The Hollies

Alright before you say anything, this ain’t one of my favorites. It actually represents a lot of painful things for me personally. So just know that going in.

I don’t know what it looks like to you, but this strip was drawn at a time when I was all over the place emotionally, and I overcompensated with a kudzu wall of text. 2010 was when I’d just broken up with a longtime girlfriend. See the bearded dude in the wheelchair at lower right? No, that’s not her, smartass- that’s a real quote, that guy said that to me on the corner of Ponce De Leon and Boulevard. My girlfriend was driving, and I had the window down. Some guy who looked like that in 2007 said to me “Hey, you sure got a pretty wife. Can I borrow your credit card?” Verbatim.

So yeah, I lament the loss of this particular girlfriend, let’s leave it at that. And by the way; most MARTA stations don’t really look like this anymore. They’ve made a lot of progress since 2010, and many of our crazier transients have died off or mutated into subterranean organisms. I hope that’s not the case with Willie Terry, who is nominally depicted from memory in the last panel. With the bulge.

I don’t see him around anymore. Maybe he got too much exposure. Maybe he already was a subterranean organism. I’m not exactly hunting for the dude, he was just somebody that you’d see on different corners in town, over where Briarcliff becomes Moreland, for example. In spandex, waving a cane, with some kinda mega-goiter in his crotch.

I don’t really want to talk about this either. Also, the Pac-Man cap my childhood self is wearing in panel 2 unearths another painful memory. It was ruined in second grade, when a bully squeezed my juice box and grapefruit juice sprayed all over it. It was a real, original “Pac-Man” baseball cap. I stopped wearing hats after that, and decades after it would have made a goddamn difference, someone invented hard plastic juice-box covers that prevent bullies from squirting you when you go for a sip.

Goddamn this strip just makes me angry. Nine years ago you say? Holy fuck.

Now imagine this, but with yellow stains. I shoulda burned that kid’s house down.

I can’t believe I was given grapefruit juice to drink in grade school. In fact, I recall also having a grapefruit the size of a boxing glove for breakfast every day. I don’t know what the hell my parents were trying to pull. They sent me off to school roiling with citric acid. Then at recess, I’d make my daily attempt to jump off the swings, sloshing this caustic miasma internally until I’d end up heaving my guts out in the nurse’s office. Holy shit what a breakthrough. I was sick all the time because I was living on nothing but citrus and circus peanuts.

Here’s “Carrie Anne”. There’s no way Carrie-Anne Moss wasn’t named after this song.

One could argue that’s their best; there isn’t contemporary equivalent to this as far as harmonizing goes. There aren’t guys who can sing and play like this anymore. Am I wrong? Prove me wrong! (These guys apparently still perform, however.)

You know what “ASMR” means, right? “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response“; basically tingles brought on by something you hear. It could be whispers, or certain ambient noises. “Frisson” is the goosebumps/hair standing on end thing. Now you know why these vocal harmonies are such a big deal; it’s almost on a medicinal level.

Another thing to remember about the Hollies; they sounded better  on vinyl. That’s when you could put your ear up to the speaker. The following video will sound nowhere near as good as the actual vinyl record on a regular turntable. You have to understand this. On a recent podcast, I learned that a particular former legend of Web 1.0 believed that MP3s were superior to vinyl. I was aghast at this. That’s the same as saying movies are better quality on your phone. 

Hard to believe how short pop songs useta be, huh?

Here’s “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. I’m not the biggest fan of it, to be honest. It got a lot of replay in the late ’70s, when popular music in general was depressing as fuck. “Heavy” used to mean something different; it wasn’t related to weight. Holy shit, I am literally talking to you like Doc Brown, from a relatively appropriate time for the context. That’s… you gotta admit that’s pretty funny.

Maybe I don’t hate this strip as much as I thought; it’s just dense. It’s telling that I reviewed it backward. That line about the “lonely meandering hippies” got a chuckle out of me- is that not what that mode of harmonica playing evokes? Listen to the track above, and try not to picture hippies shambling along a roadside, resplendent in filthy denim and fringe, amber sunset in the distance, “gotta head for the next town Moonbeam, too many hassles back there man, people made it too heavy.”

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Filed under Comix Classic & Current, Faint Signals, Nostalgic Obsessions, Thousand Listen Club