What does it take to get a decent social movement going in that country?
Showing their colours again? Might as well have Clegg and Cameron back.
Our whole disquisition insists on this, that lyric poetry is dependent on the spirit of music just as music itself in its absolute sovereignty does not require the picture and the concept, but only endures them as accompaniments. The poems of the lyrist can express nothing which has not already been contained in the vast universality and absoluteness of the music which compelled him to use figurative speech. By no means is it possible for language adequately to render the cosmic symbolism of music, for the very reason that music stands in symbolic relation to the primordial contradiction and primordial pain in the heart of the Primordial Unity, and therefore symbolises a sphere which is above all appearance and before all phenomena. Rather should we say that all phenomena, compared with it, are but symbols: hence language, as the organ and symbol of phenomena, cannot at all disclose the innermost essence, of music; language can only be in superficial contact with music when it attempts to imitate music; while the profoundest significance of the latter cannot be brought one step nearer to us by all the eloquence of lyric poetry.
Just got back to SA from a literary conference in Brighton, UK. Amazed at the number of beggars and homeless people on the streets of this holiday town. Mostly young and white.
A German lady at the conference told me that at the time of the Olympics many of these people were offered tickets out of London to places like Brighton and many took up the offer and decided to stay there due to liberal tolerance there, etc.
Interesting. True or not? I’ve always seen some of this in London (like LA), but in Brighton it was striking.
This might be a good place to raise the 5G controversy. I always think that tech people tend not to think about unintended consequences. Apart from the radiation aspect, which the medical scientists don’t seem able to agree on, the fact that life support systems are going to be totally handed over to the control of machines is kind of scary to me. Apparently this thing is unstoppable, although there is an international petition going around. Hard to know who to believe.
I’ve been giving some thought to the context in which all this popular music has happened and changed. The three decades that I understand the best, and in which my tastes were shaped, were the 50s, 60s and 70s. Here’s what I’ve been thinking.
The 50s were conditioned by the austere post-war period and the need for young people to seek fun and excitement that had been in short supply in the 40s. It was the decade in which the crossover of black music into white communities in the Western world really began to happen as a trend. Rock and roll was a black music and its best and most original artists were black: Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Little Richard. Elvis really made only a few r&r records, i.e. relative to his output as s whole, but he obviously played a huge role in popularizing the sound, as had been foreseen by Sam Phillips.
It made sense. If you wanted wild joyous fun, you weren’t going to get it from Mario Lanza or Bing Crosby. Black music fitted the bill like nothing else could have. Jazz was also crossing over to white audiences on an increased scale, albeit to » Continue Reading.
Here are some worked examples, featuring only the (otherwise) great and good.
1. Kitsch Led Zeppelin – Stairway to heaven Alanis Morrisette – Ironic Bob Dylan – You got to serve somebody Pink Floyd – Another brick in the wall
2. Childish Bowie – The laughing gnome Beatles – Dear Prudence The Who – Boris the spider
3. Phallocentric Chuck Berry – My ding a ling Jim Morrison – Death of my cock
4. Simplistic Beatles – All you need is love John Lennon – Give peace a chance
5. Offensive Rolling Stones – Stupid girl Bob Dylan – Just like a woman
6. Irresponsible John Lennon – Whatever gets you through the night (is alright) Pink Floyd – We don’t need no education
7. Gimme a break! The Beatles – Taxman Pink Floyd – Money
8. Pretentious Various – We are the world John Lennon – Imagine
9. Mystic mush Beatles – Within you, without you Beatles – Let it be
10 Mawkish Beach Boys – Wouldn’t it be nice? Beach Boys – Surfer girl The Jam – English rose John Lennon – Beautiful boy Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony and ivory
My examples don’t include artists » Continue Reading.
Clearly there are albums that coulda (and maybe shoulda) killed careers, but somehow didn’t. In each case one might wonder why, seeing as there have been more promising records that actually did herald the end of a career. I offer these very different examples that did not:
The Jam – This is the modern world Lou Reed – Metal machine music VU – Live at Max’s Kansas City Beefheart – Blue Jeans & moonbeams The Rolling Stones – Between the buttons Elvis Presley – Blue Hawaii Christina Aguilera – Bionic Beach Boys’ party Can – Monster movie (love it though I do) Jethro Tull – Passion play Led Zeppelin III
In South Africa “Mammy Blue” was recorded by the session group Charisma featuring vocalists Paddy Powell and Stevie Vann: produced by Graeme Beggs, this version spent twelve weeks at #1, making it the second longest running South African #1 hit. [wikipedia]
This song, which has had numerous versions internationally (a sad indictment on humanity), was ubiquitous on the SA airwaves in 1972, when I was a conscript in the SA Defence force. It was played incessantly on portable radios across military barracks all over the country, to the point of near torture. It remains my most abhorred song. And I heard it again today.
Do you have song that leaves a particularly bad taste in the mouth like that?
According to reports KL has been re-suspended from Labour for saying (a) that Hitler supported Zionism, and (b) that the Holocaust has been exploited to oppress others.
I wonder if those closer to the politics in question know whether this is because these claims are thought to be factually incorrect or whether it is because they are politically correct?
… for the Stones? A matter of historical interest perhaps? Here’s the list of contenders that I know about:
Ron Wood Wayne Perkins (never knew much about him) Jeff Beck Chris Spedding Shuggie Otis Rory Gallagher Harvey Mandel Nils Lofgren (in his own mind at least)
Have I left anyone out? Could it have been a yank? Could it have been (gulp) a woman? Could it have been someone deprived of full membership, like Darryl Jones?
I’m a keen JFK conspiracy theory buff. Anyone else?
Theodor Adorno, that arch-critic of popular culture, once complained rather sniffily somewhere that the only thing that pop fans (he might have said jazz fans) liked of classical music was Ravel’s Bolero. No doubt because of its regular beat and easily recognizable melodic structure.
I do actually like it myself, as well as other Ravel and some Stravinsky, Debussy and Shostakovich. But by far my favourite classical piece is the Hungarian Fantasia by Frans Liszt. I just love the way the main theme is repeated in all sorts of mutated ways, taken apart, put back together again, etc.
So do others have a favorite classical piece, with some idea of why they like it? Dyed in the wool classicists, if there are any here, need not reply.
The name of a song by Tower of Power, as I seem to recall. But more to the point, and more urgent, seems to be the question what is a hipster? There seem to be so many conceptions:
Someone who wears sunglasses at night. Someone who wears very skinny pants with an unusually styled beard. Someone who manages to like Captain Beefheart, The Velvet Underground and Igor Stravinsky, but not the Beach Boys. Someone who was born too late to have heard of any of the above but who says the word ‘dope’ a lot (as noun and adjective). Anyone you don’t like. Anyone who likes stuff that you don’t understand. Someone who’s into Foucault, postmodernism and being non-binary. Someone who knows what it means to ‘take an insurance piss’. Someone who pretends to like progressive jazz, but can tell you that prog rock is crap. Someone who despises anyone that likes anything s/he used to like just last year. Someone who says ‘cool’ a lot, but who will stop doing so as soon as it starts to seem uncool. Anyone who’s mentioned by Doug Henwood in connection with gay porn. Doug Henwood. Someone who only ever wears black and » Continue Reading.
After looking through the Do you really like that? Honestly? thread I finally understood that this blog is all about what you don’t like. Why didn’t I realize that before?
So now I think that my dislike of the stupid cult of the holy trinity (B-Boys, Beatles & Bob) needs to be stated here. It belongs here. Especially here. It’s a veritable manifesto, not just a cranky opinion.
So I say it again. Ha!
Could I be disconnected please, whoever does it? I don’t want to post anymore.
“If I was relaxed around Bob, it was probably because we’d met through our mutual pal Doug Sahm five years before, when we’d spent a weekend at my place on the Bridgehampton dunes. They played their acoustic guitars while I beat the conga, waves crashing on the Atlantic, the three of us bonded by music, memories, and good herb. Bob volunteered as a sideman on the first album of Doug’s I’d produced, and it was an up for all of us. During a break, Bob and I were kicking back in my office when he said, ‘Man, I’ve done the word trip — now I want to do the music trip.’ I knew what he was getting at.” (Long Island, N.Y., 1970s)
(From “Rhythm and Blues: A Life in American Music,” by Jerry Wexler with David Ritz)
Having restored myself to a semblance of civility and good grace after the anti-Randy onslaught. I thought I’d raise one more burning issue before my limited range of things to say is totally spent. Live albums, and why they are generally not rated as highly as studio albums.
If you look at Uncut’s 200 (as a random example), there are only three: James Brown’s Live at the Apollo, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and The Who Live at Leeds. Now these lists are often silly and some albums are just famous for being famous, even though hardly anyone listens to them. In fact I think Live at the Apollo falls into that category too. But still.
Theodore Gracyk in his book Rhythm and Noise argues that rock is essentially recorded music. I can understand what he’s getting at; in the studio it’s a whole collaborative artistic process, rather like the making of a movie that unfolds over a period of time, which has all sorts of advantages.
But when a live album is such an outstanding and exceptional document that captures the sheer brilliance of a gig, shouldn’t that be celebrated even more for the difficulty of producing such a » Continue Reading.
What are Dylan’s best periods? I think there are four distinct periods; here’s my evaluation:
1. The 60s. The most overrated period of Dylan. First there was the folkie stuff, which is of no interest to any sensible person who sees ‘folk music’ for what it actually is, i.e. fake music. You can tell it’s fake by its rootsy ‘authenticity’. So let’s move on.
This led quite naturally to ithe opposite, the electric rock Dylan and the most overrated album in history, Highway 61. Dylan, as we know caught a lot of flack for becoming a rock and roller, as well as much admiration. But the truth is that this album only rocks very awkwardly and stiffly. The music is at odds with the lyrics, which are pretentiously literary, despite the odd throwaway line that sticks in the mind like some meaningless thought that you want to go away (“Ezra Pound and TS Eliot fighting in the captain’s tower”). He says he doesn’t know what he meant in his songs from this period. That’s because they didn’t mean anything. Duh! But they didn’t fit the music either.
But it gets worse. This is also the period that produced such » Continue Reading.
There’s a story in the Guardian now that says that the Strokes are/were the last rock n roll band, where this is also understood to mean guitar-based band. For some reason this ‘meme’ seems to come up time and time again. Another example I recall was The Gun Club, another guitar heavy band, somewhere being called the last rock n roll band.
Then of course there is the altogether more famous case of the Beatles being turned down by Decca on the grounds that this guitar-based music is a passing trend, or some such. You couldn’t be more spectacularly wrong than that. I think I have a pretty good handle on the question of why the electric guitar has been so important to rock, why for example the piano hasn’t been (as it has in classical or jazz). It’s got a number of dimensions to it: the possibilities of loudness, the way it fits with the body of the musician who can pose wildly while playing, the expressive possibilities of string bending and other effects, the have-guitar-will-travel portability, etc. Think Jimi Hendrix in connection to all of the above.
But what I don’t get is why the demise of the » Continue Reading.
Someone suggested on some other thread that whites make the best pop and boys do it better than girls. Interpreting this charitably, I suppose this was intended to be ironic or provocative, But be that as it may, let’s try the alternative thesis. Who can come up with a better pop song list than:
1. The Locomotion 2. Sweet lil’ sixteen 3. Stand by me 4. Dock of the bay 5. La Bamba
I spent most of 1973 in London, which for this South African was nothing short of gig heaven. Here are some of the most memorable (for various reasons). I wonder if anyone else was at any of them.
Top Marquee gigs: 1. Sharks 2. Average White Band 3. Roy Buchanan 4. Robin Trower 5. If (great jazz rock outfit) 6. Chicken Shack (but even then I realized that Stan Webb had become an anachronism)
Memorable stadium gigs: 1. Sly & Family Stone, Edgar Winter’s White Trash with Ricky Derringer, Kinks, Canned Heat, Lindisfarne (White City Stadium – all great) 2. Pink Floyd (Earl’s Court Stadium – for the audio-visual effects, not the music) 3. Jethro Tull (Wembley Stadium, memorable only because it is the only rock gig I have ever fallen asleep in. Robin Trower was support act)
Rainbow gigs: 1. Mahavishnu Orchestra (no explanation needed) 2. Family (mainly because of the singer’s microphone abuse and the fact that the supporting act was an American girl band called Fanny) 3. Tom Paxton (only because of my folk-loving Americans girlfriend who dragged me there)
Gigs where I can’t remember where they were: 1. Procol Harum supported by none other than Kevin » Continue Reading.
Can anyone explain how it is that Bryan Ferry was never (apparently) considered for the role of 007?