Posts from 14th January 2002

14
Jan 02

PRINCIPLES

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 470 views

PRINCIPLES
A couple of years ago, when I was 16, I remember listening to Never Mind the Bollocks a lot. In particular I remember a family holiday to France that summer where I swelled with anger at having to stay in a nice hotel in the Dordogne and being stuck in the countryside unless I went anywhere with my parents. Of course if I’d have been in a town I wouldn’t have done anything at all – it was the principle, and at that point principles mattered to me. (Of course now it’s the perfect holiday and my principles are already lapsing into lazy pragmatism.)
So, anyway, I listened to the Sex Pistols fairly consistently all the way through those ten days. In particular, I remember one night-time drive through the countryside where every song off that album filled me up with explosive energy, not in a violent way, but in a way that seemed to empower me and place everything in a different perspective – with the Pistols by my side, I had some sort of pride in my moroseness. I didn’t have to care about anything. I was right, and sod the world and what it thought of me. It was a welcome adrenaline rush, made larger by the intimacy of complete immersion through headphones – a secret to everyone else.
Nearly two and a half years later, I pull out the LP after not having listened to it for a while. When the guitars in Holidays in the Sun crash in over the marching, I expect to be filled with that vital energy yet again, to feel good. And then it just feels like lazy, boorish pubrock. I can’t go crazy to this, it doesn’t fill me with anything apart from slight indifference. And it makes me think, were those few days in 1999 my 1977? Are the Sex Pistols irresistible at certain moments and only then their album takes on the attitude it needs to become essential to someone? And then I think, but that’s what music does isn’t it? Fills us with energy and emotion when we really need it. Suddenly I wish I had those principles again.

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH: Orange Crush – R.E.M.

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 593 views

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH: Orange Crush – R.E.M.

There was a time in the UK when you could turn on the radio and you would not instantly hear an R.E.M. song. If you were listening to the right radio station you would not hear any music at all (LBC in its halcyon days). But certainly the only time you heard R.E.M. would be in occasional bursts where the DJ would call them a buncha crazy Yanks. This is because the only R.E.M. songs anyone knew were “Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And Yet Inexplicably By Singing This Song We Are Making It Worse)” and “Orange Crush”.

Indeed in 1989 R.E.M. were They Might Be Giants, Green Jelly or Ben Folds Five. They were a comedy rock band.

Orange Crush of course bucks the comedy record formula a touch by not actually being funny. It does not buck the formula however by having a whiny bloke singing about nothing in particular. The middle part where it breaks down into a helicopter sample I always thought was a hint to the listeners to get on the nearest chopper out of there. Or else the US Army had sent in an elite unit in a Black Hawk to take out the scourge that was the Georgian whingers. Imagine what we would have been spared. Out Of Time, Up, fucking Monster.

Orange Crush came from their breakthough album Green, which in whacky band style was coloured Orange. Ho fucking ho. How we let them rebrand as a serious group after these jokes boggles the mind. It seems that a mandolin and a tune about sitting in a corner like a dunce is all you need. “Follow me, Don’t Follow Me” – well I know which one of these is the correct instruction. Do you? (If your answer was “follow me”, I hope it comes with an additional explaination such as “I am following you Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe merely for the purposes of stalking and inflicting serious bodily harm upon you and the band”).

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH XTRA: SIMPLY RED

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 678 views

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH XTRA: SIMPLY RED

Simply Gap-Toothed, Ginger Hair, White-Boy Soul Touting, Manchester United Supporting Shite more like.

SELLING YOUR SOUL AT THE CROSSROADS

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 373 views

SELLING YOUR SOUL AT THE CROSSROADS

Or a response to Dave’s piece below on Beyonce’s stabs at diversifying via the movie business. For some strange reason Hollywood is showing little of its usual caution in these matters what with the loosely themed Eminem biopic and Britney’s starring vehicle hitting our screens this year. Post Glitter they must all be worrying a touch. There we had a loosely themed biopic of Mariah Carey, missing out the key point that she married the bloke in charge of the largest record company in the US, and adding that she had a hand in pretty much every piece of dance music that came out of the States in the 1980’s. At least Mariah has been around the block a bit (to much?). A loosely themed biopic of Britney before she was famous should surely only fit a short film.

Calling it Crossroads has already killed any credibility the movie could have in the UK. The studio is thinking “coming of age drama, Britney reaches the Crossroads between girl and woman“, we are thinking “grotty motel based soap opera set outside Birmingham“. It is when you delve further into the project the height of Hollywood’s misunderstanding of Britney’s popularity really shows. Pop allows us the extravagance of our own pop filled fantasy. The tunes (Baby One More Time, Lucky and particularly Oops) allow the teenage girl a degree of identification with Britney whilst then leading us on to aspiration of being Britney. By showing Britney as an ordinary teen girl the first half of that equation is solved at the expense of the second half. A plot like Glitter (girl next door becomes superstar) also fails because the transition lacks verisimilitude. The casting couch is removed, the artist is shown as having complete control over their career – and we know this is not the case with Britney or Mariah.

Pop allows us to have the contradictory beliefs about the star, to entertain seperate fantasies because it has no consistent narrative. The linear effect of a movie leaves us with just one image – at least until Britney makes another film. And it is not that clear that the audience want to see a comic/serious road/coming of age movie staring their glamourous idol being them, when they would much rather be her. Hollywood beware.

Not to mention suggesting the fact that Britney is spawned from the loins of Dan Ackroyd should in any sane world be enough to end her popularity straight away.

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH: Red Red Wine – UB40

I Hate Music7 comments • 1,257 views

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH: Red Red Wine – UB40

Let me count the ways I hate this record. At least two I think. Firstly it takes the name of booze in vain – a large enough crime in anyone’s books. It also completely spoils the visible effect of that most angry of colours Red. Oh, let’s make that three ways, it’s by the tantalisingly named UB40.

UB40 are so named because when they were formed they were all claiming Unemployment Benefit, as obtained by the UB40 form. After all, who would employ five Brummie layabouts whose idea of good music is ripping off wholesale reggae standards and writing about their rat infested kitchens. A rather political band too using their previous plight to help illustrate the terror of unemployment in Thatcherite Britain. Of course the fact that they were now employed as the early eighties version of a tribute band (think of the Shite Brummie Wailers) was actually making the British public wish there was more unemployment, especially for Ali Campbell. Of course like so many a political band they soon realised that making money out of their Labour Of Love insipid cover collections beat paying excess tax and soon stopped trapping on about workers rights. So much so that Ali Campbell employed child labour on his solo album when he forced his own daughter to sing, merely to cash-in on the publics sentimentality and rake in some cute moppet money.

So to Red Red Wine (as opposed to White Red Wine, which would probably be a bottle of Mateus Rose). They say it goes straight to their head, whilst displaying the kind of anodyne reggae shuffle which has characterised their entire career. Well all this shows is that the boys from the ’40 are lightweights – as it takes a good bottle and a half before I even start feeling a bit tipsy on a bottle of Merlot. Perhaps they would be better off drinking white wine? Snowballs? Water? That said if they ever rocked up in my local I would quite happily stump up for a bottle of red, red wine and watch it go straight to their heads. Wielded by me, whilst still in the bottle.

THE ALEXANDRA -Clapham Common South Side

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 1,451 views

THE ALEXANDRA -Clapham Common South Side

Word has it that Clapham isn’t known for its great pubs, and I am certainly not experienced enough to argue. I am a North London Boy and try not to venture this far south is possible. Nevertheless an afternoon being torn between going to see Fisher play Barnet in the FA Trophy or catching some dodgy Dutch Digital Premiereship action found me in The Alexandra.

First things first – The Alex (as the pub likes to refer to itself) is the nearest pub to Clapham Common tube. The Goose & Granite over the road is probably five yards further away, but the upshot is that this offically makes The Alexandra a station pub. Station pubs are rarely good – they exist as meeting places and are often pretty rough (enabling visiting troublemakers quick exit from the scene of the crime). We had been told that The Alexandra had recently undergone a refit – and looked it, with plenty of thrown together nostalgia slapped on the wall to suggest that it was ‘authentick and olde’. It did not succeed.

We were only in there for the length of the game (Leeds Newcastle, featuring a pretty poor performance from Leeds) but impressions last. An Irish barman who specialised in trying to serve four people at once without doing particularly well with any individual order. A bar with Budweiser and Miller on draught, but no bitters. TV’s dotted all over the place showing a variety of sports and yet nowhere really to comfortably watch them from. We stood up for much of the first half until an extra TV was found round the back and we sat on some uncomfortable stools. The place really was not designed for me to like it. And like it I didn’t.

Worse was to come downstairs in the toilets (which double as an extra exit to the Tube Station it felt). A trench urinal which on my second visit had an old fella standing at one end watching punters piss. This was enough to push us back on the Tube to rendezvous with others and go to a proper pub whilst nursing the idea that we would have been much better off going to Rotherhithe – which is something you can’t say too many times. Barnet won 5-0 by the way.

(By the way, note the link to Fancyapint.com – which is a useful resource and been mentioned round these parts before, but I am doomed never to agree with their reviewers).

HEY, MUSIC, LEAVE MY EYES ALONE

I Hate Music9 comments • 55,672 views

HEY, MUSIC, LEAVE MY EYES ALONE

Colours eh? Or Colors as Ice-T would have it talking about the horrific habit of LA gangs to kill other youths merely for the bandana being worn. All terrible Mr T, but you would be a crazy fool to think writing a lousy rap about it is going to make the situation any better. It wouldn’t surprise me if said gangs stopped shooting each other over what colour they wore and instead started exterminating any tasteless person who had the temerity to buy Colors.

Anyway, as you know I hate music – but I rather like other types of art. Take visual art, I was down the Tate just the other day – admittedly marking time before the pub opened – but the resolute silence of the place really cheered me up. The Turner Prize exhibition for instance I really liked, that fella who just turns a lightbulb on and off managed to improve massively on Jean-Michel Jarre’s schtick by not having any rubbish synth-symphony accompanying it. A gallery is a place without music, unsullied by aural cacophony – only a well stocked bar short of heaven. At least that is what I thought until I wandered into the pub afterwards and some bastard had come and mended the jukebox I had deliberately rammed some chewing gum in the money slot of the week before. And what were they playing? Red, Red Wine by UB40.

It then struck me that even that most visual of things – the rainbow of colours – was not free from the hideous taint of music. Not least Rainbow themselves, prog’s also-rans (which when you consider the general success of most prog bands, is saying they were particularly poor). Lists of songs with colours in flooded my mind to haunt me, and there is only one way to exorcise them. Yes dear reader: over the next week or so, I present a spectrum of shit, a paintbox of poor pop, or – as I think it should correctly be termed, Tanya’s Rainbow of Rubbish.