Posts from 28th April 2004

28
Apr 04

ADAM FAITH – “Poor Me”

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#97, 10th March 1960

Faith’s second No.1 is a confident redux of his first. Style wins out entirely over content – “Poor Me” poses as a jilted man’s lament but is scored as a modernist celebration, all pops and jabs and rushes and sharp corners. John Barry’s artistry as an arranger has taken a jump since Faith’s previous hit – “Poor Me” spends its 1 minute 44 seconds pushing and niggling at the established edges of pop. A breakout into abstraction is prevented by Barry’s sense of dynamics – the way his dozen ideas dance to the front of the mix and back again makes the record a nervy tour de force of string-driven pop. As for Faith, he takes the opportunity to polish up his range of music-hall shudders – the fun he has with just the two title words is delightful. Despite its brevity, “Poor Me” is a slightly exhausting listen, a curio that’s easier to admire than connect with or love.

“I met my husband through D&D and we are still playing regularly twice a week, some 16 years later.”

TMFDPost a comment • 319 views

“I met my husband through D&D and we are still playing regularly twice a week, some 16 years later.”LJS, Stockport, UK

Clearly a lie. It must be. This is taken from comments on 30 Years of D&D on the BBC site. Less of a lie would be “I am now 33 and have to say that some of the most memorable moments of my life involved 20 sided dice!” — Matthew Harffy, UK. And (surprisingly?) it’s still going on today – stop this sick filth.

Nobody has ever been surprised by my gaming past, which rankles. So to up the ante I have to explain at great length the maps that I drew, the campaigns I had planned, AND THE FACT THAT I STILL HAVE THEM TO THIS DAY. In a green folder, under the shelves. This usually gives the correct response of a lowered head and a gentle shuffling motion. That or pointing and laughing. Which is fine.

But I’ve been thinking – why can’t I bring myself to play this as an adult? I mean I lost interest for a reason, and it wasn’t just social pressure, but surely there would be nothing wrong with getting it together to play this again for the nostalgia? It’s largely seen as socially acceptable to play multiplayer video games as an adult, so why not these more low-tech games? More often than not these role-playing games had the ability to put you in quite imaginative situations.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the ability to realise those imaginative situations was seldom realised. Where a simple dungeon crawl was eyes-wide fun the first 10 times, you start to get blas’ about any encounter, be it 10 puny Kobolds wielding a magic wand, or a blue dragon dressed in a smoking jacket.

In the end it’s a band of friends against the wit of the dungeon master. Now imagine all taking a turn as the DM, take away the geeky pencils and dice, but keep the rather bizarre banter, and what have you left? A PUB CONVERSATION. But better: you are in a pub, you are drinking beer, you are getting drunk. Brilliant.

I think I shall forever be playing “Pub Rules” from now on – the D&D “Levels Beer to Gin” Set.

Maradona

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It was interesting to hear opinions on Maradona’s heart attack. There is an e-mail doing the rounds with a distorted photo and something along the lines of ‘Get well soon, you cheating fat midget’. Eighteen years on from that goal and it still rankles with us.

On one hand, there is the footballer who scored one of the greatest goals in world cup history and the other hand? Well its five fingers are clenched into a small fist as it punches the ball over Peter Shilton. There is the innocent 10 year old doing ball tricks at half-time during Argentine league games and there is the wild-eyed 34 year old running to the camera after scoring against Greece, his muscles taut and his face snarling (and his body full of drugs of course).

If any footballer has had more impact on the game in a single season than Maradona did in 1981 I’ve never seen the footage. He took Boca Juniors to the title, scoring 20 goals along the way and creating countless more. It is an absolute joy to watch, the way he spins off defenders, those perfect passes. His European career was sweet and sour, he never really took off at Barcelona or Seville, but in Italy he was integral to Napoli’s renaissance.

So, what is his legacy? In his homeland he is up there with Eva Peron and Carlos Gardel. In Naples he’s part of the folklore, Here, he’s a pariah. OK, so he’s now a bloated disagreeable character and he’s never going to wear Pele’s ambassadorial shoes, but to appreciate football, well, you must appreciate Maradona too.

Thank Me For The Music

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Thank Me For The Music: new MP3 blog! Very pop! Lead track currently is the stupendous “Never Felt As Good” by Belvedere Kane. If everyone goes there and hears it maybe I can play it at the next FT night and people will know what it is and actually dance – go on, make an old man’s dream come true…

Michael Hann on Gastropubs

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 458 views

Michael Hann on Gastropubs: I started reading with scepticism but gradually this turned to head-nodding and by the time he finished I was ready to march behind him shouting his noble message Tango Blackcurrant Ad style. My only quibble really is that I bet a lot of his scary pubs aren’t actually THAT scary – otherwise HEAR HEAR!

Eamon’s on the radio!

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Eamon’s on the radio! Good old Eamon with his novelty swearing. Of course it’s the ‘radio edit’, which reduces Eamon’s foul mouth to an impotent stutter – but it does make me think of how the technology of swear-removal has had to change (and fast!) over recent years as the amount of bad language has spiralled upwards. There seem to be four main ways for getting round the problem:

1/ Bleeping – almost never used any more, I think it would have a kind of retro charm to it now to be honest. Its heir is the dead-air solution: just remove the word from the vocal track. This never sounds good, it totally disrupts the rhythm of the song and in some cases you can’t even tell there’s meant to be a word there. Eminem radio edits are often rotten for this reason.

2/ Putting in different words – effective if a bit lame (key text here: There Is No Swearing In “I Swear” By All-4-One). The problem is you need to get the act in to re-record – OR DO YOU? Case in point, Pink’s classically rubbish radio edit of “Get The Party Started”, which replaces the word “ass” with a shitly-spliced “Benz” from two lines back in the song to baffling effect.

3/ Putting in funny noises – as used on “Work It” by Missy; in fact I think only Missy does it. This is GREAT – only problem is it’s a lot of work. The elephant noise on “Work It” is so much better and funnier than a word would be (actually IS there even a ‘dirty’ edit of this song? My point stands though – USE NOISES!)

4/ Almost swearing – Eamon’s tune may look like it’s using dead-air but this isn’t the case – what he’s actually doing is saying “f’ck” and “shh’t”, in a sort of PRML SCRM style but very quietly. This kind of radio edit is pretty contemptuous of the whole notion of radio edits and is becoming more common. The next step is surely just whispering the swears and then the barbarians really will be at the gates.

Better Late Than Never

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Better Late Than Never: Stereophonics ex-drummer says they were “a little bland”. Very perceptive of him.