It’s September 1971 — You Live In L.A. — Your Life Is Full Of Surprises And They Make You Nervous — They Still Do, But For Different Reasons.

Gordon Skene
3 min readMar 21, 2020


KPPC — Cosmos Topper (Ted Alvy) — September 1971 — Gordon Skene Sound Collection -

In lieu of Starbucks? Become a Patron!

Well . . .here we are in 2020. The world is a place where you can’t be less than six-feet away from someone — can’t really go out of the house. You wave at people you know and they cross the street; they smile, but they cross the street anyway. You’ve watched all the TV you can handle, can’t bear to watch the news — you have a pile of books you’ve been meaning to read but never got around to; now there’s no excuse.

You’ve come to the realization that you miss hugging people — you were very touchy-feely in the 70s. Everybody was. Back then it made you nervous; all the grabbing and hanging on. You felt a little like Weena among the Morlocks. Everybody read “I’m Okay,You’re Okay” and were hearing about EST — you, in your cynical period, looked dimly on the whole thing.

So today you’re sitting, staring out the window trying to figure out the weather — your window looks out to the window directly across from you, with permanently drawn shades and no idea who or if anyone lives there. The walkway that separates your building from the building next door gives the only indication what time of day it is, or whether it’s sunny or cloudy or raining or if someone new is moving in.

Up until today it didn’t bother you — you really never noticed. You always prided yourself on being a loner. But now that it’s official, the only thing you want to do is run out and hug somebody.

But it’s just you, hunkering down for the unknown. Someone in another building or maybe down the hall is playing a really beat-up copy of The Mothers Live At The Fillmore, complete with ticks, pops and skips. You sold that album years ago, when everybody was dumping their vinyl and buying CD’s.

It gets stuck on a scratch and repeats the same five seconds over and over — after a minute it drives you nuts, but it also reminds you when you used to hear The Mothers all the time on the radio. You don’t hear them much anymore. There’s a lot you don’t hear anymore — that, and hugging.

Times have changed.

As a reminder — here’s 35 minutes worth of Cosmos Topper from KPPC-AM (yes, AM) from September 1971. You may not be able to hug anyone, but you can still tap your feet.

Originally published at



Gordon Skene

Two-time Grammy nominee, author and archivist of history, news, and popular culture. Runs Past Daily — runs The Gordon Skene Sound Collection. Hardly sleeps.