Serendipity, Sex and Zevon

OK, I admit the title of this post is a little whimsical, but it’s not way off topic, and I like the alliteration.

I’m an Amazon Prime customer. When Amazon announced that free video streaming would be included to ward off some of the criticism of the forthcoming hike in the subscription, I wasn’t particularly bothered. In the UK the price has stayed the same for some time, and delivery is no-cost for Prime items, which is not the case for US customers who have to pay something. Also I don’t watch much video. But anyway, no extra cost is no extra cost, so I decided to browse.

I don’t remember how or why, but I stumbled upon Californication (Amazon UK). I’m not a David Duchovny fan; I know him from The X-Files, but I hardly ever watched that. I was hooked after was the first episode. It’s funny, absurd and sexy. Sometimes all three at the same time, such as the scene in Episode 1, when Hank (Duchovny’s character) gets punched in the face by a naked Mia when they’re in the middle of hot sex. Mia turns out to be the 16-year old daughter of Bill, who is the fiancé of Karen, Hank’s long-time ex-lover. (For the avoidance of doubt, it was Mia who seduced Hank; he was unaware of who, and how old, she was.)

One thing I do when I’m watching a TV series is pay attention to the soundtrack. It’s a great find to discover “new music”. In Season 1, Episode 6, there’s a lovely song, Don’t Let Us Get Sick, the show features two versions: one a rock number performed as part of the show by Becca (Hank’s daughter with Karen) and the other as backing music by Pat Guadagno who has an amazing voice. Here’s a link to a free, streamed version. (There’s a bunch more free songs by Pat here.) I checked out Pat on iTunes and purchased the album on which Don’t Let Us Get Sick appears, Live At The City Lights Saloon.

Several viewing sesssions later, I’m watching the first episode of Season 2, A Slip Of The Tongue (I’ll refrain from explaining the title—check it out yourself), when another song snippet appealed enough for me to track it down. It was My Shit’s Fucked Up by Warren Zevon. Here’s Warren performing live:

MSFU is from the album, Life’ll Kill Ya, which also contains Don’t Let Us Get Sick, again written by Warren. The album was released some time before Warren was diagnosed with cancer, but the title and songs proved sadly prophetic.

Serendipity lead me to discover an artist unknown to me, rediscover and explore a forgotten one, and a very funny TV series.

Finally… It’s hard to leave Youtube quickly. And I found these four videos that comprise Warren’s last appearance on the David Letterman’s Late Show in 2002. In Part 1, Warren shows great dignity and humour as David asks him about his recent cancer diagnosis.

I might have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years.

Parts 2–4 show Warren performing live with Paul Shaffer (leader of the house band). It’s hard to watch these without getting, at least, a little choked up as one can hear the effect Warren’s illness is having on his voice.

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