Posts from 7th August 2003

7
Aug 03

You may have noticed that things look different here.

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You may have noticed that things look different here. Ahem. As you probably know, Freaky Trigger has relaunched, and relaunched with not one but four (soon to be five) regular weblogs, covering a spectrum of culture where NYLPM previously covered music. We still will be covering music, and hopefully in a more dynamic way than has been the case lately.

The FT relaunch has been a while in the planning and is still a work in progress. Suddenly expanding our coverage means we’re finding our feet writing about lots more things and finding an ‘approach’ to new subjects which will make us worth reading. This is exciting and fun for us and hopefully for you. But we’re bound to make mistakes and have teething problems. If you have any comments, complaints or suggestions about the new format, please do let us know. So far the response I’ve had has been about 85% positive, and even where it hasn’t been positive it’s been very friendly and optimistic – thankyou everyone for allaying my nerves a little bit.

(And a big thankyou to Alan, who singlehandedly redesigned everything with very little time and all too measly an input from me!)

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – “Senorita”

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JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – “Senorita”

I’m kind of at a loss for words here. I’ve made ripping JT into one of my favorite online activities, but now I’m presented with a song that minimizes the things I hate about his singing (the overabuse of his nasal tone being the top culprit) combined with the hottest Neptunes beat since “When The Last Time” and a tune that I actually want to sing along with. Sure, he tosses a bone to my hateful core by including a woefully dire call-and-response section near the end, but the damage is done by that point; any gorge that rises at that point is swept away by the summery breeziness off the preceding three minutes.

Weirdly disappointed and frustrated

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Weirdly disappointed and frustrated by this thread on ILX. Partly at myself – my arguments won’t cohere and so I’m just batting replies around – but partly at something I’ve noticed when talking about certain records. The Darkness, Andrew WK, ARE Weapons, Kevin Rowland’s My Beauty, Daft Punk’s Discovery – these records seem to inspire a particular vehemence, an especially angry heat. And what they also have in common is that they refuse to make it clear how you (the listener) should take them. We’re all used to “how authentic are they?” as a bogus litmus test of musical worth (though if it works for you, great!). “How serious are they?” is I think an even more interesting question but it really seems to get some people’s goat. Maybe I just love the feeling I might be being made a fool of – when you’ve listened to so much music it’s one of the few risks left.

AFTER IMAGE The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 170 views

(until 27 September.)

Sorry to say, but the Fruitmarket’s festival exhibition leaves me cold this year. I’m sure I’ll end up popping back in, so I’ll get a chance to think again, but today the work of the four female photographers showcased here (Simryn Gill, Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman and Francesca Woodman) just didn’t seem to come together for me.

I wonder if the trouble is that what their work has in common (all photographs — and all made by women) is a lot less exciting than what singles each of them out. The exhibit blurb makes out this is a whistle-stop history of recent feminist art theory: but the historicising of the exhibition (a follows b follows c etc.) neutralises the work for me.

True, I don’t often go a bundle on photography — I guess because I distrust ‘the real’ but am equally jaded with attempts to put it into question. And I’ve never ‘got’ Sherman either. The 70s conceptualism of Mendieta didn’t translate into artifact well enough for me; Woodman’s work I found the most powerful, mainly candidly mystifying (go figure!) snapshots, gathered mostly from her college work, we were told. The implied voyeurism they all invited certainly drew me in, but I wasn’t sure quite where to. Gill’s study of Malaysian interiors I do want to go back and see again, but at first viewing it felt as empty as the living rooms she shot.

The Spiegelgarden, Edinburgh

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The Spiegelgarden, Edinburgh

Your temporary festival beer-fountain is always a risky prospect. Some of the attics, basements and back bedrooms converted into licensed premises during August in Edinburgh can amount to little more than a couple of cans of lager on a formica tabletop. Two new drinkers this year show both how to do it, and definitely how not to do it.

How not to do it is the anonymous, vaguely Czech-themed marquee at the central path junction in the Meadows. A tent reminiscent of a scout camp or village fete; some odd beer-token system in operation; an in-yer-face compere in the Butlins style; noise and general unpleasantness. Thanks to the noise, the self-appointed busy-bodies in the Friends of the Meadows who are threatening to nix the mooted skate park are also pushing for a bar on renewal of the license for this place when it expires at the end of the week. Good luck to ’em, say I.

How to do it: The Spiegelgarden. The Spiegeltent is an Edinburgh institution, although you do well to catch it as it flits from site to site each year. After a couple of years at the Book Festival, it’s now been pitched in George Square, at the heart of the university’s central site, and just behind the Gilded Balloon and the Pleasance Dome, which face each other across Bristo Square pretty much the way they did as rival union buildings when I was a student. And in collaboration with Montpeliers, the owners of Indigo Yard & The Assembly (was Iguana until a few weeks ago), they’ve struck Festival Gold. Alongside the Spiegeltent itself (amazing wood and mirror construction which feels as far from canvas and damp as you can imagine) there’s another beer tent with: leffe, hoegaarden etc. on tap; decently priced food; ace heat lamps (essential!); subdued lighting; and a good atmosphere. Outside are more seats and with coloured lights strung between the trees, this year’s enchanted festival garden is complete. Best of all — not residential, so licensed past the pitiful 11pm offered by their rivals on the Meadows.

See you there!

V/A – “Straight From The Bedroom E.P.’s #1-3

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V/A – “Straight From The Bedroom E.P.’s #1-3
V/A – Lord of the Decks: The Fellowship of the Mic

Straight From The Bedroom was a 3rd Paty/Kemet sub-label that existed for all of three releases, namely these. They are, as far as I’ve been able to tell, all from around 1992-3, and basically capture the moment where breakbeat hardcore turned into jungle as accurately as anything could or has. What do they sound like? A fucking mess: half-speed reggamatic intros and breakdowns, roots-era sensi vocals fighting for space with shrieking divas and raggamuffin toasters, left-over Italo piano euphoria, creepy-crawly darkcore synth goo, bass bombs, and of course breaks break breeeeaaaakkkkksssszzssssssss. The made-in-two-minutes vibe is complimented (as if the itchy, unfinished sound wasn’t enough) by the fact that all the trax are subtitled “A Bedroom In Hackney”, “A Bedroom In Brockley”, etc.

It’s kind of amazing to me that, with all the sniffing around I’ve done in the last half-dozen years tracking shit like this down, I’d never heard or heard OF these records before last night. The “real” history of jungle – the lineage of Ibiza/3rd Party/Kemet/Production House/White House and related labels – is still largely obscured, since the records are out of print, the labels long since folded, uncleared samples, lack of a market, etc etc. (It’s quite easy for the back catalog of Reinforced or Moving Shadow or even Sub Base to go through rehabilitation when they still have the ability to make their back catalog available, are still churning out reliable variations of the dnb template.) If you ever see these or come across them on a P2P, beg borrow or steal on sight.

The Lord of the Decks… (and if you think the title is classically cheesey, you should see the cover) is a rush-job comp on a possibly non-existent East London label, collecting all of the recent grime garage “hits” and a bunch of freestyles. In ten years (provided these artists don’t prove us all wrong and go as big as Goldie if not as big as Jay-Z) it will be as highly sought after as the equally rush-job comps on labels like Ibiza and 3rd Party. (In the stores one week, gone the next, never to return.) If you live anywhere close to London get to a specialty shop (I don’t care if they make uncomfortable or not) and get this (and if you live in EAST London, you have no excuse…but if you’re smart you probably have a lot of this stuff anyway.)

“We bring you the future…the future…the future…”

We never discover who All The Real Girls

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We never discover who All The Real Girls are in David Gordon Green’s film. Like much of the film even the title has a dislocated, incidental feel to it. The film initially is equally slap-dash about its chronology – starting with the key clinch when Paul Schneider’s Paul finally kisses Zooey Deschanel’s Noel – then almost imperceptibly bouncing back to when they meet. Equally the film has a similarly contrarian view about its ending. It doesn’t quite leave us on an island choosing between safety and certain doom like John Sayles’ Limbo but we are never sure if Paul and Noel get back together. This will be infuriating to many viewers.

Others who like slow burn romance, and the unfortunately convincing portrayal of the average idiocy of relationships will enjoy All The Real Girls. Unlike many an indie film it does not make up for lack of budget with a snappy script. These small town losers do not rap about Star Wars or anything else except the occasional revelation of the smallness of their own lives and loves. Perhaps it is that these characters are already to some extent doomed like the elder generation portrayed in the film (maybe having Paul’s mother a hospital clown is pushing the twee overload button too much though). Sure they live in a beautiful neck of the woods, but the film suggests there is a lot more to life than natural beauty. Though with its open ending, it lets us choose if there even can be a happy ending.

Pret Sandwiches – Classic Or Dud?

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 615 views

Pret Sandwiches – Classic Or Dud?: especially in the current climate, when even stepping out of the air-conditioned office womb makes you feel like you’re in Beau Geste, nearest = best as far as sandwich parlours are concerned. Which means that most days it’s off to Pret, whose sarnies I have gradually become rather annoyed with. One of the reasons I am getting jaded is their cockfarming Posh Ingredient Syndrome.

When you go to the deli and ask for a chicken salad sandwich what they will put into it is chicken and, yes, salad. At Pret however the brand must be differentiated from such plebeian tastes and so into every sandwich goes the red onion. I do not like onion in sandwiches, but obviously every other customer adores it, because it’s in EVERYTHING now except the mousse. Their salad wraps occasionally avoid it too but those tend to include the mysterious 80s-esque concoction “bistro mix”.

(NB I know red onion can be part of a salad but I will have no truck with such things. When I say salad I mean Proper Salad i.e. lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, that’s your lot. I am a salad philistine.)

Food anti-rockism alert

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Food anti-rockism alert… I’m through with making stuff from scratch. I made a jerk paste with my bare hands the other week — lots of lovely ingredients (all spice berries, cinnamon, spring onions, er, other stuff), a modicum of fun with the mortar and pestle — but frankly I’m going for a bag of jerk seasoning in future. I mean we’ve all (many of us) had a go at making mayonnaise from scratch, but you do it, think “Right, I’ve proved it’s possible” and then forget about it.

Not unconnected, my new food god is Rajah All-Purpose Seasoning. This stuff is rocking so hard. It’s got all the usual suspects: chilli, coriander, garlic, MSG, onion powder. Stop messing about with a shelf full of little packets, and buy the one big bag of lovely brown powder. Do it.

CHINGY — ‘Right Thurr’

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We both know what Chingy means when he says, ‘Give me what you got for a pork chop/She threw it at me like I was a shortstop.’ Chingy gets his easy piece of meat; she gets her own in return. But the it could also be the pork chop, right? Right. So I have this alternate vision of our hero — clad in an ’81 Ozzie Smith throwback — botching a routine 4-6-3 double play at a Rock ‘n’ Jock ‘Chopball game. The rapid-fire play-by-play: ‘It’s a ground ‘chop up the middle from Joey Pants; Mandy Moore fields it cleanly at second and — what’s this? Apparently rattled by a gesture made by shortstop Chingy, Moore aggressively rifles the ‘chop over for the force-out and strikes her teammate across the face. No one is out, everyone is safe. Chingy appears to be taking a dirtnap. If you’re scoring at home, that’s E-4.’
What can I say? That’s the feminist in me.
(The feminist in me, however, does not like the fact that I like ‘Right Thurr’ so much.)