If Howard Goodall is such a music expert as BBC4 documentaries lead us to believe then why is the theme he composed for QI one of the worst pieces of music ever recorded?
Songs that mangle language
Year: 2017 Director: Paul King
The first Paddington film rather than trampling over a generation’s teatime TV memories was a terrific, warm, affectionate and funny celebration of Britain with anti Brexit & Daily Mail undertones. Was a little worried that the sequel wouldn’t recreate that warm fuzzy feeling inside this big kid.
I can imagine Paddington giving me one of his hard stares for such lack of faith as I happily report that it’s captured the same kindness, fun and flair for bringing some of those illustrations of the 70s TV series to life. There are clever little visual tricks and steps that other family film would not consider – almost a cartoonists eye for storytelling.
Ben Wishaw’s naive tones are perfect for the bear, the Browns suit the stereotypical image of British life as does the tourist view of London. Portobello Road hasn’t looked so clean and tidy since, well, Notting Hill.
Talking of which, Hugh Grant hams up a storm, channelling Patrick Barlow’s deluded thesp Desmond from National Theatre of Brent as the villain of the piece. There are cameos from British comedy talent throughout as well as a great turn by Brendan Gleeson and even David » Continue Reading.
St Pancras Old Church
Good albums can last a summer, great albums stay in the car for longer the.most – brilliant albums last for a lifetime. Kathryn mused between songs last night that ‘Fell Down Fast’ written after the death of a friend has been in the world longer than he was. The album ‘Little Black Numbers from 2000 which always will be linked to the phrase ‘Mercury nominated’ was given a fine revival in a small packed North London chapel.
You know those sound bites about ‘x song or x record saved my life’ – well LBN truly did on more than one occasion. It’s transcendent grace and stillness (Hello pseuds corner) have been a raft that I’ve sprawled exhausted on more times than I care to mention. Beaten by anxiety, loneliness and depression I’ve held onto Kathryn’s voice and the music for comfort, reassurance and hope. Although it’s not just linked to sad times – great joy of dancing about to the coda of ‘We Dug A Hole’ and what always sounds like dogs barking to me. The album is quiet, reflective but not unadventerous in terms of arrangements and melody.
The band » Continue Reading.
That how someone at my university enthusiastically described the 1st album by “rap metal” band from Los Angeles, California – Rage Against The Machine.
Known these days mostly for annoying Simon Cowell in the traditional Christmas No.1 race a few years back has slightly shrouded how refreshingly angry this sounded just before grunge made a generation shrug and say ‘Well, whatever, nevermind’. RATM named names and targeted the institutions that had grown powerful under Reagan in the 80s. Painfully right on perhaps, hectoring but somone has to do it and Tom Morello is a deserved guitar hero for a generation.
Yes you may never need to hear Killing In The Name again but this is a thrillingly bolshy listen *gulp* 25 years on
Year: 2017 Director: Michael Cumming
Its pretty fair to say that Chris Morris’ ‘Brasseye’ series arrival in January 1997 was like a bomb going off in my head. I was at university and awaited the series starting the year before for it only to be pulled from the schedules at the last moment. I watched the first episode alone and thought I would die from laughing. After showing it to my housemates it became a weekly event as the series aired – I have never seen a room of people laugh so much – people were crying, exploding and convulsing – helpless. I am guessing this is how Python hit the student population in the 60s except we often rewatched the show immediately as we had missed lines drowned out by laughter. In the final year of my degree I used Brasseye as the subject of my dissertation. Yes – that’s how I spent your tax dollars, mercifully without tuition fees.
Oxide Ghosts is an hour of cream from series director Michael Cummings box of mouldy old VHS tapes featuring 70 hours of often timecoded, film and studio rushes. He has assembled a documentary that attempts to show a » Continue Reading.
Year: 1991 Director: Terry Gilliam
As a teenage Python obsessive at the turn of the Nineties I devoured anything related to them whether it be the genius of Ripping Yarns to tangential rubbish they had been involved in (take your pick) and I think I didn’t really get with The Fisher King in 1991. It had one of my childhood heroes Mork in it but it wasn’t a laugh riot from end to end.
Picked up the Criterion Blu Ray on TFK last week as it dipped in price in the sales and gave it another shot over the weekend as I know it’s good and I recall watching The South Bank Show at the time which gushed over that scene in Grand Central Station. I was a naïve young fool back then is my only conclusion who like Jeff Bridges’ Jack at the beginning of the film didn’t believe in magic. For a start – when it is funny, its really funny – not just Robin Williams’ portrayal of Parry the street person’s psychosis in full flight – a mix of Shakespearean verse, quips and close harmony singing but the extremely well drawn female characters have some of » Continue Reading.
Year: 2017 Director: Armando Iannucci
When Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was discovered face down, stinking of his own urine at his dacha in March 1953 his faithful friends and committee members didn’t immediately send for a doctor as all the prominent ones were in gulags or had been shot. He had lain undisturbed for some time as his guards were afraid that if they disturbed him after a bout of heavy drinking, he would have them killed. It is just this atmosphere of farce, fear and black comedy that drives the funniest film I have seen in years.
That’s not to say it’s a broad comic romp as that would be a far more lightweight affair – it’s the fact it touches on sadistic executions, torture, child rape, bloody violence and horror whilst still delivering brilliantly funny line after line that demonstrates what a masterful writer / director Armando Iannucci is. The source material of a French graphic novel demonstrates the paranoia and true life absurdity that was Russian society during the fag end of Stalin’s rule.
The cast I simply stunning that it’s hard not just to list their names but Simon Russell Beale pulls very few punches as Beria, » Continue Reading.
So this is Every Kinda People by Nick ‘DIY SOS’ Knowles – The title track from his album. There appears to be a plague of these vanity projects at the moment with Shane Ritchie, Bradley Walsh and Jason Manford aiming for the Mum n Grans market. And that’s a solid market who like a pleasant tune from a cheery chap.
Should I be narked that these albums will get more media coverage and shelf space than musicians trying to make a living OR is it just like the albums that Berno Cribbs, Ken Dodd and other actors/ comedians did in the 60s, the all round entertainer.
Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Having left the physical jerks to his brother and lead singer, Russell, the otherwise keyboard squatting Ron removes his jacket and walks centre stage during the euro disco throb of ‘No.1 Song In Heaven’. After a short pause he breaks into a loping monkey dance across the front of the stage as the place goes nuts and roars its approval. Sparks have come home.
Throughout the show the brothers Mael refer to the capital and venue as dear to them while their appreciation of tonight’s enthusiastic devoted response is humble and heartfelt. As is their usual style they have a brand spanking new album and boy are you gonna be hearing a lot of it. Rightfully proud of Top 10 smash ‘Hippopotamus’ and it’s gloriously daft title track which, as my pal Spencer correctly suggested sounds like twisted song by the Oompah-Lumpahs, makes up a sizeable chunk of tonights show.
Sure there are plenty of hits and deep cuts performed with ceiling scraping falsetto and theatrical showmanship as the young band are fleetfooted and delicate when needed and a thunderous version of Quadrophenia era Who during the delightfully OTT ‘Dick Around.
Father in law to former vocalist of Ugly Rumours but known by an alternate title
After attending the Floyd exhibition this weekend we retired to a pub in Notting Hill and among the matters discussed was who else could sustain a similarly successful event.
The obvious one would be The bloody Beatles but would that be too vast a subject to cover despite the short life span. The Stones have had theirs,
Are there any museums for bands out there worth visiting for good and comedy reasons. Why don’t Dublin make much out of U2 being from the city and will we see a Radiohead show at the V&A in 20 years as @DrJ suggests.
*yes they are (one for Abbot & Costello fans)
JW3, Finchley, North London
In 2016, aka the year of the great pop culture extinction, we lost a seemingly never ending swathe of precious talents. When David Bowie and Prince left the shock lead to impromptu and planned musical tributes of varying quality. When Leonard Norman Cohen passed in November the reaction was more of quiet respect and acceptance of a good innings, well played. Tonight’s concert in conjunction with Camden Town’s excellent Green Note venue and curated by Kathryn Williams tried to give a flavour of the wisdom, poetry, insight and, yes, humour of the man.
Interspersed by readings of his poetry, his prose and his witticisms in interviews from Mr Shale, echoing Cohen’s deep sandpaper drawl Kathryn had called in friends, collaborators and fellow Len fans to present not carbon copies of well known tunes but with arrangements that threw fresh light on old ideas.
I’ve been an admirer of Ren Harvieu’s stunning voice through appearances with Romeo Stodart at venues across the capital and early on her sultry take on ‘Chelsea Hotel’ set the high standard for tonight’s show. At the Union Chapel’s Flying Seagull benefit she and Romeo performed a dramatic version of ‘The » Continue Reading.
Day off, bit bored but alphabetized the recent arrivals / just played stack. I’ll show you mine…
Unsurprised that the 40 Watt Club makes up part of the set, nice if it is unedited and complete. No idea what a Dolby Atmos system is or whatever but that demos set is intriguing. As I championed it as their best on a podcast way back when this is a no brainer for Xmas
CD1 1 Drive 2 Try Not To Breathe 3 The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite 4 Everybody Hurts 5 New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 6 Sweetness Follows 7 Monty Got A Raw Deal 8 Ignoreland 9 Star Me Kitten 10 Man On The Moon 11 Nightswimming 12 Find The River
CD2 1 Drive (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) 2 Monty Got A Raw Deal (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) 3 Everybody Hurts (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) 4 Man On The Moon (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) 5 Losing My Religion (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) 6 Country Feedback (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) 7 Begin The Begin (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) 8 Fall On Me (Live At The 40 Watt Club / 11/19/92) » Continue Reading.
Bord Gais Theatre – Dublin
They called us the Pop Kids Cause we loved the pop hits And quoted the best bits So we were the Pop Kids
I have loved The Pet Shop Boys (hereafter PSB, no not THAT lot but they are great too) since the punchy beat and swirling wind of ‘West End Girls’ (not the 1st issue, wasn’t that trendy a pop kid) in 1985. Echoes of Ghost Town along with Neil Tennant’s distinctive deadpan delivery of arguably the greatest opening couplet, like, evs and I was smitten. I haven’t got the aversion to arch or cooly detached that some suffer from. My7 attention in their career wavered in the 2000’s (as possibly did theirs) but they’ve had a strong run of albums in the 21st Century although the latest ‘Super’ is a bit pony.
Despite this admiration I had never got to see them live – they rarely toured during their “imperial phase” perhaps too aware that Raw Sex’s spoof of their image “me, I’m good at standing still, you stand behind me with a keyboard someone has lent you” suggested their music wasn’t made for the stage. The decline » Continue Reading.
Couple of film screenings in London on the horizon you might want to catch
30th August @ Regents Street Cinema ( which is worth a visit on it’s own) screening of the 1999 BBC Arena 2 part film on Brian Epstein plus a Q&A at half time with Mark Lewisohn
2nd November @ Curzon Soho – Oxide Ghosts : The Brass Eye Tapes – with the blessing of The Man Morris, the show’s director uses raw unseen footage to show the methods used to make this ground-breaking comedy series. A Q&A follows with director Michael Cummings
From the people who bought you the first 3 episodes here is Show 4 of GLK London musical experiment.
I beg to differ with Etta James, expose Aretha Franklin shilling for Coke and have some actors singing that isn’t complete pony.
All the golden hits of the Yewtree generation
Despite public demand here is the difficult third show – where there is a Pixie part, social commentary from 1955, faux 80s pop, avian confusion and a chill zone.
If you are at a loose end in London on Saturday you could do worse than stroll down the South Bank and attend the Missing Believed Wiped Pop Special screenings at the NFT – recent discoveries include
SESSION 1: Cliff Richard and The Drifters in a very special Oh Boy (ITV 1958), and then enjoy some glam rock with Top of the Pops (BBC 1975) plus some fun, toe-tapping clips from Thank Your Lucky Stars, Time for Blackburn, Supersonic, A Whole Scene Going and more!
SESSION 2: Old Grey Whistle Test, Colour Me Pop and others. We also screen complete programmes A Day in the Life of Rod the Mod (ITV 1965) and episode 600 of Top of the Pops (BBC 1975).
I done a 2nd episode of GLK London Calling The World – my music nonsense podcast. This one is a Frankensteen monster of covers, early releases, filth and songs about driving. Share and enjoy!
Sooooo….been toying with the idea of this for a while so thought – why not?
Lots of great tunes linked by me burbling stuff. Pretty straight forward.
Hope you like it, if you do, tell your friends, if you don’t then keep it to yourself
Year: 2017 Director: Edgar Wright
Let’s skip to the end – I loved the fuck out of this.
This was the film that Edgar Wright was always destined to make given the breaks and the budget. A smart funny sassy flick, stuffed with pop culture references and a soundtrack intrinsic to the action.
The titular lead, young Ansel Elgort as Baby is cocksure and focused whether as a super skilled getaway driver or swaggering down the street in the beautifully choreographed opening sequence to Bob & Earl’s ‘Harlem Shuffle’. If there was no more to his character than this he would soon become an annoying little git. However as we slowly learn more about him, why his connection to music is so strong and the hold that criminal boss Doc (Kevin Spacey in excellent form) has over him.
Waitress and doll, Debora, literally sings her way into his heart and becomes his reason to quit. But, yes you guessed it, it’s not that easy to leave the criminal world now he has something to care about.
From the off the film has its own frenetic style and for narrative reasons a constant eclectic soundtrack which serves and » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Kathryn’s new album ‘Songs From The Novel “Greatest Hits”‘ and so have been living with it a while now. It’s gone from something that I was really unsure about to a moving and delightful record which is up there with Kathryn’s best work.
I’ve been here before.
Although the concept behind this project with novelist Laura Barnett that sees an imaginary musical life bought to life for the protagonist of her novel, Cass Wheeler is unique it’s not the first time one of my faves has hooked up in this way. In 2010 Ben Folds and Nick Hornby released ‘Lonely Avenue’ – a collaboration where Nick took ideas he had as short stories and wrote them as songs which Folds then took and put to music – jamming different arrangements with his band until they got what was wanted. Although the songs – unsurprisingly – were pretty strongly narrative driven they were not autobiographical.
For some reason I was really unsure about the record and Hornby’s involvement. Don’t get me wrong, when I first read his novel, ‘Hi Fidelity’ I thought he had » Continue Reading.
Like mushrooms , which I don’t but that’s another story, I have a preference towards darkness and fretting over the intricacies of life’s bigger questions. Whether it be love, death, time, space or the nature of reality – it’s very much in my wheelhouse. Which is where we find The Unthanks and their latest Diversion, No.4, using the words or Molly Drake, poetess, songwriter and mother to the more well known, Gabrielle and Nick.
Cards on the table I knew very little about Molly before I heard about this project, Actually pretty much nothing apart from being Nick & Gabrielle’s mum. I expect this may be the experience of many attendees of this tour and listeners to the album and I can say that it’s perfectly fine. In fact I had preordered the album and it’s accompanying 8 track mini album ‘Extras’ which had duly arrived 2 days before the show but deliberately delayed listening so I could experience the songs for the first time in a live setting.
For these shows The Unthanks are a more streamlined setup which serves the songs best – Becky, Rachel & Adrian on piano, Niopha » Continue Reading.