk to these people who say Jem was really important to them as a kid because they had a rougher childhood. It was an escape, a safe place. That's the stuff that's really moving and humbling to hear. 

Me: So, how many songs were in the series, Britta? 

Britta: About 180. I think I did about a 150 but maybe it was a 130. Something like that. 

Me: Holy shit! That's a lot more than I imagined. Hahaha. Do you remember any of them? 

Britta: Yeah, a few. They were stuck in my head in a loop for a long time. LOL. I kinda not listened for a while to get them out but they're there. If I just hear the beginning of it I might not remember all the lyrics but the melodies I remember. 

Me: So, when you were doing "Jem" what kinda music were you into? 

Britta: I was into Madonna. Pop stuff. I didn't into the retro stuff until probably like 20 years ago, I started getting into Dusty Springfield and Nancy Sinatra. Rock 60s music I always liked, like the Beach Boys and all that stuff. 

Me: Cool. Britta, thanks for being on the Phile. I hope this was fun. My friend at work Melody is a big "Jem" fan so she'll love this interview. 

Britta: Thanks, Jason. Bye.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and Britta Phillips. The Phile will be back on Monday with Phile Alum Ringo Starr! Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Never forget.

Give me some rope, tie me to dream, give me the hope to run out of steam, somebody said it could be here. We could be roped up, tied up, dead in a year. I can't count the reasons I should stay. One by one they all just fade away...

No comments: