Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cocktail Nation 189-BeachComber Trio

On the show this week we talk again to producer and music historian Jeff Chenault who has uncovered some more rare finds for the swank cat, swank advice sport , our look at the world of swank, review with Koop checking out the latest Tony Bennett album, some beat for your ipad and news on Sydney’s first Tiki Bar.


Lucas Vigor-Girl Talk, Night and Day
Martini Kings-Baby Elephant Walk
Beachcomber Trio-Yellow Bird
Jack Costanzo-Taboo
Narco Lounge Combo-The Boom Boom Room
Tiki Cowboys-Feel So Good
James Bond Sextet-You Only Live Twice
Spy Fi-Shot In The Dark
Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse-Body And Soul
Joey Altruda-Tropical Espionage
Ken Nordine-My Baby
Royal Crown Revue -Besa Mija
Vicki Carr-My Meloncholy Baby
Melody Gardot-Les Etoiles

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life in the Penthouse-A Roast or a burnt offering


The Charlie Sheen Roast was big ratings winner across the world but the question as to be asked, was it funny,was it clever….well I would have to say no.

After seeing the Roasts that took place back in the sixties I would say that the Charlie Sheen Roast was probably one of the most vulgar, mean and unfunny events I have ever seen.

The constant drug jokes about coke was extremely annoying and not funny unless of course you are a coke fiend, the jokes about taking a knife to a hooker were disturbing and the cavalier attitude to Charlie’s domestic abuse and hospitalization was simply uncomfortable and bizarre.

Maybe I am getting old, but I find it absurd that a man who has lived life to the extreme and has made many poor choices is being celebrated in such a fashion.

Not only was the show a celebration of drug culture but it was also not very relatable for the majority of the population.
Average normal people don’t use Cocaine and if they do it’s not to the same proportion as a guy who earns 25 million a year.

It seems to me that Charlie Sheen and the other Hollywood types that make it into the tabloids on a week by week basis are clearly living in a very different world to the general population, a world where hookers and coke are the norm when it simply isn’t. Sure movie stars have always been held up high and by the general public but I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to hold someone like Charlie Sheen on high when most of the time it seems that he is high.

At the end of the day The Roast was a faint reminder of the Roasts of days gone by, I guess the humour that we once enjoyed is now long gone and a Roast like the Charlie Sheen roasts firmly punchs the nails in the coffin of the traditional roast.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cocktail Nation 188-Where is Jerry Sun

On the show this week we talk to a producer and music historian who has uncovered some rare finds for the swank cat, swank advice on people’s perceptions of you , our look at the world of swank, news on the man from uncle rebirth and the death of a Hollywood star.



Joey Altruda-Remembering Jobim
Pink Martini-City Of Night
Jerry Sun-Tiki
Anita O’Day-You’d Be So Nice To Come Home
Narco Lounge Combo-Taboo
Janet  Seidel-Crazy World
James Bond Sextet-Moonraker
Mr Ho’s Orchestrotica-Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
Chris Connor-I’ll Never Be Free
Howard Roberts-Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
Martini Kings-Brief and Breezy
Jack Costanzo-The Peanut Gallery
George Shearing-The Days Of Wine and Roses

Monday, September 12, 2011

Swank Advice-The Swank Traveller


Tonight's topic is all about that wonderful experience of  human life that is travel.
It was Saint Augustine who said that “The World is a Book and those who don’t travel read only a page”.
Before I got into radio I travelled on the Professional Tennis circuit and I would say that I consider myself a well seasoned traveller. People have often asked me what makes a great traveller. Well it’s a pretty simple equation really, firstly you need to be extremely patient, and prepared for anything
When I first started travelling I was given some advice by a seasoned professional  who said “When preparing to Travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. It was a joke but pretty close to the truth.
The last thing you want to do is be lugging a suitcase, a carry on bag and a suit bag.
Not only is it bad for your back but it also looks really uncool.
My suggestion is to travel with one reasonably sized hard suitcase and one carry on bag. Now I can hear the cries of horror echoing down the travelator from my swank friends who are insisting on carrying a suit bag. Well forget it, they are completely useless unless you are going for an overnight trip. They end up getting squashed and the suits turn out just as bad as if you crunched them into your carry on luggage.
They just aren’t worth it. Here’s a suggestion for suits. Wear your main suit and in your luggage carry one other suit or better still a sports coat that can spruce up an outfit. You would be better off getting a suit pressed at the hotel than lugging around a special housing for your suit, trust me on this one.
Now when it comes to general clothing and packing I always maintain that you are better off carrying more underwear and socks than anything else. Carry two weeks worth of both items. If you are on the road and not stoping very often it is easier to air out some shirts and trousers and save the big washing trip till you stop for a longer period.

On business trips men should always carry five white shirts and at least three ties.
Combine that with one conservative suit and a sports coat, three casual shirts and one pair of extra trousers and you are ready to go jet setting across the globe.

For your carry on luggage make sure anything that is valuable goes with you.
Be prepared that the luggage that goes in the aircraft could be lost or stolen and you will pack better and be ell prepared.  Speaking of preparation, always keep one spare business shirt, a pair of underpants and socks in your carry on baggage.
You’ll thank me when you have  a 9am meeting and no luggage after a fifteen hour Trans Atlantic flight which brings me to my final tip.
In your carry on luggage make sure you bring your electric razor, deodorant, a brush, aftershave and chewing gum.
You’ll need these items to freshen up and look like the swank cat that you are when you bounce off the plane and get picked up by your friend or colleague.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cocktail Nation 187-Me Me Me Show

Well on the show this week we turn the tables, instead of me interviewing a guest we’ll play part of an interview in which I was a guest on a radio show talking about the beginnings of the Cocktail Nation, retro culture and a whole lot more
Swank advice back on the radio and one for all the jetsetters out there with travel advice.


Hugo Montenegro-I Spy
Jack Costanzo-Man With The Golden Arm
Tiki Joe’s Ocean-Sacred Island
Julie London-Take Back Your Mink
Big Kahuna & The Copa Cat Pack’-I Dream Of Jeanie
Combustible Edison-The Veldt
Diana Krall-Este Seu
DJ BoneBrakeTrio- Bernstein 007
Buddy Cole-Georgia On My Mind
Jackie Gleason-Lonely Is The Name
MR Ho's Orchestrotica-02 Thor's Arrival
Morton Gould-Serenade in The Night
Martini Kings-You Only Live Twice
Tikiyaki Orch- Hawai'i Nocturne

Wednesday, September 7, 2011




Every now and then in life you get  a glimpse of what people really think of you when they slip up and make an assumption. Recently I was at a BBQ and a relative mentioned a fifties Caddy that she spotted on a recent road trip. She then made a comment that people who drive those types of cars clearly enjoy being looked at. Now this person has known me for a long time, knows how I dress, knows that I too drive a classic car and ….quite obviously thinks that I am looking for some kind of validation by having people look at me.
I quickly put her straight that I drive a classic car because I enjoy having a classic vehicle and enjoy the driving experience, that I am a motoring enthusiast and that if I really wanted to drive a car for attention  then I would buy a car that was twenty five times more fuel economic and reliable, one that had air-conditioning and modern suspension and safety features.

It got me thinking, I guess some people who see me driving down Sydney’s freeways might think I am some kind of narcissistic poser, which offcourse I am not, well not completely.

Living a vintage lifestyle can cause people to come to incorrect conclusions about you and your life. Several years ago I worked at a radio station that unconsciously decided that, based on my appearance, I wouldn’t be able to program the music for their top forty radio station.
It wasn’t until I explained my experience and qualifications to be their Music Director did they figure they should give me a chance at the role.
They acted pleasantly surprised when they discovered that I was good at my job.

Is the point of this article  that Vintage lifestyle people have to work harder? Is there a vintage glass ceiling? Well no that would be just crazy, my point is that one should be aware that sometimes your appearance will convince people that you are a certain way and often there is no way you can convince them otherwise.

I know that sometimes I forget that I am a complete enigma to people.
They just can’t get past a fifties style swept back quiff or a forties style pencil moustache, I guess when you don’t look like the average man then questions need to be asked.  I’ve even come across blatant hostility simply because I dared to rebel against societal norms by dressing differently.
Do I care? Should you care, well no, not at all, but certainly be aware.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mad Men–Escape To Camelot

MAD MEN-ESCAPE TO CAMELOT by Charles A Coulombe for Taki's Magazine

Television—thanks to the profit motive—is intensely imitative. If any type of show is successful, a horde will suddenly appear of usually lesser and shorter-lived knockoffs. In one season, the networks may be overwhelmed by alien invaders or ghosts, in another by “relevant” comedies. All such series are motivated by the hope of catching at least some overflow fans of this year’s plot du moment. The need for hits has become ever more desperate as the networks have lost ground to cable and now the Internet. Indicative of this desperation is the fact that the current “latch-on” show is itself a cable offering—AMC’s Mad Men.

Scheduled to start its fifth season next year, the series revolves around the adventures of a quintessential group of early 1960s types: advertising men based in New York City’s Madison Avenue. (Longtime readers of Mad magazine will remember how that immortal journal’s home street was always rendered as “MADison” Avenue.) Mad Men has become immensely popular during its run—especially among folk too young to remember the era. Hoping to cash in, ABC is offering Pan Am, featuring the adventures of that era’s quintessential figures, airline stewardesses (most definitely NOT “flight attendants”), and NBC gives us The Playboy Club, with yet another archetypal bunch, the Playboy Bunnies. These two series push the fact that their characters changed America, implying that we owe today’s perfection to them. But if they succeed, it will not be their alleged relevance that captures audiences, but the same retro factors that have made Mad Men so popular.

“Perhaps the era’s greatest crime was that it evolved into what followed it.”

But what are those? Why should the first half of the 1960s (as opposed to the second, so beloved of the baby boomers) command such attention from the same boomers’ children? Because, although still within the memory of many living (including myself, barely) it was, superficially at least, everything this era is not. Let’s zero in on a few points.

First, elegance. Before feminists burned their bras and hippies let it all hang out, anyone who aspired to anything wanted to look right. Jacket, tie, and hat for men; slip, skirt, high heels, makeup, and jewelry for women. Prior to the cult of dirt emerging from Haight-Ashbury, the truly cool wanted to “look like a million bucks,” even if they had nowhere near that in the bank. As with fashion, so with manners. Without a free-speech movement to tell them that foul language was liberating, anyone outside construction sites, barracks, and stag parties tried to keep their language clean. Do boomer parents’ surviving children make a concerted attempt to be elegant? Only in fits and starts; but they are often aware in a dim way that their progenitors’ grunge was a definite loss from something better.

Second, gender specificity. In those far-off days, men had short hair, wore natty clothes, held the door for ladies, and smoked pipes (cigars and cigarettes, too, but the pipe was considered ├╝ber-masculine). Women tended to wear big hair such as bouffants or beehives. (The latter was almost singlehandedly revived in our time by the late Amy Winehouse.) And they walked. Oh, did they walk! Few women today can manage the particular hip movement that so clearly differentiated the female from the male, but it was something to watch. For the most part, gender roles were clearly defined from childhood: Men were soldiers, sailors, ad executives, and businessmen. Women were wives, secretaries, and teachers. Little girls did not play football, and little boys only played dolls with G.I. Joe. Here too, the portrayal of such stuff on the little screen has a strange attraction for those who have been raised with unisex fashions and lifestyles and expect a girl to “put out” on the first date.

Third, well, fun. People smoked and drank. A lot. A real lot. I can remember watching the cigarette smoke fill movie theaters. The purse-lipped brigade had other fish to fry in those days, and for the most part they left the drunks and human chimneys alone. It might be objected that cirrhosis and lung cancer were more widespread in those days. Perhaps, but AIDS and herpes were unknown. It is, I think, this latter point that is the greatest draw for the era’s fans.

For those who wish they could travel in time back to Camelot outside their minds, Southern California boasts an enormous number of “time machines.” (It is no wonder that Mad Men, although set in New York, is filmed out here.) Despite the fact that so much of the social revolution that propelled us from that world to this occurred in California, it amazes me how many sanctuaries from that same revolution can be found here.

This nostalgic glow is to some degree over-idealized—and the modern mantra is that the era was sexist, racist, and homophobic. The surface tinsel of the Kennedys’ Camelot was just that—and the fact that social mores would collapse so quickly over the next decade shows how fragile they really were. Perhaps the era’s greatest crime was that it evolved into what followed it. Nor should it be forgotten that if our own time has a certain nostalgia for the early ’60s, that era had a nostalgia of its own—for the 1920s and 30s in such series as The Untouchables and The Roaring Twenties.

All of which points up two truths. On one hand, folk bemused by current problems always seek shelter in supposedly happier times. As a Victorian New Year’s poem put it, “For hope shall brighten days to come, And memory gild the past.” But on the other, our era really is so screwed-up that anyone remotely sane will look elsewhere. As Tolkien put it, “it is easy to debunk escapism; but notice that the ones who do so are usually the gaolers!”

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cocktail Nation 186-Armed and Gorgeous

Well on the show this week we talk to Bill Raetz the author of the World Espionage Bureau series  who has a new book coming out shortly, swank advice on the two people you don’t want at a party.
And a look at the world of swank with the coolest places to party, in review with Koop a new box set of very cool late sixties spy series, and we take a look at a movie from 1961 and a cd that’s still available.



Pink Martini- Mar Desconocido
Jennifer Keith -An Occasional Man
Spy Fi-Web Theme
Linda Lawson--But Beautiful
Les Baxter-Simba
Frank Sinatra/ Jobim How insensitive
Kenny Sasaki-Quiet Volcano
Orchestra Superstring- Waterbed
Mancini- Bachelor In Paradise
Jimmy Vargas-A Blue Negligee
Jackie Gleason-Cherry
Billy May-Invitation
Living Strings-The Time For Love is Anytime
Martini Kings-Goodbye To A Lonely Town
Naughty Ones -Azure Te

How The ’70s Majorly Screwed The Major Labels

By Jeff Price

Lava lamps, Happy Days, mood rings, MASH, and Jimmy Carter’s Playboy interview weren’t the only things to come out of the ’70s. In addition, copyright law was revised by the U.S. government granting artists and songwriters “termination rights.” This law states that 35 years after 1978 the recordings and songs “owned” by record labels or publishers would revert back to the artist or songwriter regardless of if the artist or songwriter was recouped, un-recouped, etc. In other words, the government said to the labels and publishers,“ 35 years is long enough. Times up, give them back control over their work.”

For those of you counting, 35 years from 1978 is 2013.

This means albums and songs from Cheap Trick, The Kinks, AC/DC, Kraftwerk, Carole King, Peter Gabriel, The Cars, The Buzzcocks, KC & the Sunshine Band, Kenny Rogers, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Tom Waits, Yes, Sex Pistols, Boston, Ramones, Bryan Ferry, Heart, Uriah Heap, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Brian Eno, Hawkwind, Whitesnake, Queen, Kate Bush, and countless others are eligible to revert back to the artists. Which means that the record labels, in addition to losing control over distribution (think TuneCore) may now lose the rights to the only thing left keeping them alive, the recordings that they make money off of.

And each year that goes by, means another set of albums and songs becoming eligible to revert back to the artist.

As you can imagine, the labels are fighting it. According to the August 15th, 2011 New York Times article, “Record Industry Braces for Artists’ Battles Over Song Rights,” Steven Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America stated,

“We believe the termination right doesn’t apply to most sound recordings.” The RIAA’s position is that the artist never owned the recordings or songs in the first place so how could they revert back to them. They were just employees hired by the label to record their own songs. Therefore, the labels own the recordings forever (or until they enter public domain).

The issue here is over the legal definition of the term “Work For Hire”. If the artists were legally “work for hire” employees, the labels would be right. The RIAA and the labels saw this issue coming. In 1999, to assure their position and not lose rights, they were sneaky little scumbags and literally attempted to quietly slip a midnight amendment into a bill going through Congress called “The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act”. The bill was about “retransmissions of broadcast signals” (I kid you not). The RIAA had four words added to this bill that would take away the right for artists to own their recordings if they signed a major label deal. These four words would, by default, legally define the artists as “work for hires” and therefore the rights to the recordings could not revert back to them.

To quote the very comprehensive and well written August of 2000, Austin Chronicle article “Work For Hire,” (which you should read!)…

In 1999, “Turns out the amendment was added by a staffer named Mitch Glazer from the office of Subcommittee Chairperson Howard Coble, R.-N.C., Glazer now works for the RIAA, the organization that sought to have those four words included in the first place, and did so with alarming quiet.”

Fortunately, they were caught. The words were noticed and artists, and their lawyers, went to war. The result was that these four little words are no longer part of the bill. Which means that the courts have yet to rule if the labels are right or if the artists are right in regards to the reversion of rights.

So, we approach 2013, and both labels, artists, and entrepreneurs are frantically attempting to either hold on to, get back, or acquire rights. Clearly, the labels are not going to go quiet into that dark night, however, this is yet another crack in the firmament of the traditional label system, and ultimately a win for the artists. Of course, the artists, now more than ever, will need to be able to market and distribute their newly-acquired/re-acquired rights, so that they can enjoy sustainable artistic careers on their own terms. The labels will argue that the artists can’t do this; only the labels could possibly market and distribute their records. That argument gets a little more tenuous with each passing day.

Stay tuned for the mother of legal battles. It’s going to get very interesting as manager and former label head and owner Irving Azoff sides with the interest of his client, The Eagles, and takes on the very industry he helped create.