On Lou Reed and LA Times Style

louI have a confession to make.

Until last night, I had never listened to Lou Reed.

I know. He’s one of the all time greats. An innovator. An icon. But nope; my ears had never crossed paths with his music. Recently, while I was perusing the stock at Black Gold Records, a record/coffee/antique store in Brooklyn (aka hipster heaven) I found a copy of Reed’s “My Red Lipstick” single on vinyl. Back in the day, singles were like mini-albums. They had the single, a couple of remixes, and usually another song from the parent album. For two bucks, the record was mine! Last night, I gave it a listen, and wrote my thoughts out, stream of consciousness style, tangents included. Without further ado, I present my first Lou Reed experience:

Oh wow. This is not what I expected. Very good so far. The song now is an extended remix of “My Red Joystick” from the single/mini EP. It’s very Bowie-ish. Like if David Bowie and Prince ever hooked up, (which they probably did) this would be the byproduct. Also has a finger picking Lindsey Buckingham-cum-Mark Knopfler style to it. Like if “Sultans of Swing” was on Tusk.

To the b-side. Or is it B-side? What is the proper style of capitalization here? I just consulted my 1981 style book to check. It’s not in there. But there are lots of cool things in there. For instance, under “bylines,” there are a bunch of examples, and the example names they give are just tremendous. Jack Jones. Penelope McMillan. Check this one out: A. Kent MacDougall. And the best of all: LaBarbara Bowman. Cheese and crackers that is a moniker.

Wow this book is dated. Like, they have an entry for “Negro” where they advise that one shoud “Avoid Negress.”

I do like this capitalization rule: New York City But: New York state.

Whoa. We have an issue here. Siri automatically capitalizes the S in New York State. See? She just did it there! So Apple Computers in 2014 deviates from the 1981 Los Angeles Times
Style Book regarding the capitalization of the word ‘state’ in ‘New York state.”

Back to Lou Reed, I looked up this single and found that it’s from his 1984 album New Sensations. The album was well received. Kurt Loder, (!) writing for Rolling Stone, (!) called it “brilliant” and used the word “equanimity” in his review. That’s a good word.

Oh yeah, the B-side. (I looked it up online, and it is in fact a capital B.) It starts with an instrumental version of “My Red Joystick” and then leads into “I Love You, Suzanne,” another track from New Sensations. Both of these songs are fantastic. Actually, it kind of reminds me of Frank Zappa, especially his later work, like the instrumental Jazz From Hell. Very sonic. Very edge. Does that make sense?

Well, that was an enjoyable evening spent with a random Lou Reed single and an outdated style book. Until next time.

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