Posts from 6th December 2000

6
Dec 00

THE PUB OF MUSIC

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THE PUB OF MUSIC
(The Blue Posts, Kingly Street, Soho. One Round)

Kingly Street is busy – gradually Saturday afternoon has turned into Saturday evening and we are now hurtling headlong towards Saturday night, and we don’t even have a special Whigfield dance to protect us. The first discovery: this Blue Posts is the seediest yet, a strange halfway-house of a pub with typical London detritus and the odd tourist. We may not make any friends, but at this stage of the evening we feel right at home.

Second discovery: it has a jukebox. Pete and I sort out the money we won off the TOTP quizzer and invest a pound or two. Third discovery: this is a sequential jukebox, and we all marvel at the rarity of this (those of us sad enough to know what one is). Unfortunately this discovery is only made when “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam comes on. Yes, we have been silly boys: we have put a Pearl Jam song on the jukebox so we could find out if it had a tune or not. It didn’t three hours before: it does not now. This doesn’t stop Dave singing it.

The jukebox is a creaky old thing – “ALARMED BY MIDAS” it announces, and Pete and I simultaneously work out the really quite good for a third pub gag, “Everything you touch turns to ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet”. Little were we to know that the jukebox is indeed the charlatan kind, where the numbers on the CD cards bear no relationship to the songs that play. We put on “Let It Snow” by Dean Martin, perhaps among the very best Christmas songs in the world. We get “Wonderful Christmastime” by Wings, or as I scrawl in my notebook in a frenzy of jukebox rage, ‘WONDERFUL CUNTING CHRISTMASTIME”.

Meanwhile there is a pub to check out. The staff are two in number: a young lady who is helpful, and a buffed-up Eastern European guy who talks like the villain in Rocky IV and has not quite mastered the basic ‘lager’/’bitter’/’pint’/’half’ vocabulary that a bartender, let’s face it, needs. But he’s friendly. There is also another man who is standing in the classic ‘Extra Regular’ position. This is to say: he stands between the pub proper and the inner bar, leaning against the upturned bar gate. He is not staff, but he is far beyond your average punter. His position also gives him a view of assorted slap-and-tickle activities going on at the opposite end of the pub, which we presume he is interested in because of his slight resemblance to an emaciated Peter Stringfellow.

None of these people know why the pub is called the Blue Posts. Nobody anywhere knows why the pubs are called the Blue Posts. In our desperation we ask Rocky IV. “Why is your pub called the Blue Posts.” “Ah” he says. Can he be an idiot savant. “The way to get to Piccadilly Circus is….”

The jukebox rumbles on. It is the season to discuss Slade, and Tim recounts once again how Noddy Holder does the voice in the Walsall Art Gallery lifts. We decide, quite reasonably I think given the provocation, that all grunge is shit. We had of course decided this already, but really, it bears repeating, especially in comparison to Janet Kaye’s magnificent “Silly Games”, which it amazes Pete and Tim to learn that I do not know. It is, Pete tells me, the highest-voiced single ever to chart. I listen intently. A high bit comes on. “That’s not the high bit!”. Okay. A-ha, now surely this very high indeed bit is the high bit. “THAT’S NOT THE HIGH BIT!” they chorus. Ouch, my ears. Now that was high. Third time lucky?” “THAT’S NOT THE HIGH BIT!!”. Then, finally, it comes. The high bit. It is, let me tell you, fucking high.

Our pints are almost downed and Janet fades out, to be replaced with “Sensemilla” by Black Uhuru. This pub has surprising quantities of reggae, a surprising rarity in pubs. Surprising because as the rousing reaction to “Sensemilla” (the jukebox gets turned up) proves, it’s a winner. I remembered everybody singing along the next day. Then I realised what I remembered was us singing along. A premonition, of sorts….

(The astute reader will have noticed a dog that did not bark in this pub, i.e. very little action from Magnus. There is it turned out a reason for that. You will have to wait to find out exactly what, though…)

POP-EYE 3/12/00

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POP-EYE 3/12/00

Well, it appears we have an honest-to-god chart battle on our hands. It may have taken until December, and we may have had to endure tiresome run-offs involving bloody Spiller (or, worse, the Spice Girls/Westlife battle, which was in the album charts ergo nobody cares save the accountants), but now at last the charts are showing signs of fight. In the red corner, Eminem with “Stan”, his unconvincing but well-done attempt to show he’s not such a bad boy after all (but if he wasn’t, then why would he say he was? Oh the contradiction.) In the blue corner, Bob The Builder, up for the stocking-filler slot.

This is exactly why the charts in Britain are so great, of course.

Not that you’d know it from this week’s.chart, topped as it is by S Club 7. I have a growing amount of time for the S Club, based more on their smiley inoffensive presence than the music, but this is a Children In Need song and therefore by definition shit. Children In Need is a worthwhile cause and no mistake: sadly every year it could be renamed Celebrities In Need (Of A Slap). The whole point of charity is that you give without expectation of return, hence buying things for charity has always seemed a bit odd to me, especially when said things are excruciating.

Destiny’s Child have got this buying lark the right way round. They want lots of money so they can buy things for themselves. Another couple of members a year, for example. Good record, probably deserved a second week at the top but it was not to be. Madonna did not deserve a number one and despite putting a whole half-hour of effort in on the publicity front she has to make do with No.4 for her bizarre acoustigoth mewlings. “Beg the bed not to gape / Like the open mouth of a grave?”. What? No, no, Madonna, you’ve got it all wrong. Beds are higher than the ground: you want to go back to Ikea with that.

Most of the rest of the entries are too unspeakable to countenance – we should all be very thankful that there were two Whassup songs to split the vote, though anyone who bought both Da Muttz and True Party should face a severe penalty. Top retro flick Charlie’s Angels confirms its nostalgia-status by getting Apollo 440 to do a big beat film theme for them – I thought this was meant to be all about 1977 not 1997 but, hey, whatever. And Mystikal scores a measly and ill-deserved 30 with the mighty “Shake Ya Ass”, which is a great tune about desiring that somebody shake their ass, and will be described much better when I finally get the focus group up.

And that’s it….oh! oh! but wait! What is this at No.18? Mel C is back with another single, and this time she’s serious, for “If That Were Me”, is about the homeless. POP RULE: Do Not Write Songs About Homeless People. It won’t help. Evidence A: “Another Day In Paradise”. Evidence B: “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” (handy parentheses, cheers). Just as Crystal Waters informed us that Gypsy Woman has “never had make-up”, Mel C is horrified to learn that “I can’t live without my phone / But you don’t even have a home”. She also wonders whether “your hope keeps you warm at night”. I’m not a scientific man, but my guess on that one is: no, Mel, it doesn’t.

Christmas, eh? Four more weeks of this to go.

THE TOP FIVE

Destiny’s Child – “Independent Women Part 1” (2)
Daft Punk – “One More Time” (13)
Wu-Tang Clan – “Gravel Pit” (17)
Backstreet Boys – “Shape Of My Heart” (28)
Mystikal – “Shake Ya Ass” (30)

Top Five Pieces You Yourself Wrote

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Top Five Pieces You Yourself Wrote – from Rockcritics, a fantastic idea for a list, if it elicits confessions like this, from Mark Sinker (an excellent writer). “Written to convince myself of the uselessness of being in love with [xXx], and at the same time to persuade [xXx] — who was first to read it — to adore me. What’s wrong with it is also why it works, maybe: that I’m not always at all sure whose head I’m in. Not that it did ‘work’, at least in the hopeless, impossible sense of the first sentence.”. This about an essay on the ethics of punk.

To correct an annoying error of mine after the fact — I’m not speaking of the song as a whole as something I ‘never noticed or particularly cared for,’ but its lyrics. Thank you, drive through.

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 164 views

To correct an annoying error of mine after the fact — I’m not speaking of the song as a whole as something I ‘never noticed or particularly cared for,’ but its lyrics. Thank you, drive through.

First off, I would like to say that I had this comment all written out…

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 667 views

First off, I would like to say that I had this comment all written out, I needed to adjust the window to get to the rest of the post, and then my entire comment disappeared as a result. This is reason 324315 why I generally hate blogging and Blogger in particular. User friendly my butt.

In any event — Greg’s comment about Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” prompts me to this rare missive on NYLPM. See, I have the song — in fact, whisper it, it’s the only Public Enemy I actually own rather that just know, as it’s on the first CD I ever bought in the way back when, the _Less Than Zero_ soundtrack. But all I remember about it is Terminator X’s scratching and the rhythms, not the lyrics. I remember being terribly surprised when I learned a few years after the fact that Anthrax was referenced in the lyrics, and now I’m even more surprised to learn that Sonny Bono and Yoko Ono, among others, were as well. So it’s interesting to see someone talking about an element as being important to a song which frankly I never noticed or particularly cared for. I like the grain of Chuck D’s and Flavor Flav’s voices, but whatever they exactly said was so much further interference on an interference-laden song — a compliment, I should note. The credits for the band should really have read ‘The Bomb Squad, featuring Chuck D and Flavor Flav.’ I want the sounds, not the message — which is why Mos Def isn’t interesting to me where Timbaland is.