Posts from 10th October 2000

10
Oct 00

THE ROLLING STONES – “Ruby Tuesday”

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 1,372 views

THE ROLLING STONES – “Ruby Tuesday”

And “Manic Monday” is just the start – the names-of-days/pop music connection is deep and baleful. Take this self-pitying bloater of a track, for instance. It’s fairly stupid to have a chorus which goes “Who could hang a name on you?” when the title of the song is a name. But that’s not the main issue. The main issue is that the Rolling Stones were execrable at ballads. Probably because the R and B bands they so slavishly aped didn’t do much in the ballad line, the Stones tended to sound completely lost when they slowed it down, sliding into hideous cod-Medievalisms (the even worse “Lady Jane”, where Mick Jagger comes off like the capering minstrel at the end of a Blackadder episode) and sickly over-enunciation. Jagger pronounces every verse word in “Ruby Tuesday” like he’s speaking at a Debating Society: a particularly insincere performance from a man who’s made a too-long career of them.

THE BANGLES – Manic Monday

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THE BANGLES – Manic Monday

Now this one also goes out to Prince who had the temerity to write this shocker. I’m not saying the all girl group are completely blameless, they threw themselves so wholeheartedly into the pretense of being office workers that its a safe bet that the drummer is probably holding down a nine to five knocking out paradiddles on an I-Mac. And it would seem a little bit out of order to knock the song on banality alone. So instead I just have one little point to make.

There are six other obvious words which rhyme with Monday. Sunday is one. Funday and Runday are not.

Oh and Suzanna Hoffs can wipe that grin off her face. This burning isn’t an eternal flame, but it lasts long enough to incinerate your shortarse winsomeness.

Music Taste Turn-Offs

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Music Taste Turn-Offs: one of the most common questions we music lovers ask ourselves is what our ‘guilty pleasures’ are, and one of the most common answers we give is that oh no, we don’t have any, we’re not guilty about what we like. Well, maybe. This forum question tweaks things a bit by putting the question in a context – you’re talking to somebody you want to pull. What parts of your record collection don’t you tell them about….?

Stop this madness now!

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 297 views

Stop this madness now! I have nothing against stuffed animals. In fact I’m in favour of them. I have my favourites, of course. I prefer the weatherbeaten knitted variety, or the shapeless bean ones, to the articulated ‘realistic’ creatures or the pastel horrors that clog amusement arcade grabbing machines. Why, only this morning I was admiring a fat and somewhat damp goose-esque thing in Pete’s bathroom. In fact, let’s face it, I own quite a few of them myself – a very old panda and a large and contented-looking penguin being the star attractions. You might be nodding in sympathy or reaching for your mouse in disgust at this admission, but the point is that I’m not a rabid plushophobe.

But there are limits. I don’t think I’m being unduly severe when I say that stuffed toys should generally be confined to quarters, i.e. the bedroom. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in bathrooms or kitchens, too, but I’d raise my eyebrows if they invaded living rooms and would be frankly shocked if they made it out onto the streets. And there is one place where they should absolutely, definitively, not trespass: the pub. Last night, during an excellent evening spent celebrating Tim’s birthday at the Old Cheshire Cheese, I was horrified to see a plush tiger be passed around for several hours. The animal pulled ‘cute’ faces, sat on people’s heads, reduced sensible pubgoers to cooing human jellies, and generally made a fearful nuisance of itself. I do not believe I stand alone in calling for an immediate end to soft toys in pubs. Stimulating conversations about football, tar barrels, cider armadilloes and the star sign Xerxes (remind us to tell you about the star sign Xerxes sometime) were menaced by the bumptious quasi-feline comforter. It must not be allowed to happen again!

What’s up with Madonna?

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What’s up with Madonna?: two Salon writers dissect Madonna’s mediocre new album, and by extension her current status. Interesting points are made: for British readers, none more interesting than the parts dealing with Guy Ritchie. “Why doesn’t Madonna have a cool boyfriend?” Salon asks, and one of the writers expresses her hope that Ritchie “worships” Madonna.

On this side of the pond, of course, Ritchie is significantly cooler than Madonna, and coverage of their relationship has had a worryingly triumphal edge, with papers making lip-smacking play of Ritchie’s sending his ‘bird’ out to do the shopping, calling her the “missus” etc. Two over-exposed celebrities play out their fantasies of ‘ordinary’, unreconstructed living, and the media loves it. In the eyes of some, you feel, Ritchie and Madonna’s relationship represents not only a taming of an icon, but a vindication of traditional male expectations and attitudes. It’s part of the slow, inevitable de-ironising of lad culture: post-feminism indeed, but perhaps not in the way Salon’s Madonnaphiles would wish it.

THE PUB SEVEN DEADLY SINS: 2: Stainless Steel Pissers

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THE PUB SEVEN DEADLY SINS: 2: Stainless Steel Pissers

Luckily this is the realm of the more wanky bars and nearly all Mean Fiddler venues, rather than the average pub – but nevertheless there is the odd hostelry which has this man baiting horror sequestered within. The ceramic urinal is a masterpiece of design, both the singular and the wall based trickle down affair receive the contents of an overly full bladder with little splashback. This is both due to simplistic design and the use of ceramic, a substance which would appear to use its sheen to remove spray. The addition of the urinal cake to make it smell sweeter, or a swisher device to prevent fag end clottage are optional but certainly do not make the experience any worse.

Design classics are not meant to be usurped. Classics because they are both beautiful and functional. The stainless steel urinal is not a step up from the ceramic – it is down the pisser evolutionary tree by quite some stretch. Firstly, and by no means unimportant, is the very substance the toilet is made out of. It may be called stainless steel, but it is anything but. After some usage they often develop a dullness of sheen, and the water heads clog with cacky scum. But this is nothing to the splashback. A trampolene would not bounce back this much piss. Due to the flimsy sheet of metal and the angle of the back board, well over fifty percent will end up flecking your trousers. Woe betide if you are wearing shorts. On top of this the trough (for it resembles nothing less than a pigs trough) will have about two litres of stagnant piss filling them at any particular time – even if the woefully inadequate drain is not blocked by fag ends. Finally, as it is a free for all situation, personal space – so required when the delicate art of relieving oneself is undertaken – is replaced by a jostling unbecoming a pub toilet.

If you know a pub with a stainless steel pisser, then do not stand for it. Go in the ladies instead.

Channel 4

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Channel 4 is preparing a Top 100 No.1s Of All Time show, which has been fairly obviously rigged, in that on the website at least you only get to vote from a shortlist of 105. I have a strong and sentimental belief in the magic of the No.1 spot, but how difficult would it have been to have a searchable list of all 1,000 or so UK No.1s available, and a shopping-basket selection method? For example, I’d have very much liked to vote for Eminem, the best No.1 so far this year, because I think the votes should reflect the now-ness of hit records, not just be another opportunity for Lennon and Queen to get their weary props.

I’ve updated

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I’ve updated the archives and links list on the right: if you think you should be on there and you’re not, by all means let me know.

I like

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I like bombast-xxx. It’s smartly written and covers bands I’ve heard about, even if it then goes and says something dim like – on a Britney gig – “As costume after costume went on and came off and song after song switched gears into some dance interlude, I was aware that this show had nothing in common with rock ‘n’ roll.” You don’t say, eh? Anyway, it’s a good site, you should check it out.

I got it off monsyllabic, which I link to far too rarely and is on fine form currently. Nick talks a little bit there about last week’s Pitchfork/Radiohead thing: I’ll take this opportunity to say that when I use the word ‘criticism’ I’m not simply talking about the churned-out mark-out-of-10 record review side of it. In my book, any public response to an artwork is an act of criticism. That I thought Brent Sirota’s piece was flawed in its approach is pretty obvious from what I wrote. That I think any attempt, this included, to write thoughtfully about music is in the end worthwhile should certainly have been spelt out more.

On re-reading Brent’s essay, it’s an interesting and original approach to an album around which a smothering consensus is already building. I find its emphasis on Radiohead’s supposedly startling originality and its lack of reference to other music annoying, but I let that lead me down a blind alley of suggesting that all ‘literary’ rock criticism was somehow flawed. Mea culpa: it isn’t. Looking at the article and my response, my beef with it rested on the basic and unspoken point that I think Kid A is an interesting but not great record, and Brent D. thinks it’s a masterpiece. It seems to me like an album designed for overcooked critiques, and the more interesting question for me remains whether or not it deserves them. Waving it airily into the canon seems an inadequate response.