Holy Cross, Adam West (The Ongoing History of New Music)
I live by a set of immalleable valuables
– Adam West, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
When you decide once and for all that you’re gonna be what you want to, and not let anybody stop you, the next step is pretty simple: have a little understanding, dig in and fully commit to it.
Take for instance, the 1960s Batman live action television series, which is incredibly campy, has some pretty silly moralistic themes, and an ever present sense of humour. Over the course of three seasons and one film, Adam West and Burt Ward managed to seep their way into the lives of countless North Americans. They owned their terminology with the constant string of “holy …, Batman,” referring to every piece of tech as “bat (insert equipment name),” placing graphics over sound effects during fist fights, and the never-ending flirtations between Batman and Catwoman. There were other constistent tropes of the series, but Batman never broke ranks.
Except for last year, when DC finally decided to revisit those characters and create an animated film voiced by Adam West and Burt Ward. In the film, we see many of the characters playing off of the tropes which made the show ever-so popular and memorable.
Playing off what we loved about that TV show was a smart move on the part of DC, and as I finish off this introduction, I’ll tell you why. We know the stories are tongue-in-cheek, but that doesn’t stop them from being entertaining and expected. As audiences have evolved and humour has changed over the decades, it was necessary for DC to acknowledge that in their story, breaking some walls along the way but never knocking the foundation.
Syndicated For Your Listening Pleasure
And Adam West has owned his persona ever since – by always willing to demonstrate this campy quality which has made him much beloved.
Which brings me to another hero for the ages.
Someone who had humble beginnings as a radio disc jockey, but a personality much greater than the sum of his core job responsibilities. One of my personal heroes and someone who I can only hope to emulate in my much broader tastes of all art forms, fellow Canadian and downright cool guy, Alan Cross.
Alan Cross is the originator of The Ongoing History of New Music (TOHONM), Canada’s longest running radio show documentary.
The purpose of the show is to explore the alternative rock world, which is a vast thing, believe me. Cross profiles artists, explores genre changes, looks at themes of culture and politics, and always always provides a well researched show.
Over the course of it’s hundreds of shows some of my favourites have been about the definition of indie rock, the evolution of punk, and the history of Red Hot Chili Peppers, a band I never cared much for, at least until Alan Cross taught me different.
It all started with Cross hosting an afternoon show on CFNY-FM, better known as 102.1 the Edge, then a morning show, and eventually moving back to an afternoon show in 1993. This is when he took on the additional project of TOHONM. As his career evolved, Cross took on different roles and moved around, but he never quit the show, not until he officially left Corus Entertainment in 2011, TOHONM was cancelled as Corus owned the show.
A Different Tune
After that happened, Cross started another program called The Secret History of Rock, which was produced by Astral Media. It lasted for about 100 episodes and was pretty cool. Then in 2014 Cross decided to go back to Corus and TOHONM was revived once more. Unfortunately neither TOHONM nor The Secret History of Rock are widely available for download, the first because of music licensing issues and the second because Cross is looking for global syndication.
But that shouldn’t matter, because you can listen to recent episodes of TOHONM on the Edge’s website and Cross has a series of audio books on The History of Alternative Rock, which are pretty cool.
This guy seriously knows a ton about music. I’m recommending him to you because if you know nothing about music, he’s a fountain of knowledge, and if you know tons about music, I can assure you that you know nothing compared to Alan Cross.
Will listening to Alan Cross change your musical life? Maybe.
But I will commit this to you, if you listen to him, and I mean really listen to what he says, you’ll realize that he is a lot like Batman. A geek at heart, with an immalleable set of values when it comes to work ethic, and keen sense for information. Plus he’s pretty funny too. I think he could teach you a thing or two about the arts, for sure – and I’ll commit that theory to vinyl.