I’ve posted about the excellent Is It Rolling Bob? podcast before. Here are the two guys involved (Lucas Hare and Kerry Shale) in conversation with Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. It’s as lively, garrulous and free-ranging as you might expect.
The Guardian are currently listing the best-ever UK number one singles, with today’s entry, number 12, being Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor. But what do you think will be number one? Fancy a prediction? Care to try your hand at a top three, perhaps? With fingers crossed that these haven’t been mentioned already (I don’t *think* so) I’ll kick off with…
1. Two Tribes 2. Ghost Town 3. Going Underground
I can’t help but feel the Guardian will want something a bit more modern in there, though…
It’s actually a question about one disaster movie. I’m trying to remember a black-and-white film about a bomb on a London bus. It was pretty much a forerunner to all those big star-studded epics of the 1970s, eg Airport, where you’d get all the individual backstories coming together for the big disaster payoff. Indeed, in this film the bomb going off was pretty much where it ended.
Does this jog any memories? I’ve Googled but to no avail.
If I said to you that I wanted an alternative to Music (née iTunes) that would retain all the playlists and star ratings that I’ve spent the last 15 years building up, but be at least twice the speed and three times more intuitive to use, what would you say? It definitely needs to be totally compatible with the old iTunes so I don’t lose any of my stuff, and it definitely needs to be able to handle large libraries (mine is 2.33TB).
Does such a thing exist?
The MAC OS upgrade Catalina looks amazing and seems to have sorted out a few bugs I had. HOWEVER, it has completely buggered my iTunes. Admittedly I have a large library. 2.24 terabytes. But it worked fine before. Since the upgrade the new ‘Music’ app simply sits there with ‘artwork loading’ or ‘activity in progress’ displayed while my machine slows to a crawl around it. If I leave it for any length of time, (hoping it’ll sort itself out) it just crashes in my absence.
Yes, I know, I should have waited…
Yeah, yeah, so it’s all about the omissions, right? I’ve split mine into two groups. In the first group — Group A — are the more personal, idiosyncratic choices that I love but wouldn’t expect to make a list such as this. In the second group — Group B — are the films that I also love that I thought should have made the cut.
Drive Angry Dawn of the Dead remake Dig! Man on Fire The Descent Mission: Impossible III Eden Lake Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Moon Kick Ass Crazy Stupid Love Haute Tension Lucy John Wick A L’interieur Mandy Wolf Creek 2 The Raid Warrior 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Thor: Ragnarok (cough) The Greatest Showman
Apocalypto The Fountain Dark Knight Rises Young Adult The Revenant Silver Linings Playbook Mad Max: Fury Road The Revenant Three Billboards Destroyer Booksmart
I’ve lost something. It’s a booklet about the work of the horror film director Norman J Warren, which I bought at a film festival around thirty years ago, and then had signed by Warren. I’ve just bought a new blu-ray boxset of Warren’s work so I decided to hunt out the booklet only to discover that it’s not in its usual place – a place that it has been for literally as long as I can remember – and doesn’t seem to be elsewhere either. I’ve been looking for it on and off for about a week now, hoping it’ll turn up sandwiched between records, books or magazines, or maybe in a box otherwise bulging with bills and receipts. As each ‘it might be here’ brainwave comes to nothing the possibility that it’s been turfed out by accident becomes increasingly more likely.
The thing is, I’m taking the loss of this booklet badly. I’m being a bit of a baby about it, if I’m honest. I’m sure it was quite rare (I can’t even find an image of it on the whole of the internet), I’ve had it for years, it was very precious to me and it was signed » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
The sound of various weapons being field-stripped are the basis for this experimental dub album that lands like an ambient meditation on gun control (‘righteous pacifist dub statement’ it says here), a shit-scary horror film soundtrack and a skincrawlingly unsettling sound installation. Never has dread sounded more dread.
And yet, at the same time, it’s very palatable. Perhaps because of its dub DNA, or the fact that while chiefly made up of field recordings it’s not at atonal or difficult, but for a determinedly experimental album, The Guncontrolla is really very listenable indeed. Over the course of about 30 mins it develops and increases in intensity, with the first side – vinyl only, I think – being made up of dungeon-like sounds treated to echo and reverb interspersed with dialogue samples from The Harder They Come. Flip over and things get a little busier, though no less sepulchral or foreboding, with samples from Falling Down added to the mix. Overall, the word is cavernous, and that’s an adjective I like.
What does it all *mean*?
That guns are bad, but dub is good.
Goes well with…
I think it’s great.
I enjoyed the excellent Mod exhibition at Leicester’s New Walk over the weekend. It made me wonder if there’s a person among us who hasn’t had ‘the scooter phase’ at one time or another. You may even have acted upon it and got yourself one – and props if you did – but it’s the ‘phase’ bit I’m wondering about: that fortnight or so you spent poring over the classified ads for secondhand Vespas, wanting to look like Phil Daniels in Quadrophenia or Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley — and it never going further than that.
Likewise, is there any one here who hasn’t had a Metal phase? You must have lusted after a leather jacket, surely? Haven’t we all at one time decided to build up an impressive collection of novelty erasers but only got as far as five or six? And who can say they haven’t pledged to keep a diary but fallen at the first hurdle? Actually, on second thoughts that might be even more common than scooters and Metal.
Your thoughts please. Are you a craze refusenik or an enthusiastic adopter of fads?
This lovely picture hangs on my wall, but although I can recognise some of the artists represented, I’d really like to put a name to them all. So far I have: Fela Kuti next to Johnny Cash. Bob Dylan to our left of the trunk. Zappa to our right, Robert Smith and Leo Sayer on the far right. Oh, and I wonder if the little angle up top is supposed to be Sabbath and the UFOs probably Parliament / Funkadelic.
Any more would be greatly appreciated.
This is pretty great.
I warn you — you’ll be Low.
What does it sound like?:
The last time that Jay Glass Dubs drifted through my transom was his collaboration with Leslie Winer on a mini album called YMFEES in 2018. Leslie Winer, of course, is the ex-model and pal of William Burroughs dubbed ‘the godmother of trip hop’, thanks largely to her 1993 album, ‘Witch’, a much overlooked classic featuring a cast list that includes Helen Terry, Ian Cassimir, Jah Wobble, John Keogh, John Maybury, John Reynolds, Karl Bonnie, Kelly Lovell and Kevin Mooney, among others.
But we’re not here to talk about Leslie Winer, save to say that I loved YMFEES and its spare, minimal take on dub, and was thus intrigued to hear this first follow-up solo album from Jay Glass Dubs. It doesn’t disappoint. One of the many genres listed on Discogs for this album is ‘dungeon synth’ and hearing it for about the fourth time, the phrase ‘Four Tet gone evil’ popped into my mind. I’m not sure I can improve on those as a pair of descriptors, but for more details apply to the second track, ‘Animal Estate’, where dub techno — cavernous, spacious, sepulchral, all the adjectives you need to describe this » Continue Reading.
Sunscreem! I always loved the first album, 03, but it’s their second one, Change Or Die from 1996 that’s got me this time round. It does a thing I really like, where the tracks transition into one another so that it sounds ‘of a piece’, and it has themes and motifs that recur throughout, like little treats rewarding you for listening to the whole album. What else? Oh yes, it’s got trippy 303 wig-outs and anthemic singalong bits; it’s uplifting and life-affirming in a goofy, group-hug sort of way; it’s incredibly well thought-out and beautifully sequenced and yet never loses sight of the fact that at heart it’s an exuberant pop-dance album, and I love, love, love it.
Some of you may recall Lucas Hare, who used to post on the old Word site. Luke and I know each other in meatworld, and so I happen to know that he and Kerry Shale (another Word alumnus) have been putting together a new fortnightly podcast, called ‘Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan’.
The format involves discussions with actors, writers and other interesting creative types about Bob Dylan and what he means to them, and the first one, featuring David Hepworth (oh yes, another Word alumnus) is out now on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes Podcasts) and Podbean:
The second episode, with David Morrissey, will be out on Monday next week:
In next week’s podcast episode, we talk to @davemorrissey64 about Bob Dylan and the music that has punctuated his life. Available to download on Monday October 8th. Subscribe so you don’t have to remember. https://t.co/ULYMdonvoI pic.twitter.com/7kDw2ZA9XK
— Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan (@isitrollingpod) October 1, 2018
They have several recorded and ready to go – Kenneth Cranham, Barb Jungr, Jon Canter, Paul Morley – and many more booked in the next few weeks. Happy listening!
What does it sound like?:
A mix of ambient, modern classical, drum & bass and techno – occasionally in isolation, sometimes all together but never less than gorgeously mounted – ‘Portrait in Firewood’ is not just an audacious album, it’s also perfectly realised. Right now, just a few listens in, I think it’s flawless. It’s certainly my favourite album of the year so far. Singer Lola Empire contributes heartbreaking vocals for ‘Waters Rising’; elsewhere there are filmic samples from — of all places — ‘Meet Joe Black’, which, considering that DnB producers normally like to quote Scarface or Vietnam movies, contributes to a sense of Djrum (aka Felix Manuel) baring his soul. ‘Beautiful’ is the only word to describe most of what’s on offer here, and that’s not normally an adjective you get to employ around bass music or DnB.
What does it all *mean*?
It’s inspired by the artist Marina Abramović, but I won’t pretend to know anything about that.
Goes well with…
Sitting, listening, in awe.
Might suit people who like…
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you like electronic music — any electronic music — you’ll love this.
‘Halloween Box’ for £4.51.
True, I don’t know what the ‘Halloween Box’ consists of, because even in my wildest dreams I can’t imagine that it’s an actual box-set of Halloween music on vinyl for just £4.51. But I’ve ordered one anyway, just in case like.
My novel, Bloody Kids, is currently free to download on Kindle across Amazon. It’s a gory and at times decidedly unpleasant horror-thriller about a guy who comes a cropper at the hands of feral children. It isn’t for everybody, obviously, but there have been some pretty decent reviews of it on Goodreads, here. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36639487-bloody-kids#other_reviews
If you do download it, thanks! And if you download it and actually read it, then I’m buying you a pint.
Jolly exciting news, this.
Year: 2018 Director: Sophie Fiennes
Let’s face it nobody wants a Grace Jones film to be a ‘standard’ rock biography, much in the same way that nobody wants a ‘standard’ rock biography of Laurie Anderson or Patti Smith. You expect some degree of artiness or avant gardism, or it just wouldn’t be ‘them’.
But at the same time what you don’t really want — trust me on this — is what you get here: a cinema verité approach where you spend the first twenty minutes waiting in vain for some kind of context, backstory, explanation — anything — and the next hour-and-a-half (it’s a long old film) resigned to the fact that you’re not going to get any, just enjoying the great moments the film does occasionally throw up, and thinking, ‘God, what a lost opportunity this is.’ And, ‘How can anybody make a film about Grace Jones — Grace Jones! — that is so BORING?’
Honestly, I wanted to throw things at the screen. Fifteen minutes of Grace and family sitting around a dinner table having an impenetrable conversation? You got it? Context? Fuck you. I know a fair bit about her, so at least I knew that » Continue Reading.
Beautiful, I think you’ll agree.
Year: 2018 Director: Ron Howard
Checking the reviews and box office receipts, and considering that I thought The Last Jedi was PANTS, I’m supposed to hate this. But with the benefit of lowered expectations and a quarter-full cinema, I actually had a blast. True, there was a huge amount of box-ticking at work. Has there ever been a film whose remit is to explain a single, throwaway line in another film, made over forty years ago? Probably not. And there’s a shitload of ‘this is how X happened!’ — from the Falcon’s distinctive shape to the way that Lando pronounces ‘Han’ — which is no doubt intended to be ‘fan pleasing’, but is in fact a little bit icky, oh, and it’s way, way too long.
But actually, if you can ignore all that — and you can, dead easily — then what you have here is a fairly cookie-cutter action movie, but one that’s done done really, really well.
Good points? A train heist set-piece that’s worthy of anything in the Mission: Impossible franchise; a really good performance by whatsisname in the title role, properly ‘doing’ Harrison; a funny turn from Fleabag lady; a fantastic Paul Bettany, being » Continue Reading.