Posts from 3rd October 2003

Oct 03

Regarding rock stars remembering

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 427 views

Regarding rock stars remembering where they are, there is a Spinal Tap guest shot in The Simpsons where one of the Tap looks at the back of his guitar before shouting “Hello Springfield!” Despite this kind of tactic, bands have got it wrong several times.

And as for lyrics, great bluesman Jimmy Reed had his wife Mary Lee come on stage with him. She would stand next to him and remind him of the lyrics very frequently through the show. This was partly because he was almost always too drunk to remember them himself, and partly because, it has been acknowledged since though at the time Jimmy took ful credit, she wrote or co-wrote many of them.

Copper Statue of Cardinal looks like massive Cock

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 686 views

Copper Statue of Cardinal looks like massive Cock

I do not think it does, but there has been some outrage about the intentions of the work, and wether it is meant to be a very subtle peice of subterfuge.

It reminds me of how boring and offical public art is, how representational and if it is non objective, then that non objectivity has intentions in inoffense. Anything that might resemble anything human for a brief moment is considered verboten.

Add to the that the paranoia some catholics have about anti christian sentiment in public discourse, the cardinal here is frightening and the text on the back of the peice suggests how fearful pre Vatican II catholicism could be. Can a public sculpture not concern itself with the fears of people, can it not call out power ? Why is any discussion about the Holy See and its servants that is not devotional considered anti-catholic ?

ALMA COGAN – “Dreamboat”

Popular14 comments • 2,745 views

#35, 15th July 1955

“Yew dreem-boat! Yew luv-abble dreem-boat!” – it’s like Alma is reaching out of the record to pinch all of our cheeks individually. The Girl With A Laugh In Her Voice as her box set calls her – a laugh, yes, and a hop and a skip and a bubble and squeak too, the very dream of enthusiasm. “Dreamboat” is very short – under two minutes – but a little exhausting nonetheless, a pacy swing number jollied up by piano trills and perky backing.

Alma Cogan is a name I knew only from Gordon Burn’s novel Alma Cogan, which I’ve never read but whose cover I became annoyingly familiar with during my time working in a second-hand bookshop. The book takes its cue from a macabre bit of coincidental gossip – Cogan’s music is playing in the background of the tapes Ian Brady and Myra Hindley made of their victims dying. A writer who was taking the obvious route would use that fact to excavate all sorts of symbolic and supposed lurking horrors below the starchy, innocent surfaces of the 1950s. I have no idea, of course, if Gordon Burn is that writer. The coincidence seems to me just that, but the idea that squeaky-clean pop must have a ‘dark side’ recurs endlessly in rock lit, and the idea that buttoned-down respectability hides a morass of wickedness is another perennial. Neither idea has much relevance to 50s pop, I think, whose chirpiness is often enjoyably one-dimensional. Of course by mentioning the Cogan story here I may have spoiled her breeziness for all of you, too: my apologies.

Finally something that isn’t ironic to have a go at Alanis Morrisette about.

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 242 views

Finally something that isn’t ironic to have a go at Alanis Morrisette about. I must admit though, as a youth I often wondered how bands on huge mega-tours remembered where they were every night. Playing the same kind of arena venues with the same sets and the same reaction when you play the same songs, things must get a bit samey. But then I remembered that one of the few talents rock stars are supposed to have is that of memory. Because the have to remember the words to their songs, right?

So how does that explain Bon Jovi forgetting all of the first verse of Livin’ On A Prayer when I saw them in 1987? They got the chorus at least, so I gues sthey were half way there.


Do You SeePost a comment • 427 views


1: Rosemary’s Baby

It is easy to forget that Rosemary’s Baby pre-dates The Omen and plenty of other films with the idea of the devil being made flesh incarnate*. And it is surprising when you watch it again how much oomph the suspense side of the story has. As Mia Farrow gets more and more paranoid, as she looks sicker and more wan you watch not only with sick fascination but the terrifying idea that she has the very devils baby inside her. But ask yourself, how much more frightening would this be if we had not, in the impregnation scene, seen a bloke painted red with horns prancing about. It is a great hallucination sequence but it is far too literal.

If instead there was a vague suggestion that maybe she was paranoid, then the suspense would have been doubled. At least we don’t see the baby at the end, though we do get the “look at his little hoofie-woofies” ending which manages to both be funny and chilling. The sci-fi remake – The Astronaut’s Wife tried to play this game but queen of the remake Charlize Theron did not have anything like Mia Farrow’s ethereal otherworldliness to get away with it. And of course Theron’s manky tooth didn’t help.

*It is bloody obvious that it pre-dates Demon Seed though, as anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing Julie Christie being put in the club by a – ahem – super-computer will testify.

Bright pink drinks in over-large martini glasses.

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 4,079 views

Bright pink drinks in over-large martini glasses.
When Matell get around to bringing out Cocktail Barbie (with mini pink shaker and cigarette holder), the back of the box should carry a recipie for a Blossomtini.

The Blossomtini’s principal ingredient is rose petal vodka. It’s the same lurid pink as a Jem doll’s dress or a She-Ra castle or at any other plastic fantastic toy aimed at little girls. It comes in a giant martini glass, most suited to frozen drinks for Miami poolsides. It’s the girliest drink in the world, although my friend Suzy and I discovered them in a less than girly gay bar, Ballans on Old Compton Street.

Ballan’s, apparently, does lovely food. But for Sooze and I the cocktail menu is the star turn. It’s our place to slink off too when we want to pretend our lives are metropolitan and glamorous. The furniture is mainly black, the lighting a weird blue-green and the waiters are very pretty, although prettiest to each other. It’s the image of a late night cocktail bar I held in my head as a teenager and going there lets me slide back into decade-old daydreams of what I thought my mid-twenties should be like.

I ordered a Blossomtini because it was the first thing I saw on the menu and I was suffering from option paralysis. When it landed on the table it looked like a Barbie swimming pool, especially next to Suzy’s grown up Black Russian, and she took the piss out of me until she tried it. Blossomtinis are like liquified and chilled Turkish delight. They’re gorgeous. They’re also very alcoholic, as we found out, three later.

They do look bloody stupid though. Sixteen year-old me wouldn’t have been caught dead drinking something pink.


I Hate Music2 comments • 677 views


One of the reasons for my relative patchiness in hating updates recently has been due partially to a relatively crap computer. So I spent the unpleasant hours before the pubs opened this morning wandering up and down Tottenham Court Road talking to people who obviously listen to Mike Parradinas and Aphex Twin records talking tech. Whilst being shown a laptop, whose very definition suggested I was a rather wider lady than my dress size proves, I was asked if I wanted a soundcard in my computer. I gave the fellow a withering look, I need a soundcard much like I need a juicer. But the man was off, showing me the wonders of music on the web.

Look, he said, you can download nearly anything. I asked him back if it was possible to anti-download something, litteraly destroy its presence on the web. He looked at me as if I was a lunatic – a look I usually reserve for fans of anything made with Stevie Wonder’s involvement. And before I could scream no and dive for cover, he showed me how easy it was to find a track, and get hold of it.

The track he used to display the awesome power of the web? Marillion’s ‘Incommunicado’. Now I am possibly not the best person to ask, but if there was one record that would make me think this who file sharing mularkey was a waste of time and effort, it would be the surprising ease of access of Marillion records. Incommunicado is the way I like to think of Marillion, either that or I like to think of shooting Fish in a barrel. Not that Fish can fit in a barrel any more. Not even a really, really, really big barrel.

Amusingly, before I trashed all the liquid crystal displays in sight, the Real Player (surely it protests its realness even more than J-Lo) had a handy description of Marillion for someone who may not be aware of their crimes. And I quote: “England’s Marillion present inventive and narrative-driven rock-esque compositions that defy clear categorization“. Well, true in as much as this is anything but a clear characterisation, New Prog certainly does not do it either. But I think I can offer my services to the Real Player people. Marillion: “England’s Marillion present piss-poor and Genesis derivative songs with stupid stories that defy listening”.

A trip back into London following a meeting in Canary Wharf

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 186 views

A trip back into London following a meeting in Canary Wharf, plus the need to get a handful of cheap CDRs can mean only one thing: a visit to Whitechapel. And a visit to Whitechapel in the daytime can only mean a visit to The Whitechapel. Whose new show is by a fellow by the name of Franz West.

I shall pass swiftly over Mr. West’s painterly output because it seems to rely very heavily on crudely executed ‘shocking’ subjects which mostly amount to scenes of a variously sexual nature (and if that’s what you’re after run run run down to One In The Other where Liz Neal’s show will do the job rather better for you’ Kultureflash describes it as ‘a baroque poor-geois playpen complete with (literally) dripping chandelier’. Which is true but doesn’t give much of a sense of how engaging and unpleasant an experience it is).

I recall a friend of mine complaining about the studious atmosphere of many art galleries. Franz West plainly agrees, because the point of the body of this show is to encourage you to goof around with your friends. He provides sculptural objects intended for you to play with, though visions of horrible Whose Line Is It Anyway-style improvisations come to mind when you see that he’s curtained off a section of the gallery for you and your friends to mess about without the interference of prying eyes. There’s also a piece in which a thin sheet of reflective, semi-transparent material separates two chairs. I saw a couple playing on it (I didn’t make a note of its name, I’m sorry), they were watching each other watching themselves. It was the most romantic thing I’ve seen in years.

I, on the other hand, was on my own and on my way back to the office from a meeting. I grumbled to myself about the whole thing being not much to look at and shuffled back out onto Whitechapel Road, where people seem to be messing about perfectly happily without any additional help.

I saw the highlights of the Celtic game

TMFDPost a comment • 232 views

I saw the highlights of the Celtic game that Martin mentioned earlier and thought that both goals were magnificent and demonstrated why football is a wonderful sport.

The first was, as David Pleat said in the commentary, one of the finest examples of patient build up he’d ever seen. Celtic probed for an opening, found none and played it back – several times they did this, and I could sense the Celtic crowd fighting their normal reaction to groan when the ball’s played backwards as they appreciated what was going on.

Ahead of the defenders, pushed up to the half-way line, your couldn’t see but just knew that the midfield and attack were moving all over the place to find some free space; when the goal came, it was when the ball was played to super Henrik who’d pulled wide. From here, a neat piece of skill to get it onto his right foot, then a superb cross to Liam Miller.

It was a microcosm of football – it was a perfect team goal, where the training ground drills pay off and people’s games get understood by team-mates. But it was also made possible by a moment of individual skill, and a moment of weakness from the previously well-organised defence.

The second goal was much more route-one, but showed why the tactic can be equally pleasing – the goal ‘moment’ could be contained in a single breath – Sutton throws it down the line to Larsson, who take three defenders with him, and Sutton races to fill the space vacated; will Larsson look up and see him? He does, and floats a lovely ball right to where Sutton is arriving. You could see what going to happen (helpfully, Sutton’s run was directly in line with the TV gantry position at Parkhead) and started to wonder – will he do it? He did. Magic football.

Second week

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 225 views

Second week at my cookery class, and we actually get our hands on some hot oil. I’m a bit worried when my bhaji-mix is looking a much darker orangey-brown than everyone else’s (onion + gram flour = yellow, mostly). But CB points out that maybe my red pepper is fresher, ergo more juicy, ergo has discoloured the mixture. Since CB has a giant production line of spinach & onion bhajis on the go, I take the plunge and fire up my wok first.

Turns out gas would be better than the electric cooker we’re working with for keeping the oil at the right temperature, so I aim to keep everything on the hot side, and certainly, the requisite bubbling and spluttering is going on. But it all gets a bit tense when it comes to judging whether these are done — and for once nipping over to see what the women behind us are up to is no help, because since their bhajis started a different colour, they’re going to end up a different colour too — doh! Anyway, by the time I’ve carried a solitary bhaji half-way across the classroom to get some advice from our teacher (TAKE THEM OUT NOW!), the rest of batch 1 are looking a little bit frazzled…

…but they still taste fucking great! And all produced by my own fair hand. It’s only when I notice the kick in the back of my throat, that I realise that perhaps adding 50% extra (BRIGHT RED) chilli powder might have had chromatic side effects. Admittedly three days later, after at least two meals composed entirely of bhajis, the appeal is fading a little, but we’ll count phase 1 of the operation a success.