Posts from 1st May 2001

May 01

Blimey its a new episode of

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Blimey its a new episode of Thousand (with a special guest star!)

do you remember rock n’ roll radio?

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do you remember rock n’ roll radio?: report from salon on clear channel communications which quietly acquired over 1,200 radio stations in america, including 247 in the top 250 markets. your favorite local station may now be programmed from hundreds of miles away and the djs may even be in an entirely different city.

do they play hardball? oh yeah. do you not want to cross them? according to the representatives for “two platinum rock acts” whose songs were pulled from their stations, no, you don’t. are you going to pay steeply to get your artist on? yes. combining this with a decrease in commercially available singles, is there any way to tell what songs are really popular in this country? sadly, i don’t know.


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Now those who know me will be well aware that I rarely puff on the evil weed. Or, for that matter, its slightly less evil and more charitable weed. So you would think that I would be a clean air fanatic. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is not just because I may well be drinking with smokers – you try dragging Hammers into a non-smoking area at your peril. It is much more that pubs smell of fags, much like strawberries smell of – well strawberry.

You walk into a pub and there will be a comfortable cloud to beckon you. The morning after, if you have been lucky enough not to go home, when you pull your clothes back on they will smell of smoke – and the joyous hours spent in the pub come flooding back. No Smoking Areas completely misunderstand the point of pubs, you might as well have a no converstation or no bullshit area. I say that in a wary way, since I know that the managing director of Wetherspoon’s reads this and it can only a matter of time before completely quiet pubs are phased in.

The smell of smoke mingles with the taste of beer (especially lager) to create the aura of pub. There is a reason why this is called Pumpkin Publog, not Pumpkin Beerlog – and not just because we despise CAMRA and all it stands for. We love pubs, and we cannot see how you can designate a no smoking area – there are no invisible force field generators availible on the open market to stop smoke drifting into those areas. Therefore any pub which has a no smoking area is like a footballer without legs, unfeasible.

And I do like the odd cigar at the end of the night too.

BROADCAST – “Come On Let’s Go” / “Dead The Long Year”

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BROADCAST – “Come On Let’s Go” / “Dead The Long Year”

Not a review so much as a suggestion and a glimpse. A suggestion that people think of Broadcast too much as sound curators and mood builders, casting old Radiophonic spells and calling up great cold shapes and turning them into these records full of sorrow and mystery. And a glimpse of some other reasons to value them.

“Come On Let’s Go” for example, because Broadcast are songwriters and for all its clockwork catwalk swing this is a great love song. You can imagine an understated place where a shrug means as much as a look, and a look means as much as a kiss, and where this gets sung and means as much as “Reach Out I’ll Be There”.

And “Dead The Long Year” because Broadcast are modernists with a good ear. Which other ‘alternative’ band is making records which sound so uncannily, wonderfully like RZA productions?

A Loafer’s Discourse

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A Loafer’s Discourse – my final (hopefully) word on the thing.


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i have a problem, and all of yer recovery type programs say that the first step is to admit to it. so i will do just that.

i like the new rem single.

it’s good, i don’t know what else to say. except that i do, otherwise what kind of review would this be, eh?

to date, i’ve liked exactly three, count them, three rem songs, which are: “radio free europe”: great chorus; “perfect circle”: sucky band, great song; “at my most beautiful”: tip o’ the hat to beach boys ca. ’65. i’d sum up the reasons i, by and large, hate rem thusly: michael stipe. on one occasion, i essentially stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the man, a long time dream, an opportunity to accost the man, violently if necessary. and, yet, when the moment of truth was upon me i found myself wanting, my hand was mysteriously stayed. perhaps i knew even then what was to come…

when a band enters its third decade of recording, there are usually two routes for them to follow: they stay the path, comfortable with where time has led them, e.g. nick cave and the bad seeds, or they go “back to basics,” “return to their roots” a la u2. by all accounts, r.e.m., at least on this single, have opted for the latter, “imitation of life” sounding like an imit– well, the pun’s so obvious i refuse to insult our collective intelligence. nevertheless, if this is what r.e.m. once sounded like, i fear i may have to trawl through their back catalog. the strings, ducking and dodging around the guitar line, were the first indication that this may actually be worth hearing. then there’s a bit of verse and the chorus begins with something about “sugar cane” but then, and here’s the best part, stipe leaves his pretension at the door and bays a hopeful, optimistic “come on, COME ONNNNN” which, like the best of gregg alexander, makes me want to throw my fist in the air in agreement. from there, it is sent spiraling into the heavens by what i can only call, due to my lack o’ education, a ringing synth solo that sounds for all the world like it’s what that wichita lineman heard on the desolate midwestern plain when he was hanging on the line. cue chorus a few more times and i am utterly hooked.

so, yeah, this new single is alright by me. but so too is the new radiohead album…and more on that when the time calls for it. it’s just been exactly that kind of year: dear reader, it should not surprise you to see me, by year’s end, bopping down the street in a godspeed you black emperor! t-shirt. if there’s one thing, though, that i’ve learned from my time amongst the (REAL!) freaky trigger folks is that everything is worth at least one listen, and that you should never be surprised by your boundless capacity to be surprised.