Posts from 29th September 2003

Sep 03

RUBY MURRAY – “Softly, Softly”

Popular9 comments • 2,475 views

#29, 18th February 1955

Ruby’s real contribution to British pop culture is as rhyming slang for the national dish, ironic when you hear this spiceless outing, arranged as primly as it is sung. Murray’s pert and precise enunciation helps kill off a pleasant but treacly tune: her slightly odd accent the only mild interest in a modest two minutes.


I Hate MusicPost a comment • 411 views


Picture this, dear Reader. We have traveled back in time to ancient Rome. A civilization of spendour, pomp, pageantry and debauchery. Here in the imperial senate we see the rich and powerful lounging on comfortable sofas content in the knowledge that grapes will be peeled for them and that electric guitars will not be invented for two millennia. What happens when they see a god bother like Cliff Richards? Why the throw him to the lions like any proper society would.

But hold, what is this coming towards us, bunch of grapes in hand. He seems to want to talk to us but for a fully grown man his voice seems unnaturally high. Why certainly you can peel a grape for me. I won’t harm you, unless unless:

Yes dear readers. I have not traveled back in time. Instead I have imprisoned Justin from The Darkness to be my own personal eunuch. To pamper me, feed me and to never bloody sing again. It all came about quite naturally when I was in the pub the other day. Telling a rather loquacious story about exactly how Robert Palmer had just made my day, I slipped on a wet patch of lager. Flailing out who did I grab to steady myself but the manager, and girlfriend natch of the hirsute singer of the rubbish metal band. He stepped forward with the gravitas of Klinger from M*A*S*H and said in a voice which resembled Pinky or is it Perky.
“Get your hands off of my woman.”

I stared at him. I am not used to being talked to in this way.
“Motherfucker.” he squeaked to roars of derision. It was at this point I utilized my free hand to exert my droite de caveman, and bashed him over the head with a bottle of Glenfiddich and dragged him out of there. He now serves me as my own personal castrato. Peeling grapes, making cocktails and confusing the dogs in the park with his ultrasonic squeal. I explained to him why I was allowed to do this under the Geneva Convention against rubbish metal bands. If he thought I was going to sit idly by while comedy metal threatened to take over the charts he had another thing coming. I believe in a thing called silence, and by god was I going to exercise my right to it.

His hair comes in useful as a J-Cloth too.

Even though almost everyone under a certain age detests the word

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 178 views

Even though almost everyone under a certain age detests the word, the “sub-genre of consciously corporate-friendly art” that Tim wonders about is called “crafts“, more or less – at least if the news section of the magazine I work for is anything to go by. There’s a fairly well established layer of advisory bureaucracy to put buyers in touch with makers who are interested: it’s more the high end of decoration than pure-form fine arts, but this is an increasingly specious distinction. It’s true it’s more likely to be hospices or galleries or other semi-public buildings which are in this market, less often hardcore multinational banks or thrusting buccaneers of industry. Textile hangings and mosaics are especially popular, but to be honest most of the classic applied-arts genres get called on. Maybe not jewellery so much.

ROSEMARY CLOONEY – “Mambo Italiano”

Popular12 comments • 2,419 views

#28, 14th January 1955

Italiana strikes again, but Clooney plays it for laughs and dances. The track kicks off with a sarkily comical ballad intro before quickly getting down to hoofing business. I imagine an iceberg of mambo tunes of which this novelty is the chart-topping tip – Clooney really gets her teeth sunk into it, though (check her feral “Ayyyy”s to hear how much she’s enjoying it). Her band follow suit, with a hammering piano break, and the whole thing wraps up before you quite have time to get irritated by it.

Three more thoughts on corporate art

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 224 views

Three more thoughts on corporate art, after Tom’s:

1. I’ve begun to see art I’d noticed in the galleries of the East End of London popping up in corporate environments now and again. I recall seeing Christopher Bucklow’s glimmering figures, which I’d seen at Anthony Wilkinson , turning up in the foyer of a big insurance firm. They had seemed charming and ethereal (if slightly hippy-dippy) in a gallery. In a gleaming postmodernist pile of marble they looked disturbingly like the sort of graphics you’d find on ‘motivational’, ‘people-centred’ literature.

2. I slightly know a man who makes (some of) his living advising businesses on the art they should show in their buildings, including buying and selling items into and out of their collections. He’s always very polite about his contacts, but his frustration is clear sometimes and it seems to me that the problem is not that there isn’t thought put into corporate art, it’s that the people with the purse strings don’t listen to good advice and you end up with compromise and muddle. That’s before you even get to the tendency of city folk to ignore the art around them.

3. I sometimes wonder whether there is a sub-genre of consciously corporate-friendly art. It’s clear that most corporates wouldn’t want to buy in to the more confrontational or unsettling end of the art available in the world right now. Certainly they’re keen to look ‘with it’ but the last thing they want to do is offend anyone. There are enough corporate HQs around to generate a significant chunk of the market for contemporary art, in London at least. Some smart artists and dealers surely look to fill this market. I often wonder whether Damien Hirst’s spot paintings and spin paintings are elaborate comments on this market in blankness (comments which, in true Hirst style, are cynical cash-ins themselves).

Good old Theo Foley.

TMFD1 comment • 481 views

Good old Theo Foley. I like Theo and he likes Exeter so I like him even more. What a good egg, speaking at a dinner in aid of the Supporters’ Trust. Well done him.

Oh ‘ hold on! What’s that at the bottom of the article? He’s praising old-time ECFC patriarch and Great Man Frank Broome. Mr. Broome, says Theo, ‘wasn’t one of these managers who insisted on you just lumping it up in the air’ He knew how the game should be played.’

I am sick to the back teeth of hearing how there’s only one way to play football properly, to watch football properly or to enjoy football. There are lots of ways to play football, lots of ways to make teams with varying talents work best together. And now I have to say it: I LIKE THE LONG BALL. There, I’ve said it. There is no less fashionable opinion in footy just now. Everyone seems to agree that a passing game is the only set of tactics to keep people interested, has some kind of moral superiority.

And there is some tiny truth there. There’s probably nothing better than watching a side full of brilliant players knocking the ball around in outrageous and imaginative ways, bamboozling oppositions and amazing spectators. But in English football at the moment there are maybe three sides who can play that sort of football, and I’m tempted to say that the true number is rather closer to one. The rest are try-hards who have the odd day, perhaps the odd season of inspiration and the rest of the time are simply not good enough to sustain the perception and accuracy needed to play that game properly.

The worst thing in football is ineffectiveness. You can whine about the long ball game being boring all you like but there’s nothing that bores me more than some idiot half-talented player going on some mazy dribble which leads precisely nowhere, expecting us to be impressed with the silky skills which end up with the ball being planted firmly into touch. It’s infuriating. I hate games being mired in the arrogance of would-be maestros trying to find intricate patterns through overcrowded midfields, in search of the killer pass which won’t come. I want my team to win. I want to see them score.

I don’t want games of football to be Corinthian battles between two sides to determine who has the greater array of talents judged by objective criteria. I love to see tight teams of hard-working players outfighting, out-running and out thinking unimaginative white-booted buffoons who think another few Cruyff turns will save the day. I love the thrill of seeing a fantastic long ball up the channels, unsettling and upsetting cultured defenders and I love to see the game move really quickly, the ball pinging up to the head of the big lad and the keeper left with no chance.

I’m not saying that the long-ball game should be played to the exclusion of all others, but I am saying that we could do without the snobbery, that there are lots of ways to enjoy and lots of things to enjoy. Excitement, effectiveness, end-to-end football. That’s how the game should be played.

I only got to see Boudiccea, I mean

Do You SeePost a comment • 219 views

I only got to see Boudiccea, I mean Boudicca, during the ad breaks of The Deal last night, but what I saw suggested that I may have made the right choice. Chelmsford 123 is not so far in the past that some of us don’t remember its piss poor attempts at anachronistic humour. Seeing the boy god emperor Nero stropping like the menko teenage he was, well that was par for the course. But seeing Alex Kingston gamely trying to act while everyone around her was playing dress up was a little bit sad. Seeing all the boys in their plastic breastplate waggling around swords and being all puffy and Roman – that was just a laughfest.

Equally as anachronistic, though only set in the last fifteen years, was the aforementioned The Deal. Its amazing how distracting the wrong kind of bus can be, let along buildings which just would not be there (some people have mentioned the Gherkin in the skyline, I would like to state that there has never, ever, been a burger van on Waterloo Bridge). It whizzed through the formation of New Labour, the on and off friendship of Tony Blair and felt like A Woman Of Substance, except being about Labour politicians it came out like Some Bloke Of Not Much Substance. A mini-series would have been better – director Stephen Frears has already mentioned doing a sequel (one assumes about the election itself). Notable mainly for the way the three leads (Smith, Blair and Brown) inhabited their parts, it is odd seeing something historical which is still part of the actual news.

A better idea would be to take this cast and perhaps dramatise the political events of the month. Possibly a dastardly thing to do, and marvelously undemocratic but it would be a ratings winner. If Sky can do a reconstruction of the Hutton Enquiry on a nightly basis for a month, this surely would not be outside the bounds of topical drama. A real life soap, rekindling interest in politics. A dramatised reality TV show. As (fictional)Blair says to (fictional)Brown in Granita, that soap star there, she’s got real power.

A 1979 study by Aegean University…

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 323 views

“A 1979 study by Aegean University, Ankara, Turkey, found disco music to cause homosexuality in mice. The ‘Mickey Mouse Disco’ album, however, was found to raise testosterone levels in Richard Simmons.” – Journal of Delete-Bin Endocrinology

Anyone For Coffee?

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 320 views

Anyone For Coffee? Restaurant punters behaving badly is a subject it is difficult to deal with for the Publog with any real moral high ground. We all behave badly every now and then, hopefully to one another, rather than the waiting staff. After a particularly georgeous meal at Lalibella, North london’s premier Ethiopian restaurant, we were feel rather full and pleased with ourselves. Alcohol was contributing to this. So the waiting staff left us alone to our witty and erudite conversation until one decided to ask us the dreaded question.

“Anyone For Coffee”.

This was instantly translated to us of a tipsy mindset feeling we had overstayed our welcome as :”Anyone Fuck Off (Eee)”. Much linguistic merriment was then defined in using this phrase over and over and as such I would like to apologise to the bemused staff. I would especially like to apologise iof they weren’t bemused. This ‘joke’ was not disimilar to the practice of putting two fingers up in a head supporting manner after all.

Heads up for the Ethipian mash by the way. Super carboload tastic (mash with Derek Tibbs and loads of Injera, hmmm hmmm.)