Posts from 27th August 2003

Aug 03

Robbie Williams’ video for Something Beautiful

Do You See1 comment • 1,759 views

Robbie Williams’ video for Something Beautiful

Robbie Williams’ first single was not by accident a cover of George Michael’s “Freedom”, quickly setting out his career aspirations (Boybanders can be people too!) and his general musical area (like this except, y’know, with attitude).

But after the initial rush of singles (“Let me Entertain You”, “South of the Border”, “Old Before I Die”) which are and will remain forever Robbie, he (or Robbie Williams / Guy Chambers / Robbie Williams, or whatever) wrote “Angels”, people started talking about him as a Serious Songwriter, and he thought “Yeah. Yeah, that’s sounds nice”. Which means songs that speak to everyone, songs from everyone, songs without as much Robbie in them.

And so a bunch of big ballads, none living up to “Angels”, with a brief stab to prove that he still has it (“Rock DJ”) which worryingly suggests that he doesn’t. And the fame starts to slip, and he might well be looking with some envy at Gregg Alexander, whose New Radicals released one fantastic personality-free single before he retired to write songs for everyone else.

And now this single, which parples along until you realise it’s basically the Beautiful South, and the video, which shows a nationwide contest to find a Robbie impersonator to appear in the video for the single, but the video is of the contest, DYS? Birds, blokes, chorus lines, anyone can be Robbie Williams. Inevitably, most of them look more interested and interesting in the job than him.

You’ll always find me by the fire at Barbies

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 269 views

You’ll always find me by the fire at Barbies. It is probably the control freak in me. Luckily it also functions as an eating inhibitor, being in charge of sixteen sizzling items at a time means you rarely have time to ram one of them down your throat. I am also quite good at anticipation the readiness and heat of said grill, ensuring the correct amount of burntness to the food. That said I have noticed a change in the barbeques I have been going to of late.

People are actually marinading stuff at home. Taking an interest in the flavours that come off the barbeque, which causes a problem for me. No longer can I happily stand there and lose attension on the two beefburgers turning into charcoal at the back. Now I have to keep a watchful eye on the half of pig that someone has lovingly slavered sixteen special herbs and spices over. Suddenly not everything that comes off of the grill is supposed to taste of barbeque (Walkers most misguided crisp flavour too). Now there is rosemary encrusted pork, and jerk chicken.

I’m not retiring from my pushy position, I like the flash burns. I am just warning people, it takes time to adjust, so do not throw away the ketchup yet. Sometimes it is best to add the flavours after the fact.

I’ll hold my hand up

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 456 views

I’ll hold my hand up. I was wrong about the Busted! album. It is terrific. I suppose what disappointed me back then was the lack of what Busted themselves called their High Concept songs. Instead there was a collection of chirpyish ballads and what I initially thought were rather bland pop songs. In the tradition of truly great pop albums though, it is one which changes the more you listen to it. So I will explain the gestation of my attitudes towards it:

Stage One : Love “What I Go To School for” and “Year 3000”, disappointed that nothing else is that silly. “Loser Kid” admired for its status as WIGTSF sequel.
Stage Two: Find “Crach and Burn” quite chirpy, and enjoy “Psycho Girl”. Hate the conceit behind “Dawson’s Geek” and the ballads.
Stage Three: Admit to self that the refrain in Dawson’s Geek is actually very catchy. Catch self singing along to Sleeping With the Light On, and find its sappiness oddly attractive.
Stage Four: Notice the way they sing “Me” in “Britney” is a rip of Ms Spears vocal stylings. Very impressed by this gag. Find self doing Busted! jump whenever walking down the stairs. Surprised when the album finished, thinking it was much long than that as it had all the rubbish songs at the end. Put it on repeat play.

What to make of Respiro?

Do You SeePost a comment • 149 views

What to make of Respiro? A lovely sunny movie, plenty of quaint island shenanigans with lots of cute kiddies running around being absolutely beastly to one another. Or a disturbing film about mental illness. It wants to be the former, I was drifting near the latter.

It is a slight movie with not much in the way of plot. In between the pitch battles between the gangs of teenage boys, and the flirting of the elder daughter with a new policeman, occurs a slightly dark tale of madness. Valerie Golino plays Grazia the mother of said rabble, who seems a bit daffy early on. Later she has a few fits, throws stuff about and is the picturesque side of a bit nuts. The locals, used to everything being picture postcard on their island want to ship her off to a bonce doctor. And so Grazia, with the help of one of her sons, goes into hiding.

The resolution to the tale leaves us all a bit up in the air. But then the film is a bit like that, trying to offer a slice of life. Problem is it is never quite clear what her diagnosis is. Daffy or dangerous? Leaving us with a love conquers all ending does not help, since in this case it is quite clear that love has not conquered all and there is still the spectre of further bonkersness to be faced. The random nature of her attacks, coupled with her protective nature will leave the character vunerable to the constant barbs of the rest of her community. The issue of her being shipped off to a shrink has been merely postponed.

We do get to see another glimpse of movie madness though (as seen in such diverse films as What About Bob? and A Beautiful Mind. People are never properly nuts in the cinema, they just break things and pull faces. Golino does this a lot here, it is unclear exactly why she is dangerous. Unless the wind changes).

Etiquette of entering unfamiliar pubs you may not end up drinking in

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 289 views

Etiquette of entering unfamiliar pubs you may not end up drinking in: see HE couldn’t remember the name of the pub – actually the Rose and Crown in Church Street – and gave me what seemed on paper heroically vague directions. So when I got there a bit early, I didn’t know if I WAS there. I wandered round exaggeratedly “looking” for someone, and on exaggeratedly “not finding them” left and looked round some, in case other pubs fitted his description (they didn’t: his directions were better than I first thought – “opposite a posh flowershop” = the shop is called JANET’S PLANTIQUE!!). Is this just me, caught in adolescent memories of the Hostile Local, or is it general?