Posts from 26th October 2005

Oct 05

RODS!! we are NOT ALONE!!

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here is a thread about em

here is a timeline about em

here is a slideshow about em

here is the “truth” about em


FT + New York London Paris Munich/1 comment • 1,978 views

Urban Cookie Collective – “The Key: The Secret”

Kat of General Khaki writes:

Verses? Let’s face it, they’re rubbish, aren’t they? The artist blabbers on because they are not concise enough to get the gist across with their chorus. BORING. The advent of The Lovely Acid House Thing meant that dance music no longer had to be geeky (ahem Kraftwerk) depressing (coff coff Blue Monday) or critically acclaimed (COFF bloody everyone else who could pick up a synthesizer without dropping it or going Where Are The Strings On This Cuboidal Guitar?). Dance music was now FUN! And what is more fun than jumping up and down and chanting a few catchy words to a nice simple happy tune with yer mates? You didn’t even have to be gay. It was great.

‘The Key, The Secret’ is a cracking example of the 1992/1993 Golden Europop era. What’s that? U.C.C. are English? Blimey. With verses consisting of “Ah ah ah ah ah ah/A ha a ha/Ah ah ah ah/I’ve got the key” (courtesy of and a soaring chorus it scores highly in the Singalonga category and indeed also in the Thumping 4/4 Beat stakes. It is almost impossible to listen to this song without doing the turny-head nose-pointing dance. Yep, it’s a corking little bit of Euro-bop that somehow sprung from the pancreas of Manchester.

The FT Top 23 STRANGE PHENOMENA: No.12 Dopplegangers

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Make mine a double
Dopplegangers have become confused in the public mind, it seems to me. In modern parlance, it seems to be much more ‘someone who looks like me’ rather than ‘my malevolent double’. That meaning still exists in pop culture, as it’s a much richer seam than an quirk of genetics and environment. You’ve got Gerry Anderson’s ‘Far Side of the Sun’, and many Star Trek episodes where some accident with anti-matter (always the anti-matter!) brings an evil Spock onto the Enterprise where hilarity ensues, or where our heroes are thrown into an evil world where they’re all psycho-leather fetishists. Even so, it’s SCIENCE, not mysticism that creates and compels these dark doubles into our world. That progression from mysticism to science goes one step further and ends up as fascination with the idea that we could all have been so different.

In Hollywood Wives we see the degeneration of the doppleganger into a common-or-garden tale of when heredity turns bad. There, the charismatic Buddy Hudson turns out to have a twin, separated at birth, who has grown up without any of life’s advantages and is EVIL. In a piece of make-up genius, the badboy brother was disguised with a heavy beard, so we never found out that they were identical until badboy shaved.

I think underlying this is an anxiety (No! surely not etc) about the self. What would we be like if we weren’t us? How much of us is nothing to do with us and capricious fate? What would we be like if we’d not grown up in the same way, with the same influences? But even that’s degenerating. Now, it’s just about narcissism (which it surely always had elements of) in a kind of ‘oh, look there’s someone who look like me!’ with a frisson of family history skeletons (did dad have an affair etc).

Last year, a good friend sent me a text from her office overlooking the Betsey Trotwood. She’s seen me going into the pub at about 3.30pm, and joked that it was early even for me to be hitting the pub. Trouble was, I was till at work when she sent it. Sadly, I was in a meeting so I didn’t get it until later, and wasn’t able to check who it might be. A few years back, a close colleague came bounding into work saying ‘you looked distracted at Victoria Station this morning’. Having been nowhere near Victoria at all, I was surprised, but not half as much as him. He’d seen me at a distance, and shouted. Seeing no response, he’d moved closer. He’d gone past the point where you’d realise you’d made a mistake and veer away or turn on your heels. He’d been about 2 feet away from me, and said ‘Hi Dave’ and ‘I’ had looked back with a blank stare.

‘He could have been your brother!’, my colleague exclaimed. I’m adopted, and maybe he was.

Only a fawn in the game

TMFDPost a comment • 1,156 views

FC United of Manchester. The very best of luck to them, I’m sure we all hope they do well. A well-respected TMFD writer can be heard talking in his cups about how AFC Wimbledon are the John The Baptist to FCUM’s Jesus, though neither has a programme, other than democracy and existence.

I hope they succeed in their stated aims. Actually, I think they’ve gone a long way to achieving those aims already, in so far as they have a club and they seem to be enjoying themselves. Well done to them.

Not well done to the Guardian, though, who consider this to be breaking news. Hold the back page: FCUM have some songs. Any club with more than a thousand regular attendees could write the an equivalent article. It’s the kind of thing which fills up a quarter page in a local rag on a slow day. This is just fawning.

Real Life* Tintin Action

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My fantastic book on stage magic, Hiding The Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer, is full of great tales but my favourite** is the story of how Robert-Houdin used SCIENCE to prevent a rebellion in a French colony by adapting one of his magic tricks. He put a box on the stage and challenged a local warlord to lift it – which the warlord did. He then waved his WAND saying that he had made said warlord as weak as a child, the warlord then could not lift the box O NOES. Robert Houdin restored the warlord’s strength, the rebellion was nipped in the bud, and in his memoirs he revealed that this feat had been due to a metal lining in the box and an ELECTROMAGNET under the stage! Crafty Robert-Houdin.

OK this story is hugely colonialist but I like it because it’s the kind of nonsense which would show up in a Tintin book.

* probably not, since everything else in Robert-Houdin’s memoirs turned out to be a bit of a fib, and much of it was later exposed as such by Houdini (v. oedipal since Houdini means “like Houdin”). Steinmeyer disapproves of this as bad form, and is very down on Houdini in general, because he was rub at magic and only good as escapology.

** actually my favourite story is the throwaway one about the magician who got a police summons for selling illegal booze at a show and telegraphed to say he could not attend court because he’d hypnotized 20 people the night before and it would be dangerous to leave them. The peelers were not impressed.

Good Ride Cowboy–Garth Brooks

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Memorial Tribute to Chris LeDoux and really interesting for a few reasons
1) It’s the second reference to chewing tobacco in the recent chart (Skoal Ring), that and the NY times quoting Bobby Bare about it…Which needs to be forgiven, because of documentary details (not that there is anything that needs to be forgiven here)
2) The theme of the song is really about how cowboy music is different from country, or to put it a different way, how what is played at rodeos is not the same as what is on the radio–the question of purity, or what is really country (ie the western swing here and what Brooks calls here: “the western underground”) is often argued b/w the Americana crowd and the radio crowd–and I mean Brooks can be nothing but a radio populist, but here he does hint at that difference, and I don’t think it has been talked about before…
3) He has for a long time had a really heavy hand for extended metaphor–this time, its a few words, and subtle ones at that–but it defines the western ethos as one not of independence or bullying, but of tenacity “when she starts to twist, hold on tight”
4) he says good ride cowboy–and reading Jane Dark’s blog, she points out that this sentiment needs to be uncoded by people who have spent time at rodeos:” though the loveliest part of this song is how the titular compliment stores its rodeo admiration not in the praise (you gotta say “good ride” to everybody, after all) but in the honorific. Not everyone gets to be a cowboy”
5) II’m glad that he is back.