Posts from 2nd August 2000

2
Aug 00

HOW COULD I FORGET?

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HOW COULD I FORGET?

Quite easily, as usual. Andy Summers had one brief flush of glory before fading into shelf-stacking resentment. Oh yes. He recorded an album, you see – an ‘experimental’ album, if you will – with Robert Fripp. Mmmm.

It was called “I Advance, Masked”.

That’s all.

CALL THE COPS

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CALL THE COPS

Photofit-alike Sting has a voice like the air being slowly let out of a balloon.

Stewart Copeland has been responsible for the soundtracks of some of the most awful films ever made – Good Burger, Rapa Nui, Highlander 2 (The Quickening), Men at Work – not to mention the Edward Woodward schedule-filling TV series The Equaliser.

Plus Andy Summers, notable only for being the least well known member of the band, who was last seen working as a binman in Dorking. No need to dial 999, the Police are here already.

It takes either a true genius or a deluded nob to come up with such mindblowingly poor album names as Zenyatta Mondatta, Outlandos dAmour (?), Ghost in the Machine and (my favourite) Reggatta de Blanc.

If he is reading, Ive got a Message In A Bottle for Sting – only this time the message IS the bottle, broken and hurtling towards Gordons head at gathering pace. Unquestionably, this rent-a-Geordie has produced some utter crap during his solo career but his work with the Police really takes the biscotti. This is music written by the lyrically subnormal. Case in point – Walking on the Moon. Heres an early draft:

Giant steps are what you take
Walking on the moon
I hope my legs dont break
Walking on the moon
Id like to eat some cake
Walking on the moon
Hope I dont fall in a lake
etc

The Polices early work consisted of the kind of chugging, turgid cod-reggae that UB40 would have thought twice about committing to vinyl (before committing it to vinyl). Worryingly, their more mature (i.e. bankable) work is to the early 1980s what their lookalike band Dodgy were to the 1990s.

Young Sting trained and worked as a teacher (NB: non-Music) and he drew upon these experiences for the frankly terrible tune Dont Stand So Close To Me. This song was first noticed by the nation when it reached No 1 in 1980. However, it is more appropriately remembered as the theme to the “Body Mist” deodorant advert of the mid-eighties. Sales of Body Mist plummet. Shares in RightGuard are never higher. May I remind you of the closing couplet:

It’s no use, he sees her, he starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in that book by Nabakov

This lovely subtle reference reminds me that Sting was an English teacher. Police completists will no doubt be pleased to hear that his songs based on Lord of the Flies, The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler and Goodnight Mister Tom have been collected and will be available shortly.

First I was afraid, I was petrified – or how to leave a party with dignity intact

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FIRST I WAS AFRAID, I WAS PETRIFIED – or how to leave a party with dignity in tact

Well Gloria, it�s a crying shame this fear did not manifest itself as much-deserved stage-fright on account of your shockingly bad cabaret act, or in fact, literal turning to stone. Although, fair do�s Ms. Gaynor, this song is a very good method of psycho-social classification.

Picture the scene: you are at a party at a friend of a friend�s house. You don�t know that many people. You�re drinking some warm Cabernet Sauvignon and you dare not re-trace your earlier abandoned beer-can, for fear of fag-butt hitting back of throat shocker. Some hep cat (ahem) sees fit to slap on a 70s CD. Much of the gathering are deemed to be arses of vast proportions for dancing to YMCA (is it worse or better to get the �C� the wrong way round? Abstinence is the only honourable course). Some people are hanging back – good for them, you think. On comes Mamma Gloria belching out her so-called rally call to sisters of both sexes – and most kick off their shoes and boogy, expansive arm-movements, miming, tears, hair-renting. The shameful bastards. You now know who you can feasibly talk to or decide your actions (A) with the help of this easy equation:

x = number of people dancing to YMCA
y = number of people dancing to I Will Survive
n= total number at party

A= n – (x+/or y)
taxi-fare home

If the answer is greater than one – you might enjoy another hour of the party before feeling compelled to start a fight, if Abba hasn�t made an appearance so far, it�s only a matter of time. Below one – go home, it�s not going to get better, unless you hanker after ghastly tearful rebound snog to Thank you For The Music. Top conversational gambit: “You�re so easy to talk to, I feel like I�ve known you for ages”. Now where�s that mini-cab number? Tanya is out of here. Alone.

WOOKIE – “Battle”

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WOOKIE – “Battle”

UK garagistes are the philosopher-kings of British dance, skewering the Top 10 with wordy musings on struggle, individuality, and the pursuit of the Good. Y Tribe’s gorgeous and gracious “Enough Is Enough” kicked off this meandering, compelling style, its halting train-of-thought lyrics saving it from slipping into the desk-calendar world of Gabrielle et al. Craig David, UK Garage’s superstar, is interesting mostly because of his irrepressible teenage logorrhea – he could happily sing about bacon and eggs, he told a recent interviewer, and you believed him. But David’s wide-open voice makes his songs sound all questing and metaphysical, even when they’re actually about shagging,

More life lessons, now, from Wookie, whose “Battle” styles him as the Lao Tzu of the genre, hymning the neccessity of combat and the futility of flight, via Lain’s oil-and-honey voice. “Battle” punches its lessons out in the intro with a one-note riff, then slips smoothwards for the hook-jewelled verses, always professional but disarmingly likeable with it. People who are actually out dancing to it might fill you in on its originality or otherwise, but at home this seems – that bedroom-minimal intro aside – musically up-to-date, though not stunning. As a song, though, it’s another step into sensitivity for UK Garage, a music whose progress from aspiration to assimilation is proving one of 2000’s most intriguing stories.