Congratulations Finland! 100 years of independence today.
Please post your favourite Finnish music, films, mobile phones, wellington boots, sauna selfies etc in celebration!
I will kick off with a vintage clip of the fabulous Värttinä.
Congratulations Finland! 100 years of independence today.
Please post your favourite Finnish music, films, mobile phones, wellington boots, sauna selfies etc in celebration!
I will kick off with a vintage clip of the fabulous Värttinä.
I’d be very keen to hear about the new films that you enjoyed most during 2017. I’m particularly interested in the “smaller” films: the ones without a large advertising budget. But I am equally enthusiastic to hear about anything else that floated your cinematic boat.
I have an ulterior motive. I’ve become involved in the Film Club at our local cinema and tomorrow evening we are going to meet to decide the spring programme. So. your favourite film of the year might be turning up at a Stockholm, suburban cinema in the next few months…
Off the top of my head, my favourites of the year include Baby Driver, Sami Blood, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Aquarius, The Other Side of Hope, La pazza gioa, Patterson and Paddington.
As a self-proclaimed Pollyanna-in-Residence on this site, I’m putting on my best Mary Poppins bonnet for this thread. Today I am a nursery school teacher with a very enjoyable activity for you all. I want you all to cut and paste and then show your work to the rest of the class.
Anyone stumbling across the Afterword might find some of it a bit baffling. But that would be like listening to an episode of the Archers or watching an episode of The Wire in isolation. There are stories, jokes, conflicts, sagas that go back a long way. And bits and bobs that one knows about contributors that make their comments so much more interesting and so much more moving. The beauty of it all is that the more you read and the more you get to “know” the people here, the more enjoyable it becomes.
Every week I read stuff here that makes me intrigued, fascinated, amused, angry or perplexed. Comments and Youtube clips that make me want to listen to more, dance, rethink things, visit Australia, arrange a clandestine meeting with a transvestite Bolivian fortune teller…You all know how it is!
Here’s one of them. A small » Continue Reading.
It’s Moose the Mooche’s birthday!! Happy Birthday!
Whenever an AW thread gets floppy, limp and flaccid, we can always rely on his sparkling wit and repartee to ensure that it has a happy ending.
So now let’s brighten up his day with a few appropriately Moosey tracks.
I’ll kick off with some 1980s Estonian soul from Velly Joonas. I suspect you may be able to do better….
I was just talking to my colleague who had lost his mobile phone while cycling to work.
“The zip came undone and it just slipped out without me noticing.”
A line of defence that would never work in a court of law.
A major change in policy for that magnificent Teutonic flagship of jazz, folk and ambient music.
In future their releases will be available on Spotify and other streaming services. I can understand their resistance but am glad they have changed their mind.
To celebrate, here is a live track from the magnificent Anouar Brahem.
Which ECM artists will you now be giving a listen to?
That Garota from Ipanema casts a long shadow. The global success of Astrud Gilberto in the 60s has been a hard act for other Brazilian singers to follow. But now Sao Paulo singer, Céu, is starting to make quite a name for herself internationally thanks to some extent through a shrewd sponsorship deal with Starbucks. Do not let that put you off! She is no flunky of Big Coffee simply producing bossa lite as background music for latte lovers.
Last Friday I saw her live at the Fasching jazz club. It was sold out and every Brazilian in town seemed to be there. A wonderfully charismatic singer who mixes rock, reggae, Bossa nova and electronica into something that is very much her own. Charisma is her middle name.
After the gig I started to read a little more about Céu and her home city. When I did a grand tour of Brazil back in the 80s with the aid of a Varig airpass, I did not include Sao Paulo. A big industrial city: why waste time there? To be fair, I would feel sorry for anywhere competing with the sensual beauties of Rio. It must be like being Ingrid Bergman’s » Continue Reading.
Over on the Ragnarok thread, Saucecraft recently commented that films by Marvel Studios and their ilk get a disproportionate amount of attention on this site. So, here’s a thread to readdress the balance a little.
I’d like to hear about your favourite films from the past year or so which have not involved high-octane car chases, ginormous explosions or fast and furious chimpanzees, trying to guard the galaxy from a psychotic clown while wielding a large Viking hammer. And whose target audience is not 13 year olds.
Don’t get me wrong! I love movies like that. But let’s put the spotlight elsewhere for a change.
First though, a few thoughts about putting a new film on the map. Seemingly as much money is spent on the marketing of a blockbuster as on the actual making of the film. So what chance does a film with a more limited marketing budget have against these juggernauts?
A few things that might help:
A good review in The Guardian, NY Times, Le Monde, Sydsvenka Dagbladet etc
Winning a prize at a Film Festival. Some have an Audience Favourite where festival goers can vote.
A good score on IMDB. (Don’t forget anyone can » Continue Reading.
On the Skavlan talkshow last Friday, as well as tinkling the ivories, Benny Andersson talked about his latest project: a live ABBA show with real dancers and musicians and the band as holograms.
An ABBAration that will be his Waterloo or an AbFab innovation in concert going?
ABBA have the financial resources and the know-how, the demand is doubtless there and Benny’s track record for perfectionism is impressive. I have few doubts that they will put on a fantastic show. And ever since the Tupac hologram at Coachella in 2012, interest in this new technology just grows and grows.
Soon we may even see artists who are still alive sending out holograms to tour on their behalf.
How many of you would be prepared to fork out a fairly large sum of money to see what is the musical equivalent of Madame Tussaud’s? And if so, who would you want to see and at what point in their career?
I hope I can resist the temptation. Rather than a perfectly polished hologram show I’d rather go and see an up-an-coming artist who might play a few bum notes. A live show is about spontaneity and the magic of the moment. » Continue Reading.
It’s Saturday night. You are putting on your mascara, polishing your Doc Martens, dusting off your black beret, rolling a joint, ironing your Steely Dan T shirt, pouring yourself another glass of Bollinger’s, adjusting your toupee….
All you need is some sparkling, uplifting pop music to get you in the mood for the fun ahead. And who better to provide it than Saint Etienne? I saw them this week at Kägelbanan and was transported away by their career-spanning cavalcade of magnificent bittersweet pop. The new songs from new album Home Counties stood up very well against all my old favourites.
I’ve been going steady with Sarah Cracknell & Co for a while now. I first saw them in the mid-90s at the legendary Gino nightclub on Östermalm. It’s the venue where DuCool and I first started going to gigs together. It’s now a furniture showroom. But Saint Etienne are still going strong after 25 years. Quirky, sophisticated, adventurous, melodic and memorable.
Who are your favourite pop artists and which pop songs from the past 25 or so years hit the spot for you?
All hitmakers welcome even if their songs did not get the chart position they deserved. One hit » Continue Reading.
Martin Hairnet’s quest for brass bands in psychedelic music resulted in something of a brass band listening binge here in Kärrtorp. Where would popular music be without brass bands and horn sections?
It all started for me at Watford Town Hall: The Keef Hartley Big Band was a revelation. Their Sinning for you climaxes in a triumphant brass riff. I was hooked on horns.
Nuptials, wakes and er..birthdays: brass bands are perfect for any occasion. Bosnian and Serbian composer Goran Bregovic actually has a Wedding and Funeral Band.
I have so many favourite tracks where brass and horns provide that extra something that just makes the song.
A few other favourites… Some you will know, some not.
The bittersweet jazzy sound of EBTG’s Each and Every One. The simmering Rastafarian pride of Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey. The ethereal flute and pounding riff of Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. The Heimatdamisch’s hilarious Bavarian biergarden makeover of Highway to Hell. The self-confidence and swagger of Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle. The shimmering air of nostalgic melancholy that the Brighouse and Rastrick Band give the Unthanks’ King of Rome. The other-worldliness of Band Pres Llareggub Brass Band’s Cant a Mil. The frenetic, pumping energy » Continue Reading.
I was a bit taken aback when I looked at the morning paper on Monday morning. The entire front page was taken up by a photo of Hans Alfredson who had died the previous day. I knew that he was an important figure but hadn’t expected this kind of reaction. All the TV schedules were changed too, to broadcast tributes. And yet outside of Sweden, I suspect there was scarcely a single obituary. Working in Swedish, he was primarily an enormous local hero but not for export.
Of course I knew of him. His partnership with Tage Danielsson dominated Swedish comedy for many years. A real Swedish renaissance man: actor, director, novelist and even at the end zoo director!
And many of those who worked with Hasse & Tage achieved international success. The magnificent jazz singer and actress, Monica Zetterlund, who sung with many of the jazz elite of her day, most memorably on Waltz for Debby that she recorded with Bill Evans. Lena Nyman, the star of the notoriously explicit I am curious (Yellow), who went on to act in Bergman’s Autumn Sonata and become a stalwart of the Swedish stage. And several more besides. Locust was a big » Continue Reading.
American realist artist, Edward Hopper, got a couple of mentions on Mikethep’s Vermeer thread this week. To take just one example, Tom Waits’s live album Night Hawks at the Diner is named after his most famous painting.
This morning, as I sat down in the dentist’s chair, Ed suddenly made another appearance. The dentist always has the radio on in the surgery, and today there was an excellent programme on Hopper’s enormous influence, not least on the cinematic arts. While she worked on my teeth, I lay there and learnt more about Mr H.
Hopper was a keen cinema goer and he inspired many directors. The house in Psycho, many of the scenes in Siodmak’s The Killers, Boorman’s hard-as-nails gangster thriller Point Blank: all owe a great debt to his paintings.
Philip French wrote an excellent piece on this: see Comments.
Less predictably, that marvel of Swedish cinema, Roy Anderson, who was interviewed for the programme, was rapid to acknowledge his debt to Hopper:
“These paintings are condensed, purified—what isn’t necessary for the picture is subtracted—as in cartoons. I try to reach that level of concentration.”
Predictably, my question to you is: which other artists, photographers, comic book writers can » Continue Reading.
This year Finland celebrates 100 years of independence from Sweden and in honour of this, there is a three day festival of Finnish culture here in Stockholm. Lots of fine artists such as the marvelous Iiris Viljanen who you will remember made it onto Locust’s Best of 2016 list.
The big attraction for the younger audience however will be pop star Alma who is enormously popular over there on the other side of the Baltic. The song I’ve posted is very catchy. Watch out Signe! You have competition.
There will also be a performance of scenes from a new show about Tom of Finland. Famed for his gay erotica, it has now been suggested that he is now as famous as Finland’s other great export, Tove Jansson’s Moomintroll. One magazine picked up on this and produced an hilarious image of two podgy moomins cruising in leatherware.
My jazz neighbour tells me that Finland has some of the most exciting young jazz acts in Europe.
Aki Kaurismäki, Lordi, Maria Kalaniemi, Tove Jansson, Värttinä, Heavisaurus, Kimmo Pojhonen, Vasas Flora & Fauna: these are a few of my favourite Finns.
Have you any? Or do you draw a blank after Moominmamma, Sniff, » Continue Reading.
A quick vox pop.
Sweden had Abba, Norway had A Ha and Finland has Lorde and more metal bands than any country in the world. But Denmark has a far lower profile. If I were to ask about your favourite Danish piece of music or musician, what would spring to mind? Lars Ulrich from Metallica, Sinne Eeg’s exquisite jazz vocals, Little Donkey Hitmakers Nina and Fredrik, Mew’s classy progrock, AW pin-up girl Agnes Obel, The theme tune from The Bridge, Aqua’s Barbie Girl, …. Or?
Denmark has been very much flavour of the week here in Kaisfatdadaville.
I recently returned from the Roskilde Festival where several Danish bands (none of which I’d never heard of) did some stupendous shows. And then there was the news that Afterworder @neverflown is relocating to Copenhagen. I promised to do a playlist of Danish favourites but first I would like to pick your brains.
Do any of you have any favourite Danish artists?
All genres welcome. Jazz, folk, electronica, pop….. ‘ And now a story that fascinated me.
You would think that singing in the notoriously incomprehensible Danish language would be a barrier to international success. Not always. I » Continue Reading.
This thread is a shameless sequel to Mr Cowslip’s excellent Let’s do a mixtape.
Same rules apply. Let’s find 90 more splendid minutes of music. All thise gems you forgot first time round. The more varied the better!
Ready. Steady. Go!!
Our book circle have just read Marghanita Laski’s fine 1949 novel Little Boy Lost. A dark, sombre, restrained book which I can warmly recommend.
An Englishman, Hilary Wainwright, returns to the chaos and ruins of Paris after WW2 in search of his lost son whose mother was murdered by the Gestapo. It’s an atmospheric portrait of post-war France: poverty, bereavement, black marketing and people trying to do the best they can in a very bad situation.
Wainwright is a successful avant-garde poet and not a very attractive character. He’s snobbish, judgemental, lecherous, terrified of emotional commitment and lacking in gratitude to all those who help him in his quest. His only redeeming feature is the kindness he shows to the orphan boy who he believes to be his son.
Hollywood bought the rights and made it into a film. To reach a broader audience they made the central character an American. Regretable, but not understandable. (It worked OK with John Cusack in High Fidelity). And then they did the casting. Who did they choose? That charming, affable crooner Bing Crosby. What’s worse, he keeps breaking into song.
Laski had kittens when she saw the film.
What next, » Continue Reading.
Summer holidays are getting nearer and it’s time to stock up with a few irresistible reads to enjoy while on vacation. On the beach, in a hammock, on a flight….
My favourite beach is on the east coast of Öland. It doesn’t seem to have a name and its location is a local secret. Peaceful, picturesque and magnificently devoid of tourists. There’s only one drawback: we have to share it with a herd of local cows who sometimes come down for a dip. Imagine heaven with heifers instead of angels and you get some idea.
I’m currently enjoying Chris Brookmyre’s Flesh Wounds. Witty, exciting, satirical, perceptive and with a great ability at describing characters: he’s one of the UK’s most enjoyable readers. Scotland should be very proud of him. He just gets better and better.
But summer is saved! A kind friend just sent me two of the Peter Grant novels by Ben Aaronovitch. I’ve read the first and I am hooked. He too is amusing, very well-read on the history of London and a stupendous story teller.
So, which authors will you be packing for a holiday read?
Kafka, Beckett, Milton, Sartre, Faulkner, Melville ……
Or perhaps you » Continue Reading.
Ivor Cutler, taking a break from his Scottish Sitting Room to read Lear’s Dong with the Luminous nose accompanied by a full jazz orchestra. The marvellous Norma Winstone performing a trio of poems by Yeats, Blake and Lewis Carroll set to lush jazz orchestral arrangements.
These are just two of the pleasures on Neil Ardley and the New Jazz Orchestra’s album, A Symphony of Amaranths from 1971. I’d never heard of the late, great Ardley before Colin wrote a review about the re-release of some of his albums earlier in the week. Read his review and give the albums a listen (on either Spotify or YouTube). Sumptuous, melodic and extremely British jazz.
Among the stellar assortment of musicians playing on these albums are Jack Bruce from Cream and Jon Hiseman of Coliseum, two musicians with a foot in the worlds of both jazz and rock. As pop and rock increased enormously in popularity in the 60s many jazzers realised that there was a good living to be made. Shaving off their goatee beards, discarding their berets and leaving behind the smoky midnight world of the jazz club, they jumped on the new bandwagon. When Miles Davis saw the enormous » Continue Reading.
Tonight DuCool and I are off to a gig where the promoter is really sticking their neck out. On the bill is a guest appearance by Aksell Rykkvin.
I really admire those brave souls who dare to take risks. Alcohol, sex, competing egos, jazz tobacco, sibling rivalry, religious cults: there’s many a slip twixt cup and … gig.
It certainly required true guts to book that unpredictable diva Nina Simone.
Aksell Rykkvin? A charming, well-behaved Norwegian lad with a beautiful voice who has won the respect of musicians like maestro Rolf Lislevand . We’re not talking Axl Rose. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, rumour has it that Aksell’s voice could break any day now. Hopefully not in the middle of his performance this evening. Maybe the Stockholm Early Music Festival were not quite early enough in making their booking?
Anyone else with a story about a booking that was an accident waiting to happen or a disaster averted at the 11th hour?
Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon, the founder of the Mongol Empire and now a book by Desmond Morris. You’ve got to hand it to those Eurovision songwriters: they take their inspiration in in the most unexpected places.
I know that all of you were glued to the telly on Saturday watching the ESC. But just in case you live in a country like Australia, which for obvious geographical reasons does not have Eurovision, here is Francesco Gabbani’s Occidentali’s Karma which was inspired by The Naked Ape. Italy’s entry was a joyous, catchy, witty pop treat which I suspect is a banger on the dancefloor. A real “salsiccia”!
And Gabbani actually got to meet Desmond Morris at his home in Oxfordshire, earlier in the year: an experience he awestruck described as like “grabbing a coffee with Heraclitus”.
Flamboyant, charismatic, Italian pop star and distinguished, English academic. Two completely different worlds meeting up (although I suspect Des cut a few shapes on the dancefloor in his youth).
It made me think of another very unexpected meeting: national treasure, Sir David Attenborough, and the Pixie Queen of Icelandic Pop, Björk. And they got on like a house on fire. Total mutual fascination.
Celebrity » Continue Reading.
The poetry of place names! Ouagadougou, Chipping Sodbury, Alice Springs, Slough, Pasadena, Billericay, Kuala Lumpur, Rusholme……
A friend recently returned from a trip around the Balkans and mentioned that he was very near the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. When he was doing O level history in Cumbria back in the day, the rather exotic name of this obscure Ottoman province had stuck in his memory.
It rung vague bells for me too, so I started to investigate.
The Sanjak inspired a short story by an author who I enjoyed a lot in my 6th form years, Saki (a.k.a. H. H. Munro). A padre visits a condemned man in his cell and he tells the bizarre story of how he got there. Saki was a mischievous, witty Edwardian writer with a black sense of humour. (Until today I did not know that he died in the trenches of WW1 or that he was gay.)
Novi Pazar is also mentioned in The Eagle of Tooting, a song in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. I’ve only read his wonderful novella, The Crying of Lot 49, and did not realise that in Pynchon’s novels characters frequently sing imaginary songs that he has written the lyrics » Continue Reading.
My Sunday started in such a strange way that I wonder if I’m still asleep and dreaming all this.
Over on the Afterworders on Facebook page, someone had posted a piece about a small army of Scottish saxophonists playing the saxophone riff from Baker Street as part of the town of Paisley’s bid to become a European City of Culture. (see comments). How can they fail?
The performance had the blessing of Gerry Rafferty’s daughter (he was born in Paisley) and it looks as though they were all having a grand old, saxatastic time.
And if you think that sounds far-fetched, I then chanced upon a clip of sound sculptor and inventor of musical instruments, Henry Dagg, playing Somewhere over the Rainbow on his “catastrophony”: a keyboard consisting of squeaky toy cats.
The idea sounds so far-fetched. However that Gallic polymath, @Pizon_Bros pointed out to me that the idea of an instrument where the sound is created by the squeals of tormented cats is a very old one. The myth of the cat piano (Katezenklavier in German, piano a chats in French) has existed for hundreds of years.
It inspired this rather darkly, entertaining cartoon narrated by none other » Continue Reading.
The Dillo was the nickname give by Texan hipsters to the Armadillo World Headquarters, the legendary Austin music venue that closed its doors on New Year’s Eve 1980.
On Tuesday evening John Prine treated Stockholmers to a magnificent three hour concert. He mentioned the AWHQ when introducing his cover of Blaze Foley’s Clay Pigeons. After recording the song, he was told that he had actually hung out backstage for three days in Austin with the man who had written it. Easy to believe. What a remarkable place. A mixture of hippies and rednecks, jazz tobacco and tequila, rock, country, jazz and ballet: not too difficult to lose track of time and the get a little fuzzy about identity of the people you are spending time with!
The Nick Drake of Texas? Eccentric songwriter, Foley, who was shot dead at the age of 39, was well known in his home state but fairly unknown elsewhere. That is until he was immortalised by Lucinda Wlliams with her song, Drunken Angel, on Car Tracks on a Gravel Road.
The Armadillo World Headquarters put Austin on the live music map and ensured that many artists who might have by-passed Texas, came and played » Continue Reading.
Googling around at the weekend, it struck me that there are a plethora of interesting covers bands and covers projects going on at the moment, in all manner of different genres. (More info on all of these in the comments.)
The Unthanks have a new album imminent: another of their “Diversions”. After Robert Wyatt and Anthony, the latest songwriter to be re-interpreted is Molly Drake, Nick’s mum. An intriguing and, to me at least, unexpected choice! The album is called How wild the wind blows: The songs of Molly Drake and if you buy it directly from the band, there’s an extra EP thrown in. They will also be out touring and playing slightly smaller than usual venues.
On the Teutonic, avant-garde front, last week Thurston Moore’s Can Project played at the Barbican. It’s the Sonic Youth guitarist, sundry Canatics and members of the original band exploring the legacy of the Krautrock giants.
From Cologne to Cardiff and the Voice of an Angel Hitmaker. Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon are going out on tour. A band that look like about as much fun as I could hope to have at a gig. Ms Church is a hoot. My kind » Continue Reading.
When I was a teenager, our music teacher was Mr Hailey. A kind, helpful chap, he was the organist at the local Catholic church. Despite his name, he was very unlikely to rock around the clock and I’m afraid that despite my burning interest in music, the syllabus held little of interest to me. I was just waiting for lunchtime so I could devour the latest copy of Melody Maker or NME and plan which albums I was going to buy with the money from my paper round.
Fast forward to 2017. Yesterday, I accompanied my dilly dallying son to school. By chance, the first lesson was music. I’d heard about the music teacher who is too cool for school: she sings in a Deaf Metal band. So, after a chat with the classroom teacher, I asked if I could pay a visit to the music room. No problem, she’d take me over. On the way over, we chatted about nerdy music stuff. She was rather chuffed about the fact that she had seen Jimi Hendrix at the Gröna Lund funfair and that (also at Grönan) her future partner had been invited out on a date by one of the » Continue Reading.