Thought you might like this. There’s a theory that in a large group of people the sharp and flat singers will cancel each other out and you’ll get something like perfect pitch. Our boy David Ford tested this at the Milk and Cookies charity show on Saturday, using the audience and a mixing desk to recreate an Afterword-friendly classic.
Was anyone *really* offended by Greggs Nativity Sausage? Does anyone know anyone who was? Who is most entitled to be offended by it – Christians, Jews or vegetarians? And are you now a) more or b) less aware that the apostrophe-free apostate Greggs sells sausage rolls?
If it was Pret a Manger it’d make more sense.
Do you ever get people turning up on your doorstep selling you stuff? What are they offering and what’s your response?
This week I’ve had:
A deaf guy called Jack whose card said he was selling his drawings to feed his kids. His sketches were… do you need hearing to draw? Apparently you do. I made appreciative noises but he was gazing at his portfolio and couldn’t hear them, so I tapped him on the elbow and said, can I just give you a couple of quid? He got that okay. We were both happy with that transaction – he got a bit of wodge and I didn’t have to own his art.
An ex-con called Peter, on parole and selling door to door from a big bag on his back. He introduced himself and asked if I’d like to see what he had in the bag. Thinking back to Jack I said no, not really. He said: “Well enjoy your life of ignorance then,” and stormed off. I felt terrible. Not because I’d annoyed him, but because I’d annoyed him and he knew where I lived. And then I felt even more terrible for thinking that.
A lovely chap » Continue Reading.
Just a little bit, maybe? No?
Released 20 years ago today, apparently, so I’m listening to it for the first time in, ooh, nineteen years and fifty-one weeks. 10 years ago, at a press event, I found myself at the bar with the then editor of Q. I asked if he ever got grief for Phil Sutcliffe’s infamous 5-star review, even though he’d probably still been at school at the time. He shook his head and said “Every cunt in the world still says ‘You owe me £10 for Be Here Now.””
So is it all that bad? Not all of it’s that bad. There’s just so much of it. Too many tracks, and too many tracks on each track. Everything’s an ounce too long and an eighth too loud. Noel and producer Owen Morris famously had a problem turning things down, in more ways than one. No excess is too excessive here. Be How Now assaults the eardrums the way it assaulted its makers’ septums.
Listening to it now, the problem’s obvious enough – the songs aren’t very good, and making them longer won’t cure that – and Noel’s a one-trick guitarist, so multi-tracking won’t hide that either. It’s a new musical sub-genre: Thrash-Plod. It’s » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
It sounds like a bargain! How many of us music enthusiasts on this music-based site have had to put up with a salt shaker that doesn’t play our favourite music? I know I have. Well, no longer. The NEW! SMALT is the answer to our prayers. Not only does it have a crisp and powerful bluetooth speaker to stream your Steve Howe outtake compilations, it also help you monitor your sodium intake by letting you choose the amount of salt you desire which it will dispense into a small, removable tray. It’s easy and SMALT does all the measuring for you!
You know how shaking a boring old-fashioned fist-mounted salt pot up and down makes you look like a wanker, right? Well no more. With NEW! SMALT’s interactive connectivity and easy-to-use app, you can dazzle your friends by whipping out your phone and pouring your salt with it. You can shake your phone and salt comes out! Of the SMALT, not the phone. And you still look like a wanker! They haven’t thought this through.
And here’s another bonus! The SMALT includes ambient mood lighting for those special occasions when you want to entertain » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Around ’63-‘64 The Beatles were shitting out songs like a labrador on vindaloo and, because my parents were cheapskates and wouldn’t shell out for Sgt Pepper, this 1967 pooper-scoop of the thinly-smeared excrement they trailed behind them was my first introduction to the sound and smell of the Fabs when I found it at the back of the stereogram 10 years later.
Let’s start with the cover. Lennon, McCartney, stars… wallop. That’ll be £50 please. Paul’s whistling in this photo – can we call it The Stars Whistle Lennon and McCartney? No? Suit yourself. The artist has thoughtfully added clip-art frames to John (already transitioning) and Paul (still full moptop) as if to say: Don’t worry! They’re not really adrift in the vacuum of space! It’s just pictures!
And the stars! Pity poor Kenny Lynch, bottom of this default-font bill. The notion of ‘stars’ gets a bit inverted here, as you’d think that this motley collection of Epstein-stablemates and blokes whose sister Paul’s trying to shag would normally not exist in the same universe as their benefactors. But then ‘Lennon and McCartney Get Sung by People Who Will Dine Out on Their Brief Association » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
It’s not fair to blame Pino Palladino for all the excesses of the 1980s. He probably wasn’t the first to roll up his jacket sleeves, or wear a matador hat on stage, or think that drums should go ‘ptchoo’ instead of ‘thwack’. But he’s the reason why this bargain-bin classic remains firmly rooted in that cursed decade, along with trimphones, the C5, effective labour representation and colonial expansionism.
Pino’s fretless and flanged bass scribbles through Love of The Common People like a crayon across the face of the Mona Lisa. It wobbles like a weeble on a see-saw. It staggers like a drunk in a bouncy kebab shop. It writhes like an inflatable wraith outside a secondhand car dealer. On the originals of the soul classics that anchor No Parlez, the rhythm sections are nailed down to the groove. They play, they don’t spray. Pino is not so much in the pocket as all over the front of your trousers, like splashback piss from a tin urinal.
Young Paul does his best to find space between the gurgles. He’s also up against the Fabulous Wealthy Tarts, whose constant chatter frustrates his attempts to express » Continue Reading.
A kid in the Lower Sixth used to shoplift records to order. You’d look for him after Assembly and say: “Have you got ‘Do Anything You Want To Do’ by Eddie and The Hot Rods?” and he’d just nod and say “Woolworth’s or Smith’s?”
Other teenage entrepreneurs ran a more traditional business model. They’d seek out rare or sought after discs and sell them on at a premium. This was basically a monetised version of the Panini Football Sticker market we’d all traded in a couple of years before. Their Stock Exchange was a noticeboard outside the toilets. Buzzcocks – Spiral Scratch EP – £2. Williams, 5A.
Paul blew away the competition on price, product range and his innovative next-day delivery service. He really was the Amazon of his day, except that where Amazon just doesn’t pay any tax, Paul didn’t pay anything at all. His single-price-point structure predated Pound Shop by decades – you could order Walk on By by The Stranglers (7”, picture sleeve, blue vinyl, B/W Old Codger and Tank) or six sides of Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends and you’d pay a quid either way. It was an elegant egalitarian model » Continue Reading.
Apollo Theatre, London
One doesn’t frequent the theatre as much as one ought, nor will one in future if the theatre continues to stiff one for eighty-three notes plus a £1.75 ‘Restoration Contribution” for a seat in Row B of the Circle. In an odd way it’s the smaller amount which hurts you more – having recovered from the mugging at the Box Office, you find yourself reeling all over again at their temerity in coming back to you with hand outstretched for a levy to fund the polishing of the proscenium or the re-sticking of the stucco. Such costs, you might think, would be intrinsic to the gross figure previously presented, but not so. Throw in train tickets, a couple of Shaftesbury Avenue burgers and half a bottle of claggy Malbec each, and the chiz household is well on its way to £250 in the hole for the privilege of sitting side-by-side in silence in the dark all evening, something we normally expect to get for free at home. A modest mortgage renegotiation at half time scores us two thimbles of Haagen Daas, the ice cream equivalent of a Farrow and Ball testing pot; it’s » Continue Reading.
Spare a thought for Bros, who have had to cancel the majority of their comeback tour for what must be the best rock euphemism since ‘Not a big college town.” Something about the story suggests that the logistical problem might be that there were too many seats in some of the venues.
I wonder if the Afterword brains trust can come up with some more suitably ambiguous phrases to explain unexpected underperformance in the music business?
Metallica’s 2004 public therapy session is now on Netflix and well worth a visit if you’ve never seen it. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of their music – to me it’s terrible stunted post-pubescent bawling, but they are a nut-tight band, at least with their instruments in their hands. It’s just when they’re off stage that things go all titty-uppy.
SKOM is about what happens when you’ve been rich, feted and adored throughout an adolescence which has somehow extended into your early 40’s, and the only person who might potentially speak truth to you is another overindulged princeling who makes faces behind your back for a living. Hetfield and Ulrich had seen, done and acquired everything by this point, but emotionally they’re still in nappies.
By happy chance – or design, maybe? – they hired a recording studio, a film crew and a $40,000-a-month therapist at the same time as Hetfield went through addiction recovery. Between the riffs in the studio there are endless riffs round the canteen table, as these monsters of rock very slowly turn back into something like functioning human beings. Egos get deconstructed and songs get partially built. It takes fucking ages, with » Continue Reading.
Hotel California’s not hard, is it? Any fool with an acoustic can crank out its circling chords. But for a charity show on Sunday David Ford decided to attempt a full band version using a series of loops. David’s built his own loop station which can run six (I think) concurrently. Watch his feet – it’s a technical exercise as much as a musical one, but no less enjoyable for it.
I made this video from audience clips so any timing mistakes and bits deliberately left out are mine not his
Two young women, maybe 17, on their way to college
– How does it go again? – Which part? – The first line. Hello darkness… – Hello darkness my old friend of mine – Right. Are you sure? – Yep. Hello darkness my old friend of mine – Sing it – (sings, to the tune of ‘…because the vision softly creeping’) Hello darkness my old friend of mine – Okay, thanks – Good luck
So says Mr Bruce Springsteen, CEO and principal shareholder of The E Street Band, in his new book. He goes on:
“If I was going to assume the workload and responsibility, I might as well assume the power. I’ve always believed the E Street Band’s continued existence is partially due to the fact that there was little to no role confusion among its members. My bandmates were not always happy with the decisions I made and may have been angered by some of them, but nobody debated my right to make them.”
It’s a theme elaborated on at length in the recent Tom Petty documentary, Running Down A Dream. The great keyboard player Benmont Tench tells of being summoned to the studio, told what to play, and dismissed. Petty shrugs his shoulders at this treatment of his friend of 40 years. Maybe that’s what you get when your band’s called X and the Ys.
For a band to succeed they need a talented one and an ambitious one. Often they’re the same person. Then they need Curly, Larry and Moe who do what they’re told. Bruce’s benign dictatorship was probably the only way that operation could prosper. A band may » Continue Reading.
Anyone else on the sinister side with me and Jimi?
One of you tricky buggers will probably get this from the first clue, but if not I’ll give you another one.
1. The band started the recording sessions with four members and ended them with two
So record store day approaches and new research discovers that half of the people who buy vinyl, or vinyls as the young folk would have it, don’t actually listen to them. Vinyls-evangelist Jordan Katende, who is proof we are paying students way too much, buys them for the ‘old-school’ vibe they give his bedroom. I think the idea is that having a 12-inch square close up of Phil Collins’ sweaty frown turned coquettishly towards the bed, or the strikingly similar cover of the latest Adele album blu-tacked above the headboard, will encourage young ladies to tarry later than they planned. Didn’t work in 1981, Jordan, and I can’t see it working any better now.
Poor listless fellow workshy fop Duncan Willis yearns for “the times of our parents where you had to go out of your way to buy a song.” Oh boo hoo, Duncan, with your instant free access to every record ever made, ever. £15 a throw to feel a connection with your dad? You could get therapy for less than that.
Irritating proto-bieber and wind-up gramophone enthusiast Jake Budd chips in with “The soundwaves, they’re not electronic. There’s something satisfying about it for the brain, I think.” » Continue Reading.
Back in the 60s and 70s, when youth culture was still young, we expected our rock stars to live outside the law. We wanted them to take drugs, smash up hotel rooms, sleep with very young women, ‘piss anywhere, man’, get into scrapes with Sergeant Pilcher and hide bars of chocolate in the most inventive of locations. The last one’s not illegal, but, you know.
We also expected them to stick it to the Man, in songs, in interviews, in dreadful Orwellian nightmare future concept albums, and in court; We are not concerned with your petty morals, as Keith told the judge. This was the kind of thing we wanted from our counter-culture cowboys – they were cool, unbowed and rebellious, and we identified with them and took our lead from them. We also expected them to stick it right up the man by paying as little tax as they could.
So even as far back as ’66 you had grumpy opinion-forming millionaire Moptop George complaining that 5% appeared to small, as evil Labour PM Mr Wilson harshed the Swinging Sixties vibe; and a little later middle class, grammar school LSE dropout Michael Philip Jagger took his dandy pals » Continue Reading.
What do we think, Afterworld? Has it changed our lives for the better?
I use Twitter a lot for work. It’s my first point of call every morning to see what’s happening and what everyone’s saying about it. It’s pretty much always first with new news, not always accurately, but way ahead of other media.
I never really got on with it for personal use. I’m just not interesting enough to share so much of myself so often. The worst thing is the way that nonsense and misinformation can gain credibility through volume and repetition. If something’s retweeted enough, it becomes true. As an ex-journo and now a lobbyist, that scares and frustrates me equally. On the other hand, it’s the perfect medium for great jokes and bad puns, two of the finest things in the world.
What’s your view? Use as many characters as you like
Over on the Afterworders on Facebook page, our old friend Faux Geordie has requested that someone post this article here “to cram it down that buffoon Cheesus/Chiz throat [sic]“.
Happy to oblige…
Skipping from the wings as his band competently embark on Where The Streets Have No Name, Owen effortlessly commands the eight square feet of stage between the Gents and the fruit machine. His stadium-hewn hand gestures, conspiratorial winks and hello-out-there horizon scans are as mesmerising to those in the back row as they are to those in the front, and the two in between. Comparisons with the young Bono are inevitable, as in, Jesus, this guy thinks he’s the young Bono.
Owen’s toured with all the greats – Mike and The Mechanics, to name but two – but tonight it’s all about him, busting a generous gut at Guildford’s premier and only rock venue in front of 80 people, 50 of whom, like me, came for the support band and were too polite to leave before he came on.
The man can certainly sing but something’s made him think we want to hear him talk too. After the third rambling monologue – a sweet but generally poorly-received riff on one elderly fan’s bladder function – the less starstruck of us are starting to form the suspicion that perhaps their hadn’t been as much » Continue Reading.