Posts from 4th October 2002

4
Oct 02

Sofas in pubs:

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Sofas in pubs: there is something alluring about the pub sofa. “Come sit in me” it suggests “I’m better than your poxy stool”. The poxy stool sits there making eyes at the standing punters. But I’m not sure that sofas in pubs are a good idea at all. Most pub sofas seem to be of a cheap and nasty wooden legged stock which actually aren’t that comfortable at all. More worryingly the encourage sitting back. Sitting back means your pint (on the coffee table that always accompanies the sofa) is out of reach. Sitting back encourages lethargy, rather than the edge of the seat cut and thrust that decent pub debate should be about. And soft furnishing just don’t take splashing well.

Is it just that the kind of pubs that have sofas are also the kind of pubs I don’t like (it’s a bit whitewashed walls and no badged beers version of All Bar one-ness). But furniture is important to the experience – a sofa also divides the group, since the usual scenario is two on a sofa and the rest on stools. The only exception to this are nice, bold leather sofas which – if used sparingly can be acceptible; the downstairs of the Glasshouse Stores manages this feat well. I suppose my main gripe with a sofa is that it brooks no rearrangement. A table with stools can be easily expanded to take eight to ten punters, a sofa will only ever take two. It wants to limit me to a couple, it makes suggestions about my lifestyle choices. Its anti the general pub ethos I strive for.

PUERTO MUERTO – Jean Lafitte

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PUERTO MUERTO – Jean Lafitte

What is the secret of a good record? Innovation often swings it, or even better the fine crafting of someone else innovation. It can be the pure buffing of production, or the raw excitement of something lo-fi and energetic. Pithy pointed lyrics, or heartbreaking senmtimentality. But Puerto Muerto seem to have hit upon a sure fire way of writing a classic. Write a song about a pirate. Who doesn’t love a pirate after all? Yaarrrr.

Jean Lafite – from “Your Bloated Corpse Has Washed Ashore” the UK compilation of their various US EP’s – is a rollicking song about piracy, fighting slavery and maintaining ones moustache. The whole album is a selection of dirty vignettes mainly about whoring and drinking, and as a compilation it is over long. But worth it merely for the singalong crescendos that Jean Lafitte provides, a spiritual brother to The Pogues . There is something fascinating in a character song sung in the wrong gendered voice, the sweet voice of the female singer in Puerto Muerto contrasts with her statement that she is an old man and has plundered the Spanish Main for years. I’ve been listening to it for a month and have probably slapped my thigh and gone “Aarrgghh” every time.

The day the music died

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The day the music died: Stuart Jeffries puts the case against Pop Idol and the colonisation of the charts by TV. A lot of blood and thunder and what seems to be a strong central point (ignoring the use of the lazy m-word) – “Manufactured pop is not necessarily a bad thing; it becomes so when, as is the case now, it’s deemed to be the only game in town.”. A half-dozen paragraphs before though Jeffries, explaining why Britain’s “pop heritage” is so thrilling and important, cites Ms Dynamite and The Streets. But these acts aren’t ‘heritage’, they’re here-and-now! TV-farmed pop can easily co-exist with the thrills Jeffries is chasing and his own examples prove it – exaggerating its importance only undermines his arguments against it.

PROGGY WENT A COURTING

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PROGGY WENT A COURTING

Yet again rumours of my death are exagerrated. Its true that all that breakfast has caused a significant clogging of my arteries, but nothing a stint of watching Celebrity Fat Club and a gin dialysis won’t cure. This however is not the reason why I have not written anything for a month or so. There hangs a tale.

It was just after my musings on the Streetband (pah – Pigeon Streetband more like) that I was accosted whilst sauntering up Tottenham Court Road on my usual pastime of breaking all the Hi-Fi’s in Shysonics. “Ho – are you Tanya Headon” he said, garnering himself a slap round his chops which turned out to be copiously covered in acres of beard. I after wiping my hand on what looked like a cape hung around his neck I asked him if he wanted to buy me a drink. Instead he came out with the following:

“Ms Headon, you are a well known hater of all sorts of music, and have never kow-towed to an intelligent argument on the potential good of the artform.” (I spluttered at this suggestion). “That said I agree that much of what has been presented to you has been abject tripe, stuck in the past and evolutioonary dead. What I have to play you will truly unblock your jaded ears once and for all.”

Now loathe as I am to listen to a grown man in a wizards hat with falafel spunk stains down his robes, I must admit in a moment of weakness the bloke intrigued me. I’m the last person who would want to listen any form of music, especially if I’m going to give it the benefit of my critical opinion, but in this moment my curiosity was piqued and I allowed him to drag me into an audition room. At which point he tied me down telling me that this was the ideal way to listen to this din. Smelling more than a bit of a rat I naively asked him what this radically new form of music was called.

“Its pushing the boundaries of music forward, taking all the Fisher-Price notions of tune and tempo and subjecting them to the scrutiny of the finest minds that the world can offer. This music is truly progressive.”

Dear reader that was on the 30 August and the track has only just finished. Progressive my arse. It was PROG. And if I ever catch up with that beardy bastard I’ll try some progressive assault and battery on him. I’m not sure what the violence equivalent of Nantucket Sleight Ride is, but if there is any justice it will be similar to dropping a fucking Mountain on his head. ANd so in dubious honour of my month of torture I welcome you to the baroque and in no way associated with wizards and fairies world known as TANYA’S PROG ROCK HELL.