The PopCulteer
August 31, 2018

As I mentioned on Tuesday, this is a bit of an anniversary week for me and this blog. Last Sunday was my wedding anniversary. Tuesday was the thirteenth anniversary of the first post in PopCult, and I neglected to mention it, but this weekend marks 29 years since the very first broadcast of Radio Free Charleston, on WVNS, 96.1 FM, right here in Charleston. To mark that, Labor Day will see a 24-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston and Radio Free Charleston International, alternating on The AIR.

Since we’re looking back at things a bit. Today’s PopCulteer will link to some memorable firsts and important posts from the debut year of PopCult.  The first month, especially, really set the tone.


September 1 saw the first post about toys. It’s also the first really snarky thing I wrote in this blog.

On that same day, I posted a joke item that isn’t quite so funny anymore, now that this sort of thing happens in real life.

September 3 saw the first mention of The Charleston Playhouse, and later that day, the first mention of Jesco White.

September 6 was the first time I really pissed off somebody by posting the truth.

September 7 was first mention of local wrestling fed, IWA East Coast. I still write about them. Soon I’ll tell you about the Woody Numbers Memorial Show they’re having in October.

September 8 was when I published my sketchy bio. Things have changed quite a bit since then.

September 9 saw the first mention of The Beatles and Jack Kirby in PopCult, and the first appearance of the “Scape” series of not-really-that-good digital art.

September 14 saw the first long post about one of my favorite childhood toys, in this case Captain Action and the elusive Dr. Evil.

October 2 saw me bitching about Marquee Cinema at Southridge. I have not been back since. On those rare occasions when I do go to see a movie in a theater these days, I do it at Great Escape, which is now owned by Regal.

October 4 marked the first mention of Kate Bush in PopCult.

For some unfathomable reason, October 6 found me complaining about TiVo. Somebody must’ve really been doing a hard sell on it, because I seemed really worked up.

October 18 had me indulging in TV criticism and looking back fondly at Radio Free Charleston.  We all know where the latter eventually led.

October 21 was the day I first included multiple items in a single post, including a quick theater review, a promise of special Halloween music (which all disappeared from the servers during one of the moves) and an insult hurled at Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.

November 7 Mel Larch and I tried to revive our old Animated Discussions print column in this blog, but the animation glut and our schedules didn’t allow for this to happen often enough. We managed to keep it up on a weekly basis for a few months, but eventually it fell by the wayside.

On November 13 I wrote about falling and smashing my face. Nobody seems too upset that all the graphics that accompanied this post have vanished.

November 14 saw Mel and me writing about the premieres of Squidibillies and The Boondocks.

I was going to post a link to the first ever PopCult Gift Guide, but it seems to have disappeared from the archives. From December 7, here’s Day Three of the first year’s Gift Guide.

December 27 saw my first rant about local idiocy. Specifically, this was me stating my opposition to a plan to destroy Kanawha Boulevard so that all the imaginary people in Charleston who like to hang out on the riverfront can get there without having to dodge traffic. Of late the enemies of the Boulevard have succeeded in ruining the West end of this once-glorious parkway to install a multi-million dollar bike lane, which one year after its opening I still have yet to see a single bicyclist using. That bike lane has turned Kanawha Boulevard into a bottleneck that backs up from Patrick Street almost to Elk River every day during rush hour, and the people who stopped going that way have crowded the other ways out of town, causing everybody’s commutes to take way longer. See what happens when people don’t listen to me?

December 28 saw day two of Rant Week, wherein I explain why smoking in public should never be legal. Three years later the county health department agreed, and the quality of my life improved dramatically.  Day three was a harsh criticism of the WHCP Newscast, which irritated the station manager in a delightful manner.


January 24 saw me and Mel writing about the Disney takeover of Pixar. Little did we know that eventually Disney would also own Star Wars and Marvel.

The very next day saw the first prolonged mention of GI Joe in this blog.

On February 4, a bit irritated by a review that David Williams wrote of a West Virginia Symphony performance in which my now-wife, Mel Larch, was a guest soloist, I reviewed David’s review. I got a tiny lecture from my editor, who couldn’t quit laughing while admonishing me. Apparently all the musicians in the Symphony loved it. David seemed to get the humorous tone I was trying to strike with this post…sort of.

February 13 was the first time I covered the happenings at the International Toy Fair in New York. This was just habit. I’d been writing about Toy Fair for magazines for years. I still cover it here in PopCult, and even got to go there in person a couple of times.

February 21 saw PopCult gain national attention for the first time when super-blogger Mark Evanier linked to my piece about Radio Shack. More than twelve years later, people still ask “What was Radio Shack?”

On February 27, the WHCP Newscast failed, as I had predicted. Because their station manager had been a jerk to me in the comments, I rubbed salt in the wounds.

March 17 saw the first mention of The Aquabats in PopCult, although I had earlier reviewed their “Charge” album in the now-defunct “New Music” blog here at what was then the Gazz.  I wish I had access to those archives. I think I lost some of my best writing when they pulled the plug on that. I’m still talking about The Aquabats, as recently as yesterday.

On March 20, I really hated the V For Vendetta movie.

On April 13 I wrote about a Blogger meeting.  Two days later my mother passed away. I had been acting as her primary caregiver since 1997, and this was a major life-changing event for me.

May 1 saw the beginning of Monday Morning Art as a regular feature. Sadly, the first couple of month’s worth of these fell victim to the great blog-interface switch, and I cannot for the life of me remember what this one even looks like.

May 2 saw the first book review posted in PopCult as part of “Andy Prieboy Week.”

On May 10 I bitched about robocalls for the first time.

June 2 saw my first non-parental obituary, as Ian Copeland, Alex Toth and Desmond Dekker all passed away on the same day.

On June 23 I praised FestivALL for the first time, and also snuck in the announcement that Radio Free Charleston would be returning as part of The Gazz (and later PopCult).

On July 4, Radio Free Charleston officially debuted as a video program. Since we couldn’t embed video in the blog back then, you’ll have to go HERE to watch it.

August 28 saw me mark the first anniversary of PopCult by revisiting the previous December’s RANT WEEK.

And that’s enough navel-gazing for this week. It’s almost as if I just dashed-off a column full of links real quick on Tuesday so I could write it ahead of time and get out of town quick. I’ll tell you about the trip to NYC next week.

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat

Today we offer up yet another new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat to plug on The AIR.  This is our two-hour, weekly New Wave Music showcase, presented from London by legendary pirate radio broadcaster, Sydney Fileen.

You can tune in today at 3 PM to hear Sydney’s Big Electric Cate at The AIR website, or just click on this cool little embedded player…

This week Sydney brings you another two-hour booster shot of the best music of the New Wave era. Check out this playlist:

BEC 037

Men At Work “Who Can It Be Now”
Men Without Hats “I Got The Message”
The Flirts “Passion (Special Maxi Version”
M “Moonlight and Muzak”
ABC “The Look of Love (Remix)”
Klaus Nomi “Wasting My Time”
Missing Persons “Destination Unknown”
New Musik “Misssing Persons”
Pretenders “The Wait”
Joe Jackson “Do The Instant Mash”
Joan Jett & The Blachearts “Cherry Bomb”
The Stanglers “Hey (Rise of the Robots)”
Klark Kent “Don’t Care”
Adam Ant “Dog Eat Dog”
Magazine “Parade”
Kate Bush “The Big Sky”
Wang chung “Don’t Let Go”
The Staff “Shut Up Tango”
Lost Loved Ones “Raise The Flag”
U2 “Out of Control”
Thomas Dolby “One of Our Submarines”
Vanity Fair “Lips Are Silent”
The The “This Is The Day”
Play “Red Movies”
Kissing The Pink “No One’s On The Same Side”
Thompson Twins “We Are Detective”

That is it for this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for all our regular features.