Posts from 8th November 2000

8
Nov 00

Let me let you into a secret

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Let me let you into a secret – Tom will kill me but he’s at least one hundred miles away now and there is no chance he can catch me with that kind of head start. One of the problems with a team blog is that the other members of the blog could potentially write something rubbish. Tom, the control freak editor that he is, would instantly step in – write something, write anything, or generally link to a lousy Guardian think piece to remove said item from the top of the blog. Well nylpm-ers, the worm has turned. I need to write something to get rid of the abhorant article below.

The rest of the team has been quiet and since late Monday I’ve had to sit there and stare at Tom’s piece on Carter USM. A piece which I both wholeheartedly agree with and wish he had never written. Y’see I was the Carter poster-boy. I own all of the records (more than the Dodgy ones I’ll have you know), the albums, the T-Shirts, the posters. And nearly everything Tom mentions below is one hundred percent correct – except: Carter USM were not a bad band. On paper, on cold hard pixel they are. The puns, the toytown punk, the appaling hairdo’s – they all belong to a bad band. But the combination of all these individual things together, along with the hopeless musical and political apathy of the time made them into something quite special. Rose tinted glasses on – let’s go.

Problem is, people never really understood where the band came from, and this provides an obvious intro to my predilictation for them. For all the supermarket guitars and obvious politics (which after thirteen years of Tory rule were less of a given than Tom suggests), the most obvious direct lineage for Carter was Rodgers and Hammerstein. Sweeping anthemic tunes matched with tricky, intricate – and yes – punny lyrics. Comparing “There Is Nothing Like A Dame” with “Sheriff Fatman” may seem odd, but the strict rhyme, gag, rhyme, gag quotient is in there. Carter stopped being as good when they stopped being as funny, but funny is not appreciated in po-faced rock and indie circles. That said the number of people singing at the top of their lungs to Carter may surprise you. Tom did it in schoolroom, I had a particular spot in the middle of the Parks in Oxford which would receive my renditions of Prince In A Paupers Grave at 2am.

Bottom line here is that Tom is correct, he does not do guilty pleasures. So use of the words blush and grudgingly should be censored. Carter are not a guilty pleasure any more than liking South Pacific is a guilty pleasure. And if you really want, I’ll do a South Pacific Original Soundtrack review if you really want. Including lesbian undertones.

DR. TANYA LOOKS AT SPECULATIVE POP

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DR. TANYA LOOKS AT SPECULATIVE POP

H.G. Wells’ “Things To Come” was a seminal piece of work which predicted much of todays reality way back in the 1920’s. Whilst the film version is a bit pervy (in a 1930’s sort of way) it still stands up today as a great piece of speculative fiction. But books are for fools right? In the second half of the twentieth century we looked to pop to tell us the things which were coming.

Well no, we didn’t because most pop stars flunked out science and just watched the odd episode of Doctor Who instead. Hence the doom laden prophecy of Zager and Evans “In The Year 2525”. (Just as an aside, you never get the feeling that Zager and Evans were 100% comfortable with each other. On the one side there was tin foil wearing Zager, all futuristic name and Moog mauling. On the other we had Evans from the Rhondaa valley.) Z’n’E had a rather murky crystal ball at best. They merely posited that in the year 2525, we may not all still be alive. But if we were, then best not look to our laurels. What about the year 3535. And so on. Repeat ad nauseum (and trust me the nausea sets in solidly round the year 5555).

Nevertheless even this is preferable to Jamiroquai’s look into the near future. He would have been a lot better off just repeating one line, rather than spinning out such nonsensical couplets as:
“Its a wonder man can eat at all
When things are big which should be small”

I can only assume that Mr Kay is talking about his ego, because its tricky to work out what else is undergoing this small big transformation. Computers? Radio’s? Cars? Perhaps he is talking about pumpkins? Certainly in his local village fete there was a monster pumpkin that rocked in the size of one of the smaller Hawaiian islands. Jay was probably scared shitless when it was turned into a learing Jack’O’Lantern, floodlit from the inside.

Virtual Insanity, even forgetting the trouble that Mr Middle Of The Alphabet has with his furniture in the video, is a troubling song for troubling times. You see our futures are governed by the love we have for useless twisting of our new technology. I think we all know where the seeing eye dog of plagarism is coming from here. Though its not so clear what he means when he suggests that “Now there is no sound, because we all live underground”. Is this some sort of deadening effect of caves. I remember pot-holing once, and there certainly is a lot of sound, especially when some knob nosed git goes “halooo” in an echoey chamber. Nevertheless this is Mr Van Outen’s fantasy and we must abide by its rules. Indeed I am happy to abide by them as JK is talking about a future utopia. I am not sure how he is going to wangle it – this no sound underground business, but I for one am up for it. No sound equals no music equal bliss.

Therefore, despite the incoherence of nearly all the lyrics, Jamiroquai are my picks for the HG Wells of pop. No sound. If only it could happen.