It’s not a hugely well kept-secret that I’m mid-divorce, Clamistas. It’s a real pain, a long drawn-out process, even with a relatively amicable split and 50/50 division of caterwauling children and meager millenial assets. But the great thing? I have a sweet and fantastic boyfriend who works at Mystery Train, the giant awesome record store at the end of Main Street. He grew up in East Gloucester, so he is patient when I ask him things like “DID THEY FEED YOU KALE WHEN YOU WERE BORN” and “DID THEY DO YOGA IN THE SCHOOLS?”

So sometimes I go visit him at work, because I like his face. And I have for you a collection of the most ridiculous records I have seen so far upon my visits. Here.

2016-01-03_1451864871 2016-01-08_1452295523 2015-11-06_1446781203 2015-09-25_1443143560 2015-09-24_1443114934 2015-08-15_1439635166 2015-08-09_1439126295 2015-07-12_1436733553 2015-07-05_1436137776

Guest Post: Hugo Burnham on David Bowie

[this guest post comes from our good friend and Gloucester resident, original Gang of Four drummer Hugo Burnham.]

My brother called me from England at 2:15 this morning. “Bowie’s dead.”

I was not taken wholly by surprise, but I was bit sad, thinking as I tried to fall back asleep, that I should listen to the new album I had downloaded on Friday. I reached for my phone and posted “Ah. Good grief.” on Facebook. And then turned the light out again.

When I pulled in to my parking space at 6:25am by the campus in Brookline – I had to just sit there, listening to his voice. A replay of an old NPR Fresh Air interview. Then I sort of lost it. It was a good 10 minutes before I swiped my card through the meter and walked to work. I told myself not to spend much time today online. I ignored myself. People are shattered. I am shattered too, honestly.

I could write such a lot about his part in my life. I was just at that age when he appeared on Top Of The Pops, playing ‘Starman’. It turned everything on its head for me. Fucking everything. And it changed it all for just about every person I know of my generation who became punks, post-punks, electronica-types, whatever. We have all talked about it in the 46 years since. 46 Years. My Brain Hurts a Lot. NOBODY wasn’t changed or moved.

And he kept doing it – even with a less-than-moving period in the ‘80s – always coming back with music (and writing, and acting….damn it, I saw him play The Elephant Man on Broadway). Because of him, we heard and listened to so many new and different artists who would never likely have crossed our lines of vision. I still go very quiet whenever I listen to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘Avec Piano’. And I love Jacques Brel.

Many friends have know him, worked for him, played with him; he sent me and my best friend from high school flowers because he heard we’d got a rather severe kicking from some skinheads on the Tube coming back from The Rainbow one night after a Mike Garson/Woody Woodmansey concert…where we’d hung out in the lobby most of the night with (Spider) Trevor Bolder and Anya Wilson from Mainman. I hung out with Rhoda Dakar (The Bodysnatchers, Special AKA) at these gigs and in exotic, slightly scary Brixton at parties when I was 17 – and neither of us really knew we’d become who we had until years later (on bloody Facebook, of course). Still a good friend. But I never actually got to meet him. Damn it. “Oh, he loves Gang of Four!” we’d hear from those who had actually touched the hem. Another high school friend was his Tour Manager for years – sat in the same bar after a show…but I didn’t want to be rude, because I was talking to my friend, and DB was talking to the promoter. I’m such an idiot. Been so close…and always just too far.


It doesn’t matter who or what or how old you are – but, let me tell you; there are a number of us who really, really were a part of something quite small at first (but that grew like a bastard before long), who wore the clothes, who hobbled around on the shoes, who put on the slap, who went to The Saturday Gigs. That very early Ziggy show at The Rainbow – before it all took off… Lindsay Kemp’s troupe dancing, Roxy Music and/or Fumble opening. Everyone knowing to do the clap thing in ‘Space Oddity’, him coming out after the encore in a silk kimono to say he loved us, but hadn’t rehearsed any more songs he could play. Oh, David. Thank you.


We age, we die.  But this one has really, really hit hard today.


We know, Clamfans, you’re probably a little sad we don’t post as often anymore. We have good reasons – Jim is working his butt off starting his own ad agency while supporting a whole family, KT is in the middle of a divorce w kids, moving, and trying to build a social media marketing business (she is also speaking in the third person right now). We apologize for the lull, but it won’t always be this way – 2016 will bring blogging back. We can’t guarantee every day, but it’ll be more quality over quantity. Probably. 


A ton of you guys know Peggy and Chris Lyman. They are locals here, with four (FOUR) kids, including a toddler/preschooler and a brand-new baby. They’re fixtures, they’re One Of Us, and they are part of the social fabric that keeps Gloucester awesome. They’re in the Clam gang, virtually, if one existed (it doesn’t, we lost most of our gang to a rival comprised of mostly Juggalos). They’re the rare breed of people who nearly everyone knows, and no one can say a harsh word about. You know those people. Yeah. The Lymans are them. 

Anyway, Peggy’s doctors just found a mass between her lungs. Right smack dab before Christmas. No one deserves that news, let alone this family who aren’t exactly living in a McMansion with a heated pool encroaching on Dogtown. Peggy’s a schoolteacher, Chris works with boats and busts his butt, and they’re raising 4 young kids. Have I mentioned the four kids?



So for this holiday season, they’re facing a lot of unexpected transportation – both for Peggy for cancer treatments and the kids around town – and childcare needs, as well as other expenses. Peggy’s cancer is treatable and her prognosis is relatively good, and she’ll obviously be facing a lot of medical interventions starting really damn soon. The last thing Chris, Peggy, and their kids should have to worry about during this time is if they are going to be able to stay afloat financially – they need to concentrate on mom’s health. 

This is Gloucester, and the best thing about Gloucester is how we come together when we’re needed, to help out our own. We’re damn good at it – we prove that time and time again. And it’s time to do that for the Lymans. We live near a world-class city for cancer treatment. We have a lot of hope.

We can’t control cancer, but what we can control is all the external factors this family has to deal with. So let’s make it easier for them – all six of them.

Here’s the gofundme that BYG czar Lara Lepionka put together. Please donate if you can!




Clam The Vote: Our Election Rundown Special Extravaganza To The Death!

We really didn’t want to do this, but folks asked. They literally begged us to give our picks for the races in Gloucester. Ok, sure. Be warned that aside from mayor (where we’re not endorsing, you can’t make us) we found we’re not too far off the Gloucester Daily Times which was a shock. We’re still drinking to deal with this revelation. There are some differences and we lay our our reasoning as best we can. If you want to vote like the Clam, do read on.

The top of the ticket:

Mayor: No. Just no. Hell no. We’re not making a call because members of the Clam inner circle are deeply conflicted here. So, if you haven’t been exposed to the two leading candidates strengths and weaknesses up to this point then congratulations for coming out of your coma, we have a black president now. We recommend you flip a coin. The rest of you have already made up your mind based on the available evidence. Go with that.

Councilor At Large: (you pick four)

The Clam recommends:

Paul Lundberg: A sane, level-headed dude with decades of operational experience and has been on the council for years. Sadly, medical science still prevents the rest of our at-large recommendations from reading: Paul Lundberg Clone #1, Paul Lundberg Clone #2, Paul Lundberg Clone #3 so we have to make more. Fuck.

Joe Ciolino: He’s spent years on the council. Without McGeary, Sefatia or Verga (we’ll get to him in a second) on the council we’ll need experience, bad. I know someone once said, “Amateurs built the Ark, experts built the Titanic,” but of course that is crazy bullshit because the Ark is fictional (and impossible). We need folks who know how it works. Joe does. Full stop.

Clamflict: We can’t agree on one of the two following candidates. So choose between:

Amy-Beth Healey: Has been on the School Committee. Sane person. Heavily involved in schools. Knows budgets. Recommended by the GDT.


Joe Giacalone: We’ve heard good things. Ann Margaret Ferrante endorsed him, other people we know and respect have talked to him and said they liked him. A downtown resident.

Our last pick (but remember, you only get four)

Greg Verga: Write him in. We admit to being bummed he got so cozy with the hard-rightwing crowd during the mayor’s race, but he’s a solid choice for at-large council. Has been on for years, makes good choices. We’re writing him in.

Ok, so those are are ‘yes’ votes. What about the rest? Here are our thoughts:

OHARA: The man without an apostrophe. His signs just showed up everywhere one day, sometimes one on each end of a lot (the record so far is THREE ON ONE PROPERTY). We’ve heard some folks describe him as a “liberal activist” but when he came to our house and handed out his campaign literature we saw it had a Patriots’ game schedule on the back and not a single mention of education or the schools on the other.  He’s really, really into fire stations and police, and went on to describe in uncomfortably vivid detail the threats he believes we’re under, which in some cases seemed overblown. When we asked where here was going to find all the money he wanted to spend on public safety he said, “consolidate the schools” which is when we threw him out. The ever-touted, never quantified imaginary financial panacea of “consolidating the elementary schools” wold actually require over 100 million in bonds which we’d have to override for, and for all that we would not save much money (It’s the teachers that cost, not the buildings nor really administration at the per-school level). Also, it would take something like a decade to get it done and in the process we’d dramatically change the character of our neighborhoods. Also it goes against all available research on improving educational outcomes, would lower home values across the city and create a transportation nightmare. Did you think about any of that? Sorry dude, no vote for you.

Joe Orlando Jr: Scion of the Orlando family who’ve been pushing so hard to turn Gloucester into a Republican paradise like Kansas or Arkansas. We’ve met him, he’s a nice guy in person but online he’s been burning every bridge he can find which might not be so great a campaign strategy. For instance, he was arguing about something (fluoridation we’re pretty sure) on Facebook and the young Mr. Orlando decided to claim liberals “kill babies.” This may be his view, but the majority of people in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are pro-choice, including our Republican governor who this candidate touts the endorsement of. Wonder if he calls Baker a “babykiller”? This is Massachusetts Joe, you’re not going to be able to govern well if you can’t work with Democrats, there are a lot of them here. 

Bob Whynott Jr: Son of long-time Councilman Bob Whynott Sr. The younger Whynott, who previously lost an Orlando-backed campaign for the Republican nomination to challenge state representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, is deploying the highly efficient strategy of using his father’s campaign collateral. He has the same signs and the same campaign address. How is he different than his father? Hell if we know.

Ken Sarofeen: Um, no.

The Wards (you only get to pick one, duh)

Ward 1 “The Shire” East Gloucester  

Scott Memhard: Owner of Cape Pond Ice, has been on the Sawyer Free Library board for many years. A competent executive at a legacy business dealing directly with the core issue facing our city: What the fuck do we do with our waterfront? He’s got our vote.

Everett Brown: Also a good guy, he was on the council for many years. We hear he’s competent and knows his stuff. You can’t go wrong with either choice in Ward 1, pretty much.

Ward 2 “Glostopolis” The Eastern part of downtown

Congratulations Melissa Cox, for running unopposed in Ward 2!  She’s experienced and dressed as a shark for the outdoor showing of Jaws on I4C2 last year. We need more counselors down to cosplay, is what we’re saying. She helped us Clammers get bike lanes put in, and at least TRIED to deal with the shitshow parking nightmare of lower Prospect Street over the elder Whynott’s insistence that churchgoers having easy parking is more important than emergency vehicles being able to safely pass on one of our busiest thoroughfares.

Ward 3 “The Golden Triangle” (Stagefort up to the hospital and most of downtown biz district)

Steve LeBlanc: Up for re-election. Many years working for and with the city. Again, knows what he’s doing. We need experience and he’s got it.

Sherri Curcuru: She’s into elementary school consolidation, so no.

Ward 4 “The Highlands” (everything from the hospital north and all that stuff around the Middle School, Lanesville).

Val Gilman: The obvious pick. Val’s been on the School Committee for years, knows everybody in town and is a dedicated getter done-er of things. Oh, and her opponent’s handler’s attempt to pin the Fuller bullshit on her? Don’t even start. We’ve reported extensively on this- the school committee and council made the best choices they could at the time given the lose-lose- really-fucking-lose situation the math indicated for all courses of action with that property. Val is the obvious choice.

Kathryn Goodick:  No. See here and here and here and a lot of other places we didn’t even bother to report because we just got sick of dumping on her. But really, no.  

Ward 5 “The Frontier” West Gloucester and Magnolia

Bill Fonville: Clam’s choice. Again, has been on the council for years, knows his stuff and is a competent incumbent. He’s a data guy and knows how to make decisions using information from the outside world. He has a huge community presence, and was the only one to vote against the debt shift that made Ms. Goodick from ward 4 so apoplectic.

Sean Nolan: We took some heat for associating him with the Orlando-backed Gloucester GOP whom we are now told he’s not cozy with. Excuse us, we were confused by him being on the front-page of their website for a while. We’re stupid like that. But if he’s within their circle or influence or not, he hasn’t voted in a municipal election for the last three rounds. Sorry, you don’t run for a local election when you don’t participate in local elections. We have heard a lot of positives about his community involvement, and think he would be good on some lower committees and would appreciate him running again when he has more experience with our local government and how it works (example: voting).

School Committee: (you pick six)

Jonathan Pope: Head of the school committee and totally knows his shit. For all the insane misinformation people have about the schools, he’s a solid part of the reason our MCAS scores continue to go up in spite of it all. If performance is your metric, the schools are demonstrably improving and thus he deserves your vote.

Kathy Clancy: The same goes for Kathy. She’s at everything, has incredible passion, a competent executive from the outside world. We’re lucky to have her on the school committee. A vote for her is a solid.

Tony Gross: Another person who’s been part of everything for years. Led the budget sub-committee, negotiated contracts which is hard as balls. Hired a new superintendent. Vote for him. He’s good.

Michelle Sweet: All the right calls: Understood the Fuller fiasco for what it was, believes in neighborhood schools, understands where the real problems are. She’ll get our vote.

Melissa Teixeira: We would say ditto for Melissa- totally gets what the eff is going on. Didn’t buy into the Fuller hype when everyone said it should still be used as a school and the math/data/reports/sane evaluations said otherwise. She’ll also get our vote.

Joel Favazza: Will be getting our vote. Joel is young, has two teens in the system, and is at fucking everything. He built 3D printers alongside us (his team actually kicked our ass). He coached our daughter’s soccer team. We see him at plays, concerts and meetings. Smart guy. He’s clarified some of the positions he’s taken in the paper to our satisfaction, so yes. We’re voting for him.

JD MacEachern: The other guy not currently on the school committee looking for a seat. To be honest, this is the candidate we literally know the least about. Our research shows he has all the correct answers on things Fuller, funding, elementary schools and technology in the schools. But since we choose to keep the existing incumbents who have been effective (see scores, MCAS) we thus have to pick between Mr. MacEachern whom we don’t know and the guy we think will be a good add (Joel, above).

Non Binding Referendum, oh sweet Crom is this not over yet?

Fluoride: Allow us to make one thing clear: We’re going to make a recommendation to vote pro-fluoridation because science. Anti-fluoride activists: do not post/email/text/comment/knock on our doors/stop us on the street about this issue because anti-fluoride activists- you are sorta nutty.  Advice: you should take a look at how you present yourselves because right now you totally give off the chemtrail/9/11 conspiracy/anti-vax vibe. We at The Clam are full-on science dweebs and stronlgy believe in peer-reviewed studies and stuff, we work with scientists and engineers, we make our pay in STEM. Do us both a favor and don’t approach us, you’re not going to change our minds and we’ll just wind up making fun of you on the Internet. The ONLY good argument we’ve heard about anti-fluoride is a friend who has problems with his tropical fishtank attributed to fluoride. On balance, we can’t say this is on par with the family who has a 3K dentist bill they can’t afford because no insurance in the US covers dental anymore. Also: we really should not be deciding this in a referendum, that’s not how science and public health should be done.

There you go. Print this out for handy reference and do your own research so you hahahaha just kidding. You people are just going to pick the names that are most associated with your ethnicity, don’t try and fool us. We’ve seen the stats.

On to tomorrow. This can’t be over soon enough for us.


Correction: An earlier version of this post claimed Joe Orlando Jr. used the term “babykillers” to describe liberals pro-choice position in regard to medical choices (the discussion was about fluoridation). His exact phrase was: “Don’t you liberals call that being ‘pro-choice?’ Or is that only applying to medical decisions that kill babies?”  The sentence was corrected.

It’s not about Kathryn, We Just Don’t Want A Tea Party.

Here’s the thing about our taking Ward 4 city council candidate Kathryn Goodick to task on some incorrect math she based her campaign on, doubled down on with conflicting statements, and then insisted was a “personal attack” when we asked her for clarification: there have been no personal attacks. She messed up the math, because she admitted she hadn’t been paying attention to municipal elections and goings-on until it impacted her directly. She used that bad math to knock on doors across her ward and tell a story about skyrocketing taxes that wasn’t truthful. And she doesn’t understand why that’s not okay. Real_Math

Pointing out the harmfulness of using faulty, misleading math to prop up your candidacy is not a personal attack, and won’t ever be. Calling a candidate out for something that is proven false is the entirety of politics. Full stop. If Mrs. Goodick had said “I may have misunderstood and I apologize,” we wouldn’t be where we are. But she didn’t, won’t, and has referred to us as liars and worse, despite careful calculations from local municipal tax assessors, accountants, lawyers, and more on our end. We’ve asked their camp to point out where our lies are, with factual documentation and we have received no such documentation. So we’re done there.

But it’s not about just Kathryn Goodick’s candidacy. The tax issue with her is the symptom, not the illness. 

It’s about the pervasiveness of the tea-party right wing, howling for massive change, without understanding exactly the impact of that change, and without a solid plan to deal with any of it.

Here's Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor into battle for America. You're welcome.

Here’s Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor into battle.

Here’s the rub that most people, who only have inclination to barely delve into our local politics, don’t necessarily understand off the bat: There’s a select group of very right wing radicals in Gloucester who have decided to run for council at the prodding of their radical friends and the local “Gloucester Citizens for Responsible Government,” some with very, very little knowledge of our city and its budget and how it runs. At least one of these folks running for council didn’t even vote in the last three municipal elections. That’s frightening to me, because no matter what ward it’s about, these things impact our future and the future of kids here.

That’s right: at least one of the folks who didn’t have the time to go to the voting booth to choose the last few rounds of elected officials now wants to be an elected official. They didn’t have time to understand their tax and water bill, but expect us to assume they’ll undoubtedly have the time to help six others run the city in their spare time. They are campaigning heavily on the positives of being outsiders, naive to the system. And while municipal elections aren’t meant to be entirely for seasoned politicians by any means, there’s a certain necessity to practicing for the test you’re going to take so you don’t flunk it when you get there. You have to understand the policies you’re voting on. 

The “idiocracy” we’ve seen on a national level with Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump isn’t repeatable on a local level, nor should it be – it matches bluster and intentional, willful ignorance with a dangerous belief that cutting the budget and putting several more dollars back into the pockets of homeowners is the be-all and end-all of their candidacy.

National shenanigans like the attempted defunding Planned Parenthood don’t work in a place like this, on a local level, because we all know too many people negatively impacted by the hamfisted tax-cutting-at-all-costs policies. There is a disconnect between a politician in Washington and the constituents in his or her home state that cannot exist at a local level purely because of how communities work. So when Joe Orlando (the younger), who is running for at-large councilor, states something like:liberal or Amanda Orlando Kesterson, his sister, writes that we should arm all our teachers instead of providing universal breakfast, there isn’t a red state full of people willing to vote against their own interests to clap for it. There’s just Gloucester, a town full of hard workers who haven’t been lucky, economic downturn, and stories about making choices no one really desires to make. Both our mayoral candidates are in favor of universal healthcare, because they’re aware of how unfair life can be even to the hardest of workers.

The few candidates who seem to be propped up entirely by the local GOP (which has ideals that are far to the right of what past Republicans have stood for) have overlooked how the local government process works – showing no real knowledge of how municipal taxation is handled except they are “too high” without any sort of context, how they will handle nuanced issues such as the school budget besides “get rid of bloated administration” without any sort of context – and we could go on. But we’re tired.

The “Gloucester Citizens for Responsible Government” has, perhaps unsurprisingly, failed at providing candidates that have convinced us that they are in any way ready to be responsible in and for our government this election season.

This may come as a real shock, but we don’t like having to write these kinds of posts.  They’re depressing, we can’t swear as much, and it’s about as fun to write as eating a sleeve of saltines with no water. But, this stuff needs to be pointed out, or we risk Gloucester being run by the tea-party candidates who want to cut money out of places where it will negatively impact the services our entire community needs without these people truly understanding the repercussions down the line.

This is why we drink.