First Post: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Happy 75th birthday today to Pete Townshend.

In eighth grade at Delbarton we had a music teacher named Fr. Germain, probably O.S.B. He played us good music, and we learnt many things. For example, we heard many fine Beatles albums in that class, and in particular we recall how the fine song ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ was a savage takedown of the Beach Boys; it was an utterly savage takedown. During the spring term, we also took in the better parts of Andrew Lloyd Weber & Stephen Sondheim, like Sweeney Todd and Evita. Fr. Germain, most likely O.S.B., also gave us rudimentary violin lessons and had us bring in our own records to play. At that time, there was a lot of Billy Joel, Animal House soundtrack, Gary Numan (?!), The Kinks, etc.

There was some question as to whether Fr. Germain, purportedly O.S.B., was a Benedictine monk of The Abbey of St. Mary in Morristown, N.J. After all, when Monty Python’s Life of Brian was released theatrically and some of the upperclassmen in the residence hall wanted to go see it with Fr. Germain, reputedly O.S.B., as the chaperone, Br. Jerome, undoubtedly O.S.B., put his sandaled foot down and said no. Br. Jerome could not in good conscious, in loco parentis, sanction this trip to the cinema to see Life of Brian. The upperclassmen were pleading, but Br. Jerome would not be moved. His parting shot to the upperclassmen was, ‘Fr. Germain isn’t even Catholic!’

Back to the music class in spring term, eighth grade, 1981, Delbarton School, Morristown, N.J. One of the other lovely things Fr. Germain — O.S.B. or not? you be the judge! — introduced to us was the original rock opera called Tommy by The Who. He let us know about Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, John Entwistle and, of course, Pete Townshend. So that was how we first found out about Pete Townshend. (Later, during our Second-Form year at The Lawrenceville School, we saw the Ken Russell film adaptation of Tommy, and it remains one of the most traumatising motion pictures we can ever remember watching. Ken Russell! We could watch it again today, 40 years later from the initial viewing, and it would still terrify us, certainly!)

Over the years, thanks to local and good radio stations, before radio stations were merely syndicates of the great corporate monolith, we were able to get good and deep tracks of good artists. On WNEW-FM in New York and WMMR-FM in Philadelphia back in the 1970s and 1980s, you would get handpicked music and venture deep into the albums. So we began listening for The Who and Pete Townshend.

The track in the video is from a long-forgotten solo album Townshend put out in the early 1980s. Thanks to WMMR, we were able to get our ears on it, and on many of its tracks. ‘Stardom in Acton’ (not in Action!) is a good putdown track, another failed-Hollywood-dream lament!

Thank you, Fr. Germain, probably R.I.P. and unworried about O.S.B. by now. Thank you, WMMR-FM for what you also used to be. Thank you to memory for all its blessings and its curses. This one was a blessing.


There were six selected races yesterday. There were 16 win-overlay wagers, and there were two winners, at $10.60 and at $11.20.

WMF Report / Track-Trend Notes

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The Zongo Race Club suggests The WRD 3, 7, 8, 9, 10.

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