Posts from 29th April 2004

Apr 04

Help Me Out!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 388 views

If anyone (ideally anyone who I see fairly regularly) has a copy of George Melly’s Revolt Into Style I could borrow, I would be very grateful. I would take very good care of it! It seems to be out of print at the moment and the asking price on Amazon is a horrid £25! Leads on cheaper copies also appreciated. Thanks!

(UPDATE: Thanks to an extremely generous reader this is on its way to being sorted out! I wuv the Interweb.)

JOHNNY PRESTON – “Running Bear”

Popular17 comments • 3,120 views

#98, 17th March 1960

These days dead rock stars leave back catalogues full of convenient foreshadowings and tragic – but marketable – hints. The Big Bopper’s posthumous contribution to the British pop charts, on the other hand, is a jovial rocker about doomed Injun love. Preston plays it straight but not sentimental, and the Bopper’s ‘war-chant’ backing vocals and whoops fill out the Native American gimmick a bit without making “Running Bear” feel entirely like a novelty. In fact it’s a reminder that the category of “novelty” as something separate from “pop” is a fairly recent conception. “Running Bear”, written and recorded by two respectable rockers, is a neat demonstration of the classic record biz approach – release anything and see what works.

If it had been made a few months later in the flush of the teenage death boom, “Running Bear” might have been played for tears (and ended up quite charmless). Instead Preston presents Bear and Little White Dove’s deaths as a matter of fact, window dressing for the record’s floor-friendly jump from verse stalk to chorus swing.

Farewell ‘4 million

Do You SeePost a comment • 393 views

Farewell ‘4 million: That’s how much the Sci Fi channel is spending on an attempt to attract GURLS, sorry, “to target a more mainstream unisex audience”. If a more mainstream unisex audience wanted sci-fi, I rather think it would be on our TVs instead of Footballers Wives. But fie on my cynicism! The main planks of the ‘4m push? A promotion of, say, Buffy and ads on, oh, Capital? Not quite – a push for The Twilight Zone and ads on XFM.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 1,279 views

BRANDWATCH: Precious little food-related info in Marketing this week (lots of other stuff though, which will fuel posts elsewhere on FT). Two frozen Princess Dream nuggets stand out though –

– the nationwide launch of fruit drink “Tropical Rhythms” with a tartrazine-crazed Shaggy on its ads. One of the flavours is called “Reggae Medley”.
– the insertion of special microchips into packs of Vitalite which will make them SING in the manner of those rotten birthday cards. If you get a singing pack – the tune is, naturally, “Israelites” – you have won a PRIZE! The chips activate when exposed to light, so if you do win you will be reminded of your good fortune every time you open the fridge.

Fanny Dangle Watch

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Fanny Dangle Watch: Panna Ko is currently running at the Nike Town store in central London. CAUTION: link contains large amounts of flash and larger amounts of vicarious ‘streetwise’ copy. By all accounts the game is great to watch and fun to play – a one-on-one street football duel. The winner – not a novel concept this – is the player who scores the most goals. There is a way the game can be won outright, though, by a player nutmegging his opponent.

I’ve been racking my very limited sporting brain to come up with absolute victory conditions in team sports. Football of course may have started out with one – if your enormous team got the ball to the other end of the village it was game over. But in the modern, rules-based era absolute victory has generally been written out of the game. One-on-one games need it, though (are there any one-on-one games that can end in a draw? Ten-pin bowling and bar billiards are the only ones that springs to mind). Panna Ko being a combo of football and 1-on-1 its dual set of rules seems rather odd – you can score lots of goals, but it’s all over if the opponent nutmegs you. It seems unbalanced. In bar billiards you have the risk of losing all your points but even then you can (in theory) claw back.

I blame JK Rowling (a tiny bit anyway). When she sat down to invent a team game her great innovation was to include a move which carries such a huge points bonus that it essentially acts as a victory condition. From a literary point of view it works – it gives Harry P something to do – but it seemed unsettlingly unbalacing when I first read about Quidditch and it still seems so now. Why does either team bother scoring goals? Why don’t they just spend all their time distracting the geezer who has to find the little flying ball?

Viktor Lazlo — ‘Breathless’ (aka PopNose 12)

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Having moved to Belgium to study and model, the French femme fatale Sonia Dronier was discovered by Francis Depryck, the producer who had made Plastic Bertrand. She re-invented herself as Viktor Lazlo stepping out of Casablanca. In many ways she resembles Sade: not only does she have the same non-threatening sexuality, she makes lounge/jazzy music seem a good thing. I remember seeing her present the Eurovision Song contest — courtesy of Sandra Kim winning the year before – and I was just enthralled. The 80s hit ‘Breathless’ – a brilliant song that should not only be remixed by Wiley (see comments) but begs for a horrendous muzak version – was written by Sonia Dronier and Philippe Allaert, who went on to form Vaya con Dios. The last thing that was heard of Viktor Lazlo on full CD format is the Sly & Robbie produced Verso, if you find it send me a copy! :-)

Today’s Office Debate

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 388 views

Today’s Office Debate – where did the word “OK” come from? Pausing only to lament the way in which promising office conversations can be ruthlessly squished by Google, we discover two conflicting origin tales – the more widely accepted idea that it comes from a mis-spelling of ‘orl korrect’, and the slightly more romantic story of Andrew Jackson and the Choctaw. I actually prefer the first, ‘humourous misspelling’ story, with its hopeful hints that interweb slang will also endure. Does immortality await plucky little ‘grebt’ and its fellows?

Dirrrty Pop

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Dirrrty Pop: Another pop blog, if you like “Talent In A Previous Life” or “Enthusiastic But Mediocre” you should look this one up too. I really should give my links sidebar a good kicking, I should also categorise them a bit more perhaps since there are several different ‘blogospheres’ colliding and a bit of guidance would be no bad thing.

Oh, speaking of the sidebar, a little way down it you can now find a box marked “Recently On Freaky Trigger” which is a chronological update of everything new on any of the FT blogs, including the ones you probably don’t read. This useful thinglet comes c/o Alan and his RSS magic and will soon appear on all the blogs, except Popular.

On the Achievement of No Spoilers

Do You SeePost a comment • 448 views

On the Achievement of No Spoilers: I’m quite pleased with myself that last night, when I finally viewed Kill Bill I, I had not read a SINGLE THING about it more discursive than a billboard. Unfortunately I now suddenly realise this means anything I say abt it you may have read like 1000000000000 times already. So I liked that Uma Thurman does subterranean Clint Eastwood impressions throughout the “Sergio Leone” section: that made me laugh.

(And oddly enough Pam Grier was in the Fresh Prince earlier in the evening…)