Posts from November 2003

Nov 03

KATE RYAN – “Libertine”

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KATE RYAN – “Libertine”

Sometimes the English Channel seems wider than ever. In France a libertine seems to mean “smouldering pop princess with a great line in trancey synth riffs”. In England it means “junkie with a Smiths album”. Actually I like The Libertines. Honestly. But not as much as I like this, which is the kind of thing Kylie should be making (again) (My liking for “Slow” I can see now was based on thinking it quite daring of them to put out the moody third single first until I got that godawful album and realised that “Slow” is the fast one. Anyway if you like Europop you will like “Libertine”, go and download it.)

Particle Physics Explained

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Particle Physics Explained – this also talks about infinity!!

The best contender at the moment is String Theory- which has as the basic unit of physical reality a string vibrating in 9 dimensions.

As you know, the length of any piece of string is always infinite

Aaaaaaaaah. *taps nose* Say No More.

My interest in old adventure fiction

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My interest in old adventure fiction continues to grow with a rediscovery of a pile of John Buchan books I’d been given for Christmas years ago and turned my nose up at. I thought I’d kick off with The Thirty-Nine Steps, but I couldn’t find that one so I nipped into Borders and bought a copy, in an omnibus volume with the much less famous The Power House. The Highlands bits of 39 Steps are a tour de force of course, but in many ways it’s The Power House that’s the more intriguing book.

It hinges formally on an amusing conceit – a thriller whose scope takes in Russia and Central Asia but whose action never leaves Britain and indeed barely strays from the hero’s London flat and dining club. Edward Leithen (later to star in other Buchan novels which I’ve not read) is a delightfully passive hero, wandering half by accident through a particularly nebulous plot. The shadowy and elusive nature of The Power House’s threat is one part of what makes it so interesting – it’s possible until quite near the novel’s climax to believe Leithen is imagining the existence of a conspiracy, and it’s never clear exactly what is being conspired and to what end. The conspiracy, indeed, may be entirely a one-man job, the whim of a particularly philosophical villain. This villain is really the book’s one unforgettable creation, more sinister than fifty German spies, and he seems to have stepped out of a later fictional era entirely, one where evil is all the more pervasive for being almost motiveless. It helps that Buchan can pull of the rare trick of writing high intelligence effectively. Though all naturally ends well, it’s hard not to close the book without a feeling that much remains unresolved.

Like Momus?

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Like Momus? (Shhh NYLPM readers we don’t want you spilling your hot lemon drink in mirth). This pretty little music correlator will dance about and show you what else you might like in a shaking web of connections. Barry White lurks at the far reaches of the map, whereas closest is the All Seeing I. Remember them?? Barely! Marvellous.

Air are cloest to Add N to X for some reason. But they’re NOT like Slowdive!

NOW GO AND BREAK IT’S MIND! As far as pooters have minds. I like to think they do. Don’t you? Yes. HEY I DID NOT TYPE THAT ectect.

More on La Porchetta,

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 249 views

More on La Porchetta, having dragged more hardy souls to the new one on Exmouth Market a couple of weeks ago. These epicureans are hard to please, so it was nice to see that the food went down pretty well, as did the vase of wine. One of the party complained her absolutely huge chunk of meat was slightly over herbed, but considering that only one of us finished the meal it was pretty fine nosh for the price.

By lord do they need to sort out the decor. I don’t think I have ever been in a restaurant quite so bright and overlit. It was like eating in the Nastro Azzuro advert, thankfully without anyone pouring paint on your head. The huge upended mushrooms which are the light fittings are really rather nice, but having them turned on full is not the best way to display their design. Coupled with the high ceilings which amplify the eating clatter, the whole affair ends up feeling a bit like a works canteen. Maybe the idea is to turnover more customers, or eat into a not dissimilar decored Pizza Express vibe. But this felt all wrong, and is my least favourite of the chain. The Queens’ Square one is only ten minutes walk away.

Nov 03

Dave Q speaks on punk rock

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Dave Q speaks on punk rock — the man is now even more officially an international treasure. Every word here is worth millions more than those recent Rolling Stone and Pitchfork lists combined, I tells ya.

JOHNNIE RAY – “Yes Tonight Josephine”

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#60, 7th June 1957

Snappy nudge-wink tune bizarrely and gratifyingly enlivened by the backing vocalists, who repeat – ahem – “Yip Yip we ‘pon the boom-ditty boom-ditty!” at every opportunity (and they have several). It would undermine a more serious song, but from its title down “Yes Tonight” is no such thing. My wife suggests that Josephine should have nothing to do with this chancer, but that seems a little harsh. After all, Ray gets inside the song with aplomb and plays the comedy horndog role to the hilt, his lips smacking and tongue flapping like a Tex Avery cartoon wolf. Yip yip!

Just to add to that afterthought of Claire Forlani being Box-Office Poison,

Do You SeePost a comment • 530 views

Just to add to that afterthought of Claire Forlani being Box-Office Poison, here is the list of productions she has been in. Meet Joe Black, Mallrats, Mystery Men, AntiTrust and what’s that, right at the bottom of the list. Police Academy VII: Mission To Moscow. This girl is so detrimental to a films fortunes that she could even kill this unstoppable comedy jugganaut. Sorry love, I think you need another career.

Ooh, book within a book.

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 418 views

Ooh, book within a book. The Land Of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll is a novel about a novelist. Or at least a novel about the writing of a biography of a fictional children’s author Marshall France. It is a slight pity that the version I read was part of the Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks series, because the Fantasy aspects are understated until the rather melodramatic ending (knee jerk reaction to the end is fun but rushed, but I’m not so sure now). It is a book about the power of fiction, about the mystery of authors and especially the lingering effects of children’s literature. ‘The Land Of Laughs’ is also the name of one of the fictional books, which we have described but never see any passages of.

This is wise I think, as keen as I was to see an insight into this author that our narrator and his girlfriend are so besotted by. France’s work is compared to Tolkein, Lewis Carroll and Baum’s Oz (though tellingly not to CS Lewis I thought) as whimsical yet dark, and to our lead characters it was a defining moment of their unhappy youths when they latched upon this work. The book is at its best when it is coming to terms with its dysfunctional leads, and spends an awful lot of its 230 pages just trying to get them together romantically. When they then visit the daughter and home town of the author we are therefore firmly on their side, despite their prickliness, quirks and obsession with childhood literature.

It strikes me that when Carroll wrote the book (1980) that the idea of adults reading and revering children’s literature was not yet in vogue. It has quite a different spin now, with Harry Potter, Phillip Pullman and the reframing of Tolkein et al. Its odd that a book written only 25 years ago seems so dated, not just with its Bionic Woman references but in the leads embarrassment at writing a biography of a children’s author. Short, sweet and devourable in a couple of sittings, it leaves you slightly disconcerted and feeling as if you are missing something. Probably the fictional Land Of Laughs, a book title which is pretty inappropriate for the actual book it refers to, but too damn good to be left within the pages of the novel.

υ is for…Ooops Upsilon Your Head

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 748 views

A tradition Greek song, as mentioned by Homer in the Iliad, sung by Achilles and Hector after the prophecy of the death of Paris. Recently updated by The Gap Band in the ceaseless trek of modern popular culture to piss on antiquity. I did not mind the original, as the Greeks had no form of musical notation and therefore all that was left in Homer was less a song, more a rather bawdy poem. The Gap Band, by stapling their interpretation to a poor funk workout left us is no longer anywhere near a rousing war song.

There are many theories as to why The Gap Band named themselves such:
a) The were named after what was between their ears
b) They were pioneers of rap, if it weren’t for their singers odd G/R speech impediment
c) They foresaw a time when adverts for a particular clothing store would dominate all of popular music and thought they would get in on the ground floor before Missy and Madonna destroyed both of their legacies
or d) They were actually a special force of the Real IRA, so incensed by what was seen as traitorous moves from Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams that they went deep undercover, relocating themselves and undergoing somewhat sever surgery and skin toning experiments so that twenty five years later they could assassinate Adams in a Irish unification concert where their brand of anodized funk would be welcomed with open arms. The crack squad was known as the Gerry Adams Project, acronym being the GAP Band.