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Phil Dellio

phil dellio | toronto

selected writings ...

Shiva Shiva, Y'All | Village Voice, January 2003

Students have always responded favorably to whatever Beatles music I've played in the past, but I wasn't sure how they'd react to the sheer strangeness of "Norwegian Wood." Their response was one of the most gratifying things I've experienced as a teacher. They listened attentively, following along with the lyrics I'd written on the board, and when the song finished—no sentimental exaggeration at all—two or three of them spontaneously began to clap. They stopped just as quickly as they started, undoubtedly feeling a little goofy, but the point had been made. I think, and hope, that those two or three students were thinking they'd never heard anything so quiet, so still, so perfect before.

Natural Born Plumbers: John Cazale and the Character Actors of the 1970s | CinemaScope, 2001

Cazale was Nixon the brooding, self-pitying outsider--the eternal wallflower who felt inferior to East Coast intellectuals, the part of Nixon that wanted to crawl out of his own skin. You can easily envision Godfather II's compound scene played out between Nixon-as-Fredo and JFK-as-Michael: "I was in the White House before you, Jack, and I was stepped over!" Ned Beatty was Nixon the mechanical bumbler, the one who couldn't work a tape recorder properly; Burt Young and Peter Boyle were Nixon the uncouth slob (all those expletive-deleteds); and G.D. Spradlin (Senator Geary in Godfather II, Nick Nolte's imperious coach in North Dallas Forty) was Nixon the cooly manipulative despot.

Quotable Pop | Five Decades of Blah Blah Blah, Sound and Vision, 2001

But pop stars do say a lot of funny things, and we believe you're holding one of the funniest books about pop music ever published (which modesty allows us to say, because we didn't actually write it).

I Wanna Be Sedated | Pop Music in the Seventies, Sound and Vision, 1993

Clearly a new kind of music was coming into being, a highbrow pop tradition that would flourish in the seventies under the name "art rock," dwarfing along the way even heavy metal and glam in terms of abject human debasement and tragically inflated ambition. This modern day Tower of Babel was quickly dubbed "progressive rock" by enthusiasts, a phrase that remains as puzzling a non sequitar as "political integrity" or "Frampton Comes Alive."