Posts from February 2003
STICKING TWO FINGERS UP AT DJANGO REINHARDT
So you are a young Romany lad, making your way in the world sitting round the campfires of France. Disaster strikes, and in a freak (some say pre-meditated by a tune hating god) accident you burn your hands so badly that you natural inclination it to use base six. Still, never fear there are plenty of decent jobs out there for a bloke with only partially damaged hands. Very few jobs require really dexterous hands after all. Oh – you want to be a musician? Well, this proves you are mentally disabled as well as physically, but there are plenty of instruments which don’t require dexterity. Drums. Xylophone. The Tuba only need three working fingers.
Oh. Guitar. Well you are Django Reinhardt then, and you are a tosser.
At least Django picked the right genre to play in. After all in Jazz no-one can hear you miss a note. In jazz giutar all you’re tryiong to do is play something that pisses off the cornet player. Django’s crab-like style has apparently set the bar on jazz guitar playing, which can thereore allow you to imagine how low said bar is when a man with less fingers than average is the best player they can muster. Now I am all for equal opportunities but lauding Django is a bit like hiring a deaf person to work for directory enquiries*. Djangology to me just sums up a litany of mauled classics as yet again Reinhardts phantom finger goes for the note. Why do you think Stephan Grappelli hung around with him for so long? It wan’t just because he could always beat him a Stone Paper Scissor, but also playing with a cripple made him look good. Which equally proved how lousy he was.
*As opposed to their usual job of A&R for Sony Records.
Pubs as vital social organs in villages. This Guardian story is heart warming stuff (unless you are the landlord in question of course) – though it is tainted by the hand of CAMRA a touch. It does put in mind the idea though that a country pub is a very different thing to even a suburban pub let alone the kind of boozers in Central London I usually peruse. The myth perpetuated by the Queen Vic in Eastenders is rarer in London now than it once was, but as a focus for a community a pub is a much better choice than a sort of one size fits all community centre.
That said though I don’t want to hear radio reports with interviews with Community Leaders who happen to be publicans.
God bless the free market!: caution, contains picture which might disturb.
DENIM – It Fell Off The Back Of A Lorry
It’s not all gloom round mine, obviously. One thing I’ve been listening to a lot is Disky’s wonderful Wow…That Was The 70s! box set, and in turn that’s opened a window into my ‘getting’ Denim. I hated the Denim On Ice album when it was released – a colleague loved it and kept playing it, which never helps, and it seemed an unfunny coda to an unpleasant time for pop. Time has mellowed my prissy annoyance with Britpop and Lawrence’s deadpan observations of pick’n’mix popcult seem a lot darker and droller than they did at the time.
Mostly though I like the record more because so much of it feels like a tribute to the strangeness and exuberance of 70s pop. The talkbox guitars, flourished key-changes and multi-tracked choristers of “It Fell Off The Back Of A Lorry” tap the same absurd mayhem of Fox or the Pipkins: pop’s studio arsenals harnessed in the name of trivia and nonsense, an alternative universe where the Beatles never recorded anything except “Mean Mr.Mustard”…and were still the biggest band in the world. On most of the album, Lawrence streaks this candyfloss vision with sharply-recalled details of real 70s-and-after living, grey and grimy – it’s still fun, but it’s art-pop too. But “Fell Off…” is the most straightforwardly gummy tune, so I like it best, so that’s where you should start.
Pitchfork on Dawson’s Creek – no, no, flame off, it’s a good piece! A very interesting bit of behind-the-scenes research by Chris Dahlen on how up-and-coming indie bands are getting their songs on Creek which exposes along the way the changing, conflicting attitudes to “selling out” on the underground.
The ‘why’ of indie music on DC is obvious – even the bestest-scrubbed teens have their angsty moments and this show is little but. What’s fascinating is how Choo Choo La Rouge – the band in question – handle their deal with the corporate devil. They take the money, no problem, but their attitude to marketing this opportunity borders on the phobic – they won’t even play the featured song live in case punters think it was “on purpose”. The article illuminates, though doesn’t stress, the way diffidence and shyness plays as much of a part as principle in keeping the underground that way. Good stuff.
Tom’s Top Ten!
CHESTER P – “The Wickerman Theory”
THE PIPKINS – “Gimme Dat Ding”
MALIK – “N’Touma”
DENIM – “It Fell Off The Back Of A Lolly”
LAID BLAK – “Scream And Shout”
TEARS FOR FEARS – “Pale Shelter”
KHIA – “When I Meet My King”
CLEARLAKE – “Almost The Same”
TIGA – “Madame Hollywood”
PREFAB SPROUT – “Desire As”
Important 102 Beats That News: if you haven’t done your 102 Beats That entry, can you get it done before March 7th please? (That’s two weeks time). If you’re interested in helping us write the ‘missing’ entries ourselves, and will have time to do this in the middle of March, please get in touch with me – thanks!
(The second part of 102 will be going online on Freaky Trigger’s 4th birthday, when we’ll also be doing something else exciting.)
“I am beautiful, in every single way”
To be fair Tina, this isn’t strictly true is it. For example you are not beuatiful in that way which is obviously apparent to the naked eye. Which, oddly, is the usual meaning of the word beautiful. Still, let’s look at the other ways you are beautiful. You are certainly beautiful in the eyes of your stylist – which is a good thing because judging by your clothes it is the only thing thatcan be seen with his eyes. You might also be beautiful in the eyes of your stylists guide dog. You are beautiful to all those people out there who have trouble spelling simple words like Dirty. And you are pretty, oh so pretty, to Linda “song writer from hell” Perry whose bank balance you inexplicably have just added another million dollars to.
But not strictly beautiful to look at.
“I’ve been guilty of hanging around.” Yeah, me too: the last month or so I’ve turned my life into a lobby, never writing, neglecting everything except eating and sleeping, coming to life three or four times a week when I go out and spending the rest of the time in limbo, self-effaced, a few mouse-clicking kelvin of effort at most above absolute comatose zero. It sounds miserable but it isn’t exactly: I sometimes think I was made to hibernate and evolution played a trick on me.
Rosmary Clooney and Bing Crosby-On a Slow Boat To China
Clooney and Crosby talk over each other, interupt, butt in, convince, cajole. it is not the call and response that is normal in vocal jazz. This means you cannot hear all the words and because of this it gains an effectiveness. (thanks to Jody at Freezing to Death… for the MP3)