Posts from 25th August 2003

Aug 03

SOCA Gold 2003

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SOCA Gold 2003

I’ve been in a record-buying drought, I think it’s been about six months. I was never a routine music buyer anyway, someone for whom the new “Weird War” was to be gotten with the day’s shopping, like milk. But even for me six months was a long time. I decided to end my accidental fast with a visit to Beat Street, where I would be guaranteed to find about 30 things that simply couldn’t wait for me to take them home and caress them. And the records are good there too! Ha hoo! Actually that joke doesn’t even work because the only woman who works there as far as I know is the asian girl at the back DJ booth, next to the reggae room, and despite the crusted layers of glitter around her eyes and superficially girly demeanor she’s as tough as nails; if you caressed her you’d cut your finger.

Anyhow on the advice of Tom and, well, mainly Tom, I picked up “Soca Gold 2003.” Soca is basically the newest Caribbean pop, mixing West Indies styles (like reggae and dancehall) with Latin and Brazilian styles. I wish I could say that my love of music has been re-energized and etc. but I’m finding it mainly unbearable. The vocals and tempo of many songs are pitched so high they sound as if they’re playing at the wrong speed. The only cut that really slices through the helium cheer is “By The Bar,” a rolling and minimal dancehall-ish track by 3 Suns (originally Treason), but it’s atypical of the main Soca sound, which is like “Doin It California Style” at double-time with more synths. I’m sure that it’s possible to “get into” it—whole islands go crazy for the stuff, and let’s face it, the human organism can get used to anything—but just about the only thing worse I can think of is something called Spanish kazoo hardcore (you don’t want to know). I can already hear the Soca-headz now saying I have to find the good tracks, but that’s why I got the compilation. If this is the cream it’s gone off a bit. (Solution: buy milk more regularly?)

Its easy to get angry when reading articles by Nigel Andrews

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Its easy to get angry when reading articles by Nigel Andrews, the all but movie-hating cinema critic of the FT (that FT, not this FT), but he’s really mined a hollow seam this week. Given a two-page spread in the magazine to discuss sequel mania, he retreats to his annual rant about the juvenilia of movieland, and by inference the decline of cinema, and as good as points to the young as the guilty party.

I am no longer young, but on their behalf I am infuriated. Teenagers work hard to keep the movies they like in the cinema. They plan their summer weekends around the releases of the summer blockbusters, carefully noting and discussing trailers months in advance, gathering gangs of their like-minded and like-clothed friends to travel in convoys to the out-of-town multiscreen. If they’re moved by a film, they don’t mull over their ideas at dinner parties and in colour supplements, they get on their skateboards and go and see it again, sometimes dragging a whole new audience with them.

And they don’t give up their support when its cinema run has finished either. These splendid young folk pay attention to the advertising on the sides of busses – ignored by so many so called buffs – renting and buying the DVDs the moment they’re allowed. Not for them a handful of classic titles, half of which are by Robert Altman: they nurture vast libraries of special editions and additional features, lapping up the music videos and hanging on the every word of the never-before-seen interviews with the stars. So the studios, quite rightly, return the compliment.

Grown-ups can’t have it both ways. Going to the movies takes dedication and commitment – if you’re not putting the effort in, you can hardly blame cinema for ignoring you. Teenagers should be a role model for you all.

Oh, and while I’ve got you here, their enduring sense of alienation and social ineptitude are your fault too. Thank you very much.