For the better part of four decades – yikes! – I’ve been a patron of the Carpenter Branch of the St. Louis Public Library. But there were long bouts of inactivity mixed into those years, punctuated by high-use periods, usually brought on by a konked-out computer. A year, or so, ago, I was upbraided by a staff member for criminally underutilizing the SLPL system. Shamed, I’ve been going there steadily since, recently mining the compact disc section, in particular.

The Carpenter Branch, though, as anyone would tell you, is a place full of character. And characters. Moreso now than ever.

Today’s unexpected conversation, related here, was undertaken while yours truly was seeking the two CDs by TV on the Radio, a black rock group. That’s not unimportant information.

Fellow patron: What’re you looking at?

Blog namesake: Well, this is the rock and hip-hop section.

Fellow patron: You like rock?

Blog namesake: Well, sure. I do.

Fellow patron: You like Journey, huh? And Aerosmith?

Blog namesake: Um… they’re okay.

Fellow patron: What, you don’t like Journey? I thought you’d like Journey.

Blog namesake: I give you that impression, yeah?

Fellow patron: Yeah. (Pulls CD from stacks.) Here’s some rock for you. Static X.

Blog namesake: Mmm, yeah, wow. Static X. Not today, thanks.

Fellow patron: They have any black music in here?

Blog namesake: I think it’s all mixed together.

Fellow patron: Well, people can’t put anything back right. Everything’s a mess in here.

Blog namesake: (Begins slow, steady slide towards opposite aisle and sooner-than-expected checkout…)

Records & radio

First: records. I’m spinning at the Royale on Friday and Saturday night this weekend. Friday, solo, and Saturday as part of the third DJ Scramble, in which I’ll be putting 40 of my records in the youthful, yet capable, hands of Morgan Davis and Cory Fake 4 Eyes. (Whose actual name probably has a little less zip than that one.) Anyway, early start of 9 p.m. on that, maybe even a bit before.

Now, radio. For anyone who tuned into the Topic A broadcast of a Nat Hentoff interview last evening, apologies. As we’re pre-taping many of shows these days, the possibility of a technical glitch rises and we were claimed by an early hit on that level. My initial guess is that we’ll rebroadcast the show on the first Monday of January, with another pre-taped guest (Salim Muwakkil, senior editor of In These Times) appearing on our December 31 episode. Thanks to the Collateral Damage crew for sticking around for our slot.

More on Spivey

There’s a pic of mine from ESL’s Spivey Building over at STL Streets. If you click on the photo, you’ll get a six-minute-plus video of a mid-summer visit to the intriguing, abandoned structure in the heart of downtown East Saint.

A shame, folks, a shame. In the meantime, documentation’s to be done.


At Royale tonight, happiest hour, 6-10 p.m. Think of it as a stop on your way to the Independent Art Market’s opening night, or the Rock N Roll Craft Show’s VIP party. (Oops, did I write that?)

Back at the ones/twos on Friday, December 28, 10-close.

Topic A : December

What: Topic A
When: Monday nights, 7:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: KDHX, 88.1 fm &

What’s up: Hosts Amanda Doyle and Thomas Crone are plotting new shows and new themes for 2008. But first, the remaining moments of 2007. Topic A’s central theme for December: writers and writing.

Planned for the next three weeks:

December 10: Howard Zinn, author and magazine columnist, perhaps best known for his work “A People’s History of the United States,” but also a prolific opinion writer in US and international periodicals; a playwright; and the subject of the documentary, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.”

December 17: Cary Tennis, the sensational advice columnist of, a gig which has spawned his new(ish)book “Since You Asked,” a collection of his best columns for the online magazine.

December 24: Nat Hentoff, author of numerous books on civic liberties, the Constitution, Congressional affairs and jazz history; and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, the Progressive, the Jewish World Review and The Village Voice, among other publications.

Program blog coming soon!

In the meantime, contact our listener affairs desk: