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Archive for the ‘1994’ Category

Remarks:

This song is next to unknown in America – where it was recorded! – but it reached #3 in Britain in 1994. I have wanted to post it for a long time but it was not embeddable.

Lyrics:

Yousou N’Dour in Wolof:

Boul ma sene, boul ma guiss madi re nga fokni mane
Khamouma li neka thi sama souf ak thi guinaw
Beugouma kouma khol oaldine yaw li neka si yaw
mo ne si man, li ne si mane moye dilene diapale

Neneh Cherry in English:

Roughneck and rudeness,
We should be using, on the ones who practice wicked charms
For the sword and the stone
Bad to the bone
Battle’s not over
Even when it’s won
And when a child is born into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin it’s living in
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting

Youssou N’Dour in French:

J’assume les raisons qui nous poussent de changer tout,
J’aimerais qu’on oublie leur couleur pour qu’ils esperent
Beaucoup de sentiments de races qui font qu’ils desesperent
Je veux les deux mains ouvertes,
Des amis pour parler de leur peine, de leur joie
Pour qu’ils leur filent des infos qui ne divisent pas
Changer

Neneh Cherry in English:

7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
And when a child is born into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin it´s living in
And there’s a million voices
And there’s a million voices
To tell you what you should be thinking
So you better sober up for just a second
We´re 7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
We´re 7 seconds away
For just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting

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baucum02Betty Jean “Susie” Baucum (1970-1994) was one of the 11 women killed by the Charlotte Strangler, Henry Louis Wallace, one of America’s worst serial killers. She was a nice, quiet woman. He killed her two days after her 24th birthday.

She was a manager at Bojangles, a fast food place near Eastland Mall in east Charlotte, North Carolina. She came to the city from Laurel Hills, a small town a hundred miles to the east. She was working 50 hours a week to save money to complete her education. She had a three-year-old daugher, B.J.

Her cousin said, “She could make you feel like a million dollars on your worse day. She had the most beautiful smile, one that could light up any room.”

She knew Wallace through his girlfriend, who also worked at Bojangles. Someone else who had worked at Bojangles, Caroline Love, was killed two years earlier. By Wallace. But no one knew.

Wallace was hooked on crack. He needed money bad to buy more. Two weeks had gone by since he had killed and robbed Vanessa Mack. It did not even make the news, so he thought it would be safe to rob and kill someone else.

He went to see Brandi Henderson, but her boyfriend (a friend of Wallace’s) was there. Wallace would come back later, but in the meantime he went to see Baucum. She lived in the same Lake apartments: he had seen her car, a blue 1988 Nissan Pulsar, parked outside.

He asked Baucum if he could use her telephone. She let him in. He acted like he was looking up a number but then when she turned her back, he put his hands round her neck and asked for the combination to unlock the safe at Bojangles. He had robbed Bojangles twice before.

It took her 30 minutes to produce the combination. She wrote it down for him and he let go of her. She asked why he was doing this. He said he was sick and had hurt many people. She said she forgave him and told him he needed help. That got him angry: he pushed her to floor and they fought. He got the upper hand, put a towel round her neck and held it so tight she nearly passed out. He took her to the bedroom, undressed her and raped her and killed her.

He took $80 from her purse as well as her keys, her television and her gun. She had got the gun for protection a while back when her roommate had moved out.

He put the stuff in her car and sold the television for crack. He went back to get her VCR (and to make sure she was dead) and sold that too. Then he went on to rape, kill and rob Brandi Henderson that same night.

Later he got rid of Baucum’s car, wiping off the fingerprints. But there was one place he forgot to wipe: the trunk in the back. It would prove to be his undoing.

baucumgrave02

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brandisfuneral2Brandi June Henderson (1975-1994) was a sweet woman killed by one of America’s worst serial killers, Henry Louis Wallace, the Charlotte Strangler. She was just 18, a high school student. He also tried to kill her ten-month-old baby, Tyrece. Henderson’s murder helped to lead the police to Wallace.

Wallace was a friend of her boyfriend, Verness Lamar “Squeaky” Woods. He and Wallace worked together at Chuck E. Cheese. The year before they had worked together at Golden Corral – along with Henderson herself.

Henderson lived in the Lake apartments in east Charlotte, North Carolina, right near the Eastland Mall. (They are now called the Sailboat Bay Apartments.) Wallace often came by even when Woods was not there. On the night of March 8th 1994 he came there to rob, rape and kill her.

When he first came to the apartment Woods was there, so Wallace said he was leaving town and wanted to say goodbye. He then visited one of their neighbours, Betty Baucum, and robbed and killed her. After that he came back. Henderson was alone.

She let him in. He pressed her to him and demanded money. She gave him what little she had: $15 in her purse and some change in an old Pringles can. Then he took her to her bedroom and forced her to have sex. After that she was on her knees praying. He said he was not going to hurt her and asked for a hug. When she hugged him he put a towel round her neck and killed her.

After that Wallace heard the baby crying. He put a towel round his neck too till he stopped crying. Then he took Henderson’s television and stereo, put them in the back of Baucum’s car and later sold them to buy some crack.

Later that night when Woods came back from work he found her dead but he was able to get the baby to the hospital in time to save his life.

Because Henderson willingly let the killer into the apartment, the police saw that it had to be someone she knew. They also knew the killer drove Baucum’s car and left his handprint on the back of it. Those two facts led them to Wallace.

Her funeral was heartbreaking. The pastor said:

We are living in some terrible times. We are living in some troubled times where the value of a human life is too low.

She was laid to rest wearing a pink dress, holding a picture of her baby boy.

At the trial her cousin, one of the last people to talk to her, asked Wallace why he killed her. He gave no answer.

People remember her as being sweet, as someone who loved people.

She met Verness Woods two years before. They had Tyrece ten months before she was killed. She loved being a mother.

Her son Tyrece is now 15 and lives in Chicago with Woods, his father.

gravestone

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My So-Called Life

“My So-Called Life” (1994-1995) was an American television show that appeared on ABC from August 1994 to January 1995. It starred Claire Danes as Angela Chase, a 15-year-old  girl growing up in a middle-class suburb of Pittsburgh.

What made it good was that it was much truer to life than most of television, showing what it is like to be 14 or 15. The show still holds up more than ten years later. It has some of the depth of a good book and, like a good book, you come away seeing the world a bit more deeply.

The show only lasted a season: Claire Danes wanted to break into film. The show also had low ratings: there were some 99 shows on television that had more viewers than it did!

“My So-Called Life” was the brainchild of Winnie Holzman (who appears as Mrs Krzyzanowski in the show), Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. They had worked together on “thirtysomething” (1987-1991) and so ABC hoped they could come up with another show just as good. ABC gave them complete freedom – which, while common for HBO, was rare for ABC.

Holzman and company wanted to show the real life a 15-year-old girl, not the very unreal picture you get elsewhere on television, like on “90210.” But, like Newton Minow who called television a “vast wasteland”, Holzman failed to understand that television is closer to beer than books: most watch television to escape.

As in “thirtysomething”, most characters think only of themselves, living in unending confusion and self-doubt.

Holzman herself is an award-wining poet. This makes Angela much better at expressing herself than most 15-year-olds. Even with, like, her overuse of, like, the word “like”.

For example, when asked about whether Jordan, a boy she was interested in, was a good kisser, Angela said:

They weren’t the kind of kisses you could actually evaluate. They were more like – introductory kisses.

No one talks like that. Still it was perfect.

Jordan made two attempts to kiss her – they were too sudden, he did not work up to it. She had to push him away both times. And yet a few minutes later when the moment was right, he did nothing. She left upset at him.

Man, a page straight out of my marriage. It made me see that this sort of thing happens not so much because I am a bonehead but that it goes much deeper than that, that it is part of the universal mystery of boy meets girl.

The high school in the show is University High School in Los Angeles, where Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor went. Since it is so close to Hollywood, you see it in other films and television shows. The show is partly based on what Holzman found at nearby Fairfax High, where she had taught writing for a time.

All the actors are the age they play. Because of child labour laws, the show had four acts (not three), with Angela appearing in only two. They filled out the stories by using more characters and their parents.

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Rick Moody: The Ice Storm

Written: 1994
Read: January 2006

I just finished reading Rick Moody’s The Ice Storm.

Now I know what the book reminds me of: Sinclair Lewis, and especially his book “Babbit”. Maybe Moody really is just writing about the ice cold hearts of the New England WASPs that he grew up among. But the way he struck me is as a latter day Sinclair Lewis who laughs at the whole thing.

Sex is everywhere in the book, but it almost never springs from love or even passion. Sex has all the wonder and mystery of sweeping the house or cleaning out one’s ears. It is cheap, empty and at times even sick.

His characters root their lives not in the wisdom of the ages, but in the latest fashionable ideas. Not only are clothes and music the subject of fashion, but even morals! And then they look in wonder when disaster overtakes them and their children. They live for the day and do not see history of generations, past and future, They do not see how their lives will affect their children and grandchildren.

sigourneyI checked the listings to see if the it was going to come on television this weekend, and it was! What are the chances of that? Maybe it was fate or Providence. God’s will. Or maybe it is just that HBO is just a sucker for Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.

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