Posts from 7th July 2004

Jul 04


FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 335 views


(recap: the debate is, who, in a JUST world, gets paid band-royalties for creative contribution? the guys on-stage, the guys on-record, the gals behind the guys? “who wrote the song?” vs “who made the song possible” etc etc)

anyway the idea behind MICK’S GIRLS seems routinely inquirer-prurient enough – channel 5 mid-evening automatic – until you think abt, you know, the actual SUBJECT of ROLLING STONES SONGS… ugly love, ugly sex, ugly life -> look, these are actually the ppl we shd be FED UP with seeing interviewed, surely, the material that had become TOO obvious (even if marianne and marsha and bianca and jerry none of them showed): i want to know the relationship between mick in bed and mick in the studio, cz it seems kinda exactly pertinent, no? i mean, musicologically, for starters… ALL ROCKGROUPS (jazzbands, hiphop crews, soukous orchestras, electronica units) are POLYAMOROUS GANGBANGS w.weird intense stuff going on between members&audience, members&members, thisgroup&thatgroup – and seeing as how “world-famous supergroupie” pamela des barres is a GOOD DEAL MORE PSYCHOLOGICALLY ACUTE than the male groupies who always end up being interviewed (you know, chauffeurs and PR guys and biographers and…) then why not ask HER abt how songs work for her, why not get all the girls here comparing notes together, abt how THEY relate the sex to the records? (half of them were a lot older and wiser and funnier now then when they passed through the space-under-scrutiny, and past the need to be scamming the camera in regard to future modelling work…)

of course in the event, a few scatter of charming anecdotes asides, the voiceover and general approach wz sniggeringly and bafflingly plzd with itself for its “daring” and its “iconoclastic cheek”, when something really obvious and interesting (and horndoggy and irreverent and not-at-all-academic and anti-rockist and CENTRALLY TO DO WITH EVERYTHING AT ISSUE) wz right there in front of them, being excavated inadvertently – i mean obviously even with its shouty faux-tabloidy lameness this wz actually far better and more insightful than the south bank show or late review or blah blah blah

The Burglar In The Library by Lawrence Block

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 347 views

The Burglar In The Library by Lawrence Block

I’ve talked about Block here before, in glowing terms. So why do I need to go on about him again, and about a Bernie Rhodenbarr novel, probably his most lightweight series (he has several, in case you aren’t familiar with him)? Because this is a novel with barely disguised ambitions to discuss the two major strands of crime fiction and bring them into collision, while it’s being a fluffy entertainment.

Bernie, bookseller by day and burglar by night, thinks he has a handle on a first edition of The Big Sleep inscribed to Hammett by Chandler. It’s in a country house hotel owned by an Englishman, and populated by old ladies, retired colonels and the like (he can’t resist a hint of Fawlty Towers). Of course, before he can steal the book, people start getting murdered. Bernie, a big reader of crime fiction, goes into Miss Marple mode, politely questioning the guests and staff and trying to work it out; then eventually decides this isn’t the right approach, and starts to think Marlowe and Spade instead.

It’s a brilliant blend and conflict, a bi-subgeneric crime novel as well as an almost PoMo pastiche and (informally) deconstruction of both. The balancing act and analysis is astute and highly entertaining, getting at what made Chandler great beyond just the ‘mean streets’ stuff, and at the appeal of the genteel drawing room mystery too. This is a novel that is immensely clever on levels almost never credited to the crime genre.

Of his ability as a poet, however, there can be no reasonable doubt

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 280 views

Of his ability as a poet, however, there can be no reasonable doubt“:

hitchens is always SO way out of his depth talking abt matters popcult that i kind of assumed he just didn’t like rock (or any music at all, come to that) – which is no sin obv

anyway, turns out he’s is a v.old 60s-model dylan fan, and here he suckers himself into the ultimate pompous-loser discussion topic: is zimmy a real actual bard?

i won’t say it wins PRIZES for missing the point (certainly far worse dylanology – and indeed poetcrit – has been committed), but it DOES miss the point (right back at the line where he tumbles to the bogus (in pop) antithesis of “put-on” vs “material worthy of examination”)… PLUS also given that CH is actually pretty good at charting the turbulent subcurrents of the middlebrow, why’s he just so tepidly fulsome here? yeah larkin’s a poet, so what? the question to be usefully explored [sorry no link: the larkin piece wz in new left review years ago] is “is being a poet such a good thing anyway?” [he concluded YES bcz he’s a suck-up pussy bit of a cultural reactionary, but the point wz he knew it MATTERED to ask] plus ALSO plus ALSO, the unbearable archness of being “pop-savvy” again


FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 749 views


You know how you’ll sometimes be listening to some nu-electro track and the thought will cross your mind that this would be the GREATEST THING EVAH if only it had a smidgeon of bass in it? Apparently Liam Howlett’s been thinking the same thing; this bouncy little number is the strongest thing he’s put out since “No Good (Start The Dance)” and shamelessly prances along the line between pandering nostalgia fluff and fuck-you-in-the-eye bassbin bludgeon. The merry melodies and swirling synths paired over the deafening drums make me awfully abuse alliteration.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a whole lot of unironic cabbage-patching to do.

Is this the BBC’s most confusing graphic?

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 340 views

Is this the BBC’s most confusing graphic?
It’s not the BBC’s fault, the very concept of doing a scale model like this brings in the confusion. This educational project is a grander version of something that every science teacher does these days. You start with a scale that allows you to give out planets to over keen children and send the inner solar system one-by-one to the appropriate distance away in the school car park, and then give the outer planets to those brats with too much energy and explain to them that they need to go to the centre of town/the next village to represent Uranus and Pluto. “Keep going…. no, further, NO FURTHER, GO ON”. Just so long as you don’t accidentally truant the children in question.
Point being that this is a dynamic exercise that shows the scale of the solar system by scaling down the JOURNEY to the distances required. A static scale map like the one in the linked story is of no use to anyone, and brings only confusion to those trying to understand.

IHM LYRIC WATCH Rachel Stevens – Some Girls

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 1,231 views

Rachel Stevens – Some Girls

“Some girls always get what they wanna wanna
All I seem to get is the other other”

Two points to note about Ms Stevens’ song here. Firstly the grammar: because surely the other other is what you started with. If you have two things, the other is the other thing. So to be other from the other is to be back with the first thing. What she apparently wannas.

Nevertheless I think I can define a meaning from this insipid song. In particular that Rachel is moaning that some girls seem to get the good stuff, while she gets all the crap. Well listening to your records love I can’t disagree.

Looking for an anesthetizing jab of teen-pop, I was drawn by Tom’s description of Smash Hits Radio…

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 601 views

Looking for an anesthetizing jab of teen-pop, I was drawn by Tom’s description of Smash Hits Radio like a kindly old man to a nursery. I don’t, however, “have digital,” as they say here in the UK (and as US people will no doubt soon be saying, that is, if the totally moribund radio networks there can rouse themselves from their drooling payola stupors long enough to get people interested in the radio again, or at least upgrade from the 1925 technology everyone’s used up to now) – so I looked online – so passé – and found the promisingly-titled “SmasHits Radio,” which turns out to be a comprehensive Indian pop music site with audio streams galore. Individual singers and film directors have entire “stations” dedicated to them, and it’s got hot Bollywood gossip like “Aamir to shave in August.” I keep wanting to listen to it in my car, but I keep forgetting I don’t have a car. Am I a loser? Say it ain’t so, Rani Mukherjee.


Do You SeePost a comment • 314 views

SIDEBAR ADDITION: to Television Without Pity, formerly Mighty Big TV, formerly Dawson’s Wraps. It hosts such brilliantly bitchy and excruciatingly funny Dawsons Creek recaps that quite frankly, one doesn’t even NEED to read the show, and it’s Buffy recaps gave us all the phrase “Shiny McWhiney” for that little wench, Dawn – for that alone it deserves cannonical status. And even better, it meant you didn’t actually have to watch Dawsons yourself!!! I did, of course, and it was endless enriched by TWoP.

A lot of their current shows are US only, but I note there are OC recaps, Six Feet Under and the West Wing, for those of you who are that way inclined, I guess you might have E4 or something, I don’t stinking well have it do I, what do you think I am, MADE from money??

To see all shows recapped, go here. I’m about to start on the Angel recaps. Will someone buy me S2 on DVD?

Please? (Or S3 or S4 or S5 even, for to because I am a peon and kept missing them all in the channel change messups and the odd Five schedulings??)

Interesting piece from comics writer Steven Grant

Do You SeePost a comment • 327 views

Interesting piece from comics writer Steven Grant in the wake of Spider-Man 2 about the supposed dumbing down of cinema. It meanders a touch but soon gets to the interesting thesis that cinema, as a social lubricant, is all about getting people into bed. I think he slightly misses another interesting point about the rest of the ‘adult’ market existing to fan the vanity of those involved, viewer included – if I do your comic movie can I make my serious movie afterwards?

The first tale of glory from Copa America

TMFDPost a comment • 451 views

The first tale of glory from Copa America

Extended highlights are on Sky every night after games, this one should be watched methinks