Here’s an extraordinary article that anyone who’s twirled a machine head shoud read:
Some songs/albums are so deeply identified with a time and place that they can still trigger memories in us. Happy, I’d hope, or touched with nostaglia. Here’s some of mine, and why:
Good Vibrations: First single I bought with my own money. I can still hear the crash of the autochange as it dropped the disc down the spindle, the crackle of the run-in groove. Sitting on the carpet, watching the record spin, and hearing beauty in music without knowing what it was, or how it worked.
Holland: When my first wife and I were “courting”, we’d play this Beach Boys album, again on a crappy portable record player, on Saturday mornings, the sunlight sifting through the yellow curtains. Heaven.
Shawn Phillips: Contribution. Piling through the open window of Jim Cooke’s place at Spon End (don’t look for it; it’s not there any more), skinning up, watching little brass angels circle under tinkling bells. The crackle of seeds and stems as Shawn’s voice lifted us right through the fucking roof.
Terry Riley: Rainbow In Curved Air. The perfect acid soundtrack. Berkswell Woods, the lake, an English summer, our heads in the clouds.
It’s A Beautiful Day. A cottage in Wales, » Continue Reading.
Arf arfarf arf arf arf? Arfarfarf arfarf arf arfarf arf arf arfarf; arfarf arf! Arf “arf arf arf arf arf” arf “arfarfarfarf” – arf arfarfarf arf arfarf. ARF? Arf arf arf (arfarfarfarf) arf arf arfarfarf arf, arfarf arfarfarfarf arf arfarf (“ARF”). Arfarf arf:
“Arf arf arf arf arf, Arfarf arf arf arf. Arf arf arf arf arf, Arfarf arf arf arf. Arf arfarf arfarf arfarf, Arf arfarf arfarf arfarf-arf.
Arf arf arf arf arf, Arfarf arf arf arf.”
Arf arfarf arf arf arf? Arfarfarf arfarf arf arfarf arf arf arfarf; arfarf arf! Arf arfarf arf arf arf – arfarfarf arfarf arf arfarf arf arf arfarf; arfarf arf! Arfarf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arfarfarfarf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arfarf – ARF??
(ARF: arf arfarf arf arf arf arf arf: “arf” “Arfarfarf”, arf “A.R.F.” arf arf arf arf arfarf. Arf? Arf arf arf!)
Dwayne Johnson (to whom I have been compared*) has a new movie out and it’s predictably craptastic. But I enjoy watching him. He’s effortlessly cool, can act as far as he’s allowed to, and obviously enjoys his life. Offscreen, he’s apparently a bit of a sweetheart. But his main quality is making Vin Diesel look like a Muppet with a rubber voicebox. My man Dwayne could bounce your man Vin in the palm of his hand and toss him into the basket over his shoulder.
I also have a soft spot for Jason Statham, whom I dismissed as a cheap UK copy of the tough guy until I saw Crank, which is one of my Five Bestest Movies of all time, at number 11. This is so far over the top it almost invents a genre, but I don’t know what it’s called. And I can’t imagine anyone but Jase doing it. At the other end of the scale, I greatly enjoyed his performance in The Bank Job, an underplayed and undersung but note perfect heist movie (scripted by an on-form Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais). But I can watch him in almost anything – he’s the real deal, » Continue Reading.
If you have an old Kindle you’d let go for an advantageous price*, could you let me know? My push-button model is starting to feel its age. Don’t want nor need anything flash, the more basic the better, as long as it still has a pulse. Thanking you rather presumptuously in advance …
(*Advantageous for me, that is. Punitive for you.)
It’s a fine line …
I don’t remember seeing this one mentioned “here”. It’s one of the few – okay, two – movies that disables me with suppressed laughter when I think of it. The sharpest (stupid) script, the perfect deadpan playing, the Little River Band, “bye, Sheila!”, the mighty Dwayne Johnson leaping to his death (SPOILER) … so much to savour, over and over, in the quilted privacy of you man-cave …
Det. Terry Hoitz: lf we were in the wild, l would attack you. Even if you weren’t in my food chain, l would go out of my way to attack you. lf l were a lion, and you were a tuna, l would swim out in the middle of the ocean and freaking eat you! And then l’d bang your tuna girlfriend. Det. Allen Gamble: Okay, first off, a lion swimming in the ocean? Lions don’t like water. lf you’d placed it near a river or some sort of fresh water source, that’d make sense.But you find yourself in the ocean, 20-foot waves, l’m assuming it’s off the coast of South Africa,coming up against a full-grown, 800-pound tuna with his 20 or 30 friends? You lose that battle. You lose » Continue Reading.
In a private email, Mauritz confesses to “not having the confidence to start [his] own thread yet. [He’s] a bit daunted by all the brilliant and popular threads started by Afterword stars like you, Mr Saucecraft, and GLC Grey Area and Niscum. But I had this idea of starting a thread about Pop Stars As Sitcom Characters which could provide some amusemtm (damn this lack of editing!) for the less demanding of the diaspora. What do you think?”
I think it’s a swell idea, Mauritz! If it turns out to be tumbleweed, you’ll get the blame. If it gets some hits I’ll pretend it was my idea all along! Ha ha!
1 The ‘noedit featu 2 The no edit feture 3 teh NOED ture 3 T he “No Edit” farture 10 The no edit
Graham Parker And His Rumours have a new album out! It’s called Mystery Glue! Everything’s fine so far. Here’s the PR release, or some of it:
“Written in Parker’s second home of New York and recorded in just six days in the legendary RAK Studios in London, Mystery Glue is a real return to form for this seminal British songwriter and powerhouse band, which features its original lineup of Parker, Bob Andrews, Brinsley Schwarz, Martin Belmont, Andrew Bodnar and Stephen Goulding.”
Hurrah! Or, not. The “form” I remember is passionate. Parker: pissed-off and spitting about something. Didn’t matter what. This isn’t a return to that. This is a collection of mid-paced songs that would sit cosily next to late-career sessions from Nick Lowe, Mark Knoplfler … any of these geriatric UK rockers nodding out wistfully in the twilight of their years. There’s an audience for this, and it’ll be gratefully received by them. They may even flap a hand weakly on their rug-covered knees. But the list of things Parker can (and should) be pissed off with is getting longer as he grows older. He should be a cantankerous old git, snarling at the new doctor down the clinic, railing » Continue Reading.
Cheese, Sardine, Nutella and Yam.
I was making several trips out to the deck this morning in order to enjoy breakfast in the open air, and it occurred to me that life would be so much simpler if I had a tray! It’s a crowded market, with a wide choice of materials, shape, and colour. Handles or no? Is circular the way to go? Before I commit to an investment, I’d very much appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Have you a tray-related anecdote, perhaps? A favourite tray? Perhaps you were seduced by a tray’s looks, only to “have your fingers burned” later – maybe the laminate started to peel back. A handle worked loose. Those coffee mug rings proved ineradicable. Let’s hear your “tray nightmare stories” in the hope that I’ll not make the same mistake you did!
And let’s be having your songs about trays, while we’re at it, Afterworders! Here’s the mighty Bob The Tray singing “Mule Train”!
I notice it’s not yet midnight in the UK and some of you are still sitting at your personal computers in your pyjamas (funny place to put a computer) instead of going to bed. Let’s see who can stay up the latest and be the biggest and cleverest!
At Pitchfork, music journalism has become like fine art catalogue texts; something in and of itself, with no real reference to its subject, an exercise in self-pleasing pseudery. This extract is typical –
“[this CD] is anti-physical music for an anti-physical time … these 10 songs are invocations of the hyperreal, created to meet the anxieties of an age where bodies are rarely written about as sites of joy or authenticity, and more frequently discussed as zones of inequity, violence, embarrassment and pain. The desire to exist as a well-tended garden of pixels fuels many of our culture’s dominant systems: the databases of altered thoughts, distorted images, the avatars that demonstrate reaction or stand in for action. Like all of these networks and products, [this CD] answers our desire to escape the burden of physical presence — and in the process ends up sharpening and perpetuating the desire even further.”
Ri-ight. All we learn from this is that there are ten songs on the album. And that the writer needs a good slapping. Maybe the review is entirely appropriate; maybe the music is quite as arch and pretentious as the review. I for one don’t have the nerves of » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
It sounds like you’re having a night out. Only, in! HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT!
What does it all *mean*?
It means that Australia is still, after many decades, the most reliable source of top new music.
Goes well with…
The eighties. I didn’t expect to like this album, being mostly sorta-disco-synth-dancefloor (the album, that is, not I), but the sheer talent here – not least in the songwriting (hooks that stick like STDs) but the production, playing, singing – everything – hang on – where was I? ‘Ave I ‘ad me dinner yet?
Might suit people who like…
Music in their cars (this is, like, awesome driving music), music in their stereos (push back the coffee table and pop the button on those dad jeans! YOU ARE YOUNG!), music in their ears. I haven’t had such a good time (in a sad, lonely way) with an album since, ooh, since … hang on – I left the gas on …
Howe Gelb. Him out of Giant Sand, whose solo gigs put the dour back into troubadour. What kind of a name is that? HOWE GELB. Two ugly monosyllables that sound like a glottal stop prelude to a pavement oyster. Yet it is the name of a famousish Show Business Artiste. I can’t think of any others right now, perhaps there aren’t any.
Some would argue that Ancient Greece was the most significant source of culture the world has ever seen. Others would put forward Rome, citing the drainage, balanced diets for lions, and so on. Yet others would point to France, for its cheese rinds and impressionist placemat designs. America, too, has its champions, at least those who’ve avoided police bullets in their backs. But I say NAY! For me, Scotland has it all. Fine cuisine in the delicate haggis. Sport in that most gracefully manly of competitions, caber-tossing. Haute couture in heavy skirts for men decorated with badger snouts.
And MUSIC!! The list is almost endless, and I do no more than humbly start it here, with Jim Kerr out of monobrowed Morleypleasers The Associates. Or not.
So! Come on Afterworders! Let’s have your serenading Scots frae north o’ the border, the winsome lassies and the skirt-sporting laddies who have lent their tartan talents to the rich tapestry of Shcotish Mushic!
A Correspondent sent me this link, and I naturally thought of all you bien-pensants here.
Sting & Gwyneth Paltrow Yes, Trudy Styler is no slouch at slappable pretentiousness, and in many ways an ideal mate for Gord. But Gwyn is a world-leader in irritating vaguely New Age wonderfulness, and the thought of the Happy Couple opening a Dolphin Yurt Sanctuary or plunging into the jungles of Papua New Guinea to patronise the natives is almost more than the human imagination can stand. They could exchange vows while buried up to their necks in healing termite mounds in front of the Dalai Llama.
Jeremy Clarkson & Rebekah Brooks It must happen, surely? Jezza and Rebs, together at last – a Nation rejoices at the union of the couple who are truly King and Queen in the hearts of the people!
Bono & Bob Geldof Together, they can change the world! Same-sex marriages are now legal in many places, but I suggest they reach out to, say, Yemen, to host their bold matrimonial statement.
(Have a go if you think you’re hard enough).
Back when I lived in Oxford, ooh, early ‘nineties my goodness how time flies, my then wife and I formed a party with a BBC radio broadcaster and his lovely illustrator partner. Yes, those were the agreeable circles we moved in back then. The occasion was the World Premiere of Sarah Miles’ play, which she wrote, directed and starred in, called Charlemagne, to debut at the prestigious Oxford Playhouse. Actually not, though – it was the annexe of the Oxford Playhouse, a converted fire station. A brave and intimate choice to launch an important dramatic work!
The audience was a small and select band of drama-enthusiasts like us who had blagged a free ticket. We were all aware of La Miles’ beverage of choice, something for which she was more famed than her thespian endeavours.
The play had everyone knotted in teeth-grating embarrassment from the first lines. You just know when you’re in the presence of a catastrophic disaster, and can do nothing about it. The play – tragically – must go on. Watching this hideous, hilarious, jaw-droppingly awful production stagger to its welcome close was an unforgettable experience, unfortunately. The few handclaps at the end – when the assembled » Continue Reading.
1 Who recorded the following?
The Lone Ranger Vs. Your Developing Breasts My Faith Is My Gas Mask Only The Blackness Behind Me Is Real
2 The answer to 1 links Chad & Jeremy and The Byrds – how?
3 What band featured members of The Ramones, Steely Dan, and Spirit?
4 What pop-rock band was the first to get the word “fuck” on an album?
5 What has Donovan to do with any of this?
There’s a Magnificent Prize* for the first fully correct answers!
*Moose has kindly donated his Health & Efficiency Summer Special 1961. Some unsticking required.
H.P. Saucecraft on Driving For Your Life In Rural Thailand
The Thais are not the worst drivers in the world, although they seem keen to give that impression.
They’re not even the worst in South East Asia; the feeling that Vietnamese road users are out to kill you is not without foundation, and the Cambodian understanding of the rules of the road is even sketchier than the Thai – going offroad through a jungle carpeted with landmines can sometimes seem the safer option in a country where road users on the wrong side of the road have precedence. Lao PDR only has one road, but abundance of good luck and an almost supernatural attentiveness is required to get from one end to the other. Or even across.
Thai drivers have a 360 degree blind spot. They will cheerfully drift across lanes, pull out, reverse, overtake and slew to a halt with zero awareness of other road users. Mirrors (in cars or on bikes) are used exclusively as personal grooming aids, allowing minute inspection of complexion flaws while parked in front of the Seven or speeding across an intersection. Why on earth would you want to look where you’ve been? » Continue Reading.