Posts from 19th November 2003

Nov 03

LONNIE DONEGAN – “Cumberland Gap”

Popular10 comments • 3,985 views

#57, 12th April 1957

“The first punk No.1” says Marcello. Yeah, I can see what he means. Lurching speed-freak skiffle played on Christ knows what which sounds nothing remotely like any previous chart-topper: if punk is anything, it might as well be that. I’d be tempted, though, to pin it down as the first really British No.1, for all that it’s a cover of an old American folk song. Lonnie takes the song?s form and he rides it into the ground, and he takes the song itself and twists it, localises it, makes it into something that can smack you round the chops with how raucously Northern it sounds. “Cumberland Gap, ain’t nowhere, fifteen miles from Middlesborough.”

The great thing is how silly and alive it is. Folk, blues, country – these were already tradition-steeped musics, crackling with myth-making energies for sure but rooted in someone else?s history and a history that those someones could take rightfully seriously. “Cumberland Gap” tumbles out of tradition, in awe of nothing but its own gleeful blurt, treating folk music like a music hall joke and music hall jokes like rock and roll. Listen to the “Two old ladies?” lines – the distance between this record and chewing gum on bedposts is much less than some might like to think.

Of course Donegan (and the skiffle craze) was then inspiration and midwife to The Beatles and The Rest; history tells us this. But it’s only by listening to “Cumberland Gap” that you hear a magpie spirit of British pop – hokey, jokey, disrespectful and quick-witted – poking its beak through the facts.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Do You SeePost a comment • 630 views

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit celebrated its 100th episode by airing one of its most freakiest. Castration in Grand Central Station, (Cragen “Penectomy, how often do I get to use that word?” Me: “Have you forgotten what show you’re on??”)(Also, since when can you say “pecker” on network TV?) a “Catholic vampire” aka a Nosferatu-looking underground-dwellin’ porphyria sufferer, dungeon masters and kidnapped brides in dog collars, and good old stunt casting in the form of Jacqueline Bisset. And the original Tzeitel and the tailor Motel Kamzoil together again! (Or not. Motel was dead before they got to judge Tzeitel’s chambers. God has unmade a man today.)


The Brown Wedge5 comments • 947 views

BEDROOM SECRETS FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE: Something I really enjoy doing is reading aloud to Isabel – it’s good practise for probably the only aspect of childrearing I’ll be any good at, and it’s fun introducing her to favourites from my bookworm boyhood. Top of the pile right now is the stupendous Uncle by JP Martin, a book about a very fat and hugely wealthy elephant and his battles with a variety of hataz. It’s a book that my memories betrayed a little – I remembered how stinking rich Uncle was constantly battling with workshy povvos dressed in potato sacks and blanched rather. Reading it now it’s obvious that Uncle is as ludicrous a figure as any of his foes. It’s also clear that the book is very, very funny: an absurd rush of nonsense punctuated with marvellous details (Uncle’s enemies pause after each fresh attack to scribble furiously on their “hating tablets”) and a lip-smacking relish for language (foes called Filljug Hateman and J. Hawkins Flabskin).

You can only easily get the first of six Uncle books (Uncle), and perhaps the second (Uncle Cleans Up). The others remain un-reissued, apparently because the publisher is worried about the classist overtones. You can see them for silly money on Amazon sometimes – if anyone does find any going cheap I do recommend that you snap them up. (And read them aloud to your partner!)

Club Freaky Trigger Christmas Party

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 620 views

Club Freaky Trigger Christmas Party: Happy Wobs to all our readers. The Club Freaky Trigger Christmas Party will be on a MONDAY, to best show our committment to senseless Yuletide ruin (and the fact that we could get a venue, and the fact that nothing else ever happens on a Monday so you have no excuse but to come). It will be the usual mix of pop records, drinking, chatting and maybe some boozy shuffles across the dancefloor when the ordinary punters have gone home. I will be playing EITHER my Nuclear Armageddon setlist OR my Europop 2003 set depending on a) the international situation; b) your requests.

Anyway the details – Monday 8th December, Parker Place, Parker Street, London, near Holborn, records playing from 6.30 till whenever they let us, FREE ENTRY.

It’s probably the last time we’re going to be using Parker Place – it’s a wee bit big for us and it’s getting quite popular now – so if anyone has any other suggestions for a venue (central london, small, will let us not charge) please let us know by the ’email’ link below! Thanks!

λ is for…LAMBaDA

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 903 views

A quick cut out and keep guide to the difference between the Lambada and the Macerena. The macarena is the one you can do in a wheelchair. The Lambada is the one that will put you in a wheelchair. Especially if I am around.

I hate worldwide dance crazes. I’d hate dance crazes that were restricted to a backstreet in Sidmouth, but the worldwide ones are hard to escape. As far as I remember the Lambada involved shaking your arse like you had a piece of crap stuck to it and then bending over backwards to examine said crap. It was a highly stylised way of getting over the crap meme. Apparently it was a southern American blend of the Wlatz, Tango and the Polka. Which of course would make it the Wanka.


Do You See1 comment • 1,440 views

IT’S ALL SO OBVIOUS: Waving the Wind Waker in Zelda = RAISING THE MAGEWINDS = Shigeru Miyamoto = Ursula K Leguin = !!!!!!

A-a-and you can possess seagulls!! And have about a zillion maps!

Is there something we should know?

A Macquarie Research paper for the Aussie business community…

TMFDPost a comment • 933 views

A Macquarie Research paper for the Aussie business community on why they think the Wallabies will win on Saturday. Let’s hope that their “scientific” approach is the wrong one.