Posts from 26th April 2004

Apr 04

Lost in Translation

Do You SeePost a comment • 345 views

Lost in Translation (2nd bite): I kind of wish it had been set in space w. baffling aliens not tokyo in merely tokyan tokyans, cz you kept ending up thinking that the reason they are bored and lonely etc is they have no imagination jeez if *i* wz in tokyo blah blah… i liked the bits w.just them mostly

J’ck’ss >:0 :'(

TMFDPost a comment • 239 views

J’ck’ss >:0 :'(

The Independent has a little story I can’t find on the net – poss cz I don’t speak good Norwegian: ‘A 19-year-old man dressed a comic book character was killed when he was hit by a car in what appeared to be a stunt gone wrong. The man lay down on the highway 30 miles south of Oslo while he was filmed by two colleagues in an entertainment company. He was drssesd as a Moomintroll, a rotund character created by Tove Jansson.’

Bliss of the head (ancient argt redivivus)?

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 266 views

Entertaining to read Simon fessing up to not getting Kid Creole etc back in the day. One of the persistent curiosities of anglo-critical response to non-anglo music is the eternal threshold problem of the erm ‘Latin Tinge‘: Brit jazzbos always shy away from jazzers drawn to Cuban or Brazilian (or ANY South-of-the-Border) elements; A Certain Ratio’s later forays might as well have been inaudible; in Brit versions of the History of HipHop, Freestyle is simply NOT THERE. Even in the World Music Community – never slow to glom onto something worthily rebarbative – there’s been a distinct tendency to favour left-behind hardcore thirdworld-tourist-purism (cf Buena Vista) over anything crossborder popular and chartbound…. The Blissed-Out dancer dances solo, deep inside his own head: meanwhile, an endless series of courtly public steps-for-two – the tango, the rhumba, the_______, the ______the ______ – marks the overlooked history of the modern sexual body in music. (I blame Sir Francis Drake…)

(Of course the REAL Creole deal is Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band…)

[update: also i just noticed this, ‘Sonixly/ridmaticly, the melange is Dubfunk + AfroPop + French-artpop. A pentangle of territory whose five sides are Tom Tom Club, My Life In The Bush of Ghosts, Nightclubbing, Your Cassette Pet, and Les Ritas Mistoukos’ = ie a pentangle whose five sides admit no actual AfroPop, let alone a vector for um the mambo!!!]

Best eBay Auction Ever

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 233 views

Best eBay Auction Ever. Did I win it? No. I got the end time wrong. IDIOT TOM.

Google Stat Of The Week, #1 In A Series Etc Etc

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 292 views

Google Stat Of The Week, #1 In A Series Etc Etc


“manufactured pop”: 9,310
“manufactured rock”: 464 (largely about landscaping, alas)
“manufactured soul”: 121
“manufactured dance”: 54
“manufactured r&b”: 38
“manufactured hip-hop”: 33
“manufactured indie”: 20
“manufactured funk”: 11
“manufactured grime”: 8 (incl. 24’s Kim Bauer!)
“manufactured grunge”: 7
“manufactured ska”: 2
“manufactured dancehall”: 2
“manufactured reggae”: NO RESULTS!!!

(Analysis: Jamaica’s manufacturing base has long been weak owing to lack of outside investment in the post-colonial era and a reliance on the tourist industry. However this has apparently brought it the realness.)

“Trainspotting” used as metaphor for trainspotting shockah!

Do You SeePost a comment • 299 views

“Trainspotting” used as metaphor for trainspotting shockah!

I don’t know if it won any actual real awards, but The Station Agent is/was a shoo-in for the Ghost World Memorial ‘Indiest Film in the History of Indie’ Cup. Fin (a taciturn dwarf who works in a model shop) inherits a derelict railway depot in the boonies from the shop owner. When he moves there he meets i. Joe, a brash young Hispanic icecream-van man from New York (who’s running his dad’s van while the latter is ill); ii. Olivia, a nervy’n’arty middle-aged divorcee (who hates the telephone and is mourning her son’s death as a child); iii. a plump black schoolgirl exactly Fin’s height; iv. a CUTE LIBRARIAN!!! (!!!)

But actually despite this it’s very good, certainly very funny. It’s about isolated people learning to improvise a micro-community on their own terms, why you might actually choose loneliness over “getting a life”, and the problems that arise when the promise of companionship threatens the safety of solitude (so haha it’s an allegory of ILX huzzah!!)

Fin is an expert on trainlore – not least bcz it allows him a minimal social life with excellent boundaries (= his fellow trainspotters are shy to the point of social hopelessness) – but refuses to consider himself a “train chaser” (one of those um weirdos who drives along behind trains videoing them, then plays the homemovies back to fellow chasers). His deadpan reticence allows his fellow lonelyhearts to project lots of “cool outsider wisdom” onto him: he regards this is ridiculous, even borderline-offensive, but in fact (with him as the catalyst) some of the various misfits DO find a way to create a little provisional club-of-the-exiled.

Self-chosen outsiderdom is also often boring and stupid and deluded; solitude does not necessarily lead to greater wisdom than pub chat or television or the lecture hall. There’s a pretty close relationship between prejudice and yearning to be able to escape, of course – and the film’s good on this really except maybe in the one overdetermined drunk-dwarf-in-a-bar scene, where the “freak” (ie Fin, who we by now really really root for) seems to be allowed to be surrounded by a crowd of easy-target yokel-yahoos. (These too-cartoony demon-figures contrast with Joe, the secretly sensitive’n’lonely loud urban yob who is of course an excellent cook: though to be fair the bar scene does somewhat imply that it’s Fin’s drunken paranoid POV which generalises those around him into a leering ugly mob…)

Anyway I seem to be beginning to find more things wrong with it as I describe it than I noticed as I was watching it: actually I think it’s very well aware of these kinds of edgy-boho-smugness-type pitfalls and deals with them very smartly viz the ending, which is such a classic indie “we’re-indie-and-we-don’t-do-endings” ending that I burst out laughing. (ps a ‘station agent’ seems to be the US equivalent of the UK’s ‘stationmaster’) (eg another of the things i like is that this movie is a whole station goods-yard of rival metaphors shunting complicated between each other….)

Symptoms of MP3 Culture Part 345296

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 498 views

Symptoms of MP3 Culture Part 345296: I just caught myself congratulating myself for being late to a record – not only not hearing the Wiley record until it’s in the shops but mostly avoiding the web talk on it, so that the gorgeous, gorgeous value-label Kanye-Westism of “Special Girl” caught me totally by surprise. Actually I think it’s the weather – Spring is good for the record industry, there’s something so wonderfully right about buying a new CD in the sunshine and filling up on it all at once walking through Green Park or up Tooting High Street or just around, slowing down on purpose so I can get just one more song in before I get to wherever I’m going. PS It’s a great record! (“Yeah, duh, thanks Grandad.”)